Wheels Vs. Rubber Tracks: Which are Better?

Heavy machinery often tends to cost a lot of money. How to make the most of your investments is to research your available options diligently before making a purchase, so that you know you have the right kind of equipment for your job at hand.

One of the most crucial choices that you must make is when choosing between tracks and wheels. When making your decision, you must consider the nature of the work you do and how you need your machine to operate. Tracked equipment and wheeled machines differ in 4 big characteristics, and each of these factors must be taken seriously so that you make the better of the 2 choices for your given situation.


An important thing to consider when buying heavy equipment is how long the machine will last in the long run. Machines that maneuver better typically lead to better efficiency and productivity. Traction is a main component of maneuverability, and you will get different levels of traction on certain surfaces between tracks and wheels.

Rubber tracks in general have a wider range of traction on most surfaces over wheels. This is due to their advanced contact with the ground and wider surface area. From soft dirt to messy mud, tracks simply offer better traction, leading to better control over your machine.

In a few instances, however, wheels can offer better traction, such as in the snow. Wheels can offer greater forward movements by penetrating under the snow to achieve a firmer traction than rubber tracks.


Durability is also a high priority when choosing between wheels and tracks. For certain instances, wheels can offer more durability compared to the latter. On hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt, rubber tracks will wear down faster than tires and wheels will. Furthermore, if you tend to move a great distance with your machine, you will prefer wheels more than tracks due to their endurance.

On the other side of the coin, tires are prone to damage more so than tracks. Flats can take a machine out of commission for a significant period of time, and this can lead to lengthy down time. Flats and punctures must be repaired or replaced before you can use the machine again. Purchase JCB spares for replacement parts on various machinery.

Ground Impact

There is a world of difference for how both wheels and tracks make their marks into the ground. Rubber tracks have more surface area over wheels, and this allows a machine with tracks to have more weight that is evenly distributed than a machine with wheels. For this reason, machines with wheels are more likely to damage ground than machines with tracks.

For some projects, ground impact is not as high of a priority. When working on a new construction site for example, there would be less importance of preserving the surface where the equipment will be used. You likely won’t be running your machine on much grass, and because wheeled machinery lasts longer on concrete over rubber tracks, machine with wheels have the edge in this regard.

In summary, both tracks and wheels come with pros and cons, and you should consider the job you have, the sites you work on, and take your long-term expenses into account when choosing one over the other.

Machines with tracks are becoming steadily more popular due to their overall usefulness in a wide array of situations and on a wider number of surface types. But that isn’t to say that wheeled machinery no longer has it place in construction. There are also JCB spares that you can buy for either type of machinery.

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