Skid steer or compact tractor?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment' started by Mike Nelson, Apr 6, 2001.

  1. Mike Nelson

    Mike Nelson Senior Member
    Messages: 636

    Looking to get a piece of equipment for our added landscape division.

    What would be more efficient a skid steer or a compact backhoe?

    Mike Nelson
  2. paul

    paul Veteran
    Messages: 151

    High Mike, We beat this one up awhile back :)
    It seems some Guys and Gals who do a lot of work on existing lawns like the tractor/w loader better and some of us who do "New Construction" like the skid steers.
    Me I have to have both, skid steers move dirt, stone, sod..... faster than tractors. But tractors grade larger sites faster, plus don't trear up the grass on new lawns like a skid steer. A search on this subject will give you lots of info on it.
  3. Lanelle

    Lanelle Member
    Messages: 32

    That about sums it up. Evaluate the type of sites you work on the most to guide your decision.
  4. EarthTech Landscapes

    EarthTech Landscapes Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    i have always used skidsteers, But i do alot of new construction
  5. OP
    Mike Nelson

    Mike Nelson Senior Member
    Messages: 636

    Thanks guys,
    It seems to me I better buy both :D

    I appreciate your time.
    Mike Nelson
  6. SLSNursery

    SLSNursery Veteran
    Messages: 140

    Both would be good, but...

    We ran with only a skidsteer for a long while. Seems as though you get more bang for your buck with a skidsteer v. compact tractor. The skidsteer can usually load better and provide more power than the tractor. That is, compact tractors for comparable prices might not be able to utilize equally large implements as the skid steers. Now we have a Kubota B21, which is nice, but really underpowered for most tractor type applications. Its great for towing an aerator, or using the included backhoe, but too small to pull a Harley rake, or other large implement.

    I think that since we didn't have a tractor, we learned to efficiently use our skidsteer on delicate operations, like spot touch ups on lawns, or moving around on new asphalt, etc. For us, breakout force and loading were very important. The skid steer won that competition. The compact tractor is now a handy tool, but still not relied upon.
  7. guido

    guido Veteran
    Messages: 261


    It can't get much simpiler than the last few posts. Rent both so you can get a feel for them, and what limits you have with both.

    You also have to decide if you'll be doing more new construction or maintenance since that is the biggest variable in this choice.

    Like Paul said, I'd say skidsteer, but we do mostly new construction and very little maintenance.

    Good Luck!
  8. SCL

    SCL Senior Member
    Messages: 265

    Bigger skidsteers and smaller tractors:).
    This is what I'll add. Buy a really good skidsteer. Spend your quality money here. After that you can find a tractor for a reasonable price and use when you need it. I have both and they both have their place.
  9. OP
    Mike Nelson

    Mike Nelson Senior Member
    Messages: 636

    Thank you all for taking the time to make up my mind.I thought a skidsteer would be better,but I figured that I would check with the experts.:D

    Now which kind? I know this is a loaded and unfair question.Right now I have my JD dealer giving me prices.I kinda feel partial to them only cause we have so my many JD's.There service is second to none.

    Thanks again
  10. paul

    paul Veteran
    Messages: 151

    Mike I like New Holland, but Case makes a nice machine too look for one that lifts what you need, we use two sizes LS190 and LS170. Case stick with the XT85 or XT95 if you need to lift. John Deere I sold my new one I bought last year too many problems
  11. SCL

    SCL Senior Member
    Messages: 265

    Search the forum cause this one has been hashed over pretty well. While i'm here though, New Hollands are balanced great and have lift capacity. Bobcat (what I own) easy to service and very reliable. Pick a dealer nearby cause even a tank breaks down, huh Guido:).
  12. roonie

    roonie Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    I purchased a CAT 246 skidsteer last year. It was the best choice I ever made. Of course I own a CAT D3C Hystat dozer and a CAT 416C 4x4 Backhoe/loader. This machine was about $5,000 more than the "equivalent" Bobcat but the controls are much easier for me and the power is tremendous compared to the Bobcat. If you work in any mud or loose sand, get steel tracks for it. Just my $.02
  13. diggerman

    diggerman Senior Member
    from Ames
    Messages: 702

    I guess I really would have to ask how much you will be using the machine in the off season and what for.I have a 90xt Case that I have that has a number options that are not available on more than a few machines.For one a two speed,for snow removal a must.Two ride control makes running down the road at fifteen miles an hour a little more enjoyable. Three a hydralic bucket coupler that is not part of the aux hydralics.Lastly if you are using it alot in the summer A/C is very nice.Also the Case has full servo controls so long opration times are not so strenuous. If you are doing alot of lifting the heavy lift booms atre alot of extra money and my not be neccecary for your application.
  14. diggerman

    diggerman Senior Member
    from Ames
    Messages: 702

    One thing I forgot to add in relation to a compareson to a compact tractor.A skidloader will run cicles around a compact tractor in relation to productivity.Compact tractors even in the hydro versions have ranges in the transmissions that are neccessary to achive speed where as in a skid loader its at a push of a button.Ability to make a turn to make another pass has no equal in a skid loader.Comparing a skidloader to a comact tractor is most certainly not comparing apples to apples.
  15. Irrigation

    Irrigation Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    Skid Steer

    The best way to decide between tractor and loader is to logically depict your neeeds. If your largest concern is destroying the turf, simply put bald, flotation tires on your skid steer. You'll find that more rubber-to-grund surface is just as affective as aggressive tread.
    Your attachments will tell you what you need. PTO?, tractor (obviously) and hydro?, skid steer you won't find a tractor with enough flow to run any hydraulic attachments.
    When deciding on a skid steer look to the one that every one else copies from, New Holland. Longest wheel base (comfortable ride) most hp in most compact size (Ls170) easiest to get in and out of. New Holland made JD's until deere decided to just steel thier design and make them thierselves.
  16. plowjockey

    plowjockey Sponsor
    Messages: 622


    Hello and welcome to plowsite. I tried to e-mail you but could not so I'll just let you know here that I'm in Huber Heights, Oh and you can contact me any time if there is any thing I can ever do for you.
    My website is and there is a direct link to e-mail or my phone number is there.
    Once again welcome to Plowsite it is good to see another Daytonian here.

  17. DaveK

    DaveK Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    With all the attachment for skidsteers, that would be the way to go. On existing lawns, if you are careful and don't make sharp turns, it won't damage it......much. I've even put sheets of plywood down to drive over when damage was a real concern.

    Also, since it will be used in your landscape division, do you install pavers or retaining walls? Anything less than an LS170 won't even think about lifting a pallet of brick. We use a New Holland 885 (now called LS180) and with the added weights in the back, we can lift a pallet off a flat bed semi. A smaller machine will be able to lift it off the ground a few inches, but not much higher.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2001
  18. paul

    paul Veteran
    Messages: 151

    865=LS180 singles speed option lift 2400 lbs
    885=LS180 dual speed option same as above

    985=LS190 2800 lbs