Tracked loaders vs skid steer: which is best for civil contractors?

Learn the difference between tracked and skid steer loaders, and how to work out which is right for you

Both compact tracked loaders and wheeled skid steer loaders are very popular machines in our fleet – and with good reason. They’re versatile, rugged and easy to operate in tight spaces making them perfect for the most cramped or demanding work sites.

If you’re not sure whether a tracked or wheeled loader is best for your job, let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

Tracked loader for hire in SydneyFeatures of tracked loaders

Consisting of a tracked undercarriage under a rugged cab, posi tracks are ideal for rough or steep terrain. Although typically a little heavier than their wheeled counterparts, tracked loaders make up for it with serious grip and manoeuvrability. The even weight distribution of a tracked loader also ensures excellent stability and minimises ground disturbance.

Track loaders are ideal for soft, sandy, wet or muddy conditions, and where access is limited or cramped. They offer a smoother ride than wheeled loaders when compared over similar terrain.

However, if you have loads of concrete, asphalt or rocky ground on your site, you may find a wheeled loader to be a better choice as caterpillar tracks are subject to more wear and tear over hard ground.

The tracked loaders or CTL’s we have available for hire come in 30hp up to 100hp models, with all machines being fairly compact and ideal for sites that have access constraints. Plus, although they are commonly offered for hire with a bucket, you can also choose all sorts of loader attachments to get a truly versatile machine. Posi track attachments include:

  • Grapple buckets
  • Rotary hoes
  • Harley rakes
  • 4-in-1 buckets
  • Slashers
  • Trenchers
  • Sweepers
  • Mulchers
  • Pallet fork attachments
  • Levelling bars

Bobcat for hireFeatures of skid steer loaders

Skid steer loaders or ultra-compact loaders are one of the smallest and lightest machines in our fleet, making transport relatively easy. Encompassing popular brands such as the Bobcat, skid steers are also known as SSL’s and are small and versatile enough to get fiddly jobs done on limited access sites.

Thanks to their compact size, skid steer loaders can be driven in very small areas or underneath structures where typical larger excavators couldn’t travel. They also have a slighter better turning radius so can manoeuvre and turn faster than a tracked loader.

Because these loaders spread the ground contact over four individual points (the wheels) rather than a track, they may create a bumpier ride for the operator if your site is very rough. On the other hand, SSL’s are ideal for rocky or asphalted surfaces where tracks would become damaged over time.

Our mini loaders are available in an ultra-compact 900mm wide Bobcat, 18hp model, and 65-75hp loader.


Both types of loaders feature strong lifting arms and are well suited to carrying out a range of different tasks on site. Powerful, versatile and comfortable for the operator, loaders offer a great balance of lifting capabilities, pushing force and versatility in a compact package.

To find out more about hiring a loader, give our team a call or take a look at our full range of loaders for hire.

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