Choosing the Right Equipment Requires Careful Consideration

29 June 2021

Today, the introduction and evolution of skid steer loaders, compact track loaders and mini excavators have largely replaced the backhoe loader, which was once the most versatile piece of equipment on the jobsite. The skid steer and compact track loader are faster and far more maneuverable and the mini excavator allows you to access tighter spaces far better than the backhoe loader.

When choosing equipment for the job, you need to first consider your needs regarding versatility, maneuverability, site restrictions, work tool requirements and scope of the job. Here are the top 3 things you should consider before deciding which piece of equipment to go with.

1. Attachments

Attachments give you the ability to modify a piece of equipment so it’s right for the job, saving time and keeping costs down. Rather than renting a new piece of equipment, an excavator attachment can do the job of cutting through and moving some of the most abrasive soil – and it is proportioned to the machine to keep operators safe and equipment stable. Attachments also allow the flexibility to use the same piece of equipment for specialized tasks like grappling, augering, grading, and backfilling.

When buying or renting a
compact track loader, consider features that increase efficiency and make it easier for the operator to use attachments. These include electronic dual self-levelling, which keeps the attachment level so you don’t have to keep re-adjusting the angle each time the lift arms are lowered. Other useful features are return-to-dig and work tool positioners, which allow you to set the attachment angle and recall settings.

2. Application

Skid steers and compact track loaders are both versatile and can be used in a variety of applications from landscaping, snow removal, demolition, and final grading, to agriculture and construction. If the application is more specific and is needed for digging footings, basements, and drainage ditches, trenching, back-filling, or maintaining slopes or embankments you might need a backhoe attachment, which can be easily added to either machine.

Excavators are useful on just about any jobsite, and not just for excavation. With this machine in your fleet, you can dig, do rough grading, lift heavy objects and install pipes. There are also many size options - micro, mini, small, and large excavators to meet the needs of the project and site you’re working on.

3. Maintenance costs

High maintenance costs can have a significant impact on your bottom line. If you decide to go with two machines, be sure to invest in newer, more efficient equipment which will provide more attachment and work tool capabilities, less fuel consumption, less maintenance costs, reduced downtime and improved profitability in the long run.

When it comes to maintenance cost considerations between the compact track loader and skid steer there are a few variables to think about. The tracks on a compact track loader tend to last longer than the tires on a skid steer, that is, if the tracks are maintained and the track loader is used in the right application.

Another way to avoid high maintenance costs is to
rent equipment. This also means you don’t have to worry about the equipment being underutilized. When you know business is increasing and you’re going to need constant use of a piece of equipment, that’s when you should consider purchasing new.

For more information on renting equipment, visit
The Cat® Rental Store.

Finning is the world's largest Caterpillar dealer, selling, renting and providing parts and service for equipment and engines to customers across diverse industries, including mining, construction, petroleum, forestry and a wide range of power systems applications. We operate in Western Canada, South America, and UK and Ireland.