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Diesel vs. Gasoline Tractors – Which Is Better and Why?

Is it better to purchase a diesel or gasoline tractor?

The short answer is “Diesel.”

Here is why…

Diesel engines have many advantages over gasoline engines. In fact, they are far superior.


To begin with, diesel tractors are more powerful.

Diesel engines typically have their peak horsepower at about 1,000-1,500 rpm and horsepower stays up throughout most of the rpm range. Gasoline powered engines in garden tractors typically have their peak horsepower at about 3,000 rpm, and it really falls off quickly below that.

How does that make a difference?

A gasoline powered garden tractor needs to be at full throttle to achieve its rated horsepower. When the tractor has a load put on it by a mower, or it is going up a hill, the rpm will fall from, let us say, around 3,000 rpm down to 2,500 rpm. At 2,500 rpm, a gasoline engine will have significantly less horsepower than at 3,000 rpm. At 2,500 rpm, with much less horsepower, the load will pull the engine down even further until the rpm and horsepower are so low that either the engine stalls or you release the load (by shutting off the mower or pushing in on the clutch).

A diesel engine has a much broader power band. Using the same example, the diesel powered tractor running at full throttle, encounters the same load as the garden tractor did. The engine rpm will fall from, let us say, 2,000 RPM to 1,500 rpm. At 1,500 rpm, the diesel engine will have roughly the same power as it did at 3,000 RPM and will continue to pull the load. The horsepower and rpm will not continue to fall because the diesel engine’s power is not as dependent on the engine's rpm.


Diesel engines are water cooled, allowing them to operate at a more consistent and cooler temperature --- which extends the engine life.

Properly maintain your diesel engine and you can easily run it for 10,000 hours or more without needing an overhaul.


A diesel tractor is also a better choice than a gasoline garden tractor because of all the available implements.

Most garden tractors are equipped with a belly mower without a three point hitch. This severely limits the type of implements that you can use. It also limits the tractor’s expandability.

Many scoop and blade type implements will not work on a gasoline garden tractor. In fact, the drive train also limits the type of implements you can use with a gasoline tractor. A typical garden tractor is also belt-driven, therefore will not typically pull as much load as a diesel powered utility tractor.

Gasoline tractors would not likely be able to use a tiller or box blade.

Diesel tractors would allow you to use implements that you cannot use with a gasoline type. It is as simple as that.


Diesel engines do not contain parts that commonly wear out such as rotors, spark plugs, points, or distributor caps. This is a huge advantage.

You also do not have to worry about having a gummed up, hard-to-start carburetor.


You can store diesel tractors for long periods, under the right conditions, and they will start right up. This does not happen with gasoline tractors.

If you need any further help or have any questions about diesel engines, tractors, or anything else, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.

If you are looking for old, vintage, classic, or new tractor parts, send us a part request.

Team Tractor Ranch - #1 Tractor Dealer in Arizona. We sell and service most major brands of tractors including Yanmar, Kubota, John Deere, TYM, Mahindra, Kioti, Case, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Deutz, Case IH, Farmall, International Harvester, Branson Tractors, LS, Shibura, Claas Tractor, McCormick Tractors, Valtra, Solis, YTO, Montana, and Nortrac.

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