How do you know which excavator is right for you? Choosing the right excavator requires careful consideration. You want the power to get the job done efficiently while achieving the lowest operating cost. The right solution depends on the types of projects you typically handle.

Compact excavators come in a range of sizes and offer different features tailored to their specific tasks. Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas (HCMA) offers a complete line of compact excavators, ranging from the 3,790-lb (1,720-kg) ZX17U-5N to the 18,735-lb (8,498-kg) ZX85USB-5N.

Needs determine size

Unlike standard-size excavators that typically excel in applications where there is a lot of space to maneuver, compact and mini excavators meet the demands of tight job sites, where you may have to work in confined spaces. Near-zero tail swing makes it easier to work around buildings, walls, guard rails and other structures.

Dig depth, reach, lift height, and bucket and lifting capacities all play roles in selecting the best excavator for the task.

Ground conditions can also help determine the most appropriate size. For example, if minimizing turf disturbance is a factor, the smaller mini excavators exert lower ground pressure. This results in less damage to finished surfaces.

Transportability is an important consideration when the machine is frequently moved between job sites. Smaller mini excavators can often be pulled behind pickup trucks and may not require any special licensing requirements, depending on the gross combined weight rating. Hitachi compact excavators include convenient tie-down points to allow safe and easy transport.

Comparing compact excavators

When comparing compact excavators, the Hitachi ZX17U-5N and ZX85USB-5N are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The ZX17U-5N features a variable track width that can be retracted to a mere 3 foot, 3 inches (99.1cm) to access narrow job sites and travel through gates. With a maximum dig reach of 12 foot, 6 inches (3.81m) and a maximum dig depth of 7 foot, 2 inches (2.19m), it excels in backyard renovations and landscaping where space is at a premium.

Taking the next step up, ZX26U-5N offers increased attachment versatility with a one-way/two-way selector valve which accommodates breaker and grapple attachments with extra plumbing installed on the stick. An available auxiliary function lever (AFL) is available with an analog switch, trigger switch and horn for running attachments such as a breaker or an attachment with swing. The 5,560-pound (2,520-kg) ZX26U-5N offers 20 net horsepower (14.9 kW) with a 15-foot, 2-inch (4.63-m) maximum digging reach and an 8-foot, 6-inch (2.59-m) maximum digging depth. It measures only 4 foot, 11 inches wide. This makes it ideal for very confined job sites, such as landscaping.

The ZX85USB-5N is the largest compact excavator in the Hitachi line. It offers 53 net horsepower (39.5 kW) with a 25-foot, 3-inch (7.7m) maximum digging reach and a 14-foot, 10-inch (4.51m) maximum digging depth. Measuring 7-foot, 5-inches (2.26m) wide, this makes the excavator is well suited for larger residential areas where you want performance but need a compact machine.

Performance-enhancing features, durability and ease of maintenance are also important factors. The ZX26U-5N includes an independent swing boom that lets you work almost anywhere, and an integrated dozer blade allows the excavator to backfill or grade. The ZX85USB-5N adds economy and power work modes and a multifunction monitor.

All Hitachi compact excavators come with wide-open engine and access covers for simplified maintenance and the same built-in durability as the larger excavators with features, such as oil-impregnated bushings.

The wide range of Hitachi excavators means you can always find the perfect machine for your job site. Explore the full portfolio.