Choosing Between A Compact Utility Tractor Or Skid Steer Thumbnail image

“Should I buy a compact utility tractor or a skid steer?” This is a common question from customers, especially folks who are looking for a machine to handle a variety of chores and projects. It’s a great question, and the answer depends on the buyer’s needs.

John Deere offers stellar lineups of compact tractors and skid steers, and your friends at Minnesota Equipment are happy to help decide what’s right for you. Our expert staff can guide you through the process—and put you in the driver’s seat so you get a feel for different options.

In the meantime, here are a few key points to consider.

Both types of machines have many uses. They also have advantages in certain areas and limitations in others. These pros and cons can help guide your decision on whether to buy a compact utility tractor or a skid steer.

Skid Steer Savvy

Wheeled skid steers and compact track loaders—which are fitted with tracks instead of wheels, as the name implies—are great for working in confined areas. Due to their compact stature and tight turning radius, skid steers are easy to maneuver when performing chores in tight spaces—such as cleaning barns or stacking hay on farms. They also get work done fast on a variety of other jobsites, including construction and landscaping projects.

Skid steers can be fitted with a variety of attachments to boost their versatility. For example, there are more than 100 models of John Deere attachments available for the John Deere G-Series skid steer lineup. Options include rotary cutters, root rakes, bale spears, grapples, forks, buckets, snow blades, blowers, rotary tillers, augers, hydraulic hammers, brooms, pallet forks and more. And thanks to Universal Quik-Tatch, you can switch from one to another in seconds, without leaving the cab.

Skid steers also turn faster and tend to be quicker in their movements, allowing an experienced operator to get jobs done in a hurry. When it comes to covering ground, however, tractors have the edge. Keep this in mind if you’ll be hauling material across your property or driving the machine appreciable distances between job or storage sites.

Tractor Considerations

If you’re looking for machine to use around the yard or other sensitive landscapes, a compact tractor with turf tires is hard to beat. Skid steers can handle the job, but they’re more likely to tear up the ground in the process.

There are plenty of other compelling reasons to choose John Deere compact utility tractors. Although they might not be as maneuverable in tight quarters as a skid steer, these reliable, versatile workhorses still get a lot of work done, too. Tractors are also better suited to loose or damp soil conditions than skid steers, particularly the wheeled varieties. It’s easy to get a wheeled skid steer stuck in wet areas, and once you’re bogged down, a tractor can be your best friend for pulling the skid steer out.

Compact tractors are also compatible with a wide range of attachments—front and back. Plus, you can pull implements with a tractor, which is a huge plus around the farm, garden, or when creating food plots on recreational properties. Smaller compact tractors are also considerably lighter than conventional skid steers, so you can haul them with a lighter duty trailer and tow vehicle.

In the end, the right choice depends on your needs and preferences. The best way to make the best decision is to stop by Minnesota Equipment. Visit with our sales staff, check out our inventory, and get behind the controls of a few different machines to see which one is right for you.