Bobcat E88 Vs. CAT 308 Excavator: In-depth Differences

Mini excavators like the Bobcat E88 and Caterpillar 308 offer compact size and impressive performance, making them popular choices for construction sites, landscaping jobs, and other applications where space is limited.

But with different features and capabilities, how do you choose between these two popular models?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the Bobcat E88 and CAT 308 mini excavators, looking at key factors like size and dimensions, engine power, hydraulics, operation, attachments, comfort, maintenance, and more.

Whether you’re looking to buy or rent a mini excavator for an upcoming project, this detailed comparison will help you decide if the nimble Bobcat E88 or powerful CAT 308 is the right match for the job.

A Brief Comparison Table

SpecsBobcat E88CAT 308
Operating Weight8,723 lbs8,910 lbs
Length9 ft, 5 in.18 ft, 5 in.
Digging Depth13 ft, 8 in.14 ft, 4 in.
Vertical Wall Dig Depth10 ft, 4 in.11 ft
Bucket Breakout Force5,270 lbs7,770 lbs
EngineKubota D1305 (3-cyl)Yanmar 4TNV98C (4-cyl)
Horsepower26.8 hp48.5 hp
Hydraulic Flow17.2 GPM22.6 GPM
Hydraulic Lift Capacity3,858 lbs4,982 lbs
Turning Radius11 ft, 6 in.11 ft, 2 in.
Cab FeaturesAir condition, Bluetooth radio, adjustable seatAir condition, Bluetooth radio, adjustable seat
Service Interval500 hours250 hours

Overview and Size

Bobcat E88 Excavator
Bobcat E88 Excavator

The Bobcat E88 and CAT 308 are both mini excavators (also called compact excavators), weighing under 10,000 pounds.

This smaller size makes them highly maneuverable in tight spaces compared to larger excavators.

The Bobcat E88 has a operating weight of 8,723 pounds.

It is a 8 metric ton class machine with a narrow undercarriage that allows it to fit through backyard gates and other tight spaces. The E88 is 7 feet, 7 inches tall and 9 feet, 5 inches long.

The CAT 308 weighs in at 8,910 pounds with a standard undercarriage. It stands at 7 feet, 10 inches tall with a length of 18 feet, 5 inches. So the CAT 308 is a little heavier and longer than the Bobcat E88.

Both excavators have short turning radii to easily maneuver and position the boom:

  • Bobcat E88 turning radius: 11 feet, 6 inches
  • CAT 308 turning radius: 11 feet, 2 inches

So in terms of pure size and maneuverability, the Bobcat E88 holds a slight edge with its more compact dimensions. The E88 can fit in tighter spaces while retaining nearly the same digging power as the larger 308.

Key Differences Between Bobcat E88 And CAT 308 Excavator

Digging Depth and Lift Capacity

Two key specifications for comparing excavator performance are maximum digging depth and bucket breakout force.

The Bobcat E88 can dig down to depths of:

  • Maximum digging depth: 13 feet, 8 inches
  • Maximum vertical wall digging depth: 10 feet, 4 inches

It offers a bucket breakout force of 5,270 pounds.

The CAT 308 has a slightly deeper digging capability:

  • Maximum digging depth: 14 feet, 4 inches
  • Maximum vertical wall digging depth: 11 feet

Its bucket breakout force is significantly higher at 7,770 pounds.

So while the CAT 308 doesn’t have greater reach overall, it can dig deeper trenches or holes. And its bucket breakout force is almost 50% higher than the Bobcat E88, allowing it to tear into very hard, compacted ground.

Engine Power

CAT 308 Excavator
CAT 308 Excavator

Having enough engine power is critical when digging, lifting, or driving with loads.

The Bobcat E88 is equipped with a 3-cylinder Kubota D1305 diesel engine, providing 26.8 horsepower.

This delivers sufficient power for most digging tasks.

CAT fit the 308 model with a much larger 4-cylinder Yanmar 4TNV98C engine, delivering 48.5 gross horsepower.

This nearly double horsepower gives the 308 more torque and power when tackling tough jobs.

So the CAT 308 has a clear advantage in terms of sheer engine strength. But the Bobcat E88’s smaller Kubota engine offers lower noise levels and sufficient power for lighter tasks.

Hydraulic Systems

The hydraulic systems power the boom, arm, bucket, drive motors, and other components. More hydraulic power means faster cycle times.

Both excavators use load-sensing hydraulic systems for smooth, precise control. The Bobcat E88 system provides 17.2 GPM (gallons per minute) of auxiliary hydraulic flow. The CAT 308 system offers higher flow of 22.6 GPM.

Higher hydraulic flow allows the CAT 308 to operate attachments faster than the Bobcat E88. The 308 also has greater lift capacity at 4,982 pounds compared to the E88’s 3,858 pounds.

So the CAT 308’s hydraulics outmatch the Bobcat, which is important when running demanding attachments like breakers.

Comfort and Control

Operating the excavator’s levers and pedals for hours at a time can lead to fatigue. Comfort features help improve the operator experience over long days.

The Bobcat E88 has a spacious enclosed cab with large entryway for easy access. Standard features include:

  • Padded adjustable suspension seat
  • Cab heat and air conditioning
  • Forward/reverse travel levers and swing boom pedals
  • 7” LCD display screen
  • Radio with Bluetooth, USB ports

The CAT 308 also has a roomy cab, though some operators may find it slightly more confined. Standard comfort features consist of:

  • Adjustable suspension seat
  • Heat and air conditioning
  • Travel levers and pedals
  • Monitoring display screen
  • Bluetooth radio

While both models provide comfort for long days of digging, the Bobcat E88 seems to have a slight edge with more legroom and easy cab access. Seat suspensions help smooth out bumps during travel. Overall control and responsiveness are excellent in both machines.

Maintenance and Serviceability

Less downtime for maintenance means more time working and being productive. Both brands have excellent parts availability and dealer support.

Key maintenance features:

Bobcat E88

  • 500 hour engine oil/filter change interval
  • Grouped service points under rear hood
  • Swing-out hydraulic/oil cooler for cleaning
  • Swing-out air conditioning condenser

CAT 308

  • 250 hour engine oil/filter change interval
  • Left side service door for maintenance access
  • Vertical spin-on filters for simplified change
  • Combined oil/cooler compartment

While minor differences exist, both machines offer good service access to minimize downtime. The Bobcat’s longer service intervals may translate to less frequent maintenance.

Attachments and Versatility

One of the biggest benefits of mini excavators is their versatility with attachments like grapples, augers, hydraulic breakers, and more. This expands the capabilities beyond just digging.

Both Bobcat and CAT offer a wide range of approved attachments compatible with their machines, including:

Bobcat E88 Excavator
Bobcat E88 Excavator
  • Buckets (digging, trenching, grading)
  • Hydraulic breakers
  • Augers (earth, tree)
  • Grapples (scrap, utility)
  • Compactors
  • Trenchers
  • Landscape rakes
  • Cold planers
  • Rotary cutters
  • And more…

This lets you equip the excavator for specialized tasks like breaking up concrete, boring holes, clearing brush, or lifting heavy objects.

The CAT 308’s higher hydraulic flow does give it an advantage for running demanding attachments like hydraulic breakers or compactors. But both brands offer excellent attachment versatility overall.

What Jobs Are They Best Suited For?

Given the attributes above, here are examples of jobs each excavator is well-matched for:

Bobcat E88

  • Landscaping and yard renovations – small footprint to maneuver between trees and structures
  • Trenching for plumbing/electrical lines – good digging depth
  • Interior demolition – compact size for indoor jobs
  • Tight access jobs – easily fits through gates or yards

CAT 308

  • Major construction jobs – power for tough digging or heavy lifting
  • Demolition – breaker attachment to bust thick concrete
  • Large-scale landscaping – high lift capacity for moving trees, rocks, etc.
  • Deep utility trenching – extra dig depth for pipes and cables

While there is overlap, the lighter and nimbler Bobcat E88 excels in more confined spaces. The more powerful CAT 308 takes on tougher terrain and material.

Buying Considerations

  • Cost – The Bobcat E88 retails for around $76,000, while the CAT 308 costs approximately $105,000. So there is a sizable price difference, with the Bobcat priced much lower. This makes the E88 more attractive if you’re on a tight equipment budget.
  • Parts/Service – Both brands have extensive dealership networks, so getting parts or service is convenient. Caterpillar’s enormous presence in construction equipment can give them an edge for fast parts fulfillment.
  • Resale value – Caterpillar’s brand reputation often means higher resale values if you plan to sell the excavator eventually. However, both brands have good demand in used equipment markets.

For many, the Bobcat E88 offers comparable performance and quality for a lot less upfront cost. But the CAT 308 justifies its higher price with superior digging power and lift capacity that can boost productivity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between the cat 308 and the bobcat?

The main differences between the Caterpillar 308 and Bobcat E88 mini excavators are:
1. The CAT 308 is heavier (8,910 lbs vs 8,723 lbs) and longer (18′ 5″ vs 9′ 5″)
2. CAT 308 offers higher digging depth (14′ 4″ vs 13′ 8″) and bucket breakout force (7,770 lbs vs 5,270 lbs)
3. CAT has more engine horsepower (48.5 hp vs 26.8 hp) and hydraulic flow (22.6 GPM vs 17.2 GPM)
4. Bobcat E88 is more compact and maneuverable in tight spaces
5. Bobcat has a lower purchase price ($76,000 vs $105,000)
6. CAT tends to have a higher resale value long-term
So the CAT 308 is more powerful for heavy digging, while the Bobcat E88 fits in tighter spaces. Cost and maneuverability are the main advantages for the Bobcat.

What size is a 308 Cat excavator?

The CAT 308 is considered a “mini” or compact excavator with the following dimensions:
1. Operating weight: 8,910 lbs
2. Length: 18 ft, 5 in. (without attachment)
3. Width: 6 ft, 3 in. (with standard track width)
4. Height: 7 ft, 10 in.
5. Digging depth: 14 ft, 4 in. maximum
So the CAT 308 is a short to medium length excavator but with good digging depth. The compact size makes it suited for residential sites or inside buildings. Larger full-size excavators are over 25+ feet long.

What is the difference between CAT 308 and KX080?

The CAT 308 and Kubota KX080-4 are both popular 8-ton class mini excavators. Key differences:
1. The CAT 308 is heavier at 8,910 lbs vs 7,940 lbs for Kubota
2. CAT offers higher dig depth (14′ 4” vs 12′ 10″)
3. Kubota has a 3-cylinder engine (27.6 hp) vs CAT’s 4-cylinder (48.5 hp)
4. Kubota is more compact, with a shorter length of 16′ 1″
5. CAT has higher hydraulic flow (22.6 GPM vs 20.6 GPM)
6. Kubota is priced lower at around $75,000 vs $105,000 for CAT
In summary, the CAT is more powerful for heavy digging, while the Kubota is smaller and more affordable. The Kubota is a lighter-duty excavator overall.

What is the difference between cat 308E2 and 308cr?

The CAT 308E2 and CAT 308CR are two versions of the 8-ton 308 mini excavator:
1. The 308E2 is the standard model with a Yanmar 4TNV98C 4-cylinder diesel engine
2. The 308CR has a more emissions-friendly Perkins 804D-33 4-cylinder diesel engine
3. The 308CR meets Tier 4 Final emissions requirements, while 308E2 meets Tier 3 standards
4. Horsepower is slightly lower on the 308CR at 46 hp (vs. 48.5 hp for 308E2)
5. The 308E2 uses a different hydraulic system design compared to the 308CR
6. Other than the engines and emissions, dimensions and digging specs are very similar
7. The 308CR costs more, around $115,000 compared to $105,000 for the 308E2
So the key differences come down to the engine used and emissions levels. Performance is nearly identical otherwise.

Closing Remarks

In the end, choosing between the Bobcat E88 and Caterpillar 308 excavators depends on your specific needs.

For working in congested spaces where maneuverability is key, the Bobcat E88 is hard to beat. It provides smoother handling in tight areas despite its reduced engine power. And the lower purchase price is very appealing.

If you need deeper digging capability, higher lifting capacity, or more hydraulic power for attachments, the CAT 308 may be the better fit. You pay more for the rugged CAT build quality and high-torque digging performance.

By comparing the detailed specs and features side-by-side, you can determine which model’s capabilities match your projects. This helps ensure you choose the mini excavator that will maximize your productivity and return on investment.

Ralph Wade

Hey...Ralph is here! So, did you find this article useful? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. If not, please tell me how I can improve this article. Your feedback is always appreciated. Take love :)

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