When a property owner has a large piece of land attached to their property, the regular maintenance of such a plot by hand can seem daunting, even overwhelming at times. If that is the case, it may be time to consider purchasing a garden tractor to keep large lawns efficiently and beautifully cut and trimmed. Accordingly, those extra hours can now be spent enjoying the fruits of one’s labours rather than being subjected to hours of backbreaking hand mowing, and seemingly endless stops to empty the grass collection box. Choosing the right garden tractor for the task may seem a bit daunting amidst the hundreds of different tractors on offer, but with a little thought, guidance, and advice, this can instead become a pleasurable and even enlightening experience.
There are different types of garden tractors designed for different types of gardens and properties. Identifying what type of tractor will suit what type of property goes a long way in easing the chore of selecting the right make and model. Garden tractors fall into two distinct categories, namely those of a large, ride-on lawn mower and general grass-cutter, often featuring a cuttings collector for added convenience, and a general all-purpose tractor. Like its bigger brother, the general farm tractor, the general garden tractor can be hooked up to various garden implements for accomplishing a wide variety of different garden-related and small-holding jobs.
Ride-On Lawn Mower Tractors
This type of tractor is used primarily for cutting and maintaining a large lawn or other grassy area, such as a meadow or paddock. A ride-on tractor mower usually features the grass cutting machinery already mounted and fixed underneath the machine, almost directly below but slightly in front of where the driver sits, towards the rear wheels. The purchaser should check the advertisement for the tractor or inquire as to precisely what the maximum cutting area achieved by the blades is, in order to ensure not only efficiency through reduced passes required but also whether it can adequately manoeuvre through narrow areas, such as between trees.
Power Level and Additional Features
The lawn mower tractor typically features an engine of about 25 horsepower with a single or twin cylinder engine, if running on standard petrol, or a twin or even three-cylinder engine if it is a diesel-powered model. The standard ride-on tractor mower weighs between 500 and 1,200 pounds (225–544 kg), and will come equipped with comparatively thin tyres to minimise the tracks it leaves on a newly cut lawn. The fuel tank most commonly ranges between 1.6 and 2.4 gallons, i.e., 7.3 to 10.9 litres. The standard lawn mower tractor generally offers few, if any, attachments such as those generally used by a more general-purpose tractor. These models are designed mainly for standard grass cutting and collecting of grass and clippings.
Size of Lawn Compared to Size of Lawn Mower Tractor
For a standard grass-sown lawn that spans an area greater than the size of a tennis court, namely measuring more than 78 by 36 feet, or 23.78 by 10.97 metres wide, and yielding a total area of 2,808 square feet or 260.87 square metres, then a mower tractor is definitely a good option. Cutting widths are available from 28 inches (71 cm) to an impressive 62 inches (157 cm), making even the largest lawn or grassed area a quick, easy, and hassle-free job to manicure.
Many lawn mowing tractors have integral clipping collection hoppers at the rear that will comfortably hold a large amount of grass clippings, greatly reducing the required number of trips to compost bins or waste disposal areas, a real time saver when a property is substantial in size. Some also come fitted with leaf blowers or clipping vacuums, either already fitted or sold as an accessory that is very easy to securely bolt onto the machine.
Another such accessory is the grass roller. If the lawn needs to have that perfectly striped look, like a bowling green or tennis court, the grass roller is the fastest, easiest way to go. Many mower tractors can accommodate a rear roller, often requiring nothing more to attach it than a basic tow bar.
General Purpose Garden Tractors
A general purpose garden tractor will generally be of the same engine size and power as a mower tractor, but it does not usually have a lawn-cutting attachment fitted as a standard feature; this must be purchased separately and fitted to the rear. While it may lack the pre-fitted grass cutting capabilities, the larger garden tractor generally makes up for this by the sheer range and number of other useful attachments that may be fitted, such as a trailer, snow thrower, spraying devices, spike aerators, just to mention a few.
A general purpose garden tractor will also have wider wheels than the standard mowing tractor in order to provide an increased grip when towing. It should also have a larger fuel tank, usually between 4.0 to 4.8 gallons (18 to 22 litres). Some general purpose garden tractors boast the additional feature of four-wheel drive, an offering that could prove essential as a safety measure if the land the tractor will be used on a steep slope or if heavy snow removal is a frequent requirement.
A garden tractor designed for general use will almost certainly have a power take-off point. Some take-offs are electrically powered, but the majority are mechanical versions, taken off the engine whilst the main gearbox is set in neutral. While many older tractors were manufactured with a flat or vee-belt power take-off, many modern garden tractors today are kitted with a standard fitting drive socket to adapt and attach many different implements from a wide range of manufacturers.
Range of Attachments for a General Purpose Garden Tractor
Because there is generally no pre-fitted grass cutting attachment accompanying a general purpose garden tractor, a whole range of other attachments are often available in addition to grass cutters. These include cultivators, disks, plows, and rotary booms. If the potential purchaser of the tractor needs a machine that does much more than cut the lawn every week, then a general purpose tractor may be ideal.
While it is not suited to heavy manure handling or large scale feeding tasks, a general purpose garden tractor is often better suited for general day to day work around a small holding, or for pulling a small feed or manure cart between sheds or outhouses that a much larger farm tractor would be unable to manage.
Spare Parts Availability
Before purchase, the buyer should consider looking for the range of spares being offered for the particular tractor they may have chosen. Larger, more expensive, and better-known brands will have a larger range of spares and accessories available than a cheaper, but lesser known tractor. Consideration should also be given to any specialist equipment that may be needed to fit any parts that need replacement and whether the part being considered will fit a variety of tractors from various manufacturers.
If the buyer does not feel confident in the possibility of repairing the tractor themselves, a local repair agent or even a friendly local car garage may be their best option. Some owner and workshop manuals are now available to purchase online, so it may be worth checking the availability of such manuals before purchase.
How to Buy a Garden Tractor on eBay
If you are looking to buy a garden tractor on eBay, probably the overriding factor in your purchase will be that of the distance between you and the seller. Arranging to send it via a courier is likely to be costly, so you should have access to a trailer for your vehicle in order to drive it on and then drive away. Finding a buyer in your area may be to your advantage.
As with all major purchases, you should take your time when choosing the right tractor for you. Consider the features of the tractor as well as the features of your property — the size, the manoeuvrability, the necessary tasks you wish to accomplish with the tractor — in order to make the most ideal make and model for your needs.
As stated previously, before buying a garden tractor, the buyer should give considerable thought to the precise intended purpose and use of the tractor as well as the features of the property itself before first choosing which of the two types of garden tractor, namely the ride-on lawn mower and the more general purpose garden tractor, is best suited.
If leaning towards the ride-on tractor mower, then consideration should be given to the size of lawn or grassed area the mower will cover, and select one that features an appropriately sized width of cutting head. However, if the buyer is looking for a more general purpose tractor to accomplish more than simple lawn cutting, then they should choose one that features the most suitable functions and capabilities for the job at hand. Consideration should also be given to the range of accessories that can be powered or towed behind such a machine. Finally, the user should look at the location of the seller of the tractor and make the appropriate arrangements for delivery or collection.