What’s the Difference Between Excavators & Backhoes?

excavator with a backhoe attachment

What’s the Difference Between Excavators & Backhoes?

Here at Tri-Rent-All stores, our customers often ask us: what is the difference between an excavator and a backhoe, and which piece of equipment is more suitable for a particular project? Well, both heavy-duty pieces of machinery are often used in construction, farming, and other fields. But, excavators and backhoes differ in certain essential ways, such as size, weight, and functionalities. We hope our brief comparison of the two will help you choose the proper piece of equipment for your specific job.




Compared to backhoes, excavators are larger construction machines, weighing anywhere from 3,500 to 200,000 pounds. An excavator can be used to perform a variety of jobs thanks to its unique feature: a 360-degree rotating chassis and boom. Some of the most common projects that excavators are needed for are digging holes and trenches, lifting and placement, landscaping, demolition, and brush cutting with proper attachments. Excavators will suit your needs if you’re interested in a piece of equipment for commercial or industrial sites, with an ability to handle medium to heavy-duty workloads.




Visually, a backhoe resembles a tractor with a two-segmented arm, that supports a boom and a dipper that holds a bucket attachment. These pieces of equipment are named backhoes since they pull dirt back towards the machines. Backhoes do not offer as large or a rotation radius as excavators but are considered more flexible and easier to operate due to their smaller size and weight of about 15,000 pounds. This machinery is commonly used with different attachments to drill holes, dig trenches of various sizes and carry heavy tools. If you’re performing light to medium-duty work on farming or industrial sites, a backhoe is a good choice of rental equipment.


If you have any additional questions or would like to rent an excavator or a backhoe in the New Hampshire area, visit our Tri-Rent-All stores in Hampton, NH or Portsmouth, NH!

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