When deciding what new machine to add to their fleet, operators are faced with a variety of options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. With its fuel efficiency and durability, the compact wheel loader should be at the top of the list.
Compact wheel loaders are normally defined as smaller-sized wheel loaders with 80 horsepower or less. These machines generally range from 11,000 pounds to 14,000 pounds, with bucket capacities and dump heights that vary based on the manufacturer. A typical range of bucket capacity is anywhere from .9 cubic yards to 1.7 cubic yards. Dump heights usually range anywhere from 7 feet up to 9 feet.
Compact wheel loaders come in two different styles: rigid frame and articulated. Rigid frames provide more pushing and prying power, while articulated frames provide larger capacities with a more compact size.
Here are five reasons why operators should look into owning a compact wheel loader:
- Bridging the Gap. For jobs where a skid steer loader is too small, but a large wheel loader is too big, a compact wheel loader is the perfect solution. A compact wheel loader is a stepping-stone between skid steers and large wheel loaders. Sometimes, a job requires a smaller footprint, yet larger capacities.
A compact wheel loader also provides better reach than a skid steer loader. So, not only will operators be able to lift more, they’ll be able to reach higher, which is beneficial when stacking materials or loading trucks.
- Fuel Efficiency. Compact wheel loaders tend to be more fuel-efficient than full-sized wheel loaders, and even some larger skid steers, due to their smaller engines that use less fuel. The CASE Construction Equipment F Series compact wheel loaders feature a Particulate Matter Catalyst and a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) solution to meet Tier 4 Final emissions standards. That means no extra fluids for contractors to add and no filters to replace.
- Cost of Tires. Tires are one of the biggest operating costs for skid steer loaders, next to fuel. As the size of skid steer loaders goes up, so does the risk of premature wear to the tires. With additional weight on the four tires and the constant skidding of the machine, it’s common for operators to go through more sets of tires, which are expensive. Compact wheel loaders turn instead of skid, so the tires will have a much longer life expectancy. Also, their articulated front-end steering is easier on the tires as well.
- Visibility. Operators who work in a variety of applications, including scrap recycling yards or landscape supply yards, will experience better visibility with a compact wheel loader than they will with a skid steer. Because of its body design, the compact wheel loader sits a bit higher, which improves the visibility when dumping and using attachments. Compact wheel loaders also have better visibility behind and to the side than skid steers.
For greater visibility, CASE compact wheel loaders are available with Z-Bar or Parallel Lift linkage and are compatible with skid steer attachments.
- Roading Abilities. If a contractor is working on a larger project, traveling longer distances is sometimes required. Not only does a compact wheel loader inflict less wear on the tires, but it also has beneficial roading capabilities. A compact wheel loader can travel from 10-20 mph (a high-speed compact wheel loader can travel just above 20 mph), whereas a skid steer travels around 7 – 11 mph. Traveling quickly to one side of the site to another without sacrificing time or power is a huge benefit of a compact wheel loader.