A skid-steer loader, or more commonly just referred to as a skid steer, is a multi-use small construction vehicle used for a wide variety of landscaping, material handling, agriculture, and construction projects, such as:
- Debris removal
- Grading and backfilling
- Brush clearing
- Material handling in the warehouse
- & more.
Skid-steer loaders get their name because of the way they make turns. These loaders use a type of steering called differential steering, which is helpful for precise turns in tight spaces because of the zero turn radius (the ability to turn within its own footprint).
Are you in the market for a skid steer? Excellent! We’re here to help. Before investing in your skid-steer loader, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Is it the machinery to match the job?
- What size do I need?
- Lift height & reach
- Load capacity
- Engine type
- Hydraulic capacity
- Types of attachments
- New or used
- Make & model
Let’s take a look at each of these considerations!
Is it a Good Match?
Skid steers can carry a lot of tonnage, and are very powerful, versatile machines, but they don’t replace tractors. They’re best used on dry, flat land and surfaces. However, again, they are extremely versatile and can be made even more versatile with customizable attachments. They are a powerful utility vehicle with lots of capacity for many different types of jobs, but they’re just not designed for really rough terrain.
When it comes to evaluating what size of skid steer you need, it really comes down to how you plan to use it: precision work, like landscaping, or big excavation projects? Also, the size you’ll need depends on where you plan to use it and how tight your space will be. Let’s break it down into three categories of frame sizes:
- Small: Are you going to be using your equipment in a tight space (such as in a small warehouse, interior demolition, or some kind of underground construction)? Or, maybe you’re planning to use it for precision work, like landscaping. For applications like this, opt for a smaller frame.
- Medium: With a mid-size frame, you get more power, but still a degree of space efficiency. This is great for digging projects where larger equipment, like a backhoe, wouldn’t fit, but where you still need some good horsepower.
- Large: Whether you’re roadbuilding or doing a large-scale demolition project, the larger-sized skid steers are going to be the way to go. The largest sizes are still considered more compact than other commonly used utility vehicles. However, larger skid steers won’t be super compact, so if you’re looking to work within tight quarters, a smaller frame is the way to go.
Lift Height & Reach
When determining which type of skid steer you want to purchase, you’ll want to consider the way the pivotal arms work: either with a radial lift or a vertical lift. A few key differences:
- Radial lift provides more forward reach.
- This lift is better for tasks requiring lifting materials over a wall, unloading flatbed trucks, or backfilling.
- Vertical lift provides more height and can lift heavier loads than radial lifts.
- This lift is better if you want to keep load closer to the machine and if you want to lift heavy material pallets.
Types of attachments
Attachments help you customize your machinery for the job you want to get done. Skid steers take a wide variety of attachments, including:
- Pallet forks
- Bale spears
- Grading attachments
- Brush cutters
- Calf corral
- Manure bucket & scraper
- Mini excavators
- Hydraulic breakers
- Blades and buckets
- & more!
Again, adding different attachments to your skid steer can make your loader even more versatile. Our team at Papé Machinery Construction & Forestry is happy to help you find the appropriate attachments for your project.
Make sure the skid steer you invest in is a good match for the job you’re trying to finish. The hydraulic flow either comes as standard or high-flow. Standard can handle grapples and augers while high-flow is more powerful, able to operate snow blowers and cold planers. Ask one of our experts if you are unsure about which hydraulic flow you’ll need for the job at hand.
When purchasing your skid steer, you’ll want to ensure it meets EPA’s emissions requirements. Before purchasing a new loader, you’ll want to factor in maintaining emissions requirements as part of the cost-of-operation.
New or used (include inspection)
Before purchasing a skid steer loader, you’ll want to decide if you’re looking to purchase something new or used. If you’re buying used, you’ll want to be sure you’re inspecting the loader before purchase.
Make & Model
When you’re looking for the best skid steer loader for your money, look no further than John Deere, with a long history of being trusted and reliable. Browse our full selection of John Deere skid steers for sale and reach out to us for help finding the right specs for your needs.
We’re here to help you.
At Papé Machinery Construction & Forestry, we have teams of experts ready to help you find the right equipment for your projects. Reach out to us today for questions, or come visit us in store to discuss the best skid steer loader, equipment, and attachments. One thing’s for sure: we’ll make the job easier for you, and that’s our promise.