A Guide to Skid Steers

Share Button

A forklift is a very versatile tool in any warehouse or construction application.  With the help of attachments, a forklift can be used to lift, squeeze, clamp, rotate, or even weigh items.  Depending on the tires of the forklift, it can be used on concrete slabs, gravel lots, dirt yards, or even inside narrow aisles.

In a construction application or an outside yard, a skid steer would be the counter part of a forklift.  Typically, you would see a skid steer on a construction yard and they are usually seen with a bucket on the front end, but the options for outfitting a skid steer and nearly endless.  Skid steers can have tracks, air pneumatic tires, or even solid pneumatic tires.  They can have a bucket, forks, or even a post hole drilling attachment.


Skid steers, like forklifts, can also be outfitted with different types of cabs.  Open cabs, which would be an open cage are used in more mild climates, while full cabs are typically seen in more extreme types of weather.  One would see more cabs with air conditioning in the south and cabs with heat in the north.  Those options can be quite expensive to add, but most manufacturers offer both as options.

While National Warehouse Equipment has a large inventory of forklifts and yard spotters, we also carry some construction equipment.  The most common skid steers we carry are Bobcats.  However, we currently have several others in stock.  We have a Volvo and a Takeuchi skid steer, but skid steers have a lot of different names.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll use Bobcat as a standard since a lot of people refer to all skid steers as Bobcats.

To start, we’ll look at the smallest skid steer that Bobcat has to offer, the S510.  The capacity of a Bobcat S510 is 1,650 lbs.  Very small in terms of a load most forklifts can handle, but skid steers are used in different applications.  They are designed to operate in rough terrain, often climbing through mud, up inclines, or over obstacles that any forklift would have a tough time navigating.

getImageThe largest skid steer that Bobcat offers is an S850 which has a capacity of 3,950 lbs.  The chassis, tracks, and standard bucket are much larger than the S510 and would be significantly more expensive.  Although the capacity difference is only a few thousand pounds, in the majority of construction applications, these machines would be handling much different jobs.

Driving a skid steer requires training and is very different from operating a forklift.  Most skid steers are set up with joysticks, usually one on either side for each hand.  One side will handle the forward/reverse and steering, while the other controls the function of the arm and the attachment.  For example, lifting and tilting the bucket, sideshift, or drilling with a post hole digger.  Different brands will have different set ups so it is important for an operator to familiarize themselves to the controls in an open area free from obstacles.

Skid steers can be essential tools for any number of business or application.  Construction yards, mines, steel mills, and many others may have a need for a skid steer.  National Warehouse can help outfit your application with the right piece of equipment.  Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or inquiries.

Tags: , ,

One Response to “A Guide to Skid Steers”

  1. Ronny Howard November 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    I did not know that a skid steer is a counter part of a forklift. I will be sure to look for them on a construction yard in a bucket on the front end like you mention. Hopefully it wont be too hard to spot. Thanks for sharing this information about skid steers, it was very insightful.