Crawler loaders are propelled by a tracked chassis and typically feature a front loader bucket. These machines are often used on construction sites as they offer the loading capability of a wheel loader while maintaining the power of a crawler dozer. Due to their tracked undercarriage, a crawler loader is often referred to as a tracked loader.

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The first crawler loaders were designed from track tractors with the addition of a bucket that was cable operated like the bulldozers of the time. These machines lacked the ability to dig and were only really used to move heavy loads of material and load trucks. Over the years, crawler loaders have evolved to integrate the balance and strength needed to dig, lift and shovel with ease.

Now crawler loaders have the capability to assist workers in completing a variety of tasks. It can be used for digging, moving materials like sand, dirt, logs, wood chips, and rocks. They can also be used with a range of attachments including, rippers, buckets, bull blades and post hole diggers, making them extremely versatile and a popular choice for sites of all scales.

Being a tracked style machine means that the crawler loader does have some restrictions in speed and mobility, but they do excel in other areas a wheeled loader doesn't. For example, the tracks allow the machine to have good ground-holding capability and mobility in rough terrain, like mud or uneven surfaces.

Another advantage is the weight distribution on the tracks. With the weight evenly distributed, the machine can operate on soft terrain without fear of it sinking or damaging the ground. It's for this reason they are often found on road construction and land clearing sites.

Modern machines feature a hydro-static drive meaning the machine can turn on place. This makes smaller crawler loaders, often called mini tracked loaders, perfect for narrow or confined working conditions. Of course this will depend on the attachment and overall size of the machine, so if you're in need of this feature make sure you check with the dealer on the available specs of the machine.

Newer model crawler loaders are operated using joystick controls and are fitted with technology like torque management, speed sensitive control and smart levelling. Some of the most popular crawler brands on the market with some excellent technology across all of their ranges include, Caterpillar, Liebherr, John Deere, Bobcat, New Holland and Komatsu.