1023e/1025r 260 Backhoe Optimal Bucket Size

The 1-series backhoe has several bucket attachments available.  This article discusses the choices I am aware of, and makes a couple of recommendations which might differ from conventional wisdom. I bought my hoe used, so I didn’t have any choice to which bucket came on it. I was ‘stuck’ with the 8″ whether I liked it or not.
backhoebucket

Most of the 260 backhoes are equipped with the 12″ bucket.   This bucket is considered so ‘standard’ that you might not have been asked what size you wanted during the pre-purchase discussions.  The dealer may have taken it for granted.      Since it is the default bucket, then it must be the only logical choice, right?    Let’s explore…

There are 3 sizes of bucket available from Deere on the 1-series 260 backhoe attachment,    8″  (2 teeth); 12″ (3 teeth) 16″ (4 teeth).  If that doesn’t make the choice difficult enough, BXPanded offers a 6″ Trencher Bucket and a ripper tooth suitable for digging/cutting roots.

The trencher bucket pictured here would dig a narrower trench than the 8″ bucket, allowing the trenching operation to go faster, and have less ‘spoils’. Additionally, the low sides would keep the bucket from packing full of mud as the 8″ bucket does at times.
bxpanded_jd260nb_1_thumbnail

The ripper tooth would be quite useful for a portion of the ‘stump removal process’. The main part of digging out a stump is to break the roots which protrude in all horizontal directions. You start next to the stump, attempting to break the root. If the backhoe is not strong enough to break it there, you move outward, where the root is smaller. You will eventually get out far enough to be able to break it. A larger bucket reduces the directed hydraulic force a specific point on the root. Additionally, it disturbs more soil, making a larger mess. For these situations, the ripper tooth would wonderful.

bxpanded_jd260rt1_thumbnail

Unfortunately, the ripper tooth doesn’t work well for the entire stump removal process. At some point, you need to dig down below the main root ball to get to those deeper roots. Changing the bucket would take too much time with the standard configuration. So, this is why the BXpanded ‘quick connect’ is so valuable.

bxpanded_bhcjd260_1

The BXpanded line of attachments provide a significant improvement in 260 backhoe options. Given the relative weakness of any sub-compact backhoe unit, it is even more important to have the proper bucket for the job. This leads us back to the original question. Which one(s) should we buy? The best approach to answer that is to think about how you will be using your backhoe.

What will you be digging

If you plan to dig large/deep holes frequently, quite frankly, I would recommend thinking about a different backhoe. Perhaps a mini-excavator or something similar. Take a look at this video for an ‘in-depth look’ (ok, I couldn’t resist) at the 260 backhoe digging a relatively large hole.

So far, I’ve used my backhoe for digging out stumps, digging trenches, and a rare hole for some reason. I view the backhoe as a ‘power shovel’. It is great for jobs that COULD be done with a hand-shovel if I were younger and absolutely HAD to do it. In most of these situations, I find the 8″ to be perfect, if not a bit TOO BIG for the task. I recognize that this is not the prevailing view from Deere dealers and other 1-series owners.

Most Economical Choice

Based on the type of work I’ve had to do, I would choose the 8″ bucket again. This bucket is the best choice for narrow trenches, and the best choice for hard soils due to its small footprint. There are two disadvantages, one is that it takes longer to dig out a big hole, and the other is mud will stick in the bucket. I can avoid the second issue by digging when it is not so wet.

I just don’t see the 12″ as a good general purpose bucket. Digging a 12″ ditch just to lay an electrical cable seems quite painful. Also, if the dirt is really hard, digging with the 12″ could be difficult.

Premier Solution

If I had all the play money I wanted, I would choose a different path. In that case, I would choose the 16″ bucket when buying the backhoe.
I would purchase the BXPanded Bucket Quick Connect, the BXPanded 6″ Trencher Bucket and the ripper tooth.

These 3 options would provide solutions for all digging operations.
Maybe someday I will have enough $$ to expand my bucket selection!

11 Comments

  1. Great inputs. I have been thinking about ordering a 260 for some extra help, and I have gotten a lot of help from your videos, and this article. I have trenches that need dug, and LOTS of stumps that need dug. Might have to wait on the extra arms from BX. Thanks for making getting work done look like so much FUN!!

  2. I HAVE THE 8,12, AND 16 INCH BUCKETS FROM JOHN DEERE. THE 8 INCH ID MY LEAST FAVORITE DUE TO THE FACT IT GETS CLOGGED UP SO EASY. I USE THE 16 INCH THE MOST AND CAN MOVE A LOT OF DIRT QUICKLY WITH IT. HOWEVER IN HARD DIRT IT DOES STRUGGLE A LITTLE BUT NOT TERRIBLY. MY OPINION THE 12 INCH REALLY IS PROBABLY THE BEST IF YOU ONLY WANT ONE BUCKET. I ALSO HAVE THE QUICK COUPLER, RIPPER, AND THUMB FROM BXPANDED. I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT THE QUICK COUPLER, CAN CHANGE BUCKETS WITHIN 30 SECONDS WITHOUT GETTING GREASE EVERYWHERE. THE RIPPER WILL NAW THROUGH ANYTHING. I AM CONSIDERING GETTING THE TRENCHING BUCKET AS WELL. IF IT WOULD HAVE BEEN OUT BEFORE I BOUGHT THE 8 INCH, I WOULD HAVE BOUGHT IT INSTEAD AND NEVER GOT THE 8 INCH

    • Wow, I think you win the title on how many attachments you have for your 260 backhoe!

      • mark e wolfensberger

        where can i get a 8 ” bucket for my JD 260 backhoe, i have had mine sense 2007 i love it , I called JD where i got my tractor and thy wont 500.00 for one, is there any after market 8″ buckets for a lot less ?

  3. Never saw you use a thumb on your bucket. Is that a personal choice based on the type of work you do for yourself and neighbors? I have a lot of small trees and brush to clean up and drag to a dumpster so I thought it might be useful. Just thinking through my purchase plan. Thoughts?

    • I suppose it just hasn’t come to the top of the list. There have been several instances where a thumb would have been nice. I grabbed a rock out of a creek this week, then dropped it just as I got it to the discard pile. Very frustrating.
      Having said that, I often dig in situations where I drag the lower boom right against the ground, where I can’t even see the bucket when collecting a bucket full. Not sure if that sentence makes sense. Anyway, my point is that there is not much ‘reach’ with the 260. My gut tells me that for digging, I would be quite annoyed with the thumb being there in the way. I think that it would be less of an issue with a larger backhoe.

      I know it is more money, but I would consider buying a grapple for the front end loader. I think you will find that much easier to use for picking up stuff and carrying it to a dumpster.
      If you don’t have forks, you can start with them from http://www.artillian.com. They will pick up a lot of brushy type stuff too…as you’ve likely seen in our videos.
      Overall, I think you’ll find the 260 backhoe to be adequate, but with no room to spare for frills.

      Does this help?

      • Makes sense. Forks may be the way to go because once I clear and haul about 1/4 acre of scrub trees and such, the forks will continue to have a lot of uses. Better long term value.

  4. Tim, Thank you for all the videos that you have posted, since I’m new to tractors I’ve found them to be very helpful. I have a thumb on my 260 Backhoe. It takes only a few moments to deploy it and in position to work, after that its out of the way until I need it. Two pins and a little shifting and its back out of the way. This is the first time I’ve disagreed with one of your assessments of a tool.

  5. HI I have a 8″ bucket on mine and have dug out lots of oversized tree stumps even some Holly trees that had four stumps together. Most of the roots I could break though with the 8 ” bucket and then pull out with a chain attached to the bucket. I have forks for the loader and they l work great at moving things and collecting and carrying brush, we had a huge bramble bush which was easier to dozer with the front bucket and then km over with the forks on the loader. We just have to remember that these are small machines and work within their power frame and take the time to do things.

    I love mine.

  6. Tim, I noticed that you store the backhoe on appliance dollies. What is the sequence for that? Thanks.

Leave a Reply