Skid Steer Attachment Guide
It may not be as simple as you might think, to select the correct attachment for your skid steer . For each attachment there are usually a lot of models, sizes and specifications to choose from. These are to cater to the machine, the job and also the price range that might be willing to spend. For example, we have around 4 or 5 different models of auger drive that will work on the same skid steer, but each will offer different results.
Topics to be covered
- Why it is important to select the correct attachment
- Skid Steer Pick Up/Quick Attach
- Mechanical Attachments vs Hydraulic Attachments
- Hydraulic Oil Flow & Pressure
- Skid Steer Standard & High Flow
- Auxiliary Port Sizes
Why it is important to select the correct attachment
As mentioned in the introduction, there are often 3 or 4 different models of the same attachments that might look, on the surface, to do the same job. This is rarely the case, especially when it comes to hydraulic attachments. We will cover the difference in more detail later on.
Firstly, and obviously, the wrong attachment might not fit your machine. For example, a mini skid steer attachment will not be able to be picked up by a “full size” skid steer. And vice versa, although there are adapters out there to enable this to happen, in general a mini skid steer attachment is designed to suit the smaller machines.
Next is the operation of the attachment. If the attachment is not the correct size to suit your skid steer, then it will now work to its full potential. This means it might not do the job that you intended, or be worth the investment spent.
For hydraulic attachments, an incorrect attachment can easily lead to issues with hydraulic motors etc. By sending too little or much hydraulic fluid to the attachment, it can blow the motor or cause the motor to not spin fast enough. Neither of which are good options and can lead to expensive repairs and a return to the seller.
Skid Steer Pick Up/Quick Attach
Most standard size skid steers will come with the “Universal Standard” Quick Attach system. These terms can be interchangeable, but it’s important to know that in general, skid steer attachments are “Universal”. This, however, only means universal, in the sense that your machine will be able to pick up the attachment and lock it into place.
Standard universal systems do not change between different brand skid steers. This means that Bobcat, CAT, Kubota, Takeuchi etc. all use the same system. This makes finding attachments that suit your machine a lot easier than finding attachments for excavators. This is why skid steer attachments are very popular in the US market.
Again, be aware of the difference between mini skid steer attachments and full size attachments. Mini skid steer systems often do change between brands. See this link for our mini skid steer attachment guide.
Bobcat Full Size Quick Attach System
Mechanical Attachments vs Hydraulic Attachments
Mechanical attachments are more simple attachments, that for the most part, don’t have any moving parts. These include bale spears, buckets, graders, rakes, pallet forks & stump buckets etc. All of these attachments are fixed and don’t have any parts moved by a hydraulic cylinder or motor.
In general, these attachments are able to suit any size of skid steer. You can pick the size or width of the attachment depending on the job at hand. For example, you may pick an 84” tooth bucket rather than a 72” if you are working in large areas.
Hydraulic attachments are attachments that do have 1 more moving part, usually operated by hydraulic cylinders or motors. The list of hydraulic attachments is very long but the most popular attachments are:
Augers, Brooms, Breakers, Grapples, Log Splitters, Mulchers, Post Drivers, Stump Grinders, Trenchers and many more!
Often, but not always, attachments with cylinders are designed to withstand a large range of hydraulic pressure rangers, and your main options may just be width/size.
For example for skid steer grapples, we offer the same grapple, but in 3 different widths – 66”, 72” and 84”.
Other attachments like augers, mulchers and trenchers etc. won’t work properly unless the correct size is picked to suit the hydraulic output from your skid steer. This leads to the difference between hydraulic oil flow and hydraulic oil pressure.
Hydraulic Oil Flow & Pressure
Each skid steer will have an operating range of hydraulic pressures and oil flow. For running attachments, we are looking for the auxiliary hydraulic outputs for the machine – shown in the spec sheet to the right .
Oil flow is commonly measured in gallons per minute (GPM). Hydraulic pressure is often measured in pounds per square inch (psi).
As you can see in the specifications for a Kubota SVL75 skid steer is that the auxiliary hydraulic operating pressure is 3,185psi and the oil flow is 17.4GPM for the standard flow model and 29.3GPM for the high flow model. This means, when operating at full capacity, that is the maximum pressure and flow that the machine will output.
The auxiliary hydraulic circuit is the circuit that operates attachments hooked up to the auxiliary ports on the side of the skid steer.
Auxiliary hydraulic circuits run in both directions, meaning that you can operate the attachment in two directions. For example, your oil flows one direction to open the grapple, and the opposite way to close.
If you are not sure on the output of your machine, you can usually search the make and model into Google and pull up the specifications. If you are still not 100% sure, you can contact your dealer.
The goal here is to find then match the machine output with the operating ranges for the attachment. See below that our auger drive operating pressure range is 1160 – 3,481psi & oil flow range: 13 – 30GPM
The spec sheet for the skid steer we looked up earlier told us that it outputs 3,185psi and 17.4GPM. This falls comfortably in the range of the auger attachment, meaning that it will work as intended.
Notice that the 3300-30 is also capable of running on the “high flow” SVL75. But not the “high flow” SVL95.
If you find that the attachment requirements are too low/high, look for another model that might have higher/lower operating ranges.
We try to list details in the title of the attachment to make it easier to narrow down the search and help you select the correct attachment.
Skid Steer Standard & High Flow
You may well have heard the common terms “Standard Flow” and “High Flow” in relation to skid steers.
Standard flow is not a specific number when it comes to oil flow, but think of any hydraulic oil flow up to 30 GPM. You can then think of High Flow as anything above 30 GPM, usually up to around 40 GPM.
You may even have heard the term “low flow”. This usually refers to older model skid steers that didn’t have the hydraulic power that the newer machines have. We usually think of this as anything up around 20 GPM.
Does this relate to the HP of the machine?
This can relate to the overall horsepower of the machine, however just because your machine is 95hp, doesn’t always mean that it comes equipped with the high flow option. This is usually an additional extra.
Lots of attachments like augers, mulchers and trenchers can be found to suit high flow models specifically. Our high flow auger setup will offer more torque and therefore be able to drill larger diameter and deeper holes.
Auxiliary Port Sizes
In general, most skid steers fall into the “standard flow” category. Most attachments in the market are designed to suit machines up to around 30 GPM. You may notice that a high flow attachment will start at a lot higher price, and might not always be necessary for the job at hand.
Quick Tip: Most skid steers equipped with “high flow” are able to run in “standard flow” mode as well. This lets you operate a standard flow attachment and save yourself some money.
Most standard flow skid steers will come with ½” “flat face” or “quick release” ports on the machine. Likewise, a “standard flow” attachment will usually come with the ½” couplers already with the hoses to hook right up to the machine.
High flow ports can vary, but in general, will be the same flat face design, but may be ⅝” or ¾”. We recommend following this article in reference to measuring your ports. Or again, you can contact your dealer to confirm.
In conclusion, once you know what attachment you are looking for, you can determine if it requires hydraulic oil to operate, or not.
A quick Google search of the make and model of your machine and you should be able to find the auxiliary pressures and flows. You can then compare this to specifications of the attachments to make sure you fall within the range and select the correct attachment for your needs.
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to reach out to you us here – or call (941) 212-0037.
5 thoughts on “How to Select the Correct Attachment for your Skid Steer”
Amazing post about how we can select correct skid steer attachment. I really enjoyed this post while reading. A skid steer is a type of heavy-duty, versatile piece of construction equipment that is typically used for digging, lifting, and moving materials. It is frequently used for tasks such as clearing debris, grading, and for digging trenches. A skid steer is typically powered by a diesel engine, and it is controlled with levers from the operator’s seat. Skid steers are available in many sizes, from small to large, and can be used for a variety of tasks. For additional info on the same, visit Boom & Bucket.