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Snow Plows, Snow Pushers, or Snow Buckets: Which attachment is right for the job?

October 12, 2018

Winter is coming and it’s time to make plans for snow removal. We carry a range of attachment options for your skid steer.

Some things to consider that will impact your decision include the ground and snow conditions, how much snow you will be clearing, and what you will be doing with the cleared snow.

The tables below will help you see at a glance which attachments might be best for you, or you can scroll down to read a detailed description of the capabilities of each attachment.

Plow Attachment

​Push Attachment

Bucket Attachment

​Rubber Edge Option




​Steel Edge Option




​Angling Option




​Wet / Icy Snow

​Yes and best on ice

​Yes--most versatile with snow and surface variation

​Better on soft surfaces

​Dry Snow






​Yes with additional attachment


​Piling ability




​Loading for Removal




Match your edge to the surface:

​Steel Edge

​Rubber Edge

​Gravel or Dirt

​Risk of pileup of surface


​Varied, uneven surfaces



​Asphalt or concrete

​Some risk of damage to surface


Skid Steer Snow Attachment Overview

Snow Plow Attachments

Hydraulic controls allow you to adjust the angle from side to side and where the snow is directed. This increases efficiency and reduces the number of passes needed to clear an area. However, more moving parts and complex designs bring more maintenance needs.

A plow attachment is ideal in wide-open spaces where you are able to plow in multiple directions and when the snow can be moved to the sides. Its’ backdragging capability is advantageous when clearing snow close to curbs or other structures.

Plow attachments are available in a variety of widths and with both rubber and steel edges to suit the snow conditions and surface type you are planning to clear. They are mounted further away from the cab on a skid steer. This offers ideal visibility and higher snow stacking ability compared to push attachments.

The greatest advantage of a plow attachment is that you are able to keep the edge in contact with the surface and moving snow nearly the entire time, which maximizes efficiency.

Snow Pusher Attachments

Sometimes called a “box” or “containment box” because of the enclosed design, push attachments do just what their name implies—push snow straight ahead. They cannot be used to load or carry snow.

Generally push attachments are less stressful on your skid steer and have fewer moving parts that can break or malfunction than on a plow attachment.

Because they are mounted closer to the cab of a skid steer than plow attachments, it is difficult to see the ends of a push attachment, but they have a lower profile than many plow attachments, improving driver visibility.  

Like the plow attachment you can purchase push attachments with rubber or steel edges. These often come with optional back drag or rear pull mounts to clear those hard-to-reach spots.

Because push attachments cannot angle, you lose containment and leave windrows, reducing efficiency when clearing large, wide-open areas.

Generally, push attachments are more suited to pushing and stacking snow rather than simply moving snow off to one side.

Snow Bucket Attachments

Buckets push the snow into piles and can be used to load snow (or sand / salt) for transport.

While the bucket has an advantage in more precise piling and loading for removal, it is less time efficient. The bucket’s carrying capacity is limited and overfilling the bucket may cause the skid steer to tip.

The wide surface of the bucket bottom scoops more than it pushes. This minimizes “pile up” when plowing soft surfaces like dirt or gravel but you sacrifice the option to choose rubber or steel edges as buckets usually come with steel edges.

What terrain or surface are you clearing?

If your surface is varied or uneven with speed bumps, steel plates, or manhole covers, a steel edge is the best choice. Steel edges are also cheaper than rubber edges.

If the work site is asphalt or concrete, a rubber edge minimizes risk of scraping and damaging the surface. Rubber edges also do better on gravel and dirt surfaces and generally last longer than steel edges.

Snow pushers come with either steel or rubber edges and some plow attachments have rubber edge options as well. Bucket attachments typically have steel edges.

What kind of snow do you most frequently clear?

Steel edges are the most effective in icy conditions or on hard packed snow. However, if you frequently clear heavy, wet snow or light, dry powder, rubber edges are the better choice as the rubber will act more like a windshield wiper blade, clearing more effectively and minimizing the risk of freeze over.

An exception to the rubber edge with wet snow: Because of their long base, snow buckets scoop rather than push. This will cause less pileup and are a better choice for clearing wet snow from gravel, dirt, and other soft surfaces.

However, using a bucket attachment with heavy snow carries the risk of overloading the bucket and causing the skid steer to tip forward.

When dealing with light, dry snow, pushers and plow attachments with rubber edges are the recommended choice. Because bucket attachments have a large bottom surface area, dry snow tends to build up, making it difficult to unload.

What will you do with the snow?

 If your goal is to pile the snow high in one location, then plow or push attachments are more efficient than bucket attachments. Plow attachments are often mounted further away from the skid steer cab, offering better visibility of the plow edge. But the push attachment offers better containment.

If you are planning to load the snow and haul it away, then your best choice is a bucket attachment as it is the only attachment that can load and dump.

For jobs that require moving snow to the side, the plow attachment provides the greatest efficiency.