Digging for Deals: Mini Excavators on Craigslist

Excavators are important machines used to dig holes, trenches, and foundations for buildings, roads, bridges, and other construction projects. But let’s face it: excavators can be really expensive. That’s why Craigslist has become a great source for those looking for digging machines at bargain prices. With some digging of your own, you could end up finding deals that are hard to resist.

What to Consider Before Buying a Mini Excavator on Craigslist

As excited as you may be to procure a budget-friendly excavator, there are some things that you should consider before clicking that “buy” button.

Machine Size

Do you need a small or mini excavator? Mini excavators are great for small or medium projects. In contrast, large excavators are more suitable for big projects such as highways, bridges, and high rises.

Machine Age

An excavator with a few years under its belt doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth the investment. However, make sure you ask the seller about the machine’s history for safety reasons.


Brand names may not always mean quality, and cheaper machines may be lacking important safety features. Don’t forget to check safety features such as ROPS, FOPS, and OROP, which stand for Roll Over Protective Structure, Falling Object Protective Structure, and Operator Protective Structure, respectively.


Last but not least, make sure the price is right. Do your research on the average price of the type of machine you’re looking for, and keep in mind that a deal that seems too good to be true may actually be a scam.

How to Find Mini Excavators on Craigslist

Finding mini excavators in your local area on Craigslist can take some time, especially if you’re looking for the best deals. But hey, all good things come to those who wait. Here are some tips on how to navigate Craigslist and find the perfect mini excavator:

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Set Your Budget

Before you start looking, decide how much you want to spend. This will help you narrow your search and save you time scrolling through hundreds of posts that don’t match your budget.

Use Specific Keywords

To find the best deals on mini excavators, you need to use specific search terms. Use keywords such as “mini excavator,” “compact excavator,” or “small excavator.”

Filter Results

Don’t waste your time scrolling through unwanted posts. Take advantage of Craigslist’s filter function to sort posts by things such as price, location, and even brand.

Look for Negotiable Prices

Most prices on Craigslist are negotiable, so don’t be afraid to contact sellers and negotiate a better deal. Keep in mind that if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Be Cautious

Craigslist can be a dangerous place, so be cautious when arranging to meet sellers. Always meet in public places and bring a friend along.

Best Mini Excavators Deals Found on Craigslist

Here is a table of some of the best mini excavators deals currently on Craigslist, so you can have an idea of what to expect in terms of price and quality.

Mini Excavator Price Hours Brand
2020 Caterpillar 306 CR Mini Excavator $77,900 1,052 Caterpillar
2019 Kubota U35-4 Mini Excavator $32,900 1,367 Kubota
2017 Bobcat E55 Mini Excavator $31,995 2,053 Bobcat
2018 Takeuchi TB250 Mini Excavator $52,500 474 Takeuchi

Note: These prices may change over time. Make sure you research on your own to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Beware of Scams

Unfortunately, Craigslist is not immune to scams. Be wary if a seller asks for money up front or wants to send the machine to you without meeting face to face. These are red flags that the sale may be a scam.

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Checklist When Buying a Mini Excavator on Craigslist

When buying an excavator on Craigslist, it’s essential to do your due diligence. Here’s a checklist to ensure you’re making a good investment:

  • Check the machine’s history
  • Inspect the machine’s parts and equipment**
  • Check the engine and hydraulic systems**
  • Check the bucket for any wear or damage**
  • Check all paperwork and ensure it is valid
  • Test drive the machine, if possible

**Consider hiring a qualified mechanic to perform a thorough inspection.

Pros and Cons of Buying on Craigslist

The Pros

  • You could find a great deal
  • Craigslist offers a broad selection
  • The buying process is straightforward
  • You could negotiate a lower price

The Cons

  • Scammers are present on Craigslist
  • No warranties are offered
  • No after-sales support, unless the seller offers it
  • No financing options are available, unless the seller offers it

Tips to Ensure a Safe Deal

  • Ask the seller for their identification and verify who they are
  • Don’t meet the seller alone
  • Inspect the machine thoroughly
  • Don’t pay until you’ve inspected the machine and are satisfied with the condition
  • Make sure all paperwork is valid and complete


If you’re looking for a mini excavator, many great deals can be found on Craigslist. Just don’t take shortcuts and do your research beforehand. Remember to stay safe by meeting sellers in public places and bringing a friend along. And most importantly, don’t forget to inspect the machine thoroughly before making a purchase.

Dig deep, and you may end up finding an excavator that will help you dig even deeper!