Backhoe Loader Attachments Guide

May 18, 2021

Backhoe loaders are versatile machines given the wide assortment of attachments available to use

Caterpillar loader bachoe at job site

Backhoe loaders are capable of assisting with a wide range of applications including landscaping, road work, construction, demolition, mining, forestry, farming and more. Most job sites use backhoes given their versatility, mobility, and ease of use.

Common Backhoe Loader Attachments

Much of a backhoe loader's versatility is made possible by the wide selection of attachments available to augment the backhoe's functionality.

  • Augers are used to drill holes in a variety of mediums including soil, wood and gravel. You can think of an auger as a large drill bit — it is an instrument that digs through a medium by spinning, pushing material up and out of the hole. Augers can be used for building foundations, post holes, wells, planting and more. Auger motor heads have a high torque level to drill into the medium.
  • Brooms are front-end attachments used to clean up job sites. Broom attachments leverage the power of the backhoe loader drive to move materials around.
  • Buckets are designed as both front and rear attachments. Buckets are by far the most common attachment and are typically included with the machine when you buy it. Buckets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Typically bucket sizes range between 9 and 36 inches, with the most common at 24 inches.
  • Compactors are used to pack down medium such as dirt and gravel. Compactors are often used to accelerate the "settling" of material to prevent uneven surfaces from developing in the future.
  • Couplers allow you to quickly swap out attachments.
  • Hammers help break up tough materials such as asphalt pavement, concrete, bricks and rocks. Hammers are often used at quarry and construction job sites.
  • Rippers are designed to help you cut through tough material such as asphalt pavement, rock and ice. Rippers are large teeth with a sharp end.
  • Snow Plows allow you to remove snow from roads, job sites and driveways.

Backhoe attachments range in price. The typical price for an attachment is usually between $3,000 and $10,000, depending on the quality, size, brand and materials.

Beginner Operator Tips

Safety should be your top priority as you learn how to operate your backhoe loader. Take your time to understand how the equipment works by reading the operator's manual, and make a detailed operating plan to think through what you will need to do while you are working.

Before you start the backhoe's engine, do a walk-around to inspect the machine. Make sure all moving parts are adequately greased, and check engine fluid levels. When you start the engine listen for abnormal sounds and look for odd color exhaust (blue, white, etc) since these can be signs of internal engine issues (refer to maintaining your diesel engine and maintaining your engine fuel system).

If you plan on digging with your auger or bucket, make sure you know what is below ground. It is very important that you avoid obstacles such as electrical lines, fiber optic cables, gas lines, etc. when you dig. Call your utility companies and ask them to mark the area if you are unsure (see call811.com).

Using your rear stabilizers as you learn your machine will help you increase control and stability. This is important because it will help you avoid rolling the machine as you test its capabilities.

Resources

Backhoe Loader at Wikipedia
Top front end loader attachments

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