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Mick Dempsey

What grab for a loader in tree work?

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Been meaning to give a short review to help people in the search for the best grab to go with their loaders/skids whatever.

Ill do it in three posts, Knockabout, fixed (Klou type) and powered rotator.


1: The knockabout is the simplest and cheapest and is widely used in the industry.

Its the lightest which is a big thing on smaller loaders and requires some skill to be used to best effect.

The extra 2ft reach you get is very handy for going over walls, loading trailers.

When you get handy with it though it’s like poetry in motion. To the uninitiated it seems a poor tool, floppy and lacking purpose, but once you learn how to orientate the tongs from the controls and use the heel to good effect it is simple but brilliant.


Good points.

Drags brash backwards out of a garden.

light, more capacity for smaller loaders.



Bad points.

large lumps tend to swing whilst travelling causing them to drop.

A careless user will twist the pipes causing them damage..






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2. Thé fixed Klou type.

Only seems to have been on the scene a few years but quickly became very popular, heavy but well built around double the price of the knockabout.

It is great at carrying the biggest lumps as there is no swing.

Brilliant for removing hedges and standing small stuff in the ‘scorpion’ setting.

gréât for loading trailers because you can push the stuff to the rear with the grab itself.

Drawbacks are a lot of hopping in and out to change position, and not too clever at snaking brash out, even in the loose setting it tends to stick. But still very useable. It’s rigidity means picking stuff up off lawns leave them looking like a war zone if you’re not very very careful.

You’re  losing a couple of feet of reach as well which can be annoying. 


Overall, excellent, heavy for the little loaders, but I understand a light weight version is available these days. 




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3. The powered rotator.

The last and probably most desired of the grabs.

Firstly, scandalously expensive, plus new electrics and switchgear to fit.

On the good side however you stay in the cab/on the backplate most of the time.

you need a lot less manœuvring to get hold of stuff as you have more reach than the Klou and once above the victim you just move the grab pick it up and drive away, so less ground damage especially when pick stuff up as the grab doesnt take divots like the Klou.

You do get extra reach like the knockabout, this is very welcome.

You need practice and skill as switching the circuit from rotate to grab all the time can be one operation too much!

Drawbacks, not as good carrying big stuff, cannot push stuff back on the trailer as easily.


In conclusion.


The smaller the loader the more inclined I’d be to get a knockabout.

Fixeds are great, here to stay on medium to larger loaders.


Rotators are probably not necessary, you can buy both the two others and still have some change in your pocket, but they are really nice and if you’ve just sold something expensive and you really want it, why not?



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