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Best Attachments for Your Excavator

Category: Equipment and Solutions

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 work tools you can use and which attachments might be best for your mini excavator.

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

excavator auger attachmentAugers are excavator digger attachments that help 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

excavator bucket attachementBuckets 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. This bucket attachment is used for grading and leveling.
  • Severe: For tougher materials like rock and clay
  • Narrow: For additional 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: For digging  V-shaped trenches and laying pipes thanks to its narrow edge.

3. Hammer

excavator hammer attachmentIf 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

excavator flail mower attachementSome 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 more challenging 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 other items they encounter during operation.

In many areas, throwing materials is a safety hazard or can cause damage to other structures. Another area where traditional mowers fall behind flail mowers is in upkeep — a flail mower offers simpler maintenance because sharpening or replacing the individual cutters 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

excavator grading blade attachementInstead of a dedicated grader, you can use a grading attachment to level out the ground. A grading blade or bucket for mini excavators 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 attachment for mini excavators and standard excavators.

6. Grapple

excavator grapple attachementA 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. Ripperexcavator ripper attachement

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.

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8. Thumbs

excavator thumb attachementThe 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.

9. Mulchers

excavator mulcher attachementMulchers are mini excavator forestry attachments used for environmental cleanup and managing plant life at a job site, among other things. These attachments cut vegetation, undergrowth or other plant materials and turn them into mulch. With the teeth inside the drum, mulchers can trim anything from the undergrowth to small trees. Mulching comes with the dual benefit of eliminating unwanted plant growth and generating useful, biodegradable material that can be used elsewhere on the site or sold for profit.

10. Rakes

excavator rake attachementWhen you need to clear brush or other debris at a job site, a rake attachment can help you do so quickly and easily. A beneficial feature of the Cat rake tools is that their three-, four- and five-tine shapes collect debris and leave the dirt behind. Whether you’re clearing brush, tree branches or anything else, these rakes help you save time and increase efficiency. Both tine-only and grapple rakes are available to outfit your mini excavator for various forestry applications.

Mini Excavator Quick Couplers for Easy Attachment

Understanding what tools will work best for your application is just the start — you need a way to switch between them easily. With a quick coupler, you can exchange work tools efficiently and maintain productivity. Our Cat quick couplers are designed with convenience in mind, and they fit both Cat attachments and those from many other brands to ensure you can use any work tool you need for your specialized applications. The wedge-style locking system attaches the coupler to your excavator securely.

The operator unlocks a quick coupler from inside the cab to detach one tool. They can then attach a new accessory by lining it up with the quick coupler and locking it into place. Using a quick coupler can save time and maximize productivity because your operators can switch between attachments seamlessly and get right back to work.

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.

Our high-quality attachments are priced competitively, and we’ll do everything we can to get them to you quickly to help you stay productive on the work site. We also offer maintenance and repair services for machines and attachments, as well as expert guidance on how you can get the most out of your mini excavator and its work tools.

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!