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Best Attachments for Your Excavator

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An excavator is a powerful tool. You’ll find it on a wide variety of construction sites, landscaping projects and demolition areas. Typically, it allows for powerful digging into the ground, clearing the way for whatever you’re working on. With the help of attachments, however, your excavator can become any number of additional tools, like a jackhammer, a clamp, a mower and more.

Attachments can open up a new world for your excavator, allowing you to do more with a single machine. You can save money and improve efficiency at the same time. You can find many of these options available as both standard and compact excavator attachments. Keep reading to learn about the different types of excavator attachments you can use.

Types of Excavator Attachments

The types of excavator attachments available genuinely run the gamut. You can find attachments for compact excavators, crawler excavators and more. Nearly all of them offer quick-attach mounting hardware, so you can swap tools as needed. Here are some of the best excavator attachments for a wide variety of jobs.

1. Augers

Augers are a drilling attachment that helps you penetrate deep into the ground. They have a spiral design that transports the dug soil out of the hole as it goes. They are common on residential projects and are often used for drilling holes for pillars and planting trees and shrubbery.

There are many different options for augers, as they are a versatile tool. You can find mounting brackets that include single-pin hitch, double-pin hitch or a double-pin cradle hitch. These let you swap out attachments quickly. You can also find different power options, such as direct-drive and gear-driven augers. Direct-drive augers provide better balance and speed, but gear-driven is best for applications that require a lot of torque.

2. Buckets

Buckets are usually constructed from hard steel and feature teeth on the digging edge to help with penetration, though lightweight buckets might lack teeth. Heavy-duty buckets might need tungsten teeth to get through tougher materials. You can find different types of excavator buckets, such as:

  • Standard or digging: For light materials such as sand and loose dirt. This is the all-purpose bucket that typically comes with an excavator.
  • Heavy: For higher-density materials and grading and leveling
  • Severe: For tougher materials like rock and clay
  • Narrow: Helps provide force and maneuverability in some environments
  • Trenching: For creating trenches
  • Skeleton: For spading and sieving
  • Grading bucket: For cleaning an area and leveling the ground
  • V bucket: Has a narrow-edge, good for V-shaped trenches and laying pipes

3. Hammer

If you need to break up a large swath of material, like stone or a slab of concrete, you can turn to the hammer attachment. It may also be called a breaker or hammer-breaker and works like a big jackhammer, using high impact to break up the material. You’ll have a few options in terms of hammer shape, and selecting the best one depends on the characteristics of the material you’re working with. Some of the different types of hammer attachments include the following:

  • Moil: For trenching and demolition, especially rebarred concrete and trenching
  • Chisel: For demolition and concrete excavation, where penetration is necessary with the angled tip.
  • Blunt: For crushing operations, as it transfers high impact over a larger surface area.

A hammer attachment can vary in size, depending on your scale and what you’re breaking.

4. Flail Mower

Some landscaping operations are too much for a regular mower, and that’s where the flail mower comes in. You can angle it like a hedge trimmer and use it to cut tougher objects like tall grass and shrubs. The flails bounce off of permanent objects, like rocks or the side of a road. This feature gives them an advantage over traditional mowers, which often throw rocks and objects if encountered. In many areas, this throwing is a safety hazard or can cause damage to other structures. Flail mowers are also ideal because maintaining the individual cutters, or flails, is easier than replacing an entire blade. For excavators and mini excavators, brush cutter attachments can also make your tool more versatile and valuable.

5. Grading Blade

Instead of a dedicated grader, you can use a grading attachment to level out the ground. A grading blade or bucket helps prepare a flat surface for different projects. You can adjust the angle of the blade and its height to get the right level of surface grade. You can find grading blades in an array of different sizes and for various terrains and machines. This tool can also be called a grading bucket for mini excavators and standard excavators.

6. Grapple

A grapple is one of the more common excavator attachments for forestry work, but you can also find it in demolition, construction, waste handling and more. It uses two large, curved clamps to grab onto materials, often oddly shaped or irregular. One kind of grapple allows you to move both sides, while the other can only move one side. For either type, the grapple is usually controlled by hydraulics, which allows you to adjust the angle and rotation of the tool.

7. Ripper

A ripper is a straightforward-shaped tool with a pointed end that enables you to rip through the hard ground or frozen surfaces with powerful force. It can help you rip up earth and scarify it, as well as remove embedded items like stumps and root systems.

8. Thumbs

The thumb is a large clamp that can hold materials in place in a bucket. It presses down on the content inside the bucket to make it stay in place. Many use it for gripping irregularly shaped materials that don’t typically fit, such as demolition debris or tree stumps. It is a common excavator attachment for demolition, but it is also popular in other applications.

Complete Your Excavation Tool Collection With NMC Cat

If you want to make your excavator do double-, triple- or quadruple-duty as multiple tools in your arsenal, try different types of attachments. We have a wide array of excavating tools to help you with everything from forestry and construction to demolition and landscaping.

NMC Cat serves builders and contractors throughout Nebraska and Pottawattamie County in Iowa. Quality tools are our specialty, complete with extensive customer care, rental equipment, and service options. We can help you find attachments for a wide variety of excavators or an excavator itself. To start working with NMC Cat, call us at (800) 628-6025 or send us a message to get in touch!