A loader bucket is found on construction equipment such as excavators, pay loaders and bobcats. A variety of types of loader buckets are available for different construction applications. The loader buckets may be permanently attached to the equipment or removable. The loader buckets are for excavating soil, rocks, pavement, debris and anything else that needs to be moved and stockpiled or loaded into a truck.

Physical Attributes

A general purpose bucket is used for stockpiling, bank loading, snow removal or general material pickup. General purpose loader buckets have weld on wear plates and straight side cutters. An option available for most buckets is horizontal cutter blades. The blades can be permanently attached or bolted on for temporary use. A general purpose bucket has no excavating capabilities. Depending on the category, or size, of the pay loader, the payload capacities of the bucket on a wheel loader vary from 1 cubic yard to 10 cubic yards. The width of the bucket is anywhere from 94 inches to 168 inches and weighs 1,495 to 9,510 lbs. If the pay loader is a crawler loader, the bucket capacity varies from 0.75 to 3.75 cubic yard.s The width of these loader buckets start at 66 inches wide and go up to 103 inches wide, and the loader buckets weigh 940 to 4,370 lbs. The capacity of the bucket will dictate how much time the loading will take. This information is useful for calculating and estimating the cost of a construction project.

The Ground Clearance

The purpose of the loader buckets is to move material from the ground to a truck or to another place on the site. If used for stockpiling purposes, the bucket has to reach the top of the pile. The clearance of the excavator will dictate the height of the piles. If material is being loaded into or onto a truck, the clearance of any pay loader is sufficient. The clearance for a wheel loader or track loader is 8 to 12 feet, depending on the size of the equipment.

The Dumping Angle

The dumping angle is the number of degrees the bucket can rotate from the horizontal to dumping into a truck or stockpile. Loader buckets vary from 30 to 38 degrees. Sometimes a sharp drop of the bucket is required to completely unload the bucket as soil and other material may stick to the bucket.

Excavation Depth

A loader bucket is not used for excavation, except for skimming the surface. The ability to penetrate and skim is about 1/2 to 1 inch. Some buckets do not have even that capability.

Engine and Power

The loader trucks are powered by a 4-cylinder, 4-stroke engine. Some are gasoline powered while others are diesel. The maximum torque at 1,600 RPMs is 93.8 lb-ft and a NACC or AMA horsepower of 19.6 with a compression ratio of 5.05 to 1. The loader travels at a speed of 0 to 7 mph, forward and reverse. The transmission is multi-disk clutch, two on each side, roller cam actuated with 11 wear surfaces and heavy-duty precision. The fuel tank has a 25-gallon capacity, and it takes 5 qt. of oil. The hydraulic capacity is 20 gallons.