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The Best Mini Excavator Attachments to Increase Your Machine’s Capabilities

The Best Mini Excavator Attachments to Increase Your Machine’s Capabilities

Two mini excavators on the jobsite

The Best Mini Excavator Attachments to Increase Your Machine’s Capabilities

Reading time: 6 min

When it comes to digging, trenching and drilling, excavators have emerged as an indispensable type of heavy equipment for contractors and operators alike. For projects in confined spaces where maneuverability is key, smaller excavators–called mini excavators or compact excavators are frequently preferred over their full-sized counterparts.

The advantages of mini excavators are vast and undeniable. Their compact footprint grants them an edge in urban construction projects and landscaping tasks, where they navigate confined spaces with ease.

Not only are mini excavators more maneuverable than larger models, they’re more efficient as well. Due to their compact format, mini excavators are easier to transport, consume less fuel and cause less damage to existing structures and surfaces.

Despite their compact design, mini excavators are every bit as versatile as larger models. In fact, there are hundreds of attachments which can be used to augment a mini excavator’s capabilities, making them useful for a wide range of construction tasks.

Here are some of the best mini excavator attachments to use on your next project:

The Best Attachments for Mini Excavators

While the number and types of hoses found in your machine will depend on the machine’s exact make and model, certain hoses are nearly universal and can be found in most heavy equipment.

Here are the most common types of hoses you’re likely to encounter in heavy construction equipment, along with their function and specific maintenance requirements.

Digging bucket attachment


Buckets are the most popular type of attachment used with mini excavators. This type of attachment is commonly used for digging tasks, such as digging foundation footings or planting trees. 

Depending on the type of soil you’re digging in, you may choose a bucket with or without teeth. Toothed buckets are better for digging in compacted, rocky soil. However, they do not leave behind a smooth bottom. Toothless buckets, on the other hand, excel in loosely compacted soil or sand, and leave behind a smooth bottom.

Hydraulic thumb attachment

Hydraulic Thumbs

Hydraulic Thumbs are another popular attachment used on mini excavators. The hydraulic thumb is capable of opening and closing over the top of your machine’s bucket, allowing you to grip objects with the mini excavator.

These attachments are especially popular for tasks where moving irregularly-shaped objects, such as beams and pipes, is crucial. They are also used during demolition to grab and manipulate structural components such as walls, beams and concrete sections.

Trenching bucket attachment

Trenching Buckets

Trenching buckets are a popular choice for digging trenches. Unlike typical buckets, trenching buckets are long and narrow with a straight or slightly-curved cutting edge. They frequently have sharper and more robust teeth, which make them better-equipped for handling compacted soil, gravel and other challenging terrain.

They are a popular choice for tasks such as digging utility trenches, creating narrow trenches for irrigation systems, installing underground infrastructure, and carrying out landscaping projects.

Ripper attachment


A ripper attachment is shaped like a giant blade and features a shank mounted to the end of the attachment. Ripper attachments are used to break up compacted soil and hard surfaces such as rock or concrete.

They are popular in industries that involve digging in challenging terrain, such as construction, mining, roadwork, agriculture and excavation.   

Grading bucket attachment

Grading Bucket

Unlike typical buckets, which are designed for digging, grading buckets feature a wide, smooth-bottom design ideal for scooping and transporting loose materials. For example, grading buckets are commonly used in landscaping for mulching and laying topsoil. They are also commonly used to backfill utility trenches.

Pallet fork attachment

Pallet Forks

Pallet fork attachments consist of a set of sturdy, fork-like tines that attach to the mini excavator’s boom arm or auxiliary hydraulic system. This type of attachment is commonly used to handle palletized materials. For example, mini excavators with pallet forks can be used to load and unload pallets of materials, such as landscaping pavers, from trucks and trailers.

Quick coupler attachment

Quick Couplers

Quick coupler attachments are commonly used when operators need the ability to switch between attachments quickly. Sometimes called a quick hitch or hitch connector, a quick coupler serves as a link between the excavator’s arm or boom and the attachment. When using a quick coupler, operators can change attachments without needing to manually remove pins or exit their machine.

Rake attachment


A rake attachment, sometimes called a root rake or land clearing rake, is a specialized tool designed to clear and prepare land by efficiently removing debris, roots, rocks and vegetation. It consists of a series of strong, curved teeth that are spaced apart to allow soil and fine material to pass through while retaining larger objects. 

This kind of attachment is popular for performing land clearing, site preparation and vegetation management tasks.

Hydraulic breaker attachment

Hydraulic Breakers

A hydraulic breaker attachment, also called a hydraulic hammer or rock breaker, is a powerful attachment designed to break through hard material like concrete, rocks, asphalt and other challenging surfaces. Like an oversized demo hammer, the hydraulic breaker contains a hammer mechanism that delivers repeated, high-impact blows to the surface being worked on.

Hydraulic breakers are commonly used for construction and demolition tasks such as concrete demolition, rock excavation, asphalt removal, trenching in hard ground and secondary demolition tasks.

Auger attachment


Auger attachments are specially designed for drilling tasks, such as drilling holes for utility poles, light posts and planting trees. The attachment itself consists of a helical drill bit, known as the auger, which mounts to the excavator’s boom arm. Like an oversized drill, the auger bit cuts into the ground and removes soil as it rotates.

Plate compactor attachment


Plate compactor attachments are designed to compact and compress various materials such as soil, gravel, sand and asphalt. The main component of the compactor, the compacting plate, is a heavy, flat plate which vibrates against the work surface during the compaction process. 

This type of attachment is commonly used for soil compaction, trench and excavation backfilling, asphalt compaction and landscaping.

Excavator with a tiltrotator attachment


Tiltrotator attachments are a unique type of attachment used in conjunction with other attachments to enhance their usefulness and maneuverability. The tiltrotator attaches to the mini excavator’s boom arm, and additional attachments can be mounted to the tiltrotator.

The tiltrotator attachment allows the bucket or other attachment to tilt side-to-side and rotate 360-degrees, providing the excavator with the ability to work on slopes, dig trenches with precision and create smooth surfaces. It is frequently used when operators are working in tight, confined spaces and cannot easily move the mini excavator around the work area.

Maintenance for Mini Excavator Attachments

Like mini excavators themselves, mini excavator attachments require regular maintenance in order to ensure their performance, productivity and cost-effectiveness. To get the most out of your mini excavator attachments, be sure to include their maintenance needs as part of your fleet’s preventative maintenance plan.

Here are some key areas of mini excavator attachment maintenance you should consider:

  • Clean attachments regularly
  • Train operators to inspect attachments before and after each shift
  • Grease/lubricate attachments according to manufacturer guidelines
  • Store attachments in a dry, clean, and covered area
  • Train operators on the appropriate use of each attachment
  • Use the appropriate attachment for each task

Final Thoughts

Despite their compact footprint, mini excavators are powerful, versatile machines useful for a wide variety of construction tasks. By selecting the right attachment, you can improve the efficiency of your mini excavator and meet the demands of your construction project.

If you’re looking to rent or purchase attachments for your mini excavator, look no further than the EquipmentShare Shop. Our online catalog carries a wide selection of attachment parts for mini excavators, as well as OEM and aftermarket parts for all aspects of your earthmoving machine. Need help finding a specific part? Reach out to one of our parts experts to get personalized assistance.

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