Multi-Terrain Loaders and Compact Track Loaders. While for some folks, these terms might be interchangeable, they are not the same and can affect how well you can do your job. This then begs the questions, “What is the difference?” and “Which one is better for my work?” MTL and CTL vehicles at first glance look extremely similar, and while this is true, they were designed to do very different things. You’ll find the difference beyond the tracks, and actually in the vehicle’s undercarriage. The undercarriage is designed to provide the floatation and tractive power of an MTL or CTL, and how they’re designed is the major difference.

By using rubber tracks, even weight distribution, and the use of lighter weight components an MTL carriage has been designed to have an extremely low ground pressure. MTL undercarriages are also designed to be suspended, allowing the tracks to maintain better contact with the ground when you’re rolling over uneven terrain.

In contrast, a CTL undercarriage is designed to be stiffer, as opposed to floating. These systems are designed for maximum wear with minimal concern for weight. They’re designed for use in places where skid steers can’t provide the right amount of traction or would cause too much damage.

The low ground pressure provided by an MTL machine means that it can work on very delicate surfaces. If your work brings you to work on lawn, sod, and other areas that need a soft touch, an MTL-designed vehicle will be your best bet. An MTL also travels faster, and due to the floating undercarriage, is a more comfortable ride.

CTL machines, as mentioned above, are built for maximum wear with minimal concern for weight, meaning that if you’ll be working on gravel or other hard surfaces, a CTL machine will work better. With the heavier duty undercarriage and the stell cable reinforced tracks, you’ve got a vehicle built for harder work.

Remember; the major difference between an MTL and CTL rig is the undercarriage. How it’s designed should dictate what kind of jobs you take. Do you have questions about heavy equipment training? We’d love to hear from you!

Do you have questions about heavy machinery maintenance and operation? Let us know. We’d love to help!