Buying or hiring the right excavator for your job will depend on the size and scope of the work you’re doing. To help you get started, we’re going to take a look at Cat excavator sizes, how they’re classed and what they’re most suited for.
Cat Mini Excavators (1-10 tons)
The smallest of the four, the mini excavator range consists of excavators ranging from 1t to 10t. In fact, the smallest Caterpillar excavator available, currently, is the 300.9D weighing in at just 935 kg. It’s a tiny workhorse with a punchy Yanmar engine putting out a net 13HP.
And yet the largest of the mini range, the 310, weighs in at 10,182 kg (9,601 with no counterweight or bucket) and the Cat C3.3B engine brings a net 70.3HP to your worksite. So Caterpillar really gives you a wide variety of choice in their mini excavator range.
Excavators in the mini range are great for tighter work spaces or for smaller tasks that don’t need heavy or overly powerful machines. Mini excavators are also a great option for those tight-access areas. Being a compact size, these excavators are easier to transport and get onto the worksite.
Cat Small Excavators (11-18 tons)
Moving up from the mini excavator range, we’re going to take a look at Caterpillar’s range of small excavators. Weighing from 11t to 18t, these machines bring the focus back from getting into the smallest possible space, to bringing a good balance of power for a reduced size and weight.
Currently the smallest excavator in this range is the 311F L RR, weighing in at 13t and packing 70HP, it is touted by Caterpillar as the machine you’re looking for if “you want a machine with the power to match your jobs but owning and operating costs to fit your business.”
Or, if you need a larger operating weight and a more powerful engine, then the 318F L may be what you’re after. It’s the largest of the small excavators Cat has on offer and features a C4.4 ACERT engine with 117HP net power.
Like the medium and large Cat excavator sizes, the small range comes with CAT Connect technology and compatibility with a selection of Cat attachments.
Cat’s small excavators boast increased versatility, power and flexibility when compared to the mini excavator range. They are suited for much of the same work that the mini range is, as well as larger and more varied tasks.
Cat Medium Excavators (20-35 tons)
Moving up another bracket, we hit the medium excavator range. Weighing in at 20t to 35t, these excavators are where the real power really kicks in. Featuring patented Cat technology and compatible with a huge variety of attachments, Cat’s medium excavators showcase the best of what the company has to offer.
The baby of the range, the Cat 320, has an operating weight of 22,500 kg, while the Cat C4.4 ACERT engine provides 162 HP of net power. Of course, that’s just the start, the 320 has a few variants, including the 320D, 320DL and the 320DRR.
While the biggest of the medium range is the 335F L. It has a maximum operating weight of 38,180 kg, and a minimum of 34,330 kg (which is why it’s in the medium category).
Medium excavators bring more power than the mini or small excavator range. And, in some cases, may provide a more affordable alternative for larger projects than a large excavator, as they are generally cheaper and easier to transport than the large range.
Cat Large Excavators (36-90 tons)
While they may be the heaviest, excavators of the lot, Caterpillar’s large excavator range brings more than enough power to make up for it. Ranging from 36t to 90t, this is the largest range for weight and HP. It has the biggest difference between the smallest and largest model (though it has the least selection of models available).
Weighing in at 37,200 kg, the 336 is the smallest of the large excavators, though you can get the 336 GC, which is a lighter version of the 336, weighing in at 33,900 kg. And, while you may think 33-37t isn’t light, the 390F L dwarfs the 336.
The 390F L has an operating weight of 86,840 KG, a Cat C18 ACERT engine packing 543 HP, and a 12,230 mm reach at ground level.
Like the small and medium range, large excavators come with exclusive Cat Connect technology and are compatible with a variety of Cat attachments.
Due to their size, power and fuel-efficiency, large excavators are ideal for large, bulky earthmoving and heavy lifting. While they may not be able to fit into tight spaces, they bring unrivalled power that the smaller models simply can’t match.
Choosing Between Cat Excavator Sizes
Making sure you get the right excavator is important. Generally, picking the right excavator is going to be based off the size and scope of the work required. Of course, factors like work area, maneuverability, versatility and reusability may play a role as well.
The good news is, Caterpillar has an excavator size for almost any project scope. With plenty of models within each size range, you’re sure to find the machine that will get your job done.
Of course, you can always consult with your Cat dealer to get more information about any particular model. Or, have a look at our other article: Excavator Sizes: 7 Tips to Get It Right.