Get a Grip: Picking and Pairing Grapple Attachments for Skid Steers and Track Loaders

Ignite Attachments

Whether you’re moving rocks, logs or debris, there’s a grapple for any job. These hard-working attachments are designed to assist operators in picking and placing materials of all kinds with ease — and a tight squeeze. While any kind of operator, from a landscaper to a site prep crew, could benefit from adding a grapple to their attachment arsenal, it’s important to find the right style and size for your needs and loader.

As with any attachment, grapple selection will depend on your application and your machine’s compatibility and capabilities. Knowing the size and type of material you’ll be picking up and placing is key in finding the right tool for the job. Since there are different grapple types, any info is helpful is narrowing down a style.

“You’ll need to decide which type of grapple will work best for your application,” says Scott Utzman, attachment program manager at Takeuchi-US. “If you’re handling loose materials like rocks, brush or debris, a root grapple is a good choice. A bucket grapple combines the functionality of a bucket and a grapple, making it particularly versatile. A rock grapple will help you handle larger rocks and heavier debris. You’ll also want to ensure that the grapple attachment is appropriately sized for your skid steer or compact track loader. Consider the grapple’s weight capacity and whether it can handle the materials you’ll be working with most. Check the grapple’s hydraulic flow requirements and ensure that your skid steer or compact track loader can provide the necessary hydraulic power.”

Grapples work in tough conditions handling all sorts of materials, so durability is especially important. Customers should consider the grapple’s steel thickness and yield strength. Operators need a strong attachment capable of handling materials, so the ideal grapple is made from durable materials such as high-strength steel for longevity and reliability. Utzman says that welded construction is often preferable for greater robustness. And don’t forget tine spacing.


“If you’re considering a grapple with tines, the number of tines can impact the attachment’s ability to grip and secure materials,” he adds. “Consider the shape and design of the grapple’s tines or jaws as well. Some are curved for better gripping, while others may have serrated edges for improved traction.”

Although durability is important, just know that a heavier grapple doesn’t always guarantee it’s a better one.

“While it might seem that a heavier attachment equals more durability, that isn’t always the case,” says Darin Gronwold, senior product specialist at Ignite Attachments. “Keep in mind that a heavier attachment can eat into your lifting capacity. Rigorous testing and smart engineering result in a balance between weight and strength. By reserving more of the carrier’s rated operating capacity for lifting and transporting heavy materials, operators can lift more and do more.”

Customer service and support after the sale are also important. Buyers should understand the grapple’s warranty and what’s all covered by the manufacturer. Mike Noward, Werk-Brau’s Southeast regional account manager, says to be sure to consider where the attachment is built and if support will be readily available when it may be needed. The availability of parts is another concern. For example, Noward suggests purchasing a grapple from a manufacturer/dealer that stocks parts and components locally versus one that will need to have them shipped and risk having your attachment down longer.

Looking at maintenance, it’s best to select a grapple that offers easy upkeep. Utzman points out that features like grease points for lubrication and easily accessible components can simplify maintenance tasks.

The Right Fit: Ignite Attachments’ Darin Gronwold Highlights the Company’s Fit Finder

Ignite Attachments offers a free, online tool that’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The award-winning Fit Finder can help you quickly and easily identify the attachments that match your existing equipment. It is backed by over 10,000 specifications analyzed to determine compatibility across most makes and models of compact tractors, skid steer loaders, compact track loaders and mini excavators from all major manufacturers. For more info, visit

Grapple Styles


So, we know what to look for when selecting a grapple, now let’s talk about the different styles available. Whatever projects are on the horizon, there’s a grapple for every application.

General Utility Grapples

General utility grapples are suitable for light construction work and residential projects. These versatile grapples are popular due to their ability to handle a lot of different debris — from moving hay bales, as well as smaller rocks and logs. They’re also ideal for loading and unloading pallets.

Rock Grapples

Worksaver Grapple

This type of grapple is a dependable option for sifting and lifting rocks to clear sites with ease.
“A rock grapple sifts material with closely placed teeth, typically between 2 to 4 in. apart, leaving soil behind,” says Gronwold. “With serrated edges made to scoop and clear rocks, rock grapples make it easy to keep up pastures and clear construction sites. Our rock grapples are available in 62-, 68-, 74- and 82-in. widths.”

Industrial Grapple Buckets

Industrial grapple buckets are made to withstand the toughest, most demanding commercial jobs. Utzman says industrial grapple buckets are built with thicker, high-yield-strength steel and often have a much taller jaw opening to haul more material per load. Operators can choose between 60-, 66-, 72-, 78-, 84- and 90-in. widths.

Bobcat offers a wide range of industrial grapples that easily handle hard-to-manage materials in industrial or construction applications.

“Bobcat’s industrial grapples feature a strong, even biting force across irregular-shaped loads for maximum contact and productivity,” says Olamiposi Agboola, Bobcat marketing specialist. “With seven sizes available, these durable grapples are built for day-in, day-out duty.”

Compact track loaders are the most popular category of compact equipment in America. Learn why with loads of track loader features right here.

Hardscape Grapples

Operators can handle bulky, heavy materials such as concrete, stone, bricks, pavers and other hard materials easily with a hardscape grapple. Utzman says that some hardscape grapples may include features such as rubberized or padded grips to protect the surfaces of hardscape materials during handling, reducing the risk of damage.

Root Grapples


Working in forestry or land management applications? A root grapple may be for you. This attachment is a single-jaw grapple used for digging, raking, piling and loading debris.

“Root grapples boast a superior clamping force to lift and move trees, logs, brush, stumps and other debris,” says Gronwold. “They feature an open bottom that allows dirt to fall through, with slightly wider set teeth — typically 5 to 8 in. — that are used to dig out roots, stumps and sift material. Root grapples are perfect for penetrating the ground, ripping up roots and leaving a clear surface behind.”

Many manufacturers offer a root grapple in a variety of width options. Bobcat’s root grapples are available in six widths ranging from 36 to 86 in. Ignite Attachments’ root grapple lineup features 62-, 68-, 74- and 82-in.-wide models. Gronwold says its 68-in. root grapple is the company’s most popular grapple attachment and is made for heavy-duty work with a wide variety of applications including lifting and moving roots, rock, brush, logs or other debris.

The Kubota by Land Pride root grapple is available in 68-, 74- and 80-in. widths. It boasts a tooth thickness of ½ in. and an upper tooth thickness of ¾ in. — providing strength and durability on the job.

“Most often used by contractors, demolition crews, municipalities, The Kubota by Land Pride Root Grapple offers longer tines on the bottom which is helpful to dig under things and into piles,” says Michael Butler, Land Pride CE product manager.

Log Grapples

Safely transport logs and pipes with log or pipe grapples. These grapples apply even pressure to the load they’re carrying and are typically available in 48- to 72-in. widths.

“Log grapples efficiently handle, lift and transport logs and timber,” says Utzman. “These grapples typically feature sturdy jaws or tines that can securely grip logs of different diameters. The design may include a wide opening for handling multiple logs simultaneously.”

Log grapples are particularly popular in land clearing and site preparation tasks thanks to their ability to remove trees, logs and other debris and haul them onto trucks and processing equipment. The oil and utility industries are also using these durable grapples to haul mats.

Scrap Grapples

Need to securely capture and haul debris away? Scrap or solid bottom grapples are a great choice. These grapples excel in yard waste removal, demolition, recycling and scrap applications. Takeuchi offers five models of its scrap grapple.

“Featuring a jaw opening of 36.9 in., our TSBG60 [61.5-in.-wide] and TSBG66 [67.5-in.-wide] scrap grapples are recommended for use with loaders with a capacity of less than 2,400 lbs,” says Utzman. “The TISG72B, TISG78B and TISG84B models have the same features as the TSBG60 and TSBG66, but they feature a larger 38.3-in. jaw opening and are recommended for loaders with a capacity of more than 2,400 lbs.”

Pam Kleineke is managing editor of Compact Equipment.

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