Need to move some soil? Dig a pond, drainage ditch or level for a patio with a rented mini excavator.
Mini-excavators have evolved considerably over the past 20 years. They now offer more features than ever before, making it easier to rent a mini-excavator that meets your needs. Here are some features to consider when renting a mini-excavator. Your ARA-affiliated rental professional also can answer any questions you have.
- Size. When renting a mini-excavator, make sure it can fit through any narrow passages necessary to get to the worksite. Some small mini-excavators can fit through a gate or door.
- Digging depth. Before renting a mini-excavator, know how deep you must dig. Some larger mini-excavator rentals can dig as deep as 14 feet.
- Dump height. Make sure the bucket on the rented mini-excavator raises as high as needed to dump its contents in the planned location. Smaller mini-excavators may have a dump height of only 6 feet, whereas larger ones may offer a dump height of around 15 feet.
- Bucket size. The size of a bucket on a rented mini-excavator usually matches the size of the mini-excavator itself. In other words, larger mini-excavators have larger buckets than smaller mini-excavators do. Bucket sizes typically range from 12 to 24 inches.
- Offset digging capabilities. Many rented mini-excavators offer offset digging, which means the boom is able to swing away from the base to dig next to a structure. This feature also allows for positioning the mini-excavator’s tracks adjacent to a trench while digging, which makes it easy to move forward to the next digging location.
- Operating weight. The operating weights of rented mini-excavators typically range from about 1,600 to 18,000 pounds. Make sure the working surface can support the weight of the mini-excavator.
- Tracks. Most rented mini-excavators come equipped with either rubber or steel tracks, but some wheeled models do exist. Steel tracks tend to tear up the turf and pavement more than rubber tracks do. However, steel tracks offer durability. Some mini-excavators offer tracks are able to be retracted to enter a worksite and then extended for working.
- Tail swing. When the cab of a rented mini-excavator turns 180 degrees, the maximum percentage of cab that extends over the tracks is its tail swing. Zero tail swing refers to the capability of a mini-excavator’s cab to turn 360 degrees without ever overhanging its tracks, which means if the tracks fit into an area, it is able to be rotated without colliding with anything. Some mini-excavators possess reduced tail swing, but not zero tail swing.
- Dozer blade. Rented mini-excavators equipped with a blade can accomplish backfilling and grading options. The blade also serves as a stabilizer during digging.
- Attachments. Mini-excavator attachments are often available for rent to accomplish a variety of tasks using one machine. For example, drill a hole with an auger, demolish concrete with a breaker or move concrete debris using a thumb.
- Comfort features. An enclosed cab with heating and air conditioning usually offers more comfort to an operator than a canopy. Ergonomic controls also can increase the comfort of the operator.
Benefits of a mini-excavator
Mini-excavators — sometimes called compact excavators — may not have the digging depth of a full-sized excavator, but they excel for small digging operations in close quarters. Contractors or do-it-yourself homeowners can use mini-excavators for trenching, landscaping or pre-concrete excavation projects in hard-to-reach spaces. The following provides some advantages of renting a mini-excavator instead of larger excavating equipment.
- Compact. Rented mini-excavators can excavate areas too small for digging by larger excavators and backhoes.
- Maneuverability. Features, such as 360-degree turning, offset digging and reduced tail swing, allow rented mini-excavators to work productively in spaces where a full-sized excavator could not move.
- Light footprint. A rented, rubber-tracked mini-excavator can move over pavement without harming it. Their low ground pressure also minimizes damage to turf.
- Lower fuel expenses. A rented mini-excavator uses less fuel than larger excavating equipment does. They are also able to be towed using smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Easy to operate. Most individuals can learn how to use a rented, mini-excavator’s controls very quickly.
Rented mini-excavators may look like toys, but they can cause injury or death if operated improperly. Please review the tips below and read all manufacturer warnings and instructions. Your local, ARA-affiliated rental store professional can provide you with complete instructions. Some rental stores offer how-to video instructions for information on using the equipment safely and effectively.
- Read all manufacturer warnings and instructions prior to using a rented mini-excavator.
- Properly secure rented mini-excavator for transport and follow safe practices hooking up and towing a rented mini-excavator.
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Use a mini-excavator only in areas that offer adequate ventilation.
- Keep onlookers away from the jobsite while operating the rented mini-excavator.
- Do not allow anyone to ride in rented mini-excavator other than the operator.
- Do not lift anyone using the bucket or boom of the rented mini-excavator.
- Rent the appropriate mini-excavator from your local ARA-affiliated rental store. See What Do You Need in a Mini-Excavator Rental? for a description of possible features available on rented mini-excavators.
- Check and, if needed, service fluid levels in rented mini-excavator.
- Select an attachment — approved by the manufacturer of the rented mini-excavator — that suits the intended application. Make sure to secure it to the mini-excavator properly.
- Perform a worksite inspection, taking note of all overhead electrical lines or obstructions, as well as drop-offs and steep slopes. Maintain a minimum clearance of at least 10 feet from overhead electrical lines.
- Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for starting and shutting off the rented mini-excavator.
- Do not exceed the lift capacity of the rented mini-excavator.
- Never lift a load over anyone.
- When moving the rented mini-excavator, keep the bucket or attachment low to the ground.
- Mark the areas where you will dig.
- Before you dig, call 811 — the national “Call Before You Dig” phone number — to notify utility companies of your digging plans, so that they can send a locator to mark underground lines for free. Plan ahead, it will be a few days after calling. The exact time requirements for waiting vary by state.
Contact your local, ARA-affiliated, rental store for information on available rental products and services to meet your mini-excavator needs. To locate the rental store nearest you, use the Rental Store Quick Locator above.
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