If you live in an area with a lot of hills and rough terrain, you have to work harder to keep your lawn looking great all year long, especially if you have quite a bit of land to take care of. So it’s crucial that you have the right equipment to get the job done more efficiently. And the first item to start out with is a garden tractor.
Garden Tractors vs. Lawn Tractors
Both a garden tractor and a lawn tractor can be used for cutting grass. But they each have differences that make them unique. First of all, a lawn tractor is lightweight, and it has more horsepower than a garden tractor. This helps it cut large, grassy areas fast. It also has smaller wheels for maneuvering around objects and flower beds. And the frame is larger.
A garden tractor is built with a smaller, heavier frame that allows it to climb slopes and pass over rugged areas with ease. It can also haul fertilizer spreaders or bins full of mulch behind it, while a lawn tractor’s only main attachment is a bag for collecting grass clippings.
What Are the Important Features of a Garden Tractor?
The two most important features of a garden tractor are the engine and the transmission. Some of them are built with as much as 24 horsepower or more and automatic transmissions that shift with ease. However, there are electric versions that operate a little differently, since they run on a battery that has to be recharged.
The bottom mowing deck can range in size from 30 to 60 inches. Some of them are adjustable too. This is helpful because you can go over an area with a quick, wide pass, then, lower the deck for a closer cut, which gives the area a cleaner appearance. Many garden tractors also have a mulching feature that is especially nice, since it shreds the grass that is cut into fine pieces that protect the underlying ground from moisture loss.
To steer a garden tractor, you can choose a model with either a standard steering wheel, or pick one that has a lap bar. The lap bar takes a little getting used to. But it offers just as much control as the steering wheel. And some say that it strains their hands and arms less when they have to mow for an hour or more at a time.
Things to Consider When Shopping for a Garden Tractor
You should pay close attention to the following aspects of a garden tractor before you buy it:
Garden tractors cost more than lawn tractors because of the special engines and transmissions that they come with. It may seem like a good idea to get the cheapest model that you can find, but it might end up costing you more in the long run. A cheap garden tractor doesn’t always have the best engine or transmission in it. And it will have a lot of plastic parts that break easily.
It’s important to remember that although a garden tractor mows faster than a push lawn mower does, you still have to sit on it for a pretty long time. And the vibration from the mower and the bumps on the ground will make your back hurt after a while if it isn’t a style that’s built for comfort. Extra features like a seat with a high back to it and extra padding really helps a lot. And so does cruise control and a built-in cup holder for a cold glass of lemonade to sip while you work.
Some large accessories have to be purchased separately from the garden tractor, which is understandable if you’re looking for something with specific features. But it just makes sense to try to get more for your money by buying a garden tractor that already comes with them included. If you’re trying to decide which one you should get, sit down and do the math on the purchase price of buying the pieces separately versus together. The numbers may surprise you.
The last thing to look at is how much maintenance that you will have to do to keep the piece of equipment running. It should be easy to wash off if it gets covered in mud and debris. And don’t forget to ask about oil and filter changes and how often the blades will need to be sharpened.
Our Garden Tractor Reviews
This Cub Cadet XT1 garden tractor has a 50 inch cutting deck with triple blades, and is powered by a 25 HP professional-grade Kohler engine. It’s capable to be used with a snow-blower attachment and haul a heavy garden cart.
This garden tractor has a deck cutting height of 1-4 inches. Its 16 inch front tires and 22 inch rear tires, along with 16 inch turning radius, will help it get around yard obstacles well. It also has an optional mulch kit if you need it.
This machine has the capabilities for mid to large sized lawns. With its robust engine, it has the power needed to tackle any length grass no matter how overgrown it is. This Cub Cadet mower can also hook to a variety of attachments, making it suitable for a variety of garden work.
The Husqvarna LGT2654 garden tractor is powerful, reliable and designed with user comfort in mind. It features a 26 HP Kohler V-Twin engine, which should be able to power the tractor across any terrains.
This is quite a powerhouse tractor with a huge 54 inch cut. It can handle any job a homeowner could need it for. From bush-hogging trees up to an inch thick, to handling the most uneven ground, this machine should be able to tackle it.
This garden tractor also features a Hydrostatic transmission drive which allows for seamless gear switching that’s done automatically by the motor. There is one pedal that teeters either forward or backward which chooses forward or reverse, and the speed is determined by the amount of pressure placed on the pedal.
The Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP tractor has a 54 inch cutting deck good for mid-to-large lawns. It comes with a Push Button Electric Start engine, along with a cruise control feature, which makes steady operation easier.
This machine is equipped with a 25 HP 724cc Kohler engine which is quite powerful, and it has an adjustable cutting height with 12 available unique positions. It also has a high back seat and arm rests for your additional comfort.
This tractor is easily accessorized with a large variety of attachments, so it’s should be useful in any yard or garden. It’s an excellent choice for yards of any size and has a sharp turning radius for easy maneuvering around obstacles.
The Poulan Pro PP22VH48 tractor features a whopping 48 inch cutting deck, which would make it ideal for large lawn care. It comes with a Briggs & Stratton 22 horse power engine that has all the power you could ever need.
The Auto Hydrostatic Transmission is convenient and allows you to easily make speed adjustments while in motion. The engine can be started easily anytime due to its ability to sense the engine temperature and deliver just the right amount of fuel needed.
This tractor also has a turning radius of 6 inches, making it quite great to get around tight spaces when needed. In addition, it has optional mulch or bag attachments in case you need them.