Buying Advice Bobcat w/ backhoe, 3PT backhoe or HF trencher



Platinum Member
Feb 3, 2016
You have some golden advice given here. I make a living digging with a backhoe and an excavator and these people are spot on.

If your digging is so infrequent to not warrant an excavator/backhoe then consider renting an excavator/backhoe when you need one.

For $20k id find the nicest backhoe that I could. More versatile than an excavator. An excavator will generally out dig the backhoe pound for pound but you can't haul/spoils any distance with the excavator like you can with a backhoe.


Veteran Member
Mar 30, 2017
Northern California
Branson 3520h
How often do you need to dig 8' deep?

I'd think a requirement like that is so occasional that you'd be far better off renting the right tool for the job than paying for it and rarely using it (not saying you won't use a backhoe much - I bought one for my tractor because it gets enough use that I rationalize it just fine - but 8' deep? that's like ... a one-time-job per year or decade), or even just hire the deep job out.

Have tractor will travel

Silver Member
Jun 7, 2021
Rolling hills north of historic Leesburg, VA
Kubota B3200, L2550, Ingersoll 7020, 2 walk behind Gravely's and a Yanmar Vi0-45 mini-ex
Cataclysm gives you some good advise about spoils. I have a farm, a Kubota with sub-frame and a mini-ex. I use the Kub backhoe about every 3rd day. It is indispensable. That may tell you not to try HF trencher - it's too close to a toy. I use the back hoe all over the farm. I get there speedily with the tractor, and am able to distribute the spoils wherever with the front end loader. Again - a sub frame for which I am glad.
The mini takes forever to get where I want to go. So frequently, I leave it where I finished the job - to await wherever I'll need it next time. It takes too long to take back to the barn. While it came with a bucket, I use the mini with a forestry mulcher to clear fence lines, etc.
Check reviews for Northern Tool bull dozer. Why ? You want a back hoe. Because NT handled complaints so badly with their bull dozer, you don't even want to think about getting a back hoe, or any other large piece of equipment, from them.
Give long thought to the need of digging 7' - 8'. Mine digs 7'6" and I've never needed it. I like the long reach, but don't need the depth.