Pneumatic vs. Solid Tires — Which Skid-Steer Tire Is the Best for the Job?

Published on February 5, 2020

Rock, asphalt, concrete, sand. Loaders can muscle through jobs on nearly any surface condition – if they’re outfitted with the right tire for the task. The type of tire you choose has the potential to not only boost your machine’s performance but also increase uptime and enhance profitability. Before selecting the best skid-steer tires for your machine, determine the primary surface you’ll be working on as well as your main application.

Pneumatic Tires for Skid-Steer Loaders

Pneumatic tires, which are made of rubber and inflated with air, are generally the best fit for construction, agriculture, rental and landscaping work. Although vulnerable to punctures and flats, pneumatic tires provide better shock absorption and ride comfort than solid tires, especially when carrying heavy loads. There are five types of pneumatic loader tires:

1. Standard-Duty Tires

  • Standard-duty tires are made of natural and synthetic rubber with thick sidewalls that pack maximum traction and grip.
  • These tires are designed for long wear during normal machine-hour applications.

2. Heavy-Duty Tires

  • Heavy-duty tires feature superior-quality rubber, self-cleaning tread designs and a higher ply rating, allowing the tires to support heavier loads.
  • Some tires also come with extra bead guarding to protect rims and reduce sidewall damage.
  • Compared to standard-duty tires, heavy-duty tires generally last longer and are less likely to get flats, making them a great option for tough surface applications and high-hour jobs.

3. Severe-Duty Tires

  • Aggressive, long-lasting and designed to withstand abuse, severe-duty tires are the right choice for your toughest jobs.
  • Strong sidewalls defend against cuts and punctures while deep treads and a large surface area extend the life of your tire, increasing uptime.
  • Self-cleaning characteristics help shed mud and debris.

4. Turf and Super-Float Tires

  • Turf tires help you maintain the quality of your clients’ established lawns and finished surfaces by providing superior flotation to minimize damage.
  • Despite being ground-conscious, these tires’ shallow treads still offer excellent traction.

5. Super-Float Tires

  • If you’re navigating wet or soft ground conditions, super-float tires have a footprint that’s 85% larger than conventional tires for extra flotation.

Solid Tires for Skid-Steer Loaders

When downtime due to a flat tire is not an option, solid tires are your very best choice. The best skid-steer tire in demolition applications, solid tires are constructed completely from extra-tough rubber – no inflation required. Although they can still sustain damage in rough applications, solid tires won’t go flat and are unlikely to be ruined by a single incident, lasting three times longer than pneumatic tires. The trade-off: You’ll experience a bumpier ride, and solid tires are heavier than pneumatic tires. Bobcat offers one style of solid tire.

Solid Flex Tires

  • Severe-duty solid tires have an aggressive off-road tread pattern for unmatched traction and self-cleaning action.
  • Their conical aperture design offers low vibration for greater rider comfort.
  • Massive tread depth ensures great performance in severe applications.

Equipping your machine with the best skid-steer tires for the job ensures you superior traction, flotation, wear and overall performance when you need it most. Check out Bobcat Company’s lineup of available tires, then talk with your dealer to find the best skid-steer loader tires for you and get a set of your own.