What’s the Difference Between an Excavator and Backhoe



Though the largest excavator weighs 889 tons, and a power rating of 4400 hp, the weight of most excavators varies between 3500 lbs and 200,000 lbs. This makes the excavator one of the largest construction machinery available.

 The operators can rotate the excavator through 360 degrees if required for digging jobs since the cab is connected to the boom. Caterpillar, John Deere, Komatsu Limited and Benati are of the most reputed manufacturers of excavators in the world. 

 Since this machine includes a boom, bucket and stick it can be used for digging and moving dirt, over large distances, in all directions, without the user driving the excavator to a different place.

 Excavators and backhoes are commonly provided by plant machinery hire companies for temporary construction projects.

Excavator Applications

Excavators are mainly used for digging holes and trenches for landscaping and similar applications. They are also used for demolishing structures, lifting and placing large objects for construction. 

The excavators can be used for other tasks with the help of suitable hydraulic attachments like grapples or augers. Hence if a business or homeowner has a large project which involves demolition or digging for longer periods, the excavator would be the most suitable equipment. 

Excavators are used extensively for commercial, industrial and agricultural applications. They are used to dredge rivers, help in managing forest fires by clearing space and for cutting brush using the right attachments. 

In the construction sector, they are used to demolish buildings, grade the soil for landscaping, dig holes and trenches quickly. Additionally, the excavators can help in mining, heavy lifting, and moving piles of material.


Compared to excavators, backhoes are far smaller in size. They are similar to a tractor of standard size and have a boom, dipper and bucket. The dipper is connected to the boom and the dipper holds the bucket. Since the dirt is pulled back using the bucket towards the excavator, the equipment is called the backhoe.

 The backhoe can only rotate through an angle of two hundred degrees to the right and left. The boom, bucket are attached to the rear of the machine. The backhoe can be used instead of an excavator for most digging work. The large bucket in the front of the backhoe can be used for moving materials.

Backhoes can be used for a wide variety of applications and their flexibility can be increased by using attachments like an auger or tilt rotator. 

Some of the applications are digging deep holes, digging trenches of various sizes and carrying heavy tools from one place to another. 

On average, the weight of a backhoe used for industrial and farming applications is approximately 17,000 pounds. Backhoes are used extensively on farms mainly for light to medium digging and moving work.

By connecting different kinds of attachments like an auger, breaker, grapple or tilt rotator, the backhoe can be used for digging holes of various depths ranging from shallow to deep, based on the requirement of the user. 

Knowing the differences in the design and features of an excavator and backhoe will help the user choose the right equipment for his project. These equipment are available for rent. 

Users who require help in choosing the right equipment or clarification should contact the equipment rental firm.