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The versatile skid steer mulcher attachment is the perfect choice for clearing land. Capabilities vary according to hydraulics, horsepower, and more, but these attachments handle materials up to 8" in diameter and may reach speeds up to 3 mph. You find mulcher attachments in a variety of industries, anywhere contractors need to make quick work of brush, thick grass, and trees.
Whether it's a mulcher, auger, or trencher, you need your skid steer attachment to match the capabilities of the loader itself, so look carefully at the mulcher's hydraulic requirements. Most require a minimum gpm (gallons per minute) of 10, but that number can go up to 40.
The main factors contributing to speed are horsepower and whether the hydraulic motor is variable or fixed displacement. For the most part, today's units feature variable-displacement motors, as these offer improved performance.
Most commercial users look for the highest horsepower they can afford. Calculate hydraulic horsepower by multiplying flow times pressure and then dividing by 1,714. In general though, you want a high-flow circuit and an engine of at least 70 horsepower to produce the hydraulic horsepower needed for mulching.
This type of loader is much more common than high-flow models are. Mulcher manufacturers responded by designing attachments that maximize low-flow loader. Numbers to keep in mind are a gpm (gallons per minute) between 15 and 25 and a psi between 2,500 and 3,500.
Also, look for designs that include features intended to improve operation. These include:
- Carbide-tipped teeth: Stronger and hold an edge longer than most other materials
- Pressure gauge: Located within view of the operator, on the back of the unit
- Rear chain shield: Contains debris that's been mulched
- Relief valve: Relieves pressure on a stressed unit
- Safety push bar: Forces brush and small trees downward to improve contact with the mulcher's teeth, allowing the unit to cut through, up to 1" below grade
- Skid shoes: Keep the teeth at grinding level for a smooth, level surface
You also want the unit (and its price) to include flat-face couplers and all necessary hoses. It's also a good idea to look for mulchers with belt and hydraulic cylinder protections.
Depending on spec, capabilities, vendor, and more, skid steer mulchers vary widely in price, beginning at around $10,000, and running upwards of $39,000.
- Bobcat SP300 48" Green low-flow mulcher skid steer loader attachment, 60 carbide teeth, 800-1200 slashes per second, integrated brush bar, price range: $9,500 to $10,000
- Skid Pro's Forestry Mulcher Low-Flow 48" Skid Steer Loader Attachment, 2,750-6,700 slashes per second, requires 12-25 gpm,104 carbide teeth, price range: $14,500 to $15,000
- Skid Pro's Forestry Mulcher High Flow 48" skid steer loader attachment, requires 25-45 gpm,4,620-8,600 slashes per minute, 126 carbide teeth, price range: $16,500 to $17,000
- Ventura's 72" skid steer mulcher, flow up to 48 gpm, 30 carbide teeth, price range: $21,000 to $21,500
- Rockhound 66" FHX Defender mulcher, can handle material up to 10" on an intermittent basis and up to 6" continuously, Quadco cutter knives, 12.75" Cutter Drum, 3/4" thickness, price range: $25,500 to $30,000
- Caterpillar HM112C 60" mulcher attachment, dual speed, axial piston motor, adjustable push frame, price range: $25,000 to $25,500
- Bradco's 72 Magnum Mulcher for skid steer, double-sided carbide teeth, requires 30-60 gpm, 2000 rpm with 4 second recovery time, price range: $35,000 to $38,000.
When worried about budget, you may consider purchasing a used mulcher attachment. That's fine, but request a live demonstration to ensure the unit still works properly.
This is a major purchase, so you need to take your time and research accordingly. When comparing mulcher attachments and vendors, remember the following:
- Compatibility: No matter how great the specs are, if the attachment brand and model aren't compatible with your loader, the unit won't work. If you plan to buy a new skid steer at some point, you probably want to consider a universal attachment model, to ensure it's compatible with your new loader.
- Warranty: What does it include? How long does it last? Before agreeing to or signing anything, ask about the warranty and be sure to read the fine print.
- Look for reviews: There may be a reason that vendor significantly underbid the competition or that unit costs a lot less than comparable models. Search out reviews online, ask for references, and, probably most important, talk to others in your industry.
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