Competitive Comparison: Bobcat E35 vs. Cat 303.5E2-CR Mini Excavator

Competitive Comparison: Bobcat E35 vs. Cat 303.5E2-CR Mini Excavator

The Bobcat E35 and Cat 303.5E2-CR excavators face off to find the best machine for your construction work.

If you’re comparing the Bobcat E35 to the Cat 303.5E2-CR mini excavator, here are the top things to know:

  • You get more dig depth and longer arm reach with the Bobcat E35 vs. the Cat 303.5E2-CR.
  • The E35 has 30% faster cycle times.
  • An in-track swing frame lets you work right up next to a wall in the E35 while the Cat model will bump into it.
  • Easy, intuitive controls make operating the Bobcat E35 a smooth, seamless experience; less so with the Cat model.

A mini excavator is more than a machine – it’s a powerful workhorse and a vital part of your crew. If you’re in the market for a new mini excavator, you need something powerful enough to tackle tough jobs, agile enough to perform in tight spaces and ready to go when you need it.

Want to choose the best option for your business? To help you in your search, we compared two popular 3-ton compact excavators – the Bobcat E35 and the Cat 303.5E2-CR.

Size and Performance Comparison

When it comes to horsepower, the Bobcat E35 and the Cat 303.5E2-CR are evenly matched compact machines. Both offer 24.8 horses, although the E35 weighs in at a svelte 7,699 pounds while the 303.5E2-CR weighs 7,803 pounds. Plus, the Bobcat excavator comes in two horsepower options – 25 hp or 33 hp – so you can get the power you need for the work you do.

In a performance matchup, the Bobcat E35 begins to pull ahead when it comes to dig depth. With a 10.3-foot max. dig depth, the E35 outdigs the Cat 303.5E2-CR’s max. 9.5-foot dig depth.

Note: Comparison between Bobcat E35 and Caterpillar 303.5E2-CR standard arm configuration.

Bobcat is known for impressive and customizable features, so if you need even more reach for your jobsite you can choose one of the longer arm configurations. This includes a clamp-ready extendable arm, which improves the machine’s dig depth to 12 feet 11 inches – a whopping 2 feet more than the max reach of Cat’s 303.5E2-CR.

Bobcat outperforms Cat in both cycle time and backfilling speed. In a 2-minute digging challenge, the E35 delivered 30% more cycles than the 303.5E2-CR. Imagine working 30% faster than the competition for a day, a week, a month or a year. Consider the difference in your productivity! Cat also lagged behind in backfilling speed – working 26% slower than the Bobcat excavator.

The ability to maneuver in tight spaces is one of the main reasons to add a mini excavator to your fleet. The Bobcat E35 excels at executing tight turns in congested jobsites. While the Cat 303.5E2-CR and the E35 both use a Zero-Tail-Swing configuration, the E35 also features an in-track swing frame, so you can turn against a wall without bumping it. If you frequently work near established foundations, walls, buildings, trees or other obstacles, the Bobcat E35’s maneuverability is a big asset.

The Bobcat E35 also has a higher rated lift capacity than the Cat 303.5E2-CR. The E35 clocks in with a 3,232-pound lift capacity while Cat trails at 2,940 pounds. What does this mean for you on the jobsite? It’s as simple as this: the Bobcat E35 can lift 292 pounds more than the Cat 303.5E2-CR. So if you’re looking for a combination of maneuverability and power, Bobcat has the advantage.

Control and Accuracy Comparison

Don’t undervalue operator-friendly controls when considering an excavator’s accuracy and ease of use. In a side-by-side comparison, the joysticks on the Bobcat E35 mini excavator just plain feel better – the grip is sturdy and solid, and the controls are easy to reach with high-quality switches. Plus the roller switches move side to side, matching the movement of the machine so the arm feels like an extension of you. The end result is a responsiveness and control that feels natural and seamless. By contrast, the up-and-down motion of the Cat 303.5E2-CR’s roller switches feels awkward and out of sync.

A good excavator maximizes every bit of visibility. Unfortunately, the Cat 303.5E2-CR cab features thick pillars compared to the slimmer profile of the Bobcat E35 cab. The E35 also features windows on the lower right side of the cab, giving you a clear view down the track. The Cat excavator doesn’t include the additional windows and lacks the superior visibility found in the E35.

In addition to superior visibility, the Bobcat E35 integrates with the company’s exclusive depth check system, which can eliminate the need to set up laser equipment for excavation jobs or to manually measure the grade and depth of your work with a stick or tape measure.

Excavator Attachments Comparison

Both Cat and Bobcat offer a wide selection of mini excavator attachments. The difference between the two brands? The Bobcat E35 doesn’t require you to leave the cab when switching from a one-way to a two-way attachment. Cat uses a third-line hydraulic return. This requires more effort and is just another step to change out attachments since you have to turn the valve on the back of the machine in order to swap. Not so with Bobcat.

Operator Comfort Comparison

A comfortable operator is a productive operator – it’s difficult to focus on the job with pain shooting through your back or neck. When comparing comfort features on the Bobcat E35 vs. the Cat 303.5E2-CR, there’s a clear champion. The 303.5E2-CR’s travel pedals sit high, don’t fold up (blocking valuable floor space) and sit too close to the glass, making operating uncomfortable. The awkwardly positioned controls are difficult to access. The steering levers are smaller and thicker than the E35. Overall, the Bobcat E35 offers more cab space, better visibility, an efficiently laid out control console, and a smooth ride. Winner: Bobcat.

Maintenance and Service Comparison

You know that performing regular checks on your excavator helps keep it running smoothly. With a 592-square-inch access opening – 19% larger than the Cat 303.5E2-CR’s access opening – the Bobcat E35 offers easier access to service items and daily checks, so you’ll have plenty of space to perform routine maintenance.

Picking the Right Mini Excavator for You

You need a compact excavator that pulls its weight on your crew. One that shows up and delivers day in and day out without complaints. When comparing the Bobcat E35 to the Cat 303.5E2-CR, you’ll find a few similarities and some key differences. To find the best option for you, it’s important to test-drive the machine before you buy, rent or lease.

Certain specification(s) are based on engineering calculations and are not actual measurements. Specification(s) are provided for comparison purposes only and are subject to change without notice. Specification(s) for your individual equipment will vary based on normal variations in design, manufacturing, operating conditions, and other factors.

Bobcat of Houston has experts throughout Texas. Contact us today to learn how we can help.


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