excavator bucket

The excavator bucket, as its name implies, is an essential attachment for an excavator. Choosing the right bucket for your project will have a significant impact on how quickly and smoothly it progresses.

It stands to reason that understanding what an excavator bucket is and how it is used is vital to deciding which excavator and excavator bucket best suit your needs. But to do so, you first need to answer one question: what is an excavator?

An excavator is an integral piece of heavy equipment for any job site. It is commonly used for loading, transporting, and other earth-moving tasks. With a variety of sizes and types, an excavator can have attachments that increase its functionality. With that out of the way, it’s time to learn more about excavator buckets.

An excavator bucket is an attachment to the front of the excavator and it is connected to the arm of the equipment operated via controls in the cabin. Your choice of excavation buckets should be based on what your project needs. Depending on the type of attachment, your business can leverage its various advantages.

The following are some of the benefits when your business utilizes the right buckets for excavators:

  1. Productivity – Having the right equipment enables your business to do more in less time and help your team complete their tasks on time. It will also give your crew more time to execute other tasks without compromising quality
  2. Operating Cost – Your equipment will need less maintenance if you use it properly. With the right attachment, your business can cut back on maintenance costs and save more fuel.
  3. Safety – Using the correct tools helps the excavator operator account for the width and capacity of the bucket. It ensures that your job site is a safe working environment.

Choosing the most suitable excavator bucket can be difficult and there are a lot of factors you should consider, but we’re here to help you out with that!

How to Choose an Excavator Bucket

Here’s a guide on how to choose an excavator bucket:

  • Know the Right Size
  • Know the Right Type
  • Determine the Best Quality
  • Consider Customization and Attachment Options

Know the Right Size

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing an excavator bucket is its size. You have to decide which excavator bucket sizes are appropriate for your projects.

These are some considerations you should keep in mind:

  • Excavator Specifications
  • Material Classification and Density
  • Hauler and Truck Capacity
  • Application

Excavator Specifications

The configuration, size, desired reach, and other specifications determine which excavator bucket you should use. A 10-ton excavator cannot handle the same bucket as a 25-ton machine does. You need to choose a bucket that perfectly fits your excavator.

To help you choose, you can check out this excavator bucket size chart:

Up to 0.75 ton 6 – 24 30
1 ton – 1.9 ton 6 – 24 36
2 ton – 3.5 ton 9 – 30 48
4 ton 12 – 36 60
5 ton – 6 ton 12 – 36 60
7 ton – 8 ton 12 – 36 60
10 ton – 15 ton 18 – 48 72
19 ton – 25 ton 18 – 60 84

Material Classification and Density

The material and its density determine how much you can pick up. Dense materials may weigh down a big bucket, affecting your productivity. Meanwhile, using a smaller bucket for light materials can be too time-consuming.

Hauler/ Truck Capacity

To be more productive, you need to match the excavator bucket with the capacity of its partner hauler or truck. The size of your excavator bucket should be able to hold enough to fill up the truck/hauler in the least amount of time. But it should do so without compromising your equipment.


Your excavator bucket’s size should match how it’s used. You should maximize your bucket size as much as possible. This is why it is important to know the capacity of your bucket to have a more efficient output.

Know the Right Type

excavator bucket

This section expands on the application. It discusses the types of excavator buckets and what each is used for.

Excavator buckets have different types depending on their use. For instance, an excavator bucket can specialize in laying pipes while another works best for landscaping. Using the correct one will help your team work faster and more efficiently.

That being said, what are the different types of excavator buckets? Listed below are the most common ones:

General Purpose Bucket

The standard bucket attached to excavators, the general purpose bucket is also considered the most versatile. Also known as the “digging bucket,” this is what you receive when you rent an excavator without specifying the type of bucket. It’s great for digging, cleaning up, and even loading. With its short, blunt teeth, it can be used for different types of soil. You can use a general purpose bucket to handle these materials:

  • Mixed gravel
  • Loam
  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Clay
  • Silt
  • Topsoil

Heavy Duty Bucket

It is usually made from high-quality aberration-resistant steel. It is also heavier and tougher than general purpose buckets and is usually used for excavation.This bucket can withstand high-impact forces and resist aberration. Its durability makes it suitable for high-density and heavy materials. It can be used for most heavy materials such as:

  • Limestone
  • Basalt
  • Sharp rocks
  • Shale
  • Hard-packed clay
  • Stone
  • Sandstone

Grading Bucket

Wider than the other buckets, it has smooth edges and a flat surface without teeth. It’s best used for digging soft materials and doing landscape work. It is also useful for the following:

  • Road construction
  • Utility work
  • Slope shaping
  • Ditch maintenance

Angle Tilt Bucket

Also called the tilting bucket, it can tilt 45 degrees both ways. It is used in the same way as grading buckets, but its tilting feature allows for more precise angles. It’s great for the following applications:

  • Sloping
  • Trenching
  • Ditch cleaning
  • Digging hard-to-reach areas
  • Land clearing
  • Landscaping
  • Grading

Trenching Bucket

Same as grading buckets, the trenching bucket is optimal for digging trenches. However, its narrow shape and sharp flat blade make it better for high-precision tasks.

Learning the different excavator bucket types is important for maximizing productivity. It comes hand in hand with another factor you should consider – the quality of the excavator bucket.

Determine the Best Quality

excavation bucket

To maximize output and performance, the equipment used on your job site should be dependable and long-lasting. This means that the excavator, as well as the excavator buckets, should be well-made.

When purchasing or renting an excavator bucket, you should inspect it first to see if it fits your needs. Below are some elements to look over when choosing an excavator bucket:

  • Corrosion Resistance
  • Durability and Signs of Deformity
  • Performance

Corrosion Resistance

Rust is one of the most prominent signs of wear. Checking on the rust can help you determine if the excavator bucket is still in good condition.

Durability and Signs of Deformity

Bends, dents, and cracks can also show the condition of the excavator bucket. One of the most important parts to check is the welds of the bucket. Most of the time, fissures become rusty.


The most important thing to check when using an excavator bucket is how well it can still dig, move, and hold materials. Check if it’s able to open and close, move around smoothly, and dig properly.

To ensure quality, it’s important to check out the background of excavator bucket manufacturers. Whether it’s buying or renting, you should go over the pros and cons of each manufacturer. This will help you choose the best excavator and excavator bucket for the job.

And when it comes to equipment for sale or even excavators for rent, you should partner with trustworthy providers. This guarantees that you will get the best-quality excavator for your job site.

Lastly, before choosing your excavator bucket, you should consider one more factor: It’s whether you can customize your bucket to improve its productivity.

Customizations and Accessory Options

There are many add-on features that can enhance an excavator bucket. And as your projects expand in scope, it can be vital to include a few of these customization options in assessing the right excavator and bucket for your needs. Look into these customizations before choosing an excavator bucket:

  • Edge Configuration
  • Side Cutters
  • Teeth Types
  • Teeth Spacing
  • Thumb
  • Wear Protection
  • Quick Coupler
  • Power-tilting Coupler

Edge Configuration

The edge of the bucket you use should depend on your planned application. A straight edge is better for applications like site development and trenching. By contrast, a spade edge is great for quarrying and tough materials.

Side Cutters

Excavator buckets already come with thick side cutters. But a bolt-on side cutter will be of help for tasks such as digging.

Teeth Types

You can attach different types of teeth to the front of your bucket. Different types fit different tasks. Some examples are chisel teeth which are useful for most tasks, and single tiger teeth that specialize in penetrating materials.

Teeth Spacing

Teeth spacing is practical for different applications. An excavator bucket with tight teeth works better for materials like soil and tasks like trenching, whereas wide-spaced teeth handle tasks like penetration and materials like rocks better.


Attached to the top of the bucket, the thumb pinches irregularly shaped materials in place. It can also handle bulky materials.

Wear Protection

Sidebar protectors, bottom and side wear plates, and side cutters are accessories that help preserve excavator buckets.

Quick Coupler

This accessory helps the operator switch between types of tools, buckets, and accessories.

Power-tilting Coupler

Used for better precision, this allows tools to tilt. It can move along a 180-degree arc, or a 90-degree tilt left or right.

Customizations and accessories have become an essential part of excavators. The better the add-ons are, the easier the tasks become so it also helps to be familiar with these features for your excavator bucket.

Choosing the Best Excavator Bucket to Help You Dig Deeper

Excavators are versatile equipment used for different applications. That said, it makes sense to pair them with high-quality excavator buckets that will further optimize your team’s output. Investing in them will enable your team to maximize their productivity, complete projects, and free up time for other tasks.

Use our guide to choose the right excavator bucket that works best for your business. And remember to always consider the size and type of the buckets for excavators as well as its quality and accessories.

If you’re still unsure on what equipment to use, let us help you!

Hastings Motor Corporation is the heavy duty equipment rental company that provides client satisfaction. We take pride in providing solutions to our clients’ equipment needs.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

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