How to Choose the Best Skid Loader

How to Choose the Best Skid Loader

Posted by Lee Padgett on 24th Dec 2022

Whether you’re working a construction site or on a farm, you’ve probably come across a skid loader, also known as a skid steer. These compact and easily maneuverable pieces of heavy equipment may be small but they are incredibly useful. So how do you pick the best skid steer for your specific project?

What is a Skid Steer?

Skid steers are very useful for digging, grading, leveling, and sometimes demolition, which is why you see it on construction sites, or at farms or industrial plants. With their hydraulic lifting arms, this piece of heavy equipment can also be used to clear brush or to remove snow. They come in a variety of options, so you’ll want to find a model that works for you.

What Can You Do With a Skid Steer?

  • Demolition: Interior and exterior demolition projects, including flooring, concrete, and drywall. This is a great machine for tight spaces, like when you’re tearing down a house in a busy neighborhood.
  • Roadwork: Attach a cement mixer or pavement miller for grading, paving, and patching.
  • Snow and Debris Removal: A bucket attachment transforms your skid steer, allowing you to clear land with ease.
  • Excavating & Digging: Earthmoving is made easy with a skid steer. This machine can dig a hole into any foundation.
  • Grading: Fill holes or level out the ground with a skid steer. You can use certain attachments to scoop up rocks as well.
  • Loading: Carry equipment and materials around the job site with ease.
  • Landscaping & Mowing: Cut down tall grasses, grind stumps, transport mulch… You can do just about anything with a skid steer.

How to Choose the Best Skid Loader

Skid steers are a must-have but you need to pick the right one to get the job done right. Here are some of the variables to consider before purchasing a skid steer loader for your project.

Size and Width

Every job is different. If you’re working in a more confined space, you’ll want a smaller machine that can easily maneuver around the location. If you have a bigger job to do, you may want to go with a larger skid steer loader that has a bit more horsepower and operating capacity.

Skid steers’ lift capacity ranges from 700 pounds to 3,000 pounds. You’ll need more ROC for tougher jobs that include gravel or bricks while you can get away with small-frame skid steers with a smaller ROC for general landscaping. You may even want to measure your backyard or wherever you’re planning to use the machine to see what can fit without frustration.


Most skid loaders are designed to push or dig rather than lift things high up. If you’re looking to lift heavy materials, you may want to consider a vertical lift steer skid. This is your best choice if you want to lift materials to eye level or higher.


You’ll need to know the terrain the skid loader will be on so you can pick out a wheeled or tracked machine. Wheeled skid steers travel faster on level, hard surfaces like concrete and other landscaped surfaces.

Tracked skid steers may rip up landscaped surfaces. They are instead used on surfaces like loose gravel, sand, or snow. They are also more stable on slopes and uneven terrain. Keep in mind that tracked skid steers can be pricier and require more maintenance.


Skid steers come in standard or joystick-based controls. Hand levers and foot pedals are the most standard controls but some manufacturers add joystick controls that are more precise and rely on hand movements.


Skid steers are great on their own but become even more versatile with the right attachments. Not all attachments work with every skid loader, so make sure you go with a model that is compatible with common attachments, like blades, buckets, forks, breakers, and grapples. Medium-sized machines can handle those and often more, like saws. Larger machines have the most attachment options, like snow blowers, mulchers, shredders, and more.

Spartan Equipment can provide most of these attachments, allowing your skid loader to do just about every task imaginable. Our attachments are designed to be tough and can handle any job. From pallet forks for lifting to demolition shears for clearing property, our collection of attachments will ensure your skid loader is ready for any challenge.