Backhoes that are stand-alone vehicles can be expensive and impractical for a lot of projects. You can attach a towable backhoe to a trailer hitch and pull it right up to the job site.
Models run between $4,000 and $6,000, depending on the additional features and cost of shipping. You’ll need to consider the kind of digging and moving that you’ll want to do with the backhoe.
While all three of the recommendations on our list can dig up to 7 feet deep with the crane (further using the bucket), they have different turn radiuses and bucket widths.
The Central Machinery and Honda mini excavator models on this list are heavy duty towable backhoes. The Titan model attaches to an existing trailer, giving it as much power as the Honda model but making it a little more affordable.
If you’ve already got a trailer, you may want to look into the Titan model. Additionally, we’ll examine towable backhoe reviews in this detailed guide.
What Is A Towable Backhoe and How Does It Work?
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is A Towable Backhoe and How Does It Work?
- 2 How Much Do Towable Backhoes Cost?
- 3 Comparing the Top 3 Products
- 4 Reviews of Our Top 3 Towable Backhoes
- 5 1. Towable Ride-On Trencher Special by Central Machinery – The Best Towable Backhoe
- 6 2. HOC TE301H Towable Excavator Backhoe by Honda – Most Easy To Control
- 7 3. 7′ ft 3 Point Backhoe with Thumb Excavator Attachments Kubota Deere by Titan – Most Versatile
- 8 Towable Backhoe Brands
- 9 What Is The Best Towable Backhoe?
- 10 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Towable Backhoe
- 11 How to Operate & Use a Towable Backhoe
- 12 Towable Backhoes FAQs
- 13 Setting Up a Towable Backhoe
- 14 Ready to Get Your Towable Backhoe?
Digging a hole with a shovel can be exhausting and time-consuming. If you want to put in a small pool or do frequent landscaping, a towable backhoe will allow you to quickly displace larger amounts of dirt than you could do with a shovel. The process may go three or even four times as fast as it would with two people digging.
A towable backhoe is a small trailer attachment that you can hook up to a car. It has a backhoe on the back of it, which is a chair-boom-bucket construction that can reach down and dig up dirt.
The bucket can dig and deposit dirt, with the boom arm turning with the chair through the operation of levers. It’s generally a much cheaper, smaller, and more efficient version of a full-scale backhoe, which would be a vehicle on its own.
A towable backhoe has two wheels instead of four and is attached and detached to a different vehicle.
How Much Do Towable Backhoes Cost?
Towable backhoes cost between $3,000 to $8,000, depending on the brand and size of the equipment. The Central Machinery model is the cheapest, with the Titan model in the middle and the Honda model at the most expensive end.
You will have to factor in the additional cost that the Central Machinery will run you for shipping, but even with the shipping, the total price would be a bit cheaper than the other two mini excavator models reviewed here.
Comparing the Top 3 Products
Reviews of Our Top 3 Towable Backhoes
1. Towable Ride-On Trencher Special by Central Machinery – The Best Towable Backhoe
Of course, since it is significantly cheaper, you might expect that you’ll take a couple of hits in overall construction and performance if you go with this model instead of the other two.
First of all, the boom only travels 60 degrees to the left and the right. The Honda model has twice the amount of boom travel.
Other than that, you’ll find that the specs are about standard for a towable backhoe model. Like the other two models, it has a digging depth of 7 feet. The width is 13 inches, an inch wider than the Honda model. It has a reach of up to 8 feet, the same as the Honda model as well.
The trailer construction features 12-inch DOT (Department of Transportation) certified wheels. They are tough and large enough to travel with your truck over difficult terrain. Shows up to the job ready to go.
The machine features an efficient nine-horsepower engine with a hydraulic pump large enough to take on even the toughest, packed in dirt. While the reach is only 7 feet, there are scenarios where you can dig 8 feet deep because of the size of the trencher bucket.
The trencher bucket features three sharp teeth that grind into even the toughest dirt. It has a nice orange and black finish with a comfortable, well-padded seat.
The product ships in a box, which is a full 10 feet long, and about four and a half feet tall. You’ll need a forklift to be able to unload and set up the item properly. If you want to return it, the manufacturer specifies that you need to drain all the fuel first.
2. HOC TE301H Towable Excavator Backhoe by Honda – Most Easy To Control
Honda is famous for building superdependable cars. In this case, they’ve turned those powers onto building a super reliable backhoe. This one will easily run circles around the others in longevity and trustworthiness.
You can expect that the Honda GX270 engine inside it will get 200,000 miles of dirt reasonably easily. The trencher itself is a 2-tooth construction, making it a bit sturdier and cleaner than the 3-tooth structure that you’ll see in the Central Machinery model.
The boom travels up to 120 degrees, which, yes, is twice the range of the Central Machinery model. There’s a lot less movement required from the truck to position your backhoe into a digging-ready situation with this model.
If you have something that will tow 3,500 pounds, it will handle the Honda model easily. The 12-inch DOT (Department of Transportation) certified tires would get your Honda anywhere that it needs to go.
Make sure that you have a hitch that can handle the 2-inch ball coupler connection. That’s the kind that you’ll need to hook up this backhoe.
The Honda backhoe is about five and a half feet tall. It’s 12 feet long, 5 feet and 7 inches wide. The whole model weighs about 1,176 pounds.
If you need an efficient top-dresser that will spread a variety of materials such as peat moss, sand, compost, topdressing mixes, calcined clay, infield mix, wood chips, lime, and de-icing materials on your lawn or in your garden. Consider buying a peat moss spreader.
3. 7′ ft 3 Point Backhoe with Thumb Excavator Attachments Kubota Deere by Titan – Most Versatile
There should be ways to run a Cat 2, but Titan recommends that you contact them for more information. You will need to hook up the backhoe to the hydraulic system on your tractor.
Alternatively, you can also power the Titan using a standard, external PTO pump. There’s a hydraulic thumb included so that you can hook it up to your tractor’s hydraulics.
When you hook it up to the hydraulics on the tractor, you’ll need to run a special hose to bypass the oil system included on the backhoe. You’ll have to score the bypass hose kit separately.
The Titan weighs 1096 pounds and as a full 16” bucket size. Like the other two models, it can dig up to 7 feet deep and has a digging radius of a maximum 112”.
The bucket can rotate a full 160 degrees because it is attached to a tractor or trailer. Titan suggests that you have at least 35 HP, and don’t use more than 70 engine HP to power it.
Towable Backhoe Brands
There are three different backhoes on this list that come from three different brands. Let’s take a quick look at the brand identity behind each of these models to see how that identity might interact with the product.
From brand name to a scoop of dirt, we’ve got three different towable backhoes. These brands provide much better quality backhoes than the ones offered by Harbor Freight. All of these brands manufacture large, as well as mini towable backhoes.
Honda is known for making cars that never quit running. You can rack up hundreds of thousands of miles on a Honda engine before it stops on you.
The dependability of Honda consumer vehicles is now available in a dirt-shifting machine, the Honda towable backhoe. The Honda backhoe has reliability and power that is unmatched by the other two models.
Of course, you’re also paying a premium to attach the Honda name to your backhoe as well. Not that the price tag isn’t worth it but knows that in this case, the name “Honda” will cost you a few extra dollars for your towable backhoe.
Titan Attachments on Amazon are sold through Titan distributors. They’re a quality United States manufacturer, committed to providing the highest quality customer service that they can.
If you want to go with a smaller group that genuinely cares about the success of every single order and every single customer, they are an excellent bet. They have a massive team of salespeople and customer success members who are ready to help out with things.
While Honda and Central Machinery may be huge companies who want to make you happy but lack the infrastructure to honestly do so, Titan can.
While this is listed as being sold by “Greyhound” on Amazon’s website, the model being sold is Harbor Freight’s Central Machinery model. A 301cc Predator engine powers the Central Machinery model.
Incidentally, “Greyhound” is not the brand of the backhoe itself, and this is the backhoe being sold from Harbor Freight’s website. The Harbor Freight model also uses a 301cc Predator engine.
Harbor Freight sells excellent equipment, and you really can’t go wrong with their towable backhoe as well.
What Is The Best Towable Backhoe?
While you can find plenty of towable backhoes to help you with your construction work, the best pull-behind backhoe is the Ride-On Trencher by Central Machinery. This beast is a suitable machine for beginners as well as experienced operators.
Its boom has a span of 60 degrees to the left and right, but that does not limit its digging potential at all. It easily competes with the likes of Honda and Titan backhoes to deliver an exceptional depth of up to 7 feet. Furthermore, it has a reach of up to 8 feet, which increases its usability for higher productivity.
It even comes with DOT-certified 12-inch wheels. The best part is that you can get it at a relatively cheaper cost than other brand models while retaining a similar level of efficiency. That’s why it is considered the best backhoe for the money.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Towable Backhoe
Category 1 and 2 Tractors
The Titan is ideal for category-1 tractors and might be able to use a category-2 tractor. It has the power of the Honda but is a little bit cheaper because you aren’t paying for the towable construction.
It can hook up to your tractor’s hydraulic system but note that you’ll have to purchase a separate hose kit to bypass the backhoe oil reserves. If your tractor doesn’t have a hydraulic system or if you want to run it externally, you’ll need a standard PTO pump.
If you don’t have a tractor and don’t want to mess with the additional hookups and connections, Central Machinery and Honda models may be ideal. Just make sure that you have something with which you’re ready to tow them.
Considering the Dirt and Job
Consider the job that you’ll need the towable backhoe to be doing. If you don’t expect to use it very much and expect the dirt to be lightly packed and relatively easy to move, don’t overpay for a backhoe.
Simply go for a cheaper model. But, if you expect to get a ton of use out of towable backhoes, the Honda model on this list should last you for an incredibly long time.
It’s well worth the price if you need a machine that can be used consistently and needs to move significant amounts of dirt at the same time.
Additionally, consider the kind of dirt that you’ll be moving. While Honda has the most power in its engine, the Central Machinery has an extra tooth on the bucket. The extra bucket tooth will help you smooth and sear greater amounts of dirt at the same time.
Consider storage for the backhoe as well. The Honda is nearly 1200 pounds while the Central Machinery model is about 400 pounds lighter. Each model has a specific size, and you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got room to be able to put it somewhere and store it. For more convenience of storage and portability, a mini backhoe can do the job too.
How much dirt are you planning to dig? How deep are you planning to go with your chosen backhoe? The depth that you are aiming for will determine the type of machine you want. Most backhoes will provide you a digging depth of up to 16 feet, but you will find the range varying distinctly.
While some machines will have a field range of around 60 degrees, other machines may reach as far as 130 degrees on either side. With a larger field of range, you have more room to effectively dig up the dirt without the need to move the machine.
But, a bigger range also brings in more weight and price to such a unit. If you really need a towable backhoe to help you with in-depth digging over a broader range, make sure you have a budget for such equipment.
What is the type of terrain you are aiming for? It is significant that the equipment you are investing in has the ability to dig the dirt and soil from a plethora of soil types. Some soils, like clay soil, might be denser, which makes it harder for the machine to dig through it. On the contrary, muddy soil is porous, which is easier to dig out.
If your work is limited to only one type of soil, choose a specific type of backhoe without the need for heavy investment. Get a machine that easily fits the job. For terrains with stubborn soil types, choose a backhoe that is durable, powerful, and energy-efficient for successfully digging out the soil.
You can also invest in a machine that does not simply rely on one function, which is digging. Backhoes and excavators often come with various attachments that are suitable for other jobs. For example, you can use a thumb attachment or a grapple bucket attachment to use it for other chores without the need of buying a new machine. Investing in a flexible unit will save you a ton of money and keep your work productive.
How to Operate & Use a Towable Backhoe
Heavy-duty towable backhoes need to be correctly attached to the hitch before they are moved with a truck. Failure to do so can cause damage to both the backhoe and the vehicle itself, so check the owner’s manual on the towing vehicle to prevent any damage to either piece of equipment.
Make sure the wheel bearings are well greased. You don’t want to put extra strain on the axel or the frame by lacking the proper amount of lubrication to get the towable backhoe moving well.
Additionally, sometimes the seats on a towable backhoe can be somewhat uncomfortable to sit in. It usually isn’t too hard to replace the seat with something a bit more comfortable.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of digging for hours at a time, you should look into replacing the seat with something that offers a bit more support. A tractor seat might be ideal for the occasion.
Towable Backhoes FAQs
How Deep Does a Backhoe Dig?
Backhoes have a variable range of dig depth. Such machines can efficiently dig between 7 feet and 16 feet depending upon the model. The digging capacity of these machines depends upon the backhoe’s arm length. A backhoe without an extendible arm usually has a digging capability of up to 9 feet. The ones with an extendible arm can elongate to dig between 12 feet and 16 feet.
Which is Better Backhoe or Excavator?
The two machines usually have the same operations. The main difference between the two is the size. Backhoes are relatively smaller in size, while excavators are heavier and larger. If your work involves drilling shafts for demolition jobs, driving piles, mining, and other large-scale operations, an excavator is what you need. However, if you are a contractor looking for day-to-day digging work without heavy loads, a towable backhoe can do the job pretty well. Needless to say, a backhoe is much cheaper compared to an excavator because of its varying usage and sizes.
How Many Hours Does a Backhoe Last?
A typical backhoe machine can last up to 10,000 hours if you use it for moderate applications and operations. If you use it for intense workload and applications you can expect a drop in its efficiency up to 26 percent, resulting in an overall lifespan of up to 7000 hours.
Is a Backhoe a Good Investment For Me?
If you own small contractor business, consistently moving heavy amounts of materials and excavating from time to time, a backhoe would be a feasible investment as a reliable tool for the work. Backhoes will give you more productivity and let you finish excavating or digging work faster. Towable backhoes are also suitable for people who are involved in landscaping projects or gardening. If you own a tractor, you can invest in a towable backhoe without the need of buying a complete machine.
What All Can You Do With a Backhoe?
Backhoes are ideal for landscaping projects of various types and sizes, like transferring trees to new locations by digging them out without damaging the root balls. You can also use a backhoe for moving dirt, topsoil, gravel, rocks, and boulders.
Why is a Backhoe Called a Backhoe?
Backhoe is the term used for representing the bucket’s action, and not the vehicle’s location. This machine draws the soil backward with a digging motion, instead of lifting it forward such as a bulldozer or a shovel. Its backward motion of digging is the primary reason for its name.
Setting Up a Towable Backhoe
Harbor Freight put together this video on how to set up a towable backhoe. Take a look at the steps below.
Ready to Get Your Towable Backhoe?
Digging work can extremely tiring with a manual shovel, etc. Anyone can easily get tired due to frustrating digging. That’s where a towable backhoe comes to the rescue with their versatile bodies.
If you need something that will ensure high-end mobility through a heavy-duty frame, then a pull-behind mini excavator is relatively cheaper than stand-alone backhoes.
Not to mention, you can easily tow this behind tractors or other vehicles that you have without the need of extra investments.
With incredible brands like Central Machinery, Honda, and Titan Attachments, you have a better chance of acquiring your dream machine that will suit to your digging needs.
If you need a cheaper model, go with Central Machinery. Central Machinery is the cheapest model and is ideal if you don’t expect to do any serious maneuvers while digging. For the heavy digging, you can rely on Honda or Titan models, which are under $6,000 for the total cost.