In today's heavy equipment industry, the competition is ruthless. Supply chain issues and high demands can make purchasing your next machine feel like a task. As brands fight for market dominance, it's important to understand the hard facts when deciding which machine is right for you!

That's why we're laying it all out by comparing the SANY SY35U and the CAT 303CR: so that you can make an informed decision for your next machine. We want our customers to feel confident knowing which machines will provide the best performance and return on investment.

With our expansive inventory, you can be sure that you'll find the perfect machine for your project - and you can be ready to roll off the lot as soon as you make your decision.

Open cab excavator


The SANY SY35 and Cat 303 both stand out in their class size. These 8,000-lb beasts are some of the most versatile and widely used mini excavators on the market today. For many owners and operators alike, this class size provides excellent power and maneuverability while still offering users a more compact size to fit into tighter spaces.

Due to their power-to-weight ratio, mini excavators provide users with plenty of capability for various tasks, including landscaping, demolition, utility work, road repairs, and more. Their wide range of functions makes these small excavators ideal for any project or job site.

The SANY SY35U and CAT 303 boast impressive features that keep the customer in mind whether you are digging or driving to your next site. Tie-downs built right into the frame, 12” rubber tracks, and front-facing dozer blades are just the beginning of what makes these minis all-mighty.

Performance side by side

The SANY SY35U excavator is renowned for its strength, power, and overall reliability. It features two-way auxiliary hydraulics, load sensing, and pre-plumbed coupler lines with up to 10’2” deep of powerful digging forces all in an ergonomic design. With the latest innovations in safety technology and user-friendly controls, this excavator will make any job easier.

Standard safety features like LED front lights, hydraulic lockouts to prevent accidental movement, and rear-view mirrors are included in the base price of this powerful mini machine. The zero-tail swing makes the SY35U ideal for tight spaces, road work, and more. With over 17’ of reach and 8,834lbf of breakout force, it's no wonder this mini has become a favorite on job sites nationwide. With a tagline that stands true, this “Fully Loaded” machine is setting the standard for the heavy equipment industry with its owners and operators in mind.

The Cat 303CR also packs a powerful punch when stacked up with the SY35. While load-sensing hydraulics and two-way flow come stock, matching the SY35, the 303 offers optional plumbing for couplers down the full stick. Featuring a dig depth of 8' 8" and a powerful 6,385lbf of bucket breakout force, this machine stays moving on the job site. The Caterpillar 303 mini excavator has a tilt-up cab, hydraulic lockout, and a wide range of optional safety add-ons such as lights and mirrors. The tilt-up cab gives operators easy access to its engine compartment, making it easier to stay on track with maintenance and job site operations. By combining these features in a compact package, the CAT 303 offers a customizable machine suited especially to you. With all these features in mind, it is easy to see why both excavators offer superb performance for those tackling serious construction jobs.

Table comparing mini excavator specs

Operator Comforts

Prioritizing operator comfort, the standard features on the SY35U make it an unbeatable choice for those looking to maximize productivity without maximizing their budget. Bluetooth capabilities allow operators to stay connected on the job while heat and air conditioning provide the optimal work environment on closed cab models. Easy access to the SY35U's pattern change control ensures precise maneuvering on any jobsite, regardless of operator preference. With these features in place, the SY35U is guaranteed to give its operators a customizable and comfortable experience every time.

The CAT 303 offers a unique feature in its easy-to-use stick steer mode that allows operators to choose how they would like to control their machine. Other features, such as air conditioning, pattern change control, and Bluetooth capabilities, are available as add-on options, giving users the opportunity to tailor the 303CR to their specific needs.

Comparing Warranties

Both the CAT 303CR and SANY SY35U offer comprehensive factory warranty options. The SY35U boasts an industry-leading 5-year, 5000-hour warranty that will give you peace of mind for the long haul, protecting operators from any unforeseen defects. The Caterpillar machines come with a standard warranty of 12 or 24 months, depending on the machine. The CAT 303CR, being a mini, has a higher 2-year package warranty, which assures owners that defects won’t be costly during their time in service. The 303 also has optional extended protection plans to maximize your coverage and even insure accidents or theft. Both warranties ensure operators get the most out of their machines and can operate for years without worry.


The SANY SY35U and Caterpillar 303CR mini excavators each offer a unique combination of features, reliability, and safety. With a unique set of standard features and customizable options to best meet your needs, it’s no wonder the 8,000-lb excavator is a favorite in the industry. And don't forget - you can work in even the tightest spaces with their compact size! The SY35 boasts an impressive range of standard features, while the 303CR provides operators with many options to personalize and upgrade their machines. So, get ready to dig into your project with confidence – no matter which machine you choose.

Looking for your next mini purchase?

Who are we kidding? ... It’s a small excavator but it's a mighty machine. That’s exactly why we've laid it all out here on the SANY SY35U and CAT 303 on performance, features, and value

Check out our inventory today!

***All specs and lead times are true at the time of publication in January 2023***


Follow along as one small business owner and excavator operator shares his story and explains how he gets the job done day-in and day-out in his SANY SY35 mini excavator.



The 8,499lb mini excavator is one of the most highly demanded mini excavators on our lot. These workhorse machines are the perfect fit for jobs with the tightest quarters and nimblest of needs!


Date: 01.20.2023
Topics: Machine Comparisons