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How to Choose Between a Backhoe and a Mini Excavator

If your next project requires clearing land or moving substantial amounts of debris, you’re going to need special equipment.

Typically, your two options are backhoes and mini excavators. 

While they may seem like interchangeable machines, their key differences are actually very important. 

So how do you choose between the two? Let’s break it down.

When to use a mini excavator

A mini excavator is just a smaller version of an excavator, typically weighing at or under 12,000 pounds. Mini excavators may only have one arm, but they come with various attachments including grinders, breakers, augers, compactors, and more.

These machines are perfect for shallow groundwork projects, like drilling or digging, but aren’t necessarily ideal for the transportation of the materials. However, if you already have a telehandler or skid steer on the jobsite, then this shouldn’t be a problem.

Mini excavators are great for small demo projects in hard-to-reach or residential areas. At Stan’s Airboat & Marsh Excavator Service, our marsh excavators were created specifically with this in mind. If you’re working in a delicate, swampy environment, you’ll need one of our lightweight machines that’ll glide gently across the water.

When to use a backhoe

Unlike a mini excavator, a backhoe has an additional loader attached to the front. While they can be used for digging, backhoes are most helpful in projects that don’t require too much digging. Instead, these machines work primarily as material transporters.

Similar to a mini excavator, a backhoe’s arm can also be replaced with a multitude of attachments. But, backhoes are much heavier, which affects their ability to dig, lift, and move to an extent. 

Due to their size, backhoes should not be used on small job sites. They require too much room to turn around and take up a lot more space than mini excavators. If your project requires the digging machine to drive to different sites or go back and forth between places (e.g., farming), a backhoe is usually the way to go.

The best machinery for you will depend on your project. Don’t always go with what you’re most comfortable with. Instead, ask the right people the right questions about what you should use. At Stan’s, we’re always here to help. Contact us today for assistance with your next excavator project!

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