What’s The Difference Between a Bobcat and a Skid Steer?

Skid steers, also referred to as skid-steers, skid loaders, or skid-steer loaders may not have the most eloquent names to them, but many are familiar with Bobcats. What’s the difference between the two?

Skid Steers

Skid steers are small, compact heavy equipment vehicles made famous for two main reasons: they employ mechanically-synchronised wheel construction whereby the two left wheels (or sometimes, treads) can be locked into place whilst the two right wheels permit the vehicle to turn on a dime; they use two lift arms that can be modified or retrofitted with a seemingly endless array of attachments such as excavators, augers, backhoes, hammers, graders, and much more.

The first skid steers were invented in rural 1950s America as a means of disposing of turkey manure, but their use and applications have multiplied dramatically over the years thanks to their excellent build quality and supreme flexibility on farmsteads and construction sites of all sizes.


Bobcats are: copy and paste the above! Bobcat is a brand name of skid steer owned by American-owned Bobcat Company. With over 70 types of attachment available and widespread appeal for its flexible use, Bobcat has become such a well-known name that it’s often interchangeably used for skid steers much like how Kleenex often substitutes for tissue paper.

Although there are many manufacturers of quality skid steers worldwide, including Caterpillar, Kubota,  and Dingo Australia, for example, Bobcat is probably the most famous – and for good reason. Bobcats have a reputation for tough, rugged vehicles that can withstand nearly anything that’s thrown at them, including heavy-duty excavation, drilling, and general farm use.

The Bobcat Advantage

When it comes to construction equipment, there is no one-size-fits-all construction vehicle. Large construction projects requiring extensive excavation work should use large, purpose-built dump trucks and excavation equipment, for instance. Mining and ore extraction requires specialised equipment as well.

For most general-purpose work, however, such as landscaping, farm work, and residential excavation projects, this equipment is too large and unwieldy, not to mention costly. This is where Bobcats shine. Thanks to their myriad attachment options and small frame, Bobcats can navigate tight spaces and turn on a dime all whilst performing a wide range of duties reliably and safely.

Benefits of Bobcat Services

Skid steers such as Bobcats really hit a Goldilocks zone in terms of practicality. As mentioned, large construction projects and heavy-duty mining sites need more than what a Bobcat offers, but for nearly everything else, they’re the ideal construction vehicle for the job at hand.

Skid Steers vs Bobcats – What to Look Out For

One disadvantage of Bobcat’s brand recognition is that many people don’t even know that they fall under the term ‘skid steer’ when it comes to operating licenses. According to the Victorian Skills Gateway, skid steers (and therefore, Bobcats) require a Civil Construction Skid Steer Loader Operations license.

They may not require a degree in geotechnical engineering, but operators do require a proper license in order to conduct work so that your safety and the safety of those on the job site are maintained.

Melbourne Bobcat Services

If you require site cleanup, landscaping services, excavation/earthworks, driveways, or site preparation, Bobcats will get the job done well. Melbourne Bobcat Services offers all of these services and more with our qualified team of Bobcat operators. Get in touch with us today to find out how our Bobcat services can help you.