Attachments turn an excavator’s smaller cousin into an incredibly versatile machine.
Sometimes bigger is better. If you need to dig a large foundation, clear a large area or demolish a structure, a full-size excavator probably fits the bill. But for other projects, the excavator’s little cousin, the mini excavator, may be exactly what you need.
These less-expensive machines, more the size of a backhoe and sometimes called “trackhoes,” can fit in smaller spaces and enter jobsites that have weight restrictions. They’re ideal for dumping or trenching on muddy, narrow jobsites and also handy for backfilling, leveling and grading. Attachments make them even more versatile.
With the right mini excavator attachment, you can remove tree stumps, compact soil or dig a pool, all with a machine that is easier to handle than a full-sized excavator. Here are some of the attachments that can help you boost utilization and save money in the process.
The bucket is the most common mini excavator attachment. Buckets can be used for digging, moving earth and even demolition in some cases.
When choosing a bucket, consider the bucket’s weight and its carrying capacity. The specs include what size mini excavator they can be used with. Some buckets, like this 36-inch bucket, add significant weight and aren’t appropriate for the smallest mini excavators. Others, like this bucket designed for 7,000-pound mini excavators, weigh much less and are suitable for mid-sized mini excavators.
Compaction accessories allow you to pack down soil or asphalt with a mini excavator instead of also renting or buying compaction equipment.
Compaction wheels are used to compact granular soil and grade or level an area. When choosing a compaction wheel, consider the width of the space you’re working in. Wheels with a larger diameter can make a job go faster, but they also weigh more. If you’re working with a smaller mini excavator, a wheel with a smaller diameter may be more suitable.
For compacting asphalt, you might want a vibratory plate compactor attachment, which can also be used for compacting soil and building foundations.
If you are demolishing a road, breaking up the ground or removing concrete fixtures, you’ll need a hammer attachment, also called a breaker attachment. This hammer attachment can be configured for an impact rate of anywhere from 700 to 1 400 beats per minute, making it customizable for different jobs.
Just as the thumbs on your hands help you carry and place items, a thumb for your mini excavator can help you perform precision work. Excavator thumb attachments are used to grip and move items that might not fit in a bucket or that need to be placed with accuracy rather than dumped from a bucket. With a thumb attachment, your mini excavator can be used to move small trees and logs or to place boulders in a line for landscaping.
If you’re working in a small space, a power-tilt attachment can help you reach around obstacles such as tree roots and utility lines without repositioning your mini excavator. This attachment goes between the arm of the excavator and the attachment you’re using. It gives you more flexibility with its 180-degree tilt and swing.
Power-tilt attachments are designed to fit with most mini excavators and attachments, but before you rent one, confirm that it works with the equipment you’ll be using.
When shopping for mini excavator attachments, it’s important to choose one that will enhance functionality, not overwhelm the machine. Your United Rentals sales professional can help you find an attachment that will fit both your machine and your project.