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Cleveland Brothers

Guide to Backhoe Attachments

By: Cleveland Brothers
April 1, 2021

While pieces of heavy equipment are often built for a single purpose, backhoe loaders and their attachments are available to diversify the machinery and accommodate your needs. Instead of investing in new equipment each time a different task arises, backhoe attachments can transform a single-use machine into a multifaceted asset to help drive productivity and efficiency levels.

Follow our guide to backhoe attachments to gain a better understanding of the various accessories available and their uses. The range of Cat® work tools available for backhoes allows you to tailor your machines and accommodate a range of heavy equipment tasks.

Types of Backhoe Loader Attachments

Backhoe loaders are one of the most versatile and common pieces of equipment found on job sites across the board. They’re compact and maneuverable construction machines that include a boom, stick and bucket to perform various jobs like digging and transporting materials. Backhoes support a range of applications like construction, landscaping, demolition, quarries, foresting, farming, manufacturing, mining and residential projects.

While there is an extensive list of heavy equipment attachments to accommodate every piece of machinery, backhoe-specific work tools include:

  • Augers
  • Compactors such as vibratory plate and compacting wheel
  • Cold planers
  • Couplers such as dual pin grabber and pin puller style
  • Rear buckets such as heavy duty, ditch cleaning and high capacity buckets
  • Hammers
  • Rippers
  • Thumbs

Caterpillar designs and builds backhoe loader attachments for maximum safety and performance. Types of loader attachments include:

  • Brooms
  • IT style coupler
  • Front buckets such as general purpose, multi purpose and side dump buckets
  • Material handling arm
  • Pallet forks
  • Rake
  • Snow plows and pushes

Any of these work tools can give you a competitive edge if used for the right jobs. Forestry professionals benefit from auger attachments to plant trees and construction sites use hammers to break up materials, for instance. The standard bucket on your backhoe can lift, dig and transport resources, but when replaced with a ripper, broom or thumb, it can perform your project’s exact needs.

Capabilities of Backhoe Attachments

Selecting the appropriate add-on enhances productivity while also saving time and money. Replacing a standard backhoe bucket with a work tool attachment depends on the job site environment, tasks and future projects. Understanding the capabilities of different backhoe attachments can help  when making a decision.


Augers are used to drill into dirt but also can drill into rocky soil using a heavy-duty spiral. Auger motor heads have a high torque level to drill through hard soil types, including clay and ice. Two types of augers exist, including:

  • Direct drive augers use a hydraulic motor which create a balance between the machine’s hydraulic torque and speed of the auger head. These are best used in light and medium duty applications.
  • Planetary solutions have a gear drive system, making them ideal for digging in demanding environments. These provide the highest digging torque available.

Augers can drill holes for postholes, foundations for buildings, areas for wells and divots for planting trees.


Brooms are a simple front-end add-on that helps keep your work zones clear of debris. They’re ideal for cleaning up job sites in large sweeps to maximize safety. Perfect for ground-clearing jobs, brooms can shift heavy materials like rubble and broken concrete as well as finer ones like sand and dirt.

Buckets — Front and Rear

Front buckets and rear backhoe bucket attachments are among the most common, even with other types of heavy equipment units. Different kinds of buckets are available to optimize the digging process while withstanding tough working conditions:

  • General purpose
  • Grading (mud)
  • Multi purpose
  • Soil excavation
  • Heavy duty
  • Heavy duty rock
  • High capacity
  • Tilting
  • Cemetery
  • Cribbing
  • Ditch cleaning


Backhoe compactors are straightforward add-ons and often used to pack down materials like gravel or dirt to prevent settling or set pipe. These attachments support industries like construction and pipelines.


While it’s essential to research which attachment best suits your backhoe loader, you must also consider the right couplers. A quick coupler allows you to swap out attachments without manually doing it yourself which encourages productivity and is a safer method. You and your crew can complete fast and easy attachment changes right in the field.


Hammer backhoe attachments break up materials like concrete and rocks. Most commonly seen on demolition, quarry and construction sites, hammer work tools are also ideal for utility contractors who need to break into concrete or rocky conditions. When you need an attachment to break through and destroy asphalt, concrete and other robust resources, hammers make short work of it.


Rippers rip through materials to help workers cut through the frozen, icy ground and thicker materials such as rock and asphalt. Ripper backhoe loader attachments are like a large tooth with a sharp end, equipped to withstand heavy workloads and some of your toughest jobs in the field.

Snow Plows and Pushes

If you work in environments where snow is common, snow plows and snow pushes are ideal attachments to add to your fleet. Both remove snow from sites, roads, driveways or anywhere else you see fit. Their efficient and unique designs help to quickly remove snow.


Thumb add-ons go hand-in-hand with breaker attachments. Thumbs help to clean up broken chunks of concrete or transport massive tree trunks across the job site. Thumbs allow you to safely move irregular objects securely and precisely.

How to Choose the Right Backhoe Attachment

Whether you’re looking to dig, scrape, drill, lift or rip, choosing the right work tool comes down to knowing which one will reap the most advantages for the different tasks you have lined up.

Several things to consider are the type of job site, the attachment’s size, the toughest soil conditions you operate in and your unit’s tipping load.

Benefits of Using Different Types of Backhoe Attachments

Investing in a range of heavy equipment attachments give you a massive competitive advantage by making the most of a single machine. It’s a cost-effective solution that also brings versatility and flexibility with each attachment. Additionally, instead of relying on various machines for different jobs, you can transform a single unit into a multifaceted machine.

The right work tools attached to your backhoe loader leads to better results with less time. Workmanship improves when you have the correct tools for performing specific jobs. Attachments help contractors in all industries complete tasks with minimal defects.

Buying a new machine for each task isn’t feasible or cost-effective, so by adding work tools to your existing backhoe, you can turn a single machine into a versatile asset. Your fleet’s abilities increase without physically increasing the number of machines. With fast and simple installations, attachments also help reduce downtime and improve the flow of your projects.

Finally, safety is at the forefront of any business. When you have a trained crew working with the right attachments that fit your machines, it encourages a safer work zone.

Equipping your backhoe with the right work tools means that the equipment can perform multiple tasks in various environments, creating a total system solution for your specific job applications.

Find the Right Attachment with Cleveland Brothers

Cleveland Brothers has a diverse inventory of Cat backhoe loader attachments to fit your operation’s exact needs. Our professionals are here to help guide you to the best solution that benefits your bottom line and stays within your budget.

We provide affordable and dependable construction equipment attachments throughout Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and western Maryland as the region’s exclusive Cat dealer. Our Cat equipment offers legendary performance and dependability you can trust.

Request more information about our backhoe loader attachments or call to speak with a Cleveland Brothers representative today at (866) 551-4602 for additional support.