What’s The Difference Between Skid Steers and Compact Track Loaders?

Contractors nationwide are going back to basics in effort to evolve with a volatile construction market and roller coaster economy. In order to perform jobs efficiently in a financial and pragmatic fashion, construction companies are relying on smaller equipment to accomplish their projects. As a result of this strategy change, two of the most rented heavy equipment tools include the skid steer and compact track loader.

What’s the difference between these two pieces of equipment? Despite the size similarity, there’s a few key differences and similarities to take note of:

Skid Steer vs. Compact Track Loader

Flexibility
Skid steer and track loaders share two commonalities that make them essential to a construction company seeking to maximize their project potential. The first of these is their ability to utilize the same attachments. These would include buckets, dozer blades, mulchers, augers, trenchers, levelers, snow blowers, box rakes etc.

Skid Steer

Skid Steer on Concrete

Both the skid steer and compact track loader can be used in similar applications, including construction, rental, landscaping, forestry and agricultural. Performance ability differs according to the surface the machinery will operate on. This is why it’s important to match the right task to the right loader. Hard surfaces such as concrete and rock are ideal for the skid steer. Due to excessive track wear, compact track loaders are generally not used for applications such as road construction and demolition.

Track Loader

Track Loader on Snow

Skid steers operate best on firm ground (rock, asphalt and concrete) and are capable of making tight spin turns in space restricted work areas. Track loaders are made to handle sensitive, muddy, snowy, soft and wet landscapes. Due to the use of tracks, the machine’s mass is distributed appropriately.

Productivity
Both loaders are great for loading, picking, dragging and carrying materials. For landscape work, compact loaders are popular due to their tracks responding well to low ground pressure. Stability on slopes and uneven ground make the track loader preferable to the skid steer. Traction is also key with track loaders. Tracks also do less damage to an existing landscape.

Skid steers serve industrial, site development environments well due to their durable tires. Using skid steers in such environments will limit the cost of operation as well, due to the wear and tear put on compact loader tracks.

Overall

Compact Track Loader

Track Loader on Landscape

Whether you use a skid steer or track loader for your construction project, equipment management is necessary to get the job done. As skid steers and compact track loader popularity within the construction industry grow, so do the requirements of these useful pieces of machinery.

Every year, bigger bucket capacities, improved lifting strength and wheelbase determine how much work can be accomplished at the end of the day. When renting these versatile machines, routine maintenance is essential in making sure you get as much done as possible on the job site.

To locate a skid steer rental or track loader for rent in your area, check out Rent It Today’s extensive list of construction equipment providers across the nation.

2 comments
Kyle Sebree
Kyle Sebree

For nearly 20 years my dad has owned Bobcats for his construction business. I never knew their technical name until I researched them for this blog. These are invaluable pieces of equipment to have if you own a construction business; especially if it's a small business. With a variety of attachments, they can pretty much do everything from grading land for landscaping, moving dirt, jack hammering concrete, sweeping streets, etc.

Tiana Berwanger
Tiana Berwanger moderator

@Kyle Sebree Do they do laundry? If so, I'll definitely look into getting one. Great info in this post, by the way. I had no idea each were so versatile!