Bobcat Foot Controls vs Joystick (Which One Should You Pick)

Both of Bobcat’s controls have polarized opinions, which confuses most people when choosing the right control. So, if you’re feeling lost, worry not. Your choice is about to get easier.

So, which one wins in Bobcat Foot Controls vs Joystick?

Bobcat Selective Joysticks win over the foot controls because they are customizable and easier to learn. They also come with features that allow you to monitor your Bobcat to its finer details. However, foot control is cheaper than joysticks and widely available. 

Surely, it isn’t enough information to make a decision. Let’s dive deep into this topic so that you can make the best decision.

Bobcat Foot Controls vs Joystick: Quick Overview

In Bobcat Foot Controls vs Joystick, The joystick takes the crown due to its easier maneuverability. It also has additional attachments and a lower maintenance difficulty. The foot controls are convenient to only those using it for a long time. 

For the readers who don’t have the time to read through the rest, here’s a quick peek:

Aspects Foot Controls Joystick
Control Difficulty High Low
Speed Management Not Available Included
Horsepower Management Not Available Included
Drive Response Not Available Included
Maintenance Difficulty Average Average
Price Cheaper

(Comes with most models)


(Optional in most models)

Availability Most Models  Newer Models

Why Joystick is Better Than Foot Control: Detailed Analysis

Let’s analyze the control from five different perspectives by getting right into the meat of the matter:

Aspect 1: Control Methods

Joystick is much easier to control than foot controls in Bobcat loaders and excavators. In comparison,  foot control is hard to learn and harder to master. 

Consequently, new users and people looking into buying loaders or excavators would be better off with joysticks. On the other hand, Foot control has been around for a while. So many older users are more comfortable with it. 

As a bonus, here’s a set of easy-to-follow Bobcat control instructions. Let’s start with the Joysticks. 

Joystick Control Instructions

Bobcats typically have two joysticks, and their functions differ depending on the mode you set it on. The modes are H-Mode and ISO mode. 

Joystick Control Instructions
Source: Williams Machinery

ISO Pattern: In the ISO pattern, the left joystick controls the movement of your tracks. So, in that mode, you can use the left joystick to go forward or reverse. Of course, you must press on the throttle to move; keep that in mind.

On the other hand, the right joystick will control your bucket or drill, depending on the Bobcat. Move your joystick forward to pick the bucket up. Then, tilt the stick to tilt the buckets. Finally, move it backward to make the bucket go back down.

H-Pattern: For the H-Pattern, you have to use both sticks to move your Bobcat. Specifically, moving the right stick forward or backward will move the right track. Meanwhile, for the left track, move your left stick forward or backward.

For the bucket, If you push the left stick to the left, it will pick it up. Similarly, if you push it right, it will put the bucket back down. Additionally, if you push the right stick to the left, it will tilt the bucket up. If you push it right, it will tilt the bucket down.

This pattern is helpful for those who are used to Hand/foot controls and are switching joysticks. 

Foot Control Instructions

Foot control utilizes pedals and sticks to control Bobcat loaders and extractors. Here are a few simple instructions that can help you get started:

Foot Control Instructions
Source: Cleveland Brothers

Foot Control is also called Hand and foot control since it requires both. If you want to move your Bobcat, it’s similar to the H-Pattern of the Joystic. The left stick controls the left track. Conversely, the right stick controls the right track. You can mix and match to turn and move forward and back.

For the bucket movement, the left pedal tilted forward will move the bucket up. Whereas if you tilt it backward, it will move the bucket down. Similarly, if you tilt the right pedal forward, it will tilt the bucket up. If you tilt it backward, it will tilt the bucket down. 

From the process itself, the joystick makes it easy and user-friendly to most. On the other hand, hand/foot controls take a lot of practice and experience to seem easy. 

However, to make it easier and more intuitive, here’s a video. The video visually and practically explains how you can control your Bobcat loader or extractor.

Aspect 2: Pricing

When it comes to pricing, Joysticks are more expensive than foot control. That’s because Bobcat loaders come with hand & foot control. Whereas the joystick is optional and costs a premium. 

Most bobcat loaders come with hand and foot control by default. So, you usually pay the price you see on the tag. Now, you can choose to use joysticks for controls. Then you will have to pay a premium for them. That makes them more expensive than the hand and foot controls. 

Aspect 3: Customizability

The joysticks are more customizable than foot control because they support speed and horsepower management. 

Not only that but the drive response too. Speed, horsepower management, and drive response are attachments exclusive to the selectable Bobcat joysticks. 

Speed Management

The speed management feature allows you to see the speed of your loader from the screen. You can easily do it with a button from the Joystick. This feature is unavailable in a loader that only supports hand and foot controls. 

Horsepower Management

Like speed management, horsepower management is also exclusive to selectable Bobcat joysticks. This allows you to micromanage your HP and check how much you’re putting out. 

Drive Response

The drive response allows you to customize your drive response relative to your joystick movement. This is also exclusive to selectable joysticks of Bobcat.

Furthermore, this feature allows you to customize your Bobcat movements to a finer degree. That’s because you can simply choose your response. 

Since hand & foot control lacks support for these attachments, it needs to improve in customizability. 

Aspect 4: Availability

The hand and foot controls are more available than Joysticks since all Bobcat models come with them. 

Before joysticks, Bobcat models came with only hand and foot controls. Because of that, all the models still come with hand and foot controls by default. 

Furthermore, older models could not use joysticks. So, resellers mostly sell Bobcats with hand and foot control worldwide. Due to that, hand and foot controls are more available worldwide compared to joystick-controlled Bobcats. 

Aspect 5: Maintenance Difficulty

The maintenance difficulty of Joysticks and Foot control are similar. It’s because both Joysticks and foot control are subject to maintenance after 50 hours of usage (according to Bobcat).

Moreover, the process of maintaining both is similar. They both include greasing the gears and cleaning the sticks. However, Foot control has one extra step of cleaning the pedals. So, this round is a draw in all regards. 

The Overall Winner of the Showdown

Bobcat Joysticks are better than foot controls due to being easier and more customizable. Furthermore, it offers the H-pattern for those used to hand and foot control. 

So, if you’re picking a Bobcat for your trade, you won’t go wrong with the Joystick control. That’ll be it, folks; All that’s left is answering some of the more frequently asked questions. 


Do All Bobcats Have Foot Controls?

Yes, All Bobcats, by default, have foot controls. However, you can switch to Joystick controls as they are optional. In that case, your Bobcat will not have foot controls. 

Do All Bobcats have Joysticks?

No, not all Bobcats have Joysticks. But Joystick is an optional choice when purchasing one, so you can opt for it. 

Can You Convert Bobcat Standard Controls to Joysticks?

Yes, you can convert Bobcat standard controls to joystick depending on the model. You can convert electric and newer models of Bobcat to Joystick. However, you can’t do it with older analog models. 

Final Words

By now, you should already know that Joystick wins in Bobcat Foot Controls vs Joystick. So which one did you go for in the end? You can comment on that below. Till then, So Long!


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