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Bobcat L23 vs. Avant 423 Small Articulated Loader

Published on September 15, 2023

Small articulated loaders provide impressive lifting capabilities in a compact machine. Their articulation joint allows them to maneuver in confined spaces to access fenced-in landscapes, pens, nurseries, sidewalks, and more. They are also compatible with a number of landscaping and grounds maintenance attachments to keep you productive all year-round; including grapples, angle brooms, and snow removal equipment. Read on for a more detailed look at the Bobcat L23 small articulated loader and how it stacks up against the competition in this comparison.

When comparing the Bobcat® L23 to the Avant 423 loader, here are few things to keep in mind:   

  • The L23 small articulated loader boasts a higher rated operating capacity than the Avant 423 – which allows you to carry more and get work done quicker.  
  • If a tall lift height is needed for dumping ability, the Bobcat L23 is recommended.  
  • The L23 comes standard equipped with the mechanical leveling assist feature to reduce the likelihood of spilling material. The L23 comes standard with lift arm float. This feature is an optional add-on for the Avant 423.  
  • Bobcat’s small articulated loaders come with two standard drive modes and an additional mode available – referred to as turf safe, high traction and traction assist modes.  
  • Bobcat’s auxiliary flow controls are on the joystick, meaning they can be turned on and off quickly and easily depending on situational needs.  

When choosing between various models of small articulated loaders, also referred to as compact articulated loaders, it can be hard to know where to start. To help make your choices easier, we have put together a comparison of two popular small articulated loaders: the Bobcat L23 and the Avant 423.  

Performance Comparison  

The Bobcat L23 provides powerful performance in a small footprint. With a rated operating capacity of 1,395 lb., the Bobcat L23 provides more rated operating capacity compared to the Avant 423 (1,212 lb.) and a higher horsepower of 24.8 compared to Avant’s 22 horsepower. Lifting and carrying more means you can accomplish more throughout the day in less trips. 

Mechanical leveling assist is a standard feature of the L23.  It reduces the likelihood of spilling material.  This feature is great for first time loader operators of varying skills as operators do not need to focus on rolling the bucket out or back through the lift cycle.  The Avant 423 doesn’t offer this feature, it’s available only on larger Avant models.  

The L23 comes with two standard drive modes: turf safe and high traction, and an optional drive mode: traction assist Turf-safe mode keeps the wheels from scrubbing on the ground, reducing ground disturbance. While the L23 is actively turning each tire turns at its own individual pace, therefore the inside tires turn slower than the outside tires. This ensures the tires do not skid on the ground.  High-traction mode provides additional mobility over rough or slippery terrain.  When the steering wheel is not turning, the tires on the front and rear of the machine move at the same pace. On the Avant 423, this feature is engaged or disengaged using a manual lock switch. The optional Traction Assist on the L23 acts similar to a differential lock.  With the press of a switch, it momentarily overrides the automatic drive modes enabling all four wheels to travel at the same speed through adverse conditions such as snow or mud.  

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Controls Comparison  

There are many similarities between the L23 small articulated loader and other Bobcat compact equipment.  The switches and buttons are simple and easy to understand within the cab. This makes it easier for first-time operators to get familiar with the machine.   

  • Joystick Controls  
  • The joystick controls in both machines control the lift arm.  
  • In the L23, the joystick is ergonomically designed and placed to minimize operator fatigue with fewer switches for easy operation.  
  • The Avant 423 has a smaller joystick placed next to and behind other mechanical levers controlling machine operation.  
  • Throttle Location  
  • Inside the L23 cab, the orange engine speed lever is conveniently located and easily adjusted on the right side of the operator area.  
  • The throttle on the Avant 423 is located below the right armrest and cannot be adjusted without moving the armrest.  

Hydraulic Auxiliary Flow  

The L23 has the auxiliary flow thumb switch on the top of the joystick and the continuous flow trigger on the opposite side.  Hydraulic auxiliary flow in the Avant can be controlled via a joystick, but it requires an additional upgrade. On the standard machine, the auxiliary flow is controlled via a lever in front of the joystick. 

Pedal Convenience  

The Avant 423 and Bobcat L23 have similar pedal setups with intuitive twin-pedal travel controls that enables quick and easy direction changes. One pedal moves you forward, the other moves you in reverse. The L23 has a wider space between the pedals allowing ample room for operators with large or insulated boots.   

Display  

The display in the machine is important for operating information and critical machine errors and warnings. The Bobcat L23 has a digital backlit display for the hour meter, rpm, warning codes, and analog displays for fuel levels and engine temperature – a familiar display found in other Bobcat machines. Avant has analog displays for fuel, temperature and operation hours; the rest is displayed by warning lights.  

Loader Attachments Comparison  

The Bobcat and Avant loaders both have great attachment capabilities, offering systems that make jobs easier for operators no matter the task at hand. Small articulated loaders are great for dirt work, snow removal, sweeping sidewalks, and even mowing down thick brush and saplings. Both manufacturers offer coupling systems that provide ways to change out attachments. A big advantage of the Bobcat L23 is the Power Bob-tach system which allows operators to change non-hydraulic attachments from inside the cab. The Avant hydraulic quick coupling system is not available on the 423 size class of machines.  Operators must exit the cab, remove the pins from the attachment plate, get back in the cab and disconnect from the attachment. The quick changing interface of the Power Bob-tach can save significant time when going from job to job.   

Operator Comfort Comparison  

With a variety of operator body types and markets using small articulated loaders, it is important for the operator’s area to be comfortable with adequate foot space and cab height. There are many other ways Bobcat L23 small articulated loaders go above and beyond to ensure operator comfort:  

  • Standard machines come with adjustable suspension seats, a cup holder and a phone holder.   
  • Controls are ergonomically designed and simplistic, making it easy for operators to understand.   
  • The cab doors and windows are well-insulated and removable – making it simple to turn the loader into an open cab machine.  

The Avant loader offers suspension seats as an upgrade and a small square cup holder, but they do not offer other storage areas.

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Maintenance and Service Comparison  

To maximize uptime protection, Bobcat designed the L23 with easy to access service areas, daily checkpoints, greasing points and other periodic maintenance areas to protect machine components.   

Lift Arm Support 

The lift arm support comes standard on the L23, specifically designed for the shape and capacity of the machine for any maintenance on the lift arm. It can be easily removed with a single bolt – even when the lift arm is still down. The Avant 423’s service support device is not as easy to access and when installed there is limited space for the operator or service technician to work on the machine.  

Articulation Lock Bar  

The articulation lock bar is a device used to lock out the articulation of the machine, ensuring that it doesn’t turn. Meant only to be used while transporting the machine or during maintenance, it is not meant to be installed during any operation. For the L23, the articulation lock bar is located inside the cab of the machine in direct line of sight for easy access and locks in with pins. The Avant 423, the lock bar, is located outside the machine and underneath the cab.  

Service Access 

Periodic maintenance is critical to keeping a machine performing at its highest level, so it is important for operators to have easy access to all necessary checkpoints. With the L23, the hydraulic sight glass and oil fill are easily accessible on the front of the machine, which makes it easier for operators to check or fill without moving the lift arm.  On Avant 423, the operator must raise the lift arm and install the service support device to check or fill fluid levels.   

The engine’s location is also very important for maintenance. Located behind the operator, the battery, oil change components and dipstick are in an easily accessible location. Avant 423’s service areas are built closely together below the operator, limiting access to some components.  

Pick the Right Small Articulated Loader for You

There is a lot to think about when selecting the loader best suited for your jobsite’s tasks. Understanding the differences and comparisons of the small articulated loaders in terms of size, performance, control, comfort, and maintenance are just a few things to keep in mind.  

 Make sure you look at all the performance, features and options between the Bobcat L23 and Avant 423 before you purchase one of these machines. The easiest way to decide is to talk to your local Bobcat dealer and schedule a demo to get inside the cab of an L23 small articulated loader.  

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