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The Ultimate Backhoe Size and Spec Guide
10 minute read
Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
November 2, 2023

The Comprehensive Backhoe Loader Size and Spec Guide

Capable of both excavation and earthmoving, backhoe loaders are versatile machines of equipment that can be used on almost any landscaping or construction project. Because they are popular, many backhoe brands manufacture the loaders in multiple sizes. While this provides lots of options for contractors, it can make it hard to pick which backhoe brand and model will work best on the type of project you're working on.

To make it easier, we've created this backhoe size and spec guide. We've recently updated our backhoe loader spec guide to be organized by backhoe model size rather than individual manufacturers. If you'd like to see all the backhoe loader models by brand, you can check out our backhoe brand comparison blog.

In this Blog

To make the process of finding the right backhoe model as easy as possible, we've organized this spec guide by engine power, a common reference point for backhoes. If you're looking to purchase or rent a specific backhoe size, you can click on any of the sections below:

Understanding OEM Backhoe Specs Categorization

Backhoe loaders and their models are usually categorized by key specifications like power, digging depth, weight, loader strength, and others. While similar in functionality, the efficiency, power, and use cases of each model are impacted by the size. Bigger backhoes with more weight or horsepower can often dig deeper and are more powerful.

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While many contractors have a brand preference when it comes to purchasing their construction equipment, for renting, they just want a machine that can get the job done. That's why knowing the size of the machine you need is important as it helps you find accurate comparisons. Overworking a smaller backhoe loader is never a good idea while renting or purchasing one that's too big is not cost-effective.

40+ HP Size/Class Spec Guide

40+ HP Backhoe Specs and Sizes
ModelNet HPOperating Weight (lbs)Backhoe Dig DepthBackhoe Bucket Force (lbf)Loader Lift Capacity (lbs)Loader Breakout Force (lbf)Loader Hinge Point
Kubota B26TLB24.34,0018' 3"4,2011,3012,3437' 10"
Kubota L47TLB47.17,20510' 1"5,8252,8484,5319' 6"
JCB 1CXT499,57210' 1"5,2911,4665,1809' 5"
John Deere 310L499,57210' 1"5,2911,4665,1809' 5"
VF Venieri 1.33B528,81810' 7"5,7321,6535,6648' 3"
Kubota M62TLB638,92514' 2"6,5723,9605,99210' 6"

Best Use Case for 40+ HP Backhoe Loaders

This size of backhoe is a great mix of mini excavators, skid steers, and tractors. While not as commonly used for construction, many of the above backhoe loaders are used for small landscaping, farming, and agricultural projects. They are great for moving dirt around a farm, lifting hay bales, snow removal, and completing small projects that don't require a lot of lifting or digging.

Contractor driving a Kubota L35 backhoe
Kubota L35 backhoe loader

Kubota is the primary brand for smaller backhoe loaders with all three backhoes, the B26TLB, L47TLB, and M62TLB falling in this range. JCB, John Deere, and VF Venieri are the three other brands that make backhoes in this size range with one model for each brand.

70+ HP Size/Class Spec Guide

70+ HP Backhoe Specs and Sizes
ModelNet HPOperating Weight (lbs)Backhoe Dig DepthBackhoe Bucket Force (lbf)Loader Lift Capacity (lbs)Loader Breakout Force (lbf)Loader Hinge Point
CAT 4157016,27914'12,2076,73012,20711' 5"
John Deere 310L EP7413,51414' 2"7,363NA8,28510' 6"
JCB 3CX Compact7413,51414' 2"7,363NA8,28510' 6"
CASE 580N EP7415,81014' 11"11,3176,5039,60711' 3"
Mecalac TLB840R7416,13817' 10"12,1398,2879,44211' 2"
John Deere 310SL HL7416,19118' 6"13,7307,67013,60311' 4"
JCB 3CX-147416,19118' 6"13,3707,67013,60011' 4"
Mecalac TLB8707416,96418' 10"15,4448,2879,44211' 6"
John Deere 310SL7417,19618' 6"13,7307,70513,60011' 4"
JCB 3CX7417,19618' 6"13,7307,70513,60011' 4"
CAT 4168616,53214'12,2076,73012,20711' 5"

Best Use Case for 70+ HP Backhoe Loaders

More powerful than the 40 horsepower options, many brands manufacture 70 horsepower backhoe loaders. These brands include Caterpillar with the CAT 415 and 416 models, John Deere with their 310-tier models, and JCB with the 3CX variations.

John Deere 310L backhoe loader
John Deere 310L backhoe loader

As they are more powerful models with more dig depth and higher operating weights, these machines can handle many small and medium-duty projects. Common tasks for this size of backhoe include trenching, digging, backfilling, earthmoving, material handling, and loading in both residential and metropolitan areas.

90+ HP Size/Class Spec Guide

90+ HP Backhoe Specs and Sizes
ModelNet HPOperating Weight (lbs)Backhoe Dig DepthBackhoe Bucket Force (lbf)Loader Lift Capacity (lbs)Loader Breakout Force (lbf)Loader Hinge Point
CASE 580N9017,75114' 8"11,5176,80810,62211' 3"
CAT 4209217,27114'11,2167,23011,21611' 5"
CAT 420 XE9217,27114'11,2167,23011,21611' 5"
New Holland B95C9517,56014' 6"12,9697,99612,00411' 5"
New Holland B95C TC9517,73014' 6"12,9337,60614,71111' 4"
New Holland B95C TC9518,52515' 6"12,9697,99612,00411' 5"
CASE 580 Super N9719,06714' 4"14,4527,04410,94711' 6"
Mecalac TLB88010017,76918' 10"15,5128,15710,34111' 6"
Mecalac TLB99010019,32318' 6"15,2428,74412,45412'
Mecalac TLB89010019,34518' 8"15,2428,74412,45411' 10"
CAT 44010421,54415' 6"13,5608,78213,56011' 11"
VF 8.23F10618,71715' 1" - 17' 8"10,0539,93915,21210' 6"
VF 10.33C10620,72315' 1" to 19'12,12512,78720,06211' 6"
VF 10.23D10621,87015' 1" - 19' 8"13,44812,78723,81011' 6"
CAT 43010718,05115' 2"11,2167,23011,21611' 5"
New Holland B110C10818,52515' 6"12,9697,88314,25311' 5"
JCB 3CX-14 SUPER10917,10120' 1"13,73010,22513,60011' 4"
JCB 4CX-14 SUPER10917,65918' 6"13,73010,22513,72811' 4"
JCB 3CX-15 SUPER10918,45920' 1"13,73010,22513,60011' 4"
JCB 4CX-15 SUPER10919,01720' 1"13,73010,22513,72811' 4"

Best Use Case for 90+ HP Backhoe Loaders

With most models fitting under the 90-horsepower class size, this is when contractors have the widest variety of options. Popular models in this size include the CASE 580 SUPER N, CAT 420 and 440, and JCB CX-14 series. Other brands within this range include Mecalac, New Holland, and VF Vieniri.

Within this backhoe class, there are models with dig capabilities ranging from 14 feet all the way to just over 20 feet. They also have lift capacities ranging from 6,500 lbs to 13,000 lbs.

CASE 580 Super N backhoe loader
CASE 580 Super N backhoe loader

This spec range makes them equivalent to or more efficient than most mini-excavator models, and just as capable of lifting as much as some wheel loaders. As a cross between large mini-excavators and medium-sized wheel loaders, this backhoe class is popular for many medium and heavy-duty excavating and loading tasks. These may include residential road work, heavy snow removal, trenching, utility work, and more.

110+ HP Size/Class Spec Guide

110+ HP Backhoe Specs and Sizes
ModelNet HPOperating Weight (lbs)Backhoe Dig DepthBackhoe Bucket Force (lbf)Loader Lift Capacity (lbs)Loader Breakout Force (lbf)Loader Hinge Point
CASE 580 Super N WT11020,07714' 5"15,7008,42510,87311' 6"
CASE 590 Super N11020,53215' 5"15,8538,20212,77611' 6"
CAT 45013124,03917'13,5608,88613,56012'

Best Use Case for 110+ HP Backhoe Loaders

The largest and most powerful size of backhoe, there are only three models that fit in this size range, although there are many models with 109 hp as can be seen above. However, they are some of the most popular and trusted models including the CASE 580 SUPER N, CASE 590 SUPER N, and CAT450.

The operating weight of these models is all over 20,000 lbs and they have shorter dig depth and lift capacity than many of the 90-110 horsepower models. Despite this, they can reach higher than all of the other models, making them better for loading.

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Projects and common uses for this size of backhoe include heavy-duty projects like residential road work, digging, trenching, backfilling, loading heavy materials, and more.

The Importance of Backhoe Loader Specs

Understanding the backhoe loader specs that are most important is crucial to picking the right one. For many contractors, those specs include horsepower, operating weight, breakout force, lift capacity, and lift height. Each of these has its effect on performance and efficiency.

Horsepower (hp): A measurement of power or the rate at which a machine can handle work. The higher the hp, the stronger the machine. This affects the strength of how much a backhoe will be able to lift, dig, or load.

Operating Weight: Typically measured in lbs or tons, operating weight is the total expected weight of the machine including the operator. There is typically a positive correlation between how much the machine weighs, how far it can reach, the machine's power, and breakout force. Operating weight can be an important spec to consider when working on softer grounds that may be impacted by the machine's weight.

Breakout Force (lbf): Breakout force is the measurement of the maximum amount of weight supported by the backhoe loader that it can curl and lift. This is important for earthwork projects because it is the power the bucket and boom create with lifting and digging. It is often measured in pounds of force (lbf).

Lift Capacity: Measured in lbs, this is simply how much the backhoe can lift with the loader bucket. It is not the lift capacity of the excavator. This is important to know because it will affect how much can be lifted on each load, increasing or decreasing efficiency.

Loader Hinge Point: The loader hinge point is the maximum height the bucket can lift with the front bucket. This spec is crucial to know if the primary goal is to lift and load materials. For example, if loading a dumpster, you can often use a backhoe with a lower hinge point. However, if loading an articulating dump truck, one with a higher hinge point will be required. It is measured in feet and inches.

Why the Size/Class of Your Backhoe Matters

Ideally, you know the size and scope of your project before renting equipment. After all, that's why you'd be considering a backhoe versus other options like skid steers and compact track loaders, wheel loaders, mini-excavators, large excavators, or a bulldozer.

However, if you're unsure, it's vital to know information about dig depth requirements, lift capacity, and what kind of material you will be moving or digging. Knowing this scope of work will help determine what backhoe size you need or if another machine might be the better option.

Choosing the Right Backhoe Specifications for Your Project

As mentioned above, choosing the optimal backhoe size could change from project to project. Typically, the questions you want to ask yourself are: how deep do you need to dig, how big of a bucket you will need, and what is the impact on the terrain? Asking these questions will help you figure out what specs matter most for that specific project.

For example, if you need to dig between 7 to 10 feet, you probably don't need to have an incredibly big backhoe. However, if you're looking to dig to depths of 12 to 16 feet, you're going to need a size upgrade.

The same would go for the movement and lifting of materials. If you're only moving light materials like dirt and sand, a smaller backhoe is probably all that is required. If you're planning on moving debris or heavier materials like stone and gravel, you probably need a machine with more lifting capacity.

Lastly, the operating weight of the machine. Working on environments like individual property, cemeteries, and golf courses requires machines that leave less of an impact or damage on the landscape. On projects like these, you will want to work with equipment that is as light as possible.

If you're wanting a specific machine, we've created spec charts and tables for every model in our backhoe brand comparison guide. We hope these charts help you visualize and simplify the process of finding the right backhoe loader for your next project.

Renting a Backhoe with DOZR

Whether you've discovered that a backhoe is the best option or a skid steer, mini excavator, large excavator, or bulldozer might be a better option for your next project, we hope this spec guide has been helpful in making a choice. At DOZR, our focus is helping contractors get the right equipment at the right time. If you want to rent construction or landscaping equipment, head to the DOZR Marketplace to start your rental process.

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Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
Kevin Forestell is CEO of DOZR and one of the co-founders. Kevin first got started as an entrepreneur when he founded Forestell Landscaping right after graduating from University. His love and passion for the industry and desire to help solve an equipment problem that contractors faced every day is what brought the founding team to start DOZR. Kevin is proud of the level of efficiency brought to the industry through DOZR and hopes that DOZR will help change the standard way equipment is rented.
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