Steel tracks vs rubber tracks: which is better?


It is possible to equip machinery such as mini excavators with either rubber tracks or steel tracks, or even a hybrid of the two.

Many people are asking if their heavy machine should be using steel tracks or rubber tracks. The truth is, there are pros and cons of both types of tracks. Your construction site, the type of job, and your machine type will determine what kind of track you need. The following factors will help if you have difficulty determining which tracks to use.

The advantages of steel tracks

It’s easy to see why steel is used for tracks. The material is very strong, able to withstand disintegrating and can endure high heat and pressure levels.   Recycling is also easier, resulting in the conversion of millions of tons of iron ore from waste into recycling.

Here are the reasons why steel tracks might be for you:

  • Sharp concrete or asphalt is more suitable for steel tracks. Steel is also ideal for use in jagged rock conditions.
  • Steel tracks are also known for having a longer life. Most experts believe that they don’t wear as easily as rubber and therefore enjoy nearly double the life.

Types of Rubber Tracks

There are several options for rubber tracks based on your equipment, working conditions, and budget. Here are four of the most common.

A Staggered Block Tread: This is a multipurpose tread that performs well on gravel, paved road and other surfaces. This style of treading is robust while spending long hours on a hard surface in situations where the operator will be regularly turning in different directions.

A C-Lug Thread: Due to the notches etched out of each block, this type is characterized by its sideways “C” shape. This tread provides versatility across multiple types of surfaces, is highly resilient and offers superlative handling, increased traction, and improved performance over earlier designs.

Straight Bar Tread: These tracks are regarded for their traction in mud, rain, gravel or snow. If these kinds of tracks are on your heavy machine, you are far less likely to get trapped in mud or other wet environments.

A Multi-Bar Tread. They provide the user with the ability to travel back and forth between various surfaces. The tread offers a smooth ride and increased traction.

The advantages of rubber tracks

There are many advantages to using rubber tracks.

  • As they move around freely on concrete finishes, they are a good solution for pavements.
  • Rubber tracks even if repaired annually, are much more economical than steel.
  • Furthermore, rubber tracks offer a much smoother and quieter ride than steel tracks. Since they provide more noise absorption than steel, rubber tracks are a better choice if your job site is in a busy neighborhood or other place where noise pollution is a concern.
  • Rubber tracks can reduce vibration, meaning they can e driven faster than machines on steel tracks.
  • They are more adaptable on terrain than steel, which increases driver comfort levels.
  • Steel tracks on the other hand, damage hard terrain like asphalt.

To sum up

Rubber tracks are more economical and can be used in more versatile environments. They are perfect for dirt or grass surfaces or in many situations they should provide a high degree of traction. For irregular surfaces or waterlogged worksites, you will need rubber tracks with a deeper tread. You also need to remember that rubber tracks will display more wear and will need to be replaced more often than steel tracks.

Think about installing steel tracks if you work regularly in irregular terrain. The steel tracks ‘ additional weight will improve grip and stability in these conditions.

If you have decided that rubber tracks may be right for your job, why not browse our online marketplace? From standard patterns in C-Lug and Block to the newly developed Zig-Zag style tracks, we have a wide range of rubber tracks options to suit your needs.

All our rubber tracks have a market-leading 2-year guarantee that we stand behind. You can be confident that you are getting the best rubber tracks for the money you’re paying.


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