Grapple Buckets: The Ultimate Guide to Tractor Grapple Attachments

Grapple buckets are used in a variety of outdoor industries due to its ability lift and clean areas. But, what do you need to know about picking the best grapple attachment for your tractor? Whether you’re just now considering an upgrade, or you need a grapple now, Fastline has you covered.

What you need to know before buying a Grapple Bucket

The path to buying a grapple bucket doesn’t need to be that complicated. However, you might be on a timetable for getting the most out of your tractor. Manufacturers are rushing to fill demand, so you might see supply shortages occasionally. But that just means more time to find the grapple bucket you need.

Determine your immediate needs

Your immediate needs will determine your equipment usage beyond grapple buckets. But when it comes to these grapples you have to look around your property and see what needs to happen. How much debris is there to remove?

Before you start working, check out your immediate work needs and what they might be in the future. Everyone in the market for a grapple attachment knows they need something. It’s when they are pressed that they find what must happen right now.

When examining your need for a grapple, you might find that there is a different grapple option that you might need.

What Grapple Options are Available?

The standard grapple bucket or flat bottom grapple keeps all materials in the bucket. It then can scrape to create a clean finish in its target work area.

Root Grapples are used for clearing out land and removing tree obstructions. This grapple allows you to sift through dirt and pick up obstructions without throwing dirt everywhere. When you’re working in a dedicated work area, it’s ideal not to destroy the area to remove a root or two.

Rock bucket grapples are mainly known for picking up rocks. But they are still versatile. You can use them as a land plane and as a rake.

There are a ton of grapple options beyond the two most popular, but which one will work for you? Plus, how much will it cost you?

How much is a grapple costing these days?

The cost of a grapple is relative to its possible return on investment for you. On average, a standard solid bottom grapple could cost you between $800 - $4,000. However, that estimate doesn’t account for market changes, supply shortages or anything currently happening in the market. It’s a very rough estimate taken in prime market conditions.

Why do modern farmers prefer skid steer grapple buckets?

A grapple bucket attachment is the most versatile attachment that extends your skid steer’s abilities. Modern farmers prefer skid steer grapple buckets because they are so useful. What other piece of equipment can pick up every material on your farm or construction site?

The modern Skid Steer has a quick attach setup that fits all skid steer grapples. The included couplers will also match most attachments, although not all tractors come with them. Again, these are the kinds of things you need to check on before finalizing your purchase.

What different kinds of grapples exist?

There are many kinds of grapples on the open market. However, you might only need one style.

Rock bucket grapples

Rock buckets or rock bucket grapples are wildly popular skid steer attachments. While quite like root grapples, it supports a stronger bottom and various lid options to secure materials. These grapples can even lift and move items that are wider and a little bigger than the bucket.

Root grapples

The root grapples are helpful for moving big piles of brush that develop on your property. It can also handle debris and small logs. These grapples also support an open design that let dirt to be shaken out of the balls of roots and brush.

Manure bucket grapples

Grapples can make short work out of manure. Like rock and root grapples, these attachments are designed to scoop and clear out an area of manure.

Rake grapples

Rake grapples are ideal for breaking up roots close to the ground.

Fork grapples

Forks are grapples meant to carry logs, pallets, and all sorts of oblong and out of shape objects. It’s not uncommon to find forks that carry a capacity of nearly two tons.

Lumber grapples

The amazing thing about lumber grapples is that they are incredibly durable. Often called a timber grapple, these attachments have such sharp teeth to clamp down and secure logs.

Brush grapples

Brush grapples are designed to clear brush debris from a work area.

When do you need a root grapple vs. a grapple rake?

Root grapples vs. grapple rakes are a constant debate on many farm-friendly social pages. Grapple rakes have more of a clam configuration that rake the ground. Tines are up close to the mounting point. Some people try to save money getting the single lid grapple, but you don’t have equal control when the load is uneven.

Root grapples are rather popular for compact tractors. You will see them around your community being used to move broken limbs and landscaped materials cut from trees.

How do you attach a grapple to a tractor?

Attaching a grapple bucket to a tractor is the same as any other attachment. The hydraulic couplers on your grapple must match the ones on the tractor. Plus, the hookup must be compatible with your productive tractor part.

For those unfamiliar with couplers, they are the pieces on the ends of hydraulic hoses used to connect an attachment to a loader/tractor. Before purchasing any skid steer attachment, make sure to check the quality of the included couplers. It will make attaching a grapple that much easier in the long run.

What’s the difference between a root grapple and a rock grapple?

The tine spacing between different size grapples tends to determine which grapple you need. This is related to load bearing and what you need to remove debris. However, the main difference between a root and rock grapple is that the root grapple interacts with the ground vs. the rock acting as more of a scooping agent.

What can I do with a grapple vs. other equipment?

A grapple has several distinct advantages over other similar skid steer equipment.

Grapples vs. Buckets

The difference between a grapple and a standard bucket attachment is storing vs. movement. A grapple is amazing for moving timber away from your work side. A bucket lends itself to lifting and removal.

Grapple Attachments vs. Forks

Forks offer a lot more lifting options than the standard grapple. But you don’t always need to be lifting things.

Spears and Other Tools vs. Grapples

Spears and other tools dominate the attachment field. The perks that grapples have over them are related to their construction and capacity.

Understanding the parts of your grapple

What goes into making a grapple and what will you need to service?

Grapple arms

The arms of a grapple are broken down into single and dual arm configurations. Dual arms tend to be more popular, as they are more deployed against heavy brush and roots. Plus, they’re great for logs and limbs that don’t naturally fit into a bucket.


Grapple tines carry your load like a bucket. You don’t get a solid bottom or the side plates. But what it does is give your grapple the ability to carry brush, logs and debris while leaving dirt.


Pins control the movement of the jaw as your grapple opens. This hinge pin can be susceptible to friction and damage that might hurt the attachment. So, make sure it stays greased up and is well maintained.


Cylinder guards are there to keep abuse from hitting the hydraulics and cylinders. That means you can work without damaging your attachments.


Hydraulic hoses on grapples tend to cause problems for new users. However, you can pin the hoses away from pinch points to allow for extra hydraulic power when grappling.


Couplers aren’t always included with grapples, but you can add them after the fact. You can get ones that help with quick connect abilities and hydraulics.

What are the overall benefits of grapple attachments?

Your standard rock grapple attachment has a few major benefits that will help you out on the farm or construction site.

Sift debris

When you work outdoors, you can’t go around messing up your soil. A grapple attachment gives you the best chance of removing logs, rocks, and other debris without throwing piles of dirt around your site. Whether you’re growing crops or trying to landscape a property, everything needs to be in the right place. A grapple helps that happen.

Lift Awkward Loads

When working on the farm, you never have to clean up an even mess. So, if you’re grappling a misshapen log, bundle of sticks or random assortment of brush…it’s not going to look pretty. Would you rather have an attachment can handle those ugly messes or spend your time trying to fit everything into a closed bucket?

Save Time

All attachments are meant to reduce the amount of work the old ways took to achieve. Reducing time consumption means you can get more work. More work being accomplished means more profit and easier times all around. Who doesn’t want that?

Increase ROI by making work faster

You can increase your return on investment in a variety of ways. None so much faster than getting more work done at your business.

What are the factors that determine your grapple’s quality?

Grapple quality is determined by everything that makes up the attachment’s construction

How strong are the tines?

Grapple tines need to be strong. But, how do you know their strength? The capacity of grapple buckets is clearly labeled and lets you know the limits of your lift. When looking at the raw materials involved in the grapple bucket of your choice look for clear-cut steel.

How is the grapple reinforced?

Reinforced grapple attachments support clearing debris and other obstructions. When buying a grapple, you’re looking for a design that allows for a heavy and non-uniform lift. Ask questions and study the layout to make sure it can lift for years to come without collapse.

From the smallest of parts to the even smaller part of parts

We’ve talked a ton about the various overlooked components in a grapple attachment. But make sure your future grapple seller can answer the questions. Where are the hoses, couplers, and other necessary add-ons? What more will I need in the future, and can it be added? These are the questions to ask.

I have a sub-compact tractor; can I use a grapple attachment?

Sub-compact tractors are becoming a common site on farms and construction sites. So, why don’t more people use attachments with them?

Do I need hydraulics with a grapple on a sub-compact tractor?

Hydraulics and the smaller components are still needed for sub-compact tractors.

Who are the top brands for grapple attachments?

There are many brands that make grapple attachments. But, how do you know which are the best?

Titan Attachments

Titan is becoming the ubiquitous brand for grapples and other skid steer attachments. Stop by and check out their continually top rated equipment.

HLA Attachments

HLA Attachments is another one of those large manufacturers specializing in skid steer attachments. Their grapple selection is the ideal layout of every possible option for your work needs.


When you first see an Artillian attachment, the modular nature of their equipment stands out. But that’s a good thing, as each section of clamps and grapple components work together. From the hydraulic manifold to the multiple cylinders, everything works to support the frame.


Virnig is a big name when it comes to making grapples for tree industry contractors and other landscapists. While they are most famous for their Large Capacity Skeleton Grapples and massive V60 Root Rake Grapples, they make a ton of equipment.

Stop by Virnig MFG today to see what best suits your operators. Control loads like no other with Virnig.

Messer Repair (MRF)

Messer Repair has been self-manufacturing a wide variety of skid steer attachments in rural Minnesota. The selection is a little smaller than the rest of this list, but it’s American made steel grapples and attachments that favor hard work.

Everything Attachments

Everything Attachments is a manufacturing website that offers a wide variety of attachment products for all purposes. Their grapple selection is on par with their massive excavator and tractor offerings. Their grapples are light weight and are designed super strong.

Everything Attachments’ grapples for skid steers and tractors are available in compact, utility, and full-size tractor formats.

Is there anything I might be forgetting about grapples?

Well, there comes a point with equipment advice that you fear repeating yourself. You’ll always worry that you’re missing critical information when dealing with fellow farmers, construction workers, manufacturers, and brands. So, what can you do to cover all bases?

Well, let’s make it personal for you. As either a hobby farmer first getting into attachments or an older farmer tuning up their tractor, you have basic needs to address. Some of us might have uneven land plagued by down tree limbs and natural creek rocks. Others will have unsightly vegetation, roots and natural brush that crops up annually.

When you worry about forgetting some aspect of a grapple, consider what you are doing now. You’re in the market for a grapple because there is a need to make work easier for your farm or related business.

Look around your work site right now. How much time are you losing to the same tasks dragging on forever? Do you have roots and debris that a tractor bucket by itself can’t remove? Are you breaking down your tractor parts due to the strain of doing something it’s not meant to do daily?

If any of these things are happening to you or are they a fear of possibly happening, then you need to go ahead with your decision to buy a grapple. If you follow our guidelines and advice here, you can rest well assured that you’ll find a great grapple.

How do I choose a dealer and manufacturer to support my grapple purchase?

At Fastline, we see many dealers sell grapples. However, what is there to help differentiate the best of the best? The answer is simple, but lengthy. So, let’s walk you through a last minute of list of how to choose the best grapple dealer.

  1. Know your immediate needs for your farm, construction site, landscaping area
  2. Understand that there are many grapples on the market, so identify the options with the most ROI for you.
  3. Stay within a budget, but with your mind on things you can add to your grapple attachment plans in the future.
  4. Have the grapple inspected and acknowledge what might be missing from your ideal piece of equipment.
  5. Once you satisfy those areas, go ahead with a purchase.