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What Is a Backhoe Bucket?

By Andy Hill
Updated: May 17, 2024

Utilized as an excavation accessory, a backhoe bucket attaches to the end of the boom arm on a hydraulic backhoe loader or excavator. A variety of backhoe excavator bucket attachments are available to cover a wide range of digging and grading tasks. A backhoe bucket can feature removable teeth or a smooth finish depending on the preferred application.

The sizing of a backhoe bucket is determined primarily by the size of the machine to which it will be attached. There are a multitude of different widths of buckets available depending on the required task; most of the buckets in common use range from 47 inches (120 centimeters) for a grading bucket down to 12 inches (30.4 centimeters) for a small trenching bucket. Bucket attachments that are designed primarily for excavation feature steel teeth bolted to the leading edge. These teeth assist in breaking through firm or well-compacted ground and can become worn over time, hence their removable functionality for ease of replacement.

A grading bucket features no teeth and a simple, sharp, cutting edge. This type of backhoe bucket is designed to form embankment sidings and to give smooth, level finishes to excavated surfaces. Grading buckets can also be used to remove layers of topsoil cleanly without disturbing the underlying subsoil as can occur when using buckets that are fitted with teeth.

It is common for some grading buckets to have a series of holes drilled through the steel shell. This feature is often found on larger buckets that are being used in conjunction with small backhoes or excavators as it lowers the overall weight of the bucket on the hydraulic boom arm. A backhoe bucket can fix to the boom arm of the controlling machine through a quick hitch device, which allows the accessory to be clamped hydraulically, then operation is fully controlled by the operator. Alternatively, the traditional manual hitch method can be used, which requires a second person to insert a holding pin through the boom arm and bucket connection point.

Certain specialist applications also have specific buckets designed for the tasks; an example of this type of backhoe accessory is the riddling bucket. This variant of a backhoe bucket is fitted with a vibrating arm and an interchangeable graded sieve in the base. When a scoop of material is excavated, the riddling bucket vibrates, which causes small fragments of material to pass through the sieve. This type of backhoe bucket can be used to separate rocks from topsoil and has also been used to remove reinforcing steel from demolished building rubble for recycling.

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