Tackle Many Jobs with One Machine: Attachments Increase Mini Hydraulic Excavator Versatility

by Visitor GregWorley ‎08-10-2015 01:54 PM - edited ‎08-10-2015 02:07 PM

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For digging, lifting and clean-up on job sites with tight quarters, mini hydraulic excavators combine powerful performance with easy maneuverability. Able to go where larger machines can’t, mini hydraulic excavators are ideal for work in backyards, inside buildings and around fences. Their hydraulic systems enable them to quickly move large amounts of material, and attachments make these machines useful in many industries including landscaping, construction and agriculture.


The work performed by mini excavators typically involves changing tasks often throughout the day. A coupler can help to maximize your investment by allowing the operator to quickly change attachments, enabling your mini excavator to do multiple jobs in less time. Here are some examples to demonstrate the range of tasks a mini hydraulic excavator can perform.  


With digging depths of more than 10 feet, mini hydraulic excavators go far below ground surface. A variety of attachments are designed to improve digging speed, accuracy and precision.


  • Standard buckets dig through earth for many purposes, and you should determine what features are needed based on the job. Buckets for general excavation work come in many dimensions, and capacity depends on the bucket size and shape, along with the type of soil on your jobsite.
  • Don’t let cold weather or unexpected rocky patches delay operations. In areas with hard, compact or frozen dirt, rippers cut through challenging ground conditions to loosen soil and improve productivity.
  • Designed to drill holes of all shapes and sizes, augers can also bore through a variety of soil types. From installing fence posts or building poles to planting shrubs, an auger efficiently extracts soil to your specifications. In dense ground, select an auger with high speed and torque to prevent stalling. 

Choosing the right bit for your application will also increase efficiency. For example, a tree bit features a tapered tip to drill holes with a large mouth and narrow base. This type of hole would properly fit a root ball. A tree bit could also drill holes with a small diameter to fill with mulch.     


Material Handling
Whether you’re picking out rocks and debris from soil, moving tree limbs or carrying materials for waste recycling, a tool to help navigate this task will improve accuracy.


  • Thumb attachments rapidly take bucket work from digging to material handling. Hydraulic controls located inside the cab optimize performance by allowing the operator to easily grasp items and move them. To increase efficiency, select a thumb that can fold back against the machine stick when not in use to seamlessly move between digging and grabbing.

Eliminate the need for multiple machines by using a mini hydraulic excavator for lifting tasks normally accomplished by a crane. For example, in drainage applications, the same piece of equipment can dig a trench, and then lift and place the pipe.


  • Select a machine and bucket with appropriatelift radius and capacity. Here, it’s essential to know the weight of the load you’re lifting. Reference the machine’s load chart to ensure safety.

No matter which attachment you choose, quality and design are important factors when selecting equipment. To last through many hours of use in tough environments, high-strength, tempered steel will stand up to wear and tear. Additionally, support from a trusted dealer network will ease concerns over downtime if you find yourself in need of service or parts.

For more information, contact your local Cat® dealer or visit us online. We’d like to hear your thoughts on attachments for mini hydraulic excavators.


  • Do you have a mini hydraulic excavator in your fleet? What attachments have you used to maximize its versatility?
  • In what applications do you utilize mini hydraulic excavators?
  • Is there an attachment would like to own, but don’t yet have?
  • Which attachments are better to rent versus purchase?

by Jim Barry
on ‎08-27-2015 11:32 AM

I've been wanting a 1-4 ton unit for some time now to used on our 20 acres of forested property. A well cared for used unit, as I can't afford new. Last year I got a used MTL 257B2 from a Cat dealer and am very happy with that. I bought a BH attachment for it, and while it does the job, it does not have the finesse of a mini ex.

by Visitor GregWorley
on ‎08-31-2015 02:16 PM

We're glad you enjoy your Cat MTL, Jim. Have you visited our Used Equipment site: http://catused.cat.com/en/index.html. You may be able to find what you're looking for there.

About the Author
  • I’m an Attachments Product Application & Sales Support Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have been with Caterpillar for five years including roles in the field as a dealer sales support representative and marketing support in the skid steer and small wheel loader product groups. I graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Agricultural Business and Economics. Our goal is to provide a full portfolio of attachments for our customers to be more productive and versatile with their machines.
  • I am a Pre-Field Agriculture/Product Application Representative for Caterpillar. I recently graduated from North Carolina State University with a dual degree in Agriculture Business Management and Agriculture Science, concentrating in Leadership and Environmental Technologies. I focus primarily on the relationships between customers, dealers, and the product specialists for the Building Construction Products division. Growing up on a beef cattle farm, I have several years of machine operation experience and agricultural knowledge. Thomas Jefferson said it best in that, "Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness."
  • I’m a Compact Wheel Loader Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have 11 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant.  I graduated from North Carolina State University with a Mechanical Engineering Degree, and wanted a job where I didn't have to sit in front of a computer all day.  This job allows me to get out and get my hands dirty, with the goal of providing solutions to customers’ machine needs.
  • I am a Marketing Communications Specialist for Caterpillar with over twelve years of experience marketing the Cat brand to customers in Latin and North America. My goal is to arm customers with the information needed to make well informed purchase decisions; to maximize the value of Cat machines by using an array of Cat Work Tool attachments; and to minimize the total cost of ownership by using Cat parts and Cat Dealer service.
  • I am an expert Operator and Application Specialist for Caterpillar concentrating on products used in the construction trades industry. I operate, evaluate and train on Cat machines and Work Tool Attachments worldwide. I have a Degree in Agricultural Engineering, Craftsman Certified and was named Apprentice of the Year 1981 at the University of East Anglia, UK.
  • I am the National Association Manager for Caterpillar and have responsibility for customer associations and partnerships in multiple industries for Caterpillar. I have 12 years of experience at Caterpillar, and have spent most of those years in the field with dealers and customers around North America. I have always had a passion for equipment and find myself fortunate to be able to work with dealers and customers almost every day.
  • I am a Product Application Specialist with 16 years of experience in the industry. As a Building Construction Products Global Trainer, I focus on training dealers and customers on machines, attachments and applications as it relates to the construction, agriculture and landscaping segments.
  • I have been with Caterpillar for more than eight years, working in various roles including a materials engineer, a filters product manager and my current position as a parts consultant. My job allows me the opportunity to work with Cat dealers and customers providing insight on how the use of quality filters and fluids results in better equipment performance and lower owning and operating costs.
  • I am a marketing and sales support professional for Caterpillar. In this role, I work with our marketing and customer service teams to support or dealers and customers, concentrating on our Small Wheel Loader, Skid Steer Loader, Mini Excavator and Dozer product groups. The exchange of ideas, information and opinions about equipment and how it’s used in various industries on forums such as this blog helps me fulfill my role at Caterpillar to the best of my ability.
  • I am the commercial/market consulting expert for all Caterpillar tires and rims with 14 years of experience. I provide guidance in the harsher work environments of mining and industrial/waste applications. Our goal is to turn our dealers and customers into knowledgeable and trusted resources with respect to tires and rims. Our group offers training, technical support and resources to develop a level of expertise within the Caterpillar value stream that is ordinarily reserved for tire companies and local tire service providers. Ultimately, we want to provide our customers with a total Cat solution from the ground up.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager for Cat Financial and have responsibility for ensuring that the right financial products are available to Cat customers who purchase, lease or rent to own. 8 of my 10 years with Caterpillar Financial have allowed customer and/or dealer interaction as part of my daily responsibilities including over 3.5 years as a Territory Manager. I take personal satisfaction in finding financial solutions that work for our customers and CAT dealers.
  • I’m a Telehandler Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North and South America. I have 13 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer service operations and technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant. My telehandler passion and focus is working with dealers and customers to maximize the versatility of the product through machine and operator training.
  • I am a Product and Application Specialist with over 35 years experience at Caterpillar. I focus on helping you to determine the best Cat machines, work tool attachments, and services for you to use in the building and general construction, landscaping, specialty trades, and agricultural industries.
  • I am a Senior Regional Insurance Marketing Manager with 16 years’ experience at Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services. I have the opportunity to work with 18 North American dealers providing risk management products and services that helps the Caterpillar Enterprise ( Caterpillar, Dealers and Customers) manage their business risk. Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services offers Extended Protection Plans for machines and engines, Physical Damage Insurance, Inventory Protection Plans, Dealer Property and Casualty, Risk Management, Marine Transit Insurance and Dealer Bonds.
  • Jeff Brown is a marketing professional for Caterpillar Skid Steer, Multi Terrain and Compact Track Loaders. Over Jeff's 12 years in the industry, he has visited with and studied the needs of customers across landscaping, construction, and agriculture segments. Delivering innovative solutions that solve customer's problems is Jeff's main focus.
  • I am a North American Product and Application Specialist for Caterpillar. In this role, I have had the opportunity to represent Caterpillar at various trade shows and train customers on new Small Wheel Loader content. I graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and have spent the past 15 years with Caterpillar in various engineering roles. Growing up in the Mid-West, I have always loved the cold and the unique activities winter enables. Unfortunately, I had to give those up when I moved to North Carolina. I don't care what people say, you never get used to a hot climate.
  • I am a Filter and Fluid Marketing Consultant with over 14 years experience working at Caterpillar. My focus is to ensure customers understand the importance of using superior filtration and lubrication products in their equipment.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager with over nine years of experience in a variety of roles with Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to gain experience in matching financial products and tailoring funding strategies to the specific needs of customers. This includes more than three years as a Territory Manager in Seattle partnered with N C Machinery, an authorized Cat dealer covering the states of Washington and Alaska.

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