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  1. #1
    Gold Member dieselfuelonly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Yanmar YM1401D

    Default SHOOTOUT - Skidsteer Vs Mini Excavator

    Hi everyone, looking for some opinions here.

    We have a small 6 acre horse farm, and with the sale of our old house (FINALLY!) we would like to do some improvements around here.

    Some of these include redoing the riding area, getting some new gravel and spreading it on our driveway, and numerous other little projects around the house.

    I am looking to spend under $7500 on a piece of equipment (Skidsteer or Mini Ex.) to help us accomplish these tasks. I know my budget is very limited, but I have found several skidsteers and a Takeuchi mini excavator that are within my price range. Anyway, thats beside the point - I need help deciding on which piece of equipment would be better for our property. I won't buy a piece of equipment thats in poor condition.

    As I see it:

    A mini excavator would be great for:

    Loadind and unloading materails from my truck, or anything else
    Spreading materials precisely over a small to medium sized area
    Mild grading/leveling with the dozer blade
    Using alongside my Yanmar (and if I ever finish that small trailer...) to transport materials around the yard
    Digging holes/trenches
    Fun to operate

    And not so great for:

    Moving large amounts of materials
    Heavier grading/leveling
    Bigger jobs
    Limited attachment options
    Moving around to work on larger areas (slow)

    A skidsteer would be great for:

    Moving piles of mulch, gravel, dirt, etc. that we get delivered
    Grading/Leveling areas like the riding ring
    Spreading materails out over larger areas
    All sorts of other tasks with the seemingly endless attachments that are available for rent

    And not so great for:

    Working in smaller areas
    Digging holes/trenches
    Unloading materails from my truck
    Working alongside my Yanmar (pretty big... I like to make use of everything I have, a skidsteer turns my Yanmar into a big lawnmower basically).
    Not as fun as a mini excavator, but still pretty fun

    Anyway, only other things I can think about are... I live in NC, have lots of clay and the stuff can get pretty darn hard if its dry out. I would be interested in using either piece of equipment to make money, I can see either one being useful there, though my neighbor already has a skidsteer and gets a LOT of work around here, he doesn't have a mini excavator though.

    Thanks for you're thoughts and opinions.

    Hi my name is Dennis.
    Yanmar YM1401D, 12k 16+2ft trailer, 1996 Dodge 3500 2WD Cummins 5spd, 1973 M35A2 "Deuce and a Half"

  2. #2
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default Re: SHOOTOUT - Skidsteer Vs Mini Excavator

    One of the skid steer attachments is a faux back-hoe.
    Would that help to narrow the decision ?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: SHOOTOUT - Skidsteer Vs Mini Excavator

    its sounds kinda like you already know which one you want

    keep in mind that if you want to grade...spread gravel...move materials...these are all gonna be a PAIN with the ex

    yea a mini ex is more fun to run however its really not efficient when it comes to anything but digging or grubbing small trees....that dozer blade is NOT a grading tool...its 50% there to help you balance your light weight machine and 50% to help push dirt back into a hole you have dug...however you can NOT grade nearly the way you can with a skid

    another thing to think about...with your limited budget have you factored in the undercarriage costs of the should price idlers..rollers..tracks..etc and make sure you wear a helmet so you dont get brain damage when you pass out from shock hearing the price...

    the same would factor in for the skid unless its a rubber tired machine tho...

    we are in the lucky position to have both machines ( ASV RC100 loader and Takeouchii TB 175 ex) and I can tell you that I would rather run the ex all day just because its SO MUCH FUN BUTTTT it will NOT do what the loader will

    just my 2 cents worth...

  4. #4
    Silver Member Terra Firma Scott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    North East Florida
    Cat 257 B High Flow

    Default Re: SHOOTOUT - Skidsteer Vs Mini Excavator

    yeah go for the skid........
    Regards, Scott


  5. #5
    Silver Member JDeereman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    John Deere 990

    Default Re: SHOOTOUT - Skidsteer Vs Mini Excavator

    A mini-ex is a one-note specialty machine while the skid steer loader is a far more versatile general use machine with lots of attachment options that can be rented or bought. but imho the bigger issue is what you can actually buy (size, age and condition) for a mere $7500. in this regard, a $7500 skidsteer will outperform and outlast a $7500 mini-ex any day of the year.


  6. #6
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    NorthEastern VT
    Kubota 3430

    Default Re: SHOOTOUT - Skidsteer Vs Mini Excavator

    Price a daily rental for a MiniEx in your area.
    Use that knowledge as you try to make up your mind.

    Good luck!
    Kubota 3430HST ,Woods 1009 with skidsteer QC,Scraper, Brush mower , Woods 7' hoe, homebrew 7' FEL QC fisher plow with hydraulics, etc
    99 QCSB4x4 Cummins Ram (with some hp toys but now a Vermont rust bucket)

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Wheeling, WV
    2006 JD 3520 w/cab & 300CX loader. 1995 JD 870 w/440 loader & 8b backhoe.JD 455 w/54" mower deck.

    Default Re: SHOOTOUT - Skidsteer Vs Mini Excavator

    Simply put, the skidsteer is going to suit your needs better. It has a dozen or more attachments available and therefore much more versatile than the mini excavator. Although you can do a lot with the will never be able to do as much as you could with the skidsteer and all its available attachments.

    Sincerely, Dirt
    "Good judgement comes from experience.Experience comes from bad judgement."

  8. #8
    Silver Member tractorman99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: SHOOTOUT - Skidsteer Vs Mini Excavator

    How about a Skid steer with a backhoe.

    Hear is a link to one in Denton NC.
    Last edited by tractorman99; 11-02-2008 at 09:45 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: SHOOTOUT - Skidsteer Vs Mini Excavator

    You pretty well defined the pros and cons of each machine. Can you buy a loader for your tractor? Otherwise, which of your tasks do you see doing the most? If you're mostly digging, the mini wins hands down, if your mostly moving, spreading and grading the skid wins. If your good friends with your neighbor maybe the two of you can compliment each other if you buy the mini and your willing to lend each other machines at home and team up on some outside work? Good luck!

  10. #10
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Cedartown, Ga and N. Ga mountains
    1998 Kubota B21, 2005 Kubota L39

    Default Re: SHOOTOUT - Skidsteer Vs Mini Excavator

    With 6 acres and a $7500 budget I believe you would be much better off trading your tractor for one with a FEL and backhoe. I think the budget may be on the short end for even that. In my area $7500 for a skid or mini isn’t going to buy anything that isn’t a problem. Your area may differ but repairs to either can be substantial.


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