A skid steer is small-engine, multifaceted equipment used mainly for digging. The skid steer is light and can maneuver in all terrains. A skid steer’s arms can be attached to various tools to use in landscaping or construction projects.
A skid steer comprises either four wheels or two tracks. The front and rear axles of each side of a skid steer are locked and work simultaneously. However, you can operate the axles separately from the wheels from the skid steer’s opposite side.
The wheels of a skid steer are fixed in a straight alignment and do not turn. You can only ride a skid steer machine by increasing the speed of the wheels on one side. Increasing the speed causes the wheels to skid or drag across the ground surface as the skid steer rotates in the opposite direction. The skid steer machine derives its name from this steering function of its wheels.
How Does a Skid Steer Work?
You can drive a skid steer on either wheels or tracks. Wheels are best suited for use on even and hard grounds. Wheels make a skid steer superior hence cannot be easily challenged. A skid steer driven on wheels will be attached to the most suitable attachment option and used on tasks such as landscaping, renovation, or demolition. Wheels tend to wear less and move faster hence making them more economical.
You can drive a skid steer on tracks for use on challenging grounds such as uneven grounds, muddy, sandy, sloppy, or wet areas, and areas covered by snow. Skid steers driven on tracks are best suited for challenging grounds since the equipment’s entire weight is distributed over a large surface, hence increasing stability. Working with a skid steer driven by tracks also makes it possible to maneuver in poor conditions such as narrow spaces. In turn, it will boost your productivity.
If you are working on a project that needs a skid steer, you can either choose to buy or rent. Buying a skid steer will be a suitable option if you do long-term projects at a high frequency. It is, however, cheaper to rent a skid steer if your projects are short-term and come by once in a while.
Types of a Skid Steer
Skid steers differ in terms of size and weight. Depending on the skid’s size and weight, it is suited to work best on different job types. The types of skid steers that you will encounter in the market include:
- Small-frame skid steer
A small-scale skid steer weighs less than 1750 pounds and has a horsepower of less than fifty. It is the lightest skid steer model. The lightweight of a small-frame skid steer makes it maneuver easily in tight places. The small-frame skid steer is best suited for landscaping, site development, and interior works.
- Medium-frame skid steer
A medium-frame skid steer weighs between 1750 and 2200 pounds. The horsepower is between fifty to seventy. A medium-frame skid steer can be attached to various attachments and used either as a backhoe or digger in places where it is hard for other machines to fit. The weight of a medium-frame skid steer is lighter than traditional machines used for demolition. Due to the lightweight, you can equip a medium-frame skid steer with tracks or tires to drive it over concrete or asphalt surface without causing damage.
- Large-frame skid steer
A large-frame skid steer weighs above 2200 pounds and has a horsepower exceeding seventy. A large-frame skid steer is best suited for large-scale excavation and demolition projects. Unlike majority machines used for large-scale demolitions, a large-frame skid steer does not need to be transported using a semi-truck. It hence can move independently around the worksite while performing many excavation and demolition works.
Read through various guides to determine the right skid steer model to suit your project. In case you are still confused, you should contact a professional supplier to guide you.
Uses of a Skid Steer
A skid steer can be attached to various attachments rendering it a versatile piece of equipment. A skid steer’s standard attachment is the bucket but you can attach it to a dozer blade, bale spear, backhoe, mulcher, brush chipper, saw, etc. Depending on the attachment option chosen, a skid steer can perform several functions. Functions of a skid steer include:
- Clearing of snow
A skid steer attached to a bucket is used to clear snow. A skid steer can be attached to a snow blade or a snowblower in serious winter conditions to aid in clearing snow.
Attachments used in landscaping include tree spade, wood chipper, stump grinder, and attachments used for digging trenches. A skid steer operator can attach a pallet fork or a bale spear to make the skid steer usable as a farm or warehouse equipment.
- Digging and trenching
A skid steer can be attached to various attachment options to make it suitable for digging and trenching. Digging and trenching attachment options include backhoe, auger, and trench-digger.
- Excavation projects
A skid steer is a suitable tool for excavation works. Attachments options to use in excavation include: wheel saw, ripper, trencher, and tiller.
- Building and construction projects
A skid steer is widely used in the building and construction industry. Attachment options that make it suitable for use in building and construction projects include the cement mixer and pavement miller.
A skid steer is a .piece of versatile equipment that you can use in any work provided you have the right attachment options to serve that specific task. Also, the site’s skid steer operator should be conversant with the safety precautions and maintenance guidelines for the skid steer and the attachments.