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Rubber Tracks vs. Steel Tracks

October 22, 2013

Rubber Tracks and Steel Tracks

A track drive system is the best system for construction equipment. The stability and traction of a track drive cannot be matched by a typical wheeled drive system. When choosing a track, the options often come down to rubber tracks vs steel tracks. Below, we will contrast the two types to help make this decision easier.


On most surfaces, rubber tracks have a noticeable traction advantage over steel tracks. The rubber not only has a higher intrinsic friction, but it molds to uneven surfaces, increasing the surface area. On any relatively smooth, dry surface, rubber tracks will have an advantage.

Steel tracks gain a traction advantage over rubber give a couple of different types of terrain. Steel tracks bite and hold on muddy surfaces that would cause rubber tracks to simply spin. Also on extremely uneven surfaces, the rigid steel can push a vehicle where a rubber track would conform and slip.


While the operator comfort is not the primary consideration, the less jarring the operator receives, the less fatigue results. This is a secondary consideration to the effect the tracks have on terrain. Rubber tracks flex and conform, which allows them to be driven safely across finished terrain that a steel track would damage.

For pure landscaping on rough ground, this is no advantage, but for any job site connected to finished landscaping or existing pavement, the rubber may well be far superior.


In this realm, steel tracks excel. The rigid material sheds off contact with the many hard and sharp surfaces on a construction site that scar and wear on rubber tracks. In addition to the physical resistance of the material, steel is far less likely to encounter chemicals that degrade it. Rubber can be literally dissolved by many materials and chemicals that it can encounter on the job.

In many areas, there is a great deal of overlap between rubber and steel tracks. They can perform the same job with the same efficiency in most cases. Choosing between them is a matter of judging which option suits the specifics. Generally speaking, the harshest conditions favor steel, while operating in a more finished environment favors rubber.

Rubber Tracks Plus - ABN: 80 155 770 415
37 Scammel St., Campbellfield VIC 3061
PH: 1300 820 214