When choosing a skid steer, people frequently use the terms skid steer and Bobcat interchangeably. When they hire a bobcat, they mean hiring a skid steer. So what is the difference between both the terms? We need to first look at what each thing is.

An effective tool for excavating is a skid loader, commonly referred to as a skid steer. Additionally, it can lift, push, and pull objects. It is frequently used in construction and landscaping since it is more delicate and more elegant than a tractor. It comes in many sizes, and the capacity to load also increases as sizes increase. Usually, a skid steer can load anywhere between 800 pounds to more than 2 tons.

A bobcat is a skid steer brand that invented and released a skid steer in the market for the first time. So, to summarise, a bobcat is not different from a skid steer in any way; it is just a matter of brand. 

CHARACTERISTICS OF A SKID STEER

To understand the difference further, you need to understand the characteristics of a skid steer machine.

A skid steer, also known as a wheel loader or skid loader, is a piece of small, versatile construction machinery frequently used for digging. It can link its arms to numerous pieces of equipment for various construction and gardening tasks, and it is lightweight and elegant. 

The skid steer loader may either have 4 wheels or 2 tracks. Drivers can control each axle separately from the wheels on the opposite side of the vehicle, though the front and rear axles automatically synchronise their movements.

The wheels don’t turn and stay in a straight, fixed alignment. A skid steer operator must accelerate the wheels on one side of the machine so that they skid or drag as it turns in the opposite direction to turn it. The machine gets its name from its steering capability.

WHAT ARE THE SKID STEER ATTACHMENTS USED FOR?

The bobcat and skid steer have different attachments that enable you to load effectively. The attachments may include the following:

  1. For moving material: The primary function of a skid steer is to move. Moving different materials is made simple with smooth buckets. It increases the efficiency of any job and is quicker, simpler, and faster than doing it by hand. 
  2. For digging: This attachment may be the best option for you if hand shoveling takes too long and the task is too little for a convenient and small excavator. Skid steer’s sawtooth bucket attachment is excellent for digging in difficult terrain, compacted soil, or digging directly inside the ground.
  3. For grabbing: Grapplers, which come in various sizes and forms, include detachable claws for grabbing and gripping. Farmers can use this attachment to pull stumps and carry logs, but construction sites use it to move bigger items and debris. 
  4. To clear snow: Steel revolving augers make it easy and simple to plough through dense snow. When used in conjunction with an attachment to blow snow, skid steers can be utilised to remove heavy snow from tight locations like sidewalks and in between buildings.
  5. To clear grounds: A skid steer can be equipped with a blade attachment to assist in landscape scoring and to push large loads. The skid steer can step in if the task turns out to be very small for a bulldozer. 

IS THE DIFFERENCE JUST ABOUT THE BRAND NAME?

We have already established that there is no practical difference between a skid steer and a bobcat skid steer; we need to emphasise further that all skid steers are usually referred to as bobcats. 

Bobcat is a trademark. It produces skid steers and other small machinery, including track loaders and mini excavators. The US-based company has been in business for more than 60 years and has established itself as the most popular brand of compact machines globally. People often use the terms Bobcat and skid steers interchangeably; the differentiation is only because of the brand name.

So basically, there is no difference. When you demand a Bobcat skid steer for your work, you may be given one from the brand or any other reputable brand because the work that the machine does is essentially the same.

Skid steers are also known as bobcats, another term for a skid steer. The functions and characteristics of a Bobcat skid steer are identical to those described above. This device is frequently used for excavation.

There are many other skid steer brands that you may consider for your work as well. Some of them include:

  1. Case Construction
  2. Terex
  3. Komatsu
  4. Caterpillar
  5. Kobata
  6. Wacker

WHERE CAN YOU USE A SKID STEER?

Two styles of skid steers, wheeled and tracked are usually used. We will explain how and where to use each skid steer type to get the maximum advantage out of the machine.

WHEELED SKID STEERS

Even terrain is excellent for wheels. Wheels are far more suited to travelling across rough landscape or completed concrete. Wheeled ones are also low in maintenance costs. 

In general, wheels are less expensive and use less fuel. They often need less care and are more durable. A wheeled skid steer’s underside is significantly more effortless to clean compared to a tracked one, making preventative maintenance simpler to maintain.

TRACKED SKID STEERS

A tracked appliance is more effective in difficult terrain conditions. With the strong track, it is simple to soar over snow, mud, and sand. Since their weight is distributed among the tracks rather than concentrated on four wheels, they were designed to handle hills and rough terrain. 

It will help to maintain efficiency and production if the operation is supposed to be muddy and sloppy by nature because it won’t affect the equipment’s efficacy, if you use the tracked one.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR USING A SKID STEER

When people get skid steer training, they are often briefed about the safety procedures they must follow to avoid any possible damage. If you’re an employer, ensure that your staff knows all manufacturer instructions and cautions before allowing them to operate skid steer loaders. Develop the following safe working practices among employees:

  • Never operate the loader outside of the operator’s cabin. 
  • When using the loader controls, remain seated. 
  • Work when the restraining bar is in position, and the seat belt is tight. 
  • While operating the loader, keep your arms, legs, and head inside the cab. 
  • Plan to load, unload, and turn on the flat ground wherever possible. 
  • Travel and spin while keeping the bucket as low as possible for maximum stability. 
  • Never load a machine more than the manufacturer’s suggested maximum. 
  • Work only on solid surfaces. 
  • Avoid driving across slopes; drive straight up or down, keeping the machine’s heavy end facing uphill. 
  • Always turn in the direction you are going. 
  • Do not let spectators near the work area. 
  • Don’t change the safety protocols.

SHOULD YOU INVEST IN A SKID STEER OR RENT IT?

It can be worthwhile to purchase a machine of your own if you discover that you utilise a skid steer on nearly all of your tasks. However, keep in mind that owning equipment entails costs of its own. For example, your skid steer will require maintenance and repair, which may cost several thousand dollars annually.

Renting a skid steer is probably more cost-effective if you don’t use one frequently. Prorating the price will ensure that you only pay for the time you use and save you the extra stress of buying an attachment that you might only use once.