Compact track loaders , or CTLs, are one of the lowest operating cost equipment options. They have become increasingly popular in recent years, surpassing sales of compact wheel loaders . Despite the boom in popularity, contractors should consider their intended application before choosing between tracks or tires. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between track loaders vs. wheel loaders and why your business would benefit from one over another.
COMPACT WHEEL LOADERS
For applications on hard, smooth surfaces like concrete, wheel loaders are the better choice. Four tires offer better traction on hard surfaces and handle curbs and other road obstacles with ease. They cause less damage to grass and dirt than tracks but don’t perform well in muddy conditions. For contractors who do the majority of their work in existing developments with roadways, a wheeled loader works best.
Another point to note, compact wheel loaders are less expensive than their tracked counterparts, and replacement tires are significantly cheaper than replacement tracks.
COMPACT TRACK LOADERS
CTLs are ideal for suboptimal ground or soil conditions. With tracks, the weight of the machine is spread over more area, creating lower ground pressure that prevents sinking even on wet soil. Tracked loaders easily cross over narrow trenches and climb over logs or other obstacles. In wet or rough conditions, CTLs dig more easily, push with more power, and perform better. For contractors who primarily work on new construction projects, a CTL is your best bet.
Upgrading from a canopy to a cab allows operators to work in just about any site or weather conditions. “Cabbed CTLs are becoming increasingly popular due to their Swiss army knife-like capabilities,” said Matt Wolf, Equipment Territory Manager for Papé Machinery Construction & Forestry. “An owner can use it on multiple site applications. This versatility allows the owner to recoup their purchase quickly while building a more diverse book of business opportunities.”
While CTLs are typically more expensive than a comparable wheel loader, they are a worthwhile investment if you are regularly up against rough conditions. Replacement tracks are costly, but with proper track maintenance and care, they shouldn’t need to be replaced often.
Over The Tire Rubber Tracks
If you are still stuck on the tracks vs. wheels decision, over the tire rubber tracks , give you the best of both worlds. This product is a removable track option that can be added to a wheel loader as needed so you can use the equipment for all applications. Having the option of both tracks and wheels is an optimal solution for contractors who want the flexibility to take on road projects as well as projects in dirt or mud without having to incur the expense of owning two machines.
Over the tire rubber tracks will offer increased stability, flotation, and traction in wet conditions, but they do have some limitations. They will not perform as well as a CTL for grading tasks, so if that is your primary goal, it would be better to go with a CTL and rent a wheel loader for the occasional road project.
Stop by your nearest Papé Machinery Construction and Forestry location in Washington, Oregon, California, or Nevada to see our compact wheel loaders and compact track loaders for sale