Coleman Equipment & Parts Hotline: 877-851-3647

Selecting the Right Bucket Tooth System

Few components of a loader, backhoe or excavator can do more to help or hinder your productivity than the teeth on the bucket. So, how can you wade through the multitude of choices on the market today? The key is to match the tooth and the adapter, or shank, to your machine and work.

First – How is the tooth made?

  • Forged Teeth are made from high quality alloy steel. Heat treated to offer maximum resistance to wear and impact. Over 50% more wear life over fabricated teeth.
  • Cast Teeth are made from austempored ductile iron. Heat treated to offer maximum resistance to wear and impact. A cost effective alternative to the standard forged tooth, strong and lightweight in design. Self-sharpening.
  • Fabricated Teeth are made from alloy steel. Through hardened for resistance to wear and impact. Self-sharpening.

Second – How is the tooth designed?

The shape of the tooth determines it’s life and use. Each tooth will have varying degrees of three factors. Matching the right level of these factors to your job will enable you to work as productively as possible.

Wear Life:

The ability to withstand wearing, scouring and abrasive action of the material being handled. Wear life is obviously determined by the construction and the material of the tooth, but just as important is its shape. The shape of the tooth determines how much wear surface comes in contact with the dirt or other material being dug or loaded. The more wear surface a tooth has, then the longer that tooth will last before it needs to be replaced, however teeth with a lot of surface area don’t always have the most efficient penetrating surface and can make it more difficult for the bucket to power through hard, compacted ground. Teeth with high wear life may be more appropriate for loading and material handling applications due to their long life, whereas for digging and trenching high penetration and impact is usually more important.


The ability to penetrate tough material, when it’s tightly compacted, rocky or frozen. The best penetrating tooth is typically a sharp pointed end, often referred to as a Tiger Tooth. Teeth with high penetration that also have high impact are best suited to digging and trenching applications as they enable the bucket to more easily penetrate material. However, they are not always the best tooth for providing a smooth bottom to a hole or trench and you should weigh the full needs of your job when choosing a tooth system.


How well the tooth stands up to penetrating shocks and high breakout forces. Simply put, how sturdy is the tooth and how will it hold up on a powerful digging machine. Teeth with high impact are best suited for digging and trenching applications when using an excavator, backhoe or other machine with high breakout force.

As you look at bucket teeth on our site we have tried to rank each tooth in these three characteristics on a scale of – Low, Medium, High, Very High. Hopefully this will allow you to make a more informed decision when selecting a tooth system for your job needs. As always, if you have questions please call (913)422-3040 or e-mail us and we can assist you.

Third – Choose the right retention system

The way you mount the tooth to the adapter(shank) can determine how firm the tooth will stay over time. It will also determin how easy the tooth is to replace when worn.

  • Flex pin – Horizontal: Flex pins are two steel forgings that have a neoprene rubber in between. As you pound the pin through, it squeezes the neoprene and that holds the tooth up on the adapter. Installed and removed properly, Flex pins can be re-used up to 10 times.
  • Flex pin – Diagonal (Rhombic System): Using a slightly longer flex pin than the horizontal mounting system. The Rhombic system mounts the tooth and flex pin at a 45 degree angle. This makes installation and removal as easy as the vertical system while providing the strength of the horizontal system.
  • Roll pin – vertical: This looks like a steel coil. The pin is pounded down through the top rather than through the side. Roll pins are not re-useable and must be replaced new with each tooth installation.
  • Crimp on: The sides of the tooth itself are crimped into impressions on the adapter. This is a more cost-effective option for smaller less-powerful machines