Here Are Summaries and Specs for 11 Different Skid Steer Product Lines (Courtesy of the 2022 Spec Guide)
Skid steers are among the oldest and most famous American-made equipment categories. Borne out of the Midwest farming industry in the 1950s and never really that popular outside of North America, skid steers used to be the benchmark for compact hydraulic tool carrier sales in the United States until their compact cousin — the compact track loader — started outpacing skid steer sales. We’ve heard sales for tracked machines were in the whopping 80,000-plus-unit range in America for 2021. Skid steer unit sales were steady at over 30,000 last year.
Skid steers use wheels, while track loaders use tracks. That’s the big difference. Both categories have the ability to run hundreds of attachments off their powerful auxiliary hydraulic systems. High-flow hydraulic systems originated in the 1980s to power larger niche attachments, and today it’s a popular option for high-powered skid steer operations. Flow ranges from 16 to 45 gpm.
Along with hydraulic power, manufacturers have prioritized operator usability, high technologies, increased comfort and improved efficiency over the past several years (along with Tier 4 Final engines). Pressurized cabins, adjustable seats, backup cameras and ergonomic controls make operators feel like they are in the driver’s seat of their own cars. Routine tasks such as boom settings and wheel speeds can be automated with electro-hydraulic (EH) joysticks. Choices abound in style, brand, size and power, but the most important choice might be a vertical- or radial-lift machine. For forklift-type and loading applications, vertical lift does a great job, but heavier digging and attachment applications tend to be better suited for radial lift.
Skid steers can be found in a multiplicity of markets. Farming. Road work. Landscaping. Snow removal. Our personal favorite: Stevedoring — the loading and unloading of cargo ships — which can be done with a skid steer and a remote-control operating system in precarious aggregate-moving applications. Adding to that diversity of applications is an expansive market of at least 11 major brands of skid steers being sold in North America in 2022: ASV, Bobcat, Case, Cat, Gehl, JCB, John Deere, Kubota, Manitou, New Holland and Wacker Neuson.
ASV Skid Steers Summarized
Bobcat Skid Steers Summarized
Case Skid Steers Summarized
Caterpillar Skid Steers Summarized
Gehl Skid Steers Summarized
JCB Skid Steers Summarized
John Deere Skid Steers Summarized
Kubota Skid Steers Summarized
Mustang by Manitou Skid Steers Summarized
New Holland Skid Steers Summarized
Wacker Neuson Skid Steers Summarized
Keith Gribbins is publisher of Compact Equipment.