SKID STEER ATTACHMENTS
There might be more useful attachments than you know.
Skid steers and track loaders are great machines to own, not only because of their versatility and speed on a job site but because attachments make the machines very adaptable. Here are five top must-have attachments for your skid steer or track loader.
Augers are powerful and easy to use. Auger attachments can dig six feet or more with extensions. Before getting an auger, be sure your machine has the hydraulic power to suffice. Depending on what type of ground your machine is drilling, you’ll need high torque or high speed. Know what is required before you buy an auger. Augers are driven by gears, chain, or a direct drive. Planetary drives are the most expensive but offer the most power. Chain drives cost less and thus provide less power but still can crank out some good earth. Direct drives are the least expensive and are meant for smaller jobs. Choosing the right drive bit options is very important too. The most popular options are bolt-on, drive, and bullet teeth. Again, be sure you know what you need to drill before you buy any equipment.
The next popular attachment are backhoe attachments. Of course, a mini-excavator is ideal for certain digging jobs, but what if you don’t have one for the job? A backhoe attachment for your skid steer or track loader is perfect. Backhoe attachments can be operated either inside or outside the cab. These attachments are relatively inexpensive, starting around $2,000. Some backhoe attachments come with their own set of controls. Patterned in either ISO or SAE operating patterns, this style of backhoe attachment often works as well as a mini-excavator. Those attachments cost $10,000 or more.
When it comes to landscaping, farming, light construction and other jobs, trenchers are a must-have attachment. Depending on what job needs to be done, you should consider the trencher’s depth and width for the application. Most trenchers are designed for a number of applications, so be sure to determine all of your application needs before you invest in one. Even a small skid steer can trench depths up to 36 inches and widths up to 10 inches wide. If your areas of application are larger, you can select trenchers for larger skid or track loaders with digging depths ranging from 24 to 60 inches and widths ranging from 6 to 12 inches. Trencher attachments operate on flow and pressure so it’s important you know your machine’s capabilities. There are a variety of digger chains for the various types of terrain so it’s again important to know what you’ll be trenching. Most manufacturers offer digging chains that can handle almost all soil conditions.
An obvious attachment option are buckets. Most skid steer and track loaders come with general-purpose buckets, also known as dirt buckets. You probably have one of these buckets.Other buckets include:
- Combination Bucket - These buckets are used for loading, carrying and dumping, a grapple, or a clamshell for dozing, leveling and spreading material.
- Concrete Bucket - These buckets carry concrete in tight areas that cannot support a cement truck such as backyard porches.
- Auger Mixing Bucket - This bucket mixes, transports, and dumps concrete. Some units have a quick-attach frame and a chute, hoses and couplers.
- Grapple Bucket - Do you need to pick up some big stuff? Get a grapple bucket. Two grapple arms with separate cylinders allow the top portion of the bucket to handle uneven loads.
- Snow Bucket - It doesn’t have to be snow. Instead, these buckets also move light material like sand, mulch, or other landscaping materials.
- Grading Bucket - Grading buckets are used for mostly dirt applications — especially for grading jobs - hence, a grading bucket.
- Rock Bucket - These buckets are designed to hold rocks and debris during digging and grading. Smaller debris like soil and dirt fall back through the bucket.
Several types of rake attachments are available for skid steer and track loaders for many types of soil. Grader rakes are great for applications needing the clearing of debris like branches, bricks, rocks, and roots. Grading width range from 72 to 105 inches. Costs generally start at about $5,000 and can go up as high as $13,000. Auto rakes use a bucket with either a rake chain or a bar with teeth on it to remove smaller rocks and debris from loose soil, often to prepare the ground for seeding or sod. Then you have the two-in-one preparator rake. It is one attachment that combines the cleanup, rock removal and soil preparation capabilities of the grader rake and auto rake into one easy attachment. The most versatile rake attachment is the power box rake. This baby combines four attachments into one. You can grade, level, rake, and prepare ground for seeding or sod.
Mulchers such as the Bull Hog from FECON make clearing brush an easier job than ever before. Not only will they clear traditional brush on a job site, but they will also quickly mulch stumps and standing trees up to 8" in diameter.
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