Sometimes the terms “lawn tractor” and “garden tractor” are thrown around when people are talking about riding mowers, but the two are not the same pieces of equipment. There are certain things that set the two types of equipment apart, making them suitable for different jobs and situations.
A riding mower is a unit with a mowing deck attached to a unit that is self-propelled and can be ridden. In most cases the mowing deck can be detached, although some mowing decks are part of the chassis and cannot be removed. A riding mower is generally best for areas larger than a small urban yard, but under the size of one acre, with mowing decks that are usually slightly wider than a push mower, but still only have a single blade. The chassis, axles, and other parts are generally made only for light duty, and while not fragile, can only withstand light work.
A lawn tractor is technically a type of riding mower, made to resemble an agricultural tractor. Like an agricultural tractor, the lawn tractor is a multi-function unit that comes with a hitch and a front-end attachment point. The mowing decks of lawn tractors are wider than those of a riding mower, usually with two blades.
Unlike a plain riding mower, a lawn tractor can pull trailers, attachments and bag units, and can also hook up small attachments to the front end to push around, including small plows. They are useful for larger yards, from a half-acre yard up to around 2 acres, depending on what other tasks you may need it for aside from mowing. Attachments include leaf blower units and small plows but nothing too large.
The largest of the three, a garden tractor is built for heavy-duty work. The chassis and axle are made to withstand heavier loads and rougher terrains, the wheels are larger to be able to make it over all sorts of terrains, and their transmissions are made to haul heavier loads and handle heavier pieces of equipment.
The mower decks underneath garden tractors will have three or more sets of blades, making them perfect for handling anywhere from one acre up to six or seven acres of grass. They are perfect for year-round work, though, as they can handle all sorts of attachments, including blades for shoveling or grading, snow removal equipment, and tow-behind equipment for cosmetic work across the lawn. This makes garden tractors the right piece of equipment to own if you are planning projects around the house. The usability comes at a price, though – the average garden tractor will be twice as much as a lawn tractor, plus the attachments will run in the hundreds of dollars each.
By using this information, you can decide which of these is best for you, your lawn, and the projects you may have planned. Check our next blog, where we discuss the available attachments for lawn tractors and garden tractors, how they can be used and which ones are worth purchasing.