Choosing the right wheel loader bucket attachment maximizes efficiency and productivity while minimizing wear on the machine itself. Since there are numerous types of bucket attachments for wheel loaders, the selection isn’t necessarily immediately obvious.
Here’s a quick look at various types of buckets and some of the most important things to consider when picking one for a particular application.
Types of Wheel Loader Buckets
Choosing the right wheel loader bucket starts with understanding the different types available. Below are the five most commonly used loader bucket types. Between them, they can efficiently handle just about any job and materials.
- General purpose buckets are the most common; these heavy-duty attachments, designed for maximum filling and material retention, are good for a variety of applications and particularly well suited to stockpiling and rehandling
- Light material buckets are specially designed for handling loosely packed, light material loads like coal, wood chips, snow, peat moss, etc.
- Multipurpose buckets are versatile, working for an array of applications, including dozing, material handling, back-filling, back-dragging, light grading, grappling, excavating, high dumping, and other uses
- Rock buckets are built to handle things like rocks and concrete debris in mine, quarry, and large-scale road applications—and to withstand the abuse these hard, heavy materials dish out
- Woodchip buckets are for woodchips and other light plant matter in landscaping, agricultural, forestry, millyard, and other applications
There are also more highly specialized buckets available. Manufacturers have made a science of designing loader buckets for very specific applications and materials. For example, you can find bucket attachments made specially for side dumping, trash or scrap grappling, coal, produce, silage, fertilizer, and so on. These can be great to have on hand if you have the budget and storage capacity for a broader collection of loader bucket attachments and your company performs a range of applications.
Tips for Choosing a Loader Bucket Attachment
- Your wheel loader’s manual has comprehensive information about the bucket attachments it can safely and effectively support; refer to it and stick to it
- Carefully review the specs of any bucket attachment you plan to use to ensure compliance with the original equipment manufacturer’s instructions
- Determine the average density of materials to be handled and the bucket weight, and compare this to the bucket specs and the load and lifting capacities of the wheel loader
- Select the bucket for the heaviest material when handling more than one type with the same attachment
- Don’t forget to account for increased weight/density when a load material like sand is wet
- For the most part, go with a general purpose bucket for day-to-day material handling, especially when handling a range of material densities
- A light material bucket is a smart choice when handling large loads of lighter materials because of their larger capacity
- Consider a multipurpose bucket for handling granular loads and irregularly shaped materials
Remember: Never push your wheel loader beyond its specified limits, as this causes reduced performance and efficiency and undue wear on the equipment; this can lead to damage, spills, injuries, and even worker death.