When undertaking landscaping, construction, or land clearing projects, a small dozer can offer excellent maneuverability and adequacy for light-duty tasks. Compared to their massive counterparts that can weigh over 100,000 pounds, small dozers provide a more affordable and compact option for smoothing and grading soil, backing up trucks, excavating trenches, small structure demolition, and other applications.
If you are considering adding a small dozer to your fleet of machines, here are 7 key facts you should know about the smallest dozer options available:
The defining feature of a small dozer is its lightweight chassis and components that enable easy transport between jobsites. While heavy crawler dozers used in large earthmoving and mining operations can tip the scales at 50 to 120 tons, a small dozer weighs less than 15,000 pounds. This major difference in size and weight is what makes small dozers suitable for landscapers, rental centers, small contractors, and other operators that need to move equipment frequently on trailers.
#2 – Blades Range From 4 to 8 Feet Wide
In addition to lighter weight frames, small dozers have smaller blades suited to precision grading, backfilling, and detail work instead of immense dirt moving. Blades typically range from just 4 to 8 feet wide (48 to 96 inches) depending on the model. This compact blade width, combined with the machine’s nimble size, allows small dozers to grade and shape soil in confined areas larger machines cannot access.
|John Deere 350G LC
|Caterpillar D3K2 XL
As this table shows, popular small dozer models from leading manufacturers have modest horsepower ratings under 100 HP and blades not more than 8 or 9 feet across. These compact specs make them ideal for small residential sites.
A major benefit of a small dozer’s limited size is its precision control for detailed grading work. The short wheelbase allows tight turns, while the narrow blade finesses soil and ground surfaces to perfection. Small dozers can fine grade for proper drainage, sculpture landscape contours and pools, establish golf course topography, shape athletic fields appropriately, and profile all types of sites where refined surfaces are essential. Larger dozers simply lack this nuanced control.
#4 – Easy To Transport Between Jobsites
Since small dozers check in under 15,000 pounds, they can be hauled with most heavy duty pickup trucks, dump trucks, and flatbed trailers without requiring a CDL. This enables easy transport between jobsites for companies in landscaping, site preparation, utilities, and other applications entailing single day usage at different locations. Saving the hassle of oversized load permits and specialized trailers reduces costs. The ability to readily move a small dozer truly maximizes its utilization possibilities.
Acquisition cost and ongoing operating expenses are much lower with a lightweight small dozer compared to gigantic earthmovers. Depending on configuration, popular small dozer models range from approximately $50,000 up to $150,000 new. This puts them comfortably in reach for most site contractors and rental centers. Save on finance carry costs. Since small dozers use less fuel while running far fewer operating hours annually than primary construction dozers, they offer notably better fuel efficiency and cost efficiency overall.
#6 – Used Units Have Good Resale Value
The broad utility and transportability of small dozers makes them highly sought after in the used equipment market. Light landscape dozers from leading brands like Caterpillar, John Deere, Bobcat, Maxpower, Kubota, New Holland and others have excellent resale value after several years if well maintained. It is not uncommon for a late model compact dozer to retain over 50% of its original price. Thus they represent solid asset value – provided you stick to reputable equipment makers.
While a basic dozer with rear ripper bars and front mounted blade satisfies most needs, compact dozers offer much more variety in features/attachments now. Optional extras like winches, stump grinders, brush cutters, leveling blades, and tracks specialized for low ground pressure all customize small dozers for more precise duties. Even high tech additions like GPS laser grading automation, remote operation via video game-style controllers, and wireless data transmitters are increasingly common. The configurable nature of small dozers makes them quite versatile long term.
For moving and shaping soil precisely in confined spaces, undertaking gentle slopes, working next to existing structures, traversing finished landscapes cautiously, or tasks where a light footprint is mandatory, a small dozer less than 15,000 pounds is perfect. Affordable to acquire and nimble by design, the smallest dozers offer flexibility for all types of earthmoving and grading applications a contractor may encounter. If your projects necessitate routine light-duty dozing capabilities plus transport between multiple locations, a compact dozer model deserves strong consideration.
Q: Can a small dozer equip attachments like a brush cutter or stump grinder?
A: Yes, leading compact dozer models can accommodate a wide range of attachments like hydraulic brush cutters, landscape rakes, augers, trenchers, boring bits, and stump grinders. The auxiliary hydraulic controls and standardized mounting connections enable attachments installation for expanded utility.
Q: What kind of blade options are there? A: Angle blades that allow angling the cutting edge, six-way blades with variable pitch and tilt, and power angle tilt blades are among the specialty blade options for small dozers. These allow customizing blade geometry to the work. Other choices include wider blades and low ground pressure tracks.
Q: Can a compact dozer equip GPS grading systems?
A: Yes, advanced GPS laser and machine control technologies once exclusive to million dollar mining gear is now available for compact dozers. Topcon, Trimble and Leica offer integrated blade control systems for high accuracy site grading and profiling using satellite positioning. This automates the blade for precision results.