Tracks or Tires: How to Choose The Best Equipment For The Job


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 making the choice 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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