Skid steers can be seen everywhere, from construction sites to farms and everything in between. Mostly these compact loaders are used for digging, pushing dirt, moving dirt, and much more. The bucket you would usually see attached to one of these can be replaced with a whole range of attachments, most of which will be powered by the loader's own hydraulic system. These machines are four-wheel drives with the right side independent from the left. This allows them to turn on the spot, which enables them to be very nimble in tight spaces. Like anything, there are good ones and there are terrible ones. With so many to choose from we thought it would be beneficial to list the top skid steers ever produced and find out why they are so popular.
1. Mustang 2700V NXT2
Previously known as Owatonna Manufacturing Company, Mustang is in fact the second oldest skid steer manufacturer having produced its first in 1965. Nowadays, Mustang offers 11 models that are known for their high-output and high-torque engines.
Mustangs 2700V NXT2 is propelled by a 70.7 hp Yanmar tier 4 engine with an operating capacity of roughly 2700 lbs with ten-foot ten-inch lift heights. The 2700V NXT2 is predominantly used for construction and landscaping projects that include loading, stacking, and dumping. Improved stability is achieved thanks to the vertical bottom of the loader. The loader is equipped with steel plating, a long wheelbase, and heavy-duty pins and bushings.
Luckily for the operator, this loader has a spacious cabin that reduces the amount of noise the operator has to endure. Others features include a selectable self-leveling option, digital in-cab display, adjustable joystick, and universal quick attach plates. This loader also makes servicing a lot easier with its gas spring-assisted ROPA structure that inclines to aid quick access to the hydraulic modules.
- Make - Yanmar
- Model - 4TNV98CT - Tier IV
- Net Power (kW) - 70.7 hp (52.7)
- Gross Power (kW) - 72 hp (53.7)
- RPM for Optimal Power - 2500 rpm
- Displacement (L) - 202.6 cu.in. (3.3)
- Maximum Torque (Nm) @ rpm - 217 ft.-lbs. (294) @ 1625
2. ASV VS75
ASV released their skid steers in 2015, and currently offers three different sizes. The VS75 can reach 11 mph with its two-speed drive. Driving this loader is a 2.9 liter, 74hp diesel engine that is capable of 192 foot-pounds of torque. The VS75 utilizes tier four final engine technology to eradicate any need for regeneration, exhaust sensors, and diesel exhaust fluid. ASV also offers an optional high-flow auxiliary hydraulic system to avoid power loss when supporting attachments. Although, as standard, it is comprised of large lines, hydraulic coolers, and direct-drive pumps.
This loader is capable of a 10.5-inch ground clearance, which is more than other loaders of this type. The chassis boasts a 24o departure angle, broadening its use to a wider variety of tasks. To aid maintenance, the cooling system and the door are designed to better expose the filters, engine, and other elements. ASV also offers an option of which provides a flow of 30.9 gallons per min with a system pressure of roughly 333t lbs per square inch. Both as standard or with the optional extras, this loader is a powerful, reliable, and impressive piece of engineering.
- Engine Power - 74.2 hp
- Displacement - 177 in.3
- Gross Horsepower - 74.2 hp
- Torque Peak - 192 lb-ft
- Loader Arms - Vertical
- Operating Weight - 8740 lbs
- Rated Operating Capacity at 50% - 3500 lbs
- Tipping Load - 7000 lbs
- Max. Travel Speed with 2 Speed - 11 mph
3. Kubota SSV75
Despite having existed for almost half a century, Kubota only recently entered the skid steer industry. Their SSV75 appears to be their most popular machine, likely due to its impressive lifting capacity of around 2700 lbs. Powering this loader is a 74hp engine boasting a good level of performance while remaining shy of the emission threshold.
The Kubota SSV75 consists of a vertical lift mechanism that has an impressive reach of about 930mm, with a high hinge pin height that ensures smooth lifting and dumping. The door on this loader slides upward rather than outward, meaning the operator can exit the cabin with ease even in the tightest of spaces.
Skid steers often operate in dusty conditions, which is why Kubota sports a dust-resistant pressurized cabin. Reviewers found this to be especially beneficial, with one operator who works in the poultry business, cleaning out industrial chicken sheds. The user described how a day in day out he had to scrape 5-inch-deep chicken feces from sheds the size of football fields. He exclaimed how he used to return home with excrement in his hair, pours, and other orifices. But with the dust-resistant cabin, this was no longer an issue. The loader also sports sidelights to aid visibility at night. This loader seems a good all-rounder with very good operator feedback.
- Engine Gross Horsepower - 74.3 HP
- Rated Operating Capacity (50% of tipping load) - 2690 lbs (1220 kg)
- Bucket Breakout Force - 5884 lbs (2669 kg)
- Operating Weight - 8157 lbs (3700 kg)
4. Caterpillar 262D
The Cat 262D has remained Cat’s best-selling model to date. This loader is powered by the Cat C3.3B 74hp engine with an operating capacity of 2700 lbs allowing it to lift even the heavier pallet loads. The engine offers high horsepower and torque while meeting the U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final (EU Stage IIIB) emission standards. The 262d sports a vertical lift design for it extended reach and height capability making it suitable for an array of tasks. The High Flow XPS hydraulic system is offered for applications that require maximum hydraulic work tool performance.
The high-performance power train enables good performance and production capability via the Electronic Torque Management system, optional dual speed travel, and the exclusive electronic hand/foot throttle.
The 262D comes with Cat’s ‘intelligent leveling’ system that provides integration and other features such as the dual-direction self-level, work tool return to dig and work tool positioner. To aid when encountering rough terrain this loader comes equipped with speed-sensitive ride control. This also helps improve load retention, productivity, and operator comfort.
- Engine Model - Cat C3.3B DIT (turbo)
- Gross Power - 74.3hp
- Net Power - 72.9hp
- Max Torque - 195.5lb ft
- Torque Measured @ - 1500rpm
- Displacement - 203cu in
- Bore - 3.7in
- Stroke - 4.7in
5. Case Construction Equipment SV280
Manufactured in Kansas, Case’s best-selling loader is recognized as the most durable medium-sized skid steer available. Despite being a rather compact machine, it is surprisingly powerful. The SV280 is a vertical lift loader with an operating capacity of 2800 lbs. Powering this loader is a 74hp FPT engine that allows it to handle a range of different attachments. The SV280 is capable of fast attachment changeover thanks to the CASE Connect Under Pressure feature. This means the operator can fit tool hoses without the use of a wrench. Additionally, the hydraulic coupler allows operators to switch between attachments without having to exit the cab.
On top of not having to leave the cab, Case gave the SV280 the widest cab in the industry. To complement this extra space for the operator is a large glazed surface with narrow wire side screens. To aid visibility, Case has also implemented thinner front pillars.
Each skid steer so far has its own unique way to make maintenance easier for the operator, Case’s method sees all the daily service points grouped together along with remote mounted filters. Ease of access to the battery and environmental drain hoses has been accomplished by putting them on the side of the loader.
- Engine Make - FPT F5H (Turbo)
- Displacement - 3.4 l
- Horsepower - 74 hp @ 2500 rpm
- Peak torque - 314 Nm @ 1400 rpm
- Emission Level - Tier 4F / Stage 3B
- Rated Operating Capacity 50% - 1270 kg
- ROC with counterweights 50% - 1360 kg
- Tipping Load - 2540 kg
6. John Deere 332G
John Deere has been a favorite in the agricultural industry for as long as many can remember. Their skid steer, the 332G is their biggest and most popular. This loader has an operating capacity of 3150lbs and is powered by a Final Tier 4/EU Stage IV diesel engine capable of 100 hp. This loader can couple with a 90-inch bucket and sports a three-way switchable control between EH foot, ISO joystick, or H-pattern joystick modes to make life easy for the operator.
The 332G also offers its own easy service features that have proved popular with many owners. One user of the 332G explained “This is the number one thing I look for in smaller equipment because we do all our own maintenance, when I saw how easy it is to remove the back panels and lift up the cab, I knew it was the machine for us. And we’ve had it for a little over a year, and we haven’t had any breakdowns on it yet. We’ve owned many brands of equipment, and we seem to put the most hours in with the least amount of problems with a John Deere.”
- Engine Manufacturer - Yanmar
- Engine Model - 4TNV94FHT
- Emission Rating - Tier 4
- Aspiration - Turbo. Intercooled
- Displacement, ltr (Inches³) - 3.1 (186.3)
- Rated Engine Speed, rpm - 2500
- Rated Operating Capacity - 1634 kg (3,600 lb.)
- Gross Horsepower - 74.6 kW (100 hp)
- Net Horsepower - 72 kW (96.6 hp)
- Operating Weight - 4540 kg (10,000 lb.)
7. Bobcat S650
Bobcat has pioneered the compact equipment industry, offering 12 different skid steer loaders. Bobcat has been in business for almost 60 years. Bobcats’ roots can be traced back to a group of blacksmiths who invented a small loader for the purpose of clearing out turkey barns.
The S650 has a vertical lift path and allows for an impressive lifting capacity and forward reach at maximum lift height while only weighing 8300 lbs. it is believed that what makes this loader so popular is the fact it is fairly small. This allows the S650 to operate in small spaces proving useful in various industries such as utility, construction, and agriculture to name a few.
When it comes to operating in dusty areas, machine temperature can be a problem that makes a good cooling system an absolute necessity. Therefore, Bobcat implemented a dual-path design that aims to mitigate this with a fan that regulates its speed depending on the state of the loader. To further protect its components, Bobcat has also shielded the radiator and hydraulic oil from potential hazards.
- Horsepower - 74.3 HP
- Type - Turbo Charged
- Fuel Tank Capacity - 90.5 L
- Operating Weight - 3777 kg
- Travel Speed – Low Range - 11.4 km/h
- Travel Speed – High Range (optional 2-Speed travel) - 19.8 km/h
- Rated Operating Capacity (ROC) (ISO 14397-1) - 1282 kg
- Tipping Load (ISO 14397-1) - 2564 kg