Garden Tractors vs. Lawn Tractors: What’s the Difference?

Garden Tractors vs. Lawn Tractors

Garden tractors and lawn tractors are both designed to help you with your yard work, but there are some key differences between the two. Garden tractors are larger and more powerful than lawn tractors, and they can be used for a wider variety of tasks.

Lawn tractors are smaller and less powerful, and they are specifically designed for cutting grass. If you're not sure which type of tractor is right for you, keep reading to learn more about the differences between garden tractors and lawn tractors!

Today, we'll look at garden tractors vs. lawn tractors - two of the most popular types of riding lawn mowers for residential and commercial usage.

  • Garden tractors are heavy-duty and more expensive than standard lawn mowers. They can use attachments, like a snow plow, making them best suited when you need to rely on it for your income.
  • Lawn tractors are designed for smaller work and are best suited to residential use and modest commercial uses. They have superior maneuverability and can be stored in more places in your garage because they are smaller.
  • Garden tractors have a transaxle, bigger engine, and diff locks, as well as 4WD.
  • Lawn tractors usually have two-wheel drive, a hydrostatic transmission, and rear wheel drive.

What Are the Differences Between a Ride-on Mower and a Tractor?

(Backyard, Farm, Construction Site)

It is essential to understand how you plan to use your garden or lawn tractor before selecting which one suits you best.

  • Garden tractors are more versatile than other types of lawnmowers because they can accommodate heavier attachments like baggers, large trailers and snow plows.
  • Lawn tractors have the ability to attach, but the trailer and bagger are much smaller, making them ideal for small tasks around the home.

If you're using your garden tractor commercially, there's no doubt you should get one. They are built to be used industrially since that is their primary purpose. They're powered by bigger (at least) 26 HP small engines from Kawasaki and some even have Honda engines.

Lawn tractors are ideal for a 1-2 acre residential lawn that you mow once or twice a week. Small engines from Kohler or Briggs & Stratton are most frequently used. Kawasaki or Honda may be found in more costly models.

Difference of Lawn Tractors vs Garden Tractors


Garden tractors and lawn tractors are available in a variety of weights, sizes, and have some overlap. You may come close to the same weight and size with a lawn tractor from John Deere and a garden tractor from Husqvarna. Garden tractors, on the other hand, are considerably bigger, with more powerful engines, tires, and stronger components for harder applications.

  • The largest garden tractors weigh 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms).
  • The smallest garden tractors weigh 660 pounds (300 kilograms).
  • The largest lawn tractors are 660 weigh (300 kilograms).
  • The smallest lawn tractors are 220 weigh 100kilograms )


Garden tractors have bigger engines and weigh far more. Consider the following scenario:

  • The John Deere S100 lawn tractor uses a 17.5 hp engine made by Briggs & Stratton. This model weighs 77 lbs (35 kg).
  • The John Deere X700 series garden tractor uses a 776cc 25HP engine that weighs in at 104 lbs (47 kg).

The difference between these two engines is that the garden tractor engine has a 27-pound (12-kg) heavier displacement than the lawn tractor engine.

The engine of a riding mower typically constitutes 9 – 15% of the overall weight. This number is higher for smaller lawnmowers.


Garden tractor tires are much bigger, which allows the machine to deal with tougher terrain and hold the weight of other components. Some lawn tractors have same size front and back tires, while garden tractors all have huge rear wheels and smaller front ones. This makes it so that lawn tractors can be more easily moved around obstacles and better turning radius.


Garden tractors have wider axle beams to support the bigger engine, mower deck, and overall size.

In comparison, lawn tractors will look like children's toys next to garden tractors that landscapers use. 

Aside from the thicker exterior walls made of steel sheet metal, another way you can tell a lawn tractor apart from a garden tractor is by the width of its axle beam.

  • The lower the gauge, the thicker the sheet metal. For example, gauge 3 is much heavier and thicker than gauge 20.
  • 12 gauge sheet metal (max gauge) is used on lawn tractors, which is 0.1046 inches (2.657 mm) thick and weighs 4.267 lb/ft2 (20.834 kg/m2).
  • Garden tractors will usually use a thicker gauge. A 10 gauge, for example, is 0.1345 inches (3.416 mm) thick.


The "deck" on a tractor refers to the cutting blades' location. The wider the mowing deck, the wider area you can cover with each pass. Garden tractors are bigger and more powerful than lawn tractors, so they have wider decks--up to 72 inches. In contrast, you'll see that lawn tractor decks range from 30 to 48 inches wide.

How Much More Powerful Are Garden Tractors?

(Engine Size/Type, Transmission Size/Type)
  • Garden tractors with engines in the 25 hp and above range employ more powerful Honda and Kawasaki power plants.
  • Lawn tractors use engines from Briggs & Stratton and Kohler that range from less than 20 horsepower.

In addition to the engine garden tractors will have 4WD, diff locks and capabilities to enhance traction in difficult mowing and tractor conditions.

Brands of Garden Tractor vs. Lawn Tractor

There are 100s of lawn mower brands around the world, but let’s take a look at the 10 most popular riding mower brands:

  1. John Deere
  2. TORO
  3. SCAG
  4. Ariens
  5. Husqvarna
  6. Gravely
  7. Dixie Chopper
  8. Bad Boy Mowers
  9. Poulon Pro
  10. Troy Bilt

The majority of these brands are powered by Honda, Kawasaki, Kohler, and Briggs engines and are popular with both homeowners and professionals.

Which is the better?

Let's explore the advantages and disadvantages of both garden tractors and lawn tractors:

Garden Tractors

  • Pros:This lawn mower is heavy duty and powerful, with a large mowing width that makes it perfect for any job. Additionally, its 4WD capabilities mean it can handle tough terrain and hills. Plus, there are plenty of attachments available to further customize its use.
  • Cons: It's costly, huge, and difficult to maneuver in confined places.
  • Best For: Professionals who work in landscaping and lawn care management.

Lawn Tractors

  • Pros: It's cheap, tiny, and simple to operate in confined places.
  • Cons: Poor traction and weak components
  • Best For: Homeowners.

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