Top 10 Skid Steer Loaders 2017

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Read our buying advice for skid steer loaders

Skid Steer Loaders Shopping Guide

Skid steer's are vehicles that angle the front wheels to change direction, instead of turning in the way a car would. One set of wheels brakes while the other set brakes in order to turn. This allows for a precise turning radius that is useful for small, confined spaces like warehouses. Skid steers can turn on a dime and are able to complete a turn within the overall length of the vehicle.

When you need a compact, maneuverable and flexible machine for landscaping, manufacturing, construction, recycling and other projects, a skid steer loader is generally the first piece of equipment to turn to. The loaders are built on a set of four wheels placed in close proximity to each other, making the machines stable and flexible. There is typically an engine in the rear and two arms that run along the sides of the cab and connect with an attachment. Attachments can come in many forms and typically include a scooping bucket, forks for moving, a renovation drill and other tools.

The term "Bobcat" is often used to refer to the entire class of skid steers. While any dealer is going to understand what this means, using the generic term will help make you look like a better informed buyer. It also makes it very clear that you're looking for the best value, and not necessarily a specific brand name.

Skid Steer Purchasing Basics

When purchasing a skid steer, there are three considerations that can affect the model you end up buying -- size, dumping height and lift capacity.

Look for an option that has a mix of comfort, visibility and maintenance. A comfortable vehicle makes long jobs more tolerable, vision can help to speed up the work and make it safer. Also, look for a vehicle that is easy to maintain and has readily available parts.

Tire Considerations

Air-filled, foam-filled and solid rubber tires are the three main types of tires available. Air-filled tires are more vulnerable to puncturing, but they offer a good mix between affordability and smooth operation. Foam-filled tires won't get flats, but they are expensive and can cost up to $400 per tire. They are also heavier, which can put added strain on the transmission. Solid rubber tires are thin and never go flat, but they do offer a bumpier rides than the alternatives.

Alternatives

An alternative to a skid steer is a compact truck loader. These machines use a set of treads with skid steer mounted on top. The weight is distributed over a large surface, so they tend to create less damage to the landscaping.

Skid Steer Loader Tools & Attachments

A skid steer loader is a very versatile machine that can be used in a variety of situations. The most basic attachment is the bucket,which can be used to move, pickup and carry loose gravel, soil, mulch and other materials.

Several other attachments are available, including:

There are several other attachments such as trenchers, snow blowers, backhoes, stump grinders, rototillers and mowers. Many companies offer as many as 20 to 50 different attachments. Start with the most critical attachments, and gradually add to your inventory as you determine your needs. Check the attachments specifications to ensure you know how to attach it properly. Not all attachments work in the same way.

Skid Steer Pricing

In general, the prices for skid steers are fairly well standardized across the industry. Expect to pay based on the size and operating capacity. Here are some general guidelines to give you an idea of what to expect:

See what MerchantHunter.com customers say they paid for their skid steer loaders. The actual price you will pay for a skid steer depends on the brand, size, and reliability of the machine. More expensive machines generally last longer and while they cost a little more, they generally pay for themselves over the lifetime of the vehicle in reduced maintenance costs.

Attachment Prices

Attachment prices generally run between $700 to $9100 depending on what you need:

New or Used

Choosing whether to buy new or used depends on how you plan to use the machines. You can save a few thousand dollars by buying used, but it's not worthwhile for companies that use these machines full-time. Used machines have a shorter lifespan, and the money you save usually doesn't justify the cost.,

Skid Steer Buying Tips

The best advice for buying a new skid steer is to get into the vehicle and use it. Many sellers will bring demo models for you to try out. This can help you make the best decision, and give you a feel for how the machine operates. Make sure you know what extras you need before talking with the dealer. Otherwise, you could very well walk away with a lot of attachments you don't need because they were offered as part of a package. Rent attachments that you're not sure you need, and be careful about the types of attachments you purchase in the beginning. You can also buy more attachments at a later date. It's better to stick to the ones you know you will use repeatedly.


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