Choosing a Tracked VS Wheeled Excavator: 6 Key Considerations

Choosing a Tracked VS Wheeled Excavator: 6 Key Considerations

Wheeled excavators are growing in popularity.

This increasing popularity is because of the mobility, urban-friendly use, and productivity of wheeled excavators. However, there is a time and place for tracked excavators over its wheeled cousin. If you are trying to decide if tracked or wheeled is best for a project there are a few things to consider. Knowing the nature of the project and what is required of the machine will help drive an informed decision to ensure a more efficient and economical use of your time and money. 

Here are 6 things to consider when choosing between a tracked and wheeled excavator.


1) The Terrain

Tracked excavators are better for soft, uneven land and hills. Wheeled excavators do have stability arms and the dozer attachment to provide stability while working but the track provides even weight distribution while driving. The tracked excavator has a lower centre of gravity, making it better for work on hills or steep terrain. If the site is particularly rocky, tracks won’t be punctured by uneven stone, rocks, or raw materials in certain worksites.

For road, urban, or bridge work, wheeled excavators provide a transportation and road friendly alternative. They can drive themselves from site to site and are safe to operate on finished pavement without worrying about damage to asphalt or concrete. With universal attachments they are capable of the same kind of tasks as tracked excavators and provide the same level of lifting and digging power.

 
Tracked excavators are best used for uneven and soft terrain like dirt or gravel.

Tracked excavators are best used for uneven and soft terrain like dirt or gravel.

 

2) The Stability

Wheeled and tracked excavators are comparable in stability while working. The wheeled excavator uses outriggers on the machine help to keep it stable. Additional stability is given when an equipped dozer attachment is lowered. 

3) The Nature of the Job

Tracked excavators are great on sites where protecting the terrain isn’t a concern. They are a powerful tool for pioneering new ground, clearing and digging. 

If you’re looking for a more versatile and powerful tool carrier than a backhoe while working on paved or urban areas, then wheeled excavators are more efficient.

4) The Transportation

Tracked excavators require more care and in some cases an additional piece of equipment to move them off site. If it is a long-term job with less need to move equipment off-site, then tracked may work well. 

Wheeled excavators work well if you want to move equipment between sites to minimize downtown, especially if the equipment will need to drive over city roads. The dual hydraulic boom allows for the arm to be fully retracted for greater visibility while driving.

5) The Size

Both wheeled and tracked excavators are available in different sizes. No matter if you choose tracked or wheeled, it is always important to make sure that you get the right size of machine for your job. If you aren’t sure what size would work best, feel free to give us a call at 1-844-997-0150 and speak one of our sales team members can help you out.

 
Mini or compact excavators are great for projects in small or residential spaces. Mini and compact excavators are available fitted with either wheels or tracks.

Mini or compact excavators are great for projects in small or residential spaces. Mini and compact excavators are available fitted with either wheels or tracks.

 

6) The Budget

Wheeled excavators can be more expensive upfront than tracked. However, when looking at long-term maintenance wheeled excavators cost less. Their undercarriage takes a lot less damage, is easier to change parts out, and the wheels and brakes last longer and are less expensive to replace. 

Wheeled can also be harder to find when looking to rent because they aren’t currently as popular. With increasing popularity, they may become more available in the rental market. On average renting is about 30-40% more expensive than tracked. We can only speculate whether this will go down if there is more availability on the market. This is why knowing your project and requirements of your machine is so important. 


As has been explored, the wheeled excavator is much better suited for specific jobs. If it will take twice as long to do the job with a tracked excavator, then allocating the budget to rent the better piece of equipment may be safer, more efficient, and a better use of money in the long run. 

Whether you choose a tracked or wheeled excavator for your job, or trying to find the perfect type of heavy equipment rental for any job, be sure to take time and care to make it an informed decision with safety and efficiency in mind. 

View equipment rental options for both wheeled and tracked excavators near you on DOZR.

DOZR is working to revolutionize the way people rent heavy equipment. Founded by Erin Stephenson, Kevin Forestell and Tim Forestell, DOZR allows anyone to search for available rental equipment anywhere in North America.

We collect equipment rental prices for your chosen location and list them, allowing you to see all the prices in one place and from one account. We strive to simplify the rental experience through transparency and the power of the internet.

We are merging the incredible world of heavy equipment with the power of technology to help bring heavy equipment within reach from anyone, anywhere, anytime. We aim to provide an unmatched user experience in the equipment rental industry though state-of-the-art technology. We are customer obsessed, and value trust, honesty, authenticity and teamwork above all else.