It's All About the Brand Name - Skid Steer vs Bobcat.
Firstly - let's get this straight: A skid steer loader is a type of machine, a Bobcat is a brand of skid steer. But Bobcat has become the coloqiual term for a skid steer in many western countries, and particularly in Australia . Salty construction engineers who know their stuff would never call a skid steer a Bobcat, because they know it makes them look like a greenhorn. Real engineers know we're talking about skid steers. The Bobcat company manufactures skid steers and other smaller equipment ranging from loaders to compact excavators. Bobcat's are distributed across Australia by our friends at Clark Equipment. Read some machine reviews of some of the best skid steers that Bobcat has to offer:
- Machine Review: Bobcat T190
- Machine Review: Bobcat T590
- Machine Review: Bobcat T650
- Machine Review: Bobcat S70
- Machine Review: Bobcat S450
- Machine Review: Bobcat S550
- Machine Review: Bobcat S590
- Machine Review: Bobcat S650
The American manufacturer has been in business since over 60 a decade ago and is renowned for being a leading name in compact machines around the globe. And whilst Bobcat has become known as the most famous brand of skid steers, there are some other big brands manufacturing skid steers and market share by OEM (original equipment manufacturer) brand varies in each country. Mostly the following brands are in the top 4 providers of skid steers across the world: Bobcat, Caterpillar Skid Steers , Kubota , Case & Terex. Click here to read more about Skid Steer brands in Australia .
Just so you know - you can search for both a bobcat and skid steer on iseekplant because we know sometimes people get confused by this interchangeable terminology. But you're essentially searching for the same thing, and we serve up the same results! There are different types of skid steers and Bobcats . These differences relate to the chassis size, the tonnage of the whole unit, operating capacity, load capacity, the propulsion method (tracks or wheels) and the power of the engine.
Get your definitions right: A wheeled skid steer vs compact tracked loader (Both can be Bobcats)
Now things are getting into the reeds - there are two main types of skid steer loader - a compact tracked loader, in Australia is colloqiually called a posi-track (and is listed on iseekplant as a posi-track) and a wheeled skid steer loader which is called a wheeled skid steer (I'm not being funny). Both types of skid steer are made by Bobcat (and many other OEM brands as we mentioned) - so a reference to a 'Bobcat' does not necessarily mean one of those types. It can mean either! Are you confused yet?
A posi-track is a compact tracked loader - a Bobcat is a brand!
On iseekplant - we call compact tracked loaders a posi-track. You can search here for a posi-track anywhere in Australia. A compact track loader, sometimes called a Bobcat Loader in the US and ocassionally by some locals here in Australia, is a type of skid steer loader that runs on two parallel tracks instead of wheels. These machines are very similar in size to a skid steer and perform many of the same functions, but their weight and added traction make them better able to move over slippery or uneven terrain. Track loaders come in multiple sizes and can perform a variety of tasks, including earthmoving, excavating, and demolition.
What's a Wheeled Skid Steer Then?
A wheeled skid steer is a compact machine designed primarily for digging and landscaping jobs. It runs on four wheels and contains two arms that can connect to multiple attachments, including buckets, blades, spreader bars and pallet forks (just to name a few, because there are literally heaps of skid steer attachments available on iseekplant). Click here to read a more indepth article about skid steer attachments. Because the wheels are affixed to locked axles, a skid steer operator must increase the speed of the wheels on one side to steer the machine.
Major differences between posi-tracks & wheeled skid steer loaders.
Skid steer loading devices (SSLs or compact track loading vehicles which is the super, super official name in the yellow machine game) are unified by their application of hydraulics, compact size and maneuverability. Available from a range of brands such as Caterpillar, Bobcat, Kubota, and Takeuchi, skid steer loaders as well as compact trackloaders are part of an ever-increasing product offering across the world. They look the same but there are major differences in key parameters - operating costs and functionalities. Below we'll examine the key differences between the two types of skids steers below - to help you make a decision about which one is best for your job.
Applications for Posi-Track & Wheeled Skid Steers.
Whether you need a posi-track or wheeled skid steer for your detailed earthmoving task is really going to come down to the following factors: the type of terrian or surface your operating on, the speed you want to work, the size of the space, the power you need to shift dirt around, the cost and the maintenance requirements.
Operating Surface - Skid Steer vs Posi Track
Skid steers with wheels work optimally on hard, flat surfaces. If your job site is concrete, asphalt or another developed surface, a skid steer with wheels would be the wiser choice as wheels are less likely to damage these types of surfaces and allows for quick movement over level ground. That being said, wheels aren’t advisable on snow or wet surfaces so you really need solid, dry ground for it to be the best fit. Posi-track loaders are ideal for undeveloped ground, rough terrain, loose soil and job sites that are prone to wet or muddy conditions. Even in sand or mud, a track loader can stay sturdy without any difficulty. This is attributable to the tracks which distribute the machine's weight evenly and offer added grip to ward off slipping.
Operational Speed - Skid Steer vs Tracked Loader (Posi-Track).
Skid steers are good for construction work where a machine need to moves quickly; they're lightweight and lack slow-moving tracks. This design lets them move faster than track loaders on flat surfaces, as well as turn sharply and maneuver through crowded worksites in less time. Since posi-tracks can't match the speed of a skid steers, projects that need driving over long distances will take more time. For longer projects or localized tasks, this isn't often an issue. But if you're working on a project with a tight schedule, it's something to consider. That said, posi-track loaders are still the better choice for projects taking place on unstable terrain since there will be fewer delays overall.
Tight Access Spaces - Wheeled Skid Steer vs Posi-track
Skid steers can make incredibly sharp turns and rotate almost in place, making them easy to maneuver in tight spaces. If you have a crowded job site or limited space to work, a small skid steer is a good option. You'll see them a lot in residential construction work for this reason. Because track loaders also operate on fixed axles, they generally have the same turning capabilities as a wheeled skid steer. However, they are typically larger and move slower than skid steers, so they may not perform quite as well in tight spaces. Three-point turns are also recommended for these machines to avoid extra wear on the tracks.
Power, Torque and Force - Posi-Tracks vs Wheeled Skid Steer
Skid steers (especially the Bobcat brand of Skid Steer) are lightweight machines with a higher center of gravity than posi-track loaders. While larger models can still perform heavy-lifting tasks, they may have a lower weight capacity than their tracked counterparts. Their reduced traction can also make pushing high-resistance materials more difficult. Tracks create a more even weight distribution and increase contact with the ground. This allows track loaders to have a higher lifting capacity and push more weight without slipping. Some compact track loaders also offer higher horsepower than skid steers with wheels, making them better suited for high-power jobs.
Cost to hire - Bobcats vs Skid Steers
On iseekplant we don't notice much price differentials in hiring Bobcats versus the other brands - but some of our seeker users can have a brand preference. So you can actually filter your search on iseekplant by brand if you prefer. The cost to hire a skid steer versus a bobcat or purchase a skid steer can vary by location and manufacturer, but those with wheels typically cost less upfront and are cheaper to maintain than track loaders. Therefor, by the same logic you can expect a slightly higher hire rate for posi-tracks than wheeled skid steers due to a higher cost to own and maintain. Due to their lightweight design and smaller engines, wheeled skid steers can also save on fuel and transportation costs when compared to other machines like excavators. Compact track loaders generally cost more upfront to buy or rent, and tracks are more expensive to replace than tires when damaged. If you choose to purchase a track loader for your project, you may want to make extra room in your budget to cover potential maintenance and damage costs.
Maintenance - Wheeled Skid Steer vs Posi-Track
Skid steers are less demanding to maintain than track loaders, and if something goes wrong, they're simpler to repair. Their wheels allow them to be readily cleaned and inspected, which is beneficial for those who need to work on a deadline. The tracks of a track loader often cover the entirety of its underside, leading to more time required for cleaning and maintenance. This may be seen as an extra burden by those with smaller budgets or one-off projects, causing many project owners to opt for renting a skid steer rather than purchase it outright.
What's Better for a Site Cleanup - Wheeled Skid Steer vs Posi-Track
Before you buy or hire a skid steer loader, be sure to consider which type is the best fit for your project. Skid steers with wheels are an affordable choice for smaller jobs on flat surfaces, while compact track loaders thrive on uneven ground and worksites that require a little extra power. Capabilities are important, but you must also think about how the equipment will affect the site after the work is completed. Tires are generally kinder on hard surfaces like as concrete and asphalt, but tracks may harm them. If your job necessitates working on these sorts of surfaces, a skid steer could assist you avoid having to repair surface damage later. Use a posi-track loader to avoid harming grassy or soft surfaces if you don't want to damage them. Because its tracks are flat and distribute the weight more equally, this kind of machine is less prone to scar the ground or leave deep tire ruts. Despite the fact that track loaders may scratch harder surfaces, they will save you time while landscaping since they cleanup faster. If you’re interested in hiring a skid steer, contact iseekplant to get 3 competitive quotes from skid steer providers in your local area.