Sales are soaring in the Compact Track Loader department, stealing market share from Skid Steer Loaders year on year. But which machine is right for your line of work?
Each machine was designed to perform best in certain conditions, they are valuable tools for contractors because of their ability to manoeuvre in tight places and to use a variety of attachments. But there are certain applications and uses specific to each.
Skid Steer Loaders are lighter than Compact Track Loaders, allowing for easier transportation but operator comfort is taken out by the CTL with a generally smoother ride. Tracks will also leave less disruption to the ground, minimising site clean-up time as opposed to a Skid Steer.
Maneuverability is on par, both being able to operate in tight or difficult spaces where turning radius are constricted
Location Location Location
Location should be the main factor when choosing between a skid steer or compact track loader because each machine is specifically build to perform best in different circumstances.
Skid steers work best on harder ground such as concrete and asphalt. While track loaders too can operate on these surfaces, the tracks will see a lot more wear and tear then what tyres can endure.
Track loaders are more efficient on soft and boggier wet surfaces due to the flotation effect caused by the additional weight distribution from having the full length off the track carrying the load across the terrain compared to the 4 individual points produced when using wheel machines.
A skid steer is a more economical choice in comparison to a comparably sized track loader and replacing rubber tracks are a lot more expensive then the skid steer rubber tyres. However, tracks will last considerably longer. With appropriate use and care, the track loader can be a sound financial decision long term.
Another factor to take into account is machine downtime when ground conditions change. Sloppy ground can halt work for a skid steer whether as track loaders soar in these conditions not putting you and the work at hand behind schedule.
When decision time comes, you should firstly consider the type of work your machine will predominantly perform over its lifetime and everything else comes after.