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The Best Skid Steer Brands For Your Jobsite

The Best Skid Steer Brands For Your Jobsite

A skid steer is a compact piece of heavy equipment that pairs with multiple attachments, though a bucket is most common. It gets its name from the way it turns — the wheels are fixed in a straight line and they rotate at different speeds to turn, causing the machine to skid.

Because of this, skid steers have a zero-degree turning radius, making them ideal for tight spaces. The versatility of a skid steer allows them to be used for multipurpose projects involving digging and hauling, such as construction and landscaping.

When deciding on a skid steer, you’ll have your choice of well-known brands including:

  • ASV
  • Bobcat
  • Caterpillar
  • CASE
  • Gehl
  • John Deere
  • JCB
  • Kubota
  • New Holland

In this post, we discuss the top skid steer brands, skid steer models, and how to choose the right one for your next project.

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Founded in 1983 by Edgar Hetteen and Gary Lemke, ASV created the Track Truck as its first innovation. The company added skid steer loaders to the product line in 2008. In 2020, ASV released the MAX-Series skid steer premium machines. ASV products are designed to provide productivity on almost any jobsite by offering machines with faster speed, higher ground clearance, less ground pressure, and more traction.

ASV has two types of skid steer loaders, the RS and VS models.

Model Horsepower Rated Operating Capacity Operating Weight
RS-75 74.2 hp 2,600 lb 7,595 lb
VS-75 74.2 hp 3,500 lb 8,910 lb



Bobcat (previously known as Melroe Manufacturing) actually made the first skid steer. In 1957, they bought the rights to a front-end loader invented by two brothers in Minnesota and brought them on board to refine it. Production started in 1958. The North Dakota–based company has a line of skid steers with rated operating capacities (ROC) ranging from 760 to 2,000 pounds.

Bobcat accounts for about 40% of the global market for skid steers, making it the industry leader. It boasts a powerful hydraulics system, rear cab isolators to minimize sound, a touch display, superior lift arms, an improved cooling system, and effective weight balance.

Bobcat has a total of 13 models of skid steer loaders divided into three series, the M2, M3, and R.

Model Horsepower Rated Operating Capacity Operating Weight
M2-Series (S70–S850) 23.5 hp–100 hp 760 lb–3,950 lb 2,892 lb–10,237 lb
M3-Series (S450–S770) 49 hp–92 hp 1,370 lb–3,350 lb 5,370 lb–9,314 lb
R-Series (S62–S86) 68 hp–105 hp 2,100 lb–3,400 lb 6,884 lb–9,728 lb



Cat skid steers have a reputation for being reliable, powerful, versatile, and easy to use. They come equipped with an electronic throttle and intelligent leveling (ILEV) system and have an excellent hydraulic system and ground-level serviceability.

The company is the overall industry leader in construction equipment manufacturing. Its skid steers range from 67 to 110 horsepower, with operating capacities ranging from 1,550 to 3,700 pounds. Radial- and vertical-lift designs are available.

Caterpillar has made skid steers since 1999 and offers eight D3 models.

Model Horsepower Rated Operating Capacity Operating Weight
D3–D3 XE (226D3–272D3 XE) 67.1 hp–110 hp 1,550 lb–3,700 lb 5,849 lb–9,573 lb



CASE is one of the largest construction equipment manufacturers in the world. It merged with New Holland in 1999. CASE has manufactured skid steers since 1969, first in Iowa and then in Wichita, Kansas. Its machines are popular for landscaping and agricultural material handling, ranking among the top three snow and ice removal companies in North America.

CASE users find advantages in the brand’s engine protection, economy mode, auxiliary hydraulics, easy maintenance, and control options.

The company’s eight B Series skid steer models offer horsepower ranging from 60 to 90 and a rated operating capacity of 1,600 to 3,400 pounds. They come with a wide variety of attachments ranging from rakes to augers, from hoes to post drivers to tree shovels.

CASE offers eight B Series skid steer models.

Model Horsepower Rated Operating Capacity Operating Weight
SR Series (SR160B–SR270B) 60 hp–90 hp 1,600 lb–2,700 lb 5,645 lb–8,117 lb
SV Series (SV185B–SV340B) 60 hp–90 hp 1,850 lb–3,400 lb 6,570 lb–9,100 lb



Founded in a small blacksmith shop in West Bend, Wisconsin in 1859, Gehl is now a worldwide equipment company known for reliability and innovation. They offer a total of 11 skid steers to choose from, with a product lineup that includes track loaders, articulated loaders, and telescopic handlers.

Gehl has six radial lift skid steers and five vertical lift skid steers. Below are the ranges of the radial lift models and vertical lift models, from smallest to largest.

Model Horsepower Rated Operating Capacity Operating Weight
Radial Lift (R105–R260) 33.1 hp–70.7 hp 1049 lb–2599 lb 4,200 lb–8,199 lb (unladen)
Vertical Lift (V210–V330) 71 hp–72 hp 2,100 lb–3,300 lb 6,713 lb–9,090 lb (unladen)


John Deere

John Deere, based in Moline, Illinois, has skid steers ranging in weight from 6,140 to 10,000 pounds and horsepower from 65 to 100. Rated operating capacities range from 1,750 pounds to 3,600 pounds. A large selection of attachments is available, including brooms, buckets, grapples, planers, plate compactors, rollers, and snow attachments.

John Deere has skid steers that are built for heavier attachments and have plenty of horsepower. They also offer large and compact machines in wheeled and tracked models such as compact track loaders.

John Deere offers six skid steers. Below are the ranges of the GR and G models.

Model Horsepower Rated Operating Capacity Operating Weight
GR Series (316GR) 65 hp (gross) 1,750 lb 6,180 lb
G Series (318G–332G) 65 hp–100 hp 1,945 lb–3,600 lb 6,542 lb–10,000 lb



JCB began in 1945 building agricultural tipping trailers and eventually turned into a global equipment manufacturer. Responsible for creating the world’s first backhoe loader in 1953, JCB eventually created the world’s safest skid steer in 1993. The company has grown over the past 75-plus years, now totalling 11,000 employees and 22 plants total globally.

JCB has four skid steer loaders, including both vertical and radial lifts.

Model Horsepower Rated Operating Capacity Operating Weight
Teleskid 3TS-8W–270 56 hp–74hp 1,550 lb–3,201 lb Unlisted



Japan-based Kubota received Equipment Watch’s “Highest Retained Value Award” for 2021. Every model comes standard with a suspension seat and two-speed engine, so you can move from 7 to 11 miles per hour at the flick of a switch.

Kubota’s line of models includes wheeled and tracked loaders that range from just over 64 horsepower for compact equipment to more than 96 horsepower. Some are made for tight spaces, others for breaking through tough obstacles, and still others to emphasize maneuverability. Machines can be paired with a variety of hydraulic and non-hydraulic attachments.

Kubota has two skid steer loaders.

Model Horsepower Rated Operating Capacity Operating Weight
SSV Model (SSV65–SSV75) 64.0 hp–74.3 hp 1,950 lb–2,690 lb 6,790 lb–8,157 lb (open CAB)


New Holland

New Holland has been helping improve farmers’ productivity since 1895. Opened by Abe Zimmerman as an equipment repair shop in New Holland, Pennsylvania, the company began to manufacture agricultural equipment in 1903. New Holland eventually launched its first skid steer loader in 1971.

New Holland now has six skid steers.

Model Horsepower Rated Operating Capacity Operating Weight
L316–L334 60 hp–74 hp (gross hp per SAE J1349) 1,600 lb–2,800 lb 5,645 lb–7,895 lb


Things to Consider When Choosing a Skid Steer

what to consider when choosing a skid steer

Lift Height and Lift Capacity

Lift height and lift capacity are both important considerations in choosing a skid steer. How much you can lift at one time and how high you can lift the load you’re trying to move will determine the best skid steer for your project. Rated operating capacity (ROC) for a skid steer loader is the weight that the loader arms are able to lift to the lift height stated on the machine while remaining stable.

Radial or Vertical Lift

Skid steers employ two different lift arm styles, and you’ll want to choose a piece of equipment that works best for your purposes and on your jobsite.

  • A radial lift is best if you’re planning to dump material over walls, backfill, or load flatbed trucks. It allows you to lift the bucket in an arc, providing greater range or reach at moderate heights (its greatest reach is at the operator’s eye level or below). It also has fewer greased pins than a vertical lift, meaning it’s susceptible to wear at fewer locations and easier to maintain.
  • A vertical lift is designed more for up-and-down movement than for reach. The load remains closer to the body of the machine (and to the machine’s center of gravity). This kind of lift is a good choice for placing pallets of blocks or sod or dumping material into high-sided trucks.

Project Scope

These are some of the types of construction projects a skid steer can be used for:

  • Roadwork: Leveling roadbeds, digging trenches, moving dirt to create fill on hillsides and in other locations where roadbeds need to be created
  • Material handling: Moving material from one place to another, loading it into containers; moving hay and/or manure on agricultural sites
  • Brush clearing: Clearing vegetation away to open up space
  • Grading: Creating level surfaces for roads and at construction sites
  • Backfilling: Moving earth to fill an excavated hole
  • Debris removal: Removing debris that has accumulated at a site after a storm, or due to flooding or neglect
  • Demolition: Using a grapple bucket, hammers, or shears to knock down a structure; because skid steers are strong and maneuverable, they’re often called upon to perform this kind of work.

Hydraulic Systems

Skid steers employ two different types of hydraulic systems: low-flow and high-flow.

The two terms refer to the rate that hydraulic fluid is moved through two hoses in the skid steer. One sends fluid out to the attachments through the skid steer, while the other hose delivers it back to the main piece of equipment so it can go through a filtration system.

  • A low-flow skid steer moves the fluid at a rate of 18 to 25 gallons per minute, while a high-flow system accelerates that to between 30 and 45 gallons per minute.
  • A high-flow skid steer is a more powerful and heavy-duty (and expensive) option used to operate certain attachments that require a lot of power. These attachments include snow blowers and snow removal equipment, stump grinders, mulching heads, cold planers, and accessories for milling.

Again, which kind of skid steer system you need depends on the nature of the jobs you’ll be doing. If you’re going to be engaged in a lot of high-power activity, a high-flow system will be needed; if not, you can safely go with a low-flow, standard system — and save yourself some money in the process.

Engine Type

Before purchasing or renting a skid steer, you’ll want to consider the engine’s power. Look for a model that has enough horsepower for you to help you finish the job quickly. Tougher, more intensive projects generally require larger machines with more horsepower. Also, consider whether the skid steer runs on diesel fuel or gasoline. Most skid steers use diesel, which tends to offer more power and efficiency than gasoline.


The terrain you’ll be working on also impacts the type of loader you need. For instance, skid steers work best on asphalt, concrete, and pavement. Compact track loaders, on the other hand, excel on uneven or soft terrain, like dirt. Wheel loaders have sturdy tires that help them navigate terrain more quickly than many other machines.

Rental Cost

You’ll want to consider the budget for your next project, while keeping in mind the needed lift height and load capacity in mind. BigRentz offers several types of wheel and track skid steer loaders that range in price starting from $210 a day to $315 a day. Note that prices may vary based on your location.

Skid Steer Attachments

types of skid steer attachments

Based on your project, some attachments will work better for certain projects than others. Skid steer attachments are versatile because of the wealth of attachments that are available to customize your machine to perform the job you need to get done.

Skid steer attachments that are available to you include:

  • Backhoes: Available in swivel and fixed-arm models in various sizes with a selection of accessories, backhoes are digging buckets. They’re often referred to as JCBs in the United Kingdom, a colloquial reference to a trademarked brand.
  • Pallet forks: Consisting of two parallel horizontal prongs that extend from the front of the skid steer at ground level, these attachments can be used to lift pallets.
  • Bale spears: Sharp extensions allow operators to spear bales of hay and carry them across open spaces.
  • Brush cutters: These attachments are equipped with blades that allow operators to clear fields of brush and undergrowth.
  • Augers: Attachments such as these can drill post holes, mix and pour cement, or grind stumps, depending on the bit you choose — and a large variety of bits is available.
  • Grapples: If you want to clamp hold of something, there’s a grapple to fit your job, whether you’re working with brush, logs, roots, rocks, or other material. These attachments often resemble jaws with steel teeth.
  • Blades and buckets: These are good for leveling, scooping, and earthmoving.
  • Manure bucket: Manure buckets or grapples allow you to clean pens and perform other work on the farm.
  • Calf corral: This attachment is a handy device for rounding up newborn calves and separating them from their cows. The skid steer attachment is raised over the calf and then lowered to the ground, catching the calf inside.
  • Trenchers: These allow you to dig trenches for drainage, lines, and other material you want to lay in the ground.


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Rent a Skid Steer for Your Next Project

If you’re doing a single job and don’t want to shell out tens of thousands of dollars for a machine and attachments, renting a skid steer is probably your best option. In addition, you can more easily choose a machine that fits the specific needs of that project, whether it’s lifting, loading, grading, snow removal, or forestry tasks like removing stumps.

It’s important to determine which skid steer and which attachments are best for your job, so you can save money, headaches, and hassles getting it right.

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