Buying a compact tractor is a big deal. Especially if it’s your first tractor. This is a serious investment of Your time and money. I am going to dedicate my next few posts to helping you research and find your perfect tractor. We’ll talk about what to look for and what really matters.
When it comes to used tractors, I have 1 rule. If you don’t know the owner personally, and you don’t know how well the tractor has been serviced, Forget it! It is just way too easy to get upside down, dollar wise, on a used tractor. Dropping $3,000 is easy when it comes to a tractor repair. I’ve heard of shops charging that much to replace a worn out clutch disc.
With new tractors, it seems like there are countless brands and options to choose from. Truth be told, Most of what I call traditional American tractor companies don’t even make their own tractors until you get into the higher horsepower ranges. So buying on name recognition alone is just a waste of money.
So what do you do? I recommend you consider 4 things while doing your research. Weight, Horsepower, Lift Capability and Transmission.
The secret to finding the perfect tractor for yourself is in knowing your needs and what all of your options are. Lets get started by answering the following questions:
- HOW MUCH LAND ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? The rule of thumb that my granddad and father used on our ranch was 2.5 HP per acre. If you have 10 acres then 25 HP is a good size. 20 acres = 50 HP
- WHAT ARE THE JOBS YOU WILL BE DOING? The work required to maintain a gravel drive is a lot different from plowing fields or feeding cattle. Consider what you will be doing. Will it be lifting heavy hay rolls or mostly pulling an implement? If you want to stack hay rolls, you need a tractor with heavy weight. If you are going to be mowing grass, weight is not as important as horse power. In both cases I always recommend going a bit bigger than you need.
- HOW MUCH FREE TIME DO YOU HAVE? Do you want to get that field mowed on a Saturday morning? Or do you want it to take several evenings after work? The bigger the implement, the faster the job gets done!
- CREATURE COMFORTS? (this one requires more time than you might think) You can get almost any tractor today in open-station and closed cab versions. The thought of Heat, A/C and a sound system can be very appealing. If you can brave the elements, then you can get a larger, more powerful tractor for the same money.
Once we answer these questions, the rest of the pieces will start to fall into place.
In PART 2# we will talk about specifications and features.
Thanks for reading!