Who Makes The Best Backhoe?

When shopping for a backhoe, there are plenty of reputable brands to pick from including Kubota, Caterpillar, JCB, and John Deere.  Who among them makes the best backhoe? 

Does It Matter Which Brand You Pick?

Does It Matter Which Brand You Pick

It matters a lot which backhoe brand you go with for several reasons. 

  • Price – some brands are cheaper than others, so you’ll need to know which backhoe brand is within your budget. 
  • Ease of operation – some backhoes are easier to operate than others, especially for first time owners. 
  • Ease of maintenance – unless you are an experienced mechanic or have access to one, pick a brand that makes easy to maintain backhoes. You’ll also want a backhoe that’s easy to get parts for and whose dealers are available in your location. 
  • Power and performance – the various brands in the market may appear all similar, but they have big differences in power and capability. Some models like JCB can dig deep, CAT backhoes can lift heavy loads, while Case backhoes have great all-round performance.

Best Backhoe Brands {My Favorites}

Here are the best and most popular makers of Backhoes (based on my humble opinion). 

1. JCB

JCB is one of the most popular backhoe brands both in the US and globally. It was one of the first companies to design and manufacture a backhoe in 1953. 

While JCB is a British company, they have a huge presence in the United States with over 300 locations. Dealers and parts are easy to find. 

JCB backhoes are generally very reliable and last a long time. The main complaint from users, particularly for older JCBs, is frequent electrical problems. 

JCB backhoes tend to have lots of electrical components that often malfunction. Luckily, these are usually minor issues that are inexpensive to repair.

Newer JCB backhoes have fewer electrical problems. 

JCB sells several backhoe models ranging from the compact 1CXT to the massive 4CX-15 SUPER. 

The 1CXT, with 49HP of power, a dig depth of about 10ft and a bucket breakout of 1,466lbs, is perfect for homeowners, farmers and light construction projects. 

You can upgrade to the 74HP 3CX with 18.5ft dig depth for more demanding jobs.

One thing we love about JCB backhoes are the automated features available in some of their models including AutoDRIVE and AutoSTABILIZERSUP, making operation easier and more efficient.

Their cheaper models like the 3CX also have some fancy features like JCB Smoothride System and Return to Dig. 

2. Case 

Case (known in full as Case Construction Equipment) is also an old and experienced manufacturer of backhoe and other large equipment. 

The American manufacturer actually started out building steam engines, then moved to road construction equipment. 

Case manufactured the first backhoe in 1957. Today they sell five models

  • Case 580N EP with 74HP and 14.9ft dig depth
  • Case 580N with 90HP and 14.6ft dig depth 
  • Case 580 Super N with 97HP and 14.3ft dig depth
  • Case 580 Super N WT with 110HP and 14.4ft dig depth
  • Case 590 Super N with 110HP and 15.3 dig depth

As you’ll notice, Case doesn’t have quite the range that JCB offers. JCB has an extra-compact backhoe (the 1CXT) as well as a couple of beasts (3CX-15 SUPER and 4CX-15 SUPER) with a deeper dig depth than anything Case offers. 

Where Case really shines is reliability and ease of maintenance. Case backhoes are not the fastest or fanciest, but they offer thousands of hours of service with minimal maintenance costs.

Newer models are even easier to maintain. You can do basic check ups and maintenance (oil, coolant, fuel etc.) from a single spot on ground level. Even things like coolers and brakes are easy to access and service. 

Another great thing about Case backhoes is how they are able to produce plenty of power from their compact sized models. This is thanks to two innovative features: Power Boost and Power Lift.

Power Lift delivers more hydraulic power, making it easier to lift heavy loads or break through frozen ground. Power Boost provides a quick power surge when working on tough or frozen spots. 

Case backhoes are also easy to operate with handy features like ProControl swing dampening, Comfort Steer and direct drive automatic transmission. 

3. Kubota 

Kubota is a Japanese equipment manufacturer that mostly sells compact and ultra-compact backhoes. They have some of the smallest, and cheapest, backhoes in the market. 

The base Kubota BX23 model is particularly popular among homeowners. It features a modest 21.6HP engine. The BT603 bucket that goes with it has a dig depth of just 6 feet. 

The Kubota B26 offers more power and performance with a 24.6HP engine and a 1301 lbs lift capacity. 

For even more power, get the 47.1HP Kubota L47 (2,848 lbs lift capacity & 10ft dig depth) or the 63HP M62 (3,960 lbs lift capacity & 14.1ft dig depth). 

We recommend Kubota generally for homeowners and landscaping contractors looking for a compact and affordable backhoe.  

Kubota backhoes are well built and reliable. Any issues you may run into are easy to deal with thanks to the numerous dealer locations around the country and the ease of finding parts. 

As for features, Kubota backhoes are pretty basic. They are 4WD, so can handle challenging terrains. You also get a set of rear and front work lights mounted high on the cab. 

Other than that, they are simple but reliable machines. 

4. Caterpillar 

Caterpillar, more popularly referred to as CAT, is an American company that specializes in construction equipment. 

Because of their focus on heavy construction machinery, CAT backhoes tend to be slow and heavy, but more powerful than other brands. Their lift capacity is especially impressive. 

If you are planning big projects with lots of digging and heavy lifting, CAT is one of the best backhoe brands. 

Being an American company, dealers and parts are easy to find no matter where you live. So maintenance and servicing are not an issue. 

While they don’t have the same level of solid build quality and longevity of Case backhoes, CAT backhoes are pretty good and can provide several thousand hours of service without too many repair headaches. 

When it comes to models, CAT offers a wide range of options. The most popular is the CAT 430 with 107HP of power, 15.1ft dig depth, and a 24,251lbs max operating weight.  

If you want something smaller, try the CAT 415 with 70HP power, 14ft dig depth, and 24,251lbs operating weight. 

If you want to max out, get the CAT 450 with 131HP power, 17ft dig depth, and 29,321lbs max operating weight. 

My favorite feature in CAT backhoes is load sensing hydraulics that are operated by a variable displacement pump. 

In short, load sensing hydraulics provide just the right amount of power needed for a particular moment. When you are lifting something or digging, the pump delivers the maximum power. When you are moving the empty bucket, the pump operates at minimum to save on fuel. 

Modern CATS are also easy to operate with plenty of operator-friendly features including touchscreen controls, button-press parking brake, and joystick controls. 

5. John Deere 

John Deere, or JD, is the mainstay brand when it comes to agricultural equipment. JD backhoes are most comparable to CAT backhoes in terms of power and lift capacity. 

JD backhoes tend to be a bit slow and lumbering, but they pack lots of power. They are great for homeowners with big farms to work on, as these machines can handle just about any task from digging to moving materials. 

Dealers are in huge supply, so you’ll have an easy time servicing your machine. 

John Deere introduced the first backhoe in 1971, the popular 310 that you can still buy used. 

Today, the company sells about half a dozen different models ranging from the compact 310L EP to the powerful 710L. 

The 310L EP has 69HP of power, a 13.6ft max dig depth, and a 13,822 lb max operating weight. That’s pretty impressive for a compact backhoe. 

The midsize 310SL features a 103HP engine, 13.3ft dig depth, and a 17,554 lb operating weight. 

If you opt for the 710L, you get 148HP of power, 17.2ft dig depth, and 25,588 lb operating weight. 

Which Backhoe Brand is the Best?

Which Backhoe Brand is the Best

There isn’t a particular ‘best’ backhoe brand for everyone. The best brand and model depends on your budget, your location, and your work needs. Different manufacturers focus on variety of specifications to perform differing types of work.

Because all the above brands make good backhoes, focus more on ease of maintenance and serviceability. Proximity to a dealer and availability of parts should be some of the most important factors you consider when choosing a backhoe brand. 

After that, you can narrow down your search to specific specs such as dig depth, power, and lift capacity. 

Generally, we think Case and Kubota are the best backhoe brands for most homeowners. They are adequately powered for most home jobs, they are affordable, and they are easy to handle. 

If you need something that can handle tougher jobs, JCB, CAT and JD are great options. JCB models have the longest dig depth, CAT backhoes have high lift capacity, and JD backhoes provide good performance in both digging and lifting. 

Other Backhoe Brands 

The five brands we have featured above are not the only ones available in the market. They are just the most popular, and the ones it’s easy to find dealers for. 

If you want to look beyond CAT, JCB and the likes, other reputable backhoe brands include New Holland, Mahindra, Terex, and Volvo. 

Some of these brands like Terex are significantly cheaper compared to mainstream manufacturers. 

Finally, if you have more advanced DIY skills and time to spend, you can build your own backhoe for your farm.

1 thought on “Who Makes The Best Backhoe?”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Farm & Animals

6043 S Drexel Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Amazon Disclaimer

Farm & Animals is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


Farm & Animals do not intend to provide veterinary advice. We try to help farmers better understand their animals; however, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. For more information, please read our PRIVACY POLICY.