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Garden Tractor Vs Lawn Tractor: What’s The Difference?

The biggest difference between a garden tractor and lawn tractor lies in their usage. Both machines cut grass, but a garden tractor does much more. It can haul heavy material, cultivate the soil, plow snow and perform other heavy work, thanks to the stronger engine and sturdier construction.

A lawn tractor and a garden tractor may look the same, but in reality, they are far from identical. The biggest difference between both machines can be found in the number of jobs they can perform

Garden tractors, like the ones I have reviewed here, are overall better, as they can be used for cutting grass, hauling heavy objects, tilling, cultivating, and even plowing snow. Lawn tractors are mostly used for mowing and doing light landscaping jobs.  

But that’s not everything you need to know! Find out which machine is best suited for your property – garden tractor vs lawn tractor?

Garden Tractor Vs Lawn Tractor: Introducing The Opponents

Garden Tractor

Yellow Cub Cadet Garden Tractor
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Garden tractors are heavy duty machines. They have bigger rear tires, a bigger fuel tank, and a bigger housing to hold typically larger and more powerful engines of 24 to 29 HP. Their strong build makes them ideal for performing demanding gardening and landscaping jobs. 

They can tow heavy attachments in the front or behind, thanks to the strong connection points and hydraulic PTO system

Garden tractors are of great use, even without the accessories. They feature a large cutting deck that can cut 50 to 54 inches wide, so they make short work of any lawn. 


  • Stronger build 
  • Suited for heavy garden work
  • Cuts 50 to 54 inches wide 
  • Compatible with heavy-duty attachments
  • Suitable for extra-large lawns 
  • Engines typically have more power


  • More expensive 
  • Require more storage space
  • More difficult to navigate in narrow spaces

Lawn Tractor 

John Deere Lawn Tractor
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Lawn tractors are smaller, lighter machines, primarily used for cutting grass. They are powered by 15 to 29 HP engines and can cut up to 48 inches wide, depending on the model. 

Since lawn tractors have a smaller built and smaller wheels, they are more maneuverable. They can make tighter turns and are better at bypassing flower beds, trees, and going through tight passages. 

But because of their small size, lawn tractors can’t haul heavy-duty attachments, like garden tractors can. They don’t have the power or reinforced construction to do so. They can only be used with lightweight or wheeled implements, unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer. 

Here are some other major differences between a garden tractor and a lawn tractor: 


  • Excellent at cutting grass
  • Cuts up to 48 inches wide 
  • Great for small jobs around the lawn 
  • Can make tighter turns 
  • Storage-friendly 
  • Cheaper than garden tractors 


  • Typically feature an engine with less power than garden tractors
  • Can’t use heavy-duty attachments

Garden Tractor Vs Lawn Tractor: Features Face To Face 

Mowing Ability

Garden tractors have a bigger cutting deck and can mow 50 to 54 inches in width. Lawn tractors have cutting decks that are 38 to 48 inches wide.  

A garden tractor cuts wider and faster and is, therefore, the clear winner of this round

Note: If you plan on mowing sloped ground, you should consider buying a lawn tractor with locking differential to achieve better traction with the surface. Most garden tractors have this feature, but it is always recommended to double-check.   


Lawn Tractor throwing snow

Garden tractors are extremely versatile machines that can be used for cutting grass, tilling, cultivating, aerating, plowing, hauling – the list goes on. 

Lawn tractors are, however, amazing at cutting grass and performing light tasks around the yard. You can use a bag collector, dump cart, snow blade, and maybe even a snow thrower attachment with your lawn tractor.

But at the end of the day, a garden tractor can do more jobs and is the clear winner of this versus battle

Note: Check what attachments can be used with a lawn tractor before purchase. Don’t throw the receipt away, so you can return if if you’re not satisfied. The receipt will prove your ownership since tractors don’t get a title. Click here for more on this topic.  


John Garden Tractor driven by a Man
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The big size of garden tractors is useful when hauling heavy things, but not so much when navigating through oddly shaped lawns. They are bulkier and more cumbersome. 

Lawn tractors are smaller in size and are therefore more agile. They can make tighter turns and are the clear winner of this battle


Garden tractors are bigger, heavier, and often accompanied by bulky attachments. Finding a storage space for such a hefty machine is much more difficult than for a lawn tractor. 

Lawn tractors are smaller and are easier to store, so they are the clear winner of this versus battle. 


Which Is Better: A Garden Tractor Or Lawn Tractor?

A garden tractor is better for people who have lots of different yard work on their hands. Garden tractors can be used for cutting grass, tilling, cultivating, plowing snow, hauling materials, and much more. A lawn tractor is better for people who primarily need to cut grass.  

What Can A Garden Tractor Do?

A garden tractor is a multi-purpose machine that can perform these tasks with the use of appropriate attachments:

1. Cut grass
2. Haul things
3. Plow snow
4. Cultivate soil 
5. Aerate your lawn 
6. Distribute fertilizer and weedkiller

Improve The Quality Of Your Life With A Garden Or Lawn Tractor

A garden tractor or a lawn tractor can turn your once exhausting landscaping chores into an exciting hobby

How well the machine will improve the quality of your life depends on the work that needs to be done around your house. So, which device is ultimately better for you – garden tractor vs lawn tractor?

Buy a garden tractor if:

  • You have a 2+ acre yard that needs to be mowed regularly.  
  • You have a garden that needs to be tilled and cultivated.
  • You often haul heavy tools and material.
  • You have the storage space for it. 
  • You have the budget for it. 

Buy a lawn tractor if:

  • You have a yard that is smaller than 2 acres. 
  • Your primary chore is cutting grass. 
  • You occasionally have to haul heavy things. 
  • You have limited storage space. 
  • You are on a tighter budget. 
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About The Author

Brett Jones

Brett is a private yet hardworking office assistant, who resides in Raleigh with his wife Nadya. He has a passion for backyard projects and spends much of his free time working on landscaping, gardening, and building outdoor furniture. Though he shies away from being in the spotlight, he plays an important role in Nadya's blog by providing her with "raw" content. Brett's knowledge and creativity of backyard design and DIY projects give Nadya material to come up with unique and interesting posts for her blog. On occasion, Brett also contributes to the site showing his tech expertise, particularly when talking about snowblowers and other tools. Follow him on Twitter.

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