Skid Steer Loader Buyer's Guide
Skid steer pricing
Table of Contents
Pricing for skid steers is fairly consistent across brands and vendors and is mainly determined by the operating capacity. The overall range, from the smallest 650 lb machines to the 3,000 lb monsters, is around $12,000 to $55,000. But we can break it down in a little more detail.
- <1350 lb. capacity = $17,000 to $20,000
- 1600 lb. capacity = $18,000 to $22,000
- 2000 lb. capacity = $22,000 to $28,000
Want to see more real-world prices? See what other BuyerZone users paid for Skid Steer Loaders.
Heavy-lift skid steer loaders (over 2,200 lb. capacities) get considerably more expensive, usually over $33,000 and up to $55,000. In addition, compact track loaders are considerably more expensive, with tracked machines ranging between $30,000 for the smallest units all the way up to $98,000 for larger models.
As with most types of heavy machinery, there is a definite correlation between cost and quality in skid steers. Proven, reliable brands tend to cost a little extra. Most dealers carry multiple brands, so it's worth comparing, but paying a little extra for more reliability is often worthwhile.
In many cases, renting for a month is the best way to evaluate a skid steer loader before you buy it. As a point of reference, monthly rental costs for a 1,600 lb. capacity skid steer are around $1,100 to $2,000, excluding taxes and a damage waiver. Certain dealers will even let you deduct some or all of the rental cost from the purchase price should you decide to buy.
Skid steer attachment prices
In addition to the skid steer, you'll need at least one attachment to do the actual work. Attachments vary widely in price. A basic bucket usually only costs $700 to $1,200, with specialty buckets like the 4-in-1 costing anywhere from $3,000 to $4,200. Other low-end attachments like pallet forks and augers typically range from $700 to $2,400. Trenchers, rotary mowers, power rakes, and sweepers fall into a $1,200 to $9,100 range.
Complex powered attachments such as hydraulic hammers, flail mowers, backhoes, and cold planers can cost almost as much as the skid steers they connect to. Expect to pay $10,000 to $24,000, depending on their size. A small percentage of these high-end attachments require high-flow hydraulics, adding about $2,000 to the price of both machine and attachment.
The cost of adding a cab enclosure and heating or air conditioning is usually between $1,500 and $6,000. Adding rubber tracks can cost around $5,000.
You can expect at least a one-year parts and labor warranty on new skid steers. As with cars, you may get longer warranties on some subsystems: two or three years on the powertrain, for example. And you'll often be able to extend the warranty at additional cost. If you have equipment maintenance facilities and personnel already, skip it. Otherwise it's definitely worth considering.
New vs. used
Most skid steer dealers sell both new and used equipment. While you can save quite a bit of money buying used, it's not worth the risk if you're going to be using the machine full-time. Used machinery is often out of warranty and may have been used roughly by its previous owner, leading to costly repairs and downtime for you.
If you'll only be using it part-time, you can find some great deals. A mid-sized skid steer that sells for $20,000 new will probably sell for around $14,000 to $16,000 used or less. A good benchmark to look for is a machine that has 1,000 to 2,000 hours of use – that's enough to drop the price while still getting a machine with a long lifespan ahead of it. There are plenty of used skid steer loaders with only 200 to 500 hours of usage, but that's typically not enough to drop the price significantly, which cancels out the primary reason to buy used in the first place.
In addition to their reduced cost, used skid steers currently have another major benefit: environmental compliance – or rather, an exemption from it. The EPA's Tier IV directive, regulating engines for non-road diesel engines, attempts to curb pollution by forcing manufacturers to produce refined engine and fuel controls. However, this regulation only applies to machinery manufactured after Jan. 1, 2013 and doesn't affect the continued operation of machines produced prior to that date.
But before taking advantage of this loophole, it's a good idea to review the specific regulations associated with your job. According to industry insiders, many job sites are starting to require mandatory Tier IV-regulated machines – a trend that is expected to increase as time goes on. Because of this, the value of older machines has dropped and should continue to do so as Tier IV regulations are enforced more widely.