top of page

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 im