Least expensive 4-wheel-drive lawn / garden tractor

Gear_Geek

Member
Doing some research on 4x4 lawn / garden tractors.

Who makes the least expensive one?

I don't necessarily need 4-wheel-drive, but I definitely don't want an open rear diffeential, it would at least need a locker.

Thanks for any help.


note: thread relocated from "General Discussion"
 

96coal449

Well-Known Member
Location
earth
Hi Mike, maybe you shouldn't be looking for the least expensive and pick a well known tractor with good customer service track record and dealer location in your area. Good luck.
 

hseII

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
When you say least expensive, do you mean upfront cost, or over the life of the machine?

If you mean over the life of the machine, Kubota.

If you mean upfront cost, I suppose one of those China tractors.

Good Luck with parts if you go the "Cheap" route.
 

GregManning

Super Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chardon, OH
To Kubota, I would add Deere & New Holland.

Pick a dealer that your comfortable with, gets parts, good service reputation.

Before my current Deere 4400 (new in 2001), I had a Ford 1210 (now New Holland) 3 cylinder diesel for 10 years.
I sold it to a dealer for the same amount that I paid originally !

Get Hydro-static Vs Manual transmission, especially if someone else is going to operate it !
This makes speed control issues disappear.
Four wheel drive is not just for snow issues. It can prevent tearing up grass in wet areas, etc.

I use lots of attachments:
Front loader
Rear lift platform (surprisingly useful)
72" mid-mount mower
back hoe
rototiller
52" 2-stage snow blower (I can get 13+ ft of snow / yr)
Rear dump bucket
Box grater
Etc
 
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96coal449

Well-Known Member
Location
earth
Mike, I want to suggest to you, to not go the cheap up front route. I know you take excellent care of your stuff. Not to mention the pride you have in your possessions. I like Greg's post above. Get yourself a quality machine that you can obtain attachments for as you see fit.
 

hseII

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
To Kubota, I would add Deere & New Holland.

Pick a dealer that your comfortable with, gets parts, good service reputation.

Before my current Deere 4400 (new in 2001), I had a Ford 1210 (now New Holland) 3 cylinder diesel for 10 years.
I sold it to a dealer for the same amount that I paid originally !

Get Hydro-static Vs Manual transmission, especially if someone else is going to operate it !
This make speed control issues disappear.
Four wheel drive is not just for snow issues. It can prevent tearing up grass in wet areas, etc.

I use lots of attachments:
Front loader
Rear lift platform (surprisingly useful)
72" mid-mount mower
back hoe
rototiller
52" 2-stage snow blower (I can get 13+ ft of snow / yr)
Rear dump bucket
Box grater
Etc

Before I decided to go in a different direction, I compared Kubota to the equivalent John Deere & there was no comparison.

We've always ran mostly John Deere on the Farm, but in the 50hp Hydrostatic Class, the Kubota is $2,500 less, with a lot more tractor.
 

GregManning

Super Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chardon, OH
You never know what you might need to do with it ?

One year I used the small 4-wheel tractor to pull a very old "single bottom plow" (designed for a horse) to help set up a neighbor's garden plot !
 
Last edited:

Gear_Geek

Member
Mike, I want to suggest to you, to not go the cheap up front route. I know you take excellent care of your stuff. Not to mention the pride you have in your possessions. I like Greg's post above. Get yourself a quality machine that you can obtain attachments for as you see fit.

Hey Craig, thanks for the advice (and sorry for the very delayed reply!).

Currently, I'm living in a townhouse, but in a year or so, we're going to move to a single family home, hopefully with a big yard.

Growing up, my dad had a Wheel Horse C-141. The yard was VERY hilly, so the 2WD with an open transaxle became a real issue. Ever since I was a kid, I've dreamed of a 4WD tractor. Back in the 90's, I think Deere made one for like $5000. Today, I think you're looking at a MINIMUM of $10,000 to get in the 4WD door. Granted, when you step up to 4WD, not only are you getting 4-wheel-drive, the whole tractor is generally more robust and heavier.

I do agree that going to the extreme end of cheap would be a bad idea, I'm just trying to get a general idea of what something would cost.

Also, I don't need a lot of size, it'll be for yard work and plowing, not a farm or anything.
 

96coal449

Well-Known Member
Location
earth
I bought a used cub cadet last spring. Needed something for our large newly acquired yard. Kohler gas engine. Has front hydro for plow and snow blower. Decent sized mower deck. I paid $400 for it and literally drove it home. Been good so far.
 

waross

Member
I would not say it's the least expensive but you get what you pay for. I got a Kubota BX2670 last year for under $20k brand new. Included was the front end loader, a drive over 60" mower deck, ballast box and a land pride grapple for picking up logs and brush. Absolutely love it. Have added a landscape rake for spreading mulch and a three point hitch adapter for pulling trailer, splitter and chipper around.

I have spread some mulch and added some wood since that photo last summer.
 

Oroboros

Well-Known Member
Location
Hockley
To Kubota, I would add Deere & New Holland.

Pick a dealer that your comfortable with, gets parts, good service reputation.

Before my current Deere 4400 (new in 2001), I had a Ford 1210 (now New Holland) 3 cylinder diesel for 10 years.
I sold it to a dealer for the same amount that I paid originally !

Get Hydro-static Vs Manual transmission, especially if someone else is going to operate it !
This makes speed control issues disappear.
Four wheel drive is not just for snow issues. It can prevent tearing up grass in wet areas, etc.

I use lots of attachments:
Front loader
Rear lift platform (surprisingly useful)
72" mid-mount mower
back hoe
rototiller
52" 2-stage snow blower (I can get 13+ ft of snow / yr)
Rear dump bucket
Box grater
Etc

Greg, how much weight will that Deere 4400 loader pick up?
I am contemplating going to a tractor over a mini skid.
 

GregManning

Super Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chardon, OH
I don't think there is a single weight capacity.
It depends on how it is loaded, relative to the pivot points, height, etc.
(A quick call / discussion to the local Deere dealer would be in order.)

I have a Deere 430 "heavy duty" loader; 9 cu ft.
The "heavy duty" bucket lip is 1" thick. I have a big 1" capacity grap hook to quickly attach a chain for lifting, by just slipping over the lip, etc.
You can also buy various "ballasts" (rear 3 pt; wheels; etc).

For moving wood I frequently have a rear lift platform (~ 4'x4'x2"H) attached to the rear 3 pt hitch.
I think this rear lift system in rated at ~ 2200 lb.; but I have probably exceeded this.
When lowered to the ground, I can roll "over-size" logs onto it easily.
Or stack 3 pyramids of 18" fire wood: (~18 cu ft)

As best as I can figure, the 9 cu ft bucket capacity is ~3300 lb.
I have probably exceeded this as well. (over-filled with washed stone; way-over-filled with log chunks; etc.)
 

Oroboros

Well-Known Member
Location
Hockley
I don't think there is a single weight capacity.
It depends on how it is loaded, relative to the pivot points, height, etc.
(A quick call / discussion to the local Deere dealer would be in order.)

I have a Deere 430 "heavy duty" loader; 9 cu ft.
The "heavy duty" bucket lip is 1" thick. I have a big 1" capacity grap hook to quickly attach a chain for lifting, by just slipping over the lip, etc.
You can also buy various "ballasts" (rear 3 pt; wheels; etc).

For moving wood I frequently have a rear lift platform (~ 4'x4'x2"H) attached to the rear 3 pt hitch.
I think this rear lift system in rated at ~ 2200 lb.; but I have probably exceeded this.
When lowered to the ground, I can roll "over-size" logs onto it easily.
Or stack 3 pyramids of 18" fire wood: (~18 cu ft)

As best as I can figure, the 9 cu ft bucket capacity is ~3300 lb.
I have probably exceeded this as well. (over-filled with washed stone; way-over-filled with log chunks; etc.)
Food for thought. I appreciate your thorough reply.
 

KarlP

New Member
Location
Somewhere in
I think the expected usage plays a role in how cheap you should go. I bought the cheapest dual hydro walk behind mower I could find. It is made in China with common parts (Kohler engine, Hydrogear drives, etc). The lawn guys complain they only last them a few years and they have to wait a week for parts. I just mow my own yard so I mow less in a year than most pros do in a week. An Exmark would probably be more reliable and last longer, but if the cheapest mower should last 30 years at my annual usage do I really need a mower that will last 130 for 5x the cost?
 

GregManning

Super Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chardon, OH
I like the turf friendly status of the tractor. I like the versatility of the mini skid a bit more. That and they fit in tighter places.
Most utility tractor wheels allow the hub to be mounted in reverse to reduce the track width.
I did this on my 4400 w/ a 72" mid-mower deck. The rear tire outside-to-outside is 60", for closer trimming, etc. (very wide turf tires)

Granted 60" is still a lot for close quarters work.
 
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Oroboros

Well-Known Member
Location
Hockley
I like the turf friendly status of the tractor. I like the versatility of the mini skid a bit more. That and they fit in tighter places.
Good luck on your purchase.
I'm just considering it at this point. Wondering what size tractor loader combo would have a 1000lb working load limit ?
 

GregManning

Super Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chardon, OH
As I indicated previously, there is no single answer to max. lift.
I bought the biggest, heaviest, most hp, utility tractor that I could find.

I may not routinely use, or never use, all of that capacity.
However, it is a lot more stable than a much smaller unit.
e.g. slopes, uneven surface, wet / mud, equipment selection, etc.

My front loader manual gives a couple of graphs for different tractors.
1. Bucket rollback force Vs Height
2. Lift capacity Vs Height Vs Pivot point.

These graphs are NOT linear.
The rollback graph is an inverted "C".
The Lift drops off from ~3300 lb near the ground; to ~1100 lb at 8 ft high.

My previous tractor was a 1210 Ford, 3 cylinder, diesel. Great little tractor.
A few years later, the dealer sold me a rear mount scraper to clear snow off an asphalt drive.
It was a very poor match (way too heavy).
When lowered & moved forward, the scraper moved the front of the tractor !

Talk to a knowledgeable user or dealer for a particular unit !
 
Last edited:

Oroboros

Well-Known Member
Location
Hockley
As I indicated previously, there is no single answer to max. lift.
I bought the biggest, heaviest, most hp, utility tractor that I could find.

I may not routinely use, or never use, all of that capacity.
However, it is a lot more stable than a much smaller unit.
e.g. slopes, uneven surface, wet / mud, equipment selection, etc.

My front loader manual gives a couple of graphs for different tractors.
1. Bucket rollback force Vs Height
2. Lift capacity Vs Height Vs Pivot point.

These graphs are NOT linear.
The rollback graph is an inverted "C".
The Lift drops off from ~3300 lb near the ground; to ~1100 lb at 8 ft high.

My previous tractor was a 1210 Ford, 3 cylinder, diesel. Great little tractor.
A few years later, the dealer sold me a rear mount scraper to clear snow off an asphalt drive.
It was a very poor match (way too heavy).
When lowered & moved forward, the scraper moved the front of the tractor !

Talk to a knowledgeable user or dealer for a particular unit !
More great info. Thanks GM.
 

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