Also referred to as ‘Diggers’ an Excavator is a heavy piece of construction equipment. Excavators have the ability to make a hole or channel in the ground, and carefully remove the earth from said area. This piece of machinery is often mistaken as Power Shovels due to the machine being a progression of Steam Shovels. The Excavator is made up of a boom, bucket, rotating engine cab and an undercarriage with either wheels or tracks. The Excavator can perform a wide range of jobs simply by changing the front attachment.

A Backhoe can also be called a ‘Rear Actor’ or ‘Back Actor’ and is best described as a standard tractor. Most commonly referred to as a ‘Backhoe because the main purpose of the machine is to pull dirt backward. This machine is often confused to be an Excavator but a Backhoe is merely a piece of excavating equipment. A Backhoe is constructed with a digger bucket on the end of a two-piece articulated arm. The arm is made up of the ‘dipper’ and the ‘boom’ and will usually be fixed to the back of a Tractor (also known as a Front Loader). When the bucket is attached to the back it can be called a Backhoe Loader. Many would say one should have little to no issues operating the machine if they can successfully drive an Excavator.


So what are some of the immediate differences between these two pieces of machinery?

  • An Excavator is one of the largest pieces of construction machinery while a backhoe is much smaller.
  • The Excavator can rotate both the chassis and boom 360 degrees at the same time. The Backhoe can instead only rotate to 200 degrees left and right.
  • Excavators are normally driven on tracks whereas it’s usual for a Backhoe to be driven on wheels.
  • A Backhoe will be used for light-medium workloads and an Excavator will take on the medium-heavy workloads.
  • A Backhoe is most commonly used in farming and industrial scenarios and the Excavator is be used on most construction sites.


Knowing the differences between these two pieces of machinery will ensure you’re choosing the right Machine for the job.

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