Lawn tractors and garden tractors both cut grass. The determining factors in your buying decision, though, aren’t related to cutting grass. The decision is actually about all the other chores around your yard. If you’re primarily looking to cut grass and perform light yard work, a lawn tractor will serve you well. If you also want to use your tractor for heavy-duty, earth-moving chores like tilling and cultivating, you’ll need a garden tractor. Lawn Tractors Lawn tractors are lighter duty than garden tractors, featuring lower torque transmissions, less horsepower, and smaller rear tires. Lawn tractors pack enough punch to tow light carts and spreaders. Plus, they can be converted into snow plows or snow blowers in the winter. They’re even effective at handling advanced lawn work, such as aerating, dethatching, spraying, and spreading. For added traction and stability on uneven terrain, you should look for a lawn tractor with locking rear differential. While you won’t have the same forward speed, the stability you gain on slopes will be well appreciated. How To Pick the Perfect Lawn Tractor Garden Tractors Garden tractors are like a beefed-up version of a lawn tractor, capable of more heavy-duty ground engaging jobs. They’re capable of tilling, furrowing, and towing heavier cart loads. Garden tractors all have at least 24 horsepower engines, capable of towing heavy-duty attachments. They also include larger back tires for extra ground clearance. These larger wheels also provide enhanced stability on slopes and inclines. However, if you’re using it on slopes greater than 15%, you should consider a tractor with a traction control system or locking rear differential. How To Pick the Perfect Garden Tractor Mulch vs. Bag? A popular option is a mulching kit that plugs the discharge chute, keeping grass under the deck and cutting it into fine, nutrient-rich clippings. Mulching kits come in a variety of size. Compatibility is the key. Just make sure your kit is the same size and brand as your tractor. View & Shop All Lawn Mower Mulching Kits Another option for disposing of grass clippings is a bagger. Rear-mounted baggers suck cut grass from the blades, through a chute to the collection bags. Baggers come in either double-bag or triple-bag styles, depending on the tractor size. Stick with the same brand to ensure compatibility. View & Shop All Lawn Mower BaggersSure, the Kubota is expensive at $8200, but it’s a lot of tractor. It’s powered by a three-cylinder, liquid-cooled 21-hp diesel that provides gobs of low-speed torque. Yet it’s extremely fuel-efficient, which is surprising given that it powers a tractor weighing 969 pounds. Its weight is due, in part, to its hefty 3/16-in.-thick steel frame (3/32 to 1/8 in. is more typical in this category). Dave Conero, our Kubota contact in the tiny New York town of Pine Bush, estimates the tractor’s diesel uses about 30 percent less fuel than a comparable gas engine. This tractor’s deck, hydrostatic transmission and power steering are all shaft driven, making the tractor precisely controlled while mowing or towing an attachment.Things cool off in the fall, and that’s when the fun starts, at least as far as yardwork is concerned. It’s just satisfying to get behind the wheel of a tractor and grade a driveway, renovate a lawn or haul firewood to its stack. You can use any basic lawn machine for small jobs, like towing a dethatcher, but hard work calls for beefy equipment. In the outdoor power business, these machines are known as garden tractors. Heavier, more powerful (and, yes, more expensive) than their lawn tractor cousins, these products are built to take abuse. And we’re happy to dish it out. To put garden tractors to the test, we assembled five machines and four common attachments and put them to work on a farm in upstate New York. The tractors ranged from one of the least expensive we could find (technically a high-end lawn tractor) to one of the most expensive. Our objective was not so much to test these tractors head-to-head, but to find out how much machine you need for different jobs.It seems obvious that the more property you maintain, the bigger and tougher the tractor you need. But we learned that even if you have a small property, and it’s all grass, you’re better off buying a larger machine for the power and durability it provides. In that regard, a garden tractor is miles ahead of a lawn tractor. “It can easily process several acres of grass,” says Greg Weekes, marketing manager for John Deere riding lawn equipment.This heavy-duty lawn tractor marks the boundary where lawn and garden tractors meet. We were pleasantly surprised by its capable design, partly due to an 18-hp Kawasaki engine, certainly one of the best powerplants we know of in this price range ($2300). It provided enough muscle for some uphill grading, but eventually the tractor lost traction and spun its wheels (wheel weights are available). Another torture test: We took it up and down a trail using the wagon heaped with firewood and concrete blocks. The tractor handled the load with plenty of power, though it sounded as if we were straining the hydrostatic transmission. The Husqvarna pulls all but the heaviest implements without complaint.Lawn & Garden Tractor Buyer’s Guide – Find out How to Pick the Perfect Lawn & Garden Tractor. Our lawn mower how-to library can help you pick the perfect reel lawn mower, push lawn mower, riding lawn mower, zero turn lawn mower, lawn tool or lawn mower accessory.Just climbing into the seat of the Massey Ferguson is fun. Its dark red color and its 23-hp engine give it a farm-tractor quality. Then there’s the grand old name, dating to 1847. Okay, the tractor is expensive at $6700 but, boy, did this thing pull a box grader—up a hill, no less, and over a rut. Several passes later, the rut was history. Other things that make the Massey fun are its hydraulic deck lift, a fender-mounted cruise control and power steering. It’s got so much power and traction, we never needed the differential lock that makes the rear wheels drive in unison, though you might need it mowing uphill on grass wet with dew.X300 Select Series Get around all kinds of things in your yard (up to three acres) with X300 Select Series Lawn Tractors. Some models are available with four-wheel steering which can you help you get around anything, power steering to make it even easier and the responsive Twin Touch™ foot pedals for pinpoint control forward and reverse. Explore the X300 Select Series Models X500 Select Series For up to 3 acres. The next step up from the X300 Series lawn tractor in terms of size, power and performance is the smooth-running X500 lawn tractor for a powerful cut on all kinds of terrain. Explore the X500 Select Series ModelsThe Craftsman is top dog in the power-to-price category. At $2600, it has the most power of anything in its class because it’s equipped with a 26-hp V-twin Kohler Pro engine. Craftsman rates its tractor to use some truly heavy attachments. Although we didn’t test them, the company offers a 200-pound-capacity front-end loader scoop and a massive disc harrow. The Craftsman’s hefty engine helped it pull our attachments without a hint of strain, and it easily mowed through tall grass.When you step up to the Toro GT420, things get interesting. The machine is not inexpensive, at $5620, but we think it’s worth the money. The testers immediately noticed its vibration-free operation when cutting and pulling an attachment. Despite its small 17-hp engine, the GT420 has plenty of power—though it would be underpowered for long sessions with a grader. A twin-position foot pedal gives you precise ground speed in forward and reverse, a distinct benefit when matching speed to the work you are doing. The Toro was the only tractor equipped with a tilt steering wheel—a handy feature that allows multiple operators to choose an angle that’s right for them.