It’s a type of article you’ve requested for years and a challenge we’ve struggled with: how to create unbiased, contractor-based reviews of heavy equipment. We hear opinions, but one or two opinions does not an article make.

But we finally found our solution. Using information from Equipment Data Associates we identified the best selling machines in the industry and sent surveys to the owners of this equipment. For our first article, we asked owners to rate the performance, serviceablity, and creature comforts on three machines on a scale from 1 to 10. These include the Bobcat S650 skid steer, Case 580 Super N backhoe and Caterpillar 336E L excavator. We also asked them to rate their dealer service and support. The results are below.

This is the first round in a continuing series of reviews we will publish showcasing thorough contractor verdicts on heavy equipment. We’d also like this to become a dialogue and hear your opinions. So, let’s keep the conversation going. Be sure to leave your own feedback in the comments section for each machine.

—The editors