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Must-Have Skid Steer Attachments

By Maranda Wilson

Must-Have Skid Steer Attachments

Multipurpose attachments to complete almost any job (and on budget)

Skid steers are the “jack-of-all-trades” in the machinery industry. Investing in skid steer attachments is truly an investment in all the work it can do for you.

According to ForConstructionPros.com, “a skid steer is really a power unit for attachments… [and] most owner-operators will buy an average of 2.6 attachments for each skid steer they purchase. In rental, they might buy as many as six attachments per skid steer.”

With over 60 years of combined experience in the compact equipment industry and after perusing various heavy machinery forums, we have come up with this list of must-have skid steer attachments according to what fellow operators and owners had to say. It is important to remember that even with the attachments presented below, there are often variations for more specific needs and tasks. This list is merely a guide for those who are new to skid steers, are looking to invest in only the essentials, or interested in getting the most bang for one’s buck.

Here at Skid Steer Solutions, our objective is not just to sell you skid steer attachments but to sell you the right skid steer attachments.

If you want to transport heavy materials…

Low Profile Bucket

A must have for its overall versatility because it can accomplish a bulk of your lifting and removal jobs. Realistically, no other tool can collect and transport large amounts of rock and rubble quite like a good ol’ bucket can. In addition, low profile buckets can double as a tool to spread gravel or level terrain. The low profile bucket is usually the default attachment that comes with any skid steer purchase; so regardless of whether you love it or hate it, it’s a tool that you can expect to encounter. But all buckets aren’t created equally:

Bradco Low Profile Bucket photos.

Snow Bucket: 

Great for the obvious (snow) because low profile buckets are rather unproductive for this task. Try it and you’ll find that snow will pile up at the end and inevitably spill over the sides, resulting in little snow remaining in the bucket. Snow buckets are useful not only in the winter but also year-round –so for you snowbirds out there, you will find a benefit in owning one, too. Snow buckets are especially good at scooping up light materials such as leaves, grass, wood chips, mulch, and topsoil in large quantities (anything that shares the light, airy quality of snow). Leave the scooping of dirt and rocks (or other dense materials) for the low profile bucket, or else run the risk of damaging your machine.

FFC Snow Bucket photos.

Digging Bucket: 

Now, if you’re interested in moving larger or bulkier materials, consider a bucket with teeth. This also allows for extra dig when pulling up roots or breaking through tough soil. Bucket teeth are available as either a separate attachment (toothbar) or as a welded-on option – either way, both are designed to break through solid surfaces. Of course, the welded-on option has the advantage of durability over the detachable choice, which conversely is the clear winner for versatility. For those renters out there, opting for teeth on a bucket will be an additional charge (typically $40~).

Berlon Digging Bucket photos.

If you want to move larger or more awkwardly shaped materials…

Skeleton Root Grapple

Easily picks up rocks, logs, scrap material, bales, roots, brush… the possibilities are endless! A grapple is unlike a standard bucket because its claw-like design secures the transport in its grip without collecting unwanted material such as topsoil (as a bucket might). For materials like brush where collapsing it into a more compact form is ideal, a grapple will allow you to “crush” and transport simultaneously.

TIP: Approach material with the bottom teeth of the grapple parallel to the ground (have the “mouth” of the grapple open) and move until the pile begins to move forward with the machine. Next, move the grapple forward as if you will roll the materials along. Finally, close the “mouth” of the grapple and lift the material off the ground. For safety reasons, keep the load as close to the ground while transporting.

Root Grapple photos

If you want to remove trees…

Tree Scoop

There are many innovative attachments out there for the removal of trees and stumps, but a tree scoop is perfect for its simplicity, multiple uses, and overall low cost. Tree scoops are single solid constructions versus more complex (and more expensive) alternatives like a stump grinder. This means that there are no moving parts or hydraulics required for its operation. Although a tree scoop could fall under the bucket category (because of its ability to also scoop dirt and other materials), its fork like teeth found at the tip makes it an effective spear during the scooping motion. Fans of tree scoops also describe having used this attachment for digging trenches, ripping out asphalt, and even simple demolition tasks.

Tree Spade photos.

Tree Shear

https://www.skidsteersolutions.com/timberline-tb-1000-tree-shear/

Before a tree scoop can even be considered, the tree must be made into a stump. A tree shear is essentially a heavy-duty pair of tree scissors. Different sizes are available for different sized jobs: the most common being between 10” to 20” diameter trees. If tree removal is a task you find yourself frequenting often, there are tree shear attachments that streamline the process by also trimming down the tree. Tree shears are one of the most popular methods of tree removal because the process leaves little to no debris, is quiet, and relatively safe.

If you want to even out terrain…

Land Leveler

https://www.skidsteersolutions.com/skid-steer-land-leveler-virnig/

While a low profile bucket is able to level land to an extent, many owner-operators swear by their land leveler attachment as a necessary investment. Its popularity is primarily due to its user friendliness and the expectation to level terrain in almost any job that utilizes a skid steer. The primary difference between a bucket and a leveler is that the leveler is bidirectional (meaning you can work moving either forwards or backwards). This feature alone can cut the time spent leveling down to half! The presence of harrows also effectively softens and breaks up tough terrain, as well as collects rocks to ensure an even job.

Harley Rake

If you want to drill holes…

Auger

https://www.skidsteersolutions.com/skid-steer-auger-drive-mcmillen-75-series/

For any job that requires precise holes, augers are really your only attachment option. But thankfully, augers are highly efficient and will always get the job done. An auger is much like a screw in that the protruding grooves along the shaft carry material upwards to leave a hole, making it a handy tool for digging postholes and foundations. However, with such great speed and power comes the issue of compatible hydraulic flow and pressure (i.e. you must have hydraulics in order to operate an auger). A skid steer must have enough hydraulic flow and pressure ratings to power an auger. The general rule of thumb is the larger, deeper, and tougher the auger, the higher the torque and speed (but lower the flow).

If you want to remove brush…

Brush Cutter

https://www.skidsteersolutions.com/typhoon-skid-st...

For bigger jobs, consider a brush cutter to clear overgrown lots. While other brush cutters on the market are merely agricultural brush hogs that have hydraulic motors mounted to a 90 degree gear box and a spun blade holder with a light duty swinging mower blade, Eterra's Typhoon T60 truly embodies the idea of "less is more." Other brush cutters try to convince you that more blades equals greater effectiveness, when in reality, a good brush cutter only needs one. However, for the sake of balance, Eterra utilizes only two industrial grade cutters. In addition, the built-in push bar makes the Typhoon a truly multipurpose attachment that streamlines the process between mulching and removing small trees and obstructions.

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