Known by a variety of names such as Mini Skid Steers, Compact Utility Loaders, or Mini Track Loader, this seemingly niche class of machines has gained exponential popularity in recent years. With lifting capacities ranging from 500 lbs to 2,000 lbs, mini skid steers have found their place with landscape and tree care professionals, as well as rental and residential applications.
Specifically designed with smaller job-sites in mind, mini skid steers are valuable in their ability to maneuver through gateways and around obstacles that would otherwise hinder larger machines. Weighing considerably less than standard machines and applying less ground pressure while operating, they are able to traverse landscaped areas without causing unnecessary damage to the turf. Their smaller size and weight also make them much easier to transport than their larger, heavier counterparts. Mini skid steers generally do not require specialized tow equipment and can usually be hauled behind an average sized pickup truck.
With a wide variety of attachments on the market, the mini skid can indeed be considered a “jack of all trades” and takes the placeof many dedicated manual and powered machines. From standard bucket attachments, to grapples and augers, and even concrete mixers, their versatility paired with their smaller size makes them a unique asset. Investing in attachments as an alternative to multiple machines, a mini skid steer is often able to complete most projects in a true start-to-finish fashion without the need for supporting equipment.
Mini skid steers can be integral to every aspect of your project, from loading and unloading, to project work and cleanup. This helps to cut costs on machine purchases as well as labor hours. They are uniquely designed to satisfy the needs of a variety of users. With the ability to maneuver safely and nimbly in residential applications, they have filled the need for a small yet powerful machine for landscapers and tree workers. Equipped with a variety of safety features, and a greater field of vision than standard skid steers, they are a favorable option for novice users and have proven to be a valuable addition to many rental fleets. They even have their place in areas such as retail supply yards and nurseries, with various options for loading attachments and the ability to maneuver stock areas and loading areas with ease.
When considering adding one of these workhorses to your team, it is important to evaluate the work you will be doing. With the variety of options available on the market, many needs may be met with this class of machine. However, it is unsafe to overload any piece of equipment. Consider the size of your projects and the specifications of your intended machine. If a small class skid steer does not have the desired lifting capacity, standard skid steers available may better suit your needs.