How to choose a loader: our complete guide

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When working on construction sites, it is common practice to hire a loader to help with various projects. Used by many professionals in the construction industry, loaders are particularly useful for moving around large loads of materials such as wood, gravel, stones and demolition waste.

Many different models exist on the market, differing in size, mobility and capacity. This wide range of models can confuse many people when it comes to choosing the right one for their needs.

In this handy guide, our experts at Excavation Chanthier, Montreal’s top excavation and demolition company, will walk you through all the relevant criteria to help you choose the best loader for you.

Choosing the right loader for your needs

You have demolition, work or renovation projects and you have obtained a demolition permit. Before choosing your loader, you need to decide what you want to do with it.

Volume to be moved

Whether you need a loader to demolish your house, demolish your inground swimming pool, or even excavate your home, it is important to estimate the volume of material that needs to be moved. This will help you to quickly eliminate the models that are not adapted to your needs.

This step helps you determine the volume of material to be moved on your site. From here, you can calculate the total working time required for the project, in accordance with the machine’s capacity.

Work cycle

Once you have calculated the volume of material to be moved, you can easily define the number of times you will need to fill up your loader in order to move everything.

Duration of the work

Choosing your loader also means deciding on its performance and operation speed. These factors can have a real impact on the total length of your project. For an urgent job, it is much more advantageous to rent an excavator and/or loader than to buy them.

Type of terrain

The type of terrain that you’re working on will also play a part in choosing your loader. For instance, if working on an asphalt or concrete surface, a wheeled model is preferable. On the other hand, for earthworks where the ground is muddy and stony, a track loader would be more efficient.


The demolition method can guide your choice. When you take the steps to demolish a building in an urban environment, a skid steer loader would come in handy. However, a compact model would likely be more suitable if you plan to manoeuvre in a tight space.

What are the different types of loaders?

Depending on the type of work, there are many types of excavators and excavator buckets to choose from, and this is the same for loaders. Here’s some more information on the different loaders out there.

Wheel loaders

Wheel loaders are among the most popular models on the market. Their rubber tires allow them to adapt to hard and dry soils. Their transmission system is generally powerful, which gives them very good mobility on a construction site without damaging the ground thanks to the composition of their wheels. These models are also favoured when there’s a high number of work cycles.

Track loaders

Track loaders are the perfect substitute for wheel loaders, since they work well on all the terrains that a wheel loader struggles with: muddy, soft, uneven, and even bumpy terrains (e.g. on a demolition site after a disaster). One of the main disadvantages of such a model is its mobility, as they are usually very slow.

Track loaders have greater traction than their wheeled counterparts, largely due to the fact that they are supported by two undercarriages, typically made of steel. However, they are not allowed on asphalt or concrete surfaces, as they would damage these materials.

Articulated loaders

Articulated loaders are predominantly used in the agricultural field and are normally very similar to wheel loaders. The difference is that they have a swivel and oscillating joint between the cab and the loader arm. One of their main assets is their 360-degree glazed cab. This type of loader is ideal for work requiring power and agility.

Skid steer loaders

Skid steer loaders have a one-piece frame, unlike articulated loaders. Available both on wheels and on tracks, these loaders differ from the others as they are very stable, especially during lifting manoeuvres.

Telescopic loaders

Telescopic loaders, also known as telehandlers, are equipped with a telescopic lift arm that can measure up to 10 metres long. Although designed primarily for the agricultural setting, their short cab height actually makes these models adaptable to all kinds of work sites.

Mine loaders

Used specifically in mining operations, mine loaders reduce the cost per ton in loading and unloading activities. These models generally have the same benefits and features as articulated wheel loaders.

Compact loaders

All loaders with an operational weight of less than 4,500 kg are considered compact. They all have a one-piece frame but can either be equipped with wheels or a track. Their nifty size allows them to work in small spaces and they can be used for a variety of operations, some of which include loading, earthmoving, snow removal and landscaping. This makes them very effective for installing a semi-inground pool or, on the other hand, for demolishing a swimming pool.

How much do loaders cost?

Choosing to buy a loader

There are many variables that can affect the price of a loader, including: weight, brand, features and bucket capacity. Prices generally vary between $55,000 and $230,000 depending on the model desired, with their capacities ranging from 800 to 4,000 litres.

The cheapest models are the compact loaders. Keep in mind that when looking at the same model, its track version is generally more expensive than its wheel version.

Choosing to hire a loader

When carrying out a project, we strongly recommend that you rent heavy machinery as opposed to buying it. The main factor affecting rental price of loaders is the vehicle size. Note that the rental rate decreases as the rental period increases.

Rent your heavy equipment from Excavation Chanthier

For any kind of project, trust our specialists at Excavation Chanthier. We have several services available to you. From renting our excavator and loader vehicles to hiring our specialists to do your demolition, excavation or landscaping work for you.

Contact us today to discuss your projects. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the best possible support.


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