Track Loader or Skid Loader – Which One Should You Choose For your Job?

Two popular and common pieces of equipment you’ll see on almost all job sites are the compact track loader and the skid-steer loader. Both of these types of equipment grade, dig, run attachments, move materials and load trucks. You can use either one in any application and there are always new ways to put them to use. Having a working knowledge of which one you should use for your landscaping, construction or other project is a good idea. Here, we’re going to provide you with a basic understanding of each piece of equipment’s traits and features and how they translate into their own benefits on different job sites.

Working with a Track Loader or Skid Loader

A compact track loader or skid steer loader combined with various attachments can totally transform a construction business and allow them to work in all types of ground conditions and weather and bid on more projects. However, the type of surface you plan to work on will impact cycle times and the productivity of the loader significantly. But, compact track loaders and steer loaders can use the same attachments, such as:

  • Dozer blades
  • Buckets
  • Trenchers
  • Augers
  • Box rakes
  • Mulchers
  • Snowblowers
  • Levelers

They can also perform in a number of the same applications like:

  • Rental
  • Landscaping
  • Construction
  • Agricultural
  • Forestry

Savvy operators and owners can easily determine if it makes sense to use a skid steer loader or a compact track loader for their job.

Bot are shown to be efficient, dependable machines with outstanding maneuverability. They both can turn on a dime and function in awkward or tight spaces where there isn’t a lot of turning radius. But, there are some distinct differences between them.

The diversity of track loaders and skid loaders comes from how they are able to wield various attachments from brooms to breakers. Then you add an expansive market to that diversity.

Differences Between a Skid Loader and a Track Loader

First, we’ll take a look at skid steer loaders.

Skid Loaders

These machines are lighter than a track loader. This makes them simpler to transport, frequently with less cost and time. They have an impeccable reputation in the world of construction that builds on around 60 years of dependable, trusted operation.

Certain ground condition applications like rock, concrete and other hard surfaces can be performed at a lowered cost when you use a skid loader. When you put track loaders into applications like road-building and demolition, it could potentially cost you up to 25% more per hour than it would for you to use a skid loader due to the excessive track wear in operating environments like these.

Skid loaders generally work better on firmer ground conditions like asphalt, rock and concrete along with developed areas as well. They’re made to travel fast and they’re able to perform an entire tight spin turn in space-restricted areas.

Advantages of Skid Steers

Some advantages of using skid loaders are:

  • It’s cheaper to replace tires than it is to replace tracks on a track loader
  • Huge benefits when you work on hard surfaces like curbs and streets
  • Will compact ground

Drawbacks of Skid Steers

Of course, there are some drawbacks of skid steers like with anything else, including:

  • Their tires will skid, meaning you’re going to wear out the tires faster than you would a track
  • If you plan to grade the yard and grow something, you may compact the ground

Track Loaders

Compact track loaders are designed to handle soft, wet, snowy, muddy and sensitive ground conditions and slopes. They distribute the weight of the machine evenly over the width and length of the tracks, which allows them to more efficiently traverse uneven terrain.

You also can’t beat them for grading work or for their ability to work around and on existing landscapes due to their low ground pressure. Compact track loaders are also very stable on uneven grounds or slopes and have incredible traction in various types of ground conditions. Since they’re designed to work in extreme temperatures, you’re also able to stay productive year-round.

Advantages of Track Loaders

Some advantages of track loaders are:

  • Won’t compact the ground
  • Grade almost anywhere
  • Bulldoze and grade effectively
  • Huge benefits working in dirt

Drawbacks of Track Loaders

Some drawbacks of track loaders include:

  • You shouldn’t use while you plow snow
  • If you snag or slice the track, you’ll need to replace the entire side
  • It can be expensive to replace it
  • Shouldn’t use while performing demolition work

Whether you’re using a compact track loader, a skid loader or both, the key to success in any construction or landscaping business is equipment management. The basics are always essential to get the most out of all equipment. When you follow the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines for proper maintenance, it will extend the compact equipment fleet’s lifespan significantly and save you a great deal of money.

Contact us here at Vandalia Rental for all your equipment rental needs. Whether it’s a track loader, skid loader or another piece of equipment you need, we’ll help you choose the right equipment for your particular job.