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Digger Buckets Explained – Which is best?

Digger buckets are one of the most important accessories to choose after selecting an excavator. If you are considering different bucket styles or even bucket functions, then hopefully you have already decided on the perfect excavator for the job. 

Whether you have selected a small micro digger or a 20-ton excavator, we all won’t get far, without marrying them up with the right style bucket. Where do you start? What’s available and what is going to be best for the work you have planned? In this article, we will take you through the most common types of digger buckets, along with their roles in helping make your job as efficient as possible. 

What is a digger bucket?

A digger bucket is a removable attachment from a diggers arm. These buckets are designed to puncture/scrape and collect earth, which then can be moved to an alternative location. Digger buckets are controlled by the machine’s operator in its cabin.

Different digger buckets are used to assist the operator depending on the type of work that is being undertaken. The buckets are attached to the arm of the digger via a hitch. The diggers hitch is the important component that connects a bucket to the arm of an excavator. 

Depending on the type of hitch your excavator has, will depend on how much manual labour will be involved when the time comes to change your diggers bucket. 

How to choose the correct bucket for you?

Choosing the correct bucket for your project will make a huge difference in the excavator’s efficiency. You need to consider the application and material you are working with. Ideally, finding the largest bucket that is suitable for the material, conditions and application is the perfect match. 

However, it is not always a case of just selecting the biggest bucket possible. You also need to consider the density of the ground. The harder and more compact the ground, the smaller your puncture will need to be to penetrate the surface. Smaller surface areas provide more pressure per square inch, resulting in being able to work through harder ground materials.  Larger loads can be achieved with some digger buckets that are fitted with teeth, allowing users to maximise their efforts while in operation.

One other factor you may want to consider is a specialised bucket. Specialised buckets can be ideal if you are using a digger for a specific task. For example, an 18-inch trenching bucket to create footing holes. 

What types of digger buckets are there?

Digger buckets come in several different shapes and sizes. However, each individual bucket design can be used to be tailored to the job at hand. The most common buckets that are used with an excavator are as follows: 

  • Digging bucket 
  • Trenching bucket 
  • Grading bucket 
  • Heavy-duty bucket 
  • Specialised bucket

Digging Bucket

Digging buckets are multipurpose attachments that come as standard with all diggers. They are equipped with blunt short teeth that can be used to penetrate the ground when lowered into the ground. These multi-purpose attachments are ideal if you are working with: 

  • Dirt
  • Clay
  • Sand
  • Topsoil
  • Gravel or loose stone
Digging Bucket

Trenching Buckets

Trenching buckets are designed specifically for trench digging. They work extremely well for navigating small space areas for things such as piping, ducting and drain digging. The buckets design is narrow and fitted with a sharp flat blade to penetrate through dense, compact ground materials. Operators can be very precise in their excavation with this style of bucket. Trenching buckets are available on all excavators in a range of different sizes to suit. 

Trenching Bucket

Grading Bucket

Grading buckets are a popular choice for the more delicate of works with an excavator. Their design offers smooth and wide cutting edges that work best with all soft materials and soils. Grading buckets are a very popular choice when it comes to loading and unloading materials, grading, levelling and backfilling holes. These digger buckets are favoured by landscapers, road constructors, construction sites during the export and import of materials and utility work. 

Grading Bucket

Heavy-Duty Buckets

Heavy-duty digger buckets are designed for exactly what you would expect. Constructed from high strength, abrasive-resistant steel, these buckets are used in the toughest of conditions. Commonly found in quarries, these buckets allow operators to extract the densest of materials without being damaged. Some examples of the type of rock you would expect to use a heavy-duty bucket on would be: 

  • Blasted rock 
  • Compact clay 
  • Basalt 
  • Granite 
Heavy-Duty Bucket

Specialised digger bucket types

Besides digging, trenching, grading and heavy-duty digger buckets, innovative excavator attachments are available on the market to assist operators. These types of buckets have been designed for specific tasks:

V Bucket – For digging V-shaped trenches

Rock bucket- Screeding soil to remove debris

Riddle bucket- A digging bucket that allows small soil particles to pass through. 

Hard pan bucket- Similar to a rock bucket but has ripper teeth on each side of the bucket, designed to loosen soil during use. 

What size digger buckets are suitable for what excavator?

Use these sizes as a guide to help you understand the dimensions of buckets that suit different excavator sizes: 

Micro digger bucket sizes (mm) 230/300/450/600/Grade

Mini Digger 1.5 T (mm) 150/230/300/450/600/1000/Grade

3T Digger (mm) 225/300/450/600/1200/Grade

5T Digger (mm) 300/450/600/750mm/Grade

8T Digger (mm) 300/450/600/900/Grade

14T Digger (mm) 450/600/900/1200mm/Grade

20T Digger (mm) 600/900/1500/Grade 2200

How is a digger bucket operated on a machine?

Attached buckets are operated from the cabin of the digger/excavator. By using the right-hand side joystick, users can pull left towards them to cradle the bucket and right to extend. When you curl the bucket into the ground, the machine will gather the earth below up until it reaches full capacity. After extraction, you can extend the bucket arm when you have navigated the debris to its required location. This is done by pushing and holding the right joystick right until the bucket completely extends. (See diagram)

How is a digger bucket operated on a machine?

Where to find the right digger bucket to hire?

For over 20 years, WHC Hire Services have been providing the highest quality and state of the art equipment to businesses, utility companies and the public. Our extensive range of digger buckets and attachments allow operators to get the job done swiftly and as safely as possible. With constant investment into the quality of our fleet and equipment. We can guarantee customers the finest machinery on the market, when and where they want it. Find out what excavators and digger buckets we have available to hire here.

Discover digger buckets explained with depot manager Jack: