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Wheel vs. Track Dozers

By: Cleveland Brothers
August 26, 2021

wheel vs. track dozers

Knowing whether you need a track or wheel dozer can be a challenging task. Both types of Cat® bulldozers can work with various materials like soil, rubble, sand, clay and coal while supporting your operations with jobs such as backfilling, clearing and grading. Dozers can also help you remove boulders and trees, tow other heavy equipment and transport materials.

So how do you know if a bulldozer with wheels or tracks a better solution for your projects?

Cleveland Brothers will help you compare wheel vs. track dozer equipment and determine which best suits your specific requirements.

Wheel vs. Track Dozer Comparison

Both wheel and track bulldozers have an engine, a blade to handle bulk materials and tires or tracks for movement. Some also have a ripper for digging up tough materials. Heavy machinery like this is useful at construction sites, quarries, engineering projects and mines. Almost any work zone that moves massive quantities of matter can benefit from investing in a wheel or track dozer.

You will want to consider several things when comparing a wheel vs. track bulldozer, including the following:

  • How much distance the dozer will cover each day
  • Size of the work site
  • The specific project you’ll be working on
  • Type of environment and terrain where the machine will operate
  • Types of materials you’ll be moving

track dozer

Wheel and track dozers are both available in different sizes and can complete similar tasks with the same level of digging and lifting power.

One of the primary differences between them is the surfaces they better operate on. For example, track dozers cannot operate on roads, so they require extra transportation support when moving from one site to the next. Wheel machines are road-friendly, can cover a lot of distance on the job site and move between project zones. This also relates to the size of the worksite you’ll be working at.

Consider whether you need to protect the surface of a newly paved road or navigate over rougher terrain. A wheel dozer is great for flat, solid surfaces that need a little protection, such as asphalt and grass. Meanwhile, track machines are better for navigating rough terrain that might puncture tires or soft terrain like sand where tires might get stuck. Tracks also have an advantage on steep grades and slippery surfaces thanks to their increased traction.

Experts expect the global market for bulldozers to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 5% between 2021 and 2026. This rise is driven by an increase in both the construction and mining industries, as well as infrastructures like roads, buildings, airports and even railways. Bulldozers are essential pieces of heavy machinery—whether you choose wheel or track—that can support a range of applications and materials.

What Is a Wheel Dozer?

A wheeled bulldozer has four tires under the tractor, distributing the machine’s weight at the four corners where each wheel stands. Because this type of heavy equipment typically operates on a smaller axis, a wheel bulldozer offers more versatility and mobility, capable of making sharper turns. As a result, it can maneuver more easily through the work zone and from site to site.

Wheel dozers come in different sizes and work well for applications such as clearing and leveling land, mining and road maintenance.

With four wheels underneath the machine, wheel dozers work best in environments with flat, sturdy surfaces like asphalt and compact dirt. However, if you do find yourself on more uneven surfaces, these machines have outriggers to keep the equipment stable. They are also beneficial if you’re working on sensitive surfaces, such as a park or a yard, because the inflated wheels inflict less damage on these surfaces.

Wheel dozers of all sizes allow for easy road transportation, more mobility and higher production abilities because they move more quickly than track dozers and can cover more ground in less time. If you and your crew often travel between job sites with your equipment, wheel dozers will get you there in less time and with less hassle.

What Is a Track Dozer?

Also known as a crawler, a track dozer moves on tracks similar to what you might think of on a tank. These tracks are often steel but can also be rubber. The tracks disperse the machine’s weight more widely than tires do, helping keep the heavy equipment above ground and preventing sinking in challenging environments such as mud, clay, rocks and sand. The tracks also won’t puncture when moving over pieces of rubble, which can happen when wheeled dozers encounter rough terrain.

Tracks help the machine operate up and across different grades or uneven surfaces, too. You could be working on a steep incline or an area that gradually declines, and the tracks will hold the bulldozer in place to prevent tipping. Because a dozer’s tracks evenly distribute its weight to form a lower center of gravity, it’s ideal for off-road landscapes, rough terrain, slippery areas and field work.

You can choose between small, medium and large tracked Cat dozers. Small bulldozers excel at optimizing speed, versatility, maneuverability, transportability and grading. Medium Cat bulldozers have great fuel efficiency, can move more materials in less time and can help reduce service and maintenance costs. Large dozers can handle the toughest work conditions and heaviest loads. These Cat machines reduce downtime, increase productivity and simplify your maintenance schedule.

wheel dozer

Find the Right Dozer at Cleveland Brothers

When you are ready to rent or buy a wheel or track dozer, our team of experts is here to support you each step of the way. Our lineup of Cat bulldozers includes track and wheel dozers of all sizes in new, used and rental options to support your business.

Cleveland Brothers is an authorized Cat dealer throughout Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and western Maryland, making us your local source for reliable Cat equipment. Visit the nearest Cleveland Brothers location, call 866-551-4602 to speak with a customer service representative or reach out to us online for more information about our wheel and track dozers.


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