In Product Knowledge


Knowing when to use a GP Bucket as opposed to a Mud Bucket is crucial for cost efficiency and productivity. Whenever you use the incorrect excavator attachment on your machine, you could be wasting a lot of money on fuel, operator costs and service costs.

All excavators can use bigger buckets, because of the huge amount of power that they can produce. Just because they can use a bigger excavator bucket, it doesn’t mean you can get more work done. In fact, quite the opposite. Big excavator buckets actually reduce machine performance, because they utilise too much machine power by trying to penetrate and move through the ground.

Excavator Bucket Design

Excavator buckets are designed specifically for each machine classification to create the best digging efficiency, safety and manoeuvrability. The more you go outside this efficiency chart, the more your costs increase.

If the excavator bucket is bigger, yes you may move more earth with each bucket load, but invariably it slows down the digging process because it utilises more machine power, which increases your costs. 

  • It uses more fuel, and takes more time so increases the costs of labour and gives less efficiency. This means you are generating more machine hours to do the same work so your service costs increase
  • Buckets that have too high capacity create more wear and tear on the machine, decrease reliability and create an unsafe working environment. The machine can tip over on sloped ground or can fall into trucks when loading. Excavator buckets with too large a capacity can also create structural problems with the machine and coupler. This can create a hazardous environment for others working around them.
  • Quite often various attachments need to be moved around a working site. If the digging buckets are too large, they no longer have the ability to “nest” into the mud bucket.

Some people don’t use their earthmoving equipment correctly, either digging style or bucket selection. If you look at excavator attachments like golf clubs, each club has a purpose. If you use the wrong club, you will either hit the ball short or long.

Many operators will dig and load hard material using a mud bucket. Whilst this stills work, it slows down the efficiency of the job. An example of this would be using a 1200mm GP bucket on a 13 tonne machine against the 1600mm mud bucket.

The GP bucket has a capacity of 0.75m3 whilst the mud bucket has a heaped capacity of around 0.9m3.

What to use and when

On the surface, this looks like a no brainer, but you need to consider the density (hardness) of the material and the bucket that’s doing the digging. The teeth on the GP Bucket are designed to break up the ground for easier penetration. The straight edge and extra width of the Mud Bucket rely on intense machine power to penetrate and pull the bucket through the ground. This kills productivity and slows performance. More importantly, it’s not cost efficient with a huge increase in fuel, operator costs and service costs.

Likewise, in soft or aerated material, the larger capacity bucket will perform better. If you would like to have a demo of our GP Buckets or Mud Buckets, please do not hesitate to call. 

High-Performance Attachments

At eiengineering, we stock a large range of heavy-duty GP and Mud Buckets with different widths for machines from 1 ton to 65 ton. We also stock a large range of other excavator and Skidsteer attachments available for sale or hire. Our range includes Hydraulic and Mechanical Grapples, Rock Buckets, Deep Buckets, Compaction Wheels, Rippers and Skeleton Buckets. In our Skid Steer range we have 4 in 1 buckets, Skeleton Grapple Buckets and Grapple Buckets. We are an Australian engineering company and we ship nationwide. Contact us today for more info.


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