The Compact Tractor First Time Buyers Guide

posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 in Ag-Pro Companies News

Picking the best compact tractor for your small to mid-sized property or operation can feel like a daunting task if it’s your first time making this type of a purchase. From landscaping and grounds care, to farming and ranching chores, compact tractors come with a long list of benefits and practical applications for those shopping for equipment in this category. They are easier to maneuver than their larger siblings, while still being able to deliver significant strength and power when geared up with the right implements. That said, we’ve outlined four things to consider to help you decide which model in this category is best suited to your personal or professional outfit.

Small Tractor Horsepower Ranges

The amount of horsepower you’ll need is directly related to the regular or daily chores you have now, and those you’d like to accomplish with your small tractor over time. How quickly you’re hoping to get these tasks done also makes a significant difference. For this reason, it’s a good idea to sit down and talk with your primary operators to get a complete view of what needs done. John Deere offers quite a range in horsepower in the compact tractor category, starting at 22.4 with 1 Series tractors, and going up to 65.9 with 4 Series tractors, offering a respective power take off range of 14.5 hp – 54.2 hp. When considering how much strength you need, beware of underestimating your workload. One easy mistake to make is to focus too much on immediate needs, thereby opting for equipment without the strength required to manage future chores. Doing so will leave you either to accomplish work far more slowly, or it can end up damaging your machinery, if for example you’re handling material that exceeds your compact tractor’s weight limit.

Things to ask: What are my jobs now and what will they be like in the future? How fast do they need to get done?

Know Your Landscape, Terrain and Acres Before Choosing a Small Tractor

Understanding your land in terms of working acres, landscape and terrain is also an important determining factor when it comes to selecting the right compact tractor. John Deere’s compacts fall into four categories. From an acreage perspective, the 1 Series sub-compacts and 2 Series compacts are great options for managing a few acres, the 3 Series can easily handle 3 – 5, and 4 Series tractors can comfortably manage 10­­ – 12. You may have a large property, but only 3 acres of it needs active management. Or, you may have a larger property with a mixed terrain and landscape that includes tight pathways and entrances with a lot of trees. The smaller the tractor, the easier it is to maneuver around these kinds of obstacles making a great argument for a 1 Series sub-compact tractor or a tractor from the 2 Series if you have to manage for these types of obstructions. Mower deck size also comes into play when thinking about the number of acres and how much time you can put into mowing. A larger mowing deck or rear-mounted groomer is going to cover more ground making faster work of the task at hand. You’ll also want to think about the type of grass you’re mowing. And of course, just like with horsepower, you’ll want to take into account all of the other jobs on your chore list, too.

Things to ask: How much of my property am I really needing to maintain? Is the terrain easy or uneven? How much does time matter? Is mowing my primary work?

Compact Tractor Storage and Maneuverability

Where you plan to stow your compact tractor and implements can make a big impact on which series is right for you. If you are restricted by gates, pathways, or your household garage is your only storage option, a smaller tractor is going to be your best bet. Thanks to their size, 1 Series tractors are the only tractors in this category that can safely make their way into and out of a regular garage. Those found in the subsequent series are too large and wouldn’t clear standard dimensions. That said, adjustments can be made around your property as well if your workload simply can’t be done with a sub-compact. Opting for a larger gate or making additional adjustments to your property like freeing up barn storage are a few considerations worth exploring in advance of your purchase.

Things to ask: Where will my equipment be stored? Are there any points of entry that are questionably sized? Am I willing to make accessibility adjustments on my property?

Important Compact Tractor Features, Configurations and Implements

Picking the right features, configuration and implements makes accomplishing your daily and weekly work easier. If you regularly have more than one operator, solving for more than one person’s preferences can make this matter a little more complicated. Because John Deere tractors in every series offer a number of comfort features and accommodations to suit a variety of operators, it’s helpful to approach this element collectively. For instance, you may have a big disparity in height between operators. In this case, having a highly adjustable seat and easy mounting features will make a meaningful difference for all involved. Some additional considerations are whether you’ll want a climate controlled cab, lighting kits, cruise control and other convenience features. That said, it’s a good idea to schedule a demo to make sure the tractor you choose is well suited to everyone’s needs. And, while all tractors require maintenance, it’s important to consider whether your selection’s maintenance needs match your expectations.

Things to ask: Who are the primary operators? What needs and requirements do we have individually and collectively? 

Have more questions or need further guidance in choosing which compact tractor model is right for you? Our expert staff is happy to help guide you through this process, whether it’s your first tractor purchase ever, or just your first time purchasing a compact tractor. Contact your local Ag-Pro dealership with questions today. 

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