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Considering a Kubota Mini Excavator? What You Need to Know About the Differences Between the Kubota U Series and the KX Series

Since 1970, the Kubota Tractor Corporation has helped set the standard when it comes to construction equipment, and their line of mini-excavators is no exception. These machines make a great addition to any job site or landscaping project, providing versatility, power, and durability well beyond their small size.
Visit the Kubota website or local dealership, and you’ll discover two distinct models of compact excavators: the Kubota KX series and the Kubota U series. Here’s how the two models compare:

Common Features

Both Kubota compact excavators are track loaders, making them ideal for rough surface conditions. Like all of Kubota’s mini excavators, the machines are built for maximum maneuverability in tight spaces. The two models share several core features, including:
  • A clean-running Kubota engine
  • Variable-width undercarriage
  • Two-speed travel
  • Foldable Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS)

These features make these machines ideal for landscaping and general construction work. Additionally, their clean-running engines minimize emissions, giving you confidence that your jobs are more environmentally friendly, and the air at your jobsite cleaner than it might be with other construction equipment.

The Kubota KX Series

The KX series includes all of the features above but also boasts several distinctive additions.

A Comfortable Operator’s Station

The comfortable interior features:

  • A spacious station
  • Fully flat floor
  • More legroom than previous models
  • Interior climate control
  • A Tier 4 diesel engine with plenty of horsepower but little noise or vibration

Extras for Specialized Performance

Most models in the KX series can also add-on specialized attachments, including augers and breakers. Most models also have an additional hydraulic line.

Kubota’s KX series can also be outfitted with optional hydraulic thumbs. While there are already many advantages to using mini excavators, hydraulic thumbs increase performance by enabling operators to pick up rocks and other objects with greater dexterity.

Detailed Specs

KX series specifications include:

  • Max digging depth: 5.8 to 15.1 feet
  • Min front swing radius: 3.2 to 8.2 feet
  • Max bucket force: 2200 to 14660 lbs
  • Max arm digging force: 1010 to 8554 lbs
  • Emission rating: Tier 4
  • Estimated cost: $20,000 to $70,000

These capabilities make the KX series one of the best excavators on the market today.

The Kubota U Series

The Kubota U series offers many of the same features as the KX series, including the options for attachments and hydraulic thumbs. Both also come standard with Tier 4 diesel engines that satisfy tougher emissions requirements. The U series also shares the comfortable operator’s station and available specialized attachments. But where the U series really differs from the KX series is in regards to tail swing.

Tail Swing Configurations

Where the U series really differs from the KX series, which features a conventional tail swing, is in its tail swing configurations. The Kubota U series features two options:

  • Tight tail swing (the operator’s station extends a few inches beyond the track’s width)
  • Zero tail swing (housing stays in place as it rotates within the track’s width)

As you might expect, these two tail swing options produce maximum versatility and usability in tight spaces. Without a doubt, tail swing configuration is the greatest difference between the two series.

Detailed Specs

The specifications for this series are:

  • Max digging depth: 7.7 to 11.9 feet
  • Min front swing radius: 4 to 8 feet
  • Max bucket force: 3417 to 11177 lbs
  • Max arm digging force: 1918 to 6261 lbs
  • Emission rating: Tier 4
  • Estimated cost: $20,000 to $30,000

These features make the U series a dynamic companion to any job site and can provide enhanced performance in narrow spaces.

So there you have it. Kubota’s U series and KX series provide plenty of power and versatility, but if you’re going to need to work in tight and confining contexts, the U series is probably the compact machine for you.

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