Most people looking for a compact backhoe have a certain project or projects in mind. Think carefully about your projects so you know which size backhoe is appropriate for you, and do a bit of research to find out what features you require from the compact backhoe. Some backhoe models mount to a truck bed, while others will be independent machine units that are diesel or gasoline powered. The unit you choose will depend on the projects you will be doing, and how frequently you will be doing them.
The length of the boom arm on the compact backhoe will partially dictate how deep the unit will be able to dig. Determine what your needs are and find out what each backhoe model is rated to: the manufacturer or sales representative will be able to tell you how deep a certain compact backhoe model can dig, as well as the capacity of the bucket. The size of the bucket will determine how quickly you will be able to dig, or how much material you will be able to move at one time.
Think carefully, too, about where you will be operating the compact backhoe. Most people looking for a compact backhoe want a smaller unit because it will be easier to maneuver in tight spaces, but it is important to keep the capacity of the bucket and the length of the boom in mind. A smaller backhoe may be more maneuverable, but it may not be large enough to handle the job you intend to do. Try to find a compromise between maneuverability and capacity when you are choosing among the many compact backhoes on the market.
It is usually best to rent or buy a compact backhoe from a well-known and reputable manufacturer. This will ensure the quality of the unit, but more importantly, it will ensure you will be able to get replacement parts and accessories easily should the machine break down or require modifications. Buying an off brand may save you some money at purchase, but you may not be able to find parts and accessories when you need them. Some dealers will arrange a parts contract with you, which guarantees you will be able to buy parts through that dealer for the model of backhoe you purchase or rent. This is a good idea if you plan on using the backhoe regularly and will be doing your own maintenance on the unit.