In our ultimate buyer’s guide, we reviewed the best garden tractors on the market in 2020 and choose the top contender, as well as looking at the benefits of these versatile machines, features to look for when making your purchase, lawn tractor uses and safety, and much more!
If you want to make yard work easy and enjoyable, you need the best garden tractor for the job!
Top 5 Best Garden Tractor Reviews 2020
What is Garden Tractor?
A garden tractor is a tough piece of equipment used for garden and lawn maintenance. They have powerful engines, high ground clearance, and big wheels for traction and stability.
They’re tougher than your usual riding mowers and lawn tractors, and can be used for a wide range of jobs. As a result, they are usually more expensive.
What is the Difference Between a Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor and a Garden Tractor?
Although these three terms are used interchangeably, there is a big difference between a riding mower, a lawn tractor and a garden tractor.
This is a basic piece of equipment that serves a single purpose – to let you stay seated while mowing the lawn. They are the least powerful of the three options and are usually cheaper as a result.
They are best suited for smaller lawns as they have a narrower cutting swath of about 30 inches and fit easily into smaller storage sheds and garages.
A lawn tractor is a more powerful version of the riding mower, with a wider cutting swath of about 48 inches. As a result, they’re a good option for bigger lawns and buyers who want more comfort features, more power and a faster cutting speed.
Some models can also tow carts or vacuum attachments, and have winter accessory options, so they are more versatile than a riding mower.
Garden tractors are the most powerful, most heavy-duty option, and often have the most features. They have the largest mowing decks with cutting swaths of up to 72 inches, so they’re best-suited to the biggest lawns or small fields.
They offer the most features too, and can utilize a wide range of garden tractor attachments including tillers, seeders, snow throwers, backhoes and front loaders. As a result, they are often the most expensive option.
Advantages of a Garden Tractor
The best garden tractors offer plenty of advantages over a regular lawn mower that make it well-suited to certain jobs. These include:
Versatile cutting deck for tough mowing jobs
Garden tractors can take on tough mowing jobs that riding mowers and lawn mowers cannot handle. Because of their versatile cutting deck, they can easily cut long grass and brush as well as short grass, so you don’t need to get a weed eater or hire a landscaping business to handle the tough jobs for you.
Durability and ease of use on big jobs
Garden tractors are a great option if you have a bad back, as you are seated comfortably at all times. While smaller garden tractors can work in smaller yards as they are very maneuverable.
They are best-suited to large landscaping jobs like mowing 5 acres or more where heavy-duty work on tougher terrain is needed.
Stability and power on tough terrain
Garden tractors are designed to operate in the toughest conditions, from large lawns to hills and uneven ground, to wet or slick icy ground.
They have very powerful engines (30 horsepower), transmissions and axles compared to riding mowers and lawn tractors, and have large tires to ensure they stay stable and don’t tip or slide. This is what makes them one of the best riding mowers for hills.
Wide range of attachments and accessories
Because they can handle so many different jobs, they come with the widest range of garden tractor attachments and accessories – far more than a lawn tractor or riding mower.
In addition to cutting lawn and brush, you can get tillers, seeders, snow throwers, drum rollers, tow-behind rakes, backhoes and front loaders to handle a wide range of jobs through the season.
There are almost no yard jobs you can’t do when you have the best garden tractor!
How to Choose the Best Garden Tractor
Finding the right garden tractor for your yard is all about finding one with the right features to suit the work you want to do and your budget. Here’s what to look for:
Here’s a video showing some garden tractor attachments.
- Heavy-duty design – Garden tractors are designed to be much tougher than lawn tractors and riding mowers because they need to be able to tackle tougher jobs.
In reviews, look for models that are known for their durability, well-crafted axels and transmissions.
- Engine – Your garden tractor should have a powerful engine of around 30 horsepower. This will allow it to work harder and faster, cut through thick brush and weeds with ease, and power attachments like snow blowers without a problem.
When looking at different models, don’t just choose the one with the most horsepower. If you’re primarily going to use the machine for mowing vast tracts of grass, a 20 horsepower tractor should do.
However, you should definitely look for tractors with a higher horsepower going as high as 30 if you do heavy-duty operations such as constant digging, tilling, and hauling heavy things.
- Storage – When looking at different garden tractors, make sure that you have the space to store this equipment and the attachments you require.
While they are not as big as farm tractors, they are still fairly large pieces of equipment, and storing it in a dry, clean space will prevent damage and wear and tear over the years.
In addition, you should check the width of your gates and pathways your garden tractor will have to move through to ensure you get a good fit.
- Durability – The best garden tractor is very durable and is built to last. In reviews, look for models that have good quality parts (especially the axles, rods and connectors) and offer good warranties.
Moreover, check the bearings and other friction-prone sections for grease fittings. You do not want a tractor without these lubrication points to keep operations smooth.
Furthermore, it is wise to check if the wires are accessible to tinker with in case problems arise.
- Workload – The size of your property also affects what kind of garden tractor you should buy. If your area is less than two acres in size, a tractor with a 45-inch mower deck should do.
Otherwise, a garden tractor with a 72-inch mower deck – the biggest possible size for such a machine – should do the trick. Of course, you can still use a 72-inch mower deck for smaller properties.
By doing so, the mowing process is quickened since this wide deck will cover more sections in less time than a 45-inch variant – however, it may make mowing narrow spaces difficult.
Read also: What size of garden tractor do I need?
Take Note of Possible Attachments
We’ve already mentioned that garden tractors are capable of doing more than just mowing grass with the help of attachments. However, not all garden tractors can use any available attachment.
Some machines have a power take-off (PTO) hitch allowing a variety of powerful attachments while some tractors do not.
A typical garden tractor will not have a PTO hitch. Therefore, it only has a limited number of compatible attachments:
- Carts and trailers for carrying loads
- Containers and sprayers for water, herbicides, fertilizers, and other liquid substances
- Mulching, bagging, and vacuuming attachments and accessories
If you pick a garden tractor with a PTO hitch, you should prepare to pay a bit more since you’re getting a high-end model. Still, it will be worth it since you’re getting the following heavy-duty attachments:
- Soil excavation attachments such as augers and scraping blades
- Snow blower attachments
- Soil cultivators such as harrows and tillers
In conclusion, a garden tractor is built for managing properties that a regular lawn mower can’t handle efficiently. While they do have common characteristics, garden tractors do differ in horsepower, mower deck size, and the number of compatible attachments.
Furthermore, your property size and the functions needed to be performed will help you pick the best garden tractor.
Garden Tractor Attachments and Accessories
One of the most sought-after benefits of a garden tractor is the wide range of attachments and accessories available that allow you to take on almost any project. These include:
- Snow blower – The best garden tractors can clear snow with snow blowers, clearing paths, driveways and more with ease.
- Sweeper brush – The sweeper brush is a great attachment for anyone who likes a neat, pristine lawn. It effectively sweeps up any debris in its path, including sticks and leaves, and can be used on the driveway and paved surfaces as well as the lawn.
- Shredder and chipper – Shredders and chippers are widely used to break up branches, sticks and organic garden waste to be used in compost or as bark chippings in flower beds.
This attachment can be easily transported to where you’re trimming trees and branches or to your compost heap for easy use.
- Tiller and cultivator – Tillers and cultivators make breaking up compacted soil easy and efficient, even on bigger jobs or if the soil is full of weeds or rocky.
These attachments fix easily onto garden tractors to make preparing soil for a flower bed, field or lawn quick and simple.
- Drum roller – Lawn drum roller attachments are used when leveling a lawn or breaking up dense clumps of soil after ploughing.
- Tow-behind rakes – These accessories make fall yard maintenance easy, raking up leaves and debris quickly for composting or removal.
- Front loaders – Front loader attachments are great for moving soil, digging out a space for a flowerbed or to plant a tree, or even for use in projects where you’re building hard landscaping like patios, ponds and walkways.
- Seeders – This attachment makes seeding or overseeding your lawn quick and easy, ensuring an even spread of seed even over large areas and fields.
Tips for Safe Operation
As with any garden equipment, you should follow safety guidelines to avoid injury when using a garden tractor.
- Read the manual – This will have specific instructions for your model and type of garden tractor. Safety instructions and operating instructions can differ between makes and models, and the manual will also inform you of appropriate use and terrain for your model.
- Switches and controls – Before starting your garden tractor, familiarize yourself with the different switches and controls so that you know exactly what functions each performs.
If you are using an attachment, make sure it is suited to your garden tractor model, that it is correctly attached, and you are familiar with its controls. Always start the tractor in neutral
- Check fluids – Check the fuel, oil and other fluid levels before you start your tractor engine. If refueling is required in the middle of a job, wait for the engine to cool before refueling.
- Dress appropriately – Wear close-fitting clothes, closed non-slip footwear and safety glasses if needed.
While riding/operating the tractor:
- Do not ride on the hood or draw bar
- Only one person should ride on the tractor at a time
- Avoid very sharp inclinations and deep holes that may destabilize the tractor and cause it to tip
- Do not remove any safety attachments, machine guards or safety labels
- Only use attachments specific to your garden tractor model and the job you are performing
- Do not drive across gravel, bumpy terrain or rocks while the blades are moving
- Do not remove clogs while the blades are moving
- Always turn the garden tractor off and take the keys with you if the tractor is not in use
Get Ready to Buy the Best Garden Tractor!
After reading our ultimate guide, you have everything you need to know in order to buy a garden tractor, from what sets a garden tractor apart from riding mowers and lawn tractors, to the different attachments you can get, what to look for to find the best garden tractor for your yard, and how to operate your new equipment safely!