As the name suggests, mini excavators are a small but mighty type of compact machine, typically used for earthmoving and similar small construction tasks. Typically available with tracks and in some models with wheels this piece of compact construction equipment packs some real grunt and loves a challenge, making light work of a range of activities:

  • Trenching
  • General excavating
  • Loading trucks
  • Levelling
  • Cutting pads
  • Road maintenance
  • Landscaping
  • General clean up
  • Drainage and sewerage

To help you decide if this versatile equipment can improve the delivery of your next project, explore: three fast facts; three reasons why they are so popular; and three things to remember when choosing and using a mini excavator.


Fast facts:

  1. In Australia we rely on mini excavators more than any other earthmoving machine. They account for 40% of the market making them the most popular types of construction equipment.

  1. Defined by weight rather than size, any model weighing less than five metric tonnes is considered a “mini” excavator.

  1. They may be small in size but mini excavators pack some punch when it comes to heavy lifting. Depending on the lift point radius, mini excavators can have a maximum load limit of 1500kg out the front of the machine and 500kg over the side. Always check the lifting chart with the machine in the operator manual before performing any lifts.




Three standout features of mini excavators include their efficiency; safe and easy operation and transportation; and the site access they allow. Let’s dig a little deeper...


1. Efficiency 


Mini excavators make a highly efficient equipment choice for a variety of reasons. 

  • Small in size, mini excavators require less power (i.e. smaller batteries and/or less fuel), making them cheaper and more efficient to operate. They are also cost-effective to transport and depending how small you go can be towed behind a ute or tipper truck.

  • Quieter to run than their full size counterparts, mini excavators can help to reduce noise pollution – keeping your workforce safe and your neighbours happy when the jobsite requires it.  

  • Using a mini excavator can reduce the time it takes to perform many manual tasks – improving project efficiency, reducing manual handling and keeping workers out of trenches.


2. Safe and easy to move and to use


Mini excavators are one of the safer and most convenient types of equipment to use. 

  • The viability and versatility of mini excavators reduces the number of times you need to get out of the cab – helping you to get the job done much faster and more efficiently. 

  • A large range of motion allows the bucket and other attachments to get into a wider range of spaces. 

  • The seat and operator station on mini excavators offers good ergonomics. Coates Hire also offers air-conditioning across mini excavators above 3T, reducing fatigue and improving concentration and safety during operation. 

  • Given their size and weight, mini excavators can be less hazardous to operate than other larger earthmoving and landscaping equipment.

  • Coates Hire can supply custom lightweight aluminium trailers for transporting mini excavators. With a total weight of package under 2000kg this addition makes our mini excavators even more convenient to use and to move. 


3. Access

  • Mini excavators are much lighter than full size excavators, reducing ground impact on your site and allowing you to access more areas.

  • The smaller size of mini excavators also allows you to work in much smaller spaces. 


Things to remember:

  1. Mini excavators come in many shapes and sizes. Carefully consider the tasks you need to perform and the space you need to work in when choosing this equipment, to ensure your mini excavator is a suitable height and width, and offers adequate digging depth and lifting capacity.

  1. Many attachments make light work. Attachments add considerable functionality and versatility to your mini excavator. If in doubt, ask us for advice on the attachments that can help you get the job done.

  1. Mini excavators are small, but all heavy equipment comes with risk, and although a licence isn’t required for general use, some classes of high-risk work will require a special licence. Be sure to know your training requirements, regularly brush up on your skills and always perform risk assessments before use. Verification of competency assessments are available through Coates Hire’s Registered Training Organisation.


Coates Hire can supply the right type of equipment and attachments for any sized job - so talk to us today about your specific needs, or find your local branch.  

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