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  1. #1
    Veteran Member 1bush2hog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    NH TN75

    Default What will be more useful? Skid Steer or Mini Ex?

    I have some on going and future projects where I am considering purchasing either a used skid steer or mini-excavator to help out. I have borrowed both in the past so am somewhat familiar with each machines capabilities but wanted to get some additional thoughts and input from some more experienced users.

    Here are some of the tasks ahead of me:

    Maintaining 1+ mi. of gravel road which has water bars and ditches to direct water (road gains 4-500ft in elevation)
    Moving cut logs to log pile to be cut later for lumber. Moving cut lumber
    Digging a trench to direct flow of a natural spring away from new equipment shed site
    Digging foundation for house we will be building
    Digging/removing clumps of oriental privet from hillsides
    Cleaning up some creek areas including rerouting one area of a stream where previous owner built a pond/dam that eventually busted and water is now running over the top of the ground creating sediment issues downstream
    Cleaning up additional undergrowth and invasives from a land that hasn't been worked in 20-30 years

    I am leaning towards a 30HP mini due to the fact that I have a FEL with a bucket, a rear blade, and a new grader blade to handle most of the road maintenance and site leveling. I also have a grapple to move the logs and lumber albeit the skid steer would probably handle these jobs more efficiently. I could always rent a SS if I needed it to do a specific short term task. I would love to have a mulch head and brush mower for the SS too, but know that is probably totally out of the budget.

    Will 30Hp be enough on the mini?
    What kind of maintenance should I expect on one vs the other?
    Any suggestion on one brand vs another when looking and any tips on what to look out for?
    Last edited by 1bush2hog; 08-12-2014 at 03:16 PM.
    As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

  2. #2
    Elite Member roadhunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    JCB 212SU

    Default Re: What will be more useful? Skid Steer or Mini Ex?

    Sounds like you are on the right track with the mini. A family member of mine just bought a used bobcat excavator and he loves it. I'D recommend getting one of the models that weights at least 8k pounds if not more. They seem to be more useful IMO than some of the little guys.

  3. #3
    Gold Member Wnc3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    S.E., Texas
    John Deere 820 utility, John Deere 5525, 997 JD Zmower, Komatsu PC 35 miniExcavator

    Default Re: What will be more useful? Skid Steer or Mini Ex?

    I have a komatsu pc35 and really like it. I have 2 bucket widths and a thumb.
    I have a skid steer as well. For what you described, a mini ex is what you need.
    For what it is worth, I would much rather operate the excavator.

  4. #4
    Elite Member Piston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Lakes Region NH
    Kubota L4610 Hitachi UH083LC

    Default Re: What will be more useful? Skid Steer or Mini Ex?

    If you hadn't listed your equipment, I would have said that a good sized tractor, with GRAPPLE, and a mini ex, with thumb, would be about the perfect combination for almost all your needs. The only place a skidsteer would excel in the tasks you listed, is if you were serious about buying a mulcher for it.

    You can move lumber very well with a flat bottomed grapple, otherwise I may suggest FEL forks if you dont' already have them, and they are very cheap comparatively.
    What will be more useful?  Skid Steer or Mini Ex?-dog_house_056-jpg

    I'll be interested to hear other's opinion's as well, as I've often contemplated a mini ex for similar uses. My neighbor has all 3 of the machines you've listed, complete with the mulcher, and the majority of times he is using his L5740 unless he needs the skidsteer. The excavator is almost always at other job sites so I don't see him using that.

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