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The Cost of Owning and Operating a Skid Steer Loader

Last Updated: July 27, 2023 note: Need a skid steer loader at an affordable price? Fill out the 30 second questionnaire below and our skid steer loader partners will send you free price quotes.

Summary: Skid Steer Prices #

On average, a mid-range skid steer loader with a capacity of around 1,500 to 2,000 pounds can cost approximately $20,000 to $30,000. You can expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 or more for a skid steer loader.

When it comes to flexible and versatile construction equipment, few machines can compare with skid steer loaders. They have wheels that are set close together and it can pivot around them, allowing them to maneuver in tight spaces.

While many people refer to this type of construction machine as a "Bobcat," that is actually the brand name of only one skid steer manufacturer.

There are, in fact, many companies that make skid loaders, and most can be outfitted with a huge variety of attachments, allowing them to take on myriad jobs. Use this buying guide to find the machine that's right for your business and to get a basic idea of how much it costs.

Skid Steer Loader Sizes and Uses #

Depending on the size of a skid loader, it can be appropriate for a wide range of applications. Machines can generally be divided into the following frame sizes and rated operating capacities (ROC):

  • Small-frame: Small frame skid steer loaders typically have a capacity of up to 1,750 pounds. They can take on less demanding jobs such as landscaping, indoor demolition, building/site development, residential construction, and snow removal.
  • Medium frame: Medium size skid steer loaders are able to handle loads of around 1,700 to 2,200 pounds. These skid steers are the most popular because they are powerful and can be fitted with many different attachments, yet still have much better maneuverability than bigger construction machines. Mid-size skid steers can be employed for numerous applications at job and construction sites such as transporting materials and loading materials into trucks.
  • Large frame: Skid steers with a capacity of over 2,200 pounds are generally considered heavy-duty or heavy lift skid steer loaders. The impressive horsepower and hydraulic flow of heavy-duty skid steers allows them to handle the most demanding construction jobs such as excavating, road building, and dozing.

Other Skid Steer Purchasing Factors to Consider #

In addition to the ROC of a skid steer loader, there are a number of other factors to keep in mind when searching for a machine that fits your needs, including:

  • Height and width: The physical size of a skid steer loader should be one of your first considerations. Make sure that the machine's height and width do not exceed any of the gates and other spaces it will need to fit through. Typical sizes include around 3 feet to six feet wide and between five and seven feet high.
  • Dumping height: The height to which a skid steer loader can lift a load, measured as the hinge-pin height, is another important consideration. Small machines might have a dumping height of around eight feet, while heavy-duty skid steers often have a reach of over 10 feet.
  • Operating environment: Depending on where a skid steer loader will be operated, it needs to be outfitted with the correct tires. Air filled tires provide a nice ride on rough surfaces, but are prone to flats. Foam pneumatic tires, on the other hand, do not go flat, but can be quite pricey. Another choice for flat-free tires are those made from solid rubber, but don't expect a smooth ride on them.

Skid Steer Loader Average Costs Sample #

Bear in mind that prices can vary significantly based on regional variances and individual vendor quotes. The following skid steer prices should give you a general idea of how much your initial investment will cost.

  • Lowest capacity (650-750 pounds): $10,000-$15,000
  • Capacity of 1,000-1,500 pounds: $15,000-$20,000
  • Capacity of 1,500-2,000 pounds: $20,000-$30,000
  • Capacity of 2,200-3,000+ pounds: $30,000-$50,000

For a detailed breakdown of skid steer loader rental and lease costs, read our guide: Skid Steer Loader Rental and Lease Prices

To explore the typical pricing for used skid steer loaders, check out Used Skid Steer Pricing: Get a Quality Used Skid Steer Loader for Your Business.

Some of the most popular brands and models of skid steer loaders include:

Skid Steer ModelLift CapacityPrice Range (New)
Bobcat S650Approx. 2,690 lbs$30,000 - $40,000
Caterpillar 262DApprox. 2,700 lbs$40,000 - $50,000
John Deere 320Approx. 2,400 lbs$35,000 - $45,000
Kubota SSV75Approx. 2,600 lbs$35,000 - $45,000
New Holland L228Approx. 2,800 lbs$35,000 - $45,000
Case SR210Approx. 2,100 lbs$30,000 - $40,000
Takeuchi TL8Approx. 2,105 lbs$35,000 - $45,000
Volvo MC60CApprox. 1,850 lbs$30,000 - $40,000

Adding attachments to a skid steer loader will raise its cost. Some popular skid steer attachments include:

  • Grapple rake: $2,500-$3,000
  • Stump grapple bucket: $1,000-$1,500
  • Extractor: $3,000-$5,000
  • Pavement saw: $10,000-$20,000
  • Concrete breaker: $5,000-$10,000
  • Snow blower: $5,000-$10,000
  • Brush cutter: $3,000-$5,000
  • Rotating grapple: $3,000-$5,000

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