May 10, 2019
Bobcat Snow Pusher: Is It The Best Snow Plowing Combination?
A Bobcat snow pusher is easily one of the most popular combinations in the industry. Now, when we say “Bobcat snow pusher” we don’t mean an actual snow pusher made by Bobcat. We mean a Bobcat skid steer paired with a snow pusher from Pro-Tech. This popular machine and attachment pairing can be seen on countless parking lots across North America every winter.
Bobcat Snow Pusher History
Both companies have storied histories that any snow removal professional can appreciate. Bobcat started as a small farming implement manufacturer in Gwinner, North Dakota. After the introduction of their skid steer loader, the company saw rapid growth. Millions of skid steers later the company is considered an icon among heavy equipment enthusiasts. The machine is so widely used that people often refer to their skid steers as “Bobcats” even if they are of a different brand. While not a billion-dollar company, Pro-Tech began as a small fabrication shop, born in a residential garage, and within a few years became North America’s largest producer of containment snow plows. Like Bobcat, many snow plow professionals call their containment snow plows “Pro-Techs” even if they are made by a different manufacturer.
Small But Packs A Punch
Using heavy machinery for snow removal became popularized in the ’80s and ’90s as commercial parking lots exploded in number. Instead of having landscaping and construction equipment sit idle during the winter, companies began doing snow removal to get maximum ROI from their machines.
The Bobcat snow pusher quickly became a snow removal industry staple because of its versatility compared to truck snow plows. A Bobcat snow pusher offers more containment than a truck snow plow plus the ability to stack snow. Paired with a back drag kit, a Bobcat snow pusher can also clear snow from hard to reach areas. Skid steers can also “turn on a dime,” making it significantly easier to make passes with the snow pusher and clear a property faster than with a truck plow.
When writing this article, we decided to reach out to some customers and find out why they love their Bobcat snow pusher. Every response included comments about the customer service they received from their local dealer. Here is what they had to say:
“Our local Bobcat Dealer informed us that it was time for an oil change and maintenance on our machine. They came out the next day and took care of everything for us. When we go there for anything, they all know us by name and are willing to help us with whatever we need.” – Box Brothers Landscaping
“The support network of dealers is second to none. Bobcat of North Jersey always has the parts we need to get back up and running. My parts manager comes in during storms if you need something. They don’t just sell you the machine. They offer complete customer service behind it.” – Tom Halas
“Parts are easily available, and they offer the most amount of power for the price. They are definitely built to last.” – Jesse Rees
“Great dealer support. Solid Bobcat snow pusher machines. No complaints from me!” – Masse Equipment
“We’ve dealt with our dealer since day one, 31 years ago. When we call, they answer and always make sure we are taken care of and satisfied. They don’t care whether you are a one machine customer or a 100-machine customer, they treat everyone with the same respect and level of service.” – Monsignore Excavating
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Tires vs Tracks
A Bobcat snow pusher is a “lame duck” if it can’t gain traction on the plowing surface. While Bobcat skid steers are great machines, their factory tires often underperform in snow plowing applications. Their wide profile and lack of an aggressive tread pattern can result in spinning tires. A Bobcat snow pusher fitted with skid steer snow tires such as Pro-Tech Pro Cleats or Snow Wolf Wolf Paws, can improve the skid steer’s performance. Skid steer snow tires have a thin profile, allowing the tire to cut through the snow. The tread pattern is aggressive, and the tire has siping marks, which allows it to grip the plowing surface. In addition, the rubber compound is specifically designed for cold weather temperatures.
In the snow and ice industry, there is a hotly contested debate between which is better: skid steer snow tires or tracks. Based on our research, tracks can wear more quickly, not grip the surface as well, and can cost more than skid steer snow tires. Some manufacturers do offer snow designed tracks but again, the retail price is often higher than most snow tires.
Pedals or No Pedals
Some skid steer manufacturers only offer joystick-style controls. While this is a more modern design than pedals, many customers still prefer foot controls. Bobcat snow pusher customers told us that they like this style because it’s less confusing and easier to operate than multiple controls on a small piece of “real estate” like a joystick.
While a Bobcat snow pusher is the current leader in skid steers for snow removal, there is heavy competition. Regionally, some brands seem to have a stronger presence. At Pro-Tech, we have dealers that carry Bobcat, John Deere, Caterpillar, and other brands of skid steers. We are very selective who we have as dealers and are proud to say that all of them have very high customer service ratings.
When interviewing competitors of Bobcat, such as Caterpillar, they said their skid steers generally hold more resale value than Bobcat skid steers. They also commented on their design, which according to them allows for easier maintenance and access to parts of the machine.
As with most things in life, choosing the best skid steer for snow plowing comes down to operator preference. Ultimately there is no right or wrong answer. Chevy vs Ford. John Deere vs International Harvester. Bobcat vs Caterpillar. It’s all relative. What is important is that you do thorough research. Understand the difference between a Bobcat snow pusher and other options. Familiarize yourself with your local dealers and the customer support they offer. Know your plowing accounts and analyze why one machine might be better suited than the other. At the end of the day, it’s you that must make the decision.