Skid Steer Quick Attach Vs. JDQA

Quite often when we see non-Deere dealers discussing the advantages of their (sub)compact tractors, they will mention the Skid Steer Quick Attach loader connection. Usually, they will sneer at “the other manufacturer” who uses a “proprietary” connector, obviously insinuating that no one in their right mind would prefer THAT connector! In this article, we will dig into this topic to see if this “proprietary” connector has any merits, or if it deserves the scorn shown during these conversations.

I had the opportunity recently to meet Neil Messick from Messick’s Farm Equipment. Christy and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Neil. He is incredibly knowledgeable in the compact tractor space, very friendly and easy going. After just a few minutes I knew that he and I would get along fine. This is one of my favorite parts of the compact tractor universe. We meet quality people everywhere we go.

Anyway, Neil recently published a video titled “The downside to a skid steer quick coupler”. I’ll include a link to this video here:

The downside to a skid steer quick coupler – Neil Messick

In this video, Neil does a fabulous job of explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the Skid Steer Quick Attach (SSQA). I’ll briefly summarize

SSQA Advantages (vs. pin on bucket)

  • Easily change from one front end loader attachment to another
  • Extend the tractor’s utility and functionality by providing access to a “world of unique attachments” such as snow-pushers, grapples, pallet forks, loader mount blades, etc.

SSQA Disadvantages (vs. pin on bucket)

  • Weight (~86 lbs heavier than pin on) Reduces BX lift capacity from 509lbs to 423lbs (consuming 15-20% of the loader capacity!)
  • Reduced break-out force due to the bucket being extended outward from the hinge.
  • Cost ($500 cost adder on BX). …Tim added this one. Neil didn’t mention it.

Neil concluded that the SSQA was useful for most (95%) of his compact tractor customers, but that in some instances, namely the BX, the SSQA’s additional functionality might not be worth the tradeoff in loader lift capacity.

As I was watching, I realized that I agreed with all of the facts presented in this video. However, I was reaching an entirely different conclusion.

Neil, You’ve made my case!

Early in this video, Neil mentioned condescendingly that “you should laugh at all the other tractor companies that continue to offer the proprietary solutions”.

Not so fast, Neil! Let’s dig into this a bit. Let’s revisit Neil’s list of SSQA advantages/disadvantages in comparison to JDQA:

SSQA Advantages as compared to JDQA

  • Easily switch between loader attachments.

I think most people could objectively agree that the JDQA and SSQA are roughly the same amount of effort to attach/detach.

  • “world of unique attachments” available.

While we agree that more attachments are available for SSQA than JDQA, let’s consider the sub-compact tractor market specifically. There are lightweight pallet forks, grapples, snow pushers, loader mount blades, stump buckets and more available for JDQA. Additionally, there is plenty of competition in this area. For example, there are at least 5 manufacturers producing JDQA sub-compact tractor grapples as shown in our Grapple Roundup.

Larger SSQA attachments such as post hole diggers, power brooms, snow blowers, etc are not suitable for sub-compact tractors, or even compact tractors up to nearly 50hp due to their hefty hydraulic requirements.

So, it seems this SSQA advantage is equally matched with JDQA.

Video associated with this web post.

SSQA Disadvantages as compared to JDQA

  • Weight. This is the primary design point of the JDQA. It is lightweight. Designed specifically for these small tractors. So, practically thinking, there is no weight disadvantage to the JDQA system. So much so that Deere quit offering a pin-on option in 2018. There is simply no need for pin-on buckets anymore.
  • Reduced breakout force. The JDQA does not ‘extend outward’ from the hinge like the SSQA. So, the breakout force is maintained even with this system. Another advantage JDQA
  • Cost. Saving 86lbs of steel has to save money, right? Yes, it does. The SSQA option is ~$500 on the BX. The JDQA is standard on the Deere.

Ignore the Scornful/Condescending Tone…

Once you investigate, you’ll see that there really are no disadvantages to the John Deere Quick Attach system for sub-compact and small compact utility tractors. It is lighter than the SSQA. It is cheaper than the SSQA, and every attachment you might need exists for this mounting system.

For example the Deere 1025R (with JDQA) is rated to lift 520lbs at full height while the Kubota BX with Quick attach is rated at 423lbs (509lbs without quick attach). So, with the 1-series, you can have it both ways. Retain the capacity AND keep the flexibility of a quick attach bucket.

Once you get to the 50hp range (Deere 4 series, Kubota Grand L, MX), then the wide variety of SSQA hydraulic driven attachments become useful, and the additional weight of the SSQA becomes less important.

For those of us with smaller tractors, the JDQA is the most optimal quick attach system on the market today.


  1. Fantastic article Tim. I’ve been a proponent of the JDQA system for 10+ years now.

  2. Great article

  3. Excellent article! As a former orange tractor owner, I never liked changing attachments on the SSQA. The handles were always stiff (even with plenty of grease) and a few times I jammed my wrist trying to get them to lock or release. The JDQA was a huge improvement for me.

  4. Tim, Another fabulous article. Loved the comparison discussion. I have been following your video feed for the 18 -24 months, ever since I acquired my 1025r. Thank you for producing these videos.

  5. Hi Tim, YouTube watcher here since I started looking for a tractor last year but not a subscriber since I don’t usually sign in to YouTube. Anyway I know this is probably not the place for it but I saw your video on your new barn/building and your door dilemma and didn’t know how to get in touch with you. Check out this company that makes doors that need no support and work really well, and are from a good company. I have one on my airplane hangar and can’t say enough about it. It even has a remote. (higher power doors, like a higher power above us all). Check out the video on their site.

  6. I don’t know that it is fair to claim that JDQA is cheaper than SSQA simply because a manufacturer (or all of them?) that will put SSQA on do so at an added cost. If JD puts them on all their tractors, the cost of the JDQA is built into the cost of the tractor and there is no way to know what that cost is.

    • Bruce,
      The JDQA is a much simpler design to build. It is a single casting and a pin. The bucket side is less steel as well.
      Pretty obvious that it is less expensive than fabricated plates, welds, levers, bolts, springs?, required for the SSQA.
      So, we may not know to the penny how much each costs, but it isn’t a stretch to claim that it is significantly less expensive.

      • Tim, Bruce’s comment is valid. From your argument it “should cost less” due to a reduction in materials but we don’t know what JD’s cost to manufacture them or the mark up is and they, like most companies don’t reveal that. A couple of other points worth mentioning. Besides JD and Kubota the SSQA is standard and doesn’t cost the consumer more to have it on other manufacturers tractors. Maybe JD’s design is in fact better, however there are just not as many choices as someone with a SSQA. Lastly the “other” orange tractor and it’s Korean counterparts, LS, TYM and Branson manufacture tractors with SSQA with much stronger breakout and lift capabilities in the 25-60 hp series with an SSQA than JD or Kubota.

        • Sloppy Joe, I addressed all of those issues in my argument.
          Name an attachment which is not available for JDQA at similar price to SSQA?
          Deere doesn’t charge royalties for the attachment side. So, cost of materials is all that matters.
          Th ssqa IS an upcharge on Kubota tractors. I do not know about other brands.
          It DEFINITELY adds weight to the loader and decreases lift capacity.

  7. Tim, I know on Kioti’s the SSQA is standard and no other option exist. I do appreciate JD’s innovation though. They have a new PTO with a quick attachment and release. It would be great if you could do a piece on that. Thanks Tim for the reply, I don’t always agree with you and I ain’t always right (my ex wife will vouch for that) but I enjoy your show!

    • I love it Joe. Christy would say the same thing.

      Ya know, my point is intended a bit less broadly applied than you interpreted. ..and I see how that could happen.
      Some folks use the ‘proprietary loader attach’ as a reason to avoid Deere. I’m simply saying that JDQA is definitely not a disadvantage, and on small units is actually a positive feature.

      Having said that, if I have settled on a Kioti for other reasons, the SSQA is a no brainer!
      I suspect we aren’t as far apart on our opinions as the first back and forth made it seem!
      …oh, and Christy thinks I’m always right! …well, maybe not! 🙂

  8. I find the Deere system to be much easier to hook up on a tractor due to the slightly wider pin to pin width. Just to note if you already had SSQA implements or were just partial to that system there are adaptors available. I think titan has them for less than $400.

  9. While I wasn’t a fan of the JDQA system, the arguments (particularly loader capacity for smaller FELs) have won me over as a fan of the system.

    The discussion has been about the “proprietary” nature of the system, but I’m wondering if that is correct. Since the design is readily available for others to measure and copy, I don’t think that’s the right word. Deere allows others to make attachments to mate to their connector, but doesn’t seem to allow anyone else to make the connectors themselves…which makes it seem like it’s actually “protected” rather than “proprietary.” I haven’t been able to find a patent on the tractor-side JDQA, but I assume it’s out there.

    My main question then, is: **Does Deere have an official stated policy on NOT allowing others to make the tractor-side connector?**

    I would think allowing others to create adapters would strengthen their attachment ubiquity, and therefore make Deere tractors more attractive in turn. Additionally, it would disadvantage their main competitor, as the center cylinder BX loader would be a poor candidate for JDQA conversion.

    My first tractor is a used L2800 with limited loader capacity and I ended up buying an SSQA adapter for it. Had a JDQA adapter been available to pin on, I would’ve bought that instead. In that case, all of my attachments (bucket, fork, and grapple) would’ve made me lean towards a John Deere for my next purchase. With no adapters out there, I’m now committed to SSQA for my next tractor and Deere has gained nothing from their excellent design/idea. I wish they could get this message, even if they only sold the adapters themselves, or maybe even just the cast plates.

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