5 Of The Best Garden Tractor For Your Sizable Lawn & Heavy Duty Needs

The Long Haul

The classic garden tractor is your yard’s trusty workhorse. Although garden tractors are capable machines in most properties that are at least half an acre, they’re especially necessary on large and vast swathes of land. Naturally, they will be the better choice over your reel mower. Hence, whether you’re maintaining a couple of acres or a dozen, acquiring the best garden tractor will be vital!

An electric mower or even a z-turn may be sufficient for small to medium-sized yards. However, the rugged and beefy garden tractor can withstand challenging terrain as well as handle more abuse than its smaller counterparts. This mean machine goes beyond just cutting grass. It also dethatches, hauls heavy loads, aerates lawns, and can even grade driveways!

This article will help you find the best garden tractor that will be ideal for your yard. Also, we’ll look into the considerations you’ll need to make when choosing your next garden tractor.

Let’s start with a quick look at our top five garden tractors:

At a Glance

Garden Tractor

Engine

Deck

Turning Radius

Rating

The Troy-Bilt Riding Lawn Mower

382cc

30 Inches

18 inches

Cub Cadet XT1

18 HP

42 inches

16 inches

Husqvarna GTH52XLS

24 HP

52 inches

18 inches

Poulan Pro PB20VA46

20 HP

52 inches

16 inches

Husqvarna YTA18542

18.5 HP

42 inches

16 inches

More…

A Guide to Buying Garden Tractors

Garden Tractor Basics

In addition to general-purpose gardening, garden tractors also function as versatile yard and garden machines. They typically have larger wheels for smooth a stable operation even on difficult and uneven ground. Garden tractors’ versatility ultimately comes from the many garden implements that you can attach to them. It’s these attachments, in addition to the garden tractor’s ability to maintain large properties, which make these machines an essential tool.

Common Garden Tractor Attachments

Manufacturers typically sell attachments separately. However, you’ll need a few of them if you really want to utilize your garden tractor fully. Here are several useful attachments you may find:

  • Plow
  • ​Snow thrower
  • ​Dozer blade
  • ​Dethatcher
  • ​Bagger
  • ​Dump / Utility cart
  • ​Tiller
  • Lawn sweeper
  • Hitch

Benefits of a Garden Tractor

You may be wondering if you should get a garden tractor if you already have an electric mower or even a z-turn. It’s true that electric mowers and zero-turn mowers can be very useful when it comes to lawn care and maintenance. However, garden tractors hold several advantages over them. I’ve listed some of these benefits below:

· Versatility

Due to the sheer number of special implements that you can add to garden tractors, they are undoubtedly more versatile that push mowers or z-turns.

· Heavy-duty work

Makers design garden tractors as the heavy-duty workhorses especially for large and vast properties

· Higher durability

Because of their heavy-duty status, garden tractors are typically more robust, solid, and durable than smaller, more compact mowers. Hence, those big machines are capable of withstanding the abuse from long workdays and tough jobs.

· Improved stability

In conjunction with their solid build, garden tractors are also designed to be more stable and easier to drive, especially over thetricky and uneven terrain.

Considerations

If you’re truly in the market for the best garden tractor, you’ll need to take a look at some important factors first. Afterward, you’ll know exactly the kind of tractor you need and will be most suitable for your yard and garden.

Lawn Size, Terrain, and Cutting Decks

The first factor you’d be wise to consider is the size of your lawn as well as its terrain type. You’ll want to match the size of the garden tractor’s cutting deck to the overall size of your yard or property. Lastly, you’ll want to ensure that the tractor can handle sloped, and uneven terrain if these are features on your property.

Here’s a handy guide to match lawn sizes with tractor cutting decks:

  • Less than ½ acre = 30 to 38-inch decks
  • Around 1 acre = 38 to 42-inch decks
  • ​Around 2 acres = 42 to 48-inch decks
  • 3 acres and above = 48 to 60-inch decks
Engine

Garden tractor enginesare typically measured in horsepower (HP) or CC for smaller tractors. Similar to cutting decks, garden tractor engines should match the type of work you’ll be doing. For instance, Tractors with 15 to 18 HP engines are generally suitable for small to medium-sized properties. On the other hand, 19 HP to 24 HP garden tractors is ideal for vast properties and those with uneven terrain.

Turning Radius

A garden tractor’s turning radius will determine the size of the uncut patch of grass you will leave behind once you turn your tractor. Hence, a low turning radius will mean a complete cut and will require less backtracking.

Features

Don’t forget also to consider that features that come with your next garden tractor. All garden tractors can handle basic grass cutting. So, it’s really their individual and unique features that will be deal makers or breakers.

Top features to look for:
  • Comfortable seats
  • Reverse mow
  • Traction control
  • Fuel indicator
  • Easy mode changes
  • Cruise control

The Top 5 Best Garden Tractor

#1

The Troy-Bilt Riding Lawn Mower

Via Amazon.com

Specifications:
  • Engine: 382cc
  • ​Deck: 30 inches
  • ​Cutting height: 1.25 to 3.75 inches
  • Turning Radius: 18 inches
  • ​Speed: 4.25 mph(Forward), 4.25 mph(Reverse)
  • ​Fuel tank capacity: 1.3 gal
  • ​Weight: 336lbs
  • ​Cruise Control: No
Attachments available (separate purchase):
Details:

It’s not surprising that our smallest garden tractor option is also the most compact. The 30-inch Troy-Bilt Riding Lawn mower (model # 13A726JD066) is only 60 inches long and 34 inches wide, yet it’s remarkably robust with its 14-gauge steel construction. Meanwhile, its 6-speed transmission means you’ll be able to control your mowing pace at just the right speed.

Additionally, the OHV design on the Troy-bilt features improved fuel economy, whether you’re going forward at a speedy 4.25 mph or in reverse.

Naturally, due to this tractor’s size, it’ll only perform at its best when you use it for small to medium-sized yards. Also, it’s low driving seat

Pros
  • Great for gardens where you’ll require maneuverability
  • ​Compact but capable cutting strength
  • ​Fuel indicator
  • ​Excellent fuel economy
  • Ideal for even terrain
Cons
  • Single blade
  • ​Small driving seat
  • ​Low torque but sufficient for smaller yards
  • ​Small fuel tank capacity
  • ​Gloves will be necessary during use
  • Not ideal for large properties or long mowing times
Best for:

Lawns less than ½ acre with many obstacles and fixtures

#2

Cub Cadet XT1

Via Amazon.com

Details:
  • Engine: 18 HP
  • ​Deck: 42 inches
  • ​Cutting height: 1 to 4 inches
  • Turning Radius: 16 inches​
  • ​Speed: 5.5 mph (Forward), 3.1 mph (Reverse)
  • ​Fuel tank capacity: 3 gal
  • ​Weight: 410 lbs
  • Cruise Control: Yes​
Attachments available (separate purchase):
Details:

On testing the Cub Cadet XT1, you’ll find out that in addition to its rugged good-looks, this 42-inch garden tractor is also incredibly easy to operate. Hence, if you’re new to garden tractor mowing, the XT1 will be a great option with its straightforward and responsive handling. Also, you’ll also get a very tight 16-inch turning radius as well as cruise control which will make extended mowing a breeze.

Why stop when the sun goes down? When you have a particularly large area to mow, the XT1’s headlights will ensure visibility even as you mow into the evening. Just remember to keep an eye on the battery level indicator.

Lastly, the XT1 sports a unique feature in its easy-clean system with an integrated high-pressure water cleaner that’ll take care of all those grass clippings and other garden debris. All these features without costing you an arm and a leg.

Pros
  • Great value
  • ​Easy to operate
  • ​Large, clear headlights
  • ​Responsive controls
  • ​Integrated cleaner for garden debris
  • Diverse attachment options (sold separately)
Cons
  • Average quality engine
  • Accessories come at a steep price
Best for:

Lawns that are 1 to 2 acres

#3

Husqvarna GTH52XLS

Via Amazon.com

Specifications:
  • Engine: 24 HP
  • ​Deck: 52 inches
  • ​Cutting height: 1.5 to 4 inches
  • ​Turning Radius: 18 inches
  • ​Speed: 5.5 mph(Forward), 2.1 mph(Reverse)
  • ​Fuel tank capacity: 4 gal
  • Weight: 815 lbs​
  • Cruise Control: Yes​
Attachments available (separate purchase):
Details:

The monstrous GTH52XLS from Husqvarna is, decidedly, the largest and most powerful garden tractor on our list with its 52-inch cutting deck and the 24 horses under its hood. It is only proper then to expect a robust build and construction from this garden tractor, starting with its 11-gauge steel and powder-coated cutting deck. Also improving the durability of the GTH52XLS is its tough brushguard, cast iron axles, and large rear tires.

Moreover, thetricky terrain becomes less of a problem with the stability and maneuverability of the Husqvarna GTH52XLS onuneven and tricky terrain. Hence, you need not worry about slippage or scalping. In addition to stability, you’ll also get this tractor’s ergonomic design, handy cupholder, cruise control, and comfortable seats complete with armrests! Then, those big bright headlights will make sure you have an enjoyable work day and night!

Finally, just connect your garden hose to the deck wash port, and you’ll quickly clean the underside of the deck!

Pros
  • Powerful engine
  • Robust build and construction
  • High corrosion resistance
  • Smooth as well as comfortable driving
  • Bright headlights
  • Diverse features
  • ​Prevents lawn scalping
  • ​Remarkably stable even on tricky terrain
  • Easy cleaning system
Cons
  • Ideal only for large properties
  • Pricey
Best for:

Lawns greater than 2 acres with tricky terrain

#4

Poulan Pro PB20VA46

Via Amazon.com

Specifications
  • Engine: 20 HP
  • ​Deck: 46 inches
  • ​Cutting height: 1 to 4 inches
  • ​Turning Radius: 16 inches
  • ​Speed: 7.5 mph(Forward), 3mph(Reverse)
  • ​Fuel tank capacity: 2.5 gal
  • ​Weight: 515lbs
  • ​Cruise Control: No
Attachments available (separate purchase):
Details:

If you appreciate the smooth, comfortable driving and safety features on the Husqvarna GTH52XLS but not its size, then the slightly smaller 46-inch Poulan Pro PB20VA46 will be your best option. The PB20VA46 possesses a similar powerful engine, ergonomic design, robust frame, and the ability to tackle difficult terrain.

Another fast feature is the Poulan Pro’s ready-start switch, which wakes up this handsome garden tractor at the push of a button. However, it may take some time to get used to the pedal controls on this tractor. Hence, ensure that you take it on a couple of practice runs before you start working.

Incidentally, many would just choose the Poulan Pro PB20VA46 over its Husqvarna counterparts simply because of its sleek black finish.

Pros
  • Great bang for buck
  • ​Fast as well as robust engine
  • Improved comfort with ergonomic features​
  • ​Tough onchallenging terrain
  • Large anti-slippage wheels
  • Handsome black paint and finish
Cons
  • There’s a learning curve to using this tractor entirely and will take some time and practice.
  • Half the fuel capacity of the Husqvarna GTH52XLS
Best for:

Lawns around 1 to 3 acres

#5

Husqvarna YTA18542

Via Amazon.com

Specifications:
  • ​Engine: 18.5 HP
  • ​Deck: 42 inches
  • ​Cutting height: 1.5 to 4 inches
  • ​Turning Radius: 16 inches
  • ​Speed: 5.5 mph (Forward),3 mph (Reverse)
  • ​Fuel tank capacity: 2.5 gal
  • Weight: 415​
  • Cruise Control: No
Attachments available (separate purchase):
Details:

Finally, we have another garden tractor from Husqvarna: the 42-inch YTA18542. Despite the absences of cruise control, its relatively small frame, and lower 18.5 horsepower engine, the YTA18542 is a much-loved tractor. It’s the perfect combination of power, efficiency, and features that make this garden tractor one of the best on the market.

One unique feature is its air induction technology which utilizes air movement to enhance grass lift which ultimately improves cut quality and hastens the mowing process. Adding to this efficiency is the handy cutting height adjustment lever which you can quickly find on the rear left fender. These features contribute to a 2.5 acre per hour mowing speed.

Of course, you’ll still have those anti-scalp wheels, durable build, and cup holder as is standard with Husqvarna.

Pros
  • Robustand incredibly durable
  • ​Excellent combination of engine speed, power, and features
  • Easy cleaning​
  • ​Fast, efficient, and superior mowing
  • Convenient blade height adjustment
  • ​Versatile accessories that you can buy separately
Cons
  • Relatively small tank capacity
  • Absent cruise control
Best for:

Lawns around 1 to 2 acres ofdifficult terrain

    Hoang Quang

    Hello! I’m Quang Hoang and Grow Gardener is my little nook for all the adventures, and occasional misadventures, on my journey in gardening! As I continue to awaken life in little seeds and struggle to keep flora alive, I’ll be here sharing with all of you what I’ve learned! Join me in my little garden, and let’s grow together.

    Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

    Leave a Comment: