Skid Steer Loader Attachment Buyer's Guide
Few earth moving machines are more universally compatible with add-on accessories than the skid steer. It's a feature that makes them one of the most cost-effective additions to any fleet or jobsite. To supplement their productivity, dozens of attachments are produced by leading manufacturers including Bobcat and John Deere, as well as third-party manufacturers like Erskine, Quick Attach, and Northern Tool + Equipment.
Popular for the efficiency and convenience they provide, many double or triple their usefulness by performing a variety of tasks with a single attachment. Most of these add-ons can also be swapped out by a single operator through quick couplers that pair instantly with most original equipment manufacturer (OEM) mounts.
Find the best skid steer attachments
The broad value achieved through their compatibility has led business owners to readily invest in a number of popular attachments, often saving the purchase price or rental of an entirely separate machine. Though most are widely available online, one of the easiest ways to ensure you find the right equipment is by partnering with a local dealer who can advise you on the best tools for completing your project quickly and cost-effectively.
Most national manufacturers, whether they're OEM or third-party, maintain a dealer network through which they offer both assistance and parts supply. Working with an established dealer ensures compatibility with your machine as well as continued support should the part fail or break down. While third-party products are universally compatible with most machines, it's worth noting that many name brand attachments are compatible only with that manufacturer's line of skid steers and track loaders.
How to use this guide
In the sections that follow, we profile a large selection of the most popular skid steer attachments currently used within construction, landscaping, and farming. We'll also let you know what you can expect to pay for each.
Finally, we explain the importance of sourcing your attachments through a reputable OEM dealership or reliable third-party manufacturer, and offer tips on finding the best one in your area.
Skid Steer Attachment Types and Costs
Many skid steer attachments are multifunctional and highly versatile. This design enables a single operator to complete a number of tasks with the same attachment – many of which can be shared with track loaders and other compatible machines, further extending the value of the following items.
|Brush Chipper||Often capable of chewing up branches and small trees up to 5 inches in diameter, a brush chipper can reduce waste material volume up to 90%. Top models feature an automatic feed roller that prevents the operator from having to place their hands or arms inside the unit during operation.||$6,900 - $12,500|
|Concrete Bucket||Also known as a "concrete placing bucket," this attachment transforms a skid steer into a mini cement truck. Ideal for transporting and pouring cement in areas inaccessible to a larger machine, concrete buckets are frequently used for pouring the foundation of patios and deck footings. Most hold between 1/2 and 3/4 cubic yard of cement and often include a chute extension that provides an additional 3 feet of reach.||$1,800 - $5,300|
|Concrete Crusher||Breaks down large chunks of concrete to smaller, usable back-fill material that’s less than 25% of its original size. In doing so, concrete crushers reduce costs associated with dumping and hauling. Many units can crush non-reinforced concrete slabs up to 4 inches thick and blocks up to 24 inches in diameter.||$4,200 - $14,850|
|Digging Backhoe||Digging backhoe attachments quickly transform a skid steer into its construction-oriented counterpart. Ideal for construction and excavation as well as landscaping and utility projects, most are capable of digging up to 6 feet, with some offering swing capabilities of nearly 50 degrees to place spoil without repositioning the skid steer.||$2,000 - $7,000|
|Dumping Box||Similar to a hinged bucket, dumping boxes allow the quick transport and repositioning of dirt and other materials. Sizes range between those that accommodate from 30 to 88 cubic feet of material.||$5,700 - $5,800|
|Earth Auger||Earth augers are essentially large drills that drastically cut the time it would take to manually dig a deep hole. Used extensively on farms and large properties, drills come in diameters ranging from 6 to 48 inches and can be used for erecting a fence, planting shrubs and trees, or digging footings for a foundation.||$2,490 - $3,000 for the drive; $213 - $2,300 per bit, with most falling in the $200 to $800 range.|
|Forestry Mulcher||Chewing through material up to 6 inches in diameter, forestry mulchers offer working speeds up to 3 mph. Units are available with a number of different motor options. Most require high-flow hydraulics capable of at least 10 gpm and as much as 40 gpm. Given the robust demands placed on the unit, look for those with added protections for the belt and hydraulic cylinder.||$22,000 - $34,200|
|Grader Rake||Capable of scarifying and smoothing large swaths of dirt on a farm or construction site, grader rakes are as handy for soil preparation as they are for cleanup. Most feature spring-mounted tines that enable the unit to perform effectively on uneven grades. Widths typically range from 80 to 95 inches, with some models offering angle control up to 20 degrees.||$4,000 - $4,700|
|Heavy Duty Brush Mower||Similar to a rotary brush mower, the heavy-duty variety features three blades that simultaneously cut and mulch underbrush up to 6 inches in diameter. Typically featuring steel construction, many units require a high-flow hydraulic system capable of at least 30 gpm.||$4,500 - $5,800|
|Height Adapter||A height adapter is used to compensate for the height difference that occurs when retrofitting a skid steer with tracks. Most units lower skid steer attachments around 3 inches to allow them to rest level against the ground/work surface.||$145 - $995|
|High Capacity Grapple Bucket||Useful for moving large hay bales and other oversized objects, a high capacity grapple bucket often provides individual grapple control on larger models. The grapple feature can be paired with either a traditional bucket or forks and is available in models from 36 to 80 inches wide.||$2,600 - $3,300|
|Hydraulic Breaker||Popular for demolition and construction alike, hydraulic breakers are used to quickly crush concrete, asphalt, and rock. They rely on the hydraulic flow and pressure of the skid steer to produce breaking force that ranges between 600 and 1,500 blows per minute.||$4,500 - $8,600|
|Log Splitter||Splits logs in seconds without any manual effort. Logs up to 24 inches in diameter are positioned into the splitter via controls in the cab and then split through a wedge that provides up to 20 tons of hydraulic force. Requires high-flow hydraulics of at least 10 gpm and as much as 20 gpm with some models.||$1,200 - $2,900|
|Log, brush, and rock grapple||Used for hauling logs, stumps, and other large objects, grapples in this range are available from 39 to 84 inches wide. Also used for transporting loose hay, corn stalks, and grass, they come with one or two cylinders and one or two grapple arms depending on their width.||$1,500 - $5,500|
|Manure Fork Grapple||Created to simplify both landscaping and farm work, manure fork grapples feature one or two cylinders and one or two grapple arms depending on a width that is usually between 60 and 78 inches wide. Most include 7 to 8 spears that can be replaced when damaged or worn.||$1,200 - $3,000|
|Pick-Up Broom||Operating in forward and reverse, a bi-directional pickup broom collects dirt, light snow, and the particle material that results from the manufacturing process. Designed with a shroud to prevent flying debris, some models also include a dust control kit that further reduces airborne particles. Standard widths range from 48 to 84 inches, with some models offering angular control up to 30 degrees.||$3,900 - $5,400|
|Planer||Level roads, trails, and a wide range of surfaces quickly and easily with a skid steer planer. Also known as a "cold planer," they’re ideal for small paving tasks, offering drum widths from 14 to 48 inches wide. This attachment is available for both standard and high-flow systems.||$10,000 - $24,000|
|Rotary Brush Mower / Dual Rotary Brush Mower||Built to quickly cut through grass and brush, rotary brush mowers can tackle underbrush from 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Commonly used for landscaping in parks and recreational resorts, models are available for either a standard or high-flow hydraulic setup. Standard units often range from 60 to 72 inches wide, with dual rotary models extending their width up to 84 inches due to the inclusion of twin spindles.||$3,400 - $11,500|
|Skeleton Grapple||Skeleton grapples are used for clearing logs and wood debris, loose hay, and large refuse. As they do not include a bucket, they are not suitable to dirt, gravel, and similar small materials. Widths range from 66 to 90 inches.||$1,470 - $3,400|
|Snow / Light Material Bucket||Used for clearing snow from driveways, roads, and parking lots as well as moving mulch and bark, snow and light material buckets are built to be lightweight yet durable.||$790 - $1,900|
|Soil Conditioner||Designed to prep soil for planting, a soil conditioner separates out rocks and other large objects while grading and leveling the ground by crushing large clumps of dirt. Bi-directional, a soil conditioner can be operated in forward and reverse, with some units that provide up to 25 degrees in angle control.||$4,300 - $10,900|
|Tooth Bar||Quickly transforms a standard bucket into a digging tool. With a bolt-on design and high-strength steel construction, a tooth bar attaches to the edge of buckets measuring 48 to 93 inches wide. The number of teeth varies depending on width.||$250 - $476|
|Tree Puller||Ideal for pulling stumps, shrubs, and even small trees, a tree puller is also commonly used for removing buried rebar and old posts. Jaws open up to 12 inches wide and typically feature welded construction that provides durability overall as well as protection for hydraulic components.||$1,150 - $1,420|
|Tree Shears||Equally as useful for clearing as they are for landscaping and maintenance, tree shears can be coupled with nearly any skid steer, requiring hydraulic output of only 15 gpm. Many come with a choice of single or dual knife configuration and can also be used to bunch and lift trees and large shrubbery – a feature that makes them popular among fire prevention applications.||$4,000 - $14,500|
|Tree Spade||Greatly simplifying the transplant of small trees and shrubbery, a tree spade is common among construction and landscaping applications. Most units accommodate ball sizes up to 48 inches in diameter and can also be used to prep and dig, providing all resources required for transplanting in a single tool.||$1,400 - $1,600 (for basic digger attachment); $10,900 - $16,000 (for spade attachment and transplanter)|
Reputable Skid Steer Attachment Dealers
Whether sourcing your skid steer attachments through the OEM or a third-party manufacturer, reliability is a key concern. Many dealers provide post-sale support, but the level of that support often varies from shop to shop.
One of the most costly aspects of skid steer ownership is related to repairs, especially when trying to locate an obscure part. So when you're comparing attachment dealers, consider the following two buying concerns:
- Can they match your skid steer model?
- Do they provide future support on the attachment you buy?
Can they match your skid steer model?
When paring a skid steer and an attachment, there are a number of compatibility and performance issues a dealer will take into account. The most important among them is your machine's GPM rating. All skid steer attachments are powered by the machine's hydraulic system, measured in gallons per minute (GPM). Commonly referred to as hydraulic flow, the attachment will have to be compatible with both the minimum and maximum GPM for that machine.
By taking into account the specifics of your skid steer – including its capacity for low-flow or high-flow hydraulics, operating weight, counterbalance, and safety features – dealers can quickly pair the best attachment to your machine. They also typically factor in variables associated with your work environment including terrain, gradient, access limitations, and soil abrasion.
This analysis is an essential aspect of dealer support as each application will have unique considerations. For example, the needs associated with farming or digging underground utilities varies greatly from that of landscaping and recycling centers.
Do they provide future support on the attachment you buy? This is another one of the key concerns when comparing both OEMs and third-party manufacturers. Working with an established dealer often guarantees access to the greatest level of OEM inventory and fastest delivery. But that service doesn't come without cost. By some estimates, OEM parts are between 20% and 25% more expensive than the same items provided through a third-party dealer.
Location is another concern. It's not uncommon for an OEM to distribute parts out of a centralized fulfillment center. Though next-day shipping is available on a wide range of smaller parts, delivery on large components can take up to a week or more through common ground carriers, and may result in costly shipping fees. When comparing dealers, give preference to those that are part of an established network and that maintain a service center within a day's drive of your location. Within this proximity, some may contract a local courier service that can deliver the parts quickly and more affordably than a national carrier.
It's worth noting that OEMs tend to have a slight advantage over third-party dealers when it comes to inventory. Third-party operations typically have to stock parts for a range of different brands, forcing them to pick and choose the items they keep on-hand. This often results in delays on less popular parts that must be sourced through the OEM for each fulfillment. In contrast, an OEM specializes in one product line and often supports that machinery and its attachments with the highest level of on-hand inventory.
- Buying Tip: Whether you opt for an OEM or third-party dealer, ask them to break down the list of "wear and tear" parts for the attachment you’re considering. Give preference to the one that maintains adequate stock on all parts listed.
As a means of comparison, two of the most popular skid steer attachment manufacturers include:
- Quick Attach: With more than 65 years in the business, Quick Attach manufactures universal attachments that pair with most skid steers currently on the market. This universal design provides a high degree of value, enabling owners to share attachments among a wide range of machinery, even after the initial skid steer is sold or sent to another jobsite. Quick Attach also has a firm commitment to customer service, providing live phone support 24/7 and offering a range of financing options with same-day credit approval.
- Bobcat: One of the most recognizable brand names in the world, Bobcat enhances the plating of the hardware components used in the production of their attachments to increase their structural reliability and overall lifespan. All skid steer accessories are manufactured through a process of robotic welding to ensure consistency, precision, and durability throughout. By pairing their attachments with a select range of small earth moving equipment, they are also able to achieve wider degrees of versatility and functionality through accessories that can be operated by a single button or switch. Bobcat provides a one-year warranty on all of its skid steer attachments.
Skid Steer Attachment Buying Tips
Parts inventory is an essential feature, but it's far from the only aspect of dealer support. While your needs will vary based on the size of your operation and level of in-house expertise and technical support, the following considerations are worth keeping in mind when comparing dealers.
Safety and training resources
Proper training provides two cost-saving benefits: it reduces the frequency and severity of injuries on the jobsite and results in tasks that are completed faster and with greater quality. Not all manufacturers provide training resources but many of them do. Training programs range from basic instructional tutorials provided through the web to complete courses that contain workbooks and DVDs. Topics covered also run the gamut, from standard operational skills to advanced techniques and safety precautions. A good example of OEM training support is found on the Bobcat website.
While third-party attachment manufacturers may also provide some form of training through individual dealers, it tends to be limited to operational tips alone. If you choose a third-party manufacturer and still want additional training on skid steer operation or specific attachments, there are a number of specialized schools that provide extensive skid steer loader trainer certification.
FinancingSkid steer attachments can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to well over $30,000. And while items on the lower end of the scale can easily be charged to a credit card with most OEMs and third-party dealers, higher-priced items may be more cost-effective to finance.
Financing options allow you to take advantage of certain tax benefits, while avoiding the high upfront cost associated with purchase. With a wide variety of leasing options available, financing is ideal for small businesses and upstarts that may not have the capital to purchase a larger attachment.
In many cases, lenders that provide construction equipment financing employ individuals who specialize in a specific market segment, from utility contracting and sand and gravel production to street construction and landscaping. Within each of these categories, you'll find tailored financial products that cater to capital equipment lease options including:
- Tax leases
- Terminal rental adjustment clause (TRAC) leases
- Operating leases
- Finance leases
- $1 purchase option leases
With funding often provided in as little as two days, most equipment financing can be obtained without a substantial down payment. Factors that determine your interest rate include your business and credit history as well as the value of the equipment, with most APRs for equipment financing falling within the 8% to 30% range. In general, the loan term extends for the expected life of the equipment, after which you typically have the option of trading it in on a new model or keeping it, depending on the terms of your lease.
Service level agreements (SLAs)The maintenance terms for your skid steer attachment are defined in a service level agreement. The SLA details the frequency and level of post-sale service you receive. These are critical for maintaining proper machine functionality and avoiding the downtime that results from worn parts and neglect.
Every SLA is a little different. But when it comes to skid steer attachments, the type of soil the accessory interacts with often makes a big difference in the service routine. From sand to frozen earth, the type of resistance can quickly shift the components of your attachment out of alignment, making the regular readjustment of things like chain tension a necessity. A skid steer attachment SLA will also focus on:
- Loose components, including bolts, cap screws, and shroud/shielding
- Hoses, ensuring each is free of punctures and not pinched by hydraulic components
EPA emission laws
While the ultimate responsibility for EPA compliance falls on you, the dealer you select should be able to advise you on the machine you’re operating and how it complies with federal emissions regulations, specifically EPA Tier 1 through Tier 4.
If you opt for a third-party dealer, they may or may not provide this level of service as it largely relates to the operation of the engine. For more information, consult your OEM or seek compliance assistance through construction industry services.