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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!