What Is a Wheel Loader?

Wheel loaders are large vehicles often used in the construction industry and other heavy industries to load large quantities of materials (grit, asphalt, rubble) into containers, onto conveyor belts or to a different location for landscaping.

Types of Wheel Loader

Wheel loaders are large construction vehicles.Wheel loaders are large construction vehicles.
Wheel loaders normally have a large square bucket that is attached by movable arms and can tilt to empty out its contents.
Smaller loaders are called compact loaders.

Wheel loaders with a movable bucket on an arm in the rear are called backhoe loaders. Larger machines with a bucket to the front that is as wide, or even wider than the vehicle, are known as front loaders. Smaller versions of loaders are available for areas where access might be difficult for large machines, these are known as compact wheel loaders.


Backhoe Loaders are better for digging.

Front loaders with large buckets can safely carry large quantities, but they cannot lower the bucket far below the wheelbase of the machine. Backhoe loaders have a smaller bucket on the rear that cannot carry as much material but can be used to dig and lift materials from much lower than the machine's wheelbase.

Bulldozers Vs. Wheel Loaders

Bulldozers have tracks; wheel loaders have wheels.

While these machines are similar to bulldozers, wheel loaders are wheeled while bulldozers are tracked like tanks. Wheels give wheel loaders greater mobility and speed, and allow them to travel more frequently on normal highways. The use of tracks on bulldozers give them greater power, strength and better traction on loose surfaces.

About the Author

Louise Jones has been a technical writer since 2006 and is the director of a technical writing company, providing literature for U.K. construction firms such as MITIE and Balfour Beatty. Her work also appears on various websites, focusing on business and technical articles. Jones has a postgraduate certificate in education and has been trained in information technology. She studied English at Cambridge University.