Caterpillar’s New Hand and Foot Controls Option: Answering Your FAQs

by New member SkidSteerJeff on ‎12-08-2015 11:13 AM

blog-border-image.jpgCaterpillar recently announced that Hand and Foot Controls are now an option on 14 Cat® D Series Skid Steer, Multi Terrain and Compact Track Loader models. Since then, questions about the new option have been pouring in. We want to take this opportunity to answer some of the top questions from equipment owners and operators.


Does this mean you are no longer offering your original “one-hand drive” joystick controls?


Caterpillar continues to offer the “one-hand drive” joystick controls. The new Hand and Foot Controls are just one of three control options on the Cat D Series models. The three control options are:

  1. ISO pattern controls - which employ one hand drive and one hand operation of the implements.
  2. H-pattern controls which employ two hand drive and two hand operation of the implements.
  3. Hand and Foot Controls which employ two hand drive and two foot operation of the implements.

What makes this new option different from traditional hand and foot lever operation controls?  And what are the advantages?


We began the design process by gathering extensive input from operators who use Hand and Foot Controls. From this, we found that it was essential to design controls that offer a feel operators are familiar with, while also incorporating features to reduce fatigue.


Single-axis joysticks were chosen in order to provide the fore/aft movement operators are used to, as well as components that provide the resistance and feel of traditional hand and foot lever controls. However, the shorter joystick travel compared to traditional hand levers allows operators to fully use the armrest to increase their comfort level and reduce fatigue. Adjustable recessed foot pedals are also designed to provide operators with a relaxed and ergonomic operating angle.


Additionally, the controls can be customized to the operator’s preference, allowing them to tailor the drive and implement response to their experience level or task—a feature that is not found in most competitive hand and foot operation control systems.


Why did Caterpillar develop this new operation controls option?


We recognize that there is a group of customers that prefers the hand and foot operation control pattern. Therefore, we wanted to provide the opportunity for any customer to not only be able to operate our machines, but to also be able to benefit from all the features that provide exceptional comfort, visibility and productivity that is delivered with the D series Skid Steer, Compact Track and Multi Terrain Loaders. 


On which machine models will the new Hand and Foot Controls be an option?


The Cat Hand and Foot Controls option will be available for the 226D, 232D, 236D, 242D, 246D and 262D Skid Steer Loaders; for the 257D, 277D and 287D Multi Terrain Loaders; and for the 239D, 249D, 259D, 279D and 289D Compact Track Loaders.


To find out more about the optional Hand and Foot Controls on select Cat D Series machines, contact your local Cat dealer or visit us online.


We just answered the most frequent questions we have received since introducing the new Hand and Foot Controls option. But we’d like additional input from you.

  • What is your control pattern preference? Why?
  • Have you operated one of the new Cat machines with the Hand and Foot Controls option? If so, which one? What did you think?
  • What do you consider to be the top advantages of hand and foot lever controls?
  • What do you consider to be the top advantages of joystick controls?
  • If you are familiar with operating hand and foot lever controls, how likely are you to consider a Cat Skid Steer, Compact Track or Multi Terrain Loader now that the Hand and Foot Controls are available as an option?

by Joseph Karolys
on ‎12-16-2015 11:35 PM
I would not consider purchasing a skid steer with hand and foot controls. With the ease of operation of modern hystat type controls I can't imagine anyone would prefer the old way. I have an old Drott excavator with hand controls for the boom and dipper and foot pedals for the swing and bucket. I run it proficiently but prefer modern cat controls. Anyone else remember running a Drott like that?
by Robert Zwingli
on ‎12-19-2015 01:10 AM

That change is a bad idea , the hand controls are the best and easiest to operate I just can't understand why cat would go backwards , the way these machines operate with hand controls only , cannot be improved,and if it ever happens that you have to use your feet in order to run these machines I will quit buying cat. There are lots of other things that could be improved . Like the door as lots of times dirt or rocks land on the front step and you can't open the door ,also build the back up on the buckets so dirt doesn't come up and want to push the window out , also improve the back-up camera  ,also design a place for a tool box and lunch kit , there is no place to carry anything , address these problem and you would be doing something worth while. Also build your cat buckets with heavier steel I wore out two cat buckets one in 10 days  and one in  8 days.

by Cory Gilecki
on ‎12-21-2015 11:10 AM
I definitely think foot controls in the new Cat skid steers are a step in the wrong direction. I believe they have one of the nicest cabs out there and why clutter it up with pedals now? I used to run bobcats with foot controls and it was a work out spending a day in those machines. I'm currently in the market for a new skid steer and have been a faithful caterpillar owner for quite some time now and I just do not know if I want a machine with foot controls in it. There's a reason most other manufactures have gotten away from foot controls and I say shame on you caterpillar for bringing it back!
by Andrew M
on ‎12-21-2015 04:31 PM
If you don't like foot controls don't order one with **bleep** foot controls it's easy. I can see this being the final nail in the bobcat skid steer coffin. I'm not a fan of them but I do know a lot of people who swear by bobcat just because they don't want to learn the Iso/pilot controls. I can see them switching over to cat very soon now. Great job!
on ‎12-21-2015 04:37 PM

I have specifically dealt with skidsteers for the last 12 years at my company and I have heard many storys about operators who refused to use Cat skidsteers because they didnt have controls like the old Bobcats or Case machines.  While I certainly agree that foot controls are not something that I, or most of my customers like, I would like to point out that it is a FACTORY OPTION and not standard equipment.  I think that all Caterpillar is doing by offering hand and foot controls is understanding that they still have a significant amount of "old school" operators/customers out there that they are just attempting to make happy and/or trying to get them to buy Cat equipment.  I dont think that we have to make a mountain out of this molehill, Cat isnt making it standard.  Just my 2 cents.

by Joe Trapp
on ‎12-22-2015 06:40 AM
The real problem is in loss of production , loss of the ability to do fine grading ,and dangerous working conditions!!! Nothing to do with the pattern !!! It's the controls themselves! Electric over hydrolic ! Go back to pilot controls so operators have the option to fine tune there skills!
by New member SkidSteerJeff
on ‎12-30-2015 02:19 PM

Thanks for checking out the blog and offering feedback! Caterpillar continues to offer the “one-hand drive” joystick controls. We recognize that there is a group of customers that prefer the hand and foot operation control pattern. This is why we now offer Hand and Foot Controls as one of three options on the Cat D Series models. We want to provide the opportunity for any customer to be able to operate our machines.


-Jeff Brown

by Armless
on ‎04-04-2017 10:28 AM

Yeah nice for you guys with 2 arms but I think

foot control for people with a disability are a great idea.  I am looking for foot control so I can convert a machine right now.  So maybe they are not going backward maybe they are looking at a broader market.  

by Mitch Z
on ‎06-25-2017 11:43 PM

Have the exact situation for myself.  I don't have the use of my right lower arm.  My bobcat dealer placed foot controls in a sjc equipped loader and made it pilot with the left hand and loader function with the foot pedals.  It would be great if someone would offer this from factory to conform to any user.

by New member SkidSteerJeff
on ‎06-27-2017 10:25 AM

Hi Mitch. Caterpillar offers a variety of factory installed configurations. We have engineered solutions for the type of modification you reference, however it would need to be installed at a Cat Dealer location. Thank you for your input. We always value customer suggestions.

About the Author
  • I’m an Attachments Product Application & Sales Support Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have been with Caterpillar for five years including roles in the field as a dealer sales support representative and marketing support in the skid steer and small wheel loader product groups. I graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Agricultural Business and Economics. Our goal is to provide a full portfolio of attachments for our customers to be more productive and versatile with their machines.
  • I am a Pre-Field Agriculture/Product Application Representative for Caterpillar. I recently graduated from North Carolina State University with a dual degree in Agriculture Business Management and Agriculture Science, concentrating in Leadership and Environmental Technologies. I focus primarily on the relationships between customers, dealers, and the product specialists for the Building Construction Products division. Growing up on a beef cattle farm, I have several years of machine operation experience and agricultural knowledge. Thomas Jefferson said it best in that, "Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness."
  • I’m a Compact Wheel Loader Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have 11 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant.  I graduated from North Carolina State University with a Mechanical Engineering Degree, and wanted a job where I didn't have to sit in front of a computer all day.  This job allows me to get out and get my hands dirty, with the goal of providing solutions to customers’ machine needs.
  • I am a Marketing Communications Specialist for Caterpillar with over twelve years of experience marketing the Cat brand to customers in Latin and North America. My goal is to arm customers with the information needed to make well informed purchase decisions; to maximize the value of Cat machines by using an array of Cat Work Tool attachments; and to minimize the total cost of ownership by using Cat parts and Cat Dealer service.
  • I am an expert Operator and Application Specialist for Caterpillar concentrating on products used in the construction trades industry. I operate, evaluate and train on Cat machines and Work Tool Attachments worldwide. I have a Degree in Agricultural Engineering, Craftsman Certified and was named Apprentice of the Year 1981 at the University of East Anglia, UK.
  • I am the National Association Manager for Caterpillar and have responsibility for customer associations and partnerships in multiple industries for Caterpillar. I have 12 years of experience at Caterpillar, and have spent most of those years in the field with dealers and customers around North America. I have always had a passion for equipment and find myself fortunate to be able to work with dealers and customers almost every day.
  • I am a Product Application Specialist with 16 years of experience in the industry. As a Building Construction Products Global Trainer, I focus on training dealers and customers on machines, attachments and applications as it relates to the construction, agriculture and landscaping segments.
  • I have been with Caterpillar for more than eight years, working in various roles including a materials engineer, a filters product manager and my current position as a parts consultant. My job allows me the opportunity to work with Cat dealers and customers providing insight on how the use of quality filters and fluids results in better equipment performance and lower owning and operating costs.
  • I am a marketing and sales support professional for Caterpillar. In this role, I work with our marketing and customer service teams to support or dealers and customers, concentrating on our Small Wheel Loader, Skid Steer Loader, Mini Excavator and Dozer product groups. The exchange of ideas, information and opinions about equipment and how it’s used in various industries on forums such as this blog helps me fulfill my role at Caterpillar to the best of my ability.
  • I am the commercial/market consulting expert for all Caterpillar tires and rims with 14 years of experience. I provide guidance in the harsher work environments of mining and industrial/waste applications. Our goal is to turn our dealers and customers into knowledgeable and trusted resources with respect to tires and rims. Our group offers training, technical support and resources to develop a level of expertise within the Caterpillar value stream that is ordinarily reserved for tire companies and local tire service providers. Ultimately, we want to provide our customers with a total Cat solution from the ground up.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager for Cat Financial and have responsibility for ensuring that the right financial products are available to Cat customers who purchase, lease or rent to own. 8 of my 10 years with Caterpillar Financial have allowed customer and/or dealer interaction as part of my daily responsibilities including over 3.5 years as a Territory Manager. I take personal satisfaction in finding financial solutions that work for our customers and CAT dealers.
  • I’m a Telehandler Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North and South America. I have 13 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer service operations and technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant. My telehandler passion and focus is working with dealers and customers to maximize the versatility of the product through machine and operator training.
  • I am a Product and Application Specialist with over 35 years experience at Caterpillar. I focus on helping you to determine the best Cat machines, work tool attachments, and services for you to use in the building and general construction, landscaping, specialty trades, and agricultural industries.
  • I am a Senior Regional Insurance Marketing Manager with 16 years’ experience at Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services. I have the opportunity to work with 18 North American dealers providing risk management products and services that helps the Caterpillar Enterprise ( Caterpillar, Dealers and Customers) manage their business risk. Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services offers Extended Protection Plans for machines and engines, Physical Damage Insurance, Inventory Protection Plans, Dealer Property and Casualty, Risk Management, Marine Transit Insurance and Dealer Bonds.
  • Jeff Brown is a marketing professional for Caterpillar Skid Steer, Multi Terrain and Compact Track Loaders. Over Jeff's 12 years in the industry, he has visited with and studied the needs of customers across landscaping, construction, and agriculture segments. Delivering innovative solutions that solve customer's problems is Jeff's main focus.
  • I am a North American Product and Application Specialist for Caterpillar. In this role, I have had the opportunity to represent Caterpillar at various trade shows and train customers on new Small Wheel Loader content. I graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and have spent the past 15 years with Caterpillar in various engineering roles. Growing up in the Mid-West, I have always loved the cold and the unique activities winter enables. Unfortunately, I had to give those up when I moved to North Carolina. I don't care what people say, you never get used to a hot climate.
  • I am a Filter and Fluid Marketing Consultant with over 14 years experience working at Caterpillar. My focus is to ensure customers understand the importance of using superior filtration and lubrication products in their equipment.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager with over nine years of experience in a variety of roles with Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to gain experience in matching financial products and tailoring funding strategies to the specific needs of customers. This includes more than three years as a Territory Manager in Seattle partnered with N C Machinery, an authorized Cat dealer covering the states of Washington and Alaska.

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