The primary uses for a skidsteer are lifting and carrying heavy loads of various materials as well as grading, leveling, moving and excavating materials such as dirt, gravel, rocks or sand. Skidsteers can also mount attachments and implements that give it additional capability, including snow blowers, trenchers, concrete breakers and augers for digging holes.
Skidsteers are available in three frame sizes: small, medium and large. These sizes are rated by load capacity and horsepower and range from around 1,250 to over 2,700 pounds and from 50 to 70 horsepower, respectively. A skidsteer differs from a front-end loader in that its lift arms are mounted behind the driver's compartment instead of out in front, giving it a more compact footprint. It has independent steering for the left and right wheels, which allows for a tighter turn radius. Some models are equipped with tracks similar to a bulldozer's to allow for easy maneuvering over rough terrain.
Small loaders are typically used for landscaping, underground construction and building site development where limited accessibility is a restriction. Medium-sized units are the most common and used for more open sites that are still too small for larger equipment. The large size is used for projects such as road grading, excavating and heavy lifting.