There are many companies that make backhoes. From John Deere to Komatsu, there are thousands of models to choose from. If you're looking to buy a backhoe, here’s a quick rundown of some of the major manufacturers and where they fit in the industry.
- JCB Backhoe – There's debate over when and who first came up with the concept of the backhoe loader but one of those claims goes to Joseph Cyril Bamford (JCB), who lived in the UK, and created his version of the backhoe loader in 1953. As you might have guessed, he was the founder of JCB. Since then, JCB has been a leader in the backhoe market ever since with the 3C and 3CX lines. Today, 6 different models make up the 3CX line from compact to very large and almost half of all backhoe loaders are made by JCB.
- Case Backhoe – When it comes to backhoes, Case is one of the brand names that always comes up. Most likely due to the fact that they’ve been building a backhoe loader product line since 1957. Case continues to improve their versatility and performance despite encroachments by skid steers and mini excavators.
- John Deere Backhoe – The John Deere backhoe is often a mix of power and cost-effective design. Many times a John Deere backhoe will have a modest engine with an upgraded belt-drive fan to increase the horsepower without having to charge extra. If you want a reliable design with no thrills, then a John Deere backhoe is a good choice – especially for larger models.
- Caterpillar Backhoe – A Cat backhoe is very popular because many newer models have a load-sensing hydraulic system for more precise controls. Some of the entry level models even have pilot-operated joystick controls instead of wobble sticks for more legroom.
- New Holland Backhoe – For whatever reason, a New Holland backhoe is probably more popular in the international market than in the United States, but that does not make them inferior. New Holland has been making backhoes since the late 90s.
- Komatsu Backhoe - You don't see as many Komatsu backhoes on job sites as you do the other makes. The reason isn't necessarily because they are inferior. Instead, it's more because the Komatsu backhoe line is limited and generally takes a backseat to other high priority machines at Komatsu. Komatsu is really known for excavators so most of the company's support is focused there.
No matter which manufacturer you like best, you still have to do your research when buying a new or used model. Consumer reviews, company awards, and the terms of your maintenance agreement are all essential considerations. You should also research which companies have the fastest support centers with the shortest downtimes. That way, should anything happen to your backhoe, you will be able to resume operations as quickly as possible.
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