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The 10 Best Backhoe Attachments and What They’re Used For

The 10 Best Backhoe Attachments and What They’re Used For

The 10 Best Backhoe Attachments and What They’re Used For

Reading time: 6 min

Backhoe loaders are general purpose excavating machines with a loader at the front of the machine and a backhoe, or digger, at the rear of the machine. They’re highly capable machines commonly used in applications such as construction, agriculture, and mining. Since backhoes have a front loader as well as a digger, they’re considered more versatile than excavators or skid steers, which are more specialized.

Like other heavy equipment, backhoes can be fitted with attachments designed to augment their abilities. Selecting the right attachment for your backhoe will help you get the most out of your machine, greatly reducing the difficulty of certain tasks.

Popular Backhoe Attachments

Backhoe attachments can be used to augment the capabilities of your machine and enable it to perform highly-specific tasks. While there are dozens of attachments available for backhoes, some are more common than others.

Here are the most popular attachments used on backhoes today:

  • Augers
  • Hammers
  • Brooms
  • Compactors
  • Buckets
  • Thumbs
  • Rippers
  • Snowplows
  • Couplers
  • Grapples

When selecting the best attachment to purchase for your backhoe, you’ll want to think about your particular use case. Some attachments, such as breakers and hammers, are ideal for demolition projects. Other attachments, like buckets and pallet forks, are great for handling materials.


Augers are like oversized drills that drill deep into the earth. Auger attachments allow you to efficiently dig deep, narrow holes with your backhoe loader.

Use Cases
  • Digging holes for sign posts
  • Installing poles for outdoor lighting
  • Planting trees
  • Digging foundation footings
  • Slower and less precise than specialized equipment
  • May struggle with hard or densely compacted material


Hydraulic hammers are a common attachment used in the construction industry. They are used for breaking up hard materials like concrete, asphalt or rock.

Use Cases
  • Demolishing sidewalks, roads and concrete foundations
  • Excavating hard materials like in mining operations
  • May not be effective for large or particularly hard objects
  • Can be very noisy and disruptive


Broom attachments are rotating drum-shaped attachments with steel bristles that sweep up debris on roads, sidewalks or job sites. They can sweep up loose, fine materials like sand, as well as coarser materials like mud or gravel.

Use Cases
  • Cleaning streets, parking lots and job sites
  • May struggle with heavier debris like rocks
  • Require frequent cleaning and maintenance


Compactor attachments use a vibrating plate or rotating compactor wheel to compact soil, gravel and other materials.

Use Cases
  • Compacting soil in backfilled trenches
  • Preparing surfaces for paving
  • Foundation work
  • Can be slower than specialized compacting equipment
  • Not as powerful as specialized compactors


Buckets are among the most frequently used attachments on backhoes, particularly for the loader side of the backhoe. Buckets are ideal for digging, scooping and carrying loosely compacted materials.

Use Cases
  • Excavating soil or rock
  • Loading and unloading materials
  • Can be limited by the size and weight of the machine
  • Bucket teeth need to be maintained


Thumb attachments allow you to grasp and pick up objects with your backhoe. The attachment features a bucket with a hydraulic-powered “thumb” that hinges on the bucket and can be opened and closed to grasp materials.

Use Cases
  • Handling large or awkward objects
  • Sorting and moving materials
  • Picking up fallen trees
  • Picking up and moving utility posts
  • May not be as precise or powerful as more specialized equipment
  • The moving parts require maintenance and are more susceptible to damage


Ripper attachments are shaped like a wide scythe or tooth. They’re used to break up compacted materials such as rock or tundra. The pointed end of the ripper makes it efficient at penetrating hard materials, while its narrow design allows it to break up materials with a cutting action.

Use Cases
  • Preparing soil for planting, as in agriculture
  • Breaking up rock or concrete
  • Loosening tundra or frozen surfaces
  • Not a versatile attachment
  • Best suited for a limited number of applications

Snow Plows

A snow plow attachment allows you to convert your backhoe into a snow-clearing machine. The attachment itself consists of a wide blade designed for clearing snow from roads or parking lots.

Use Cases
  • Snow removal from roads, parking lots and other surfaces
  • Pushing snow to the side or into a pile
  • May struggle with heavy or large amounts of snow
  • Not very useful for tasks other than clearing snow


Coupler attachments improve the operator’s ability to switch between attachments. With a coupler attachment, a single operator can swap out the machine’s attachment without having to exit the cab.

Use Cases
  • Increasing the versatility and efficiency of the machine
  • Reducing the need for manual labor required for swapping out attachments


A grapple attachment works like an alligator’s jaws; it consists of two sets of teeth that open and close against each other in a grasping action. The attachment can be fitted to the loader end of the backhoe for handling and carrying bulky, loose materials.

Use Cases
  • Handling large amounts of loose materials like logs or brush
  • Clearing debris during demolition projects
  • Sorting and moving materials
  • Does not work well for fine materials, like sand

Which Backhoe Attachment do I Need?

Here are some common industries that use backhoe loaders, along with the most popular attachments for each industry.

  • Construction: buckets, hammers, compactors, augers
  • Agriculture: buckets, augers, grapples, thumbs
  • Landscaping: buckets, augers, brooms, grapples
  • Municipalities: snow plows, buckets, brooms

The backhoe loader attachment you choose will depend on a number of factors, including the size, capabilities and particular application of your machine. Additionally, some attachments are more versatile than others. Buckets, hammers and augers all have multiple uses. Snow plows, on the other hand, are not so versatile.

When choosing an attachment, you should consider all of the possible ways you’ll be using your backhoe loader and determine which attachments will provide the most value to your team. Keep in mind that you’ll likely need multiple attachments for each job. It’s common to have multiple attachments available on a job site so that operators can switch attachments on the fly to handle different tasks.

Backhoe Attachment Maintenance

When purchasing a new attachment for your backhoe loader, it’s important to plan ahead for the attachment’s maintenance needs.

Some attachments, such as rippers and buckets, have teeth that need to be replaced periodically to maintain their efficiency. Other attachments, such as hydraulic hammers or augers, have hydraulic components that need to be regularly inspected and maintained. Be sure to update your machine’s preventative maintenance plan to include inspections, greasings and repairs for your new attachment. By keeping your attachments well-lubricated and inspecting them frequently, you can increase their longevity and prevent downtime.

Get Help From the EquipmentShare Shop

Attachments play a vital role in improving the efficiency of your heavy equipment fleet and empowering your operators to do their jobs successfully.

At EquipmentShare, we’re dedicated to helping you and your team succeed. Our online store is stocked with OEM and aftermarket parts for your entire fleet, so you won’t waste time looking for the components you need. Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Reach out to one of our parts experts and get personalized assistance.

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