Skid Steer Loader – Everything You Should Know In 2023

skid steer loader


Skid steer loaders are the common construction machines used in almost every job site. If you are confused about what kind of equipment could satisfy different applications, you must try skid steer loaders for your projects. Like excavators, these loaders come in different types with multiple functions. All you need to do is know your requirements and choose the right supplier.

But wait! do you even know about the basics of a skid steer? If you have no idea about it, don’t worry. Because this blog has everything that you should know about a skid steer. Let’s continue reading and exploring people’s favorite equipment; skid steer machine.

What Is Skid Steer Loader?

It is also known as skid steer, SSL, or skid loader. It is a rigid-frame, small, engine-powered machine equipped with lift arms. You lift the arms with multiple attachments to complete different jobs. It may consist of two tracks or four wheels to run on the ground.

If you got a wheel loader, you should know that the right-side wheels of the loader are independent of the left-side wheels. This is possible due to two independent and separate transmissions; one for left-side wheels and the other for right ones. Forward and reverse clutch drives were used in the earlier versions of skid steer machines.

radial lift loader

It is important to note that the modern skid steer machines built and designed since the 1970s use two independent hydrostatic transmissions. Skid steer loaders, like micro diggers or excavators, are used for multiple purposes. It is a lightweight and maneuverable machine with different attachments.

Keeping in mind the structure of your skid steer equipment, you may think about how to turn it. It is possible when the operator increases the speed of the wheels on one side. It drags or skids the wheels across the ground when rotating in the opposite direction. This process is known as the steering function. Experts named the skid steer due to this function.

Important Fact: A skid steer loader can’t turn with the help of wheels. It is because the right and left sides have different engines to function properly.

john deere loader arms and lift capacity

Skid Steer Attachments

  • Augers
  • Backhoe
  • Snow Bowlers
  • Tiller
  • Wheel Saw
  • Cement Mixer
  • Wood Chipper
  • Pallet Forks
skid loaders attachments

Applications Of Skid Steer Loaders

As mentioned earlier, skid steer machines also contain multiple applications, like mini excavators. You can do various tasks at your construction site using this construction equipment. But this highly versatile machine can do multiple jobs only through the help of different attachments.

The interesting part to note about a skid steer machine is that sometimes people use it in place of a large excavator. The steer loader contains digging power equal to the large excavator. At the same time, it is also interesting to remember that the applications of a skid steer machine depend on its size. It exists in small, medium, and larger machine sizes.

rated operating capacity with specialized buckets and lift height

Some applications are given below:


Skid steer machines are good at landscaping tasks, and you can also earn profit by performing landscaping tasks. Some tasks that come under the landscaping category are:

  • Wood chipping
  • Tree spading
  • Trench digging
  • Stump grinding

Using bale spears and white pallet forks, you can also use them for farm work and warehouse tasks.

Excavation & Construction

Sometimes, it is tricky to choose the right equipment for excavation projects. But these machines make it easy for you to perform excavation. However, it is important to remember that you must choose the right attachment to perform any job. Ripper, tiller, wheel saw, and trencher can be your best attachments.

These machines can fit easily with cement mixers and pavement millers. But make sure you choose the right weight and size. The machine may fluctuate on choosing an attachment larger than the required size or weight.

Trenching & Digging

Trenching and digging are the two most important applications of skid steers. It also contains attachments that are suitable for trenching and digging purposes. For example:

  • Auger
  • Trench Digger
  • Backhoe

All these attachments function differently, making it easy to complete the projects. However, make sure that your machine is serviced and maintained correctly.

heavy equipment spreading materials on hard surfaces

Clearing Snow

It is the least important application of skid steer. If you want to shovel the pesky snow from your driveway, You must consider a few things listed below:

  • Use a snow blade attachment or snow bowler
  • Do it with care and proper training.

Apart from all these applications, some other applications are:

  • Materials transportation or handling
  • Property or site development
  • Underground construction
  • Leveling or earthmoving
  • Interior demolition
  • Post-hole digging
  • Debris removal
  • Heavy lifting, etc

Tracked Vs. Wheeled Skid Steer

Skid steer machines are radial lift machines that you can find in two main types; tracked steers and skid steers. Let’s discuss both types below:

Tracked Skid Steers

Before digging into the explanation of tracked steers, it is important to note that these machines were invented after the wheeled version. The wheeled excavators had some serious limitations resulting in the invention of tracked loaders. They have a broader weight distribution due to the availability of two tracks.

The broader weight distribution of these skid steer machines makes them ideal for snowy, wet, or muddy ground. They don’t sink into wet surfaces but rather float over them. If you want a smoother ride, you should select a tracked skid steer over a wheeled loader.

However, you should think twice before using a tracked loader on asphalt or concrete. A tracked machine can easily tear up concrete or asphalt surface.

tracked vs wheeled SSL

Wheeled Skid Steers

Wheeled SSLs can work perfectly on asphalt or concrete surfaces, unlike tracked skid steers. They have the ability to move faster on these types of surfaces. Therefore, you can cover more ground in less time by using the wheeled SSLs.

Wheeled loaders are capable of working on landscape surfaces in a much better way. The best part about them is that they are cheaper than tracked SSLs.

Note that the weight of this SSL is distributed on four contact points. It indicates that these SSLs can sink into snowy or muddy surfaces. But the best part is that you can maintain them easily. The reason behind cheap and easy maintenance is that wheels are less expensive than tracks.

Tire wear happens faster than tracks in the case of wheeled SSLs.

Simply put, tracked SSLs are the modern version of skid steer equipment, while wheeled SSLs are the older versions.

tracked vs wheeled SSL

Advantages & Disadvantages

Although skid steers are known for their popularity in construction sites, they have some pros and cons. You can read the as under:


It is a versatile machine that can perform multiple tasks at your site. You can purchase it either in wheels or tracks. This machine consists of incredible features. Some advantages are:

  • Great maneuverability
  • Operator Comfort
  • Great Visibility and Control
  • Safety Features
  • Easy to maintain
  • Portable
  • Easy to access
  • Ease of use
  • Attachments and flow rate
  • Compact track loaders


The disadvantages of skid steers can also be judged according to their types. For example:

  • A wheeled skid steer has more chance of tires popping up on rough roads.
  • Wheeled skid steer may also sink into the muddy ground.
  • While a tracked SSL may damage a concrete or asphalt surface.
  • Tracked SSLs require more cleaning and maintenance; hence, they are more expensive.
  • Tracks are difficult to replace if they get damaged as compared to wheels.
different kinds of skid steer loaders

Categories Of Skid Steer Machines Based On Weight

Choosing the right size and weight of your SSL is better to ensure optimal performance. It is important to note that the features and specifications of each size may vary according to your manufacturers. Three main categories of SSL are:

Small Frame Skid Steers

These skid steers are also known as mini or compact skid steers that you should prefer for minor projects. The small frame skid steers are ideal for projects like post-hole digging, moving materials, trenching, leveling, etc.

Medium Frame Skid Steers

The medium-frame skid steer is the right choice if you require tight maneuvering to get the job done. Using this skid steer, you can perform the jobs regarding the management and construction of materials. But you need to have a little more space to use this machine. It is because the machine carries a more significant weight than a small frame skid steer.

Large Frame Skid Steers

These are larger machines that you use for heavy-duty projects. Larger demolition, grading work, and digging are some most common projects you carry with large-frame skid steers.

How To Choose The Right Skid Steer Equipment?

It has always been a question for beginners to choose the right loader. But you can do it by focusing on some simple factors.

  • First of all, you must choose the right size. And choosing the right size requires you to analyze the job and construction site conditions.
  • Skid steer machines are also named vertical lift machines or radial lift machines for a reason. They consist of lifts with different capacities. You must assess the lifts of the skid steer.
  • You should know about the controls of a loader. It is essential to be an expert at operating it. You can learn it by using the user manual.
  • Perform an assessment of other functional features of your skid steer attachments.
  • Make sure you deal with the right manufacturer and company.
full lift height rear loader


Knowing your requirements for skid steer loaders is not the only thing to do. You should also choose the right supplier of skid loaders. Contact Us now if you want to purchase your SSL from a highly-reliable Chinese manufacturer. You can check our product category here below, the compact tracked and wheeled skid steers, and full-sized skid steers with cabins are all available.

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