Hitachi Upgrades Six-Model Lineup of ZAXIS-5N Compact Excavators

Ryan Whisner Headshot
Hitachi_ZX50U-5N excavator in action
Hitach has unveiled multiple updates to its ZAXIS-5N compact excavator lineup.

Hitachi has upgraded the features of its ZAXIS-5N compact excavators ranging from 1.7 to 6 tons to enhance versatility and performance.

This line of machines, including the ZX17U-5N, ZX26U-5N, ZW30U-5N, ZX35U-5N, ZX50U-5N, and ZX60USB-5N, is designed to assist operators in completing work efficiently in more congested urban or other tight workspaces.

Powered by Yanmar diesel engines, ranging from 14.7 to 53.8 net horsepower and paired with proprietary hydraulic systems for optimum performance, the machines feature short tail swing radius (U) or ultra-short tail swing radius with swing boom (USB) for work around buildings, walls, guardrails, and other structures.

The 3- to 6-ton machines in the line incorporate power/economy work modes. Hitachi says the power mode provides higher engine speeds for most general digging work, while the economy mode reduces engine speed for lighter digging jobs, resulting in lower noise and decreased fuel consumption.

Those same four models feature an auto-idling system to help further reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and noise.

“The ZAXIS-5N excavators continually evolve to stay ahead of customer expectations,” said Kei Matsumoto, product manager of compact excavators at Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas. “Our hydraulic system is especially great for efficient fuel consumption, and it delivers the speed and power the operator wants. Our focus is to provide customers with a machine that delivers efficiency, reliability, and safety.”

Two of the company’s first three excavators to hit the North American market following the end of its manufacturing agreement with John Deere included the ZX50U-5N and ZX26U-5N machines.

According to Hitachi the latest upgrades to the ZAXIS-5N compact excavators include:

  • Five-stage auxiliary flow rate changer on the ZX50U-5N to ZX60USB-5N
  • Blade float option on the ZX30U-5N to ZX60USB-5N
  • Complete hydraulic quick coupler piping and second auxiliary hydraulic piping on premium versions of the ZX30U-5N to ZX60USB-5N
  • LED work lights
  • USB power outlet available on cab-equipped excavators

Efficient operation

Standard auxiliary hydraulic lines have been pre-plumbed to the end of the boom on the ZX17U-5N and the middle of the arm on the ZX26U-5N to ZX60USB-5N. 

ZX30U-5N to ZX35U-5N were previously upgraded in May 2023 to include an auxiliary flow rate change switch for additional attachment flexibility. The operator can match the flow rate of the auxiliary hydraulic circuit to the requirements of the attachment being used with either a low or high setting.

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
Selecting the Correct Construction Tire Solution
Presented by Michelin North America
How High Fuel Prices hurt Your Business
Presented by EquipmentWatch
8 Crucial Elements of a Tire Safety Program
Presented by Michelin North America

For the latest upgrade, the company says the ZX50U-5N to ZX60USB-5N models now feature a multistage flow rate changer that allows the operator to select five different hydraulic flow settings for increased productivity and efficiency.

The ZAXIS-5N models come standard with wedgelock quick couplers and factory-installed bracket for a thumb cylinder to simply attachment hookup and thumb installation. 

According to Hitachi, premium versions of the ZX30U-5N to ZX60USB-5N machines include complete ready-to-use hydraulic quick coupler piping and pre-installed second auxiliary hydraulic piping. The second auxiliary hydraulic piping can be beneficial for using the tilting and rotating attachments that are becoming more popular. 

Other ZAXIS-5N excavators in this range come with mounting points built in for hydraulic quick coupler piping, eliminating the welding of brackets for quick coupler lines and making installation easier.

An auxiliary function lever (AFL) includes an analog switch, trigger switch, and horn for running attachments, such as a breaker or a tool with swing. 

The entire line includes a standard dozer blade for grading and stability. Hitachi says it has added a blade float option on the ZX30U-5N to ZX60USB-5N while an optional angle blade is available on the Z35U-5N to ZX60USB-5N models for enhanced grading and backfilling ability.

Big comfort

The ZAXIS-5N machines feature intuitive controls with hydraulic pilot valve control levers for smooth operation. Hitachi says the swing boom and foldable travel pedals are positioned for easy operation while allowing plenty of foot room.

Entryways to the operator stations have been widened to make it easier to enter and exit the cab and updated 3-inch seatbelts have been added to provide more comfort.

From a safety perspective, the ZAXIS-5N machines have been upgraded with LED work lights to provide more visibility in low-light situations. 

ZX17U-5N excavatorHitachi's ZAXIS-5N line of compact excavators is designed to assist operators working in congested urban or other tight workspaces.Hitachi

Easy maintenance

For maintenance, the ZAXIS-5N excavators feature a hinged door that gives operators access side-by-side oil cooler and radiator core for easier cleanout. In addition, the engine cover slides vertically with less rear projection for ease of maintenance in confined spaces and prevent the operator or tech from bumping their heads during an inspection.

All routine checks and at-a-glance gauges such as engine oil level can be accomplished from ground level. Daily maintenance points are grouped behind easy-access covers with spin-on filters for simplified servicing.

Hitachi says the top of the track frames on all the models ranging from the ZX30U-5N to ZX60USB-5N has been sloped for easy mud removal. Also, grease-impregnated HN bushings and pins provide 500-hour lubricating intervals.

In hopes of reducing the cost of repair, the traditional curved glass used in the cab has been exchanged with more easily obtainable flat glass.

All the ZAXIS-5N excavators come with a battery disconnect switch that prevents battery discharge during long-term storage. This reduces maintenance as there is no need to disengage terminals and cables from the battery. 

The four largest models from ZX30U-5N and up are prewired for compatibility with the fleet’s telematics system and connection to Global e-service to remotely monitor operational status and receive alerts about upcoming maintenance and repair needs from fault codes. In addition, the telematics data also tracks the amount of fuel in the tank.

Quick Specs


  • Net power: 14.5 hp
  • Operating weight: 3,790 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 12 ft. 6 in.
  • Max dig depth: 7 ft. 2 in.


  • Net power: 20 hp
  • Operating weight: 5,560 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 15 ft. 2 in.
  • Max dig depth: 8 ft. 6 in.


  • Net power: 23.3 hp
  • Operating weight: 6,680 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 16 ft.
  • Max dig depth: 9 ft. 2 in.


  • Net power: 23.3 hp
  • Operating weight: 7,584 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 17 ft. 1 in.
  • Max dig depth: 10 ft.


  • Net power: 36.3 hp
  • Operating weight: 10,560 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 19 ft. 7 in.
  • Max dig depth: 11 ft. 7 in.


  • Net power: 53.1 hp
  • Operating weight: 13,382 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 20 ft. 5 in.
  • Max dig depth: 12 ft. 4 in.