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What Type of Loader Do I Actually Need?

What Type of Loader Do I Actually Need?

With so many options of construction tools and heavy equipment, it’s not always easy to know which item will work well for your project. Whether you’re managing a construction company or planning a small renovation at your home, you will need specific tools to get the job done right. People often mix up the available types of loaders, not knowing which one to use for each particular task. The four main types are a backhoe, skid steer, dozer, and wheel loader. Learn more about each type of loader and how you can use it for your construction project.

Backhoe Loader

A backhoe is one of the most commonly used types of loaders. It is the staple piece of equipment for digging and moving dirt. A backhoe loader has a small frame so that you can use it on a construction site or for a job of any size. The backhoe frame also provides more precise control.

Some attachments are available for backhoes:

  • Bucket
  • Breaker/hammer
  • Stump grinder
  • Grapple

You can use a bucket to move heavy items across the job site. The bucket is also useful for loading up dirt and piling it somewhere else. A breaker or hammer is a sharp, straight piece of metal that attaches to the backhoe. It goes into the hard ground to break it up and soften it. When you use this attachment, it’s easier to dig in the soft ground and move dirt as needed. If you’re digging to pour a foundation, you might need a breaker to get deep enough in the ground.

When you need to clear trees, the stump grinder attachment makes it easier to get rid of the trees removed in an eco-friendly way. The grapple attachment is also helpful for clearing trees on your construction site. A grapple can transport broken limbs that fall off or are cut off from trees. A grapple can clamp down on items of different sizes to keep them from falling off as the driver moves the backhoe. For ground clearing and moving branches, backhoes are the best loader option.

Skid Steer

A skid steer loader has the highest number of available attachments, making this one of the most useful pieces of construction equipment for residential and commercial jobs. A skid steer loader has wheels. The wheels make it easier to go over rough ground on a construction site that isn’t level. A compact track loader is similar to a skid steer but without wheels. Skid steer loaders are very versatile. You can use this piece of equipment for all types of jobs. You can also get different sizes to fit with the tasks.

A mini skid steer loader also called a compact utility loader, weighs about 2,200 lbs. You use a mini skid steer for small demolition jobs, landscaping, cleaning, trenching, digging holes, and leveling the ground. The small size makes it easier to use on small job sites with limited access. You can also maneuver a smaller loader on turf or grass without causing as much damage.

A standard skid steer loader weighs between 3,600 lbs and 7,000 lbs. It’s used for grading, leveling, debris removal, transporting heavy materials, preparing a site, and installing landscaping. You will need a skid steer for heavy lifting and transportation. A mini skid steer can’t handle as much weight. When you have a larger job site, the standard size works well, since it can drive over all types of terrain easily.

You can also use attachments on the skid loader for your construction work. If you need to clear the ground, then add a broom attachment to push branches and debris out of the way. A ripper is helpful when the ground is too hard to break. This attachment softens the dirt for easier digging. Another useful attachment is an auger, which looks like a cyclone. It moves around in a circle to dig a deep hole in the ground.

If you live in an area with a lot of snow and ice during the winter, you can use a snowplow and pusher to clear the ground. Using a snow attachment also gives you more options to keep a business going during the winter, especially if construction slows down. You can offer property maintenance and snow clearing services with a track loader and the right attachment.


A bulldozer often referred to as a “dozer,” is a compact but powerful tractor with an upright blade attached to the front. It’s used to clear the ground. The dozer blade can also move a lot of sand, soil, and other debris generated by a construction project. A bulldozer has large tracks to grip the ground in any terrain, even on large hills, without slipping. The large tracks also help distribute the weight of the dozer to decrease the pressure put on the ground and stay on top, even in sandy conditions.

Dozers are useful in construction and civil engineering projects. The two main parts of a dozer are the ripper and blade. The ripper is at the back of the dozer. It has at least one shank that rips the earth to make it softer. You can use a dozer ripper to get the ground ready for landscaping or pouring a foundation. Some rippers are strong enough to break through lava. The blade sits at the front of the dozer. Use it to shove and move soil, debris, and other objects out of the way.

You can also get a dozer with the front blade replaced with another tool. Some dozers have buckets on the front with hydraulic arms to lift and lower heavy items. Dozers also help with earth removal, flattening, and tree removal.

The main types of dozers are:

  • Crawler
  • Wheeled
  • Mini

The first two categories relate to whether the dozer has wheels or track. A mini dozer works well on a small construction site where you don’t have as much space for turning and maneuvering. Dozers can also have different kinds of blades. Straight dozers work for grading and evening the ground. A universal blade is for pushing, scooping, and hauling. You can also get a combination dozer with a mix of both blades.

Wheel Loader

Wheel loaders are also called bucket loaders or front-end loaders. These large pieces of construction equipment are for many tasks. A wheel loader is versatile and has a large capacity. You would use a wheel loader for building roads, preparing the job site, digging, carrying heavy loads, or moving materials. Newer wheel loaders have advanced drivetrain technology to improve durability and toughness. A wheel loader can handle a heavy-duty job easily. Size options include:

  • Compact wheel loader
  • Small wheel loader
  • Medium wheel loader
  • Large wheel loader

On the high end, a large wheel loader could deliver over 900 horsepower. The top operating weight is over 290,000 lbs. A wheel loader also has a bucket at the front. You can use it to move debris, carry loads, and clear the ground. As the loader gets bigger, then the bucket capacity goes up. Compact and small wheel loaders have buckets between 1 – 2 cubic yards. Medium loader buckets are 2-4.75 cubic feet. A large wheel loader could have a bucket up to 10 cubic yards in size.

The arm on the front of a wheeled loader can move up and down. This movement makes it easy to lift the bucket and dump it. In the 1950s, manufacturers worried about the safety of the moving arm. Since then, top manufacturers use safer ways to install and move the arms so the driver won’t get hurt.

Benefits of Renting a Construction Loader

With so many options for loaders, most small construction companies can’t afford to own them all. Even if you had one of each type, you could only use them at a single job site until the work is done. Construction loader rental is a smarter way to get what you need. When you rent construction equipment, including loaders, from BigRentz, you don’t have to spend as much up front. You also won’t be responsible for maintenance and repairs if something breaks. Our team at BigRentz keeps the rental equipment maintained, so it’s ready for use.

The construction industry goes up and down with the economy. If things slow down, you can avoid the cost of owning equipment that you aren’t currently using. As the economy improves, renting the items makes it easy to take on new jobs. Renting also gives you more freedom to take on different types of work. You don’t have to worry about storing the heavy equipment. When you rent from BigRentz, we’ll deliver the loader you need to your site and pick it up when you’re done. Simplify your job site management by renting loaders from BigRentz.

Visit BigRentz to find the loaders you need for your construction job. We rent loaders and other equipment to small construction company owners and contractors. If you have questions about what equipment we have for rent, ask one of our team members. We look forward to helping you take on more work and stay busy with construction jobs.

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