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Difference between Skid Steer Wheel & Compact Track Loader

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Skid steer loaders are a common sight on construction sites of all sizes because they are capable of many earthmoving jobs, from excavating and landscaping to rubbish disposal. The two primary models to select from are skid steers wheels and compact track loaders. Let’s discuss the difference between them.

Skid Steer Wheels

A skid steer wheel is a small piece of equipment typically used for excavating and landscaping. It has four wheels and two arms that can connect to various accessories such as buckets, snow blowers, and pallet forks. Because the wheels are attached to locking axles, a skid steer operator must accelerate the wheels on one side to steer the machine.

Compact Track Loaders

A compact track loader is a skid steer that operates on parallel OTR wheels rather than wheels. These machines are comparable in size to skid steers and perform many of the same activities, but their weight and improved traction allow them to travel more easily across slick or uneven terrain. Track loaders are available in several sizes and can perform various jobs such as earthmoving, excavation, and demolition.

Key Differences

  1. Terrain

  • Skid Steer

Skid steers with wheels perform well on complex, flat terrain. A skid steer is generally the superior option if your worksite is on concrete, asphalt, or a similar built surface. Wheels are less prone to harm these surfaces and enable the vehicle to travel swiftly across level terrain.

  • Track Loader

Compact track loaders are a better alternative for undeveloped land, uneven terrain, and damp or slippery work sites. A skid steer may sink into sand or mud, but a track loader may stay steady. This is due to the tracks’ ability to uniformly distribute the machine’s weight and provide additional traction to avoid slippage.

  1. Speed

  • Skid Steer

A skid steer is generally the best solution if you need fast-moving equipment. Skid steers are lighter than track loaders and do not have slow-moving tracks, making them move significantly quicker on flat areas than track loaders.

  • Track Loader

Because track loaders are slower than skid steers, operations that require travelling back and forth over vast distances may take longer to execute. This isn’t usually an issue for lengthier projects or localized activities, but it should be considered for initiatives that are on a tight deadline.

  1. Power

  • Skid Steer

Skid steers wheels are lighter than track loaders and have a more incredible centre of gravity. While bigger versions may still do heavy-lifting duties, their weight capacity may be less than their tracked counterparts. Their diminished traction may also make it more challenging to push high-resistance materials.

  • Track Loader

Tracks help to distribute weight more evenly and enhance touch with the ground. This enables track loaders to lift greater weight and push more without sliding. Some small track loaders have more horsepower than wheeled skid steers, making them better suited for high-power operations.

  1. Price

  • Skid Steer

The cost to rent or buy a skid steer varies depending on region and manufacturer. However, ones with wheels usually cost less upfront and are less expensive to maintain than track loaders. Skid steers may also save money on gasoline and shipping because of their lightweight construction and smaller engines.

  • Track Loader

Compact track loaders are often more costly to purchase or hire upfront, and tracks are more expensive to repair when broken than tires. If you decide to buy a track loader for your project, you should account for possible maintenance and damage expenses in your budget.


Before purchasing or renting a skid steer loader, think about which kind is appropriate for your job. Skid steers wheels are a cost-effective option for modest operations on level areas, but compact track loaders excel on uneven terrain and job sites that demand more power.


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