Choosing a Skid Steer Loader: Factors to Consider

Posted by Keystone Equipment Finance Corp. on Dec 5, 2023 8:53:16 AM

A skid steer loader is an effective, versatile workhorse and is used in a variety of industries, including construction, arbor,...

A skid steer loader is an effective, versatile workhorse and is used in a variety of industries, including construction, arbor, landscaping, and more. Thanks to their small size and agility, you can use them to perform a range of tasks—and in a variety of settings. Whether you’re grading a surface, landscaping, excavating, or transporting materials, especially in small or tight spaces, a skid steer often fits the bill.

Business owners should consider several factors when choosing a skid steer, including specifications, features, and the decision between renting or purchasing. If opting to buy a skid steer, available financing options becomes equally crucial.

How Does a Skid Steer Help on Job Sites?

A skid steer has four wheels and a bucket loader in the front. It also has the ability to make a full 360-degree turn within its own footprint. In other words, you can turn it without moving the vehicle laterally, making it a great machine if your worksite has limited space. Additionally, the front bucket is removable and easily replaced with other attachments, giving you additional flexibility and the ability to use a single machine for a multitude of tasks.


Skid Steer Attachments

Attachments can streamline processes and reduce completion time for tasks. Choosing the best skid steer attachments can be overwhelming because there are so many available options. Here are a few of the common skid steer attachments:


  • Auger
  • Cement Mixers
  • Bucket
  • Blades – Box Blade, Landplane Blade, Grader Blade

Arbor and Landscaping:

  • Tree Shears
  • Brush Cutter
  • Log Splitters
  • Grinders – horizontal or stump grinder

Snow Removal:
  • Snow Blower
  • Snow Pusher

In general, attachments enhance the capabilities and functionalities of skid steer loaders, making them essential tools across a multitude of tasks on a job site.


Advantages Of A Skid Steer Loader     

An essential factor in selecting the appropriate equipment revolves around discovering if a skid steer machine caters to your specific requirements. Some of the key advantages include:

  • Versatility-  The ability to perform diverse tasks in construction, arbor, demolition, and more. 
  • Attachment Capabilities - For instance, you can begin with an auger that bores a hole in the ground and removes smaller stones. Then you could switch to a grappler to grab larger objects. Then you could use the bucket to add extra fill and even out the surface.
  •  Maneuverability- Whether you’re moving hay on a farm, loading goods onto a truck, or removing dirt, your skid steer’s small size enables you to access areas other machinery wouldn’t fit into.
  • Transportation- Their compact size makes them easy to transport. Unlike an excavator and other larger equipment, you can easily drive it onto a trailer and haul it to where you need it.

The benefits of skid steers lie in their versatility, maneuverability, adaptability to different attachments, and their ability to efficiently handle various tasks across diverse industries.

Skid Steer Specifications and Features

As you evaluate which skid steer loader will be best for your needs, consider factors, such as:

  • Lift capacity. While all skid steers have considerable power, some may not have enough base weight to counterbalance extremely heavy loads.
  • Engine size. You may be able to use a skid steer loader with only around 50 horsepower (hp), especially if you won’t need it to lug heavy loads. But if you need to lift heavier loads, consider an engine with a higher horsepower.
  • Hydraulic flow rate. Your hydraulic flow rate determines how much power you can deliver to hydraulic components and which attachments you can use. Flow rates can range from 18 to 25 gpm (gallons per minute), with 45 gpm being the fastest. If you plan to use different attachments like augers, planers, and trenchers, choose a model with a higher flow rate.
  • Cab type. Skid steers are available with enclosed cabs or open cabs. Open cab are less expensive, but enclosed cabs offer more protection for the operator.

Renting vs. Buying

It may be best to rent your skid steer if you think you’ll only use one from time to time. By renting, you also stand a better chance of getting a newer unit each time you need one. Another advantage of renting is that the cost of maintaining and repairing it falls on the rental company.

On the other hand, buying your own skid steer gives you more flexibility. Since this machine can serve so many purposes, many people opt to buy one, knowing they’ll use it for several types of jobs.

Additionally, when you purchase equipment, you can take the equipment depreciation as a tax deduction. And if you use the Section 179 provision, you can take accelerated depreciation and deduct the full cost (up to $1.16 million in 2023) in the first year the machine was put into service.

Financing Options

In the realm of construction equipment, skid steers are one of the most affordable types of equipment. However, once you add attachments and sales tax into the total, the amount required to purchase a new or used skid steer can be daunting. If you don’t have enough cash to pay for the machine outright, or you want to reserve your cash for other expenses, equipment financing can provide you the means to make the purchase.

When selecting an equipment financing partner, it’s important to choose a lender that understands your needs, your industry and the equipment you are buying, and one that will finance both new and used equipment. A knowledgeable lender will help walk you through the process, whether the purchase is a first-time acquisition or you’re simply adding to your fleet.

Keystone Equipment Finance Corp. is a direct, independent equipment finance lender. We’re ready to work with you to make sure you get the commercial equipment finance loan you need to add a skid steer to your operations. Connect with us today to learn more.