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Heavy Machinery Showdown: Front Loaders Vs. Backhoe Loaders – Part 1

front loader vs backhoe

A wide variety of construction machines can be found on construction sites. Depending on the construction task or project, different types and models of heavy construction machines are used to complete projects in a easy, safe and efficient manner. Generally, these machines are classified into several categories: earth moving machines and equipment, construction vehicles and machines, material handling equipment, and construction equipments. The most commonly seen machines at construction sites are the machines classified in the ‘earth moving machines’ category.

Backhoes and front loaders are the ultimate construction machines that are used for almost every construction and urban engineering project. Many people don’t see any difference between these two machines because they are similar in design and application. However, there are some differences and the following text will highlight all of them, and of course which construction machine is the ultimate champion at construction site. Let the battle begin!

Front Loader

The front loader is a heavy construction machine that is mainly used for loading different kinds of materials like asphalt, dirt, demolition debris, rocks, sand, raw materials and unloading them at other locations or into other transportation vehicles like dump trucks. It can be used even for cleaning snow on the streets. Generally, the front loader is a tractor-type machine, usually on wheels, but some models have tracks. Tracked front loaders are very useful in moving sharp materials or when the ground is mud and soft. Wheeled front loader, on the other hand, offers greater speed and mobility and these models do not damage paved roads like tracked bulldozers. Unlike the backhoe loaders, the front loaders don’t have automotive steering mechanism. They steer with a hydraulically pivot point, which is set between front and rear axles. This is known as articulated steering and it allows the front loader to carry more weight.

This construction machine has a metal bucket at the front end which is used to pick up materials from the ground and to deposit them elsewhere. Unlike bulldozers, loaders do not push the materials across the site. The metal bucket can be either removable attachment or permanently mounted. In some models, the bucket can be replaced with other attachments or tools for completing different construction tasks. For example, metal forks can be attached at the front end for picking and lifting pallets or shipping containers. The metal bucket can also be replaced with other tools or devices like bale grapple for handling bales. The capacity of the metal bucket can be from 0.5 to 36 m3, depending on the type of application. The bucket capacity of the front loader is bigger when compared with the bucket capacity of the backhoe loader.

Front loaders gained their popularity in the last two decades because they are particularly useful in various engineering projects and other small or big construction works. However, the front loader is not the most efficient construction machine for digging because it cannot dig below the level of its wheels like a backhoe. Today, various loader models are available on the market from well-known manufacturers like Caterpillar, JCB, Hyundai, John Deere, Komatsu, Kawasaki and many more. Check online for available new or used loaders for sale in Australia.


Continue reading – Part 2