Best Practices

How to Choose the Right Wheel Loader Bucket

Wheel loaders are the workhorses on your jobsite. They bear the brunt of moving large volumes of dirt, rocks, processed aggregate, snow, and almost anything else you need to load or remove. Choosing the right wheel loader bucket is crucial for ensuring the successful completion of your project and can significantly impact your productivity.

In this article, we cover the key things to consider when deciding which wheel loader bucket is best for your project.

The material you’re working with

Your wheel loader bucket is designed to dig, load, transport, and dump heavy materials. The type of materials you are working with should drive your bucket choice. For loose materials like sand, gravel, and topsoil, a general purpose bucket with a larger capacity and curved edges is a great option. A light material bucket is designed to carry large volumes of lower density material like snow or mulch. When it comes to loading high density rocks or concrete in places like quarries and mining operations, choose a rock bucket. You can also use a rock bucket for large earthmoving work like site development and road construction.

Generally, the name of the wheel loader bucket will indicate what type of material it is designed to work with. For example, heavy duty, abrasion, general purpose, rock bucket, etc.

Are you loading or digging?

If your primary task is loading materials into trucks, then a high capacity bucket with a smooth profile, large opening angle, and straight cutting edge is typically the right choice. On the other hand, if you’re primarily digging out material, then choosing a bucket with greater breakout force and high penetration teeth will be best.

Bucket size and machine power

A larger wheel loader bucket does not always mean higher production. When deciding how big the bucket should be, you need to first consider the size and power of your wheel loader and the size of your trucks and hoppers. Choosing a wheel loader bucket that pushes your machine over the recommended capacity limit will accelerate wear, reduce the lifespan of components, and lead to expensive, unplanned downtime.

  • Check your wheel loader owner’s manual for bucket size information and maximum tipping load
  • Consider the size of your truck or hopper and determine how many loads you need to move each day
  • Choose a wheel loader bucket that allows you to move the required amount of material but that doesn’t overload your machine

Wheel loader bucket features

Once you determine the type of material you’re working with, what type of bucket you need, and how big it should be, next you want to think about additional design features that can save you time or reduce wear. Here are some examples of advanced wheel loader bucket features:

  • Curved side plates and integrated spill guards can improve material retention
  • Wear protectors and extra guarding will reduce damage and extend bucket life
  • With quick couplers you can change buckets easily, so it’s an important feature if you need to change buckets often
  • With bolt-on teeth and cutting edges you can use the same bucket for different types of projects
  • Longer bucket floors can reduce your cycle times

If you have any questions about choosing the right wheel loader bucket, contact our team today.