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  • Pallet Forks for Tractor Front End Loader Buckets
    Things to consider when evaluating quick attach clamps and pallet forks

    1. Pallet Fork Mounting Options
    2. Features of a Quick Attach Clamp
    3. Evaluating Attach Clamps and Pallet Forks
    4. Video

    Pallet forks for tractor front end loader bucket forks are an extremely useful tool to own. Most tractors do not come with a 'universal quick attach system', which allows an operator to quickly change the bucket forks into pallet forks. Quick attach pallet forks can be mounted on-demand to make moving loads fast and easy.

    Pallet Fork Mounting Options

    If you do not have or cannot purchase a universal quick attach system and find yourself in a position where you need a set of pallet forks on your tractor, you do have another options. You can attach the pallet forks directly to your tractor or front end loader bucket using a chain/binder system where you slide the pallet forks on the bottom edge of the bucket, then wrap two chains around the bucket, securing them with binders to hold the forks onto the bucket.

    The other option is a universal quick attach clamp-on system which is much easier and faster than the chain/binder system. The clamps attach to the front edge of the bucket fork and the pallet forks are then mounted into the clamps in just a few minutes.

    Features of a Quick Attach Clamp

    Refer to this list of desirable features when comparing and purchasing a set of universal quick attach clamp on bucket forks or other quick attach clamp-on products.

    1. Quick attach clamp-on pallet forks should have a "c-clamp pad" type design. Get the largest c-clamp pad possible. The pad is on the bottom or the base of a handle that screws down onto the top of your bucket. Having a large pad makes for a more secure fit and won't damage your bucket. Some brands' clamp-on pallet forks either do not come with a pad or have too small or a non-swiveling pad which will not create a secure fit and in some cases can actually damage the bucket.
    2. pallet forks clamp
      This example shows a good design for a sliding T handle with a swivel pad.

      pallet forks clamp
      This example shows damage done without a swivel pad.

    3. Sliding T Handle. The clamp-on pallet fork attachment should have a sliding T handle design or other type of handle that allows you to securely tighten the clamp to the bucket. The clamp should also allow you to get the pallet forks close to the sides of the bucket. Some clamp-on pallet fork designs use a welded-on handle which will not permit you to securely tighten the clamp or move it out to the sides of the bucket.

      pallet forks clamp
      This example shows a clamp with a T handle and large pad and is a good design.

      pallet forks clamp
      This example shows an old style handle. There is no sliding T handle or swivel pad to prevent damage to the bucket and is a poor design.

    4. Solid Tips. The best clamp-on pallet fork designs will have a solid tip that is flat on the bottom. Any other type will either rust or crush and will make it difficult to pick up your load.
    5. pallet forks tip
      A solid tip won't either crush or rust.

    6. Handles and pads should be easily replaceable.
    7. The stabilizing pad on the back of the pallet forks must touch the bottom of the bucket for a secure fit.
    8. pallet forks clamp

    9. The pallet forks should come with the ability to add on a stabilizer bar, which will keep the forks from turning or moving.

    10. pallet forks stabilizer bar

    11. Pallet forks should have reinforcements both inside and out.
    12. Look for a cutting edge bar stop that wedges on top of the bucket edge.
    13. pallet forks clamp
      2x4 Back Stop Slot.

      pallet forks clamp

    14. The clamp should have a top reinforcement bar.
    15. pallet forks clamp

    Evaluating Attach Clamps and Pallet Forks

    Other things to consider when evaluating quick attach clamps and tractor forks:

    • Select the longest possible working length. This is the area in front of the bucket, also known as the usable area.
    • Match the lifting capacity of the pallet forks with the lifting capacity of your tractor front end loader bucket. With too little capacity, the pallet forks could bend. Getting too much is a waste of money. Just get the capacity you need.
    • Don't try to over-lift with your loader or the pallet forks.
    • A powder coated finish will last longer than plain painting.
    • Keep in mind that price and quality go hand in hand and the wise old adage, "You get what you pay for." Pallet forks are a lifetime purchase.
    • Look for a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee and a Lifetime Warranty.
    • Select a product from a manufacturer with a complete line to choose from. They will usually have new products which mean the manufacturer is continuously innovating and improving their products.
    • Buy from a manufacturer that shows the logos of the U.S. Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
    • Make sure your pallet forks come with a User's Manual and safety instructions. If the manufacturer does not have these available, don't buy their pallet forks. Don't even think about it!

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