Choosing the right tractor for your lawn can be a daunting task. Let’s start sorting through the options so you can start shaping up your lawn.
Your lawn size will be one of the biggest factors in determining what type of tractor you should buy. For large lawns, you will need a wider cutting deck to ensure you can efficiently mow your lawn. You will also need to consider other lawn characteristics. Does your lawn have trees or tight spaces you will need to mow around? Do you need your tractor for hauling, lawn care or even snow removal? All these factors play into which tractor you should buy. Additionally, don’t forget your budget, your own comfort while operating your tractor and storage space.
Riding MowerGood for: small flat lawns up to ½ acre
If you have smaller lawn, but still want the comfort and convenience of a tractor, a basic riding mower might be the solution for you. Unlike tractors which have front engines, riding mowers have rear engines which can mean reduced noise and fuel emissions. These mowers have a compact design, making them easier to store in your shed or garage. With a cutting deck of about 26” wide, riding mowers provide the same cutting speed as a walk behind mower, but give the operator the ease of mowing from a seated position. Typically, riding mowers have 12.5 horsepower (HP) delivering 8.75 lb•ft of torque, making them best suited for flat lawns. .
Lawn TractorsGood for: mid-sized lawns up to 2 acres
For mid-sized lawns, the lawn tractor is the best choice for your lawn care needs. With a 42” wide cutting deck, your time spent mowing will be dramatically reduced compared to a standard mower. Lawn tractors have front engines and 14.5 to 20 HP, making them a powerful tool for yard maintenance. They can handle some attachments and accessories as well, but if you have a specific attachment in mind, a snow blower for example, it is important to ensure that the model of lawn tractor you buy can accommodate it.
Yard TractorsGood for: large lawns under 2 acres
Yard tractors are the next step up from lawn tractors in terms of size. With larger seats, bigger fuel tanks and wider cutting decks of up to 48”, yard tractors can handle lawns under 2 acres with ease. Yard tractors typically have more comfort and performance features and are better able to accommodate hauling, lawn care and snow removal attachments.
Garden TractorsGood for: large lawns over 2 acres with maintenance requirements
The garden tractor is one of the most versatile lawn tools on the market. For larger lawns, the impressive 54” wide cutting deck can reduce mowing time and ensure a professional finish. Heavy duty transmission and 22-28 HP engine also make this tractor very powerful. Typical tractors have a turning radius of 15” -18”. Brands, such as CRAFTSMAN®/MD, have recently developed lawn tractors with an improved turning radius of as small as 6”. This innovation means lawn tractors are becoming more versatile and easier to steer around obstacles.
Garden tractors accept almost all attachments, including tow-behind, front mount, ground engaging and snow removal attachments. Garden tractors have extra height at the rear to aid connection of attachments and accessories. If your yard requires extra maintenance, a garden tractor can become your go-to resource for serious lawn care. Because of the size of these tractors, storage will be a consideration. Garden tractors are typically the most expensive tractors on the market, and with the addition of specialized attachments and accessories, it is important to determine what kind of budget your lawn requires before making the decision to purchase a garden tractor.
Zero-Turn TractorsGood for: large flat lawns with trees & obstacles
If you want to save time trimming around trees, shrubs, flower beds, decks and other obstacles, a zero-turn lawn tractor might be the best option for you and your yard. Zero-turn lawn tractors have 360-degree turning ability and 0” turning radius for increased maneuverability, closer cuts around obstacles, and less time spent trimming afterwards. These tractors have very wide cutting decks of about 42” to 50” which is good for tall grass, so you can leave more time between cutting. Faster groundspeeds can be achieved with these tractors, meaning you can cut more grass per hour than with a standard lawn tractor; however, this does mean hilly or ravine lots are not the best fit for this tractor.