"Interior demolition is a good example where these machines excel, as the machine is small enough to access the inside of a building, yet powerful enough to use a hydraulic breaker attachment to demolish concrete and then switch to a grapple to remove the debris," says Rostberg. "Accessing in-between houses built closely together or through backyard gates and fences is another prime example of the usefulness of this size machine."
Some of the biggest names in the world produce skid steer loaders, including Bobcat, New Holland and Kubota. Consider a Boxer mini skid for domestic and small-scale applications, or invest in a powerful John Deere or Caterpillar loader for commercial use. Even if you choose to buy a second-hand machine, you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have bought something built to last.
The original skid-steer loader arms were designed using a hinge at the rear of the machine to pivot the loader arm up into the air in an arc that swings up over the top of the operator. This design tends to limit the usable height to how long the loader arm is and the height of that pivot point. In the raised position the front of the loader arm moves towards the rear of the machine, requiring the operator to move extremely close to or press up against the side of a tall container or other transport vehicle to get the bucket close enough to dump accurately. At the highest arm positions the bucket may overflow the rear of the bucket and spill directly onto the top of the machine's cab.
Usage: Consider all the details of your project and what you expect to use the skid steer for, from loading and hauling to drilling, boring or excavation. How many hours a day will the steer be used, and what are the operating load weights or capacities you'll need to match expected workloads? Does your desired unit have an engine model and horsepower fitting your projected use?
Hammers: Hammers ensure you never have to worry about breaking through hard surfaces on the job again. From sheetrock to concrete, hammers are designed for hard-hitting impact at high blows per minute while absorbing vibrational recoil that may reach the side steer. Many hammers, new and used, even feature automatic shut-off and sound-buffering capabilities for safety and noise control.
Applications that require the extra horsepower, such as dozing work, are also a good fit for large skid-steer loaders. "Basically, the large-frame skid steers are going to do the heavy lifting for a contractor," says Zupancic. "When they need a big machine to do the hard work on a big site, but they still need maximum manueverablity and versatility, they'll turn to a large skid steer."
Opportune financing: Many skid steer dealers offer flexible payment plans and bi-yearly financing terms for those who qualify. At participating Cat dealers, current offers allow you to purchase a new skid steer loader with a two-year standard warranty at 0-percent APR. You can further mitigate financial risks through Cat Insurance, additional services and resources to protect your investment.
Unlike in a conventional front loader, the lift arms in these machines are alongside the driver with the pivot points behind the driver's shoulders. Because of the operator's proximity to moving booms, early skid loaders were not as safe as conventional front loaders, particularly during entry and exit of the operator. Modern skid loaders have fully enclosed cabs and other features to protect the operator. Like other front loaders, it can push material from one location to another, carry material in its bucket or load material into a truck or trailer.