The skid steer backhoe is everywhere. It is hard to visit any construction site or any major landscaping operation without seeing a skid steer backhoe. It’s an incredibly useful tool, it gives the operator the unique ability to dig in a focused and defined area with precision. There are many digging tools out there, but the narrow bucket is perfect for ditches, trenches and culverts of all kinds.

There is virtually no need to purchase a full-sized backhoe, if you happen to own a skid steer loader. That is because the skid steer backhoe attachments can handle 95% of your typical backhoe workload. Like most other skid steer loader attachments, the skid steer backhoe connects directly to the boom. It is basically an extension arm with a rear-facing bucket, manipulated by controls inside the cab.

There are essentially two kinds of skid steer backhoe attachment available: small and large. They are definitely not the same, and while a skid steer loader owner might be tempted to invest $8,000 – $14,000 for the larger version, when the two are compared, the smaller comes out the winner.

Here’s why:

First, the smaller skid steer backhoe attachment is much less expensive. It is a quality attachment that is able to do 95% of the jobs that a full backhoe can do at roughly one-fifth the price. It is an economical choice for general contractors, landscapers, farmers as well as homeowners.

Secondly, the larger of the skid steer backhoe attachments, though equipped with a bit more functionality, has some inherent draw-backs. As stated, it is pricey, but two other issues are worth mentioning:

To operate the attachment, the skid steer loader operator must be outside of the machine’s cab, and thus outside of the protection of the skid steer loader’s roll-cage. There is no rollover protection whatsoever for the operator while controlling the boom, arm and bucket.

Second, because of the way it is constructed, the large backhoe attachment requires that the skid steer loader itself remain stationary when digging and dumping loads. The operator does not have the option to transport material that is removed to another location. Moving the material is limited to the reach of the extension arm.

While both attachments are killer apps for the skid steer loader, and highly useful tools, the smaller skid steer backhoe attachment is the better bet; with the operator safely tucked into the protective roll-cage, ditches, trenches and culverts can be dug anywhere, loads can be taken anywhere the machine can go, and for a lot less money.

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