How To Choose The Best Heavy Duty Garden Tractor
We’re coming up to the end of spring, which means summer is right around the corner. With summer comes the desire for a lot of us to start looking after our garden again. I know that, at the very least, I tend to neglect it in the colder months, meaning I’ve quite a lot of work to do once the sun comes out.
To make that work as easy as possible, I’ve decided to have a look at some different equipment, and relay to you what I’ve found to be the best of the best. In this case, we’re going to be finding out what the best garden tractor is.
Top 3 Best Garden Tractor Reviews of 2022
|Snapper SPX 42" FAB Deck Lawn Tractor 23hp Briggs V-Twin 2691556|
|Troy-Bilt Pony 42X Lawn Mower, 42-Inch Deck & 547cc Engine Tractor|
|Husqvarna TS354XD (54") 26HP Kohler Lawn Tractor 960430290|
Snapper SPX 42″ FAB Deck Lawn Tractor 23hp Briggs V-Twin 2691556
It is a budget tractor compared to a lot of others on the market, but that doesn’t mean that its performance reflects that.
It has a 14-inch turn radius, which makes maneuvering the tractor quite easy when you need to go over patches of grass that you may have missed. It also has an adjustable blade height that is easy to use. The blade mechanism features a 42-inch twin-blade design. The blades are great for getting an even cut on your lawn, and while not outstanding, get the job done well.
It has a 23hp Briggs and Stratton V-twin engine, which isn’t anything to write home about really, but it gets the job done perfectly fine, as well as dash-mounted cruise control and responsive pedals to allow you full control over your speed.
The tractor comes with an easy to maintain overhead valve design and hydrostatic transmission that allows you to choose your pace. The LED lights at the front are also quite strong, so you should have no problems with this tractor should you want to use it at night.
That’s the story of this tractor. It’s perfectly fine, but it doesn’t do anything particularly well. That being said, it is a budget tractor and has been designed as such, so if you’re unsure about whether or not you need one, perhaps go with this option before dropping a mini fortune on a more advanced model.
- No glaring feature omissions.
- Gets the job done perfectly well.
- Cheap compared to the market average.
- It doesn’t stand out in any area.
Troy-Bilt Pony 42X Riding Lawn Mower with 42-Inch Deck and 547cc Engine Tractor
This is a step up from the budget model we were just talking about, and the price reflects that. You can try to pick one up second hand to dampen the blow, but whether or not you trust secondhand tech is completely your prerogative. Personally, I don’t.
This model, like the previous, comes with a 42-inch twin steel blade design, so no complaints there.
It features a 420cc Troy Bilt OHV engine with a built-in oil feature. This is a great quality of life addition, and the engine runs surprisingly smoothly. It comes with foot-controlled hydrostatic transmission, meaning you don’t need any sort of clutch or gear stick to adjust your speeds. You can also mow in reverse, which is great for going over any missed spots.
The tractor comes with a 54-inch side discharge deck, which is fairly large compared to the average tractor. You can use this side deck to discharge mulch as well, which saves all sorts of time and is a great addition.
It has a comfortable high back seat that is better than most other garden tractors I’ve seen and a three-gallon capacity tank for fuel.
In addition to this, the tractor comes with an integrated deck wash system, which takes the effort out of having to clean it and saves you a lot of time.
This tractor is great for quality of life features. The seat is comfortable, the wash system is helpful, and the engine and oil filter are great. It’s a pricey tractor, but the quality of the work it does, as well as the features it comes with, definitely reflect that.
- 54-inch side discharge that you can also use with mulch.
- Comfortable seat.
- Good engine with automatic oil filter.
- It’s an expensive model.
- Not really suitable for small to medium-sized lawns.
Husqvarna TS354XD (54″) 26HP Kohler Lawn Tractor 960430290
This model of garden tractor is a step up again from the last one and is much more heavy-duty than the other two.
It comes with a 26 HP Kohler V-Twin 7000 series engine. This is a reliable engine but is also super powerful. You’re going to feel the torque when you’re driving this thing, but it means that the tractor can handle most any demands that you throw at it.
Like the other models, it comes with hydrostatic transmission. It also has electro locking differential, which gives you better traction on steep inclines or when the ground is wet outside.
It has a 54-inch cutting deck with 10-gauge steel, welded reinforcement construction, so it’s not going to be breaking down on you any time soon.
The tractor is really well put together. It is designed to avoid overheating, as well as to avoid doing any damage to the lawn while still providing a top-class quality of work. It has a smart alert system, which notifies you of any problems, including fuel alerts, tilt warnings and failures.
Finally, its seat is one of the best I’ve ever seen on a tractor. Not only is it a super comfortable high back seat, but it also comes with armrests. As well as all of this, it has super powerful LED lights for nighttime gardening.
All of this comes together to form one of the best garden tractors on the market today, although the price definitely reflects that.
- Very well constructed out of commercial-grade materials.
- Great engine and transmission features.
- It comes with a smart alert system.
- It is very expensive compared to the market average for a garden tractor.
- The heavy-duty design makes it unsuitable for a lot of small-scale suburban gardening.
Garden Tractor Buying Guide & FAQ
Buying a garden tractor certainly isn’t for everybody. I mean, you’re not going to drop upwards of three grand on a piece of machinery when you have a garden that’s five meters squared in size. Not only is that a waste of money, but garden tractors are designed for large scale use, meaning large open lawns and fields.
So give that some thought before you even get started.
Do you actually need a garden tractor?
A lot, and I mean A LOT of us, don’t. We just see it somewhere and think that it’s cool. In reality, a regular lawn mower and a weed whacker is going to do the job perfectly fine, and for a minuscule fraction of the price.
If you do decide that you want to go ahead and buy a garden tractor, then don’t just dive headfirst into the deep end. The money you’re spending is a lot, in the thousands, and you don’t want to just buy the first tractor you see.
Hopefully, that’s why you’re here because you’ve got a good head on your shoulders and have decided to do some research. In that case, don’t stop here. The garden tractor market is incredibly competitive, and there are all sorts of different units out there.
I only looked at three, but you may have other needs than I do, and another tractor is going to do you better. If you need a hand with figuring this out, sit down with some paper and a pen and write it all out.
Why do you want a garden tractor?
Questions like that should give you a good foundation of what you’re looking for and why you’re looking for it, and if all else fails, you can always email, or better yet, go to a retailers that sell garden tractors. A lot of big garden equipment centers tend to stock them, and the staff there are likely to be very knowledgeable on the topic.
You may have some general questions, though, the type that isn’t worth trekking out to your garden center for. I’m going to write a few of these styles of questions out and attempt to answer them to the best of my ability, in hopes that any queries you have get answered there.
Related post: How To Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades At Home
What can you do with a garden tractor?
It should be fairly self-explanatory, but you can mow your lawn with them. The design of the machines doesn’t make them good for much else, though. That being said, it is super handy to have one if you have a large garden. Not only does it make mowing the lawn more fun, but it also makes it quicker and gives you a more even cut.
What is the difference between a lawn tractor and a garden tractor?
A garden tractor is simply a beefier version of a lawn tractor. It is a more heavy-duty machine and is capable of more than a lawn tractor can handle. Garden tractors can tow, plough, furrow, and so on, but are also bigger and more expensive.
Is automatic transmission better than hydrostatic?
Not particularly. Which you prefer really just depends on your personal taste. The only big difference between the two is that with hydrostatic, you’ve got pistons creating the hydraulic flow, whereas it’s a torque converter with automatic.
How big of a garden tractor do I need?
Not too big. Buying a garden tractor isn’t like walking into a candy shop and buying the chocolate bar that looks the biggest. Really, most commercial garden tractors are going to be in and around the same size. So if you need a garden tractor, to begin with, don’t worry too much about the size of the model.
Should I get a zero turn or a tractor?
It’s personal preference. Zero turns mower tend to be faster than tractors, and have higher horsepower, but some prefer the simplicity that comes with the traditional garden tractor. While a zero-turn likely is going to get the job done quicker, whether it does a better job or not is entirely up to you.
Is 400 hours a lot for a garden tractor?
It’s great if it lasts that long, but it’s not a particularly long amount of time for a garden tractor, no. Most commercial garden tractors last between 300 and 400 hours on average, so that’s what you can expect. However, if you take proper care of your tractor, it can last much longer. There are stories of people’s tractors pushing upwards of eight and nine hundred hours before kicking the bucket, so it depends on how well you look after it.
Buying a garden tractor, while sounding trivial, is actually a big investment. Not just on the money side. It’s a big machine and takes up a lot of space, so the last thing you want to do is buy one and never use it. That’s why you need to be sure that you both need one and want one before you buy it. Otherwise, you’re going to end up looking the fool, with a bank account that’s $3000 dollars lighter, and half your shed being taken up by a machine that’s a glorified dust magnet.
That just about wraps this garden tractor review up.
Hopefully, you’ve gleaned something of value from this article. I’ve been hammering home the cost of garden tractors from the very beginning, but I have to do it one more time. This is not a cheap investment, so make sure you’re 100% on the tractor you’re getting.
As for me, Husqvarna TS354XD is the best garden tractor for the money. Sure, it’s more expensive than a lot of other models on the market, but it also performs better. The quality of life features are too helpful to overlook, and the engine and power of the tractor are incredible. The smart alert system is handy, and a feature that the other tractors I’ve looked at don’t include, and the construction of the tractor is second to none.
Source: Gardening 101