Innovative Iron Award Winner: Wacker Neuson’s SM60 and SM120 Utility Track Loaders

Wacker Neuson SM120 compact tool carrier

The Top Construction Landscape and Rental Equipment Launched in 2023

Innovative Iron Logo 2023

The world of off-highway machinery is evolving — battery-powered units, hydrogen engines, luxury and economy tiering, machine control automation — but maybe the biggest evolution is that everyone wants a compact machine. Small, tool-carrying construction equipment now make up about 50 percent of the U.S. machinery market with mini excavators and compact track loaders being the two most popular categories in America. To meet this enormous demand, machine makers released some pretty awesome machines in the past 12 months: advanced skid steers, electric asphalt pavers, entry-level grade control attachments and so much more. The 2023 Innovative Iron Awards celebrate the best of these compact equipment launches. Scouring tradeshows, visiting manufacturers, operating units, interviewing experts, this annual compilation represents the best equipment we’ve seen and experienced all year, including…

Wacker Neuson’s SM60 and SM120 Utility Track Loaders

Wacker Nueson SM120 lifting dirt into a box

Honestly, we love Wacker Neuson‘s stand-on tool carrier offerings. Last year, we awarded the company’s SM100 utility track loader with an Innovative Iron Award. This year, we’re honoring two more models in that same lineup — the SM60 and SM120. Why you’re clearly asking yourself? Because these new utility track loader go both big and small, offering a great range of size and features for both newby renters and commercial pros alike. The 35.5-in.-wide SM60 is powered by a gasoline engine and is a great choice for rental houses and homeowners. The SM120 is the biggest unit in Wacker’s lineup, offering a suite of industry-leading features from QuickGrip proportional auxiliary hydraulic controls (allowing for one-handed operation) to a 14-pin attachment control (for complex hydraulic implements).

First, let’s start with the basics of the SM120 utility track loader. The SM120 is designed for the professional who needs to lift, move and place more during their landscape, tree service and site work. Powered by a 24.7-hp Yanmar diesel engine, the SM120 has a rated operating capacity of 1,225 lbs (at 35 percent tipping load) and a travel speed up to 5.3 miles per hour providing fast cycle times. The machine is 41-in. wide and is equipped with standard 11-in. wide tracks providing ultra-low ground pressure to greatly reduce turf and soft ground disturbance, while also enhancing traction and stability for hill operation. The SM120 also features an optimized radial path design that provides vertical path performance with best-in-class hinge pin height of 85.6 in., which allows for dumping into high-sided trailers, truck beds and dumpers.

Now back to the suite of unique industry-leading performance features we mentioned above. Wacker Neuson refers to this as the SM120 Productivity Package.

  1. QuickGrip proportional auxiliary hydraulic controls — These put the major controls at the operator’s fingertips, allowing for one-handed operation of the workgroup and auxiliaries. Within one patent-pending, comfortable control, the operator can enable continuous flow mode and enable/disable ride control with a press of a button. Additionally, the index finger actuated wheel provides operators fine control needed to operate a grapple or 4-in-bucket. Having the ability to operate all three controls simultaneously improves productivity and reduces cycle time.
  2. Ride Control — Wacker Neuson’s SM120 is the only machine in this size class to offer ride control. This feature provides hydraulic cushioning to the lift arms to reduce material spillage and provide a smoother ride. Operators can easily engage and disengage ride control via the grip-mounted button.
  3. 14-pin attachment control — The SM120 productivity package also include the 14-pin attachment control that offers enhanced controllability for complex hydraulics such as snowblowers.

The smallest utility track loader that Wacker Neuson makes is the new SM60. This unit is powered by a 26.5-hp Kohler Command Pro EFI gasoline engine, which is easy to start, fuel efficient and easy to service. The SM60 is designed for smaller, DIY jobs with 7.1-in. wide tracks and an overall machine width of 35.5 in. It has a rated operating capacity at 35% of 600 lbs, travel speed up to 3.9 miles per hour and hinge pin height of 75.6 in. to reach into truck beds and dumpsters. Weighing in at only 2,760 lbs, this machine is easy tow. The SM60, with all its versatility is a great choice for the weekend warrior who needs to complete a to-do list.

Wacker Neuson SM20 utility track loader

All Wacker Neuson utility track loaders are designed for the best operator comfort in the industry. It starts under the hood with the cooling package which is positioned forward in the machine, as far from the operator as possible. This unique design significantly reduces the amount of hot, dusty air that is actually blown across the operators legs. The large, spring-suspended operator’s platform with an operator presence pedal prevents accidental movement of the lift arm and travel functions when the operator steps off the platform. Because the pedal is directly connected to the park brake system, as soon as the operator steps off the pedal, the brake engages. The pedal is also tied to the auto idle, which will engage within give seconds of stepping of the pedal, saving fuel and reducing jobsite noise.

Like Wacker Neuson’s skid steer line, these new utility track loaders were designed and are manufactured at the company’s Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, facility and are sold in the United States and Canada through the company’s network of dealers. Big congrats to Wacker Neuson for yet another Innovative Iron Award. For more info, visit

Keith Gribbins is publisher of Compact Equipment.

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