Skid steers are a highly popular compact machine for digging, pushing dirt, moving dirt and more. It’s pretty much a “Jack of all trades” machine, hence its popularity. They differ from the excavator thanks to their fixed carriage.
We’ve found the 5 best skid steer brands to check out, according to the Technavio Skid Steer Loader Market Report.
We speculate why these brands were identified in the report, and ranked them according to their popularity, quality build, value retention and after-sales service.
5. Terex Skid Steers
Coming in at #5 is Terex. While not as big as some of the other players in this list, Terex is still a solid skid steer brand.
The main thing that sets Terex apart from other manufacturers is their posi-track system. They offer unique suspension and traction system and the highest ground clearance in the industry. They’re also fast and reliable.
After-sales service with Terex is pretty good too, with access to the support of engineering, parts, manufacturing and logistics.
Where the Terex falls to #5 is its ability to retain its value, according to the 2018 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Awards*. And while they certainly have their fans, Terex isn’t quite as big or popular as the next 4 skid steer brands.
Terex skid steer features include:
- More track on the ground for superior traction
- Better stability with more wheels than any other skid steer
- Higher ground clearance
- Suspension between undercarriage and chassis to keep the machine on the ground & lower ground pressure
4. Komatsu Skid Steers
Komatsu’s construction game is strong, having been in the industry since 1921. With their first wheel loaders manufactured and introduced to the Australian market circa 1965, they have been busily refining their designs over the last 50 years.
Known for building reliable, tough machinery, it’s no wonder Komatsu skid steers are a popular choice for Aussies.
One thing the higher-ranked brands have over Kubota is the ability to retain their value, according to EquipmentWatch Awards. Unfortunately, Komatsu did not make the shortlist for best value retention. They also don’t offer quite as big a range as the others, which saw them fall lower on our top 5 list.
However, what Kubota do have is a sterling reputation for after-sales service, as well as manufacturing quality machines and spare parts. Kubota skid steers come in their SSV Series, offering features such as:
- Hi-flow hydraulics
- Hydraulic quick couplers
- Self-levelling technology
- Kubota Shockless Ride (KSR) for minimal bounce on loader arm
3. CASE Construction Skid Steers
Now we’re getting closer to the crunch, and CASE Construction hits #3 in our list. CASE skid steers are a popular choice for Aussie construction projects and are one of the more well-known manufacturers.
Versatile and powerful, CASE skid steers assist with a range of applications. Less than 2-metres wide, tight access areas are not a problem. The design of the rear hood, H link, and loader arms combined with the size and curvature of the cab glass offer a 360° view of the jobsite that is unmatched.
“With the most glass in the industry, the thinnest side screens available, exclusive standard side lighting and three-piece side windows that can be easily removed, operators have better sight lines to the tires, bucket edge, curb lines, of full dump and even to the rear when backing up.”
With nationwide after-sales support, offering highly-trained maintenance technicians for machine servicing and genuine parts, CASE Construction provides that extra peace of mind.
CASE is the first skid steer brand in our list to have been shortlisted in both Small Skid Steer and Large Skid Steer categories for the Best Retained Value Awards. The models shortlisted were the:
- SR130 (Small Skid Steers category)
- SV250 (Large Skid Steers category)
Some big features CASE Construction skid steers offer include:
- “Best in class” visibility with thinnest (removable) side screens
- Comfortable cabin design with a wide cab (890 mm) molded floor panel, more headroom, air suspension seat, extra foot room & lower cab entrance
- Top-ranking breakout force thanks to CASE cylinder & chassis design
- More options to meet any customer need with SSL range radial & vertical lift skid steers
2. Cat Skid Steers
There’s no denying that Caterpillar are industry leaders in all things construction. Look at any job site and you’ll see their big yellow machines dominate. However, just being the biggest and most popular hasn’t quite snagged them the number 1 spot, although they come a very close second.
Cat care about providing excellent after-sales support. Renowned for being very selective with their partner dealerships, Cat have taken their support it a step further with a comprehensive online hub. This hub includes forums that connect customers to their Cat experts such as parts and service techs, land drilling experts and technology experts.
When it comes to value retention, Cat skid steers were shortlisted twice:
- 232 (Small Skid Steer category)
- 262 (Large Skid Steer category)
Cat skid steers offer a range of features including:
- Electronic throttle features for precise rpm settings
- Intelligent levelling (ILEV) system which includes dual self-levelling, electronic snubbing & work tool positioning
- Tubular lift arm design for narrower profile & stronger lift
- Excellent ground-level access for enhanced serviceability
1. Bobcat Skid Steers
It’s probably not a huge surprise that Bobcat tops our list of top skid steer loader brands in Australia. Not only did Bobcat invent the skid steer loader, now they are so popular their brand is synonymous with skid steers in general! That’s a tough act to beat.
But that’s not the only reason Bobcat sit at #1. In an impressive feat, Bobcat secured 3 finalist slots for the EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Awards.
The shortlisted Bobcat models include:
- 5100 (Small Skid Steer category)
- S450 (Small Skid Steer category)
- S650 (Large Skid Steer category)
And while other OEMs may be more renowned for their after-sales service, Bobcat hold their service to a high regard, “We have on-the-ground support through a network of company-owned branches and authorised service agents spanning Australia and New Zealand… service support from modern workshops and factory-trained technicians.” they say.
Offering more than a dozen different types of skid steers, it’s likely you get the most choice with Bobcat. Some prominent features of Bobcat skid steers include:
- Superior lift arms
- Powerful hydraulics
- NEW sound dampening via large front and rear cab isolators
- Panoramic serviceability without the need to lift the machine’s arm for access
So there you have it—the top 5 skid steer brands. Do you agree with this list? Let us know below. Why not take a look at current skid steers for sale here.
Please note: This article reflects information that is correct at time of publishing and may change without notice.
*EquipmentWatch is a global leader in heavy machinery data, software and insights, based in North America.