What to Consider When Buying a Wheel Loader

Wheel loader construction site

Having a wheel loader on the job site can make a difficult project go smoothly and efficiently, especially if loading or transporting materials is on the agenda.

These machines are built for tough work. However, you will not always need a wheel loader. This equipment is not made for compacting or otherwise destroying loaded material. However, this does not devalue wheel loaders. Rather it makes them ideal machines to hire for your job site, so you are ready when the project warrants.

In this article, you will learn what to think about before purchasing a wheel loader. We look at the project size and the amount of power needed to help you make the right choice.

  1. Consider Project Size
  2. The Amount of Power Needed
  3. Determine the Arm Configuration
  4. Wheel Loader Fuel Efficiency
  5. Have the Right Attachments on Hand
  6. Bucket Choices
  7. The Wheel Loader’s Serviceability
  8. The Right Tyres
  9. Operator Comfort

Whether you plan to purchase a wheel loader or hire one for a specific project, here are a few points to keep in mind.


1. Consider Project Size

Because wheel loaders come in a wide range of sizes, you will likely find a good fit for your job. To help determine your needs, ask yourself the following,

  • What is the size or weight of the materials you plan to move?
  • How much material needs to be moved each day?
  • Does the wheel loader need to keep up with another machine?

Additionally, it is necessary to check the bucket size as well as the tipping load of the wheel loaders you consider.


2. The Amount of Power Needed

You can narrow down your choices in wheel loaders based on power. This chart shows the horsepower (HP) of various machines,

80 HP or less = Compact wheel loaders
80 – 150 HP = Small or sub-compact wheel loaders
150 – 200 HP = Mid-range wheel loaders
200 – 250 HP = Heavy wheel loaders

When comparing, be sure to look for the Gross Horsepower and not the Maximum Horsepower. This is because the Maximum HP can be manipulated.


3. Determine the Arm Configuration

Each wheel loader arm has a set of uses that it performs better than others. For example,

  • XT Bar- Handles materials well and is useful for carrying tools
  • XR Bar- The extended reach bar is used often in agriculture
  • Z Bar- The arm used for most situations

Wheel loader unloading.


4. Wheel Loader Fuel Efficiency

When you consider that fuel is one of the costliest elements on most jobs, you will want to pay attention to how much fuel the wheel loader consumes. The counterweight is a factor in fuel use, but it is also vital for traction, stability, and lift capacity. Other elements that influence fuel efficiency are,

  • Travel patterns on the job site
  • Time spent idle
  • Operator performance


5. Have the Right Attachments on Hand

Having the right attachments dramatically increases the wheel loader’s usefulness. If versatility is something you value, consider these attachments,

  • Rippers
  • Forks
  • Blades
  • Grapples


6. Bucket Choices

Making sure you have the right bucket on your wheel loader will increase productivity and speed. The chart highlights the size of wheel loader buckets.

Compact buckets (1001 -1500 mm)
Small buckets (1501 – 2000 mm)
Medium buckets (2001 – 3000 mm)
Large buckets (3001 – 4000 mm)

However, there are other factors to influence your choice of a bucket.

  • Bolt-on cutting edge – The bucket excels in smooth-floor maintenance and has good penetration ability. However, it was not impressive when it came to impact resistance and abrasion protection.
  • Serrated Edge – While getting excellent results for penetration and smooth floor maintenance, the serrated edge bucket did not impress in impact resistance or abrasion protection.
  • Two-strap heavy duty rock system – Impact resistance and abrasion protection were this bucket’s strongest points. However, it was only adequate for penetration and smooth floor maintenance.
  • Flush-mount heavy-duty granite/high abrasion – This bucket is ideal for smooth floor maintenance, impact resistance, and abrasion protection. Its penetration performance was average.

Front loader bucket


7. The Wheel Loader’s Serviceability

The ability to perform maintenance on a wheel loader pertains to a machine that you purchase. If you are hiring a wheel loader, the company that owns the machine is responsible for keeping the machine in good working order. For specific projects, the owner of the machine also must meet BHP, RIO and FMG site requirements.


8. The Right Tyres

Typically, standard tyres perform well. You may want to run your wheel loader on different tyres in certain conditions.

  • Solid Tyres – These are useful in harsh surfaces like scrapyards or industrial job sites.
  • Radial Tyres – The radial tyres provide excellent traction and offer more control at higher speeds.
  • Bias Tyres – These tyres are ideal for quarries and gravel pit operations.
  • Flotation Tyres – Because they are wider than the other kinds of tyres for wheel loaders, a set of flotation tyres is vital when working in places where the ground is muddy and soft.


9. Operator Comfort

While the idea of worker comfort may not be at the top of the list for essential features, it deserves a place on the list. In numerous studies completed across the globe, we see increased worker productivity when workers are comfortable. This is contrasted by decreased productivity from workers doing the same job while uncomfortable.

Regardless of your equipment needs, you can count on ESM Resources expert staff to help you get the right machines for the job. If you want to know more or have questions, feel free to contact us.