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Tips for Choosing a Tractor with Less than 40 HP

Owning a small plot of land can be a big dream come true for many. Even a few acres can be enough space to grow a favorite crop, own a few animals, or indulge in a love of gardening. For many, their property serves as a source of extra income or is even the primary way that they support their family. An increase in land, however, can mean an increase in responsibility, and for many, this added responsibility results in the need for better tools. The right tractor, such as a John Deere, can be a landowner’s most important tool.

Tractors with Less than 40 Horsepower

Every piece of land and each individual occupation calls for a unique set of resources and machinery. It is important to understand the different types of tractors from makers like Case IH and New Holland before selecting one to make sure it is right for the tasks. Tractors that have 40 horsepower (HP) are one of the fastest growing and most in demand types of tractors on the market. Any tractor with 40 HP or less can be a great option for anyone who is looking to maintain a large yard or cultivate a small portion of land.

Categories of Tractors with Fewer Than 40 HP

Tractors with a horsepower of 40 or less can be separated into three basic categories. The first is a lawn tractor which can have between 15 and 20 horsepower. Machines from brands such as Massey-Ferguson with 20 to 30 horsepower are generally in the sub-compact category. 35 to 40 HP machines are typically in the lower end compact utility category and can perform more tasks. It is important to determine the right fit for the property. There are a few questions that everyone intending to purchase a tractor should ask before making a decision.

How Much Land Needs to Be Cared For?

The amount of land will often determine the horsepower a tractor will need. Properties with less than 5 acres may be a good fit for a tractor from Kubota that is less than 20 HP. These gardening tractors can achieve simple tasks around the yard such as mowing, light snow removal, and simple preparation of garden beds. More than 5 acres is justification for purchasing a tractor with 25 to 35 HP. 40 HP tractors, at the upper end of this category, can handle a small number of farming tasks such as mowing more than 10 acres, lifting small hay bales, and digging post holes or ditches.

What is the Budget?

An individual’s budget will go a long way in determining which type of tractor can be purchased. Some of the more powerful tractors come with a higher price tag, but a good tractor from International can also be purchased used and still maintain much of its original purchase value, especially when it has under 5,000 hours on the meter. A lot of money can be saved when purchasing used, but it is always a good idea to ask questions about the history of the machine to avoid expensive repairs.

What Tasks Does the Tractor Need to Perform?

Different tractors are built for different tasks. Some Mahindra tractors are built for lawn and property maintenance, while others are made for lifting or plowing. One of the best things to do is to make a list of all of the tasks that the tractor needs to perform and then shop for a machine, tires, and implements that fit these needs. Most Ford tractors under 40 HP are built for maintaining a lawn that has already been cleared. It can do basic tasks, such as mowing, and small implements can be added for pulling small objects, removing modest amounts of snow, and lifting lighter objects. A mid-size 40 HP tractor can also be great for cleaning out manure from the barn.

What Type of Land Will the Tractor Be Mowing?

Any Allis-Chalmers tractor with horsepower under 40 is probably best suited for ground that is relatively flat and smooth. Terrains that have lots of hills or are rough may need more power to be effective. Muddy ground and hilly ground may require four wheel drive or mechanical front wheel drive. Tractors with this much horsepower will probably struggle with heavy soil such as clay, but are perfect for maintaining small homestead property of 10 acres or less.

How Big is the Barn or Garage?

One benefit of a smaller Challenger tractor with less than 40 HP is that it can fit inside a small barn or garage. It is important to consider how big the space is that will house the tractor and to plan accordingly. Some garden tractors can fit inside a garden shed or garage with little problem.

How Quickly do the Tasks Need to be Performed?

Finding the right tractor can be a fine balance between power and speed. The quicker that a task is needed to be done, the more power the engine needs. This is why many professional farmers opt for more powerful tractors with more than 75 HP. However, speed is not always a priority when it comes to yard work. Smaller Case tractors tend to be more agile and are better suited for delicate work around the family garden or lawn.

What Implements Will Need to be Attached?

There are a lot of implements to choose from when it comes to a lawn or garden tractor. It is essential to make a list of these to help in the decision of which tractor to buy. Many garden tractors like Kioti are suited to attach carts for transporting material, baggers to store grass clippings, snow blades, aerators, sweepers, cultivators, and rollers. Some are even able to accommodate scoop attachments to lift moderately sized items.

What is the Resale Value?

One thing to consider is the retail value of the tractor. LS Tractors between 30 and 40 HP are the most popular and in-demand machines on the market. This makes them an excellent investment as they can be resold for nearly the same amount even after a few years of use. This is a great benefit for those who expect to need a larger tractor after a period of time. This is a good thing to consider if the tasks and responsibilities of the plot of land are expected to increase over time.

Additional Determining Factors

There are a few other things to consider when looking at a lawn, garden, or small compact tractor. These factors can help to avoid making a purchase that is not worthwhile or not suited to the specific tasks it needs to perform.

Always Opt for More

Once a list has been made of job necessities, type of land, amount of land, priorities, and speed capabilities, it is time to search for a Farmall tractor. A general rule to follow when selecting a tractor is to find one that has more power and more capabilities than may be needed on paper. It is always better to have a machine that is able to do more than to suffer with one that struggles with the basic everyday tasks for which it was purchased.


Tractors in the upper end of this category may have what is called PTO, or power take-off horsepower. Not to be confused with engine horsepower, the PTO is a spinning connector attached to the back and sometimes middle of the tractor to give it additional options that require extra power. These Versatile tractors can have additional implements attached that make certain basic field cultivation possible. Those who have the need to move small hay bales or do other tasks without taking away from the pulling power of the engine can achieve this capability with a PTO.

Choose a Small Footprint

When working in a yard or a garden, it is important to consider the footprint of the tractor. Lawn or garden tractors are built to be gentle on surfaces that need to maintain their curb appeal. Not only this, but they are also built to traverse the nooks and crannies that add charm to gardens and lawns but can be difficult to navigate with a bigger machine.

What is the Difference Between a Lawn Mower and a Lawn Tractor?

When it comes to lawn maintenance, many people may wonder if a riding lawn mower or a lawn tractor is a better choice. Lawn mowers are built only for mowing the lawn. McCormick Lawn and garden tractors, however, have many more capabilities, and they may not even come with much of a higher price tag. This makes them a better choice for anyone who wants the ability to plow snow, plant a garden, or haul lighter materials. They often have greater mowing capabilities as well, with the capacity to cut up to 6 feet of grass at a time.

40 HP and Less Tractors are a Gardener’s Best Friend

Tractors with less than 40 HP are a wonderful investment for those who have land of around 10 acres or less. With superior maneuvering capabilities, a smaller footprint, and hundreds of different options, they are a huge step up from a riding lawn mower without being too much more expensive. Buying a used machine is a wonderful way to get much needed assistance with lawn care and garden maintenance.