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Skidsteer or Wheel Loader?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Mick, Mar 23, 2003.

  1. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I'm trying to decide whether to buy a skidsteer or wheel loader. I'll be using it mostly to load my V-box, but would also use it to skid logs out of my woods, relocate dirt and misc small jobs. I'll be getting a used machine. Right now, I'm leaning toward a skidsteer simply because I can spend less money on a small skidsteer that can reach high enough. Most tractors with a front end loader won't reach high enough unless I'm spending major money and getting more tractor than I need. Same with a regular wheel loader.

    Any insights? Am I missing something in thinking a skidsteer with a 1/2 yard bucket is plenty for my purpose? I know I'd have to make several loads to fill the box, but I usually don't want a full load, anyway. I may wind up using it to relocate snow on some accounts, but usually all snow stays on site as there is usually plenty of space.
  2. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I think either would work for loading if you got the right models. You mention working in the woods. Here I think the skidsteer would shine. Much more manueverable then a tractor. I think you will find you can "make" a skid steer do about anything you want. Not always true with a tractor.
  3. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266


    If your primary object if loading your v-box then a skid steer would be fine. However if you hope to move, snow piles I don't think you get very far. I have found that when hard pack or Ice pack developes in around or under the pile. The skid steer lacks the power to break through this.

    As far as working a woodlot, well depends on the lot. If its soft soil, i doubt a skid steer would go far. However if it mostly gravel, you may be home free.

  4. Team_Yamaha

    Team_Yamaha Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    To me it sounds like a skid steer would be much better for what you would be using it for. We have a 545 Ford tractor loader (2wd) and a Case 590 4X4 loader-ext-a-hoe, and also a S250 Bobcat.

    The S250 get the majority of the work. We use it for snow removel, useing the grapple and the tracks for carring logs and brushing out lots and also in the woods, and of course the main reason that we have it, landscaping.

    Sence the Bobcat is usually out plowing a job we use the 590 for loading the V-boxes in the winter, sence it gets around a lot easier the in the snow and while on ice than our 545 Ford. And in the summer we use it to dig footings, trenches for water lines to houses, some landscaping, and ect. I have used it in the wood a couple of times to pull out big logs and digging out stumps but it is kind bulky for use in really tight stuff. (Must make the trailes about twice as wide as you do for the Bobcat)

    The only reason the we have the 545 is for the PTO for the tiller, we keep it the fields were we get our blackdirt from, so that way we can till up the dirt and also load it into the truck. The 545 has fluid filled tires and a full cab with heater, but it is kind or worth less in the snow and ice.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2003
  5. gordyo

    gordyo Senior Member
    Messages: 527


    I have both a skid steer (leased from a local landscape contractor) and a wheel loader for snow removal. If your talking about only using this for snow, IMO a wheel loader is more operator friendly IE: getting in and out, visibility, ride and in my case on concrete sidewalks a wheel loader will not leave black marks like a skid steer. They both have their place. The skidsteer is awesome in parking lots when you are cutting along curbs in very tight areas. I was leaning toward purchasing a skid steer next year mainly for sidewalks but after using one on the sidewalks this year in the Blizzard having to kick snow off to the sides every 30 feet or so I am convinced a small wheel loader would be better for my application. Keep in mind that I also have other equipment, a Backhoe and 2 Utility tractors so I don't really need the attachment versatility that you would get in a skid steer and that is something that might be attractive to you if you are going to try to use it to bring in income during the rest of the year.
  6. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317


    If I recall from other posts, you have 60 acres, correct? So we are not talking about a small wooded lot! In any event, I think the skid steer would be great for loading salt, manuevering in the woods, and the list of attachments for it would easily bring you work in the warmer months, whereas a loader would probably sit all summer long.

    The versatility of a skid steer is hard to beat. In your case, I think a blower attachment would benefit you more for stacking and relocating than the bucket would at most of your sites.

    There literally is a hundred+ attachements for skid steers...

    Newer loaders with the IT attachment can use attachments too, but those are expen$ive machines and attachments.


    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    Mick I have to vote for the skid steer also :waving: .
  8. gslam88

    gslam88 Senior Member
    Messages: 168


    I see that you say a wheel loader. Do you mean a backhoe loader or a wheel loader. These are 2 different machines. For example a JD 410 is a backhoe loader, but a JD 544 is a wheel loader.

    I am also assuming (yes, yes I know it's dangerous to use that word) that you say a small skid steer to load your vbox, so I would guess that it is a 2 yard or so vbox, not a 5-6 yarder or so.

    Some of the skid steers do come with a 1 yard bucket the New Holland LS190 for example has one, but also it cost more new and used most of the time.....

    I would probably say go small and spend less for what you need... for now....

    just my .02

  9. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    From what you list as your needs, the only reason I see a wheel loader would make sense is if you plan to skid large loads of logs. You'd be limited to smaller loads with the skid steer.

    As Chuck stated, the list of attachments is almost endless for skid steers, I think they're up around 700 different ones now. I'd look for a high flow model, this way you can run anything you might ever need. The high flow snowblowers work much better than the standard flow ones too.

    You could get an oversized bucket for loading salt to speed up your cycle times, but with a sand mix you might need to add weight to the rear to prevent tipping.

    I think the ideal machine would be one of the newer tracked skid steers, but their pretty pricey.
  10. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Thanks, all. To answer some items:

    There aren't any sidewalks around here, and leaving marks wouldn't be an issue. No curbs in parking lots.

    I have about 60 acres of woods and attachments would be a big plus.

    Yes, wheel loader vs backhoe.

    I don't have very large logs (as in circumference). Around here, they grow fast and skinny (50-60 feet tall and 24 inches around is common).

    All in all, sounds like a small 4x4l skidsteer would do it. Then get an oversize bucket and put a block of concrete on the back end for ballast.

    Howard, is your deal settled? :waving:
  11. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    loaders are great for big open lots but unless you have a need for them in the warmer months .I would also sugest a skidsteer many uses many attachments and can be transported easy.
  12. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    My skid steer will hopefully be liberated by the people's national republic army of Leadville this week (redneck mountain division)..

    YOU KNOW, I am using a friends case 1845C that they bought for twice the money, and the New Holland that I gotta go get was more powerful, lifted more, and was twice as fast:mad: ...

    I'll either be drinking beer (oh wait I do that anyways) or shopping for incendiary devices on Wednesday

    If you see on the news that the DOT is missing an avalanche howitzer..............I am headed to the "I love &&& State".... and my my aim ain't too good.

  13. ToyotaPower

    ToyotaPower Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    We use a S250 bobcat and love it...great for many different jobs..
  14. DanG

    DanG Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    My brother in law has a NH LS170 that he uses it mainly for tree work and he loves it.
    He has tracks for it, filled the tires with sealant and has a grapple,brush hog attachment and a bucket with tines on it with which is kinda like a 4-n-1 bucket which he uses for stumping of ripping ot brush.

  15. wolfie

    wolfie Senior Member
    Messages: 174

    I think the skid steer would work fine as long as you are cutting the wood to length in the woods... but if you are going to be skidding the logs, I would rather use a 4X4 farm tractor with a winch. I have skidded lots of logs and firewood with my Ford Jubilee tractor but if I were going to go back into the wood business I'd opt for a 4X4 with a little more horsepower and a winch. I don't think a tractor of that size would have any trouble loading your V-Box either... There are also many attachments for farm tractors too... and from what I've read in other posts here they are better than skid steers for pushing back snowbanks...
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2003
  16. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Howard, good luck and let me know if your posse needs some help. Just keep that thing aimed South, so that Maine is at least BEHIND you.:D
  17. Arc Burn

    Arc Burn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,141

    Put a scope on that thing Howard,your crawlin around in my neck of the woods!Make sure it's pointed in the right direction to Rambo:D
  18. bam

    bam Senior Member
    from .
    Messages: 201

    we own a bobcat 873 and a ford 1920 4wd tractor w/ loader.

    for snow I would much prefer and actually have to use a skidsteer to load the truck v - boxes. On our stakebodies, the ford won't reach in far/high enough to load the v-box.

    for snow operations the skidsteer is more nimble than a tractor, or backhoe. we have hydraulic angle plows, large "snow" buckets (i guess close to a yard capacity) and a 10 ft box. This year all was great and had there place from wet snows to the blizzard and aftermath, uncovering drains, and moving snowpiles.

    We also rented several s250s this year to handle other sites. they did not have 2speeds or high flow options on them.

    our 873 has the enclosed cab, high flow/2 speed option. It has come in handy many times.

    0ne of our clients who owns a huge estate owns jd skidsteer and an old dump for his projects.

    If I had alot of land I would think you could accomplish more with the skidsteer over a loader.
  19. slplow

    slplow PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 594

    My vote goes for the skidsteer as well. I bought a 1500# thomas this yr. My 60'' bucket fills my 2yd spreader with 3.5 buckets and I can take the spreader on and off with no trouble at all. It all so will used for my landscape business. Know the thomas is not the cat's but you can't beat the $$ for what you get.
  20. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    they had one at masscon for $16K not bad if you need a machine.