Lawn Tractor vs. Garden Tractor (2023 Comparison)
Riding lawn mowers are built by different brands, sometimes too much to choose the best one. Typically, there are two types: lawn tractors and garden tractors. In this article, we will compare and contrast the two main options in size, function, and power.
The major difference between a lawn tractor and a garden tractor is its functions. A lawn tractor mainly cuts grass, while a garden tractor performs other functions such as plowing snow, hauling heavy debris, cultivating soil, and doing other heavy work. The garden tractor has a sturdier design and can pretty much do any job.
But, that’s not all we know about garden tractors and lawn tractors. Read on to find out which machine is best fitted for your yard.
|Category||Lawn Tractor||Garden Tractor|
|Price (New Standard Size)||$2,000||$3,000|
|Power||16-26 hp||20-49 hp|
|Attachments||Leveling gauge, blade, seat cover, storage compartment, mulching kits, baggers, spreaders||Leveling gauge, blade, seat cover, storage compartment, mulching kits, baggers, spreaders|
|Cutting width||48 inches max||54 inches max|
Lawn Tractor vs. Garden Tractor: Definition
Lawn tractor is a small gardening machine used to cut grass with blades as wide as 48 inches wide. It is powered by 16 to 26 horsepower (hp) engines and can cut effectively, depending on the brand.
Due to their small size, lawn tractors have excellent maneuverability and can make sharper turns during lawn mowing of grass, landscaping, and bypassing trees. But the size can be a hindrance to doing heavy-duty attachments.
Garden tractors are bigger and heavier machines with large fuel tanks and rear tires. They operate with engines running at 24 to 29 horsepower (hp). Their heavy construction makes them suitable for doing intense landscaping and gardening jobs.
It is equipped with a hydraulic PTO system with connectors that allow it to tow heavy attachments and do heavier functions. Without attachments, garden tractors are still useful. Their 50 to 54-inch wide blades make them suitable equipment for any landscape project.
Now that we have the definition, let’s look at the main differences between the two mowers.
From the first look, these two are typically the same, and you wouldn’t tell a difference. But you can see the real difference when the engine starts. Since the lawn mower has pretty much one function, it needs a lower horsepower to cut grass. Garden tractors have a higher horsepower as they are used for plenty of functions.
Another big difference in garden tractors is the locking differential. The locks are serious game-changers to off-road surface maneuver and allow your tractor to move in rough, rocky terrains.
They apply torque to the tire with the least resistance. In instances of bumpy rocks, one of the tires will spin faster than the other one as they are not on the same surface. Without the differential lock, the tire with the least resistance spins profusely but does not help the tractor move.
If it is “locked” it slides a pin to both axles and makes both tires spin at the same rate, no matter the terrain put on one tire. This distribution of torque allows the tire to move through rough areas making garden tractors have the best traction for all-terrain projects.
However similar a lawn tractor and a garden tractor may be, the latter is larger and sturdier. Garden tractors are built with big frames to handle the amount of work it does. It is equipped with powerful engines and large tanks.
If you have tight navigation space it is crucial to know the dimensions of your tractor before buying. This also includes spaces between walls and passages within the compound. Garden tractors also have large back wheels to help execute heavy-duty activities.
A lawn tractor is smaller and lighter since it does not move tons of weight as much. The cutting length is also different for both mowers, as the lawn tractor maxes out at 50 inches while the garden tractor can reach up to 54 inches of cutting width.
A clear-cut difference between a garden tractor and a lawn tractor is the purpose of each piece. A lawn tractor is best for light-cutting jobs and general yard work. The lawn mower shares similar designs as the traditional riding mower but has its engine setup at the front.
Lawn tractors will do well in spreading seeds, cleaning dead grass during fall, or combing the lawn. They have adjustable blade cutters to control the height of grass cut during mowing.
Garden tractors are made of heavy dirty materials and do most hard activities such as cultivating, tilling, and other farming activities. They are also excellent for large-scale cutting as they have a cutting width of about 50 inches.
Due to its build and frame, the garden tractor is also suitable for towing activities. Some brands come with a towing attachment or an extra cart to carry around materials on the lawn. You can add plow equipment to remove first and snow during colder months.
A lawn tractor is essentially great for primary functionality, but if you’re looking at a comprehensive garden activity, the garden tractor is your best bet. The latter is technical and might require a few tries before it gets up and running.
Both of these two tractors have models that work with plenty of attachments. You can use a bagger material if you’re collecting debris and grass. There is a mulching kit to help you widen grass clipping on your lawn. You should check the compatibility of the attachments with the tractor type to avoid mishaps.
For instance, a lawn tractor glides well with a mulching kit as it is small enough to carry out its light duties. A garden tractor supports a 10-bushel bagger as it is heavy enough to collect grass clippings.
Most of these tractors are compatible with the attachments and other features provided you have inspected the model and checked if it is compatible.
You’ll often see lawn tractors used during Summer and Spring. They are great during these months as they help restore and revamp your lawn. A lawn tractor may not be effective in cold seasons and may break down in snowy environments.
A garden tractor is an all-weather gardening machine. You can attach a plow to remove snow and other accumulated debris during winter or whenever dirt accumulates in your yard. The large tires on garden tractors make it a prowess on any terrain.
First, a tractor is generally more costly than a rear-engine lawn mower. But the difference between the two tractors is slightly significant.
A lawn tractor could cost you about $1,500 to $2,000 on average. Its minute design makes it an easy-to-purchase machine for homes. A garden tractor is slightly expensive, costing from $2,000 to $5,000.
The high-engine power and sturdy frame make it more powerful and costly. We’d recommend checking your budget first and seeing what is available and how it may work for you and your home.
Lawn Tractor vs. Garden Tractor: Which One Is Best For You?
Now that you know the differences between the two types of tractors, let’s see which one fits your gardening needs. These factors will help you make smart decisions.
If you’re looking for something to deal with a bumpy tract of land then you’ll be good with a garden tractor. But if the lawn is smooth and standard, like in most homes, a small lawn tractor will suffice.
Garden tractors have a special mechanism known as locking differentials. This helps the wheels maneuver tough terrains and inclined surfaces.
One important factor to consider when choosing a tractor is the size of your yard. Now, it may seem obvious to choose a small tractor for a small lawn and vice versa, but it’s more than the size of the tractor itself.
While a small tractor can be used in any yard, it is not sustainable for large areas. You’ll have to face constant refueling and longer cut times, which reduce its efficiency. Large garden tractors are best for wider areas but they may not do well in awkwardly shaped lawns with sharp turns and narrow lanes. A nice way to determine if your yard is suitable for a particular machine is to check the horsepower against the acreage of your lawn.
|Acres||Ideal Tractor||Recommended HP and Cutting Deck|
|0.5 acre – 1 acre||Lawn tractor||14 horsepower/ 36-40” cutting deck|
|1 acre – 2 acre||Lawn tractor/garden tractor||16 hp/ 40-46” cutting deck|
|3+ acre||Garden tractor/zero turn mower||24hp/46” -54” cutting deck|
Lawn and garden tractors have more uses than cutting grass. Other functions include:
- Towing a sprayer
- Moving a mulching kit
- Adding a spreader
If you’re interested in these functions, then a lawn tractor is your best bet. But, if you want other activities, a garden tractor is excellent as it can do a couple of functions such as
- Plowing large debris in snow
- Aerating your yard
- Towing heavy machinery
- Clearing snow
Conclusion: Garden Tractor Vs. Lawn Tractor
Whether you choose a lawn tractor or a garden tractor, you are going to get an added comfort to your garden.
A lawn tractor will help you with light needs in a smaller yard, while a garden tractor works best in massive spaces with more activity.
Check your unique preferences when deciding which tractor is the right fit. The best solely depends on what you want and your experience handling such equipment.