On The Level: The Top 5 Construction Attachments for Excavating
On The Level: The Top 5 Construction Attachments for Excavating

The Top 5 Construction Attachments for Excavating

Efficiency is always important on the job site, and attachments are one way to help you get more done in less time. We sat down with Tom Gardocki, AKA The Dirt Ninja, to learn about his top five construction attachments for excavating and how they’ve helped his crew be more productive at work.

Caitlin Maddock-Bahr | Social Media & Content Manager

If you’re looking for ways to be more efficient on the excavating job site with the machines you have, construction attachments might be the answer. They can help you get more done in less time and with fewer resources, making them the perfect work companion. I spoke to Tom Gardocki, AKA The Dirt Ninja, about the top five construction attachments for excavating that he uses as co-owner of New Era Excavation, LLC and how attachments have helped his crew improve both the final product they deliver to their customers and how efficient they are on the job.

Why Invest in Construction Attachments?

For Tom and his crew, a typical day could include everything from pulling stumps to excavating for a foundation to prepping and laying the gravel for a driveway to installing septic or sewer system hookups. And as one of a team of three, he wears many different hats on the job, so he needs tools that can help him and his crew be versatile.

“The attachments allow us to do the same amount of work in a week as a six- to eight-person company with just three people,” says Tom. “Every time I rent equipment that doesn’t have attachments, I know that if I’d had them, I would’ve finished the job earlier.”

Tom owns three excavators and a wheel loader, and has a number of attachments, especially for the excavators, including tilt rotators, a regular digging bucket, a tilt grading bucket and a hydraulic hammer. His excavators also come equipped with 2D grade control systems, which have been a game changer for him and his crew.

“I won’t buy an excavator without a grade control system,” Tom explains. “It keeps me from having to hop in and out of my machine to check grade if I’m working by myself and can free up my crew to work on something else.”

Top 5 Attachments

Tom’s Top 5 Construction Attachments for Excavating

Because Tom has so much experience working with different attachments on the job, I asked him to narrow it down to his top five that he can’t live without.

  1. Tilt Rotator

    Tom's top attachment that he couldn't live without is the tilt rotator.

    “We use the tilt rotator on pretty much every project we work on,” he says. “When you run a machine that doesn’t have one, you wish you had one!”

    Tom and his team have a variety of different attachments they can use with their tilt rotators, including plate compactors, compaction wheels, frost rippers and root rakes.

    “One of the best attachments we have for the tilt rotator is the plate compactor,” he states. “It saves us an unbelievable amount of time and helps us deliver faster and better results for our customers.”

  2. Grade Control Systems

    Whether you use a 3D or 2D grade control system for your skid steer loader or excavator, Tom finds them to be an extremely useful tool.

    “My parents own a Cat® 305.5 for their landscaping business and I work with them a few days a week,” says Tom. “The 2D grade control system their mini excavator uses has the same efficiencies as what you’d get with big machines – nobody has to check grade, nobody has to hop in and out of the machine.”

    He also finds that grade control systems are crucial for accurately pricing your work.

    “Say you quoted the job for six inches of gravel and you dig out to six inches of gravel, you’ll use exactly what you quoted,” Tom notes.  “Without grade control, you could dig two inches too deep and you now have to haul in extra material that you didn’t quote.”

  3. Regular Tilt Bucket for Excavators

    Tom and his team use a regular tilt bucket for grading ditches, swales and yards and they find that it’s a huge step up from a standard bucket.

    “It’s better than not using a tilt bucket because if your machine is on an angle but you’re trying to grade something level, you can angle the bucket back to level to achieve the grade you’re looking for,” he says.

  4. Power Box Rake for Skid Steer Loaders

    The power box rake is another handy and versatile attachment for skid steers.

    “We use them to prepare lawns for seeding, but you can also tear out old lawns, rip up grass and can use them on gravel driveways to resurface them,” Tom notes.

  5. Box Blade Attachment for Skid Steer Loaders

    Tom finds the box blade attachment a simple one that is pretty versatile, especially for things like spreading gravel and loam or grading yards.

    “It does a great job of leveling out material and smoothing things off,” he says. “It’s kind of one of those dummy-proof attachments, so it’s great for less experienced operators who are still looking to put out a good product.”

Construction attachments can help make you much more efficient and versatile on the job, but the best part is that they can open you up to new types of work, especially when it comes to seasonal work such as snow and ice removal.

“You already have the machine, so getting some attachments will prevent you from having to get another machine on site,” says Tom. “You’ve already spent the money on the machine, so why don’t you add versatility through an attachment so the extra machine you used to use on-site can do another job?”

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Blog author Caitlin Maddock-Bahr

Caitlin Maddock-Bahr

Social Media & Content Manager

Caitlin Maddock-Bahr exercises her storytelling expertise as a social media & digital strategy manager. In this role, she not only helps Caterpillar connect with their audience, but helps customers connect with the brand.