MARKET GUIDE: Skid steers

Peter Anderson summarises the wide range of wheeled and tracked skid steers available on the market

With examples used in a bewildering array of industry sectors, from landscaping to demolition, there are not many machines that are more versatile than a skid steer loader. Two types of working equipment tend to be offered, with radial-lift loading arms swinging out in an arc before reaching their peak height. These offer good mid-height reach, alongside greater bucket breakout and lift-arm forces, best suited to ground-level work. The alternative vertical-lift working equipment simply raises straight up, best suited for loading trucks and material handling.


There are 17 models in the Manitou range of skid steers, a combination of wheeled and tracked models, with either vertical or radial lift working equipment. Their wheeled models start with the 1.35-tonne 850R that has a rated capacity of 386kg. The flagship of their wheeled range is the 3.72-tonne 2600R, offering a rated capacity of 1.9t. Their tracked range starts with the 2.14-tonne 1050RT model that offers a maximum capacity of 1.35t, up to the 5.27-tonne 2250RT with a max capacity of 4.15t and powered by a 55.4kW Deutz engine.


The 4.2-tonne Kovaco Elise 900 is the world’s first battery-powered skid steer loader. Using the larger 400Ah battery pack, maximum capacity is 1.4-tonnes, with an eight-hour interval between recharging. Using the smaller 240Ah battery pack, these figures drop to 900kg/6 hours. The battery packs can be fully charged within 3.5 hours.

The Elise 900, now under First Green branding, can be operated conventionally, the cab is equipped with joystick controls. However, the mobile device that is used as the machine’s control monitor also doubles up as a remote-control unit, there is also a conventional remote control available.


Four models make up the Komatsu range of wheeled skid steer loaders, with operating weights from the SK510-5 model at 1.86t, up to the SK820-5 at a fraction over 3-tonnes. Komatsu claims that the variable flow, load sensing hydraulic system ensures precision and smoothness to all movements and provides quick and reliable power to the attachment. The low-effort hydraulic servo controls make them fast and easy to use, with the right joystick controlling the arm and bucket, while the left controls the transmission. an LCD panel located on the safety bar allows close monitoring of all the machine’s main functions.


In addition to three conventional skid steers, JCB offer their innovative Teleskid 3TS-8T tracked skid steer, complete with a telescopic boom, providing a maximum load over height of 3.8m and a forward reach at ground level of 2.25m. Tipping the scales at 5.72-tonnes, the Teleskid boasts a retracted tipping load of 4.79t, retaining a substantial 2.09t max load with the boom fully extended.

Like all JCB skid steers, it features a single-arm boom, which allows for a safe and easy side-entry cab, not through the front by climbing over the attachment.


The Gehl skid steer range shares many common features with Manitou machines, the main differences relating to operator controls options, which include, hand and foot, T Bar, or ISO joysticks. T Bar controls are now offered on the two vertical lift models, the V270 and V33, which have rated capacities of 1.25t to 1.9t. The radial lift range comprises of nine wheeled models and five tracked units. The wheeled models start with the new 1640E, which offers a rated operating capacity of 386kg, to the R260 with a rated capacity of 1.18t. Tracked units extend from the RT105 weighing 2.14t, up to the 4.5t RT215 model.


Caterpillar offers a range of 16 models, nine wheeled and seven tracked skid steers. The wheeled line-up starts with the 226D3 weighing 2.6t, rising to the 272D3XE at 4.34t, with power outputs from 50.1kW to 82kW.Tracked loaders start with the 3.37t 239D3, up to the 299D3XE that weighs in at 5.33t. These feature two-speed travel, geared to deliver high torque digging performance as well as high travel speed. All feature advanced control features, including return-to-dig and attachment positioning, to assist operators with repetitive tasks like grading, digging, and loading.


The latest 14-model B-Series of Case skid steers comprise tracked and wheeled models with either radial or vertical lift working equipment. Five tracked models offer payload capacities from 1.23t to 2.04t and are powered by FPT engines rated from 55kW to 67kW. Six radial and three vertical lift wheeled skid steers deliver payloads between 590kg and 1.55t and are also FPT-powered with outputs from 36.4kW and 67kW. The machines retain the styling of previous generation, but with operational systems re-engineered for greater performance, fully integrated with a new control system.


The new generation of Bobcat R-Series represent the most significant redesign of the iconic skid steer in the last few decades. The new range currently consists of the wheeled S66 and S76 models, together with the T66 and T76 tracked loaders. All have been redesigned from the ground up and feature 20% stronger loader arms and a longer track footprint. There is a full heating, ventilation and air con system fitted as standard, together with a 13cm touchscreen display and an LED lighting system. chines with the standard display also have a keyed ignition system, with a no-cost keyless ignition option also available.

This article featured in the October 2022 issue of Earthmovers

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