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Posted: 08/23/2017

6 Tips for Choosing the Right Size Compact Track Loader

Graphic showing that horsepower, rated operating capacity and width increase as compact track loader models get larger.

Mother Nature’s uncertainty often challenges productivity, but few machines have proven themselves as useful in unpredictable conditions as the compact track loader (CTL). Year after year, more CTLs are rolling off the assembly line and joining the crews of construction contractors, landscaping professionals, site preparation firms and many others who need a versatile and cost-effective machine with a design that meets their needs — and one that can be productive for operators at all levels.

With so many sizes available, choosing the correct CTL model may seem overwhelming. But by understanding what each size of machine offers — as well as your own specific application requirements — you can easily match a machine to your business needs. To determine the correct CTL size, consider the following factors.

1. Size of your workload

Put simply: the larger the workload, the larger the machine you need to handle the job. If you’re regularly transporting a large quantity of material and need to move quickly, a bigger machine can carry, scoop and lift more material in less time, saving you money and helping you get to your next job faster.

2. Jobsite dimensions

The dimensions of your work space — including access points, passageways or interior doorways — may limit the physical size of your CTL. So the height, width and weight of a loader should be another determining factor when deciding what size machine to purchase. If you’re frequently working in tight areas like residential backyards, limit your search to smaller loaders.

3. Rated operating capacity

When all is said and done, rated operating capacity determines how much work a loader can do. Jobs that involve lots of loading, lifting of heavy materials or grading in tough soil conditions call for a machine with enough power and capacity to safely match the application. Consider the heaviest material you will transport with your CTL, and make sure the loader you choose is up to the task.

4. Lift height

Do you see lots of lifting and loading in your CTL’s future? Larger CTL machines with a vertical lift path can safely lift materials over 11 feet 6 inches off the ground to easily load trucks, transport and place pallets, or dump contents over walls and other tall barriers.

5. Horsepower requirements

If you’ll mainly be operating auxiliary hydraulic attachments, opt for a high-horsepower CTL to achieve the highest attachment productivity possible. Higher-horsepower machines push more hydraulic fluid per minute into an attachment — an especially beneficial feature for demolition jobs that require extra power for hydraulic breakers or drop hammers. Keep in mind, however, that machines with robust engines won’t be as maneuverable as those with smaller horsepower ratings.

6. Operating weight

It’s also important to consider how you’ll transport your machine between jobsites. The lighter the machine, the easier it is to transport. Double-check the weight limits of your truck and trailer before buying a CTL, and then decide if it’s in your budget to upgrade to a higher-capacity mode of transportation if you do opt for a larger CTL.

With these six considerations in mind, you can easily find the right machine for your business needs. Get started by browsing the latest CTL models  or contacting your Bobcat dealer to request a demo .

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