Construction sites and skid steers go together like vegemite and toast. 

Many job sites across Australia rely heavily on these great little pieces of equipment. This is due to their versatility, ease of use, and effectiveness at doing the job. 

But one thing you might not have considered is how the skid steer is mounted – whether it’s on tracks or wheels. 

In this article we will explore the difference, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of both kinds of skid steers. Stay tuned to find out which type is best suited for your needs.  

Tracked skid steer

 

Tracks cover a larger surface area to build ground pressure and traction. This gives them a superior grip compared to wheeled skid steers. 

Advantages

 

  • Lifting power: when lifting and moving heavy objects, extra traction always helps. Skid steers need a large surface to evenly distribute weight on. Tracks allow skid steers to lift a lot more weight without slipping or even tipping.
  • Reliability: tracks generally last a lot longer than tyres and cannot go flat because there is no air in them. 

Disadvantages

 

  • More surface damage: in order to gain traction and move, tracks like pull up the soft ground. Soft surfaces such as turf, mud, and sand will all be pulled up with tracks if the operator isn’t careful.

 

Wheeled skid steer

 

Wheels come in contact with less surface area, but allow for better speed and manoeuvrability.

Advantages

 

  • Manoeuvrability: pivoting on the spot is a great feature of wheeled skid steers. If a job site has a lot of tight spaces and objects to manoeuvre through, wheels are the way to go. 
  • Less surface damage: because there is less traction on the tyres compared to tracks, the surface area isn’t going to be as damaged. 

Disadvantages

 

  • Lifting power: with wheeled machines and vehicles there are fewer contact points on the ground, therefore the weight will be unevenly dispersed across the axles. This can lead to slipping and tipping. 

 

Choosing the right skid steer for the site conditions

 

It can sometimes be difficult to choose the right equipment for the job, and it’s no different with skid steers. 

We will cover some common site conditions within the construction industry or landscaping industry and what type of kid steer is best for it. 

Landscaped area

 

Landscaped areas such as yards, gardens, fields, and ovals generally need to be kept mint condition. The last thing you want to do is unnecessarily rip half of the grass out. For this reason, we recommend using a wheel-mounted skid steer. 

Hard-packed dirt

 

Hard ground and packed dirt are great surface areas for both wheel and track-mounted skid steers. The textured surface of the hard-packed dirt gives good traction and grip for the tracked and wheeled machines. 

Muddy ground

 

Mud can be one of the most difficult terrain conditions for a vehicle or machine to navigate across. It gets stuck in tyres and causes them to lose grip and traction. Tracked skid steers are the way to go for muddy job site conditions. 

Specifically for muddy conditions, we recommend the S450TX mini skid steer. It has a high-mounted track sprocket preventing it from bottoming out and it can navigate through almost any difficult terrain – muddy or not muddy. 

Solid surfaces

 

Much like with packed dirt, solid surfaces are going to be easy for both tracked and wheeled skid steers. Before you go anywhere though, we recommend using tyres. Why? If your surface is concrete or asphalt, tracks have a tendency to scratch and scrape the surface causing wear to both the ground and the tracks. Tyres on the other hand are a lot more gentle on a hard surface. 

Heavy lifting and tipping

 

Tracks have a much better time lifting heavy weights. When lifting something heavy with a machine, it needs to be mounted to a large surface area. With tracks there is a lot more surface area available, therefore allowing it to lift more without any issues of slipping. 

For a skid steer with big muscles, the CTX100 is the way to go. With 1341.7 kg of tipping and 469 kg of lifting, there isn’t a job this tracked mini skid steer can’t handle.  

Rugged ground

 

It might not be muddy, but a rugged surface can be a nightmare for workers. For this, you’d need a versatile machine, such as the track-mounted CTX50

Tracks are designed to pull the body of the machine out of difficult places. So if there is a large boulder or ditch, wheels are only going to spin and get stuck, whereas tracks will save you a lot of trouble. When it comes to the CTX50, it has a dampened chariot position for the operator to help prevent them from jolting about, making it even easier to manoeuvre on difficult terrains. 

Pick up your skid steer today

 

Now you understand the ins and outs between track vs wheel skid steers, it’s time to get one for yourself. 

Vermeer WA & NT is your local construction equipment supplier and we offer a wide range of tracked skid steers. In addition, we provide support and maintenance on all our products within Western Australia and the Northern Territory. 

Contact us today for a free quote or if you need help choosing the right skid steer for your construction project. 

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