What to consider when buying a used loader backhoe

  • Editorial Team
  • Backhoe Loaders
  • 5 December 2019

When considering used loader backhoes for sale, there several important factors to take into account.

Backhoe specs to consider

Many people assume that horsepower is the most important factor to consider when purchasing a backhoe. However, a backhoe’s power comes from its hydraulic system, rather than the engine. That’s why the following specifications are more important than horsepower alone when you’re purchasing a used backhoe.

Maximum digging depth

Small backhoe loaders generally dig between two and three metres, while a full-size backhoe can dig to a depth of at least four metres. The largest backhoe loaders are capable of digging up to 18 m deep.

Rear bucket width

Your overall productivity will be heavily influenced by the width of the rear bucket on the backhoe loader. Smaller 30.5 cm buckets can carry around 113 kg of material on average, while larger 152 cm buckets can accommodate up to 300 kg on average.

Front loader bucket width

A front loader bucket generally has no sharp corners so that the push is smooth, and the width is usually between 225 cm and 243 cm, making it capable of carrying from 721 kg to 952 kg.

Front-loaders can be fitted with a multipurpose bucket that’s designed for heavy use in demolition, construction, and landscaping applications, including tree removals. A multipurpose bucket usually has large, clamping jaws that measure from 216 cm and 241 cm in width with a capacity of 721 kg to 952 kg.

Front-loaders can also have a side dump feature that’s suitable for a variety of tasks, including dumping and loading to backfill operations. The bucket can be emptied to the left or straight forward, making it ideal for working in cramped conditions. The side dump attachment can handle a weight of 857 to 934 kg.

Operating weight

If you want your backhoe to have less impact on the working environment, for example, landscaping work or golf course maintenance, choose a backhoe with a lighter operating weight.

However, if leaving tracks behind is not a concern for you, then you can choose a backhoe that has a heavier operating weight rating.


A backhoe loader measuring 4 to 4.5 m long should have between 68 and 107 horsepower. Larger backhoes should produce at least 127 horsepower.

Final thoughts

It’s long been assumed that the mini excavator might supersede the backhoe. However, the backhoe is an extremely versatile piece of plant that you can use for digging, moving, loading, carrying, ploughing, backfilling, and so much more.

Why not take a look at our full range of new and used backhoes for sale and choose the right backhoe for the job?