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Excavator bucket attachment
Excavator bucket attachment
Bucket Attachments Explained
6 Minute Read
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Tim Forestell
September 16, 2021

Bucket Attachments in Construction: Explained

Buckets are one of the most commonly used construction attachments for construction equipment such as compact excavators, track loaders, skid steer loaders, and excavation equipment. What may be viewed as a minor part of the equipment actually holds a lot of value on job sites. As technology advances in the construction industry, buckets and other attachments are getting smarter and more complex. This makes a huge difference on all types of projects. 

Join us as we look into what exactly are bucket attachments, what machines use bucket attachments and the most popular buckets contractors use. 

What Are Bucket Attachments? 

A bucket, also known as a scoop, is a special container that can be attached to certain types of machines. Excavators, skid steers, front end loaders, tractor loaders, wheel loaders, and even compact tractors have been known to frequently use this type of attachment. The main use of a bucket is to handle and move materials in bulk. This not only saves time but can reduce labor and save operational costs. 

excavator with three bucket attachments around it

How To Choose The Best Bucket Attachment

When choosing a bucket attachment that will save time and not make more work, it is important to determine the best loader bucket for the job. This goes hand in hand with choosing the right piece of equipment for the job, too. Using the best machine and bucket attachment increases productivity, makes the job easier and lowers operating costs. 

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Wheeled Skid Steer image
1,300 lbs - 3,450 lbs
Mini Excavator image
1.5 ton - 9 ton
Soil Compaction Pad Foot image
48 inches - 84 inches
Trench Rollers, Landfill Compactors

Bucket attachments are not simply something used to scoop dirt or other bulk materials. There are so many unique types, designs, shapes and attachments to go along with buckets to truly diversify their use. Some examples include using a grapple bucket to pick up logs and debris, a rock bucket that has holes in the bottom to pick up stones, rocks, and pebbles, or a tooth bucket used on excavators or skid steers to dig into the ground. 

With so many unique options out there for bucket attachments, contractors can be confident in any job they take on. 

Types of Bucket Attachments

These are some of the most commonly used and powerful bucket attachments for construction equipment.

skid steer with bucket attachment moving debris

Dirt Buckets

These buckets can be used within landscaping as they can move soil, mulch and other bulk materials easily. If need be, they can also dig in the ground. 

General Buckets

General buckets are the most common type of bucket attachment for excavators, skid steer, tractors and more. If you name it, there’s probably a general bucket attachment for it. It is used for leveling and grading land as well as material handling. It can be known as the all purpose bucket. 

Heavy Duty Buckets

Nothing can stop these attachments! Heavy-duty buckets are commonly used for heavy materials like boulders or for leveling on rough terrains like stone or gravel. These buckets can be used on a road construction job or in landscaping.

Light Material Buckets

Light material buckets are used for picking up and moving lighter materials like mulch and snow. These buckets are most commonly used during the winter when snow removal is necessary.  These buckets are particularly handy on skid steers as these durable machines are used to move mulch and snow quite often. 

Low Profile Buckets

Smaller in size, low profile buckets are used in tighter workspaces. They are commonly seen on a mini excavator or as a bucket attachment for skid steers. Projects that often use low profile buckets include city or urban work or when digging along a wall, building, road or when precision is necessary. The smaller buckets make it easier for the operator to see the work that they are doing without any obstructions. 

Rock Buckets

It is all in the name! Rock buckets were created for moving stone, gravel, and concrete. They are especially useful on construction sites for moving debris out of the way and letting the soil sift through the bottom as there are holes that separate the two from one another. 

Specialty Buckets

Specialty buckets were created for the most complex of jobs that require a specific piece of equipment to get the job done. Grapple buckets that can pick up hay, trees, logs and brush are one example of a specialty bucket.

grapple bucket attachment for construction
Image borrowed from Star Industries

What Machines Have Bucket Attachments in Construction?

There are many different types of construction machines that can use or even require a bucket. The most common include excavators, mini excavators, skid steers, backhoes/loaders and tractors. 


Excavators are often known as diggers on jobsites. Common excavator attachments include a bucket since most of the work that an excavator does is dig, mulch, or even knock structures and forestry down. Excavators frequent the use of buckets because they help with digging and moving the material to start the foundation of a project before other pieces of equipment are needed for the job. 

excavator with grapple bucket demolishing a building

Mini Excavators

Much like the excavator, the mini excavator is used for digging, mulching, and knocking down structures as well. The difference is this machine is much smaller, ranging between one to nine tonnes making it perfect for use in residential areas on jobs like building a pool or garden. 

Skid Steers

Skid steers are used for almost everything in the construction industry. Skid steers can dig holes, move materials and even reach high areas when needed. It is very important to determine what skid steer attachment is needed to complete the job as there are multiple buckets that can be used like the grapple, smooth bucket, rock bucket or a dirt bucket. 

Backhoes and Loaders

Backhoe and loaders are two machines that can be used to move and load materials like soil, rocks, sand, and debris. Loaders are used on big construction jobs as the machines can be quite big in size allowing for huge amounts of material to be moved at once. Backhoes are like a loader but they also have a digger arm on the front end. Backhoes are often looked at as the swiss army knife of the construction industry. With such a wide variety of attachments, the backhoe really can be used for almost everything.


Tractors are mainly used for agricultural work and the buckets are used to move soil around the area, as well as seed, crops and other agricultural materials. Tractor buckets can also be used to load trucks and other farm equipment when needed. 

Most Popular Bucket Attachments for Common Jobs

Choosing the right type of bucket can be tricky but we have you covered. Depending on the equipment you are using, finding the best possible quick attach bucket is needed for a successful job. 

Odd Jobs & Specialty Projects

Odd jobs and specialty jobs require specific buckes. We know that sometimes the job does not require a bucket as simple as a smooth bottom bucket. Options include a rock bucket for sifting through stones and dirt, a grapple bucket to move material securely due to the grapple holding it in place, and finally a tooth bucket; this bucket breaks into hard ground as the teeth break the land nicely while digging to minimize any frustrations you may have. 

rock bucket shifting through large rocks
Image borrowed from HLA Attachments

Excavation Work

Excavators usually do - you guessed it! - excavation work. Excavations are tough and rugged jobs. The most popular choice of bucket tends to be a heavy duty bucket. This bucket works well in all conditions of land whether it is clay, soil, sand, or gravel. The heavy duty bucket is made with high-quality steel, is abrasion resistant, and is durable without the worry of wear and tear. 

Skid Steer Work

Although skid steer work can also be tough and rugged, skid steers are also used for more small-scale and fine-detail work because of their compact size. The most common attachment is a smooth bottom bucket. This bucket is used to pick up and move material but the bottom also allows for leveling and grading the land. 

Bucket Attachments for Every Job

Finding the right piece of equipment is key but finding the right bucket is even more important. It is important to research what type of land you are working on because having the right bucket makes the job more productive and efficient. 

Find Your Next Equipment Rental on DOZR
Wheeled Skid Steer image
1,300 lbs - 3,450 lbs
Mini Excavator image
1.5 ton - 9 ton
Soil Compaction Pad Foot image
48 inches - 84 inches
Trench Rollers, Landfill Compactors
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Tim Forestell
Tim Forestell is one of DOZR’s co-founders and CCO. Tim got started in the industry as VP Operations for Forestell Landscaping before founding DOZR with Kevin and Erin. Aside from the amazing team at DOZR, his favourite thing about DOZR are the customers. Working with DOZR renters every day gives him a peek at the evolution of different projects and hearing stories about projects being developed from start to finish.
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