Friday, July 19, 2024
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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.

Tim Marks
Tim Marks
Compact Tractor Lover. Rural Lifestyle Enthusiast. Tractor Time with Tim on YouTube. Married to Christy for over 31 years. We love showing tractors, attachments, maintenance, storage ideas, and our daily activities around our 10 acre property. We also do some contract tractor work, and significant amount of charity projects.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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! 🙂

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    • Adam, Deere has announced an SSQA adapter suitable for subcompact JDQA loaders. I saw it at the Farm Progress Show, and will publish a video soon. They said it weighed ~60lb. …of course it also extends the attachment forward by a bit less than 4″ as well.

      • Thanks for the follow-up comment, Tim! Coming up with a lightweight SSQA seems like a smart move, but still seems to fall short of maximally capitalizing on the JDQA.

        I wish they would adopt a strategy of free licensing the product like Magpul did their “M-LOK” system ( M-LOK is better than their open source competitor (KeyMod), so most manufacturers are adopting it. And every time another 3rd party begins using Magpul’s design, it reinforces Magpul’s positive brand perception in the minds of the consumer. Still, Magpul maintains the rights to their license and can enforce quality standard and branding requirements on those whom they allow to use the design.

        If Deere chose to be very aggressive, they could even license the product out to everyone except their main competitor, Kubota. That way all of the smaller tractors (M-F, Mahindra, LS, Kioti, etc.) would be JDQA-compatible and Kubota would be left disadvantaged. Less aggressively, they could license to all their competitors but require them to use some version of “the John Deere attachment system” verbiage in any of their marketing materials…subtly promoting John Deere even on their competitors’ advertising.

        Just some more thoughts. Looking forward to the video on JD’s SSQA option.

  8. Tim,

    I got 1025r based off watching your video’s, really good job at comparing them and staying neutral by the way. Anyway on one of your video’s you suggested that pallet forks is high on your attachment list cause of the versatility. In fact I got a couple of ideas what they can be used for just by watching the video. However I didn’t really hear a recommendation on which ones you would get. I am currently thinking the titan 42 inch ones, but i got worried cause while I was looking you noted the extremely cheap price their grapple is but noted the extreme weight too. Also have you ever looked into piranha tooth bar, just wondering what your opinion is on those. Cause teeth for the bucket and forks are high on my list of things to get.

    ~ Ken.

    • I will never buy a piece of Titan Chinese crap.
      I hope that is blunt enough!
      We use and recommend US made ultra light weight (so that you can preserve lifting capacity) forks.
      Not cheap, but the best you can buy.
      And you’ll have the frame necessary to start building your grapple!

      • And that is what I like about you, no time for bull crap and crappy quality products. Just curious about the piranha teeth, any opinions. Also these forks are a little on the pricey side, any chance you have a promo code that works for them too?

  9. HI Tim,
    I just bought a JD 4700, and to my dismay it has the bucket welded on to what I presume is left of a JDQA (or was it originally just pins?) Since the loader (a 460) has a 2500 lb capacity, I think a SSQA should work okay for me.

    Am I going to have to cut the bucket off? Or do I have to pound out the ‘pins’ (they look like they were not meant to be removed) Is there a universal SSQA that I can just weld on instead of the bucket?

    How do you like the Jenkins attachments?


  10. Tim, one thing that dawned on me, and I have never heard anyone make the observation – on an skid loader you can pull up to an implement, stand up from the seat f the loader and kick the latch levers into the lock position, sit back down and away you go. This is NOT possible on a tractor, you WILL get off the tractor and walk around to the front of the loader to latch the locks into position. For me this reduces the advantage of SSQA. Thanks for the article! Jim

  11. Looking at pallet forks for my JD 1026R. I was wondering if you had any experience or input about pallet forks made by Express Steel located in Martinsville Indiana? I was looking at these particular forks due to the fact they have the upper rack to keep the load from coming back over on the tractor.
    Appreciate your web sight and videos, very helpful.

  12. Great article. Another thing to keep in mind that wasn’t mentioned here was that the JDQA doesn’t have any moving parts like the SSQA. If you look at Wranglerstar’s video about his Yanmar SSQA, he sheared the bolt retention of one of the SSQA attachment levers. He ended up drilling out the welded nut and replacing it with a bolt he had laying around so that the retention lever would work. A lever that relies on a hinge and spring are simply more failure points. In this case, the less moving parts the better.

  13. The real issue with jdqa is it is Micky mouse system. The arms move at different from one another and the pins are a joke. Ssqa is a more user friendly system period. The weight difference is not enough of difference compared to a nice working ssqa. Owner of s b2301 and 2021 2032r. Adam

  14. Tim, I have just come across this article and the video you did on the JDQA as well. Both the video and this article makes reasonable and very informed points. Everybody has their opinion on everything out there. I believe the biggest reason individuals “put another choice down” is because they most times don’t like the company or individual, or if they are in competition with said company or individual. I am in the market for a tractor, and I prefer the JDQA. To me, it is as simple to use, and just as well built and manufactured as the SSQA. I personally like it when individuals or companies point out there strongpoints and do not get into what has become commonplace these days in that “I am going to point out there faults and not talk about our strongpoints”. Just my thoughts.

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