Getting Started With Some Garden Tractor Reviews
But before we get going looking at some garden tractor reviews, ask yourself a couple of questions…
Do you get tired of carrying stuff to and from your garden? Does it bug you that you have to make a seemingly unending number of trips to transport yard debris or, equipment you need to till, plant, mulch, weed, harvest or…whatever?
A garden cart helps a little bit. But, you STILL have to pull it back and forth…back and forth…back and forth. And, before long, you are too exhausted to finish the job!
Enter…The Garden Tractor
Yep! I bet that’s what you need! A motorized mode of lawn and garden transportation with a comfortable seat, a place for your cooler of cold beverages, and a savior helping you fight against unnecessary fatigue and stress.
But, wait! You’ve been looking at lawn tractors and garden tractors. They look the same. They both cut grass. Aren’t they the same thing?
There is a striking similarity. But, they are not the same.
Lawn tractors are cheaper and, are built chiefly for cutting the grass using 2 cutting blades…with cutting widths starting at 30 inches. Most of them will pull a trailer for carrying light loads around the yard. Optionally, they offer the ability for mulching, side discharge, or bagging grass clippings and leaves. Some of them offer optional attachments to remove snow…or to aerate or dethatch your lawn,
The lawn tractor axles are usually made with welded steel.
Garden tractors have more types of optional attachments, more powerful twin cylinder OHV engines…at least 20 HP…and heavier duty transmissions…for a start.
Top-of-the-line garden tractors come equipped with a Power Take Off hitch…PTO…that allows greater versatility in the types of attachments available. Having a PTO hitch allows you to add a plethora of attachments including snow blowers, tillers, augers, and a host of other useful tools.
The cutting width typically starts at 45 inches and goes up…and they have 3 cutting blades instead of 2. Because of their larger wheels, these tractors allow greater ground clearance giving them more stability on uneven, sloping, or muddy ground.
The axles of garden tractors are forged or cast iron which makes them much stronger and last longer.
NOTE: Whether you buy a lawn tractor or a garden tractor, get one with either a tracking control system or a locking rear differential. You may lose a bit of forward speed but, you will gain a lot of extra stability on hills. You really don’t want to go tumbling off a tractor while navigating a steep slope, do you?
But, How Do I Choose Which Garden Tractor Is Best For Me?
Cutting Width For Mowing The Lawn
Since almost all garden tractors double as lawn mowers, ensure that, at a minimum, you have the right size cutting width to mow your yard.
A good rule of thumb for a minimum cutting width is:
- 1 acre or less – 30 to 42 inch cutting width. Most tractors in this range don’t have the spunk to be a good garden tractor, though. They are just not plucky enough!
- 1 to 2 acres – Up to a 48 inch cutting width. Now, you’re getting into the garden tractor neighborhood! Some of these will be belt driven automatic transmissions and some will be hydrostatic transmissions.
- More than 2 acres – Up to a 54 inch cutting width. You can bet that these are all high horsepower garden tractors with the coveted hydrostatic transmisions!
NOTE: If your lawn has a lot of trees and bushes, you may need to keep the cutting width a bit narrower to get between them. Of course, it goes without saying that a narrower cutting width will add more time to the mowing task.
Selecting The Right Transmission
You have 3 choices – manual, automatic, and hydrostatic.
Manual transmissions have set speeds on a selector. They take longer and are sluggish and more difficult to slow down when encountering obstacles. Stay away from them if possible.
Automatic transmissions are belt-driven and use a gas pedal to easily control speeds. The downside is that the belts get worn out and have a habit of breaking right in the middle of yard work! Remember Murphy’s Law!
Hydrostatic transmissions work the same as automatic transmissions with the exception of using a fluid instead of belts to send power from the engine to the wheels. Riding garden tractors with hydrostatic transmissions is smoother, there is less vibration, and, they are more comfortable. These transmissions last longer and involve less upkeep and repairs. Thus, if your budget allows it, choose a garden tractor with this type of transmission. You’ll be glad you did!
There Are Lots Of Tractors To Look At
Here’s a list of the lawn and garden tractors I have reviewed. I’m sure that among them, you will find your tractor soul-mate! Take a look and let me know your favorites!
Cub Cadet LT42 XT1 Enduro Series – A brawny bear that will roar through your yard like nobody’s business! Enjoy 42 inches of cutting width and an overpowering 18 HP Kohler engine. NOTE: This page was updated on 19 August, 2018.
Husqvarna GTH52XLS – This 24 HP garden tractor, with a 52 inch cutting swath can not only make your yard beautiful, it will most definitely save you a lot of wear and tear on your bones while carting around your garden equipment, compost, and heavy odds and ends!
Husqvarna YTH18542 – A little monster of a tractor – great for mowing AND towing. See for yourself and be amazed at how versatile and tough this diamond in the rough can be. It sure has saved me a ton of time and exhaustive effort!
Poulan Pro PP155G42 – This light hauling, compact tractor with a 15.5 HP Briggs and Stratton engine and a 42 inch cutting width is the ideal solution for budget conscious gardeners. For what it offers, it is one of the lowest priced machines on the market today!
Snapper SPX 23/42 – Snapper’s SPX Series tractor has a lot of the features of much more expensive garden tractors without the super high price tag. This great addition to your lawn and garden shed is comfortable, unproblematic, cost-effective, trustworthy, and loyal…just like man’s best friend.
Troy-Bilt TB2246 – This is a 22 HP garden tractor with a 46 inch cutting width…and a beast in a beauty’s body! One look and you’ll know it goes on your must have list!
Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP – A real 26 HP tiger with a chomping width of 54 glorious inches. If there is a garden tractor better than the Troy-Bilt TB2246, it is most assuredly this one!
It is my hope that these garden tractor reviews have helped you arrive at a final decision of which one is right for you!
If you would like me to look at any other lawn or garden tractors, message me in the comments below or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim, the Lifelong Gardener