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View Full Version : Why skid steers over tractors?


4 seasons lawn&land
04-22-2008, 09:30 PM
Im new to Lawn care and spend most of my time in that forum but I'd like to get into landscaping eventually. Im just curious what the point of skid steers are when tractors are less money, why is that anyway?

Mark Bogart
04-22-2008, 09:44 PM
Skid Steers are more maneuverable in tight situations plus you can lift more weight. You also have more control with a skid steer.

shovelracer
04-22-2008, 09:49 PM
2 different machines. For starters SSL's are more powerful, can lift higher, can lift more, run 50 attachments, and handle rough terrain. A tractor loader of the same weight cant even compare to a SSL. They can however tow and are less abusive to the terrain they travel over.

merrimacmill
04-22-2008, 09:56 PM
They both have their place. Theres stuff both do better than the other. A tractor is nice to have, but for an "only machine" for hardscaping I imagine a skid loader would be a little more versitile.

I have a tractor and find it very useful. I can put a landscape rake on the back and have a loader with a bucket on the front, then use both to spread dirt. This can't be done with a skid loader. Or I can have a salt spreader on the back, a loader with a bucket on the front for snow.

IMO neither is better than the other, but it just all depends on what your uses are.

AGLA
04-23-2008, 07:27 AM
I worked for a landscaper out west (Idaho) who had the same thought of getting more for less by buying a tractor. It sucked for anything other than wide open spaces and loading.

By the way, it lifted more and it lifted a lot higher than a skid stear and it was more stable on hills. There are plenty of attachments available. I don't think those are good arguements against. But, the tractor sucked in close quarters where 90% of landscaping takes place. That is what really counts.

Isobel
04-23-2008, 08:48 PM
I've used both, and SSL definitely have more manuverbility, but personally I like the stability of a tractor.

Both have a fair number of attachments, so I don't buy into the thought that SSL are more versatile.

The last thing I like about tractors over SSL's is noise. Even with Hearing protection, my head is still pounding after a day in a SSL, not so much with a tractor.

Lawnworks
04-24-2008, 05:59 AM
I would rather have my skid. I put 100 hours on a kubota l4330, and they are really nice machines. Thing is you have you have to buy a BIG tractor to lift a pallet off of a trailer. They also suck at moving large amounts of dirt. Even w/ a tractor w/ the hydro trans... a skid can spread dirt about twice as fast. Bush hogging and long transports is where tractors start to look good.

AWJ Services
04-24-2008, 09:34 AM
I personally think a good Tractor is as productive as a small skid steer in terms of landscaping and general use.It would have too be at least L series Kubota with at least 40 hp.They will move 2000 pounds skid forks.
However there is no comparrison between a Tractor and a large skid.

I have both(Tractor and Large skid).
With the price of fuel I use my Tractor eclusivley for Finish work.
It is fast enough for me and burns little too no fuel compare too the Skid.

The attachments for a tractor and a skid steer are expensive so pick the right one first or you will be like me and buy everything twice.:)

merrimacmill
04-24-2008, 09:44 AM
Thought you tractor guys might like this one. Its a picture of my JD 2210 dumping some soil. http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=107070&stc=1&d=1209039277

Isobel
04-24-2008, 05:43 PM
Thought you tractor guys might like this one. Its a picture of my JD 2210 dumping some soil. http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=107070&stc=1&d=1209039277

Very Nice!
:cool2:

DiyDave
04-24-2008, 08:01 PM
Tractors, they have their place, good for field work, loading trucks in a yard or on the farm. SSL's great for a tighter yard, or dry loading and landscaping work. My favorite , the best, hands down, the ASV RC30! First off its a small machine, under 4000 lbs with attachment. Second, NEVER gets stuck, unless you have a loose nut behind the wheel. Because of the light weight, you can haul it on a trailer with a 3/4 ton truck (Guess what, NO scalehouse/Dot blues), hell you can haul it ON a 3/4 ton truck. I have about 14 attachments for it right now, some bought new, and some homemade, handier than a swiss army knife! Best of all, you can do a job on a lawn, and do no damage to the turf, no ruts, no bitchy customers(OK, you can't please everybody). There are those who say that they are high maintenance, tracks wear out fast, but I have 1200 hrs on mine, tracks look new, and have had very few problems with it! :waving:

4 seasons lawn&land
04-27-2008, 09:11 PM
Tractors, they have their place, good for field work, loading trucks in a yard or on the farm. SSL's great for a tighter yard, or dry loading and landscaping work. My favorite , the best, hands down, the ASV RC30! First off its a small machine, under 4000 lbs with attachment. Second, NEVER gets stuck, unless you have a loose nut behind the wheel. Because of the light weight, you can haul it on a trailer with a 3/4 ton truck (Guess what, NO scalehouse/Dot blues), hell you can haul it ON a 3/4 ton truck. I have about 14 attachments for it right now, some bought new, and some homemade, handier than a swiss army knife! Best of all, you can do a job on a lawn, and do no damage to the turf, no ruts, no bitchy customers(OK, you can't please everybody). There are those who say that they are high maintenance, tracks wear out fast, but I have 1200 hrs on mine, tracks look new, and have had very few problems with it! :waving:



how is it any better than any other small skid steer?

bobcat_ron
04-27-2008, 09:39 PM
It has tracks and extremely low ground pressure, small rubber tired skids are the opposite and they all suck on sand, except the RC-30.

CAG
04-28-2008, 12:04 AM
if you are looking to get into landscaping a great starter machine would be a kubota b21. i recently brought a skid steer and they are great and totally beat a tractor hands down for a lot of things. but i have been in the biz for about eight years now and my b21 has done it all. even with the purchase of the skid steer i still use my tractor a lot and wont even think about selling it.. the b21 is a work horse and paid for my skid steer!!! i am very glad that i did not buy a skid steer first it would have been a huge mistake. the b21 was and is great for the small jobs and the big ones would just take a little bit longer.

DiyDave
04-28-2008, 06:14 AM
Simply put, it doesn't rut up lawns, and works in mud that would stick a wheel and tire skidloader in place.:cool2::cool2:

frustrated
04-28-2008, 06:24 AM
I personally feel that the skid loader is a very handy machine, due to being compact and very maneuverable, plus the versatility afforded by a long list of attachments. Yet the tractor as stated already, is less destructive on turf and equally versatile depending on what you need to do with it.

Sunscaper
04-28-2008, 12:30 PM
Both are nice to have but i could not do nearly 10% of by skid work with a tractor. I can't think of anything a tractor can do that a skid cannot. I can't say the opposite for tractors.

AWJ Services
04-28-2008, 12:34 PM
I can't think of anything a tractor can do that a skid cannot. I can't say the opposite for tractors.

Move dirt with front loader and harley rake the material as you spread it.:)

Jb3NH
04-28-2008, 03:21 PM
Currently I own a Kubota 4610 with a backhoe and a front end loader. Skidsteers are great and versitile machines with all thier attachements. Maybe its just me, and my lack of operator time on the skidsteers, but on uneven terrian, i feel a heck of alot safer and more stable on the Kubota. Being able to look around and monitor everything around me is a huge bonus. (kids, vehicles, stuctures, obstructions, etc.)

4 seasons lawn&land
04-28-2008, 09:33 PM
so basically a smaller skidsteer can do the same thing a larger tractor can do right?

Lawnworks
04-28-2008, 09:50 PM
Most tractors can't pick up a pallet of sod... that is a major disadvantage.

Lawnworks
04-28-2008, 09:51 PM
Move dirt with front loader and harley rake the material as you spread it.:)

I don't know if that is much of an advantage. If you have a couple tandemn loads of topsoil... usually we do all the spreading and then harley rake. And you know as well as I do a skid can move the dirt alot faster.

AWJ Services
04-28-2008, 11:10 PM
I can't think of anything a tractor can do that a skid cannot.

Just replying too your statement.:waving:

merrimacmill
04-29-2008, 01:32 AM
A skid can't plow a side walk, and spread salt behind it all at the same time. Or a skid can't have a belly blade mounted on it for grading. A skid can't have a Mid Mount Mower. A skid can't finish mow. And if there aucully is a finish mowing attchment for one, it would just tear up the lawn so bad you'd never need to mow it again. Or you can't have TWO hay spears on a skid steer at once as you can with a tractor. (loader and 3pt) Can't mount a wood chipper on the back of a skid steer. Just to name a few..... I'm sure theres some more someone can come up with.

Now I know by this post I sound very "anti skid steer". But thats not the case. I would LOVE to have a skid steer for all of the reasons already stated by others. And I will have one someday, but I wouldn't knock a tractor untill you've owned one and a few attachments for a little while.

This thread will go one forever untill Kubota releases their revolutionary new skid steer with a 3pt hitch on the back, and unlimted rear visibility. (just kidding, I don't aucully know anything about the kubota skid steer, but I've heard rumors they're comming) Anyways, anyone ever thought of a skid steer with a 3 point hitch? Best of both worlds, maybe a stuipid idea. It is late here, so I might not be thinking straight lol. But I'm sure most here have noticed those skid steer attachments that allow you to use 3pt attachments on your skid. Seems to me if the visibility was better, a real rear mounted 3pt hitch would be a good idea.

Anyways, to sum it up, one maybe better for one guy while the other is better for another guy. But I doubt theres anyone here that could honestly say they wouldn't want both. I know I want both.

SuperDuty335
05-03-2008, 04:12 PM
Don't forget about the skidsteer quick-attach adapter plate which accepts 3-point implements. I'm building my own so I can use my tractor implements on the skidsteer.

4 seasons lawn&land
06-24-2008, 01:17 PM
so you definately could'nt spread mulch with a small skid right? has anyone here ever done it without too much problem?

merrimacmill
06-24-2008, 06:04 PM
I imagine you could, but weight and tearing up the sod would be a concern. You would have to be really careful. Yanno what I find works really well, get the skid steer/tractor there, dump the pile of mulch on the pavement, scoop a bucketful, then dump it into two wheel barrows at once. This way there is no shoveling. That is how we do it and we average 5.5 yards an hour with 3 guys. One guy operates the loader, the other two use the wheelbarrows to distribute the mulch. Then once its done, or looks to be enough, we spread it.

Back to the thread topic, now that I have a compact tractor, I want a skid steer as well. So I don't think theres any "right" answer to this.

Lawnworks
06-24-2008, 09:58 PM
I have a tracked mini and full size wheeled skid... it is a great combination. Having used a tractor when I first started... they are a good asset, but have definate limitations on capacity, efficiency, and convienence.

Lawnworks
06-24-2008, 10:00 PM
so you definately could'nt spread mulch with a small skid right? has anyone here ever done it without too much problem?

What are the ground conditions? If you are a good operator and the ground is firm and you can avoid going in the same path repeatedly... a skid will definately work. I have spread 20 yards w/ just 2 men in a couple of hours w/ my skid.

SiteSolutions
06-25-2008, 07:42 AM
A skid can't plow a side walk, and spread salt behind it all at the same time. Or a skid can't have a belly blade mounted on it for grading. A skid can't have a Mid Mount Mower. A skid can't finish mow. And if there aucully is a finish mowing attchment for one, it would just tear up the lawn so bad you'd never need to mow it again. Or you can't have TWO hay spears on a skid steer at once as you can with a tractor. (loader and 3pt) Can't mount a wood chipper on the back of a skid steer. Just to name a few..... I'm sure theres some more someone can come up with.


There are wood chipper and finish mower attachments for skid steers.

That's a good idea about the 3 pt hitch... some things are better off behind the tractor or loader than in front. I would much rather pull a box blade, bush hog, or disc while traveling forward... attachment works better in general and operator eats less dust. Visibility to the rear would have to get a lot better, tho, to make this a reality.

Big tractors, like large TLBs (Tractor-Loader-Backhoe) can load trucks as well or better than skid steers... but landscaping sized tractors I have seen have a hard time getting a single axle dump even half full. Skid Steer Loaders are just that: Loaders. They load better for their size than tractors because the whole machine is made to load, not just an add-on on the front.

Having one or more of each sure would be nice. For starting out, just gotta pick the one that meets your needs most of the time.

merrimacmill
06-25-2008, 08:36 AM
There are wood chipper and finish mower attachments for skid steers.

That's a good idea about the 3 pt hitch... some things are better off behind the tractor or loader than in front. I would much rather pull a box blade, bush hog, or disc while traveling forward... attachment works better in general and operator eats less dust. Visibility to the rear would have to get a lot better, tho, to make this a reality.

Big tractors, like large TLBs (Tractor-Loader-Backhoe) can load trucks as well or better than skid steers... but landscaping sized tractors I have seen have a hard time getting a single axle dump even half full. Skid Steer Loaders are just that: Loaders. They load better for their size than tractors because the whole machine is made to load, not just an add-on on the front.

Having one or more of each sure would be nice. For starting out, just gotta pick the one that meets your needs most of the time.


What your saying about loading is entirely true. I have a hard time loading my new 1 ton dump truck. Which was my latest big investment. Now, my next big investment will be a skid steer to load it with lol. Well, it will have a rock hound on it as well. I would like to start to do lawns renos and hyrdoseeding at some point. Just waiting till the economy comes back, and the houses start to be built again. Then the hyrdoseeding business picks up. I would think atleast.