How Much Does a Mini Excavator Weigh?

Insight - 34 Min read

September 6, 2023

The standard excavator is an essential piece of heavy operating equipment for construction projects that require demolition, digging foundations, and mining.

2022 Bobcat E35i Compact Excavator

What is a Mini Excavator?

The mini excavator (or compact excavator) is a preferred tool for jobs that require optimal agility in tight, confined spaces. This might include smaller projects such as small buildings or home renovations, installing pools, and digging trenches.

The great thing about compact excavators--a.k.a. mini excavators--is that their typical jobs enjoy an efficient size with sacrificing a significant amount of digging depth in small spaces.

Several factors to consider when deciding between mini excavators or standard excavators include:

  1. Tail Swing

  2. Maximum Dig Depth

  3. Maximum Dump Height

  4. Operating Weight

These important factors will not only help you determine the right mini excavator for the job at-hand, but whether a standard excavator is actually the better option for you.

Compact Yanmar Excavator

What is Zero Tail Swing?

An important consideration that improves the overall performance of a mini excavator is zero tail swing. One can purchase an excavator with conventional, reduced, or zero tail swing.

Tail swing is determined by the size and placement of the heavy equipment operator's cab with respect to the excavator's tracks and counterweight.

An excavator with a conventional tail swing features a counterweight that extends over the edge of the machine's tracks. Conventional tail swings tend to be found on larger excavators with higher operating weights and greater stability.

Zero tail swings (or near zero tail swings) have a counterweight that sits tight with the cab and does not rest beyond the edge of the tracks. Mini excavators tend to have zero or near zero tail swing so that they can work with dexterity within fenced-in property lines and along busy roadways.

2020 Sany SY95 Compact Excavator

What is Maximum Dig Depth?

Maximum dig depth means how low into the earth an excavator can dig.

A mini excavator's weight can also have an impact on dig depth. A small excavator may not have the counterweight to dig trenches as deep as larger excavators.

This metric is slightly different than an excavator's maximum depth of vertical wall, which refers to how deep a compact excavator can dig an entirely vertical wall. Max vertical wall will never be as much as an excavator's max dig depth.

Mini Sany Excavator

What is Maximum Dump Height?

Maximum dump height is another of the most important mini excavator specs and refers to the greatest height an excavator's arm can reach to empty its bucket attachment.

This measurement is particularly important when considering mini excavator sizes because it can prevent the heavy equipment operator from being able to work on a project. A small excavator will not have as great of a dump height as a larger machine or even standard excavators.

You must choose an excavator that has a dump height higher than the dump truck (or other surface) that material is being moved into from the bucket attachment.

Compact Kubota Excavator

What is Operating Weight?

A mini excavator's weight is typically defined as its operating weight. Model operating weight means the weight of the machine in action, calculating in added weight from fuel, attachments, and the human operator.

Model operating weight varies greatly among mini excavators and larger models. This is the metric we are looking at when we ask, "How much does a mini excavator weigh?"

Komatsu Mini Excavator

Loaded Weight v. Unloaded Weight

Unloaded weight accounts for the weight of the machine by itself before it lifts, digs, or carries any additional materials or attachments. Loaded weight is how much the mini excavator weighs when it has a full bucket or an attachment added onto it.

Each machine has loaded weight limits determined by the manufacturer that can be found in the mini excavator specs.

Adhering to loaded weight limits is important because:

  • Too much weight can tip the machine

  • The operator and others on the job site can be put in harm's way

  • You risk breaking the machine and shortening its lifespan

While convenience and agility are a major selling point for mini excavator sizes, it is important to avoid purchasing a mini excavator that will be too small to safely perform.

Calculating the appropriate loaded weight limit will allow you to balance efficacy and safety standards, and will prevent money lost on machine repairs and downtime.

Wacker Neuson Compact Excavator

How Much Does a Mini Excavator Weigh?

The average mini excavator typically weighs between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds.

The total weight of a mini excavator depends on the make and model, as well as the attachments on each machine. The weight of a mini excavator will vary depending on what it is being used for. Deciding what size excavator is best for you comes down to what you plan to use it for.

Why Mini Excavator Weight Matters

Compared to larger models, mini excavators (or "compact excavators") are significantly easier to transport to and from job sites, to store between projects, and to maneuver in tight spaces. This makes mini excavators ideal for small demolition jobs and other smaller projects that take place in small or narrow areas.

Cat Compact Excavator


Mini excavators are incredibly versatile machines with a variety of attachments to choose from.

Listed below are some of the most popular attachments for mini excavators along with the weight each attachment will add to the machine's operating weight:

  • Hydraulic Thumb: adds 60 - 110 pounds

  • Trenching Bucket: adds 145 - 290 pounds

  • Hydraulic Breaker: adds 410 - 1160 pounds

  • Auger Attachment: adds 151 - 217 pounds

Accounting for the added weight of an attachment will ensure that you do not overload your mini excavator or risk damage to the machine or injury to the operator.

Compact Excavator on Construction Site

Popular Mini Excavators

  1. Yanmar VIO35-6A (8,214 pounds)

  2. John Deere 30G (7,220 pounds)

  3. Doosan's DX35-5 (8,193 pounds)

  4. Case CX37C (7,990 pounds)

  5. Takeuchi TB240 (8,570 pounds)

  6. Kubota KX040-4 (9,195 pounds)

Common Uses of Mini Excavators

Mini excavators are a great tool for job sites with limited space, or that require a machine that can fit into small or narrow areas. Since they have near-zero tail swings, they can be used safely near other buildings and structures without posing a threat. They also offer higher accuracy when digging in tight spaces and areas that have numerous gas lines or pipes that are buried near the job site.

Compact Excavator in a Field

Many owners and operators like mini excavators because they are easy to transport, and offer better fuel economy. This saves time and money, without sacrificing their capabilities. They are great to use on softer terrain to avoid damaging the grass, soil, or pavement in the surrounding area. While they don't have quite as much power as their full-sized counterparts, they are perfect for a variety of jobs including:

  • Pool installation

  • Digging graves

  • Pipe repair

  • Landscaping

  • Renovations

  • Tree harvesting

  • Small demolition jobs

Mini excavators are a great addition to any fleet as long as they are operated safely. Knowing the weight of the machine, as well as its attachments, will help give your equipment a longer lifespan, and make sure that it meets all safety standards. Get more used excavator details at a glance.

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