The Compact Utility Tractor Guide

posted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 in Dealer News

Sometimes caring for your land requires stronger, larger equipment that exceeds what a standard riding lawn mower can accomplish.

That’s where sub-compact and compact utility tractors come in. This category of tractors allows you to care for the land, your animals and tackle bigger, heavier jobs.

Sub-Compact Tractors vs. Compact Tractors: What’s the difference?

Sub-compact utility tractors and compact utility tractors are alike in many ways. Both small tractors can be outfitted with a variety of implements to help you accomplish an array of tasks. Sub-compact refers to the John Deere 1 Series, while compact utility refers to the 2, 3 and 4 Series tractors. All models in the 1 Series and most of the compact tractors (2 through 4 Series) offer drive- over decks utilizing exclusive AutoConnect™ technology.

small john deere tractor

All compact tractors are versatile and can help you maintain your property from jobs as simple as grooming and mowing, to more complex undertakings like clearing brush, landscaping and agricultural work. And, they’re designed, assembled and tested right here in the good ol’ U.S.A in Augusta, Georgia. So, how are they different? Simply put, sub-compacts and standard compacts differ in size, power, and lift capacity.

Sub-Compact Tractors

A sub-compact tractor like those found in our 1 Series can be considered a mini tractor. You’ll still be able to accomplish a lot of the jobs you would with a bigger compact tractor, just on a smaller scale. All you’ll need to do is outfit your machine with the right implements. John Deere tractor implements and accessories run the gamut from loaders and manure spreaders, to rotary tillers and rear grooming mowers.

To that end, the size of the machine impacts the lift capacity. Sub-compacts are limited to a loader capacity of up to 754 lb., so they are best for lighter jobs. They’re also outfitted with a smaller drive- over deck of up to 60” and have a more modest engine with 23-25 hp.

Much to its benefit, the smaller size of a sub-compact tractor allows for more agility and maneuverability. So it’ll be able to fit through tighter spaces like gates and storage entrances, and manage spaces a larger compact tractor couldn’t. Therefore, it’s essential to think about how much of this type of maneuvering you’ll have to do. While you’ll have more maneuverability with a 1 Series, it’s important to know that it won’t do as well with a challenging terrain due in part to its ground clearance.

Compact Tractors

If you find yourself working through bigger, heavier chore lists than a sub-compact can tackle, a standard compact tractor is the next step up. Compact tractors are larger than the 1 Series and are therefore able to handle bigger jobs. A bigger tractor also means you’ll have bigger implements and attachments that cover more ground.

You’ll see a significant jump in loader capacity when considering standard compacts. As a point of reference, the loader capacity increases to 1120 lb. in the 2 Series, and it goes all the way up to 2222 lb. in our 4 Series, depending on the model. A higher loader capacity is better for heavier loads and for getting your jobs done in fewer trips. This makes easier, quicker work of certain chores that might require multiple trips like handling manure or transporting feed.

john deere 3 series loader

John Deere compact utility tractors also come equipped with an extra 12” of ground clearance when compared to sub-compacts. So while a compact tractor may lose some of its agility due to size, the extra ground clearance allows it to overcome rockier, more challenging terrains without damaging your equipment. Lastly, compact utility tractors have more powerful engines. The 2 Series and 3 Series start where the 1 Series maxes out, with 25-38 hp and 25-46 hp respectively.

If you still have questions or need help choosing, stop by and let our experts help you find the green and yellow tractor that’s best suited to you personally, and your land. If you’ve narrowed your choices down to a top few, it’s hard to know for sure which model will suit you best without trying it out in person. Schedule a test drive at your local Sunshine showroom today!

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