6 medium-frame skid steers for your fleet

By Jenny LescohierJanuary 30, 2023

The skid-steer loader remains at the stop of the pile when it comes to high-utility equipment. Second only to the excavator (and that’s arguable), there’s hardly a machine more must-have than a medium-frame skid steer.

Sure, tech advancements have enhanced this loyal servant on the job site, but the skid steer’s value still boils down to its ability to move big piles of stuff around without getting in the way. Power is important in a lot of applications, but attachment ease of use, comfort and speed can be equally crucial. Fortunately, today’s machine have it all, as shown by this selection of the latest models in the medium-frame category (which for this discussion, means models with operating weights between 5,000 and 6,000 lbs. and rated operating capacities between 1,300 and 1,900 lbs.).

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and it won’t be our last. If you’ve got a favorite make and model you don’t see on this list, let us know and we’ll feature it next time. For now, check out these six skid steers:

Bobcat S450
  • ROC: 1,370 lbs.
  • Operating weight: 5,370 lbs.
Bobcat S450

The Bobcat S450 skid-steer loader is a radius-lift-path machine with a compact frame, ideal for working in confined spaces.

Bobcat says operators can count on easy starts, smoother operation and less noise, thanks to the 49-hp 2.4L Tier 4 diesel engine and efficient fuel system.

The optional ROPS/FOPS Level II certified cab is engineered for all-day operation with low noise levels; easy-to-reach, intuitive controls; and a comfortable seat.

Tall, wide windows provide high visibility to the job site, while the S450’s narrow turning radius delivers maneuverability in tight spaces.

Part of the M-3 Series, the S450 travels at 7.6 mph, or 9.2 mph with a two-speed option. 

Joystick control is optional, as is ride control and Bobcat’s Power Bob-Tach system.

Visit Bobcat at Booth W41145 at CONEXPO-CON/AGG

Case SR175B
  • ROC: 1,750 lbs.
  • Operating weight: 5,970 lbs.

Case skid steers feature optimal visibility with a backup camera (operational in both forward and reverse), cab-wide rearview mirror, large front and side windows, a low-

Case SR175B

entry threshold for easy entry and greater visibility down to the bucket, a low-sloping rear hood and 360-degree lighting.

According to the company, every model in the B Series offers the industry’s widest cabs, while control handles provide more comfortable operation throughout the day.

Case skid steers are available in electro-hydraulic, mechanical and mechanical hand and foot configurations. Electro-hydraulic models with the 8-inch LCD multi-function display give operators the most control, with easy switching between ISO and H operating patterns, the ability to save operator profiles and application settings, and the flexibility to set total machine responsiveness to low, medium or high — or to independently set loader arm and drive response to meet exact operator preference.

Powered by a 67-horsepower Perkins 404F-E22TA diesel, the radial lift SR175B is designed for light- to medium-duty applications where basic earthmoving, loading and attachment operations are required. Standard (3,050 psi and 20.6 gpm) and optional high-flow (3,050 psi at 30.7 gpm) auxiliary hydraulics make it suitable for a broad range of attachments and applications.

Optional counterweights further increase rated operating capacity (up to 1,850 lbs.) for even greater lifting and carrying performance.

Visit Case Construction Equipment in Booth W40800 at CONEXPO-CON/AGG

Cat 226D3
  • ROC: 1,550 lbs.
  • Operating weight: 5,849 lbs.
Cat 226D3

Caterpillar’s D3 Series skid steers support a line of new Smart Attachments which feature technology that recognizes certain attachments and tailors the controls and operator information to match the tool and the task.

Cat loaders offer advanced control features that include Return-to-Dig and Work Tool Positioner to assist operators with repetitive tasks like grading, digging and loading. These items are now bundled together with the dual-direction self-level feature so that more operators will be able to take advantage of automated machine functions and more tasks can be completed with less user interaction and expertise.

Powered by a 67.1-hp Cat C2.2 CRDI engine, the 226D3 comes equipped with an enclosed cab complete with a wider-opening door for easier entry and exit. Additionally, the distance between joystick pods has increased by 3 in., offering extra space and a more comfortable experience for the operator inside the cab.

Visit Caterpillar in Booth F9127 at CONEXPO-CON/AGG

Gehl R135
  • ROC: 1,349 lbs.
  • Operating weight: 5,255 lbs. 

The R135 GEN: 2 skid-steer loader offers a compact body style with a little extra lifting capacity compared to Gehl’s smallest loaders, but is still able to be easily

Gehl R135


Gehl says the operator experience is very intuitive. New low-effort controls in the GEN:2 help with operator fatigue after a long day behind the controls, while an air-ride seat and optional upgrades are available to increase comfort.

Powered by a Yanmar 4TNV88C diesel, the R135 comes with a 1,499-lb. optional counterweight and has an 8-mph travel speed.

Learn more in Manitou Booth F9313 at CONEXPO-CON/AGG

John Deere 316 GR
  • ROC: 1,750 lbs.
  • Operating weight: 6,180 lbs.

John Deere says its small frame G-Series machines accomplish heavy work in smaller spaces without sacrificing performance. Their size and design make them easy to transport, providing owners and operators with a machine containing many features of larger machines but with a more compact footprint.

Multiple tire and track options enable G-Series machines to slim down and fit through narrow openings - the 316GR has a width under 63 in.

John Deere 316 GR

The John Deere 316 GR is compatiable with over 100 attachments offered in the John Deere portfolio, and with increased auxiliary hydraulic flows and power over previous models, this machine can offer greater performance while running attachments, according to the company. 

Optional electrically actuated Quik-Tatch enables some attachment connecting to take place within the cab, reducing the need for exiting and re-entering the cab to manually connect attachments.

Creep control (offered within the Joystick Performance Package) allows operators to perform precise tasks that require full hydraulic flow and power while running at lower travel speeds

Powered by a Yanmar 4TNV86CHT diesel, the 316 GR features electrohydraulic (EH) controls for increased functionality, allowing operators to customize machine operations based on preference. The EH controls also require less operator effort and are not as fatiguing over longer periods of operation compared to manual linkages. With fewer physical components and maintenance requirements, EH control machines provide operators with increased productivity across a variety of job applications.

Visit John Deere in Booth S5020 at CONEXPO-CON/AGG

Kubota SSV65
  • ROC: 1,950 lbs. 
  • Operating weight: 7,099 lbs. 

Kubota’s SSV65 comes standard with two-speeds, allowing operators to move from 7 mph to over 11 mph at the flick of a switch.

Also standard is a suspension seat, offering added comfort to what Kubota says is the “widest cab in the market with roll-up door.”

The wider cab entrance, with a 36” side-screen to side-screen width, allows operators to comfortably pivot when looking to their rear. When coupled with a rear view

Kubota SSV65

mirror, rear visibility is at its maximum.

When it comes to performance, the SSV65 features Kubota’s rugged loader arm design with long reach and a high bucket hinge pin height.

Borrowed from Kubota’s compact track loaders, this proven loader arm design with vertical geometry can push and dig as well as a radial machine, the company says. 

For ease of maintenance, the fuel tank is mounted on the rear door, allowing 26 gallons of volume to be removed from the engine compartment. Now mounted on a standard heavy-duty door without louvers or cut-outs, the additional free space in the engine compartment promotes easy access to service points. 

Visit Kubota in Booth W40545 at CONEXPO-CON/AGG

Don’t forget how good February’s continued construction jobs growth is
Yearning for Fed interest-rate floggings to end may have overshadowed what construction jobs mean for the industry and for recession-proofing
Develon to bring new compact track loader to North America in 2024
The company formerly known as Doosan enters a new category in North America with the 116-hp, large-frame DTL35
4 big takeaways from CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023
Technology took center stage at the show, as did sustainability, hinting at what the future holds for construction in North America, and the world