Skid steer vs Posi-Track: it’s all in the lingo
A skid steer loader , or skiddie, or Bobcat (which is actually a brand, but the most commonly used colloquial term for skid steer) is a compact earthmoving machine that comes in two variants: a wheeled skid steer (which is propelled by wheels) and a posi-track – which is propelled on tracks. If you want to hire a wheeled skid steer, or wheeled skid steer & tipper combo – click here and we’ll get you 3 quotes from verified suppliers in about 5 mins. If you want to hire a posi-track – click on the link to the left and we’ll get sh*t happening on your site. You can also hire a posi-track and truck combo , for the perfect earthmoving pairing. A track loader or tracked loader – is a different type of machine, and is a pretty rare variant of a front end loader . They are like a big posi-track, and have certain specific applications (which we won't go into here for fear of boring you).
Wheeled Skid Steers vs Posi-Tracks - What's the ground like?
Just to ram the message home, wheeled skid steers are designed with wheels, while posi-track skid steers are equipped with tank-like treads that offer better traction and stability on uneven terrain. So ask yourself - is the ground it's operating on sloped, loose, wet or uneven? If so, then the only answer is a posi-track. If you're working on flat, compact or smooth ground - then you need a wheeled skid steer or Bobcat. If you’re trying to decide whether you need a wheeled skid steer or posi-track for your project, keep reading to figure out what pieces of equipment can help you get the job done, and what factors to consider when making your decision.
What tasks does a wheeled skid steer loader excel at?
Wheeled skid steers are often used for their versatility because they can complete several jobs in tight access spaces, with a super tight turning circle and maximum maneourverability, including:
- Digging and trenching
- Landscaping , land clearing or mulching
- Grading uneven ground, finishing and concreting
- Installing posts, fences or poles
- Spreading layers of materials around, like soil or light gravels
- Loading or stockpiling debris and dirt or unwanted fill
- Breaking up pavement and foundation
You can affix over 60 attachments you can affix to a wheeled skid steer to turn it into the most versatile earthmoving and construction machine on the planet. Wheeled skid steers usually have more digging depth than posi-tracks, because of their capacity to tilt and move, making them a better option for projects requiring deeper excavation . That said, they have less torque and power as compared to their tracked cousins, as their tracks give them a greater surface area on the ground. This is the main reason tracked skid steers are better at ripping, hammering and undertaking earthmoving tasks requiring brute force.
What tasks does a posi-track excel at?
Posi-tracks come to life on uneven terrain. Wheeled skid steers can only be used where the ground is compact, so in areas of soft soil, uneven or loosely packed aggregates , gravel , wet ground, swamp or sand , the only skid steer you can use in these applications is one with tracks, because the surface area of the tracks provides stability. It also provides additional torque for the attachments to get great ballast.
They are best for:
- Digging or levelling on uneven or loose terrain
- Excavating in wet or swampy areas
- Ripping or hammering rocks, concrete or pavers
- Working on batters, hillsides or slopes
- Compacting layers of aggregates prior to grading
Because track loaders have better mobility than skid steers in challenging terrain, they are commonly used for a larger job site such as road construction or excavation work, with their superior hydraulic power. Compact track loaders will allow for greater site access as well, capable of navigating tight spaces to a certain limit.
What are the limitations of wheeled skid steers vs track loaders?
Wheeled skid steers can get bogged quite easily in soft terrain, especially if your site cops a pile of rain overnight, so make sure you’re aware of your site’s soft spots before firing up your wheeled skid steer and letting it rip. Otherwise, you'll be firing up a truck with a tow rope soon after. Posi-tracks are often less efficient due to their size and weight, can be difficult to move around and cannot reach really tight access places due to having a larger turning circle than a wheeled skid steer. There are also generally speaking less attachments available for tracked mini loaders or posi-tracks, as their tracks make them clunkier and less agile, so they can be deployed to a smaller range of earthmoving tasks.