The right attachment can save you from buying or renting a second machine.
Why rent or buy another machine when the skid steer you already have can do the job? That’s the money-saving idea behind skid steer attachments, which turn this already-versatile machine into a veritable Swiss Army knife.
"There are countless numbers of different types of attachments,” said Scott Hill, inside sales representative for United Rentals. “You want to dig a trench with a skid steer, we have trencher attachments. You want to dig a footing, we have an attachment that you can put on a 12-inch or 18-inch bucket to dig a footing.”
The skid steer’s powerful hydraulic system enables the standard bucket to be swapped with attachments ranging from brooms to brush cutters, snow blowers to stump grinders, trenchers to wood chippers. Below are a handful of the useful attachments that can save you money and help you get the job done faster.
With this attachment, there’s no need to rent an expensive breaker. If you need to break up asphalt, “the planer eats it right up,” said Hill. A skid steer is also more maneuverable than a breaker. You can set the depth, width and slope to your exact needs.
The skid steer auger attachment lets you quickly drill holes ranging in diameter from 6 to 42 inches with plumb-line accuracy. According to Hill, transitioning back to a bucket to fill the hole “takes less than 30 seconds,” giving you more time for the next phase of the project.
“The backhoe attachment for a skid steer is extremely useful,” said Hill. “The skid steer is smaller than a full-size backhoe, so instead of renting a backhoe to do the digging and then a skid steer to get into the smaller spots, you can do both with just the one machine.” The backhoe attachment is available in a variety of sizes to fit the job.
With a breaker attachment, you can break up concrete or pavement in short order. “Having a skid steer with a breaker attachment means you don’t need to rent an air compressor and a jackhammer,” said Hill. “And the skid steer breaker is much easier to operate and easier on the body than a jackhammer. Let the skid steer do all the work.”
If a road requires cleaning, consider renting a broom attachment for your skid steer instead of renting a large, pricey road broom. Depending on the model, the broom attachment will either kick road debris such as dirt and stones off to the side or gather them into a large bucket.
Driven by the loader’s hydraulics, a cement mixer attachment allows you to mix cement and transport it with the same machine. “Let’s say you have to mix cement and you also have to move it 100 yards away,” said Hill. “You mix it over here, then you can drive the length of a football field and dump your cement where you need to.” It sure beats using a wheelbarrow. Some cement mixer attachments feature a dispenser hose for accurate placement.
The perfect tool for quick clean-ups, the grapple bucket attachment uses two big claws to close over and remove large debris. According to Hill, this attachment is a cost-effective replacement for an excavator with an attached thumb.
If mulching tree stumps is high on your to-do list, renting a stump grinder attachment is an easy way to cross it off. The grinder mounts easily to the front of your skid steer, allowing you to take advantage of the machine’s nimble handling in tight spaces.
With a trencher attachment, a skid steer can quickly cut through soil of any condition to a desired depth for digging utility and irrigation systems and power and water lines. Thanks to the skid steer’s relatively petite size you can dig trenches close to buildings, walls or fences.
Keep in mind that not every attachment is compatible with every skid steer. Some attachments require a degree of hydraulic power only certain skid steers can provide. Talk to your United Rentals sales representative for advice.
Michael D’Estries is a freelance writer who specializes in science, innovation and the arts.