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2022-05-06

Skid Steer Vs Compact Track Loader: Differences and More

Skid Steer loaders have been around in the heavy machinery industry for six decades, and it is one of the most popular piece of equipment on construction job sites as they can perform a variety of earth moving tasks. This small yet powerful machine inspired what we today know as Compact Track loader (CTL). There are two types of skid steer to choose from: wheeled skid steers and compact track loaders.
It’s easy to look at a skid steer and a CTL and assume the only difference between the two is tires versus tracks – but there’s much more to it than that, especially when it comes to deciding which one is needed on the job site.

Main differences between these two machines:
  Maneuverability Tires/tracks and terrain Power Costs
SKID STEER LOADER (SSL) Skid Steers have wheels, which make them more maneuverable than CTLs. SSL can perform very sharp turns and rotate in tight spaces. SSL tires perform best and last the longest on hard, smooth surfaces like rock, concrete, or asphalt. Designed for lighter loads that require fewer horsepower. Lower maintenance, fuel, transportation and upfront costs. For most projects, SSLs are usually cheaper.
COMPACT TRACK LOADER(CTL) CTL have Tracks. CTLs are designed to slopes and more challenging terrains, such as those found in more undeveloped areas. They require more space to maneuver. CTLs work very well on sensitive, unstable surfaces and uneven and soft terrain, and are considered useful for grading. CTLs won't leave ruts like SSLs will, and they can go where SSLs can't. Added weight and traction can accommodate heavier loads. CTLs cost about 30% more than an equivalent SSL, it has higher maintenance and fuel costs.

Regarding the speed of these two powerful machines, CTLs tracks reduce max speed specially turning, while SSLs can move pretty quickly in small spaces. Wheels are cheaper and easy to maintain, even if they are solid tires, CTLs are difficult to access which can lead to maintenance complications. SSLs Minimizes damage on hard surfaces but can tear up soil and softer ground and CTLs are gentler on soil, sand and gravel but can mark asphalt and concrete.

Wheeled Skid Steer


Compact machine designed mainly for digging and landscaping jobs. It runs on four wheels either pneumatic or solid tires and can use a variety of attachments, including buckets, snowblowers and pallet forks.

Compact Track Loader
Compact track loaders are essentially skid steer loaders that run on two parallel tracks, allowing these earth moving machines to work in poor underfoot conditions and on sensitive surfaces. Like the skid steer, the mini track loader has auxiliary hydraulics for powering attachments, and its flat-footed nature suits it well for grading, sometimes with a laser-based grade-control system.

More SKD content here:
Skid Steer Loader for Construction BLOG – Characteristics and more
 
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