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Since entering the excavator market in 1987, Gehl has worked its tail off to offer a solid line up of compact excavators.

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What do Compact Excavators do?

The compact hydraulic excavator differs from other equipment. movement and functions of the machine are accomplished with hydraulics. The compact excavator’s work group and blade are driven by hydraulic cylinders, and the slew (rotation) and travel functions are activated by hydraulic motors.

With hydraulic powered attachments such as breakers, clamps, augers, and compactors, the excavator has uses other than excavation, and serves as an attachment tool carrier. Many excavators feature quick-attach mounting systems for attachment mounting, increasing the machine’s utility.


Mini Loaders – Mini skid-steer loaders or compact utility loaders are smaller and include ‘walk behind’ cable or radio controlled skid loaders and the slightly larger platform skid loaders. Platform skid loaders have a small platform on the back instead of a seat for the operator to stand on.

Compact Excavators

Compact Excavator – A compact hydraulic excavator or mini excavator is a tracked or wheeled vehicle with an approximate operating weight from 0.7 to 7.5 metric tons. It generally includes a standard backfill blade and features independent boom swing. The compact hydraulic excavator is also referred to as a mini excavator.

The compact hydraulic excavator is somewhat unique from other construction equipment in that all movement and functions of the machine are accomplished through the transfer of hydraulic fluid. The compact excavator’s work group and blade are activated by hydraulic fluid acting upon hydraulic cylinders. The excavator’s slew (rotation) and travel functions are also activated by hydraulic fluid powering hydraulic motors


Most compact hydraulic excavators have three distinct assemblies: house, undercarriage and workgroup.

The house structure contains the operator’s compartment, engine compartment, hydraulic pump and distribution components. The house structure is attached to the top of the undercarriage via a swing bearing. The house, along with the workgroup, is able to rotate or slew upon the undercarriage without limit due to a hydraulic distribution valve which supplies oil to the undercarriage components.

Slewing refers to rotating the excavator’s house assembly. Unlike a conventional backhoe, the operator can slew the entire house and workgroup upon the undercarriage for spoil placement.

The undercarriage consists of rubber or steel tracks, drive sprockets, rollers, idlers and associated components/structures. The undercarriage supports the house structure and the workgroup.

The workgroup of a compact hydraulic excavator consists of the boom, dipper or arm, and attachment (i.e. auger, bucket, breaker, etc.). It is connected to the front of the excavator’s house structure via a swing frame that allows the workgroup to be hydraulically pivoted left or right to achieve offset digging for trenching parallel with the tracks.

Independent Boom Swing
The primary purpose of boom swing is for offset digging around obstacles or along foundations, walls or forms. A secondary use is cycling in areas too narrow for cab rotation. Independent boom swing is one of the major advantages of a compact excavator over other excavation equipment.

Backfill blade
The backfill blade is used for grading, leveling, backfilling, trenching, and general dozer work. The blade can be used to increase dump height and digging depth depending on its position in relation to the excavator’s workgroup, this makes it very versatile.

In recent years, hydraulic excavator capabilities have expanded far beyond excavation tasks. With the advent of hydraulic powered attachments such as a tiltrotator, breaker, a grapple or an auger, the excavator is frequently used in many applications other than excavation and with the tiltrotator attachment, actually serves as an effective tool carrier. Many excavators feature quick-attach mounting systems for simplified attachment mounting, dramatically increasing the machine’s utilization on the jobsite.

Zero-tail Swing
There are two distinct classes of compact excavators, conventional tail swing – units that have a rear counterweight that will extend beyond the tracks when the house rotates, and zero-tail swing – units with a house whose diameter stays within the width of the tracks through full rotation. Zero-tail swing units allow the operator to focus on digging and not watching where he or she is swinging.


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