John Deere Tractor Sizes Explained

John Deere tractors with loaders

posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 in News

From the smallest tractor to mid-size options, this blog post is designed to offer a crash course on the three major categories of equipment for first time buyers, not counting large ag and specialty-type tractors. You’ll find a quick breakdown on John Deere tractor sizes and answers to common questions like what size tractor do I need for my acreage and what kinds of chores can I actually do with this machine?

Sub-Compacts 21.5 – 23.9 hp: 3 Acres or More

The entry-level tractors in the 1 Series are a step above riding mowers. They have about as much horsepower as a premium lawn tactor but are built to handle more tasks with tougher implements and attachments and have more features and options. They’re ideal for homeowners and hobbyists alike. Sub-compacts are a great choice if you’ll be mowing 3+ acres and plan to use your equipment for lighter seasonal work like gardening and snow management. Out of the set, they’re the only tractor variety that’s small enough to fit in a standard garage. Sub-compacts are also among the easiest to maneuver. This equipment is technically part of the compact tractor category, but for the reasons we listed above, they can also be considered in their own right.

Compact Tractors 24.2 – 65.9 hp: 10 Acres or More (With Exceptions)

Because compact tractors have a generous range in horsepower, the type of tasks you can tackle is also fairly wide ranging, depending on the model. This small tractor category includes tractors in the 1–4 Series and can be used for basic mowing to small ag work like tilling and even hay production. Compacts are ideal for large property owners, DIYers, landscapers and farmers. Although, in terms of farm work, this equipment is ideally used for small farming and can be helpful as a supplemental tractor in a mid- to larger-sized outfit. Because of their small footprint, they can manage work in constrained places like roofed poultry houses and they make easy work of entry points that larger tractors simply could not manage. The stronger engines also mean stronger operating capacities, as well as tougher implements and attachments. Put simply, you can do more and do it more quickly than you would with a sub-compact, even if it’s the same type of work. They also come equipped with a lot of convenience and ease-of-use features like pedal operated transmission systems that function similarly to a car as opposed to lever operation that you’d find in certain larger ag equipment. While this category is well-suited to properties with 10+ acres, it can also be a good fit for smaller properties when you have a to-do list that requires more power and features.

Utility Tractors 50 – 250 hp: Focus on Chores Over Acres

Utility tractors make up the mid-size tractor category and include the 5 and 6 Series. This equipment has the largest range in horsepower of the set, managing everything both the small tractor categories can, and then some. They’re equipped for earth moving, hay baling, material hauling, livestock management and a great deal more. That’s because tractors in this category have the power, strength, and stability to back up heavy-duty implements and attachments making them well suited to construction, for-profit farming and municipal work. In this category, acres managed takes a back seat to your chore list. For instance, you may have 10 acres of land with for-profit crop plots or you may have no determined acreage and instead, engage in municipal property maintenance with a long list of repeat-tasks. In both instances, your chores will require certain implements or attachments, both of which require a specific amount of horsepower to operate. A great example is hauling rocks or gravel. A tractor in a lower horsepower range can still manage the work as long as it’s within the recommended weight limit, but it will not accomplish it as quickly as a tractor with a more powerful engine would. That’s probably not an issue if you only haul gravel once a year, but if you’re doing it every day over an extended period of time, you’d be better off sizing up.


Have more questions about tractor sizes or want to come see the lineup in person? Find your nearest Potestio Brothers here. You can also view our selection of sub-compacts as well as compacts and utility tractors by clicking through the links to compare models and specs.

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