Small Farm Tractor Buyer’s Guide - Transmission

6/4/2018 10:30:07 AM by Carissa Shaul

Back in the day, a tractor was a tractor, but today there is a wide array of options available, and that can be overwhelming. Follow along in this blog series as we clarify a few things about today’s modern lineup, and help you decide what sort of tractor will suit you best.


Tractors have been using gear and clutch-style transmissions for a very long time, and many experienced operators are more comfortable with this tried and true design. Today, however, the lion’s share of tractors sold have hydrostatic transmissions, which simplify and complicate the act of motivating a tractor all at the same time, especially if you’re used to a clutch. Instead of releasing a clutch and having your tractor lurch forward, you can now select your gear or speed range, then push the forward or reverse pedal to modulate the speed and direction you want to go. This type of transmission is a proven design and tends to last longer than traditional manual transmission clutches. With a hydrostatic transmission, you can creep along without burning up a clutch, which is very useful. If you find yourself feathering a tractor’s clutch often, hydrostatic will serve you well. Try both styles out before you buy to decide which style you’re more comfortable with. Used replacement transmission options can easily be found from many different suppliers at saving you time and money from having to go back to the original dealer.