Where Are Mini-Skid Test Results?

September 28, 2010

 Mini-skid-steer loaders

I read your equipment review of the mini-skids [in Feb. '06 issue at https://www.constructionequipment.com/article/CA6307059.html]. You obviously spent a considerable amount of time reviewing and testing each machine. Why is hardly any quantitative information given for each machine other than the manufacturers' specs? How about the carry time for each machine, the horsepower or hydraulic pump output, weight, speed, etc. I can get manufacturers' literature from any salesperson.

How can a purchaser use information like average trenching performance when comparing machines? When you run a test like the load & carry up a ramp to dump into a truck, why can't you give specific results for each machine? I guess I don't understand what variable would prevent you providing that info to readers. Obviously if one machine is spec'd larger than another, you would not do "head-to-head" comparisons, but giving an average load & carry result of all seven machines makes no sense to me. Sorry to beat you up on this, but it is very difficult to find good non-manufacturer data on construction equipment — info that is available for autos, boats, cycles.

Is the information available from your tests on individual machines? Thank you.

— Jeff Krueger, RENTALEX, Kalamazoo, MI

Dear Jeff:

We did intend to publish the actual performance numbers we collected for each machine. But once on site, we realized that some of these machines are more difficult to operate than others. Because of time constraints imposed by the way we had organized the event, the manufacturers had, literally, just a few minutes to instruct the operators about the use of their machines. Some manufacturers, we learned later, kept their explanations basic, choosing not to mention the more technical features of the machine — features that could well have enhanced production in the hands of a more experienced operator. We don't say a "better" operator, because the people at Local 150 are the best. But as any good operator will tell you, you need time to get comfortable with a machine and to fully understand its features before you can make it sing. But we didn't have the luxury of that amount of time.

Had some of the manufacturers come to you, as they did to us, and said that the performance of their machines would've been considerably better had this or that feature been used, then how would you have handled the data? We thought their comments made sense; it appealed to our sense of fair play; and gave us pause.

So we decided to average the data in order to give potential buyers a glimpse into an area that had never been investigated, to wit: Are these mini-skids real machines? Can they do any real work? We did resolve those questions. Could we have done better? Yes. Anytime we leave a reader with questions like yours, we haven't done our job thoroughly enough. We will take your comments in-to consideration for our next test.

The editors