My kid, like most kids, has an inclination for construction vehicles. Sometimes, he'll pick a book full of construction-vehicle vocabulary for me to read and, when that book is in English, I often find myself translating on the fly to broaden his vocabulary and keep him used to Spanish.

That challenged me to learn some of the names of the construction vehicles I wasn't familiar with or never cared to know in Spanish (a backhoe loader is a retroexcavadora, a dump truck is a volquete, etc).

I don't know what Spanish for a Skid-steer loader is. A skid-steer loader (skid-steer loader, or skidsteer) is

a small, rigid-frame, engine-powered machine with lift arms used to attach a wide variety of labor-saving tools or attachments.

So it is like a loader (pala cargadora), but much smaller and with a different loader mechanism (a skid loader mechanism instead of a "tractor-like" loader mechanism).

Can anybody tell me what we call a skid-steer loader in Spanish?

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  • Just to be pedantic here, "skid steer" refers to how the machine turns and not the mechanism attached to the arms. It literally turns by skidding the left/right sets of wheels by applying a differential speed to each side.
    – Peter M
    Jul 11, 2020 at 13:28

5 Answers 5


It seems they are called cargadoras compactas:

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En Colombia se les conoce sencillamente por el nombre de una de las marcas "bobcat".

  • Y posiblemente esa empresa tenga la patente o algo, y sea la única que las fabrica (no toda la maquinaria es un "bobcat", pero todos los skid steers son bobcat)
    – Diego
    Nov 20, 2018 at 14:14
  • @Diego posiblemente fue primera marca que tuvo presencia en Colombia o la que la mayor participación tiene del mercado (ya que por la foto es claro que Caterpillar también fabrica esos aparatos).
    – alvalongo
    Nov 20, 2018 at 14:37
  • No se si somos solo los Colombianos pero aquí ya ha pasado antes con otras marcas. Aquí tradicionalmente hemos llamado a los "bulldozer" catapila como una deformación/adaptación de la marca Caterpillar. Con los bobcat pasó lo mismo +1
    – DGaleano
    Nov 22, 2018 at 13:18

In Uruguay we name that kind of machines

Pala mecánica

A "Pala" (without "mecánica") is just a normal shovel and "mecánica" means mechanical.

That being said, I'm not a professional in the branch, that meaning if I see this machine on the streets I will name it "Pala mecánica" but maybe the worker working on it may name it with a more precise or descriptive name.


En España además les llamamos Mini PalaRetro o Bobcats o Carga


Mini-Pala para Pala cargadora. Mini-Retro para Máquina con retro.

  • 2
    Bienvenido! ¿Puedes indicar la región donde se usan estas palabras?
    – wimi
    Feb 24, 2021 at 11:41

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