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How to Choose the Right Compact Wheel Loader

Published on September 20, 2023

Compact wheel loaders offer advanced maneuverability and can handle a wide range of materials on jobsites, farms and other environments. It’s no surprise that these machines are increasing in popularity for many customers.  

Not only do compact wheel loaders deliver impressive stability and swift travel, but the ability to customize them with attachments unlocks endless possibilities. From moving dirt, snow or gravel to clearing debris or lifting pallets, Bobcat® compact wheel loaders can help you do more.  

Find the Perfect-Size Compact Wheel Loader 

 The current lineup of Bobcat compact wheel loaders includes the L65 and L85. Despite their differences, there are a few things you can expect from both machines.  

Both the L65 and L85 have a Bobcat Tier 4 turbocharged engine that provides performance, efficiency and convenient service. This powerful engine was designed to start up and deliver in the toughest conditions with fewer components to eliminate downtime. 

Expect articulated steering in both models to give you a tight turning radius and ultimate maneuverability.

Size Differences Between the L65 and L85 

The most obvious differences between the L65 and L85 are size and power. While the L65 weighs 9,944 pounds and delivers 55 hp, the L85 clocks in at 11,164 pounds and delivers 68 hp. Because transportation of equipment is a big factor to consider when purchasing, think about how you’ll be getting your loader where you need it. What will you be towing your equipment with? Do you expect to have any space constraints in your working area? Is storage space limited? 

Both models have a wheelbase of 82.7 inches, yet the L85 stands an inch taller than the L65 at 98.3 inches with the operator cab. 

Another basic factor to consider is machine speed. No matter which model you choose, you’ll get two speeds for travel. The L65 tops out at around 16 mph, while the L85 can reach over 18 mph. If you’re working on a large jobsite or otherwise using your machine to move across larger spaces, the L85 can save you time.

Get the performance you need from an L65 or L85 loader. 

One of the best things about a Bobcat compact wheel loader is its sheer versatility. Both models come standard with our Power Bob-Tach® mounting system, which opens countless possibilities to customize yours with attachments and get more versatility for your dollar. The system allows you to change non-hydraulic attachments without leaving the comfort of the cab. Just line up the attachment and press the convenient switch.  

The standard bucket is a primary attachment for most operators, and for good reason. It easily allows lifting, hauling, loading and moving of a vast array of materials. The capacity and lifting power vary slightly between the L65 and L85. 

Pallet forks are another popular attachment for compact wheel loaders. These allow operators to move bulky, bagged or palletized material quickly and efficiently. 

Beyond buckets and forks, there are a wide variety of attachments that can expand the versatility of your Bobcat compact wheel loader. An angle broom attachment can be used to clear dirt, debris or snow. When there’s serious snow removal to be done, snow pushers and blades make a great choice for clearing parking lots, roads, and walking paths. For landscaping and forestry applications, auger units can be used to dig holes for posts or trees. 

The L65 bucket capacity tops out at 1.3 cubic yards, with a rated operating capacity of 3,133 pounds with the bucket straight and 2,618 pounds with the bucket articulated. 

The L85, on the other hand, has a bucket capacity of up to 1.6 cubic yards and a rated operating capacity of 3,974 pounds with the bucket straight and 3,257 pounds with the bucket articulated.  

The L65 has a rated operating capacity of 3,759 pounds with the forks straight and 3,172 pounds with the forks articulated, while the L85 has a rated operating capacity of 4,786 pounds with the forks straight and 3,977 pounds with the forks articulated.  

From here, you’ll want to consider the work you need to do now and into the future. Will a compact loader help you expand operations? Could it help you phase out older machines and improve your workflow?

Do you need auxiliary high-flow hydraulics? 

When considering attachment needs, the hydraulic system is one of the main differences between the L65 and the L85. More specifically, the L65 offers only standard-flow hydraulics, while the L85 offers the option of either standard flow or high flow. Standard flow can achieve 19.8 gal./min., while high flow can reach 27 gal./min. 

Not only will high flow offer you more power to attachments, but it also offers an added layer of versatility, as some attachments require a higher flow. Before deciding, consider what attachments you are using now and which you might need in the future.  

A useful feature on both the L65 and L85 is Advanced Attachment Control Mode. In this mode, you can control engine and travel speed independently to maximize performance and efficiency while using hydraulic attachments. This is especially useful when using certain attachments, such as the snowblower, to dial in your specific travel speed independently from engine speed.

Learn more at your local Bobcat dealer. 

This overview is a great place to start when you’re considering a Bobcat compact wheel loader. The staff at your local dealership can provide even more insight. They’ll talk to you about your work and help you choose a piece of equipment that makes sense for you.  

Find your local Bobcat dealer.