Finding Your Comfort Zone Navigating Modern Compact Track Loader and Skid Steer [...]

Published: 28/12, 2023

Finding Your Comfort Zone Navigating Modern Compact Track Loader and Skid Steer Comfort Features

Comfort while operating equipment used to be more of an afterthought. That all seems to be changing. Based on a recent survey from a top manufacturer, comfort is the number one factor customers look at today when considering which configuration of a compact track loader or skid steer to purchase. And it doesn’t take much contemplation to see why. Manufacturers across the board continue to up the ante with modern comfort features, meaning operators have become accustomed to a certain level of luxury, especially in the last few years. For the construction business owner struggling with employee recruitment and retention, having equipment that is enjoyable to operate could make all the difference in maintaining a strong, reliable crew.

Options for comfort features on modern compact track loaders and skid steers are plentiful. Understanding the options available can help contractors choose the best configurations to maximizing their investment in both comfort and productivity.


Creature Comforts

Inside the cab is where comfort features are most obvious. Most newer models of compact track loaders and skid steers have suspended seats, adding at least a minimal buffer between the operator and the machine’s frame. Many manufacturers now offer air ride seats for even better protection for the operator, whether standard or as an option. Some brands take it a step further by adding full adjustability. These innovative sets allow adjusting of recline, slide, weight, and even the four-way arm rest, allowing for a comfortable fit for any body type.

But cab comfort doesn’t stop with the seat. The integration of a single-sided lap bar enhances comfort further as opposed to the more cumbersome and restricting overhead lap bar design. A single-sided bar frees up space around the operator’s waist and makes entry and exit easier.

Roominess in the cab is primary feature for accommodating multiple operator body types and for comfort during long hours in the cab. While the maximum possible cab space will by necessity be limited by the size class of the machine itself, some manufacturers use strategic engineering to squeeze in every inch of operator space they can. The resulting cabs make even the smallest sit-in compact track loaders and skid steers far more comfortable than designs where cab roominess was less of a priority.


Visibility and Ergonomics

Ease of operation and visibility play significant roles in operator comfort. Intuitive controls, minimal ergonomic inefficiencies and high visibility can make the operator more productive and less fatigued at the end of the day.

Visibility is one such attribute of a compact track loader or skid steer that can improve operator comfort and safety. More visibility means operators don’t have to shift their bodies around as much to get a better view, whether it’s of the attachment, proximity to obstructions or other individuals on the jobsite.

Clear visible area is one of the biggest factors of visibility. Some modern compact track loaders and skid steers have floor-to-ceiling visibility, including all-clear sides and frameless doors. These machines rely on advanced engineering, such as high-strength polycarbonate glass and strategic configurations to pull off almost 360-degree visibility while retaining the same level of operator protection as previous designs.


Ride Quality

To work comfortably and effectively for long periods of time, operators must be able to endure the ride. For both skid steers and compact track loaders, ride quality starts from the ground up, and that often means a suspended undercarriage. Suspended undercarriages are becoming more and more popular. But not all suspended undercarriages are the same. One of the most advanced options a contractor could find is known as dual-level suspension, found on some mid- and large-frame compact track loaders. This style of undercarriage features not only the independent torsions between the undercarriage and the chassis, but also torsions allowing bogie wheels to flex with the track. This configuration keeps more track on the ground, improving operator comfort, traction and machine performance, and keeps more material in the bucket.


Bringing It Home

With so many comfort features and options available on modern skid steers and compact track loaders, it can seem overwhelming for the contractor deciding which machine to bring home. But taking the time to evaluate which features make the most sense for a contractor’s business is undoubtedly worth the effort. Elevated productivity, improved employee recruitment and retention, and the simple pleasure of looking forward to starting work in the morning are all available to the contractor willing to navigate the options and invest in the right machine.

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