How to Choose the Right Wheel Loader Bucket
The bucket is one of the most essential parts of every wheel loader. The type of bucket you choose for your machine has an impact on productivity, overall performance, and machine uptime. Although they all may seem the same when you first look at them, there is advanced technology that goes into designing and building buckets that makes different types ideal for different tasks.
Most wheel loaders come equipped with a general purpose bucket. Many contractors will simply use this bucket for all of their loading needs. However, although these buckets will work well for most applications, there may be a more productive and cost efficient solution that would be better tailored to their needs.
Material Density Matters When Choosing the Right Bucket
There are four basic styles of wheel loader buckets, defined by the type of material they are designed to load. These styles are light material, general purpose, 4 in 1, and rock buckets. When determining the type of bucket that is best for your application, it's important to consider the size and density of the material you expect to be working with.
Whether you plan on moving a combination of sand, stone, dirt, or gravel, the bucket you choose should reflect the heaviest one being handled the majority of the time. Light material buckets will offer higher capacities than general purpose buckets, making them perfect for loading snow, mulch, dry sand, or other light materials. Spade nose style rock buckets, on the other hand, are designed for more abrasive applications, so they are ideal for quarry, mine, and large construction jobs.
Size matters when it comes to buckets
Many contractors may think that bigger is always better when it comes to choosing the right bucket for their wheel loader. However, it is important consider the size and power of your wheel loader, your production expectations, and the abrasiveness of the material. For example, the buckets designed for rocks will be heavier than other styles, meaning that a smaller bucket may be necessary to reduce its impact on operating speeds and performance.
Size also matters when optimizing your loading cycles. For example, if you know that the most efficient way to run your operation is to have the truck or hopper loaded in two passes, then it's best to pick the combination of bucket and truck capacities, within the operational parameters of the loader, that make two passes possible.
Applications for different bucket styles
Light material buckets – This style offers the best solution for moving things like dry dirt, wood pulp, waste, and various agricultural materials. Light buckets give the operator the greatest amount of capacity and volume but are not ideal for highly abrasive materials.
General purpose buckets – General purpose buckets work in a variety of applications and are a good middle ground solution. They are more durable than light material buckets and can handle more abrasive material, but not as heavy as rock buckets so have higher capacities. They can generally be used to load light materials, aggregates, and sand.
4 in 1 multiuse bucket – Multiuse buckets allow operators to bulldoze, pick up, dump, and load, all using the same attachment. These buckets provide a large amount of versatility, but are often heavier and have smaller capacities.
Rock buckets – Rock buckets are designed for the most rugged and difficult material loading jobs. They typically come standard with heavy duty lips to protect against scalloping, as well as specialized rock teeth or cutting edge options. Rock buckets are found most often in mines, quarries, and other jobs where moving heavy, abrasive material is required.