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Tim Forestell
February 2, 2022

Looking for a skid steer for your next project? When renting a skid steer there are some key pieces of information to keep in mind so you get the perfect one for your job. This article outlines the different types of variations and attachments that should be considered when renting a skid steer as well as what jobs they are best suited for.

Skid steers are one of the most versatile equipment rentals available. This type of machine is popular because they are extremely maneuverable, has different lifting capacities and works in tight spaces. Skid steers are also available with tracks or wheels making them useful for all different types of terrain.

When seeking the right unit to rent, there are a few different things you should know about this machine. 

1. Different Track Types: Tracked VS Wheeled

There are two different types of tread for skid steers to choose from when picking the best machine for your job: tracks and wheels.

Tracked Skid Steers

Tracked skid steers are ideal for wet, muddy and snowy surfaces because their weight distribution transfers to the ground allowing for the machine to remain stable. If you are working on a slope or incline of any sort then tracks are the way to go because this weight distribution and low center of gravity minimize any chance of a roll-over. They also have a better grip for stability on softer and slippier ground.

tracks on a skid steer

Wheeled Skid Steers

Wheeled skid steers are made for finished surfaces like asphalt, concrete or compact soil. Due to the tires they are able to move faster and can cover more ground. If you try to use a wheeled skid steer on a muddy, underdeveloped surface the risk of sinking increases as the tires are not meant for this type of environment.

2. Different Lift Types: Radial VS Vertical

The actual arm of a skid steer can lift in two different ways: radial or vertical. These lift types change how the arms and bucket move and could have an impact on your job. 

What is the Difference between the Two?

Just by looking at the two machines you might not be able to notice the difference. It only becomes more noticeable when the bucket is off of the ground. If this is important to know right away, looking at the model number of the machine will either display a ‘V’ or ‘L’ indicating the lift type. Besides the indicator in the model number, the easiest way to tell is by actually using the machine. If it is a radial lift skid steer the arm will lift in more of a circular motion. If the machine is a vertical lift skid steer the arm will rise straight up and down not on an angle.

skid steer with arm lifted

Radial Lift Skid Steers

Radial lifts provide greater reach forward (almost like boom lift) and are meant for dumping materials over barriers such as a wall, backfilling the land, and loading/unloading trucks. Radial lift skid steers are also great at flat groundwork. As they have greater push capabilities, so if you are moving dirt on the ground a radial lift skid steer is for you.

Vertical Lift Skid Steers

Vertical lift skid steer loaders provide more reach at full height without losing performance. This type of skid steer keeps the load closer to the machine rather than extending/reaching out like the radial lift skid steer would. The lifting capacity of these machines is also more, so it can be used for lifting heavy materials, clearing debris in higher areas and even clearing higher truck beds. 

3. There Are Many Different Skid Steer Attachment Types

Sometimes it’s not only about the skid steer you rent but the attachment needed with it. Fortunately, there are many options to choose from that can help complete any type of job. Some popular attachments that may be needed include a brush cutter, harley rake or even a forestry mulcher. 

skid steer operating with fork attachment with dust flying

Skid steer attachments can be anything whether it is a brush cutter, auger, tooth bucket it can help with any task. These attachments can help with projects such as removing brush to prepare the land, digging holes to build foundations, and removing debris like rocks and asphalt from demolition areas. Attachments are handy as they allow the operator to work on any type of task without worrying about not having the right equipment to do it. 

Knowing what attachment you need can be time-consuming.  While there are the popular and most common attachments for skid steers out there, your job may require a more unique attachment. If you have any questions about what type of skid steer attachment you would need for your job, a member of the DOZR Sales Team would be happy to answer all your questions

4. Skid Steers Can Be Used All Year Long

Some machines can only be used during specific seasons, not the skid steer as you can use it during the fall, winter, spring and summer. This indeed makes it one of the most if not the most versatile piece of heavy machinery available. 

Skid steers can be used for almost anything whether it's for moving heavy material, pushing dirt, or lifting materials like mulch. This machine is a beast during the warmer months as it is commonly found preparing new construction areas, on landscaping projects, or even at garden centers loading mulch and dirt for your new garden bed. 

The benefits of a skid steer do not stop there as it can even be used during the winter months to clear snow off of sidewalks and driveways or to spread salt on icy ground to prevent slipping. The versatility of the machine is undeniable as it can be used for any type of job making it one of the most commonly rented pieces of equipment to date. 

Important Tips When Renting a Skid Steer

With all the different types of skid steers, attachments and lifting capabilities available the uses for a rented skid steer are endless. We are confident that these skid steer rental tips make renting your next skid steer that much easier.

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Tim Forestell
Tim Forestell is one of DOZR’s co-founders and CCO. Tim got started in the industry as VP Operations for Forestell Landscaping before founding DOZR with Kevin and Erin. Aside from the amazing team at DOZR, his favourite thing about DOZR are the customers. Working with DOZR renters every day gives him a peek at the evolution of different projects and hearing stories about projects being developed from start to finish.
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