What is a Skid Steer Loader?


A skid steer loader is a versatile machine used to dig, collect, lift and move material, particularly dirt and sand, and also grade, jackhammer cement and load trucks. Other popular activities that involve bobcats include site clean up, spreading material, road sweeping, backfill, load and removal material, turf preparation, slab preparation and more.

Primarily used for digging, the skid steer is a versatile machine that is light and easily manoeuvred, with a range of attachments available for application. It’s commonly found in construction sites and its arms can utilise a range of tools for various landscaping functions. 

These machines are often nicknamed “bobcats” in Australia, although in countries like America this refers to a particular skid steer brand that grew in popularity in the 1970s and continues to be one of the largest skid steer brands in the world.

Multi-terrain loaders are another variant, which are used when ground conditions are soft and require more traction, like snow, mud, sand, and bush. Skid steers have steering locked on both sides, meaning the right and left wheels or tracks can be operated separately, allowing it to skid, achieving remarkable manoeuvrability and the ability to “turn on a dime.”

The loader arms are usually operated with hydraulics which allows the bucket or any other attachment to lift either vertically or radially. The radial movement means the bucket will arc away from the skid steer until reaching as high as the cab before it moves back inward.

If you’re looking at skid steer hire, your plant hire options for the machine will either be two tracks skid steer hire or four wheel skid steer hire. In terms of using the machine, the wheels can be operated separately from the front and back axles of either side of the machine, which are locked in synchronisation with each other. 

Considering the wheels hold a fixed straight alignment and are unable to turn, the machine requires the skid steer operator to increase the speed of the wheels on one side, causing the wheels to drag or skid across the surface. This will cause the machine to spin in the opposite direction, and this steering function is what gives the skid steer its name. 

What Does a Skid Steer Do?

Skid steer hire is incredibly popular in construction, landscaping and mining industries due to the versatile nature of hiring skid steers. Whether you’re looking for a two track skid steer hire or a four wheel skid steer hire, it’s important to understand the variety of attachment options available for hire, and how they can aid your next project. 

The most common accessory found when hiring a skid steer is a bucket attachment, although this can be replaced by a large range of alternatives that ‘clear the pathway’ (pun intended) for a skid steer to perform the functions of many different types of equipment. The bucket that is typically attached when you hire a skid steer is used for moving and lifting heavy materials. 

How many functions does a skid steer have?

Hiring a skid steer enables you to complete a variety of tasks that other singular plant hire options wouldn’t be able to fulfill. Before you hire a machine for your next project, it’s important to recognise what skid steer hire could mean for your budget and overall project time. 


There is an extensive range of plant hire opportunities to assist with landscaping when it comes to skid steer hire. Some of these include:

  • Stump grinder hire
  • Tree spade hire
  • Wood chipper hire
  • Trench-digging hire

For farm and warehouse tasks, pallet fork hire and bale spear hire are also fantastic resources to get your next project underway in a reliable and time-efficient manner. 

Excavation and Construction

Picking the right machine to hire for excavation can be tricky, but with skid steer hire your job becomes worlds easier. Some useful skid steer attachments for hire include:

  • Ripper hire
  • Tiller hire
  • Trencher hire
  • Wheel saw hire

In the construction space, the machine is able to be fitted with a pavement miller or cement mixer. When you look at cement mixer hire or pavement miller hire it’s important to check the attachment is suitable as they can fluctuate in both weight and size. 

Trenching and Digging

The most popular application of hiring a skid steer is utilising digging attachment options, such as:

  • Backhoe hire
  • Trench-digger hire
  • Auger hire

All three of these plant hire options have different functions, making it easy for you to complete your next construction, landscaping or mining project on time, every time. It’s crucial to check that the skid steer you’re hiring has been well maintained and properly serviced, and if you’re looking to wet hire a machine, that the operator is fully licensed and qualified to carry out the job. All companies through iSeekplant have fully credited and capable operators that are passionate about completing projects to your exact specifications at a reasonable rate, in an efficient manner. 

Clearing Snow

Last, and definitely the least important skid steer function (at least in Australia!) is the snow clearing capabilities of skid steer hire. If, for some reason you’re looking to shovel some of that pesky snow out of your driveway in Australia, here are a few things you want to consider.

  1. A snow blower hire or snow blade attachment hire
  2. Get inside. Right now. Because it’s probably the ice age, and if there’s enough snow on your driveway to require hiring a skid steer, we are all in trouble!

How Much Do Skid Steers Weigh?

When you’re looking to hire a skid steer, it can be important to know how much your machine weighs. Here’s a rough guide of what hiring a skid steer can weigh up to:

  • Smaller frame skid steer hire <795kg
  • Medium frame skid steer hire 795kg-1000kg
  • Large frame skid steer hire >1000kg

What is a small-frame skid steer? 

The smaller frame skid steer hire options are much lighter and more manoeuvrable than their bigger counterparts, and operate well in tight spaces. This functionality makes small-frame skid steer hire the premium choice for landscaping, interior work and on-site development. 

What is a medium-frame skid steer?

When you look to hire a medium-frame skid steer, it’s important to recognise that their capabilities are perfect for slightly larger sized projects. They’re often equipped with various attachments to function as a digger or backhoe in areas where other machines would be unable to fit into. As this machine is lighter than traditional demolition equipment, tires or tracks can be equipped and enable the operator to drive over concrete or asphalt without damaging the structural integrity of the surface. 

What is a large-frame skid steer? 

When you look to hire a skid steer for larger-scale excavation and demolition work, it’s important to get the right machine for the job. Large skid steers need to be transported by a heavy-moving vehicle such as a semi-truck, and this brand of skid steer hire enables operators to manoeuvre independently around the worksite while still performing a range of excavation tasks. 

Where can I hire a skid steer?

For the largest range of skid-steer hire options, look no further than iSeekplant. Our directory has the most comprehensive selection of suppliers in Australia for plant hire, and all of our partners operate within Australian OHS guidelines, and all machines are properly maintained with experienced operators to match. So no matter your skid steer hire needs our suppliers are there for you whether you are in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Darwin or Adelaide. Contact us today on 1300 691 912 to speak with one of our team members about your next project, or use our get a quote tool for competitive skid steer loader quotes.

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