Best backhoe loaders

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We countdown the best in backhoe loaders

Best Backhoe Loaders

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The humble backhoe loader has been a staple of the Australian construction site for more years than we can remember. More than just a tractor with a digging arm, the backhoe has cemented itself as the machine of choice for the myriad smaller utility jobs needed in construction.

We’ve looked through the vault to find the best backhoe loaders getting around. You’ll notice JCB represented more than once in this list, and for good reason. More than any other brand, JCB has really made the backhoe loader a focus of its business.

So sit back and enjoy our list of the best backhoe loaders.

JCB 1CXT backhoe loader


The rubber track configuration not only delivers more power to the ground, it also minimises damage to the surface areas, has developed exceptional climbing ability, can push in wet conditions, and has fantastic stability in those softer conditions.

A simple flick of the travel lever and the tracks got the 1CXT turning in its own radius on the good surface that we were operating on. 

It is claimed that it can work on a 31 per cent gradient, but I believe it can do better than that because it is so well balanced. It is also claimed that the bucket capacity has increased by a whopping 14 per cent.


Caterpillar 434E backhoe loader

Cat 434e

Nice big steps and well positioned grab rails make the cab very accessible. The comfortable operating seat is located in front of a multi position steering wheel which can be altered at the press of a pedal.

On the left side of the wheel is a forward/reverse lever with a twist grip for the gear shift and an auto mode option, offering five forward and three reverse gears.

On the right side of the steering wheel there is a switch to choose between three different steering modes; front wheel, crab steer and four wheel steering.


JCB 3CX 70th Anniversary backhoe loader

JCB 3CX backhoe loader

To celebrate 70 years of manufacturing backhoes, JCB has decided to build and distribute 70 limited-edition 3CX backhoes, with seven of them allocated to Australia.

What makes them really special is that JCB decided to wind the clock back to the ’70s and deck out the anniversary edition backhoes in the retro red, white and yellow livery last seen on the JCB 3CIII model.

I recently had my chance to demonstrate and review the only one in JCB’s Brisbane yard … and let’s just say I was in Backhoe Heaven.


New Holland LB90B backhoe loader

New Holland LB90B

This New Holland LB90B runs the new 4-cylinder turbo-charged direct-ignition, CNH Tier 3A mechanical engine pushing out 72kW (97hp) of power at 2200rpm. Ground-level access to the engine bay and all of the necessary servicing points is made easy by lifting the front hoist rams to a vertical position and lifting the bonnet.

The hydraulics are fed by two gear-type load-sensing pumps running at 160L/min at 210 bar to ensure no hydraulic fade when operating multiple actions.

It has ample supply up its sleeve with 118 litres in the system and another 40 litres in the tank.


JCB 4CN backhoe loader

JCB 4CN backhoe loader

The extra boom movement allows the 4CN to reach into areas that are not possible with a conventional side-shift backhoe, says JCB.

With 30-degrees of sideways dipper articulation available on top of the 180-degrees of standard slew at the kingpost, the 4CN's geometry reduces the number of machine moves.

It also has the potential to dig around obstacles as well as reaching round, towards the front of the backhoe.


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