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Keeping roadways, driveways, and parking lots clear of snow is an important part of winter safety. While traditional snowplows and pushers handle the majority of these jobs, these machines don't work in tight spaces. When the big loaders don't cut it, your best option is a skid steer plow attachment.
Sometimes, maneuverability and agility are more important than the ability to quickly move a large volume of snow. When working in tight spaces, in front of garages, or while performing prep work along edges, a skid steer with a plow attachment often fits the bill more than a big pusher does.
Loaders come in varying sizes with varying weight capacities, as do their plow attachments. Smaller skid steers have greater maneuverability, typically at the expense of power, but also a lower price tag. It's important to consider more than cost, and to match the size and capability of your loader to both your plow attachment and snow moving needs.
Common skid steer plow attachment widths include 8', 10', and 12'. If you're operating a 10' pusher, choose a skid steer rated to handle 1,700 pounds, preferably with wheels instead of tracks for better traction. Look carefully at specs to make sure your loader and pusher capabilities match up.
Proper operation ensures both higher productivity and that your equipment lasts longer. For example, you want to ensure the box is level before you begin plowing and leave the roll lever in place throughout the pass. This protects the shoe from excessive or uneven wear because you carried the plow back on the heels or tipped forward on the toes. It also ensures more snow remains in the box. If you choose a plow with either self-leveling or floating shoes, you don't need to watch the box level as carefully.
The shoes also wear prematurely when you press down too hard. Applying too much downward pressure also leads to cut edges and may reduce traction by slightly lifting the loader above the ground. Look for a box with a steel trip edge, which slides easily into hard-packed snow and requires less force. A rubber blade is your best bet for slush and fresh snow.
Whether you should keep the steer's arms in float mode while plowing depends on operator preference, since both options have pros and cons. On the pro side, floating lets the box follow the rise and fall of the pavement, making it easier because the operator doesn't have to keep adjusting position. Cons include a lack of control while in float mode and the need to adjust pressure to match changes in gradient.
As with all skid steer attachments, plows vary widely in price. Contributing factors include size, capacity, manufacturer, and vendor, but additional features also play a role. These include quick-attach mounts, screw-in tire studs, and skid shoes.
- Victory Tractor Implements SP240 94" snow plow/blade, requires 40-60 GPM, CAT1 3-point hitch, price range: $1,000 to $1,500
- Premier 108" snow plow attachment, reversible bolt-on cutting edge 8" high, 3/4" thick (hardened), 2" center pivot/angle pin, 2 large adjustable/removable skid shoes, price range: $2,500 to $3,000
- Edge Attachments USSB72 72" utility skid steer snow blade/plow, 10-gauge steel, 28" high 30 degree curved blade, price range: $3,000 to $3,550
- Berlon HDS 120" skid steer snow plow, reversible Bolt-on cutting edge 8" high, 3/4" thick (hardened), fully adjustable skid shoes, hydraulic angle adjustment, price range: $3,200 to $3,800
- FCC 120" V-Plow, sequential hydraulic control, 32.5" high curved blade, fully adjustable skid shoes, reversible steel cutting edge, price range: $5,000 to $5,500
- Buyers 8' Snow Dogg snow plow skid steer attachment, 304 stainless steel moldboard, 29" blade height, deflector and plow shoes, price range: $6,500 to $7,000
You can save between 30 and 50 percent (on average) if you choose to buy a used plow attachment. Request a live demonstration to ensure the equipment functions properly.
While researching plow attachments and comparing proposals, don't forget the following:
- Compatibility: The attachment needs to be compatible with your skid loader's brand and model (not all of them are). Universal attachments work with any loader and are a good choice in the event you buy a new skid steer in the future.
- Reviews: Search online and talk to other contractors to get a good idea of both the unit and the vendor. You can also ask your dealer for references.
- Warranty: Ask for details – in writing – about what the warranty covers and how long it lasts, as well as whether it comes with an additional cost.
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