In the Know

Compact Wheel Loaders vs. Skid Steer Loaders | Which is Right for the Job?

Cat skid steer loaders and compact wheel loaders are vital assets to any fleet. Choosing between the two requires deciding which machine best suits your job needs and offers the lowest total cost.

It’s important to carefully consider your options before committing to a piece of equipment. Skid steer loaders are more popular in North America and typically have a lower initial purchase price, while compact wheel loaders may work better in certain applications.

Dimensional and weight requirements are important specifications to keep in mind. For transportation purposes, you need to make sure that you do not exceed the limit that your vehicle can safely tow. A suitable height and width is also necessary to properly maneuver your machine through the constraints of the work environment. Another significant factor is the hydraulic horsepower. Certain attachments, such as cold planers, require higher hydraulic flow. Depending on the job, you may need to select a compact wheel loader or skid steer loader with a high flow option.

Here are more elements to consider when comparing the two machines:

  • Lift capacity
  • Lift height
  • Breakout force
  • Visibility
  • Tires
  • Fuel consumption
  • Maintenance access
  • Ground clearance
  • Ground disturbance
  • Ease of entry/exit
  • Ease of operation
  • Travel speed
  • Resale value


San Diego
Ross Farmer
Corporate Machinery Sales Manager
858.674.7048 office
760.815.4094 mobile

Bobby Whitworth
General Manager
808.676.0353 office
808.864.5147 mobile