Excavator Bucket FAQ


With so many types of excavator buckets, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the options and models. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about excavator buckets and their answers.

What Are Common Excavator Bucket Sizes?


Excavator bucket sizes are always measured by their inside width. As a rule of thumb, the larger the excavator, the larger bucket it can handle.

Mini excavator bucket sizes typically range from six-inch specialty buckets up to 30-inch grading buckets. While the largest of excavators can handle up to an 84-inch grading bucket. This chart can be a helpful reference for what size bucket will match the size of the excavator you use:

Matching the Excavator to the Bucket
Matching the Excavator to the Bucket

Are Excavator Buckets Universal?


Unfortunately, bucket sizes are not universal. Choosing the right excavator bucket is completely dependent on the machine with which you work. While some excavator buckets may fit a range of machines, it’s not standard to use a bucket that is not specifically designed to fit the excavator.

Key takeaway: Always account for the make, model and size of your machine before purchasing or renting an excavator bucket.

What Are the Different Types of Excavator Buckets?


Excavator buckets come in different shapes and sizes, all with unique functions. If you’re not sure which bucket to choose for your excavation project, here are the 11 types of excavator buckets and their uses:

Excavator Bucket Types
Excavator Bucket Types

Digging bucket: A common bucket type that serves to dig and move material in general construction and landscaping projects.

Rock bucket: A specialty bucket designed with additional durable teeth that can break up hard, compact surfaces.

Utility bucket: This specialty bucket is designed to avoid utility piping and cables while digging.

Grading bucket: Grading buckets are designed for smoothing and finishing softer materials to create a level surface.

Tilit ditch cleaning bucket: This is a smoothing and finishing bucket that can be angled for use on a slope.

V bucket: V buckets create a v-shaped trench you will use to prepare for laying piping and utility cables.

Frost bucket: This is the more advanced version of a rock bucket you will use to break up extremely compact surfaces.

Micro trenching bucket: A micro trenching bucket is a narrow, claw-like tool that creates trenches only a few inches wide that are suitable for cables and irrigation.

Skeleton bucket: This bucket sifts through materials and separates larger aggregate from dirt and soil.

Rake riddle bucket: Rake riddle buckets dig roots and landscaping out of the ground while allowing fine aggregate to pass through.

Clean-up bucket: This is a finishing bucket that picks up and moves loose materials.


How Do I Choose an Excavator Bucket?


When choosing the right excavation bucket, you’ll have to consider various factors. From worksite conditions to potential hazards, here’s everything you need to consider before deciding on the right excavator bucket:

Worksite conditions: What is the size of your workspace? Are you in a wide, open area where you can use a large excavator and bucket? Or in a smaller, compact area where you can only fit a mini-excavator with a smaller bucket?

Climate: Climate can have a big impact on your work site. For example, cold and dry climates may require the extra force of a rock or frost bucket if the ground is frozen, whereas humid climates often have softer soil that may not require as much digging power.

Ground conditions: How compact is the ground? If you’re trying to dig up extremely compact surfaces, you may require a rock or frost bucket to break up the material first.

Surrounding hazards: Are there any potential hazards to be aware of? Are you digging near utility cables or irrigation systems? If so, you may consider a utility bucket.

Job description: Excavators can serve in many different capacities. Are you trenching, digging, breaking up material or finishing? Do you need to sift through any aggregate? Consider the purpose of the project while shopping around for the right bucket.

How Do I Choose an Excavator Bucket

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Now that you’re all caught up on the different types of excavator buckets, you can choose the right bucket and excavator for the job. No matter the excavator, remember that the bucket type is just as important as the excavator itself.

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