Choosing the Best Skid Steer for Your Landscaping Project

By Beacon Funding| May 24, 2024| 202 Views
Choosing the Best Skid Steer for Your Landscaping Project

Skid steers are flexible workhorses that, by increasing productivity, may aid in the rapid and profitable growth of your business. Before making an investment, it's a good idea to get familiar with the machine's fundamentals so you can decide which option best suits your goals as a business or project.

Prior to purchase, it is important to take size requirements, attachment choices, lift type, and working circumstances into account.

In this article…

  1. Skid Steer Frame Size Options
  2. Landscaping Site Matters
  3. Wheels vs. Tracks
  4. Picking the Perfect Machine Specs
  5. The Bottom Line

Skid Steer Frame Size Options

Skid steers can be broadly classified based on their frame size. The model's rated working capacity and horsepower dictate the frame size. Three standard frame sizes exist.

  • Small frame: These skid steers usually have between 40 and 60 horsepower and a maximum operating capacity of 1,750 pounds. One example of a small-frame skid steer is the GEHL R105.
  • Medium frame size: These types had 50–70 horsepower engines and 1,750–2,200 pound operational capabilities. One frame-size example of this kind is the GEHL R190 Gen 2.
  • Large frame: The strongest skid steers are these. Their rated working capacity is at least 2,200 lbs. Similarly, machines like the GEHL R260 have power outputs exceeding 70 horsepower.

Landscaping Site Matters

Pro tip: Always keep in mind that your landscaping job site matters the most when selecting the right skid steer.

A lower frame size can be necessary if your skid steer will be entering any confined spaces. The entire width of the GEHL R105, for instance, is 49 inches without the bucket and 54 inches with it. It can get through the majority of gates because of its small size.

There are two lift types with skid steers: one is radial, and the other is vertical. Radial lifts have fewer internal parts, so they don't require much maintenance. On the other hand, vertical lifts usually offer more lifting power. It might be your best choice if your work requires continuous lifting and heavy loads. Radial lifting is an ideal choice for light lifting and digging.

Attachment Options

The range of skid steer attachment options available on the market is one factor contributing to these machines' versatility. Several possibilities turn your one investment into one that can affordably tackle a variety of work duties.

The varieties of skid steer buckets you may select will depend on your model because not all machines have the power systems necessary to handle every option. To determine the options, you'll need to consider the hydraulic system and horsepower of your equipment.

Some popular skid steer attachments that may suit your needs:

  1. Brush cutter.
  2. Mulcher.
  3. Forestry mulcher.
  4. Tree puller.
  5. Tiller.
  6. Grapple bucket.
  7. Trencher.
  8. Concrete Mixture.

Wheels vs. Tracks

There are two types of skid steers available: wheel loaders and track loaders. Track loaders operate on rubber tracks, whereas wheel loaders utilize wheels. Each has advantages and disadvantages. In the end, though, the choice is typically made dependent on the location and environment.

Wheel loaders

A wheel loader's wheels perform best on firm, smooth terrain. Not only do these surfaces have the highest traction, but a fully loaded car won't harm them either. Wheel loader tires have a smaller surface area than tracks; therefore, maintenance costs are lower.

Track loaders

Track loaders have greater ground contact with tracks than wheel loaders do. As a result, their loads are distributed over a greater region, reducing the possibility that they would harm delicate or beautifully maintained areas. They also perform better on rocky and uneven terrain because of increased stability and traction. Tracks incur higher maintenance costs because of the increased wear and tear caused by their larger surface area. Track loaders are becoming the most common type of skid steer loader because of their flexibility.

Importance of Skid Steers in Landscaping

Skid steers' flexibility, efficiency, and small size have made them indispensable for use in contemporary building projects. Skid steers are perfect for urban and residential building sites where there is little area for movement, as they can readily navigate small locations, unlike bigger construction equipment.

They perform a variety of tasks, such as material handling, rubbish removal, excavation, and grading. Quickly switching between different attachments, such as pallet forks, hydraulic hammers, or buckets, offers features that eliminate the need for many specialized equipment. This lowers operating expenses dramatically and expedites the construction process.

Picking the Perfect Machine Specs

Size and Weight

Skid steers come in three main sizes: small, medium, and large. Each size class has its own weight range.

  • Small Skid Steers (Under 3,500 lbs): These nimble machines are champions of tight spaces. Think backyards, gardens, or areas with lots of obstacles. They might not lift tons of material, but they can squeeze through narrow gates and navigate tight corners with ease.
  • Medium Skid Steers (3,500 - 8,000 lbs): These all-rounders offer a good balance of size and power. They can handle most landscaping tasks, from digging trenches to hauling materials. They're still maneuverable enough for many residential projects.
  • Large Skid Steers (Over 8,000 lbs): These heavy hitters are built for serious lifting and work best in wide-open areas. They're ideal for large-scale projects like land clearing or heavy material movement.

Rated Operating Capacity (ROC)

The ROC is the weight limit your skid steer can safely lift and handle. It's crucial never to exceed the ROC! Think of it like the weight limit on a bridge – overloading can lead to accidents and damage the machine.

Here's the key: Choose a skid steer with an ROC that's higher than the heaviest loads you typically plan to move. This gives you a safety buffer and prevents overloading. For example, if you plan to move large boulders that weigh around 1,500 lbs, choose a skid steer with an ROC of at least 2,000 lbs.

Engine Power and Hydraulic Performance

Just like any powerful machine, a skid steer needs the right engine and hydraulic system to function effectively. Here's what you need to know:

  • Engine Power: A powerful engine is crucial for operating attachments efficiently. Think of it like the engine in your car – a bigger engine provides more power to handle more demanding tasks. If you plan on using heavy-duty attachments like brush cutters or stump grinders, you'll need a skid steer with a strong engine.
  • Hydraulic Performance: The hydraulic system is like the lifeblood of a skid steer. It provides the power to operate attachments. You need a hydraulic system that can deliver enough flow and pressure to run your chosen attachments smoothly and efficiently.

The Bottom Line

Skid steers are significant in the world of heavy machinery because of their adaptable attachment choices and small size, which allow them to do a variety of tasks. Whether you're clearing snow, transporting objects, or digging trenches, a suitable skid steer may make your task simpler and more effective. It is necessary to identify your job site and select your ideal skid steer. We understand that purchasing a skid steer, that too of your choice, can be challenging.

But Beacon Funding is here to provide a solution in the form of rapid and reasonably priced financing intended especially for landscaping skid steers. You may get the tools you need to grow your company without going broke by financing your skid steer. We also offer affordable rental rates for individuals needing a more transient option. Beacon Funding can assist you in realizing the full potential of a skid steer for your landscaping company, regardless of your demands or budget.


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