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Buying Guide: Which Compact Wheel Loader is Right for You?

March 8, 2021
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Compact wheel loaders are more than one-dimensional loading machines in small material yards. Their design allows them to maneuver in tight spaces with minimal damage to lawns, pavement or other sensitive surfaces, making them ideal for a variety of applications from landscaping to highway construction.
There are a wide range of sizes available from a multitude of manufacturers, including Takeuchi which currently offers three newer models – 4,850-kilogram (10,692 lb) TW60 Series 2; 5,150-kilogram (12,700 lb)  TW80 Series 3; 8,250-kilogram (18,188 lb) TW95. There are also several sizes of older loaders available through sales and rental.
Several considerations should be taken into account when choosing the right loader to meet your operation’s particular needs. A good place to start is determining the application(s) it will be in, according to Lee Padgett, Takeuchi Product Manager, adding that key specifications such as operating weight, working range, bucket breakout, lifting capabilities, bucket capacity and tractive effort are critical to the equation.
“Understanding your specific needs prior to making a purchase ensures that your machine(s) are the most effective and productive for your operations,” said Padgett.
Look beyond Bucket and Fork Size

Look beyond Bucket and Fork Size

Buckets and forks remain the main attachments used on compact wheel loaders. Matt Chatters, SMS Equipment Sales Representative, Light Construction noted that the operating capacity of the machines is measured in terms of tipping load in a full turn. The weight to be handled dictates the size of the loader needed. The TW95 with a tipping load of 5,739 kilograms (12,652 lb) would be best for heavier materials such as stone and concrete pipe, while the TW60 Series 2 at 2,679 kilograms (5,906 lb) may be the right choice for handling items such as wood chips and mulch with a bucket or PVC pipe with forks.
“You should not automatically go for the biggest or smallest, because they may not be the right fit, and in the end productivity and efficiency suffer; you will be disappointed” emphasized Chatters. “The dimensions of the machine and the environment it is in should be taken into consideration. For example, if the loader is moving products from inside a facility to the outside or vice versa, you have to make sure that the doorways and floor space allow for safe and efficient movement.”

He added that wheel loaders are generally more efficient and productive in terms of speed and maintenance in certain situations.

“If you were debating over whether to buy a wheel loader or compact track loader, the wheel loader is generally going to be faster,” said Chatters. “If you have to move materials over any distance that increases production, and it’s easier to move because you can often drive it from site to site as opposed to having to load it on a trailer and haul it. In that case, consider a wheel loader with a high-speed road gear option. If you are always working on concrete and/or asphalt, the loader is the better choice too because there is less wear and tear on the tires versus the undercarriage of the compact track loader.”

Factor in ease of maintenance

Ease of maintenance should be a major factor into the decision, according to Padgett.
“It has to be carefully considered as it affects overall cost of ownership,” he said. “Without a proactive approach to maintenance, a machine’s repair costs quickly can add up, cutting into profitability.”
Daily maintenance on all of Takeuchi’s newest loaders is easy to perform as the engine hood opens overhead providing access to key inspection points. Grease points are easily accessed as well.
“Questions to ask when looking at loader brands should be: are parts readily available; how easy is it to service the machine or change out a component; can you do it yourself, or do you need the dealer’s help,” said Ian Webster, SMS Equipment Sales Representative, Light Construction. “Fortunately, Takeuchi simplifies the process, so downtime is minimized.”
Additional considerations

Additional considerations

There are other important questions to ask such as should I buy new or used?
“It depends on your budget,” said Padgett. “New machines may have less maintenance and repair costs up front while a used machine will have a lower entry cost but may need repairs more quickly. If you are looking for a lower cost upfront and can find a well-maintained used machine, that may be a good fit.”
Padgett added that buying versus renting should be on the table too. “Renting can be a good option if you only need a machine occasionally or for a short-term period and you can’t justify the added expense of machine cost, truck and trailer for transporting, maintenance and insurance expenses.”
Chatters said SMS Equipment can assist you in determining which Takeuchi compact wheel loader is right for you.
“We’re here to collaborate and help you make the best match,” said Chatters. “If there are questions, we encourage customers to give us a call to set up a meeting or to demonstrate a machine.”

 Matt Chatters, Sales Representative, Light Construction
  • My 25 years of experience in the construction industry as both a manager and a business owner provide relatable practice when it comes to overcoming the challenges of purchasing the right equipment with the right dealer.
 Ian Webster, Sale Representative, Light Construction
  • As a Red Seal Journeyman Technicians, I have over 10 years of experience in the industry, working on all types of equipment ranging from compact units to various construction equipment.
  • I provide a wealth of mechanical knowledge to my clients, whether it’s assisting them in the event of a breakdown, providing guidance in repair process or offering quality sources for parts and service.

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