Determining which tractor is best for your needs requires much research and consideration. Let us help you narrow down the various configurations and features available.
Hydraulics, three-point and front-wheel assist
Hydraulics and three-point hitch
"Hydraulics are high up on the list of options when buying a tractor," says Nowatzki.
With the pull of a lever, through the science of fluid dynamics, hydraulic systems allow the tractor to perform tasks the operator physically can't do, including operating implements, steering, and breaking.
A three-point hitch is also important, as it is used to pull and operate implements behind the tractor. Implements attach to the three-point hitch using three movable arms, which are connected to the tractor's hydraulic system to provide lifting, lowering, and tilting capabilities. "For example, most rear-mount mowers operate this way," says Nowatzki.
Most everyone is familiar with the common two- and four-wheel-drive configurations -- it is, the engine delivers power to either two or four wheels simultaneously -- and many tractors on the market today have these capabilities. Similar to four-wheel drive, a front-wheel assist feature is common on compact and utility tractors that have front and rear tires of different sizes. When front-wheel assist is engaged, it provides a mechanical drive to the front and rear wheels. Without front-wheel assist, a tractor may resist turning, and the front tires may slide. With front-wheel assist engaged, a tractor will pull itself around turns with less skidding of the front tires. Though it's a great feature, the addition will cost you.
Last but certainly not least, consider your access to local tractor dealers, as you'll likely be working with them for the life of the tractor. Also, consider your training needs for tractor operation, ongoing maintenance, and advanced service. This may be the deciding factor between buying a new tractor with a warranty and greater reliability or a more affordable used tractor that will require occasional repairs.
Buying a tractor is a big investment, so do your research and choose the model that will best suit your needs. With the many advances in tractor technology, you're likely to find one that can help with every chore.