Lawn Tractor Buyer's Guide
How to Pick the Perfect Lawn Tractor
Landscaping on wheels. Thats what lawn and garden tractors provide. If you're serious about having a professional looking lawn, then you need to move beyond a simple mower. At this level, mowing becomes just one task out of many that you need to perform.
Enter the lawn tractor, a heavy-duty machine that lets you handle whatever curveballs your lawn throws your way, from dethatching, to aerating, to snow plowing. Keep reading to learn about the different types of lawn tractors and how to pick one.
How to Choose a Lawn Tractor
When deciding what kind of lawn tractor is best for your yard, you should consider what you'll be using it for. If you just need it for some light mowing on a small yard, then a standard lawn tractor will work fine. However, if you want to use heavier attachments for aerating, dethatching, or even tilling, then you'll need a heavy-duty garden tractor.
Two important factors to consider when shopping for the perfect lawn tractor are the grade and the deck size of the tractor.
1. Select a Grade
Lawn tractors can be grouped into the following grades:
Standard Lawn Tractors
Standard lawn tractors provide great power and versatility. They have twin cylinder engines for low-end torque and are a must if you intend to mow large areas or use any attachments on a regular basis.
Some tasks that lawn tractors can perform with the proper attachements include aerating, dethatching, spraying, spreading, and even snow plowing during winter.
Lawn tractors are designed with hydrostatic transmissions, which offer simple speed adjustments while driving. There are two hydrostatic transmission options: lever or pedal-operated. The pedal-operated option provides the most comfort and flexibility in speed.
Garden tractors are lawn tractors on steroids, capable of everything lawn tractors can do plus tilling, furrowing, towing heavier cart loads, and more. Their rugged decks, anti-scalp wheels, and powerful engines enable them to slash through tough brush.
They also include forged or cast iron axles, which are stronger and a good indicator of overall quality level. Finally, their larger back tires provide extra ground clearance and enhanced stability on slopes and inclines. However, if you're dealing with slopes greater than 15%, you should consider a tractor with a traction control system or locking rear differential.
Lawn Tractors vs Garden Tractors
For you visual leaners, the following table helps explain the differences between garden and lawn tractors. Again, the main difference is the ability of garden tractors to handle heavy attachements.
2. Select a Mower Deck Size
After choosing your lawn tractor grade, the second step is to choose a mower deck size. Deck size refers to the width of the cut on your tractor.
Use the following rules of thumb to estimate the proper deck size you will need based on acreage.
- 1 Acre = 36-42” Deck
- 1-2 Acres = 42-46” Deck
- 2+ Acres = 48”+ Deck
Following these recommended deck sizes will help ensure that your tractor mows your lawn in the most efficient way possible.
Mulching vs Bagging
Lawn and garden tractors can either mulch or bag your grass clippings.
- Mulching Kits plug the mower's discharge chute and cut the grass into fine, nutrient-rich clippings that are then distributed under the deck. Make sure your kit is the same size and brand as your tractor.
- Rear-mounted baggers collect grass clippings through a chute for disposal. Baggers come in either double-bag or triple-bag styles, depending on the tractor size. Again, choose the same brand to ensure compatibility.
Heavy-Duty Power for a Heavy-Duty Yard
A lawn or garden tractor makes a statement that you're serious about your lawn. Most people mow their lawn and call it a day, but not you. You take pride in your yard, and the right tractor is a symbol of that pride.