There are many things to consider when choosing the best grading attachment for your skid steer. Will your project require precise slopes? Will you need to get into tight corners? Will you require laser assistance? Or maybe you even need 3D help? Whatever it is, be sure to pick the proper attachment for the job.
Choosing the best skid steer grading attachment saves you money. Advanced grader attachments reduce time spent on jobs, labor costs and improve the project results.
Here is a guide to help you pick the a skid steer grading attachment.
Check Out The Skeer System Graders
Skeer System is the industry leader in skid steer graders. Their innovative grading attachments are used throughout the industry and are known for being the final grading leader.
Skeer has designed their graders to be able to handle any grading situation. Companies worldwide are switching to Skeer System. Their simplicity and effectiveness allow even the most inexperienced skid steer operator to produce expert results right away.
To begin with, each Skeer grader is set to ground traction level. This makes operating the grader in the field easier for the operator.
The hardened cutting edge can be used in the forward direction or in reverse. Because there is so much surface area on the ground with the Skeer graders, they have eliminated the need for wheels on the blade's front. This allows operators to get in tight spaces other blades can’t.
Some Skeer models, such as the “Pro Plus," come with extendable wings that can be used at any angle. This allows the operator to grade slopes with ease.
Tilt can be added to any Skeer grader allowing the blade to tilt 24 degrees in the 5th and 6th position, essentially turning the grader into a dozer blade. The blade can pivot laterally 60 degrees.
Overall, the construction industry is mainly turning to Skeer System grading blades. The higher upfront cost is easily offset by efficiency on the job site.
Skid Steer Grader Attachments
At the most basic level, you’ll be able to grade with an excellent quality skid steer bucket. The front of the bucket moves material with ease, while the back can be used as a blade to smooth out high and low spots. However, much more specialized attachments exist to increase efficiency and productivity. Some of these are:
Land Planer - Land planers make it easy to rip up hard soil, level uneven ground, and remove rocks and other materials. Some land planers will come with hydraulic rippers on the back to help dig into hard ground.
Versa Rake - The versa rake is used to move material while screening and leaving behind topsoil and other valuable material.
Skeer System Graders - Grading blades that can tilt, rotate, and slant up and down make grading slopes and tight corners far easier. Adjustable wings and sharpened cutting edges on the graders front and back make the finished grade professional and smooth.
The Skeer System Graders have many other benefits to make grading any surface easier. For example:
- The grader is adjusted to ground traction level
- Large flat-footing makes the grader stable without the need for wheels
-The tilt option allows the grader blade to tilt like that of a dozer.
- Laser assistance masts can be easily bolted on.
- Blades can be built for 2D/3D GPS/GNSS assistance.
- Extendable wings allow you to adjust the length of the blade.
After using the attachment for quite a while, you will have to deal with dull cutting edges. For this, your options are replaceable edges or permanent edges. Before purchasing your grading attachment, find out if the cutting edge is welded on or bolted on.
Welded on edges can sometimes end up being a headache to replace. They often have to be torched off before a new edge can be fitted. Bolt-on edges have the apparent advantage that they can be removed easier.
Cutting edges are sometimes reversible, giving the edge twice the life of a standard cutting edge.
Rake tooth edges can be purchased to help give your bucket added versatility when breaking up and leveling soil. The teeth on rake tooth edges are spaced closer together to make leveling and grading easier.
You also have the option of adding a bolt-on tooth bar edge. Compared to the rake tooth edge, the bolt-on tooth bar has a broader tooth spacing and is designed to break up and dig through compact soil.
Poly bucket edges are a good option when you are using your bucket for snow removal on concrete. The poly edge on the bucket prevents gouging and damaging the concrete.
Be sure to check the dimensions of whatever edge you are purchasing. Not only is the proper length significant, but the thickness and width are also good indicators of the strength and durability of an edge.
When considering the weight of grading attachments that aren’t buckets, horsepower is often a better indicator than weight.
For example, Skeer grading blades are designed to push and pull material along the ground rather than carry it. Although the Skeer Pro Plus only weighs 1100lb. (About half of a bucket of dry earth), it still requires a good amount of horsepower to operate efficiently.
Manufacturers will set a minimum recommended horsepower of a skid steer to use pushing-type graders. Underpowered skid steers may not be able to utilize the full benefits of a pushing grader.
For example, the very popular Skeer Pro Plus grading blade has a minimum recommended 60 horsepower. This would make it the perfect fit for our 75HP Bobcat S250.
The Skeer Pro Plus OS (oversized), however, requires 90HP because it is almost 18” longer than (13.4 feet) than the Pro Plus. This extra length requires more horsepower to adequately use this grading blade.
How To Choose an Attachment
Consider these factors:
Rough Grade or Final Grade
Are you looking to make a rough grade or final grade? Possibly you are looking for an attachment that can do both? Bucket-style attachments are better for rough grading, while Skeer System-type attachments are far better at final grading.
Read The Reviews
Read the reviews and talk to your dealer. Be sure to purchase attachments that have been proven to get the job done safely and efficiently.
Consider the experience level of your skid steer operators. You may decide that a 4 in 1 bucket is actually more difficult and less efficient to use for final grading. In many circumstances, a laser-assisted grader will pay for itself when considering the amount of time and labor it saves on a job site.
Check to ensure your skid steer has the required horsepower and/or operating capacity for the attachment you are considering. Be sure that it can mount correctly as well.
If you need an attachment quickly, always call your dealer before ordering. Many attachments are built to order and may require several weeks to produce before delivery.
Laser Grader for Skid Steer
For the most precise grade possible, GPS/GNSS guidance can be integrated with any Skeer blade.
3D GPS assistance allows the operator to upload a computer file to the Skeer blade. The blade can then read this file and make grade adjustments automatically.
2D GPS assistance is also available. 2D uses lasers to precisely tell the operator where the blade needs to be to achieve the proper slopes and leveling.
And finally, a laser assist option is available. The laser assist uses a laser level set to the operator's eye height. It visually shows the operator how high or low he is on the grade.
A popular laser leveling system used with Skeer System Grader Blades is built by TopCon.