The scoop on skid-steers

Skid-steer loader (Photo: Takeuchi US)
Skid-steer loader (Photo: Takeuchi US)

When it comes to landscape construction equipment, contractors look to get the most out of their machines, making skid-steer loaders (SSLs) a popular purchase. Skid-steers are a common choice for flat terrain and hard surface applications, including landscaping, site preparation, earthmoving and demolition, according to Lee Padgett, product manager at Takeuchi US.

“As more and more hydraulic attachments are being offered, larger and higher-horsepower machines with high-flow auxiliary circuits offer a more versatile machine with higher return on investment,” Padgett says.

Here are a few more points of interest for those looking to add skid-steers to their equipment fleet.

Skid-steer loader (Photo: Takeuchi US)
Photo: Takeuchi US

Skid-steers offer either radial lift or vertical lift designs. Radial lift designs are recommended for operators who perform more grading and dirt work. According to Padgett, these operators prefer radial lift because it generally has greater bucket breakout force and lift arm forces. Radial lift machines also have excellent midheight reach due to their lift path. Vertical lift is optimal for operators who primarily perform load and carry work and truck loading. Vertical lift has a higher rated operating capacity and better reach at full dump height.

SSLs allow operators versatility with the ability to use a wide array of attachments. They work well in tandem with other machines like compact excavators, says Padgett. Brett Newendorp, landscape market manager at Vermeer, explains that skid-steer attachments can include a leveler attachment to prep the job site, a vibratory plow attachment to pull in landscape lighting wiring, a landscape grapple attachment for placing blocks or trencher attachments for installing irrigation systems.

A note about mini skid-steers

Brett Newendorp, landscape market manager at Vermeer, explains that mini skid-steers can be a useful addition to a company’s fleet. “A compact size gives mini skid-steers the ability to turn in very tight quarters, and contractors should be aware of the various sizes and weights of machines as they look for a mini skid-steer.”

Depending on their trailer, attachments and other loads, contractors can select a mini skid that best fits their trailering configuration.

Other factors to look at are length and width. Depending on a job site’s tolerance, choosing the right mini skid-steer can help a contractor lift more material into a tighter site or go places that many larger loaders cannot.

Abby Hart

Abby Hart

Abby Hart is the former senior editor of Landscape Management. A native Clevelander, she spent 10 years in Chicago, where she was operations manager of a global hospitality consultancy. She also worked as managing editor of Illumine, a health and wellness magazine; and a marketing specialist for B2B publications. Abby has a degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication.

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