Hitachi Construction Machinery - North America
Spec’ing your compact excavator   
May 19, 2015


When it comes to mobility and versatility, compact excavators are a force to be reckoned with. Sure, they’re small, but they offer big advantages, including customization to better meet your jobsite demands. Mark Wall, product marketing manager for Hitachi Construction Machinery-Americas, shares some insight when it comes to spec’ing your compact.

Cab or canopy

Larger compact excavators provide cab-only options, but smaller compacts may offer a canopy option. A canopy can reduce initial costs and decrease the machine weight. However, cabs with air conditioning and heating systems may provide greater operator comfort throughout the year.


Compacts can be outfitted with a variety of tracks. Rubber tracks allow machines to tread lightly, minimizing ground damage. Sturdy steel tracks provide optimum traction and are tough against rocky ground. The third option can consist of a rubber pad attached to a steel chain. The combination of rubber and steel reduces undercarriage weight and balances traction with minimal surface impact.

Quick coupler

Whether you’re busting through blacktop with a breaker, using a thumb to keep material in the bucket or drilling with an auger, a quick coupler makes life easier. Quick couplers on excavators allow for speedy switchover between attachments.

Who benefits from using compact excavators? Customers in a wide range of industries. Michael Boyle, product consultant manager with Hitachi Construction Machinery-Americas, breaks down the appeal by industry type.

  • Mainline utilities contractors like the digging speed at depths of three to four feet and the backfill capabilities. Rubber tracks provide easy maneuvering on hard surfaces and save the costs of putting down planks or sheeting.
  • Directional drilling contractors mount a hammer, using the coupler and auxiliary hydraulics, to break up concrete. They then change to a bucket to set up a pit-launch drilling machine.
  • Rental customers appreciate the ease of operation, enhanced by switchable control patterns, and transportability.
  • Landscapers like the swing boom for digging parallel to structures. Smaller-sized machines mean less restoration of grounds and easy transportability.
  • Building contractors like the reduced-tail-swing design for getting into tight spaces or working next to walls and other structures.