We were pretty lucky to get our hands on the very first Wacker Neuson SM100 Mini Track Loader in Australia and it didn’t disappoint. Serious power, great balance and extremely intuitive operator controls – this machine is right up there with the best track loaders we have reviewed to date.
It’s the ease of use and simple control configuration that is going to make it perfect for the rental industry and contractor fleet. Its sub 1m width (90.17cm) is going to provide the type of access that tradies require in residential projects.
This narrow footprint is all the more impressive when you experience the power of the SM100. Its lifting height and capacity are very impressive, making it ideal for dumping significant loads into trucks and skip bins.
Landscapers, plumbers, builders, stonemasons, and more are going to find this machine suitable to their onsite needs. The Yanmar turbo charged diesel engine powering the SM100 is also sure to impress. The machine offers a 453kg operating capacity at 35 per cent with a tipping load of 1295kg.
To give us an experienced landscaper’s perspective we had Kelly Burton from KBL Landscapes on hand to put the SM100 through its paces. Kelly was the perfect man for the job with over 25 years of onsite experience and thousands of hours operating loading machinery.
Test 1: Ease of use
Wacker Neuson has done an impressive job designing an excellent machine to operate. Kelly had the following to say about his thoughts on the controls and operation of the SM100. He shared, “The first thing I noticed when stepping onto the SM100 and getting used to the machine was the straightforward controls. The layout is great with the left joystick control operating the steering and forward and reverse functions, while the right-hand operated the boom and bucket. I’ve used machines around this size in the past, which felt like you needed a degree to operate with levers and controls everywhere. The simple yet extremely efficient and well laid-out controls here are both easy to use, while being precise and powerful. There is also a operator presence switch and auto idle on the operator’s platform. A simple press of the park break button deactivates the operator presence switch and has you operating in seconds.
“Hire companies will find their customers can hire this machine with little or no experience and safely operate it with confidence due to its great design and control set up.
Kelly continued, “Other tracked loaders I’ve operated felt like they were trying to throw you off at times, but this SM100 is well balanced making it comfortable to operate. Rather than padding around the knee and leg area, the padding is more up around the pelvis and hip area, which allows you to really lean into it. It feels more like a natural fit, which supports you rather than padding when you bang into it.
Test 2: Power and versatility
When I watched Kelly operate the SM100 at Active Tree Services I must admit we were all pretty amazed at what it could do. The sections of tree it was lifting to full height was nothing short of impressive.
“Any tradie or contractor working on site needs their loader to be nimble on the ground, while still having substantial lifting power and hydraulic capabilities for attachments. The SM100 ticks both of these boxes – its lifting capacity of over 2m will keep even the most demanding tradie or landscaper happy. In our testing it was lifting sections of pine tree trunks with ease, which I didn’t think it had a chance of lifting to max height. We only had the standard bucket for our test, but I think the additional weight of the 4 in 1 bucket would even further improve the performance and handling of the SM100.
“With universal hydraulic fittings there will be a vast number of attachments, making this loader perfect for light site work, grading, auguring, general material handling and much more,” said Kelly.
It’s the solid construction, high quality materials and clever design – like the sloped front end which provides a clear view to the bucket – that combine to make the Wacker Neuson SM100 Mini Track Loader a wellrounded machine. The exhaust being built into the front end of the machine, which keeps both heat and fumes away from the operator, shows the depth of this impressive track loader. Wacker Neuson has done a great job on the SM100 and its set to achieve success here in the Australian market.