5 Considerations When Buying a Compact Tractor

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You may be wondering what you should do before purchasing your first compact tractor. There are a lot of decisions to make, and it can be overwhelming! Here's the thing: not all tractors are created equal. Some have more horsepower than others, some cost more than others, and some just simply will not work for what you need them to do on your property. Before we get into specific topics that you should research before making a purchase, let's take a look at 5 general topics that will help narrow down which type of tractor is right for you so that we can then focus on those individual topics in detail later in this post. A first-time tractor buyer should research what is required for their tractor before they make a purchase.

What are your tractor needs?

A first-time buyer should consider what they will be doing with their tractor before making a purchase. So, take some time to make a list of what you'll be using your tractor for.

Some considerations:

  • What is your Budget?
  • Is this tractor for residential or commercial use?
  • Will the tractor have to tow or carry heavy loads?
  • Are there steep terrain challenges that will require extra power?
  • Is lifting large amounts of weight necessary, such as hay bales or feed sacks?

#1 Small Tractor Horsepower Ranges

horsepower for small tractors

You should base your horsepower directly on the chores and tasks you are looking to accomplish. John Deere offers quite a range in horsepower in the compact tractor category, starting at 22.40 with the smallest tractors (with 1 series) up to 65.90 on its largest models (with 4 series). The average horsepower for a compact tractor is 40.

If you are looking at handling heavy equipment, such as plowing fields or hauling trailers with the tractor, then you will want to invest in one of John Deere's models that offers over 50 horsepower. When it comes to tractor horsepower, the difference is clear: more power goes to the ground. Depending on how heavy you want to lift and how much you want to pull will determine how much horsepower you will need.

What is a PTO Horspower?

A PTO horsepower (or power) rating is the input power or energy delivered to the machine. It's calculated by multiplying torque times rpm, and it's typically used to operate certain types of implements such as a rotary cutter or rotary tiller.

#2 Terrain, Size, and Landscape

compact tractor terrain and acres

There are many important factors when it comes to selecting a small tractor, including understanding the size of the land you will be working and terrain it sits on. For example, if you will be working on flat grounds with few trees and little to no hills, then a tractor with 22.40 horsepower may suffice. But for those who work in more tough terrain where there are many obstacles such as rocks or large tree roots that can get stuck under the tires of your compact tractor--then it is best to invest in one of John Deere's models that offer 30-50 horsepower.

As well as understanding what type of soil types you'll need to plow through; whether its sugar-sand clay-like heavy soils or other gravelly terrains...etcetera. These various factors help determine which size tractors meet your needs while also being budget-friendly and not overworking the engine too. When considering how much workload you'll have, be aware of underestimating the amount of strength needed. Efficiency will come into play as well. Speed of your tractor does vary with horsepower. You Compact tractor speed varies from 9 mph in your 1 Series Tractor to 15 mph in your 4 Series Tractor.

#3 Compact Tractor Attachments and Implements

implement and attachment for small tractors

A small tractor is able to obtain a variety of different attachments by using the hydraulic system and has various implements that make it easier for any task. Front end loaders, box blades, backhoes, pallet forks, and mowers are just a few of the attachments that can be found for small tractors.

If you are looking at handling heavy equipment, such as plowing fields or hauling trailers with the tractor, then you will want to invest in one of John Deere's models that offers over 50 horsepower. When it comes to tractor horsepower, the difference is clear: more power goes to the ground. Depending on how heavy you want to lift and how much you want to pull will determine how much horsepower you will need.

View all Compact Tractor Implements & attachments

Front end loaders:

The front loader is one tool used to help with moving logs, gravel, sand or other heavy materials. It attaches at the front of your tractor and it gives you an extra set of hands in order to move things around on site. They're also great for loading up dirt from digging trenches! A note about using John Deere's quick attach front end loader is they make it easy to attach the loader on the go.

Box blade implement:

Used for shaping soil, a box blade is a 3-sided rectangular metal device that attaches to your tractor. It's perfect for leveling out the ground and smoothing it so that you can plant your crops or some grass seed.


A backhoe is a handy attachment to have on site for lifting earth, digging trenches or doing other heavy work like building fire breaks in brushy areas. If you need an extra hand with this kind of task--then be sure to get yourself one!

Pallet Forks:

The forklift allows people to move materials around without even having to touch them. It features two different attachments underneath which help lift up heavier items such as logs and beams without causing too much strain on either side (the tractor needs support).

Quick Connect Mower Deck:

Connect a mid-mount mower deck to the tractor in less than 60 seconds. No more time-consuming installation and removal of the mower deck. It's conveniently accessible from ground level, making it easy to work on when you're in a tight space.

Rotary Cutter:

A rotary cutter tractor implement is a tool used by landscapers to cut grasses, reeds, and other vegetation that are too tall for the lawnmower or belly mower. A typical rotary cutter consists of blades that rotate rapidly at high speed and are pushed through the ground by an overrunning clutch or gearbox. The key advantages of using a rotary cutter instead of a lawn mower or belly mower include heavy-duty cutting, increased efficiency when used on large areas, and have an overall reduced cost.

#4 What are the different types of tractor tires?

tires on a compact tractor

As a first-time buyer, you need to pay attention to the tread types that fit your work. What landscape are you going to be working on? Smooth, or rough? Hilly or flat? The treads will make or break your day, depending on what you're doing.

Smooth terrain:

You'll want a tractor with tires that have deeper grooves and more lugs to help in the gripping of slick surfaces. This is for smaller tractors when used only infrequently during light workdays.

Hilly terrain:

The most important thing about hill climbing is traction (grip) at the bottom of the wheel to help prevent you from slipping backward. You'll need a tractor with deep grooves and more lugs for this type of terrain, which is where smooth treads come in handy as they provide better traction on hills than rough treads do.

Flat terrain:

If you're working mostly on level ground, the tire type that will fit your needs best are those with smaller grooves and fewer lugs to help save costs thanks to less wear and tear from friction.

#5 Purchasing Your Small Tractor

buying a small tractor for the first time

When buying a tractor, you will have the option of either paying in cash or financing. There are some great deals, sometimes even offering a 0% interest rate.

Paying in cash:

You'll have to pay the full cost upfront and not incur any interest fees.


The tractor will be purchased with a loan (sometimes at an attractive rate) that gets paid off gradually over time, usually for five years or more. When you purchase your first tractor, we recommend you look at your financial situation to determine which option is best for you.

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You should now be well-prepared to start your journey of buying a small tractor. You can even jot down some notes from this article, so you can come well-prepared to any live viewing and test drive of a tractor. Remember, you should purchase the type of tractor that is best suited for your current needs. That will ensure you get the most out of your first compact tractor purchase for a long time to come.

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