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Komatsu wheel loader with a bucket attachment in a parking lot
Komatsu wheel loader with a bucket attachment in a parking lot
Exploring the Applications for a Wheel Loader
5 minute read
Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
May 29, 2023

Applications for a Wheel Loader

Used for a wide variety of applications across various industries, wheel loaders are great earthmoving and material-handling equipment. Several brands manufacture wheel loaders and they come with a range of specs and sizes. The type of project you're working on will affect which brand and model you choose, as will the versatility of attachments.

In some smaller projects, you may have the choice between wheel loaders and skid steers or wheel loaders and backhoes, while commercial sites may require large wheel loaders. Here, we will go over the most common projects for wheel loaders, what sizes you will need for each job, and how you can rent wheel loaders with DOZR.

Material Loading and Transporting

One of the primary uses wheel loaders offers, also called front-end loaders, is material loading and transporting. This includes earthmoving material like sand, dirt, gravel, and other aggregates. With their buckets of various sizes, they can efficiently move these materials short and long distances.

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Capable of being fit with other attachments like forks and grapples, some common material transportation tasks include:

  • Pallet handling: Whether this is bags of fertilizer, cement, or other packaged products, wheel loaders with a fork attachment can move pallets on farms, warehouses, or construction sites.

  • Stockpiling: If moving aggregates and materials from one spot to another, wheel loaders can easily achieve this with their buckets.

  • Loading and unloading: Designed to load and unload materials, wheel loaders can quickly fill up articulated dump trucks and other vehicles with aggregates that need to be transported.

Caterpillar 906h wheel loader with forks

Landscaping and Ground Clearing

Wheel loaders of various sizes are also common in landscaping and ground-clearing applications. One of the reasons for this is their efficiency but also because they're able to transport big, bulky objects with ease.

Typically, in forest and landscaping applications, wheel loaders will be required to move logs and timber. This includes loading and unloading trucks that are transporting the materials.

Other tasks they can accomplish include:

  • Moving trees and plants. Attachments like tree spades, root rakes, and grapple buckets make these tasks more achievable.

  • Spreading mulch and soil: While not as efficient as a tractor or skid steer, wheel loaders can be used for these applications.

  • Placing rocks and other bulky materials: With the right grapple bucket or attachment, wheel loaders can place and lift materials like large feature rocks and decor into place.

  • Ground clearing and leveling: When equipped with a variety of different blades, wheel loaders can remove shrubs and level the ground. This includes backfilling, distributing soil, and creating smooth surfaces.

Snow Removal

In colder regions like Canada or the Northern, snow-bound states, wheel loaders are often used for removing snow as well. Their powerful buckets and engines make them ideal for clearing roads and parking lots, as well as other commercial spaces.

With attachments like snow blades and pushers, they can push snow at different angles, scoops snow of different weights and sizes, and either fill trucks or put it into effective piles. Small models can be used in urban areas while large models can be used in more rural areas.

There are also spreader attachments that can make spreading sand or salt more effective.

Agricultural Uses

Wheel loaders can also be used in agriculture applications for transporting and hauling materials around a farm. Whether it's moving hay bales, spreading manure, or loading harvested crops, smaller sizes of these machines can be more efficient than some tractors.

John Deere 244L wheel loader with forks

They can load feed, grains, and fertilizers into trucks or trailers. They can also move large quantities of materials at a time, spread gravel, and clear debris, all of which are common tasks on many farms.

Waste Management

Common in waste management facilities and landfills, wheel loaders play a crucial role in how waste gets moved and organized in North America. Used to load waste into trucks as well as stockpiling, these machines load all different types of materials including scrap, paper, and recyclables into their sorting systems.

Because of the various attachments like grapples, forks, and buckets, they can move all the different types of waste. They are also effective at creating organized piles of materials.

Some companies make models designed specifically for waste handling and management including Caterpillar, John Deere, and Komatsu.

Mining and Quarrying

Like waste management, some wheel loader manufacturers design models specifically for the quarrying and mining industries. These companies include Caterpillar, Komatsu, and John Deere.

Wheel loaders for mining and quarrying typically have an operating weight of over 100,000 pounds because of the power and stability they require. Mines and quarries are lifting heavy materials including rock, ore, coal, limestone, gravel, and other aggregates which all require extra capabilities.

Their primary uses in these applications are loading and hauling minerals, creating and maintaining stockpiles, loading raw minerals onto conveyor belts, and site cleanup and maintenance. They are also used for road maintenance including spreading sand and gravel, leveling and grading the roads, and more.

Road Construction

Often seen on road construction projects due to their size and efficiency, wheel loaders help with transporting materials around the site, loading haul trucks with materials, and handling bulk and heavy loads. On smaller projects, they can also be used to grade or smooth out surfaces with the right bucket and blade attachment.

Komatsu 320 wheel loader on a road construction project
Komatsu 320 wheel loader on a road construction project

Building Construction

Similar to road construction, wheel loaders can be used on everyday construction projects to transport materials, clear debris, and assist with demolition. Their primary task is typically clearing sites for redevelopment or further construction and loading haul trucks or articulated dump trucks.

No matter what project you're working on a wheel loader is most likely going to be involved. While the amount they help with may vary, they are effective machines that can be used on every project imaginable.

If you're needing a valuable piece of construction equipment for a day or an extended period, you can rent wheel loaders on DOZR. With several size options from hundreds of different heavy equipment rental companies, we can help you find the right wheel loader that fits your needs.

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Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
Kevin Forestell is CEO of DOZR and one of the co-founders. Kevin first got started as an entrepreneur when he founded Forestell Landscaping right after graduating from University. His love and passion for the industry and desire to help solve an equipment problem that contractors faced every day is what brought the founding team to start DOZR. Kevin is proud of the level of efficiency brought to the industry through DOZR and hopes that DOZR will help change the standard way equipment is rented.
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