Skid steers, which are often called skid loaders, and skid steer loaders are wheeled or tracked vehicles that use a skid steering mechanism. These items are usually equipped with a front loading bucket and are used to dig, move soil, debris, lumber, snow, sand and mining waste materials. They are compact and offer a high level of maneuverability with the average size of a skid steer being about 1750 lbs. When they are used in snow and loose soil they are usually fitted with tank-like skid steer tracks instead of wheels to improve their grip. The machine is operated by a driver who sits in a cabin.
The vehicle can also use several different skid steer attachments such as backhoes, bale spears, breakers, brooms, buckets, tooth bars, multi-purpose buckets, grapples, pallet forks (both rail and pin style), cold planers, power rakes, three-point hitches, rubber tracks, rotary tillers, general tracks, utility blades, trenchers and vibratory rollers. These attachments enable the vehicle to be used for many different tasks and skid steers are often used in industries such as farming, recycling, plumbing, agriculture, landscaping, snow removal, mining, carpentry, fencing, road construction, and electrical.
There are different sized skid steers and the medium sized models are ideal for use in areas that have narrow approaches or where there is a restriction on space, such as digging beneath a structure where the large boom of an excavator cannot reach. There are some larger and more powerful skid steers that have operating capacities of 3,000 to over 6,000 lbs. Small skid loaders are also being used more as they are easier to maneuver than the larger loaders. These smaller skid steers are typically known as mini-skid machines, mini skid steers, and mini-skid loaders. These machines have an operating capacity of about 500 lbs. Mini skid steers can also be cable or radio controlled.
Skid steers can be quite dangerous to operate so make sure that only properly trained and qualified people are driving them. Skid steers are specified by their horsepower, the types of attachments the model can accommodate, their vehicle weight and their lifting height capability. The vehicle is fitted with anti-stall drives, hydraulic-powered twin arms, chains and sprockets.