There are many considerations to make when it comes to selecting the right bucket for your loader. Some of these include the general purpose of your loader, the number of job types it will be performing and the type and weight of materials to be transported.
Choosing the right bucket for your loader can save you a lot of money and some space in your workshop that would be otherwise occupied by buckets you may never use. In this article, we discuss the different types of buckets you can attach to the front end of your loader for various applications.
General purpose bucket
Also known as the GP bucket, the general purpose bucket is the most common type. When first purchasing your loader, it usually comes with a GP bucket. Because of its design and relatively low weight, the GP bucket is the most efficient tool for loading and unloading loose materials. Most loaders use GP buckets that are designed to hold half the tipping load of the loader.
A GP bucket is generally recommended for soil-yards, but if the yard is selling by volume then a certified weights and measures bucket may be required. The most common measurement is the 0.33 cubic metre bucket, which makes 3 scoops per cubic metre or a 0.5 cubic metre bucket, which makes 2 scoops per cubic metre.
Since soil-yards do so much loading on hard surfaces such as concrete, a reversible cutting edge is also recommended as it may extend the life of the bucket. It is also important that the bucket has straight side plates with no variations. It must also have a true waterline shape to ensure that each scoop is accurate.
The 4-in-1 bucket is recognisable by its opening jaw. One of the advantages of a 4-in-1 bucket is its versatility on the job site. It can be opened up to use the back as a bulldozer blade to smooth off roads. It can take the place of a clamshell to grab logs and stones. It can also perform the loading job of a regular bucket.
The 4-in-1 bucket is an ideal choice for an earth-moving contractor who is constantly scraping road surfaces or for a road maintenance contractor who needs to clamp a set of rippers to dig up the road or to pull out fence posts.
Despite its versatility, the 4-in-1 bucket also has its limitations. It is a heavy bucket compared to the GP bucket, so it can only handle small volumes of materials or it would be constantly overloaded. The 4-in-1 bucket also requires more maintenance as the pins need to be regularly greased.
The rake bucket has tines or prongs and a grapple that clamps materials into the bucket. This type of bucket is recommended for arborists who are looking for a more efficient and innovative tool than a regular dirt bucket. A greenwaste grab may be attached on the front of the rake bucket. This will allow arborists to quickly grab logs either by scooping up underneath them or, for bigger logs, rolling them into the grab by approaching the load with a raised mast and grabbing from above.
Light materials bucket
The light materials bucket is built only for moving lighter materials. This type of bucket has a very large volume, with a capacity of at least 2 times the volume of a GP bucket and 3 times the volume of a 4-in-1 bucket. However, caution must be taken as the centre of gravity of the load moves farther away from the driver so the load must be managed closely even though its volume is lighter or the same as the load of a GP bucket.
Some final words
Loaders are often sold with a GP bucket. If this is not the bucket suitable for the jobs your loader will be performing, tell your dealer. Dealers are usually willing to give you a trade in the same value towards another bucket type which is more suitable for your purposes. So when you first purchase your loader, consider the type of jobs it will be doing and ask to trade buckets or buy another design if needed as your negotiating power is highest when you are purchasing the entire machine from the dealer.
This article was written by Tom Jerrat for Boya Equipment. Boya Equipment is the leading Kubota and Schaffer Loaders dealership in Perth, Australia. They also provide machines including tractors, loaders, generators, mowers and utility vehicles. Please visit http://www.boyaequip.com.au/ for more information.