One of the smallest categories of diesel-powered attachment takers is the compact tool carrier. Sometimes called mini skid steers or compact utility loaders, depending on the manufacturer, compact tool carriers personify the big power and small footprint trend of compact equipment. Even more so, over the last 20-plus years, compact tool carriers have morphed from wheeled, medium-power supplemental equipment to track-driven, spec heavy jobsite project leaders. The size, power and versatility of compact tool carriers have significantly increased sales over the decades to somewhere in the 10,000-units-sold range in 2018.
Today, manufacturers such as Toro, Bobcat, Ditch Witch, Boxer, Triple E Equipment and Vermeer are all selling compact tool carriers. Think of them as skid steers or track loaders without a cab. They use a similar universal quick-attachment plate (some can even wield a skid steer quick-attach plate), they come on wheels and tracks and they have a zero turning radius that’s ideal for tight quarters. Buyers have a bevy of options: stand-on and walk-behind units; hydraulic flow rates from 8 to 16 gpm; gas, diesel and electric engines; wheels or dedicated track undercarriages; and a zillion different attachments (buckets, breakers, brooms, blades, backhoes and box scrapers, and that’s just the Bs).
These units are not necessarily cheap (most falling in the $14,000 to $35,000 price range), so before you choose to buy one, it’s wise to do your homework. To help out, the crew at Compact Equipment started the reconnaissance mission. Over the next several spreads, we’ve compiled product summaries, histories, specs and photography of each manufacturer’s machine line. Compare each product line, visit multiple dealers, test drive several units and find your ultimate mini tool carrier for upcoming work seasons.