Jul
09

How to choose the right compact tractor.

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John Deere Compact TractorAfter months of looking and reading, more looking and more reading, I am starting to see what i really need to look at for size and capability of a compact tractor. These guys might be smaller than their agricultural brothers, but they carry a price tag that demands research.

Some of the questions you need to know the answers to.

How many acres of land will I be using my tractor on? Not only how large is my land, but also what type of land is it. Does it have a lot of hills, wet spots, thick woods, rocks? All of these things go into what type of tractor you might want. For example, Hilly terrain will call for a wider tractor with a low center of gravity.

What problem will be cause with a too small or too large of a tractor? I’m most cases, a smaller tractor can do most of what a larger one can, but it will take more time. As you get larger, you have to deal with a heavier and physically larger tractor that cannot get close to homes and trees as easily. Most on line tractor selectors will ask you how much lawn mowing or material you need to move in how much time. The more you have to do in less time, the larger the tractor. Be sure to think of all the tasks you want to do with this tractor because most people will size it correctly to mow grass, but not to till a garden, push snow, or move gravel.

What features or attachments will I need? Once you have a grip on the size tractor you need and you start to configure your tractor, don’t freak out! Ask for help with words that you don’t understand. Specific brands use different words that describe things most tractors have. They list electronic PTO clutch or Motion Match as benefits, but how do they benefit you? Look on the manufacturer’s website, or get involved in a forum where people can help you understand what these options do. Also try to size the implements you purchase to your tractor. John Deere does a good job of listing compatible implements with the tractors on their site. Be sure to think outside the box, especially if this is your first tractor. most people will find that they are very handy and will use them for way more than they expected.

What tires do I need? You can read for hours on this! From my reading, I have found that the R1 tires, or agricultural tires, have the most traction. They are normally narrower than the others and they can tear up areas that you drive one easily. R4 tires are called industrial and are wider than R1s but are made to be easier on grass and other soft materials. They also seem to be made to last longer due to their higher strength sidewall and thicker tread. These are the middle of the road tire. They seem to do a lot of things good, but nothing great. Lastly there is R3s, these are known as turf tires. Most people purchase these for lawn use only as they have little impact on grass. Most compact tractor users use R4s since they do a ton of different things and need a tire that they can mow the lawn with but still be able to work in the garden.

What conditions will I need to use my tractor in? Most of us home use people can decide when they need to use the tractor and can avoid rain and snow. Does your condition or financial position allow for a cab with heat or air conditioning? Different size tractors may come with cabs or you can get aftermarket cabs for the smaller ones.

Do I need 4WD? 4wd is critical if you want to use a loader on the front of the tractor. For basic mowing on relatively level ground, 4WD doesn’t really offer any advantages, and it may do even more damage to finished lawns than 2-wheel drive tractors. The only time 2wheel drive is clearly a better choice is when driving the tractor for long distances at road speeds. Performance and maintenance requirements are about the same in both options. In almost all cases, the bigger price tag of 4WD tractors is worth the investment. Tractors with 4WD will usually have substantially better resale values.

What Transmission? While manual transmissions used to be the standard for tractors, now the hydrostatic transmission, which allows clutch-free operation in a range of speeds, has become far more common than in years past. Hydrostatic transmissions are the best choice if the primary operators of the tractor aren’t familiar with using manual transmissions. However, they’re more expensive, and they reduce the available horsepower slightly when compared to manual transmissions. If your operators are comfortable with using a clutch, you can save some money and get a little more power out of your tractor by choosing a manual transmission. Depending on the work you do, a hydrostatic might be easier. The rule of thumb is that if your work is mostly in a straight ling, go with a gear machine. If you have turns and do a lot of forward and reverse, go hydro.

I hope this helps you to choose the proper tractor for your use. Do the research and stand by your decision, but mostly, enjoy doing every minute of it.

Categories : Compact Tractors

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