In construction and landscaping, hauling material is a critical function. Two of the best options for managing these materials are the wheel loader and track loader. The Ohio — The Cat® Rental Store team has created this guide to walk you through the functions of these machines to help you decide which is the best pick for your next project.
What Is a Wheel Loader?
A wheel loader is a versatile piece of heavy equipment seen on many construction sites. This type of loader acts like a giant mobile shovel to scoop up raw materials like rubble, gravel, soil, debris and dirt. This capability makes it easy to load these materials into trucks or move them around the job site.
The actual term wheel loader refers to the shovel function and the fact that these machines ride on wheels rather than tracks. The wheels on the loader give it greater speed, make it easy to maneuver when driving and help it traverse surfaces like concrete or asphalt without damaging the ground.
Wheel Loader Applications
You can find these machines in various configurations to provide the perfect solution for your project and industry, from compact options to large-frame wheel loaders. The three main types include:
- Compact: Compact models typically have a bucket size capable of holding 1 cubic yard of material and are often found on landscaping projects. They are also ideal for a wide variety of applications since you can exchange the bucket for attachments like rakes, forks and stump grinders.
- Midsize: Midsize loaders feature buckets that hold around 3 to 5 yards. These are an excellent choice for construction sites that need to move large or unwieldy loads.
- Large: Large material loaders are a heavy-duty solution designed to load gravel trucks and tackle other tough jobs. The large bucket can accommodate volumes from 7 to 8 yards.
What Is a Track Loader?
While a track loader also has a loading bucket, it travels on tracks, much like a bulldozer. This design offers superior weight distribution by spreading the weight of the equipment over a wider distance, giving the track loader the traction needed to move over softer surfaces like mud or snow without sinking. They’re also ideal for tricky ground situations involving more fragile surfaces like turf, making them popular for landscaping operations.
Since the tracks can move independently, these machines have a small turning radius and excellent maneuverability.
Track Loader Applications
Track loaders are an excellent choice for navigating tight spaces and softer ground on residential job sites. Their lower ground pressure and resistance to sinking come in handy when a construction site has frequent rain since they can perform even in muddy conditions.
They’re also ideal on job sites with significant slopes since the low center of gravity and higher traction give them the ability to handle uneven or hilly terrain.
Track Loaders vs. Wheel Loaders
When you need to choose between a track loader or wheel loader, the decision can be easy with the right information. Here are a few essential points to consider when deciding:
- Weight capacity: A track loader may be better for navigating difficult sites, but a wheel loader can typically haul more at once. If you’re managing a fast-paced project involving a great deal of material handling, the speed and power of a wheel loader may serve you best.
- Maneuverability: A wheel loader is easier to steer and moves faster than a track loader, but the tracked model has the advantage on uneven terrain and in restrictive spaces.
- Ground conditions: The wheel loader can carry large loads quickly across solid soil and pavement, while the track loader is best for working in weather conditions like mud and snow. If you need to work with minimal ground disturbance, a track loader is your best bet.
Find Your Wheel or Track Loader Solution Today
Ohio — The Cat Rental Store has been delivering solutions to our clients for over 75 years. We have a wide selection of wheel and track loaders to ensure you can find the highest-quality equipment to fit your unique situation. You can browse our selection online or stop in one of our locations to speak with a team member and have a hands-on look. We have conveniently located stores in Ohio and Kentucky to provide fast and reliable solutions for your business.
Ready to take the next step? Our team is ready and able to assist you with any questions and provide a quote. Give us a call today at 440-658-2000 or fill out a quote form to explore the region’s top source for wheel and track loader rentals.