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Posted: 06/24/2019

9 loader options and accessories to consider before ordering a new machine

S595 skid-steer loader with a side lighting kit installed works in a dimly lit barn.

You’ve made the decision to purchase a compact track loader or skid-steer loader. But what’s next in the process of getting your dream machine? It’s time to tailor your loader to your specific jobsite needs and operating preferences.

Before your loader can start on the assembly line, you’ll want to decide which factory- and dealer-installed options to include in your new machine. Loader options can provide you with premium comfort, improved visibility, extra durability and boosted efficiency. Remember, though, if you’ll be adding dealer-installed accessories after your loader has arrived, you’ll need to also factor in the cost of downtime during installation. This checklist will help you think through which loader features you need – and which might be unnecessary – so you can select the right machine for your work without breaking the bank.

1. Enclosed cabs with heat and air conditioning

Consider weather and season extremes. Do you work in an area that’s hot and humid in summer or bone-chilling in winter? Adding an enclosed cab with heat and air conditioning to your loader will make those extreme temperatures much more bearable for you and your crew. Improved comfort features can boost productivity and expand your working season, potentially paying for the cost of the cab itself. Even if you don’t plan to work in winter, things can change. Opt for a cab on your order now, and you will be ready for future opportunities. Adding a cab post-purchase is not cost effective, so plan to make this decision up front.

When to make a decision: When you order your loader

2. Ride control

Traveling over uneven ground while carrying loose material is practically begging for spillage, especially if you need to move at high speeds. Adding a ride control option to your loader, which is a dampening system on your loader’s lift arms, can reduce spills, improve efficiency and keep jobsites looking nicer while allowing you to move more quickly from one task to the next. Ride control also dampens rough terrain, improving operator comfort. You’ll need to decide if you want this option before your loader is assembled at the factory.

When to make a decision: When you order your loader

3. Lighting

If you’ll be working in low-light situations, such as inside dimly lit barns or after-hours on snow removal jobs, adding extra lighting to your loader can be beneficial. More lumens can improve operator visibility, allowing you to finish the job more quickly and accurately. Your local dealer can add extra lights, such as a side lighting kit or a rotating beacon, to your loader down the road, so rest easy: This isn’t an accessory decision you have to make right away.

When to make a decision: Either when you order your loader or after your machine has arrived

4. Speed

When you’re traveling to and from jobsites, you’re eating up precious time if you’re regularly covering a lot of ground with your equipment. Loading a machine onto a trailer for transportation takes time too. To get some of those hours back, some manufacturers offer loaders with an optional higher speed package. You’ll need to make a decision on this option before your loader is built.

When to make a decision: When you order your loader

5. Control style

Hand and foot controls or joystick controls? Your dealer will ask you to choose a control style before placing your loader order. You or your operators might have strong opinions on this topic. If you’ll be the sole operator of the loader, pick the setup you’re most comfortable. But if you’ll be handing the controls over to your crew, it’s worth considering the rising popularity of joystick controls. Many younger operators aren’t as familiar with foot controls and will likely be more proficient with joystick controls. Plus, the ergonomic design of joystick controls makes them more comfortable to use. An option on some controls to switch between ISO and H-Pattern styles of operation allows for further customization for you or your operators. Joystick controls also free up floor space, creating a roomier cab.

When to make a decision: When you order your loader

6. Attachment systems

Quick-change attachment systems can save you time by allowing you to quickly switch non-hydraulic attachments from the comfort of your cab – no need to leave your seat. The system can also help minimize injuries by keeping you or your operators safely inside the loader on a jobsite. If you’ll be purchasing several attachments for your loader and you value time savings, a quick-change attachment system can be an advantageous accessory for your loader. Talk with your dealer to confirm compatibility.

When to make a decision: When you order your loader

7. Instrumentation accessories

Deluxe instrumentation and machine monitoring capabilities allow you to closely monitor your loader’s performance and efficiency from inside the cab. Time-saving productivity features and instant diagnostic alerts of any functionality issues can bring peace of mind to new and seasoned operators alike, while maintenance reminders and keyless panels help protect your new investment. Some instrumentation features can be installed on the assembly line, but your dealer can also add many of them to your loader after it arrives. Ask your dealer about instrumentation options before placing your order.

When to make a decision: It depends on the accessory. Talk to your dealer for more information.

8. Seat design

Planning to log long hours on your loader? Upgrading your seat may be worth the extra cost to help you stay focused on the job during long workdays. Air suspension seats offer increased comfort by adjusting to your weight and smoothing the effects of bumpy jobsites. Talk with your dealer about seat options when ordering your machine.

When to make a decision: When you order your loader

9. Radio

When you run out of coffee, pumping some tunes through your loader’s speakers can help keep energy levels high. Ask your dealer what entertainment packages are available for your loader when placing your order. Some radios even have an auxiliary input jack to plug in your favorite portable audio device. Your dealer can usually install radio kits post purchase.

When to make a decision: After your loader has arrived

A list of options and accessories for compact track loaders and skid-steer loaders make it easier than ever to build a machine with the options and accessories you want. Always explain to your dealer the type of work you do, the conditions you’re working in, and any goals and work you’re hoping to do in the future to get the best setup for your work.

Not sure what size of compact track loader or skid-steer loader is best for your business? These 6 considerations can help.

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