What Are the Basic Differences Between Lawn, Garden, Subcompact, Compact, and Gray Tractors?

We want to help you understand the very basic differences between lawn, garden, subcompact, compact, and gray tractors.


And as a quick aside --- we are here to help you purchase a new tractor and implements when the time is right.


Let’s get to it.



What is a lawn tractor?


A lawn tractor is primarily used for mowing lawns and is fairly limited in terms of power, features and expandability through implements.




Their horsepower rating is 17 to 22.


If you have a modest-sized lawn to maintain and have an occasional need to move a few supplies around with a small trailer, then a lawn tractor might be all you need.



What is a garden tractor?


Garden tractors are typically tougher, larger, and more powerful than lawn tractors.



They have significantly more options for installing implements.


With their wider mower decks, you can mow more land in less time, and additional features like hydraulic steering and four-wheel drive give them an edge over lawn tractors when it comes to versatility and adaptability.


Their horsepower rating is 20 to 25.


These tractors are a great choice if you need a lawnmower that will withstand heavy-use and give you options for working on other farm projects.



What is a subcompact tractor?


While the smallest of subcompact tractors are similar in appearance to garden tractors --- this is where the similarities end.



Subcompacts are much more capable for farm chores, and in many cases, the line between the two classifications is roughly divided by the type of engine they contain.


Their horsepower rating is 20 to 25.




Garden tractors tend to have gasoline engines, while subcompact tractors are usually diesel-powered.


Many subcompacts are also equipped with PTOs and three-point hitches, making them much more expandable than smaller models. Some even have front-end loaders.



What is a compact utility tractor?


The pinnacle of small tractors is the compact utility tractor.


Compact utility tractors can be equipped with implements ranging from front-end loaders to backhoes and everything in between.


Their horsepower rating is 25 to 65.


Some even come with four-wheel-drive and cabs --- making them the perfect option if you’re a serious hobby farmer that needs a powerful, adaptable tractor that will serve you in all weather conditions.



What is a gray tractor?


Gray tractors are the most misunderstood and oddball tractors of the bunch.


Gray market tractors are older tractors that were manufactured for sale in Japan and shipped back to the U.S. for resale.


You may have heard the term "gray market" Yanmar tractor. Sometimes this term creates confusion, so we will clarify it.


Yanmar manufactured two versions of their tractors. (1.) USA market, and (2.) Japan and other countries. This was done to meet different requirements for each country.


For instance, in Japan, tractors are used mainly in rice fields with a tiller as the main implement. These tractors were equipped with multi-speed PTO's to use with the tillers.


In the USA, there were very few rice fields needing to be tilled. Their tractors were setup for use with mowers, blades, etc. The USA tractors also needed to meet OSHA and other safety and standards.


A gray market tractor is simply the Japanese version that has been legally imported into the US.


Sometimes gray market tractors get bad press. Why? It is because the gray market versions do not typically come with a ROPS (rollover protection structure), some PTO shields, or English warning and operation decals. None of these were required, years ago, when they were new. Today, you can get an aftermarket ROPS, English decals, English manuals, and PTO shields. Once you have these items, there is little difference from the USA Yanmar tractor.


Hopefully, this brief article has helped you get a very basic understanding of the differences between lawn, garden, subcompact, and compact utility tractors. There’s plenty more to learn. We’re here to help.


For a slew of reading and video information about tractors, implements, and more rural living topics, check out our extensive information blog here.


If you need any further help or have any questions about tractors, implements, 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.


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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