Skid Steer vs. Bobcat – What’s The Difference? (2023 Comparison)
The equipment market is always confusing for non-experts because most pieces of equipment look the same at first glance. Skid steers and bobcats are two of such pairs with close similarities that may confuse anyone.
But are they truly the same? Here’s an article that explains everything you need to know when comparing a skid steer with a bobcat.
As usual, we’ll start by explaining both machines, highlighting their characteristics and applications, before going into a detailed comparison.
Skid Steer Overview
If you’ve been to a construction site before, you’ve probably already seen this machine. It’s a small piece of construction equipment designed to handle most construction equipment.
However, despite being so popular in construction sites, skid steers also have many other applications. Their versatility means they can be used in nearly every industry where machinery is needed.
Skid steers are compact rigid-framed machines that feature lift arms used to pick up other equipment. These lift arms are compatible with buckets and most other construction attachments.
Their compatibility with several attachments makes them so versatile and valuable for personal and group projects.
There are two types of skid steers: tracked and wheeled skid steers. Both types of skid steers are helpful for nearly the same applications, but they differ in physical structure and operation mode.
Wheeled skid steers feature four wheels, with each pair on each side independently controlled from the other pair. On the other hand, tracked skid steers feature tracks in place of wheels. Their unique working mechanism makes for easier control in tight spaces.
Let’s get it straight – a Bobcat is just a brand of skid steer. So while a skid steer is a generic name for construction equipment, a Bobcat is a skid steer brand.
However, the Bobcat brand has become so popular that it’s now used as an informal name for skid steers in many western countries, especially in Australia. But tenacious engineers who know their stuff are always careful about names.
Such engineers will never refer to a skid steer as a Bobcat unless they are explicitly talking about the brand. They know that referring to all skid steers as bobcats make them look like a greenhorn.
The Bobcat company is an American-based manufacturer of construction and agricultural equipment. So apart from skid steers, Bobcat manufactures other equipment ranging from loaders to compact excavators.
So you see how silly it sounds referring to all skid steers as bobcats? Notwithstanding, Bobcat is a famous equipment brand, so we’ll talk a bit about Bobcat skid steers.
Bobcat Skid Steer
Bobcat is a revolutionary equipment manufacturing company that has made giant strides in the equipment industry. It’s not surprising to hear that Bobcat invented the world’s first skid steer loader over 60 years ago.
Since then, the company has carried on the legacy of manufacturing reliable and top-quality compact equipment. Even today, Bobcat still leads the equipment manufacturing industry with innovative technologies and stunning designs.
The recent launch of the revolutionary new R-series skid steers and track loaders shows how much effort the company is putting into manufacturing powerful and durable machines.
Like most of its machines, the R-series skid steer loaders are setting industry design and functionalities standards. At first glance, operators are drawn to a unique lift arm design with a cast-steel section.
This design makes the loader arm slimmer and stronger. Add that to the optimized lift arm linkage that the R-series feature, and you can see the genesis of its increased lift capacity.
Bobcat skid steers are also generally more powerful. The company’s attention to torque and power puts it ahead. It typically means that most series of bobcat skid steers feature high performance combined with an enhanced cooling system and efficient fuel system.
These features combine to make the machine more durable and easier to use.
Of course, Bobcat skid steers are also known for their comfort level. The attention to operator comfort means they are among the industry’s best in manufacturing high-quality and comfortable cabins that are standard in nearly all series of Bobcat skid steers.
It also makes sense to mention that the bobcat series features some of the available industry-leading selectable joystick controls.
Add that to the standard 5-in. display in most R-series, and you can tell how in-tune operators will be with the machine and attachments during each operation.
Where to Use a Bobcat Skid Steer
Bobcat skid steers are popular for the availability of several attachments.
This feature is not limited to Bobcat skid steers, but since Bobcat manufactures several types of construction and agricultural attachments, it’s easy to see why you’ll find so many attachments specifically designed for Bobcat skid steers.
Bobcat skid steers or any skid steer loaders are popular for their impressive levels of versatility.
Yes, they are construction equipment, but they are also useful for several other applications. Thus, you’ll find them on the following worksites:
Mechanized agriculture is becoming more popular by the day. Farmers and farm workers need machines for different tasks on the farmland.
Fortunately, skid steers can handle most of these tasks. You just need the right attachments for each task, and you’ll be good to go. Besides, farm workers also need to move heavy items from one place to another from time to time.
Depending on the size of the farm, the travel distance between the two locations can be reasonably long.
Therefore, you’ll need a reliable machine that can move materials between such distances quickly and efficiently. Skid steers are always an excellent option for it.
Farms may also require land excavation, and skid steers can handle such tasks. So you can see that a skid steer is a versatile piece of equipment that can handle most tasks on the farm.
So, whether you’re buying a new one or renting one, you can recoup your investment over time.
Another area where skid steers come in handy is in ranches. Ranch owners can tell how difficult hauling feed and other heavy materials from one part of the ranch to the other can be. It is not an enjoyable job, but ranch owners still need to complete it every day.
Ranch owners will also typically need assistance to unload feed trucks. Skid steers can handle all these. You just need the right attachment for the job.
Another vital benefit of skid steers in ranches is the availability of attachments that allows you to drill post holes. These attachments are useful when you need to install fences.
With the right attachment, you can also use a skid steer to grade the dirt roads leading to your ranch. Thus, creating a smooth passage for other vehicles and trucks to reach your ranch.
Construction and mining sites
This one is obvious since skid steers are designed for construction purposes. A skid steer is one of the preferred equipment in any construction site.
When outfitted with the right attachments, a skid steer will make the entire construction work more manageable. Skid steers are also easy to operate, making it easy to complete most tasks on construction sites.
You can complete many tasks with a skid steer loader on a construction site. You just have to get the right attachments to help you accomplish the job.
Whether you are pulling down a house, building a castle, or constructing a road, a skid steer is an indispensable piece of equipment.
How to Choose The Best Skid Steer for Your Need
With so many brands and types of skid steers available in the equipment market, choosing the right one for your needs can seem like a challenging mountain to climb.
However, a few tips can help you choose the perfect skid steer for your needs. Here let’s review some of them.
1. Know the application you’ll use your skid steer for
The first thing to know about skid steers is what you’ll do with them. Knowing what you’ll use your skid steer for can help determine whether you need a larger machine with more sophisticated operating technologies or a smaller one that can maneuver tight spaces.
Answering these questions correctly can help you know what brand and type of skid steer work for you.
2. What operating capacity would work for you
By now, you already know that different skid steers feature different operating capacities. The rated operating capacity (ROC) describes the size of the load that the skid steer can safely lift during operation.
Usually, the determiners of this ROC would fill the skid steer bucket with weight until its rear wheel lifts off the ground during the ROC determination process. This measurement is referred to as the tipping load, which is divided into two to determine the skid steer’s ROC.
When in the market for a skid steer, the rule of thumb is to opt for a unit with ROC above or equal to the average lift weights you expect to use during jobs.
3. What type of attachment will you use?
Yes, there are many attachments out there, but not all are compatible with all models of skid steers. Therefore, choosing a skid steer compatible with the attachments, you’ll use often makes sense. Consider your attachment needs both in the long term and short term.
Larger skid steers with bigger engine capacity will have a higher hydraulic performance to drive bigger attachments. Most modern Bobcat series features mid-sized frames with greater engine and hydraulic performance.
So while the machine may look relatively small, it can drive some of the biggest attachments needed for construction and farm works.
Conclusion: Skid Steer Vs. Bobcat
That’s it, a detailed look at bobcat and skid steers. Now you can see that there’s no significant difference between a bobcat and a skid steer. Bobcats are a brand of skid steers, and it doesn’t make sense to try to differentiate the two.
However, while there are many brands of skid steers out there, Bobcat is one of the best. With so many series to choose from, there seems to be the right option for every task. The brand is also known for its efficiency and manufacturing of top-quality machine parts.
So if these are the sort of things you’re concerned about, you can rest assured that Bobcat manufacturers have you covered.