Today’s Compact Excavators Pack in Power and Versatility Once Only Available on Larger Machines

Compact excavators are usually the first pieces of equipment on a typical construction jobsite and usually the last ones to leave.

Kubota KX057-4
Kubota KX057-4

Editor’s Note: The following article is brought to you by Kubota in partnership with

Excavators large and small rule the jobsite. They are considered a Jack of All Trades machine, that handles every construction task masterfully. With the ability to connect a vast selection of hydraulic attachments like breakers, thumbs and compactors, combined with impressive reach and stability, compact excavators are usually the first pieces of equipment on a typical construction jobsite and usually the last ones to leave, because they really do it all.

Today’s U.S. excavator market is very competitive when it comes to performance and reliability demands. “It is important to look at a jobsite as a whole and assess what size excavator you will need based on dig depth and lifting capacity,” said Tim Boulds, construction product operations manager for Kubota Tractor Corporation. “A compact excavator is usually only limited by its dig depth and lifting capacity. As a rule, projects requiring a trench 12 feet or less in depth are typically a good fit for compact excavators.”

With several enhanced features at play, Boulds added that today’s compact excavator features are expanding both operator comfort and performance beyond what was once only available on a full-size excavator, including:

  • Larger operator stations
  • More efficient HVAC systems for enclosed cab comfort
  • Adjustable auxiliary hydraulic flow controls through the dash
  • Regeneration designed hydraulic circuits, adding speed while using less engine horsepower
  • Telematics that include machine location and machine health monitoring

Across the landscape, newer excavator models continue to improve hydraulic flow and strength, increasing the machine’s overall capabilities. Kubota has some of the highest bucket break out forces in the industry across its full line of compact excavators, on both zero and conventional tail swing models. What’s more, Kubota is the world’s number one selling compact excavator, and has been for more than 10 years running, according to 2019 data from OEM Off-Highway Research.

Today’s modern machines are designed to dig every day, all day long, and every manufacturer strives to set themselves apart to make their machines at any size more comfortable for the operator. Intuitive and user-friendly designs enhance both operator comfort and performance and cab comfort is key. On Kubota excavators, operators will enjoy the easy-open front glass windows, deluxe suspension seat, cup holders, and air conditioning. A large, easy-to-read digital panel is user friendly with simple settings and push button operations.

Other technology features that you should consider when purchasing a compact excavator include:

  • Economy Mode: Some of Kubota’s larger (over 25 hp) units have a standard feature ECO mode. When digging demands are minimal, the ECO feature selection allows for increased fuel savings without sacrificing digging performance.
  • Auto Idle: The Auto Idle feature allows you to save fuel and enjoy less noise on the jobsite. When selected, the feature will take the engine RPM’s to low idle if the controls are not moved for four seconds. When the operator touches a control, the machine automatically returns to the operating speed selected.
  • AUX Diverter Valve:  This valve provides the ability to have a thumb attachment connected while running other hydraulic attachments, like a breaker. The AUX Diverter Valve, which comes standard on most Kubota models, eliminates the need to couple and uncouple the thumb lines each time you switch attachments.

“There is no doubt compact excavators have changed the way we excavate. And, contractors are looking for new ways to do more work with fewer machines in order to keep their costs down and their productivity up,” Boulds said. With advanced features, impressive reach, stability and precise work capabilities in tight spaces, compact excavators truly are a must have on any jobsite.

For more information on Kubota’s full line of compact excavators, visit