Tools & Materials
9 Skid Steer Attachments and How to Use Them
If you own a skid steer, have access to one or plan to rent one for an upcoming project, here are some handy attachments you should know about. We couldn’t possibly show you the dozens of attachments available, so we talked with several dealers to see which ones they sell and rent the most. Our pro, Mike Doyle, a longtime heavy-equipment operator, gave us great tips to help you get your money’s worth from these popular attachments. And yes, a lot of these are as fun to use as they look.
Move Brush With a Grapple
You can move mountains of brush with this grapple attachment by following these steps:
First, approach the pile with the bottom teeth parallel to the ground, and keep driving until the whole pile starts to move forward. Next, roll the grapple over as you keep advancing. Finally, crunch the upper teeth down, and lift the pile off the ground. As with any load, keep it as low to the ground as you can while transporting it.
This grapple is made for brush, but there are grapples made for all sorts of other jobs like demo, moving rocks, pulling roots and handling hay.
Lots of power and great maneuverability make skid steers snow-moving rock stars. Snow buckets are twice the size of standard buckets and work well for pushing and piling up snow. When you’re plowing snow on a gravel driveway, keep the bucket raised a bit or you’ll inadvertently scoop up a bunch of gravel along with the snow. Snow buckets also work well for light loads like leaves, grass and wood chips, but never use them to move dirt or rocks because you could damage the machine.
Scoop Up Rocks and Rubble
It’s a lot easier to scoop up rocks and rubble with a bucket that has teeth on it. Teeth also work well for pulling up roots and digging in tough soil conditions. Some buckets have teeth welded on, but the ones shown here can be removed when they’re not needed. Your rental center will charge an extra $40 to add teeth to a bucket.
Level the Ground
A regular bucket is OK for grading, but a grading bar/land plane works much better. They’re usually designed with two cutting edges so you can level the ground in both forward and reverse—that cuts your work time in half! They’re also handy for pulling up and capturing rocks without creating a giant trench. The one shown has harrows that can be dropped down to break up sod and tough soils. There are several sizes designed for different size steers.
Forks for a skid steer are great for moving around pallets of pavers, large fuel tanks, engine blocks, big boulders, old slabs of sidewalk, lumber, logs, hay bales … you get the idea. Just be careful, because every skid steer can lift only so much. It’s a good idea to know what that limitation is, especially when unloading pallets from a trailer.
Mow Down Small Trees and Tall Grass
Knock down acres of tall grass and brush in one day with a rotary brush cutter. They come in various sizes to match the skid steer you’ll be running. This one can devour trees up to 3 in. in diameter! Some come with rear rollers and front casters to achieve a smoother cut.
Bust Up Concrete
If busting up concrete with a sledgehammer is one of the worst jobs out there, busting up concrete with a skid steer just might be one of the most fun … honestly! There’s not a lot of bouncing around, and the whole machine jiggles your body like a vibrating easy chair. Always start breaking the concrete at the edges, and clear away the debris as you go so you don’t poke a hole in a tire on an exposed hunk of rebar.
A skid steer equipped with an auger can drill holes faster than you can say “Wow, what a backsaver!” Gravel, hard clay soils, rocks (not boulders) and tree roots don’t stand a chance. Regular augers work great for fence posts and footings, but large augers, like the 30-in. one shown here, make quick work of planting trees. Pull up the auger occasionally to clear the dirt. Most augers spin in both directions, so if you dig down too far and get stuck, spin it in reverse as you pull it up.
A stump grinder attached to a skid steer will obliterate a stump in minutes. The basic model shown here requires the whole skid steer to be repositioned in order to move the cutting wheel. Higher-end models allow you to swing the arm independently of the machine. Some grinders are mounted on the side and others are in the middle. The location of the grinder may make a difference if you have stumps near buildings or in tight quarters, so ask before you pick it up.