Mini diggers (or mini excavators) are compact and versatile pieces of equipment that are used in a wide range of construction, landscaping, and demolition projects. These machines are smaller than standard excavators, making them ideal for working in tight spaces, such as residential properties, urban areas, and job sites with limited access. Despite their size, mini excavators are powerful and efficient, with a variety of attachments that allow them to tackle a range of tasks, from digging and trenching to grading and demolishing. In this guide, we will provide an overview of mini excavators and answer some of the most commonly asked questions our team has had over the years.
What is classed as mini or compact digger?
Most manufacturers classify small and large excavators differently depending on operating weight. In some cases there are 4 classifications: micro (less than 1 tonne), mini or compact (up to 8 tonne), midi (up to 100 tonnes) and large (100 tonnes plus).
What is a mini digger?
The width can range between 0.72m (to enable it to fit through a doorway) to almost 2.5 metres, depending on the size and weight. Some machines have retractable tracks that enable you to pass through tighter spaces.
Is a mini digger easy to use?
Once you are familiar with the controls, a mini digger is fairly easy to use. Some have more advanced features than others but it’s always important to consult the manual. A lot depends on the task, as digging a simple hole may be easier than digging a trench or grading. Simplicity of operation is also dependent on the choice of attachments. The most important factor however is safety; always be aware of your surroundings and who is around. Operating a mini digger can be unsafe on uneven ground, especially when shifting materials from one side of the machine to another.
Do I need a licence to operate a mini digger?
Hire companies will generally require a driving licence, especially if you plan to take the machine on the road. When operating on private land, a licence is not a requirement.
What are the key things to consider when hiring a mini digger?
When transporting your digger, you must match your towing vehicle and trailer to the size and weight of your machine. Certain trailers have weight restrictions, so check this first. You must also load the machine correctly and securely. Consult the operator manual for the correct transportation procedures.
Always consider the task at hand before you hire a mini digger, as this determines the size of machine and the type of attachments you need. Also remember to check the machine specifications first.
Most mini diggers have a travel speed of up to 10 kph, enabling them to work well in small areas within a site.
Reach, depth, lift
It’s not just reach and depth you need to consider but the weight of the material you’re moving. All machines have a lifting capacity and this should be checked before carrying out your work.
Track type and width
Understanding your task will help you choose the right tracks for your mini excavator. Turf tracks are designed for working on lawns or sports fields while zig zag pattern tracks provide more traction and are better suited for muddy conditions. Steel tracks are also an option for harder surfaces that can wear out the usual rubber types.