Types of Backhoes
There are two types of backhoe loader:
- Center mount: Commonly referred to as center pivot backhoes, these models have the backhoe mounted in the center of the rear to prevent the backhoe from moving. Center mount models also have wide-set stabilizers that provide a stronger center of gravity and offer additional height.
- Side-shift: These backhoe loaders have a backhoe that moves from side to side and extends vertically. The stabilizers on side-shift models extend straight down, allowing for better navigation in tight spaces.
Whether you need center mount or side-shift depends on what you intend to use the backhoe loader for. Center mount units are typically used in construction jobs with open worksites and farming. Side-shift units are most often used for landscaping and road work. Backhoe loaders are also categorized by dig depth:
- 14′ to 15′: These machines are designed for medium-sized jobs, and usually have a hydraulic system that puts out between 28 and 35 gallons per minute. Horsepower (HP) for 14′ to 15′ models averages between 68 and 107. Backhoe loaders in this category are used for agriculture, landscaping, small-scale construction, and utility work.
- Over 15′: On average, these backhoe loaders offer around 127 HP and hydraulic systems that put out more than 43 gallons per minute. They are most commonly used for heavy industrial work, such as demolition and mining.
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How Much do Used Backhoe Loaders Cost?
The cost of a used backhoe loader depends on the age of the unit, condition, operating hours, type of backhoe loader, size, and the dealer you purchase through. Here is a general pricing guide to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for a used backhoe loader:
- A five-year-old Case 580m backhoe loader with 2,000 to 2,500 hours of use, between 60 and 90 HP, and a dig depth of 14′ or more has an average cost between $30,000 and $40,000. The same model with fewer than 1,000 hours of use has an average cost between $60,000 and $70,000.
- A 10-year-old John Deere backhoe loader in standard condition with between 2,000 and 3,000 hours of use has an average cost between $25,000 and $35,000.
- It is entirely possible to find a backhoe loader for as low as $15,000 or $20,000, but these models are often around 15 years old with thousands of hours of use.
Remember to keep an eye on the overall condition and work hours on prospective machines. Lower hours often mean a longer life, but a well-maintained backhoe loader can last for years.
Whether the backhoe loader you’re looking at was used for five years or a single day, it is important to closely inspect the machine for any damage or issues. It is best to start with the loader bucket to ensure that no teeth are worn, loose, or mission. Make sure the cutting edge is not scalloping and that the bolts are in place. Do the same for the backhoe bucket. You should also inspect:
- Backhoe boom, stick, and loader arms: Look over the backhoe boom, backhoe stick, and the loader arms to make sure there are no cracks or obvious re-welds, as these are signs of an accident or overuse.
- Cab: The foot pedals, joystick, and seat should all be in working order. Compare the hour meter with the current condition of the machine; if the backhoe loader looks older than the hours indicate, that is a sign of tampering or rough usage.
- Engine: Filters should be clean, belts should be properly tight, and there should be no leaks. If the air filter has a service date on it, this is a good way to see how well the previous owner took care of it.
- Hydraulics: Check that the couplings are not loose or worn, and that the hydraulic hoses are free of breaks and scratches. Cylinders should have no dings, leaks or scratches.
- Stabilizers: The inspect the stabilizers, be sure to turn the backhoe on first. Keep an eye out for any cracks, dents, or leaks and be sure that the shoes are flat.