On construction sites, heavy equipment is essential to do the lifting and moving of materials like concrete, debris, dirt, sand, and lumber. A loader is one of the most useful. It’s a type of tractor that sometimes comes with replaceable or permanent attachments, such as forks and buckets, often mounted at the front. Know which type fits your needs best.
3 Primary Types of Loaders
Construction loaders generally come in two varieties—with wheels or tracks. Loaders that are fitted with four tires work best on sites with level surfaces or paved ground—where weight distribution is not a concern. On flat, solid ground, they’re stable, move faster, and are more maneuverable. Since they have wheels, they can be driven along roadways, unlike ones with tracks that require costly towing services. Rubber tires are also less likely to wear out on concrete or asphalt.
Another upside to using tire-equipped loaders is their ease of maintenance. The wheels have fewer components than loaders with tracks, which make them easier to repair when damaged. As a bonus, the wheels can be fitted with removable tracks, allowing them to function in rugged, uneven terrains.
As their name implies, track loaders are propelled by a set of steel tracks. These give it more stability on rough, unpaved terrain where wheels are no match. Even with a soft, muddy ground after heavy rainfall, track loaders can get the job done. They’re relatively more stable than those with wheels thanks to their wider contact area with the ground. How they are built impacts stability as well—since they’re lower than their wheeled cousins, they have a better center of gravity and are less likely to topple over, especially on steep grades.
Track loaders also disturb the ground less than wheel loaders. They’re best suited for jobs that involve excavating and bulldozing because of the necessary traction to anchor them on the spot. If you need heavy equipment that has the extra capacity for lifting materials like retaining wall blocks and boulders, track loaders can handle it better.
Rounding out the trifecta of loaders is the skid steer, which features a smaller frame and engine compared to other heavy equipment. Since skid steers are more compact, they’re suitable for sites that have little space to work with. Some are fitted with wheels, while the tracked version is called a compact track loader.
Still not sure which construction loader to choose? Ask the experts at Gene & Matt Tractor Sales, the leading heavy equipment dealer in Winder, GA. Since 1978, they’ve carried a wide array of tractors, backhoes, lawn equipment, and riding mowers from top brands like Kubota® and Bush Hog®. Call (770) 867-3179 to learn more about tractor sales or explore their inventory online.