Build Your Machine, Get a Free Price Quote

Customize your machine. Select the model, choose options, and submit to your local dealer for a free price quote.
Build & Quote

How to Choose the Right Compact Excavator Arm

Published on September 20, 2023

The Bobcat® compact excavator lineup includes many features and options that give you more precise control, enabling you to work more efficiently. Multiple arm configurations – including standard, long arm and extendable – give your mini excavator the reach, depth, power and lifting performance you need. 

All these arm configurations – including the industry-exclusive clamp-compatible extendable arm –  are compatible with a vast selection of specialized attachments. Many Bobcat compact excavator models can be configured with other industry-exclusive features – including the unique Pro Clamp™ system, Hydraulic X-Change™ system and depth check system.

Choosing the right arm configuration for your excavator model and your jobsite can make all the difference, and choosing the style doesn’t need to be complicated. Let’s dig into arm types so you can choose the right one to match your needs.

Multiple Arm Configurations

Arm configuration is an important feature in compact excavators, and as mentioned above, Bobcat offers three different lift arm configurations. This allows you to customize the excavator’s breakout forces and reach for the work you do most often. 

Standard Arm

As its name implies, the standard arm configuration is the default arm style included with every Bobcat® compact excavator. It gives you maximum breakout force and lifting ability with greater digging performance.

Long Arm

For longer reach and dig depth, the l long arm may be the right choice, as the extra reach allows you to do more work without repositioning the machine. Plus, the higher dump height and extra reach can make loading trucks easier. The long arm option includes an additional counterweight to enhance your excavator’s lifting capabilities.  

Extendable Arm

For even more reach, Bobcat offers a clamp-ready extendable arm option for select compact excavator models. This industry-exclusive feature gives you the best of both worlds: power and lifting performance combined with the ability to extend the machine’s dig depth and reach when you need it.

Extendable Arm Features and Benefits

The extendable arm offers many features and benefits, and of course, extra reach is at the top of the list. Compared to the standard arm, the extendable arm delivers up to 30 inches of reach at full extension. This lets you reach farther with less repositioning. You can dump soil farther away from the excavator and reach farther back into the trench for cleanout purposes. Loading trucks is also easier since the extendable arm lets you place material more efficiently into the truck without moving the excavator.  
With a Bobcat extendable arm, there’s no loss to the original arm and bucket forces. Replaceable composite wear pads reinforce the excavator’s structure and maintain its integrity to ensure a long life for your excavator’s arm components.  
Ease of control plays a key role in how your compact excavator performs on the job. A paddle on the right-hand joystick lets you control the extension and retraction of the arm. When equipped with a clamp, the paddle on the left-hand joystick controls the clamp function. This enables simple extension of the arm for reaching, lifting and placing objects.  
With the industry-exclusive Hydraulic X-Change™ mounting system, there’s no need to leave your seat when connecting attachments. Simply retract the pins with the press of a switch for attachment removal or extend them for attachment hook.  
In addition to the extendable arm and the Hydraulic X-Change™ system, Bobcat compact excavators give you access to other innovative, industry-exclusive features, including: 

Pro Clamp™ System 

As an alternative to a clamp attachment, the Pro Clamp system consists of a base component, standard pin-on work tool and optional grading tool that allow you to:  

  • Optimize the standard clamp configuration for the task at hand.   
  • Create a smooth trench bottom with the grading tool, avoiding the need for a second “smooth lip” bucket.   
  • Clean up spoil piles quickly with the grading tool, reducing manual labor.   
  • Remove the tool when trenching, giving you enhanced visibility into the trench area. 

Depth Check System 

The Bobcat depth check system for compact excavators improves profitability by minimizing the tendency to over- and under-dig. With an accuracy of ±0.5 inches, it’s a superior and affordable option for achieving grade or meeting minimum cover specifications.  You monitor digging with the Bobcat display that is already installed in your excavator – so there is no need for add-ons that crowd your instrument panel. 

See It In Action 

A demonstration at your worksite will give you the best indication of which Bobcat compact excavator arm type is right for you. To schedule a demo and learn more about the industry’s leading compact excavators, contact your local Bobcat dealer.