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Shootout: JD 4WD Tractor vs. Bobcat S150

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by MountainBill, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. MountainBill

    MountainBill Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    FYI -- I've posted my questions in this forum because they're about commercial equipment.

    I live on a small mountain in the Northeast Pennsylvania with a steep, curved 1,500 asphalt driveway about 12 to 14 feet wide. The bottom 150 feet is the steepest part with about a 35% to 40% grade. The entire driveway has a southern exposure. At the top of the driveway we have an asphalt parking area for about 15 cars. We currently have a Honda H6522 4WD 22 HP compact diesel tractor with a 60" snow blade and a 56" snow blower. The Honda weighs about 1,700 lbs. We're looking to upgrade from the Honda because we need something larger and that's easier to switch implements. When I'm dealing with ice, I use the snow blade, drive slowly, and if I start to slide I lower the blade and raise up the 2 front tires. That'll dig me in and stop the slide.

    We are considering purchasing either a John Deere 4WD #3120 compact diesel tractor or a Bobcat S150 skid loader. Both machines would have a cab and come with a 60" 2-stage snow blower and a 72" snow blade. The 4WD JD weighs in at about 2,900 lbs. with a 30 HP diesel. The Bobcat's 5,900 lbs. with a 46 HP diesel. Both machines would be used almost exclusively for snow removal. And yes, I know that both machines are probably overkill. But my wife and I need to be prepared for the worst case scenario -- otherwise, we're trapped in our house until the snow/ice melts. We typically get about 1 to 2 feet of snow, but occasionally we can get a lot more with up to 7 foot drifts.

    In your opinion, which would be the better machine for our driveway? And why?

    Also, for the Bobcat which tires would be best? A Bobcat "standard duty 8 PR" or "severe duty 10 PR" tire? Or a Michelin XSNOPLUS M&S radial which Michelin claims is made for ice & snow?

    Many thanks, in advance, for your opinions!


    Mountain Bill
  2. fms

    fms Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 209

    The JD tractor will give you the option of putting a large broadcast spreader on the three point hitch. It'll make it a lot easier to spread salt.
  3. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    i havent looked at the specific john deere you are looking at but with alot of the smaller ones you can get a front mount snow blower and a rear mount blade. then you would not need to stop and hook up a different implament. (sp)
  4. salopez

    salopez Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    good point, but then you have a really long machine and have kind of defited the purpose.

    bobcat does make a spreader for the front...you can also mount an electric spreader on the back if you want....

    if you are just doing snow....I would probably get a larger tractor more on size of the bobcat like a kubota B3030 loade the tires (r4's) throw chains on when needed on all 4. put the spreader on the back and have the plow and blower on the front. Plus the prices will probably be closer.
  5. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,433

    The bobcat is probably more versatile, and you can always use it in the summer if you need to.

  6. yamaguy

    yamaguy Senior Member
    Messages: 556

    Yea because a compact tractor is useless in the summer:confused: I say a go for the tractor with a loader instead of a blade because of the versatility year round. Plus then you won't have to buy a blower and a blade.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2007
  7. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,032

    I'm confused.
  8. yamaguy

    yamaguy Senior Member
    Messages: 556

    Yea i'm not suprised.:jester:
  9. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,032

    LOL. I read it again and it makes more sense now. I shouldn't drink and type. BTW I agree with the above post.
  10. yamaguy

    yamaguy Senior Member
    Messages: 556

    Good I hoped I made sense and wasn't looking like an idot. oops too late...
  11. MountainBill

    MountainBill Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for all of the responses. In hindsight, I probably should've been (much) clearer.

    Can an entry level Bobcat make it up and down a steeply sloped driveway as easily as the JD 4WD tractor? Also, can the Bobcat maneuver as easily as the JD tractor when it's on a steep icey slope?

    The Bobcat is appealing for a few reasons: 1). it can turn 360 degrees on a dime; 2); the implements can be attached/detached in minutes, while the JD takes longer (I'm in my 60's and I generally take a little longer to do almost anything); 3). the Bobcat's snowblower has more in-the-cab hydralic adjustments when plowing or blowing snow; 4). service (oil changes, etc.) are easily handled, or at least mush easier than the JD; 5). there's no shear pin on the snowblower -- so if it gets jammed by a rock or something, the hydraulics go into overflow until it's unjammed; and 6) it'll probably be more fun to drive for a weekend warrior.

    But if the Bobcat isn't maneuverable, stable, and safe on a steep (and sometimes icey) slope, then non of the above would matter much.

    Both machines will be used almost exclusively for snow/ice removal, so any other uses for them would become secondary. I have another smaller tractor for lawn care, etc.

    Well, what do you think? Which would work best on a long, steep, curvey driveway -- the JD tractor or Bobcat? Or can they both handle it about equally?


    Mountain Bill
  12. itsgottobegreen

    itsgottobegreen PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,351

    I am on the fence with this one. Mostly because I own both a compact and a skid steer. Both have thier good and bad points. The tractor would most likely be easier for your wife to run. The Skidsteer will last longer. But the tractor can spread and plow at the same time. I would get all the extra weights you can buy for the tractor. More weight = more traction.

    I personally would get chains for boths. 2 link V bar chains will dig in and keep you moving. Putting them on the rear tires of either machine will make all the difference.

    Either one will suddently get you a whole lot of NEW friends wanting you to do something for them.

    Also how much do you want for the honda when you get ride of it?
  13. MountainBill

    MountainBill Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    From your experiences, how easy (or difficult) would it be for a Bobcat to follow the curve of a steep (and sometimes slippery) downhill driveway? The Bobcat S150 that we're looking at has the electronic "joystick" controls which appear to be pretty sensitive for changing direction and/or speed.

    I plan to try one out on our driveway before buying it, but there will be a difference between driving it on dry pavement vs.snow.

    I'd like to try to avoid using chains on the Bobcat as I'd be concerned about it damaging our asphalt driveway. Snow tires for a skid steer, like they use in Montreal, might be a better alternative than chains -- but I don't know for sure, and no one from this forum has yet to comment on that question.

    It's not too likely that my wife will be driving anything that I get for the snow -- she's not too good with machines. Sometimes the electric can opener gets a little scary for her.

    Re: the Honda H6522 4WD compact diesel tractor. It has a Curtis cab, 60" plow blade, 56" snow blower, and a quick-change hitch on both the front & back. It's been kept in a heated garage and only has about 126 hours on it. It's in mint condition, looks like a new tractor, and, of course, it has the nice fit & finish of a Honda. When it comes time to sell it, we'll probably be looking for about $10,000 to $11,000. We paid about $21 to $22,000 for the entire package. I've seen the H6522 advertised on the Web for $13,000 without a blade or blower -- and with 4+ times the hours that I have.


    Mountain Bill
  14. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,822

    I've got a JD 2210 with a blade and loader and salt spreader. I'm looking to switch to a bobcat. The tractor just doesn't have the "guts" to move the snow I'd like to. For what it is, it does great, but at the end of the day it just doesn't feel nearly as durable or tough as the skid steers do. Thats probibly because a bobcat is considered construction equipment. And the visibility in the bobcat is WAY better than in the compact tractor. Atleast when using the FEL.

    good luck
  15. Eddie D

    Eddie D Member
    Messages: 38

    Ask Bobcat to bring it to your house to demo it. I have one and I have a very steep driveway and sometimes they give you the feeeling like they will tip especially if you go sideways on the grade. It can be a bit scary until you get used to it.

    It sounds like you want the Bobcat. So go for it.

    Good luck.