Equipment Type

Research Reveals More Choice for Loader Users

Equipment managers are evaluating compact track loaders and small wheel loaders as alternatives for the work skid steers have done in the past
November 13, 2015

Rod Sutton is editorial director of Construction Equipment magazine. He is in charge of editorial strategy and writes a monthly column for the magazine, The Sutton Report. He has more than 30 years in construction journalism, and has been with Construction Equipment since 2001.

Skid steer loaders are feeling the pressure. Equipment managers are evaluating not only compact track loaders, but they are also looking at small wheel loaders as alternatives as they acquire machines for the work skid steers have done in the past. Their options are open.

Research supports this: Buyers are considering their options when looking at skid steer loader acquisition.

The compact track loader, a close cousin to the skid steer, has proven to be a solid alternate for specific applications. And as a relative newcomer, the CTL should be penetrating the market at the expense of the wheeled skid steer. The CTL’s engineers designed it specifically to address customer concerns with skid steers in those applications. According to our research, almost half of respondents have replaced a skid steer with a CTL.

Replacing a skid steer with a small wheel loader is a less-obvious move, although it has been happening for a number of years. Of the 38 percent of respondents who said they have used a wheel loader under 200 horsepower to replace another machine type within the last two years, 53 percent replaced a skid steer loader.

A caveat is in order at this point: Neither of these movements should be considered a market-shifting trend. All three are viable machines showing strong market acceptance. 

Equipment buyers have more options now, however. Not only can they evaluate three machine types, but each category also has several brands from which to choose. Once buyers determine which machine best fits their application, they will be able to evaluate various brands and dealers to provide the machine.

The overall equipment market will continue to strengthen. Machine buyers will find a variety of choices in machines and brands to provide the best fit for their organization’s production and performance requirements.

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