Comparing Mini Diggers vs. Large Excavators: Which to Hire for Your Project?

Mini digger
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Diggers or excavators come in a wide range of sizes to meet different needs on a job site, from digging trenches to grading the landscape. You’ll need at least one for nearly every project, but how big should you go with this piece of machinery? To determine whether you should go for mini digger hire or get a large excavator for your project, you need to consider various factors, including what the machine can offer and the nature of your project. In this post, we’ll explain some of the factors to consider to determine which size of excavator to get for your construction project.

Size and Manoeuvrability

Mini diggers are designed to be compact compared to full-sized excavators. The implication of this is that they have lower weight capacities compared to the bigger and obviously more powerful large excavator. 

The operating weight refers to how much the excavator weighs while working. Large machines with high operating weight can be problematic, especially if you’re working on a site with a buried plumbing or service line or any other type of sensitive surface. 

A massive size also means you’ll spend more on transporting and storing the excavator. On the other hand, mini diggers will have a difficult time lifting heavy loads, which makes them unsuitable for demanding jobs. 

But being compact also means it’s easier to work in tight spaces or areas with limited access with a mini digger. So if your project is a small construction site or a residential yard where there’ll be limited free space to operate a full-sized digger, you might want to go for a mini digger. 

Digging Depth and Reach

Digging is one of the primary uses of an excavator, which is why you need a machine that can dig at the appropriate depth for your project. Generally, the digging depth and reach of your digger depend on its size. 

Generally, you’ll get limited digging depth and reach with a mini digger compared to a full-sized excavator. If you’ll be digging shallow trenches or working in close proximity to structures, then a mini digger will work just great. 

However, if the tasks on your project require deep foundations or large-scale excavations, you’ll be better off with a large digger. Before you go for a mini digger hire, consider how deep you’ll need to dig, the kinds of digging you’ll be doing, and how often you’ll need to dig throughout the project. 


In addition to digging, diggers are designed to carry out a variety of tasks on a construction project, such as grading, drilling, or breaking up concrete. Even when you’re working with a mini digger, you can attach buckets, augers, hydraulic hammers, and other attachments to allow your digger to perform more tasks. 

Although mini diggers are versatile, they simply wouldn’t work effectively for some tasks. For instance, large excavators are sometimes used for demolition and heavy-duty excavation works due to their high bucket breakout force and long reach. You’ll have a hard time using a mini digger for such heavy-duty tasks. Before your project begins, evaluate the tasks you’re likely to perform and determine if a mini digger will be good enough for handling them or not. 

Cost and Budget Considerations 

Your budget is one of the main factors that ultimately decide the excavator size to get for your project. Generally, mini digger hire costs less compared to renting a large excavator for your project. Compact diggers are also more fuel-efficient, and easier to transport, repair and maintain. In all, the operational cost of running a portable is less than the cost of a full-sized unit. 

But calculating costs isn’t always straightforward. While mini diggers may cost less for smaller projects, the cost quickly adds up if you’re working on a large-scale project that requires you to keep the machine on the site for a long period. Large excavators are expensive to rent and operate. But if it’ll get the work done faster because of the scope of your project, power, and capabilities, then it might be a better idea to rent one instead of a mini digger. 

Worksite Conditions

The excavator size also depends on the working conditions on your job site. Generally, you have to consider how large your job site is and the overall scope of your project. When working with a mini digger on a large job site, you’ll need to move the machine around a lot since it has a low reach. 

You’ll also need to consider the terrain or landscape, how much space you have on the site, and the obstacles on the site. Low or zero-swing excavators are always recommended for job sites with limited spaces, so consider mini diggers when working in tight or confined spaces. 

Due to their size, large excavators tend to exert more pressure on the ground. This might not be an issue for a new construction site where the ground will still get levelled at some point in the project. But if you’re working on a finished site, like someone’s backyard, you’ll want a machine that will cause as little damage as possible. 


The ideal digger for your project should be able to meet your project requirements while causing minimal damage to your worksite. You can determine which size of mini digger will work best for you based on the factors listed above. Our experts at easyToolhire can also assist you with the process of picking the right digger for your project. Contact us now to browse our collection of mini diggers and full-sized excavators available for your project.

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