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What’s the difference between an excavator and a backhoe?

from: Carter

Backhoes and excavators are two common pieces of construction equipment, but people often confuse the names of each of these two machines. With the size and design of each being very different, it is important to know the proper name of the equipment you are looking to rent so you have the right machine for your project.

Here are some highlights of what each of these machines can help you accomplish.

This is one of the largest pieces of construction machinery available, weighing anywhere between 3,500 and 200,000 pounds. This machine has a boom, stick and bucket and is able to rotate 360 degrees so you can easily dig and move dirt large distances without having to drive the excavator to a different location.

Excavators are primarily used for landscaping, digging holes and trenches, lifting and placing large objects, and demolishing structures. Other tasks can also be accomplished by using hydraulic attachments such as grapples or augers.

If you have a large project that requires a lot of heavy-duty digging or demolition, an excavator would be ideal for your project.

A backhoe only rotates 200 degrees. One advantage to backhoes is that they are very versatile.  Featuring a boom, stick and bucket on the rear of the machine, the backhoe can accomplish most of the digging tasks that an excavator can.  At the front, backhoes feature a large bucket, making them ideal for moving large amounts of material. This is a perfect tool for digging deep holes and trenches, and attachments such as a tilt rotator or auger can be used as well.

With an average weight of 17,000 pounds, backhoes are commonly used on farms and for light to medium work that require digging and moving heavy tools.

Knowing the difference between these two pieces of equipment will help you decide which one is ideal for your project. If you are still unsure of which one you need, the experts at Carter can help you. You can contact Carter at 800-768-4200 or submit your inquiry online.


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