Mini track loaders – sometimes referred to as walk-behind loaders, mini skid-steer loaders or compact utility loaders – can bring big productivity to a variety of jobsites since they offer a smaller frame size with big versatility.
Mini track loaders are powerful enough to work alongside skid-steer loaders and compact excavators, yet nimble enough to maneuver through gates, doorways and other tight spaces.
It’s important to consider your specific application needs when selecting the model that’s right for you. Here are four things to keep in mind when purchasing a mini track loader.
1. Mini Track Loader Sizes and Capabilities
Spec tables can be overwhelming. Focus on these four specs when you start evaluating mini track loader models to ensure that you get a machine that can handle the work you throw at it, fits on and can get to your jobsite, and can run the track loader attachments you need to get the job done.
- Rated operating capacity: If you plan to lift heavier loads, confirm that the rated operating capacity of the mini track loader will fit your needs. Some Bobcat mini track loader models can lift up to 1,000 pounds.
- Size: Consider the dimensions of your typical jobsite and then ensure the width, height and length of the machine will meet those constraints. Don’t forget to take track width into account as well. Wider tracks offer less ground disturbance when working on maintained surfaces, whereas narrower tracks allow you to fit into smaller spaces, work closer to walls and have better traction.
- Operating weight: Make sure the weight of your machine is compatible with your trailer so you won’t run into issues when transporting equipment to and from the jobsite.
- Auxiliary hydraulic flow: Check that the mini track loader’s horsepower will be able to power the track loader attachments you want to use with the machine.
Another consideration when evaluating mini track loaders is operation style. Choose between ride-on and walk-behind mini track loader models. Ride-on models not only reduce fatigue, but also give your operators an enhanced view of the attachment and work area.
2. Mini Track Loader Attachments
Get more bang for your buck by equipping your mini track loader with several track loader attachments. Attachment options expand the machine’s capabilities, enabling it to do serious work like trenching, tilling, digging, moving materials and more. Consider purchasing these five popular attachments with your mini track loader so you’ll be prepared to handle tasks from start to finish.
- Bucket: Buckets make easy work of grading, leveling and moving materials.
- Pallet fork: Load, lift, move and place materials around the jobsite with precision.
- Breaker: Demolish rocks, concrete and other hard materials quickly.
- Industrial grapple: The industrial grapple’s design lets you get maximum contact with irregularly shaped materials, like rocks.
- Broom: When it’s time for cleanup, quickly sweep dirt and debris from driveways, sidewalks and parking lots so you leave the jobsite neat and tidy.
If you already own compact equipment, some of your attachments for larger compact loaders may be compatible with a mini track loader. Contact your local compact equipment dealer to ask about compatible attachments for your mini track loader.
3. Mini Track Loaders Are Part of the Crew
You depend on both your crew and your equipment to get the job done. Mini track loaders can make up for a smaller crew thanks to their ability to dig and move materials in cramped quarters.
Their narrow profile has made them an especially popular choice for residential landscapers and urban developers, who sometimes need equipment to travel next to or through established buildings. Plus, compact utility loaders show up ready to work every morning and can complete the equivalent of about two workers’ worth of labor per day. No lunch breaks required.
4. Mini Track Loader Maintenance
If you own construction equipment, the maintenance requirements for mini track loaders should sound familiar. Every manufacturer outlines service interval requirements in the machine’s Operation & Maintenance Manual based on machine hours and/or calendar time. Just like with other machines, you and your operators will need to stay on top of oil, filter and fluid changes. Regularly inspecting the machine for leaks and wear and tear — especially on the tracks — can help prevent minor issues from becoming major ones. Scheduling planned maintenance into your calendar will also help keep the machine running at peak efficiency and help prevent downtime.
Mini track loaders offer the same boost in productivity as a large loader – in a smaller size. And the changing nature of today’s jobsites makes them a smart, versatile investment for you and your crew today and in the future.
Discover how the crew at Jat’s Backyard Landscaping traded in their shovels for a mini track loader.