Do you need a lot of power in a machine that is easy to handle and doesn’t take up too much space?
A mini excavator may be able to provide you with the functionality, flexibility and compactness that your job requires.
But, the market is full of powerful, durable and easily maneuverable mini excavators, making the choice of which make and model is best for you a difficult one.
Among mini excavator makers, both Bobcat and Takeuchi have earned reputations for being reliable, versatile and well built, and the Takeuchi TB135 and Bobcat 331 models are both well-regarded within the industry for being excellent mini excavator choices.
Ultimately, which machine is ideal for you depends upon how the TB135 and 331’s features and characteristics match with your typical worksite conditions and job requirements.
Takeuchi has a half-century of experience making heavy equipment for the construction industry. This long track-record has earned the Japanese company a well-deserved reputation for offering machines that meet high standards for performance and operator comfort while also being reliable and durable.
With the TB135, Takeuchi has produced a mini excavator that meets the company’s overall values and goals. Its rubber tracks allow for easy-to-operate two-speed travel on a variety of surfaces, and the fully tilting cab provides for superior access and ease of routine maintenance.
The name Bobcat has been synonymous with well-designed and high-performing construction equipment for the last seven decades, and the values and principles underlying this reputation are reflected in the U.S. company’s 331 mini excavator.
Its lightweight nature makes it highly portable, while the 331’s contoured hydraulic joysticks allow for a high level of precision during operation.
Altogether, the features and stats of the Bobcat 331 guarantee that it is an excellent choice for an operator looking for a durable and powerful machine.
Both the Takeuchi TB135 and the Bobcat 331 provide superior functionality, a surprising amount of power and a high level of performance; however, each model is unique and has differences in operation and capabilities that are critical to weigh prior to committing to a purchase.
By its very nature, a mini excavator is meant to be small and nimble, and both the Takeuchi TB135 and the Bobcat 331 fall firmly into this category.
Overall, the 331 is slightly lighter and smaller than the TB135. Coming in at 7,185 pounds in comparison to the TB135’s 7,831 pounds, the 331 is also a bit shorter in every dimension than its competitor: 5.1 feet in width versus 5.3 feet, 5.1 feet long versus 5.4 feet and 7.7 feet high versus 8 feet.
In performance, no clear cut winner emerges as both the Bobcat 331 and Takeuchi TB135 gain advantages in certain categories.
Despite being more compact, the 331 has a greater maximum digging depth and reach along the ground than the TB135, at 12.2 feet and 19.2 feet compared to the TB135’s 11.2 feet and 17.5 feet.
However, the TB135 bests the 331 at maximum loading height and vertical wall digging depth, with top reaches of 12.5 feet and 8.6 feet versus the 331’s 10.1 feet and 7.2 feet. Ground clearance is similarly disparate between the two models. The 331 has a ground clearance of 1.7 feet, while the TB135 has a clearance of just 0.97 feet.
Thanks to its lighter weight and higher horsepower, the 331 beats the top speed of the TB135: 3.2 miles per hour compared with 2.9 miles per hour. Both machines offer an equally nimble turning radius of 4.6 feet.
Both the Takeuchi TB135 and the Bobcat 331 utilize rubber tracks, allowing them to be gentler and less disruptive to all types of terrain from hard dirt to soft lawns. With a shoe size of 14 inches, the TB135 exerts ground pressure at 3.9 psi, while the 331 has a shoe size of 12.6 inches and a slightly higher ground pressure of 4.3 psi.
Underneath the Takeuchi TB135’s hood lies a Yammer 3TNE88-TB three-cylinder diesel engine with 27.8 horsepower and 107 torque. In comparison, the Bobcat 331’s Kubota V-2203-M-DI-E2B four-cylinder diesel engine provides it with slightly more power, offering 40 horsepower and 102.5 torque.
Whatever mini excavator you choose, precision and ease-of-use are extremely important factors to consider. In the Bobcat 331, the contoured hydraulic joysticks allow the operator to complete highly precise adjustments easily and quickly.
Likewise, the Takeuchi TB135 utilizes joystick controls that are simple to use, and the ability to simultaneously operate the cab swing and digging functions with no speed reduction is a nice feature.
The features that contribute to operator comfort can be easy to dismiss as unnecessary until you’ve spent a full day behind the controls. Traditionally, the Takeuchi brand is known for placing great emphasis on operator comfort across the industry.
Despite this, many users report that the TB135’s seats become uncomfortable by the end of a long day due to the standard vinyl material that can get quite hot to the touch. This is compounded by the fact that valve and hydraulics in the TB135 are situated under the seat, adding another source of heat directly beneath the operator.
Cloth seats are available in certain production models of the TB135, and this option is highly recommended. Those considering the TB135 should also note that the four-bar canopy can obscure vision from some angles and the armrests are difficult to adjust.
The Bobcat 331 offers a number of features that can boost operator comfort, including heat, air conditioning, an enclosed cab and a radio. However, keep in mind that none of these features come standard in any production year of the 331.
Ultimately, both the Takeuchi TB135 and the Bobcat 331 provide an excellent option for those who are searching for a mini excavator for business use.
Whether the TB135 or the 331 will prove best for your needs and uses will depend on your job requirements, the features of your standard worksite, the importance you place on operator comfort–and, of course, your budget.
For more details about these options – especially regarding the rubber tracks – contact Dominion Equipment Parts online or call 866-363-7265.
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Dominion Rubber Tracks are available for all mini excavators, compact track loaders and tracked Carriers. Our replacement undercarriage parts include a fully stocked line of sprockets, rollers and idlers, manufactured to the highest quality control standards. Dominion Equipment Parts is also the exclusive OEM parts distributor for Morooka Rubber Track Carriers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America.