Today’s construction equipment marketplace offers a wide range of earthmoving machinery, with each designed to perform a variety of tasks. At first glance, many machines perform roughly the same duties at the same speeds, but once you get in the cab and start working, you’ll find there’s a reason so many different models of equipment are on offer.
Compact Track Loaders / Skid Steer Loaders
Let’s start with compact track loaders (CTL) and skid steer loaders (SSL) – also commonly known in the industry as ‘Posi-Tracks’ / ‘positracks’, or ‘bobcats’ colloquially. Although not entirely interchangeable themselves, these CTL and SSL machines perform much the same duties – with a bucket or attachment on the front of a compact chassis, they’re designed to move around tight access spaces quickly and efficiently.
They’re not so much designed for ‘digging’ as such, but more so for loading and moving materials, and generally carry a larger bucket that excavators so can move more materials in one load. CTLs and SSLs move as a single unit using their innovative tracks or wheels that operate using ‘skid’ types movements to allow tight turning.
Perfect for landscaping and tighter space earthmoving tasks, and well as close-to-ground operations like stump mulching and auger drilling, CTLs and SSLs deliver lower ground pressure and less disturbance than most other construction machines, and faster travel speeds to maximise efficiency.
Tracked loaders (CTL) utilise a tracked undercarriage design to enhance flotation and traction whilst reducing ground disturbance – ideal in mud, dirt, sand and other unstable terrain. Wheel loaders (SSL) are better suited to hard surfaces like roads and pathways. All in all, these mini loaders are the choice for you if you need a powerful machine to access tight spaces and/or work quickly in loading applications without the need to dig deep, and ongoing maintenance costs need to be minimal.
Excavators / Mini Excavators
Excavators, perhaps the world’s most popular type of construction machine, range in size from tiny micro excavators made for civil landscaping jobs like digging pools, trenching and gardens, up to enormous units designed for work in mining and drilling.
The key feature of an excavator is its boom, or ‘arm’, which operates with a bucket or attachment on the end. The boom connects to the cab, which itself swivels around on its parallel tracks to offer 360 degree operation without needing to manoeuvre the entire machine.
It is this swivel operation coupled with extended reach that allow excavators to be extremely useful for applications like digging, trenching, dumping and mulching up high (such as tree branches).
The JCB range of excavators is perhaps the world’s most renowned and trusted line-up, with large excavators for sale from 9T up to 37T to cater for almost any application.
The popularity of mini excavators in today’s earthmoving and construction industry is due to their nature as combining features of both large excavators and smaller ‘posi-tracks’ / ‘bobcats’ (CTLs and SSLs).
The better models of mini excavator offer zero tailswing movement to allow tight access much like a posi-track, yet retain their boom arm to allow digging work. Mini excavators are also easier to transport than their larger counterparts, often able to be towed on a trailer by a standard ute, or loaded onto a small truck.
Effectively, by sacrificing some of the digging power and reach of a large excavator, you’ll gain more accessibility and ease-of-use from a mini excavator. Despite maintenance costs being generally slightly higher than those of a CTL / SSL, a mini excavator is the choice for you if you need to dig down into the ground or shift loads with an extended reach.
Our mini excavators for sale are the prestigious Eurocomach range – Italy’s #1 selling brand of mini excavator and available exclusively in Australia from ASV Sales & Service.
Alternatively, a backhoe loader delivers the best of both worlds, with a loading bucket on the front designed to shift large amounts of materials in one scoop, and a digging arm on the back intended to dig downwards or reach outwards.
The backhoe, invented by JCB more than 60 years ago, is effectively a combination of those listed above, and usually operates on wheels although some smaller models, like the JCB 1CXT, operates on tracks just like a posi-track CTL.
Overall, backhoes are usually larger in size than bobcats and mini excavators and so often are better suited to mid-to-large size projects where the operator can benefit from the ability to load and dig with one machines, and there’s no need for extremely tight access.
Backhoes also tend to be more expensive than posi-tracks and mini excavators – but are the cost is justified for operators who need to dig and load simultaneously, as the machine is a perfect 2-in-1 solution.
We offer the full suite of JCB backhoe loaders – the original iconic backhoe that remains the world’s #1 thanks to 60 years of innovation – for sale or dry hire in our fleet.
Posi-Track, Skid Steer, Excavator, Backhoe … Still Can’t Decide?
We also offer try-before-you-buy hire of all these types of machinery through our national rental fleet, giving you the perfect opportunity to test out each machine and decide which is best suited to your needs!