A skid steer loader is extremely versatile landscaping equipment with features and attachments that can take your landscaping business to a whole new level.
However, not all skid steers function the same, and choosing the right one will save you money and time.
So before we get to revealing the best skid steer for landscaping, how about we look at some of the most important things to consider first. This way you will be in a better place to tell whether or not the skid steer we recommend is best for you.
How To Choose The Right Skid Steer Loader For Landscaping
When it comes to choosing the best skid steer loader for your landscaping project, you have limitless options. You’ll therefore want to evaluate your choice based on the following:
2. Attachment options
4. Lift height & forward reach
5. Load capacity
6. Engine type
8. Amenities like AC, heating, and noise-reduction technology
9. Hydraulic capacity
Skid Steer Loader Configurations
The skid steer configuration should be one of your primary considerations when choosing a skid steer loader. Because it’s so important, we’ll summarise each type for you because they all perform differently depending on the terrain.
Skid steers with steel tracks are well suited for harsh terrains such as landscapes with rock underfoot, extremely wooded and bushy areas, and ground conditions that are generally very hard.
They may push further on soft ground conditions but because of their weight, it will be hard to keep the skid steer loader afloat as they sink in.
Skid steers with steel tracks are more costly, however, they tend to last longer than rubber tracks despite tackling rough landscape jobs. Make sure you weigh the pros and cons when deciding between steel or rubber tracks.
Rubber tracked skid steers are ideal for grassy, wet, muddy, and generally soft landscapes. They are also ideal for lawns and gardens as they cause less damage to the ground. You’ll need to have tracks with a good tread pattern to avoid debris and stones from getting embedded in the tracks, which may increase the wear and tear on rubber tracks.
Tires are gentler and therefore best suited for landscapes with pavements, concrete, asphalt, and turf.
OTT (Over The Tire) Tracks
Skid steer loaders with OTT tracks give you the best of both worlds. They can be used on any type of terrain, you only need to switch between the tires and tracks as needed. You get to take advantage of the increased traction, footprint, and floatation.
Rubber OTT tracks are particularly best for sensitive landscapes like pavements, parks, golf courses, asphalt, concrete, and lawns with turf that needs to be protected as well as muddy, sandy, hilly, slipper and steep landscapes.
Steel OTT tracks on the other hand are great for landscapes with the harshest of conditions like rocky, dusty, and snowy grounds.
Best Skid Steer Loader For Landscaping
Bobcat, the world’s number one manufacturer of heavy equipment, is the maker of the best skid-steer loader – the Bobcat S650 skid-steer loader.
The popular S650 is a vertical lift loader weighing just 8300 lbs. Compared to many similar skid steer loaders, this particular one has a higher lifting capacity and forward reach potential.
It’s quite compact with a 74 HP diesel-powered engine. This model is very popular with landscapers because of its ability to perform exceptionally well on pavement, asphalt, and concrete surfaces without causing any damage. In addition, it maneuvers pretty well in tight and awkward spaces because of its small size.
The skid steer also comes with some nifty features such as the Advanced Control System that makes it effortlessly easy for the operator to move, lift, dig and grab items. Or the automatic ride control that helps operators not spill material or drop some loads.
Ditch Witch SK1550
The Ditch Witch SK1550 is the second most powerful landscaping skid steer loader in our lineup with 43.5 horsepower. This model has great lifting capacities and can tackle the toughest landscaping jobs despite its compact size.
It’s perfect for all hardscaping jobs as well as softscaping tasks like installing sod or tree planting. It is best suited for landscapes with soft soil, sand, mud, soft grass, and even sandy landscapes.
The loader has an operating capacity of 1,558-lb (706.7-kg) and is powered by a Yanmar twin-turbo diesel engine.
Reasons Why Skid Steers Are Great For Landscaping
Few types of landscaping equipment can maneuver through tight and awkward pathways, but skid steers can easily traverse those narrow spaces you’ll often find on residential jobs.
Skid steers are extremely versatile when paired with the right attachments. You can move materials, lift just about anything, install sod, clear debris, put up a fencing post, plant trees, and clear snow all with just this single piece of equipment.
Skid steer loaders can extract tree stumps and then shred the stump to smaller sizes that can be used for mulching or easily disposed of.
A skid steer loader is a handy piece of equipment and every landscaper should definitely consider getting one. You can even start out by renting from equipment rental companies like Rent1 USA if you’re not ready to buy one or wanted to test it out first.
Dustin Johnson is the marketing manager of FortisHD and an enthusiast in construction and heavy equipment. Construction has been an integral part of his life, and he is proud to be able to continue to build his future in such an exciting industry. Throughout his career, he has been fortunate enough to be involved with many engaging projects and is appreciated and valued for his work with the contracting team.