On the Job Site: Rubber Tracks vs. Wheels

Deciding between rubber tracks and wheels depends on the job site conditions  © CNH Media Collective

Spring time is prime time for rubber track loaders.  We’ve seen our rental machines go out a bunch lately to combat the soft soil conditions usually found this time of year.  With all that on our mind we thought it’d be a good idea to revisit our look at the benefits of tracks versus wheeled skid steer loaders.  Enjoy!

Total Landscape Care ran a great article last Friday comparing the benefits of rubber track loaders verses traditional wheeled skid steer loaders (read it in full HERE).  The basic conclusion of their comparison is clear: consider cost when making a decision, but ultimately choose the machine that best fits the work you’ll be doing.

The idea behind rubber tracks is that they increase traction while minimizing ground impact.  The greater surface area means your machine’s weight is more evenly distributed, allowing for greater “flotation”.  That makes compact track loaders (and smaller utility loaders like the Toro Dingo) ideal for landscape and construction work at existing homes, rather than new construction sites.

On the other hand, wheeled units work just fine for jobs that have no worry for preservation or impact.  Snow pushing is a great example.  Wheels work a heck of a lot better in the snow than tracks because in those cases you want to pinpoint your down pressure to give you maximum forward power.

Solid tires are a great option for owners who don’t want to waste time with flat tires. © CNH Media Collective

Of course cost is a consideration, and it’s no secret that track loaders cost more than a standard skid steer.  Rubber tracks are also more expensive to replace than tires, but the upside is they also last twice as long as a normal set (we carry both tracks and tires in our parts department).  What you need to weigh is whether that initial investment will pay itself back in productivity.

We have customers on both sides of the fence.  Some use only track loaders, some only use skid steers (and some who use both).  The best strategy is to buy the machine that’s going to be most useful to you most of the time.  If your machine is only good on half of your jobs, that’s not a smart buy.

4 thoughts on “On the Job Site: Rubber Tracks vs. Wheels

  1. Pingback: Should I Rent or Should I Buy Equipment? | Fully Equipped

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  3. Rubber tracks definitely have an advantage in certain applications. We get a lot of snow around here, though, so tires won’t be going away any time soon!

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