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The snowy season weighs on your mind. While a spreader truck, tractor, or backhoe with a mounted plow blade would make short work of snow removal, you either (A) don’t have these tools at your disposal or (B) you need a more agile solution.
“What about our skid steer loader? Can’t we use that?” you hear—either from a coworker or an imaginary friend.
“Are skid steers good for snow removal?”
Skid steers—whether wheeled models or compact track loaders—are exceptionally maneuverable on snow, ice, and slush. When armed with the right snow removal attachments, a skid steer is a pint-sized snow removal powerhouse.
In this guide, we’re going to look at:
“What kind of snow removal do I need my skid steer to accomplish?”
The type of snow removal you need to perform will largely determine the right tool for the job—in this case, the right skid steer attachment. Depending on the terrain, the amount and consistency of snow, and other variables, you may find that you need a few different snow removal attachments for your compact track loader or skid steer. Deeper snow, limited space, obstacles—all of these and more should be considered while deciding which attachments to add to your skid steer toolbox.
“What skid steer size considerations exist for snow removal?”
As a rule of thumb, whatever snow-removal attachment you obtain for your skid steer loader should be wider than the wheels or tracks of your loader. Each attachment will also list a recommended capacity for its intended skid steer or compact track loader which should be considered to avoid overloading or possibly tipping the skid steer. Keep in mind that various substances—whether snow or dirt—will alter the load weight.
For those who will need to use a skid steer at a remote location to remove snow, you will also need to consider your attachment dimensions in relation to your transport trailer. Wider attachments will require specialized accommodations for safe and secure transport. Keep this in mind when shopping for any snow removal attachments for heavy equipment.
“What is my budget for skid steer snow removal attachments?”
Though the price of snow removal attachments will play a major role in what equipment you choose, it is important not to confuse “price” with “cost”—so to speak. What does this mean? Many snow removal attachments may have a low price, but the long-term “cost” of how efficiently they help remove snow. When taking this into consideration, you may end up surprised just how “costly” cheap snow removal attachments can wind up being. You may also discover that certain attachments may take the place of two or three other attachments, making it important to resist the urge to simply choose multiple basic attachments before seeing the full scope of what advanced models can do.
Quality vs. Savings
Though not a hard and fast rule, cheap equipment may also mean low quality. These models may not remove snow as efficiently, require additional maintenance, and the like. For this reason, it pays to consider what equipment styles and models will serve your needs best and then look for savings and deals.
“What snow removal blade material will serve me best?”
When it comes to snow blade attachments for your skid steer or compact track loader, there are three different materials to choose from: rubber, poly, and steel. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Rubber Blade Edges
A significant concern for snow removal equipment operators is limiting damage to objects and paved surfaces. Another concern is causing too much noise—which can be especially disruptive during early-morning snow removal rounds. Rubber-edged snow blades and plows do an exceptional job at removing snow and ice quietly and with very little risk of damaging paved surfaces or objects—delivering squeegee-like performance to roads and lots. These rubber-edged blades work best for more malleable materials—such as slush or fresh, loose snow. These benefits may be offset a bit by cost as well as maintenance, making it important to carefully consider a rubber-edged blade’s specifications and tolerance ratings.
Steel Edged Blades
Steel-edged snow blades can be loud and damage certain objects or paved surfaces. This being said, steel-edged snow blades are the most rigid blade options and least prone to wear. A high-quality steel blade can outlast many of its poly or rubber counterparts while plowing through even hard-packed slush, snow, and ice. Still, as mentioned before, steel blades require increased focus and control to avoid damaging structures and paved surfaces.
Poly Blade Edges
Between rubber and steel blade options stands poly—the industry term for polyethylene, a form of robust plastic. This plastic is typically recycled ultra high molecular weight (UHMW) polyethylene. Poly blades provide many of the protective qualities of a rubber-edged blade with the rigidity and “bite” of steel-edged blade models. Still typically quieter than steel-edged blades, poly blades are likely not as resistant to wear as their steel counterparts. With that being said, poly blade edges are especially good for moving sticky snow due to the slick texture of the material. All of this translates to reduced resistance and better fuel economy for skid steers.
“Which snow-removal attachments for my skid steer will serve me best?”
Deciding which skid steer snow-removal attachments will prove the best choice depends on a variety of factors as each has its benefits, drawbacks, and specialized applications. Let’s take a quick look at a variety of skid steer attachments for snow removal.
“Is a snowblower skid steer attachment my best choice?”
For those that need a quick and powerful snow removal solution, a snow blower attachment for their skid steer or compact track loader is a great option. Snow blower attachments utilize horizontally-spinning auger blades that simultaneously break up compacted snow and ice while feeding it into a bladed fan housing for easy ejection. These high-powered machines are capable of reducing the deepest snow drifts into hassle-free loose material—resulting in clear roadways and parking lots.
The advantages of a snow blower attachment for a skid steer are twofold: power and responsiveness. Because you’re not simply pushing existing snow and ice in a particular direction but rather churning it back up into a loose material, there’s little need for follow-up removal. Most snow blower attachments are equipped with a rotatable chute—allowing operators to determine the most suitable location for snow, ice, and slush.
Snow blower attachments are not limited by skid steer traction, snow firmness, snow depth, or surface style—making them immensely useful tools for snow removal.
How much does a snow-blowing attachment cost?
Snow blower attachments for skid steers for sale range in price from around $8,000 for new models to around $2,000 for highly functional used models.
“Is a snow pusher skid steer attachment my best choice?”
A snow pusher attachment for a skid steer is a plow-like attachment designed to push snow forward without creating side windrows. They do this with folded side structures that keep the snow from falling away to either side. Snow captured in snow pushers is typically directed to a larger pile or snow drifts.
Where snow pushers shine is in the simple design—operating much like a large inverted dust-pan that pushes the snow wherever the operator wishes to send it. The no-frills nature of this design also allows operators to clear pavement relatively fast—sometimes as fast as the skid steer can travel.
Snow pushers may be simple in design but they are functional in operation. They not only push snow but can also be used for back drag—or to pull snow away from structures as needed on the backend of the blade.
While effective, snow pusher attachments may not be as efficient as many other snow-removal tools. The distance an operator can push a single load of snow can be easily maxed out and lead to spillage—resulting in the need to break up larger loads into multiple trips. That’s a whole lot of backup alarms!
Also, because snow pushers aren’t actively cutting or churning up the snow they encounter and the snow isn’t being immediately fed elsewhere, this means the skid steer must have immense traction to push deeper snow. For this reason and the lack of an angle, while snow pushers may be some of the most direct snow removal solutions (pardon the pun), they may not be the most efficient.
All of that being said, a snow pusher may be a great option for clearing snow from areas lacking space for a windrow or snow drift (such as alleyways, narrow city streets, etc.), and where straight push travel is an option.
Size Considerations for Snow Pusher Attachments
Though a wide pusher seems like the answer to the overloading problem, it will be much more difficult to control—not particularly nimble and it will require greater skid steer traction. Depending on the surfaces you need to clear, you can choose between an 84”, 96”, and 120” wide pusher. Narrower pushers will be more nimble but with decreased load capacity. Wider snow pusher attachments will clear more snow, yet require greater traction while offering less maneuverability.
More Than Snow
Pusher attachments aren’t just for snow! Some pusher attachment models can also be used to push water, mud, sludge, trash, and yes—even manure.
How much does a snow pusher cost?
Snow pusher attachments for sale can range from $7,000 for adjustable new models to around $800 for suitable used models.
“Is a snow bucket skid steer attachment my best choice?”
Snow bucket attachments (also known as light material buckets) for skid steer loaders, allow an operator to either continuously scoop snow toward a pile or lift up a load of snow and transport it in any direction.
What is the difference between a snow bucket attachment and a snow pusher attachment?
Snow pusher attachments only push snow forward whereas snow bucket attachments scoop and collect snow in the bucket attachment as they drive. There are tradeoffs for each. Snow buckets can collect snow from a surface and transport it in any direction to a larger pile. A snow pusher, however, can only push snow in one direction—though they can often push much more snow than a snow bucket attachment can carry in a single pass.
Though snow buckets may carry less in a single load than a snow pusher, they may also cost less—nearly half the price. Part of this is due to their reduced size in comparison to a snow blade or pusher and simple design—about as basic as skid steer attachments get.
Unlike typical skid steer bucket attachments, snow bucket attachments tend to be lighter—only needing to transport snow and not heavier construction or agricultural materials. Many also have windows cut out of the top sides to reduce weight and increase operator visibility—allowing you to easily determine when your bucket is full to avoid overflow.
Some of the downsides to snow bucket attachments may range from a few safety considerations to mess. Snow buckets tend to lack a safety feature known as a “trip edge” that allows the attachment to conform to any object it comes in contact with in spring-loaded buckling action. The lack of this feature means a slower operation for the sake of safety. Also, snow buckets suffer from overfilling and excessive windrowing—or the overflowed trails that form on the edges.
All of this being said, snow bucket attachments are incredible tools for clearing snow from smaller areas or moving banks of snow for stacking away from paved areas.
Snow Bucket Size Considerations
When purchasing a snow bucket, make sure that the bucket is wider than your skid steer and is rated within the machine’s operating load capacity. Failure to consider these specifications can result in overworked and top-heavy machines—which are both inefficient as well as dangerous.
“Is an angle snow blade skid steer attachment my best choice?”
Angle snow blades for skid steer loaders are concaved moldboard plows attached at a central oscillating hinge point that allows operators to direct the path of plowed snow, ice, and slush. Angle snow blades can also be outfitted with pin-on wings along the sides for pusher-like function.
There’s a good chance that when you imagine skid steers pushing snow, you envision such equipment doing so with angle blade attachments. These attachments allow operators to quickly and easily plow snow in any direction—straight forward, angled into windrows or snow banks, or even in a pull-back function. Angle snow blades are also very useful in moving snow in longer windrows and snow banks to be removed by a snow bucket or snow blower later.
Angle snow blades suffer a bit in terms of snow containment—for which they are not necessarily designed. While well suited for easily moving snow from paved surfaces, they do so with repetitious passes that scoot the windrows further into a snow bank. Attempts at head-on snow containment, unless outfitted with pin-on wings, will be largely inefficient. And while very effective on paved surfaces, they’re not well suited for gravel surfaces.
How much do angle snow blades cost?
Depending on their size, condition, and functionality, angle snow blade attachments for skid steers for sale can cost between $3,000 for newer models and $800 or so for used models.
“Is a hydraulic snow blade pusher skid steer attachment my best choice?”
If you can’t decide between an angle snow blade or a snow pusher or see that you will need to switch between both, a hydraulic snow blade pusher attachment is a great choice. A hydraulic snow blade pusher (also known as an HSBP) is essentially a snow pusher with the directional control of a hydraulic angle snow blade.
The height of these snow blade attachments in addition to the amount of control offered by hydraulic components and a floating frame allows operators to stack snow much higher than they may with simpler pusher attachments.
Most HSBP attachments also have controllable side wings that can be engaged to manage snow like a pusher or disengaged to allow snow to windrow off the sides. Many of these wings are equipped with relief valves that allow the wings to give way to obstacles and reduce damage to both the blade as well as objects such as curb structures and manhole covers.
Sizing Considerations for HSBP Attachments
Due to the weight of the moldboard of the snow pusher itself as well as its associated hydraulics, the success of your HSBP attachment will depend on your skid steer’s ability to accommodate this weight and wield it effectively. For this reason, it is important to confirm recommended load capacities.
How much do hydraulic snow blade pusher attachments cost?
Hydraulic snow blade pusher (HSBP) attachments for sale for skid steers can cost as much as $25,000 for deluxe new and larger models or $2,000 for smaller used models. This price varies based on the attachment age, condition, size, and features.
While these attachments can seem immensely expensive, it is important to remember that they’re essentially doing the job of two attachments without the need to swap attachments mid-job.
“Is a hydraulic v-blade skid steer attachment my best choice?”
A hydraulic v-snow blade attachment—also known as a “v-blade”— for a skid steer is a snow plow with a central hinged bifurcation that can be hydraulically manipulated by the operator to assume a variety of configurations. A “v” configuration brings the edges of the plow back to either side and the central blade split to a point, allowing a skid steer to easily penetrate accumulated snowfall on paved surfaces with side windrows. The opposite configuration is also possible—with the sides of the blade extended forward for snow gathering. The addition of pin-on wide wings can maximize snow capture and reduce overflow. These wings are typically outfitted with relief valves that are designed to give under the pressure of solid structures to reduce equipment and property damage.
In addition to a pointed “v” configuration or reversed configuration, the entire length of the snow blades can oscillate—the rate of which is controlled from the skid steer cab—to be used much like an angle snow blade.
Most hydraulic v-blades are also outfitted with loaded “trip edge” components—allowing the lower edge of the blade to give way against solid structures such as curbs, manhole covers, and the like.
The downsides of v-snow blades are minimal, but still present. Reduced traction is possible—especially when the blades are configured with the sides angled forward. This configuration increases resistance against the skid steer in higher or densely packed snow. Other negatives are simply due to the increased complexity of the component—more hinges, more hydraulics, and more controls can sometimes equal more to possibly go wrong.
Size Considerations for V-Blade Snow Plow Attachments
Like all snow blade attachments for skid steers, confirm that any attachment you’re interested in acquiring will not exceed the weight capacity of your skid steer or compact track loader. It is also important to ensure that the width of the blade exceeds the width of your wheels or tracks—even when in a “v” configuration—to help your skid steer maintain traction.
How much do v-blade snow plow attachments cost?
Newer hydraulic v-blade attachments for sale for skid steers can cost upwards of $4,000. Suitable used models can cost around $800—depending on the condition, age, and size.
“What attachment maintenance issues should I consider?”
Regularly Inspect Cutting Edges
No matter what material type of cutting edge you have installed on your snow removal attachment, inspect it regularly for undo signs of wear. Make sure that any trip edge feature is functioning properly to reduce damage to both your attachment as well as road obstacles, such as curbs or manhole covers. If any of these parts are worn or damaged, repair or replace them before using the attachment. Failure to do so may not only result in damaged paved attachments or road structures and even your skid steer. Rolling over broken components that have been knocked loose in a wheeled skid steer loader is never a good idea.
Check the Skid Shoes for Attachments
Skid shoes are flat platform-like components that can be fitted to the bottom of snow removal attachments. These skid shoes prevent the blade from damaging paved surfaces, preserve blade edges, and help reduce resistance for more efficient skid steer performance. If these skid shoes are damaged, however, this can cause a blade edge to drag across paved surfaces—resulting in damage, resistance, and inefficient function.
“What safety maintenance issues should I consider?”
Always Read Your Manuals
Before coupling and using any snow removal attachments, set aside some time to read the manual and become familiar with the manufacturer’s recommendations for the use of the equipment. You’ll not only learn about how to use the equipment safely and effectively but there’s a good chance of learning a helpful bit of information that may save you time and energy.
Don’t Ram Snow Piles
It can be tempting to try to break up compacted snow by colliding with it at higher speeds. Doing so not increases the chances of damaging your attachments and skid steer loader, but is dangerous for operators and the public.
Inspect Areas to be Plowed for Obstructions
Before utilizing any snow removal tools to clear a paved surface, make yourself aware of any buried obstructions. Knowing the location of curbs, sidewalks, posts, or other elements can prevent damage to components or even injuries to operators.
Stay Safe When Coupling and Decoupling Attachments
The proper attachments are meant to couple easily with the proper skid steer loader. Never force or strike components into position or when attempting to remove them. When decoupling hydraulic components, always release all pressure before detaching any hoses. Failure to do so may not only damage components but can be dangerous.
Reputable sellers of snow removal attachments for skid steers—whether dealers or private sellers—can be found nearby with great deals to be had all over. To assist you in finding not only snow removal attachments for sale but wonderful service from a professional seller, your friends from My Little Salesman are here to help.
Feel free to look through our seller listings of snow pushers for skid steers, snow plow attachments, and snow blowing attachments for sale.