How Do Skid Steers Work?

Skid Steer Rentals

Skid steers are compact, versatile construction machines that are used most commonly for digging. Despite being lightweight and maneuverable, its arms can attach to a range of tools for a variety of landscaping and construction tasks.

Skid steers either have four wheels or two tracks. In addition to being locked in synchronization, the wheels of each side of the machine are also individually operable. There is no turning of the wheels because their alignment is fixed straight. A skid steer operator turns the machine by increasing the speed of one of the wheels, which causes it to skid or drag as it rotates in the opposite direction. Consequently, it gets its name from this steering function.

Skid steers define themselves by the variety of attachments available, making it possible to perform different tasks with one piece of machinery. A skid steer typically has a bucket as its standard attachment, but it is possible to replace this with any number of other attachments. It is typically used to lift and move heavy materials.

  • Snow Removal – In severe winter conditions, the operator may opt to use the snow blade or snow blower attachment along with the bucket
  • Excavation – Thanks to attachments such as rippers, tillers, trenchers, or wheel saws, skid steers are also capable of excavation work.
  • Construction Building and construction work can be handled using the machine and its cement mixer or pavement miller.
  • Landscaping – Skid steers can be used for landscaping tasks thanks to their stump grinders, tree spades, wood chippers, and trench-digging attachments, while farm equipment and warehouse equipment make use of their pallet forks and bale spears.
  • Trenching and Digging – Furthermore, most people use the skid steer to dig holes with attachments such as backhoes, trench-diggers, and augers (which dig holes like a corkscrew).

There is an attachment for just about every worksite scenario, making the skid steer useful for a wide variety of tasks. Skid steer operators must stay up-to-date on the specific safety and maintenance guidelines associated with both the skid steer itself and the attachments they use.

What is the weight of a skid steer?

The skid steer comes in a few different sizes, each of which is suited to different types of jobs.

  • A skid steer with a small frame weighs up to 1750 pounds and has 50 horsepower. Small-frame models are lighter and better suited for working in tight spaces, making them the ideal choice for interior construction, landscaping, and site development.
  • A mid-frame skid steer weighs 1750-2200 pounds with 50-70 horsepower. When used with its various attachments, a medium skid steer can function as a backhoe or digger in places where those machines would not fit. Having a lighter frame than traditional demolition equipment, the medium-frame skid steer can drive over asphalt and concrete without damaging the surface.
  • A large-frame skid steer can handle loads of over 2200 pounds, with a power rating of over 70 horsepower. Demolition and excavation work can be done with large skid steers. Although many large-scale demolition machines must be transported by semi-trucks, the wheel loader can perform many of the same excavation tasks while still able to maneuver independently around the site.

Is it Better to Buy or Rent a Skid Steer?

The decision to purchase a skid steer is largely determined by how frequently and how big your projects are. It’s also important to note that you will need to make the same decision regarding attachments, which are available separately.

Investing in your own skid steer may be worth your while if you find that you use it almost every time you do a project. However, keep in mind that owning equipment incurs costs of its own – a skid steer requires maintenance and will need to be serviced annually, adding up to over a thousand dollars in cost. In addition, you may need an assortment of attachments for various tasks, some of which will cost thousands of dollars and require maintenance.

Renting a skid steer might make more financial sense if you do not use it frequently. In this way, you can avoid buying attachments for one-time use, and make sure you only pay for the time you use. Contact a Rentalex expert at (813)971-9990 to determine the equipment type, size, and rental period that will best suit your project by understanding your requirements and recommending equipment for that purpose.