How to Find the Right Compact Tractor

A tractor is a major purchase, so it makes sense you want to get it right. As you start to evaluate your options, the number of choices can seem overwhelming. Between features, attachments, size, and numerous other considerations, how do you know what’s most important? As you start your search for a compact tractor, use this guide to help you find the model that’s ideal for your needs.

What is a Compact Tractor?

The first step to finding the right tractor is understanding the difference between types. Unless you run a large commercial farm, you’re likely evaluating compact and sub-compact tractors. Both are popular choices for plots of land that are 50 acres or less.

Between the two types, sub-compact tractors are smaller and are typically used for regular lawn and landscape applications like mowing or snow removal. Thanks to their smaller size, sub-compact tractors are easier to maneuver in tight spaces and don’t require significant room for storage. Many models, like the Yanmar SA221, still come equipped with helpful features like a front-end loader and three-point hitch attachment.

When you have more than a handful of acres to manage, you’ll likely want to take the step up to a compact tractor. They’re generally larger and more powerful than a sub-compact tractor, allowing you to tackle tougher jobs. Tractors like the Yanmar YT2 Series and YT3 Series have higher horsepower and lift capacity for more versatile performance. 

6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Compact Tractor

Now that you know the difference between compact and sub-compact tractors, you can get into the factors you should look at when choosing your specific tractor model. Here are six of the most important considerations for selecting the right compact tractor.

Land Size

The best starting point for choosing a tractor is your own land. Your overall acreage will help make a lot of decisions. If you have less than 10 acres, it’s probably safe to go with a smaller compact model or even a sub-compact model. When you have more land, consider going up in size. With more ground to cover, having additional power and features like a larger fuel tank will make your work much more efficient.


The terrain you encounter on a daily basis makes a big difference in the operation of a tractor. A smaller-sized tractor makes maneuvering through tight spaces or heavily wooded areas easier. The same can be said if you work with mostly flat, level terrain. For rough terrain and large slopes, a larger compact tractor is the better fit. The larger engine will help you climb hills with ease, and a higher ground clearance accommodates the uneven terrain.

Another factor to consider with terrain is the type of tires your tractor is equipped with. R-1 Ag Tread and R-4 Industrial Tread are more aggressive, offering additional traction in slippery and other challenging conditions. For turf care and mowing applications, R-3 Turf Tread is the ideal choice. While it doesn’t have as much traction, it minimizes turf damage while you work.


Horsepower is always one of the first specs you hear about. When it comes to tractors, it will make a significant difference in the type of work you’re able to do. For simple applications like mowing, snow removal, or light digging, a lower horsepower model will be able to handle everything you throw at it. If you’re expecting your tractor to haul heavy equipment, move hay bales, or plow large fields, consider something in the 50 HP range. When in doubt, opt for the higher horsepower model to keep your options open in the future.


Drivetrain comes down to two options: four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive. Just like cars, the drivetrain choice makes a difference in the ground you’re able to cover. When the terrain is smooth and level without weather changes, you can typically get by with a 2WD model. Typically, tractors with 2WD will also have a lower price point. However, if you’re working in mud and snow, a 4WD model is a much better choice. A 4WD tractor allows for more controlled operation across a variety of conditions.

Ease of Operation

For inexperienced operators, the tractor’s controls can feel daunting. Fortunately, modern technology has made the operator’s seat much more approachable. A tractor with a manual transmission is going to require the most work, using the clutch and a lever to change gears. With Yanmar tractors like the YT347, you have the option of a high-tech, integrated hydraulic mechanical transmission (i-HMT). This top-of-the-line transmission offers numerous benefits such as clutchless shifting, higher power transfer ratio, and repeatable operating speed. Tractors with i-HMT transmissions are also more fuel efficient.

Available Attachments

There’s a lot a tractor is capable of on its own, but the right attachments can take it to the next level. Consider which jobs you work on most frequently and make sure the tractor you choose has compatible attachments. For example, a posthole digger will help you place miles of fencing in a fraction of the time. For agricultural applications, attachments like the rotary tiller or disc harrows will turn over the soil and create optimal conditions for planting.

Connect With Yanmar

At Yanmar we want to make your tractor purchase journey as easy as possible. Our knowledgeable, dedicated team is here to answer your questions and help you choose the right tractor to meet your needs. Connect with us today and we’ll help you find the tractor you want at a dealer near you.

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