Tractor Buying Guide


The right tractor can help you manage ongoing tasks on your farm or land and can streamline your entire operation. This Tractor Buying Guide is designed to help you pinpoint the most important features and capabilities when buying farm tractor equipment. Whether you’re seeking comprehensive tractor buying advice or if you already have a general idea of what you’re looking for, but just want some additional insight to make sure you get the right equipment for your needs, this tractor buying guide will help you make the most informed decision possible.

Fastline Difference

Fastline has a full range of new and used tractors to choose from to help you manage your tractor search more effectively. We categorize our available tractors by horsepower to provide you with the most accurate and appropriate results. You can also search Fastline to find tractors by manufacturer, allowing you to sort and then choose from top names like John Deere, Allis Chalmers, Kubota, Massey Ferguson and many others.

Buying a tractor is a major investment. Fastline can make buying tractors easier with our innovative search tools and categories that allow you to narrow down the available equipment. With Fastline, you can find the right tractor in the right location and avoid the common mistakes people often make when they’re buying tractor equipment. Let us help you get the best results for your operation.

Important Considerations

Before beginning your search for a tractor, it’s essential that you identify your most important needs. What will this important piece of farm equipment do for you? How will your new tractor serve your operation? Most importantly, what financial resources do you have available to purchase your new tractor? Some major factors that will likely influence your decision might include:

  • Budgetary constraints that may dictate your new tractor purchase
  • The acreage of your land
  • Brand name preferences and loyalties
  • Durability, frequency and length of expected use
  • The actual way in which you intend to use your new tractor

A few simple steps can help you narrow down your choices to make your buying decisions easier. Use the rest of this Tractor Buyers Guide as a guideline that can help you identify your own most important priorities. Before you are at the actual buying stage, you should have a clear picture of the following:

  • Set a firm price range for your budget. This way, when you’re looking for a tractor, you can avoid the temptation to overspend on this critical piece of farm equipment.
  • The terrain on which your tractor will typically be used should be assessed. How rough or flat your land is can play a role in your tractor buying decision.
  • If you’ve had good experiences with specific manufacturers, it may give you peace of mind to stick with the name you know and trust. Having established trust in a brand generally means you can buy tractors or other big-ticket farm equipment purchases with greater confidence
  • If you’re thinking of possibly going with a used tractor, you should decide on an age-range up front that you’ll be comfortable with. The tractor’s current condition can have a significant impact on its value.
  • Make sure you have a clear picture of what you need your new tractor to be able to do. This is essential to ensure optimal utility for your new purchase.

Keeping these considerations in mind when you buy farm tractor equipment can help you make the best choices for both your budget and your needs.

Choosing the Right Tractor for You

Knowing what to look for when buying a tractor can help you find the right piece of equipment more quickly. Some of the most important factors to consider include the following:

Diesel or Gas?

Most large-scale farming operations have diesel tractors that can provide the solid workhorse capabilities needed to take on the biggest jobs with ease. If you need to buy farm tractor equipment for a smaller, organic farming operation, or for less strenuous applications, however, gasoline engines can deliver added convenience and may reduce the cost of repairs over the long run.

Which Brand is Best?

A manufacturer with a proven reputation for reliability usually translates to added confidence in your new equipment. This is especially true when you’ve had a good experience with a particular brand name and you feel loyalty toward that manufacturer. While most of the big names in the tractor industry deliver solid reliability and power, it may be worth it in the long run to spend a few extra dollars on a brand that you know and trust.

Two-Wheel or Four-Wheel?

Four-wheel drive offers greater stability and increased flexibility as opposed to the two-wheel drive models available from some manufacturers. For larger needs, four-wheel drive is generally a recommended investment that can save you time and trouble if you’re operating on uneven terrain or in muddy, wet conditions. The added traction that four-wheel drive offers can easily pay for itself in increased productivity and improved functionality in the field.

How Much Horsepower?

Horsepower is another essential element to consider when purchasing a tractor. Experts recommend that tractors with less than 50 engine horsepower be equipped with four-wheel drive in all cases; however, if your needs are for large-scale operations, you’ll likely require much larger horsepower ratings to haul loads and pull equipment.

Standard, Hydrostatic or Hydraulic Transmission?

Knowing how to choose the right transmission for your needs can be a challenge. In general, you can choose among standard, hydrostatic and hydraulic shuttle transmissions. Standard transmissions are reliable and offer solid performance for most basic farming applications. Hydrostatic or hydrostat transmissions are most useful for smaller tractors designed to perform jobs in which stop-and-start use is common. For larger tractors, hydraulic shuttle transmissions provide the same ease-of-use as their smaller hydrostat counterparts and deliver added productivity in everyday farming operations.

Keeping these factors in mind can help guarantee you end up with the best tractor for your specific needs.

Buying New or Used

Overall, tractors have a rock-solid durability and longevity that’s been proven time and again. This can make buying a used tractor a solid investment for your farm; however, there are a few caveats that you must keep in mind before you decide whether a used tractor is the best way to go. You’ll want to think about the following:

  • Tractors with significant hours and wear may not provide the endurance you need and could experience more frequent breakdowns, costing you money and forcing downtime that might cut into your overall profitability.
  • Additionally, very old tractors may no longer be supported by their manufacturers, making the process of obtaining replacement parts a long, potentially expensive and drawn-out affair.
  • It should go without saying, but be sure to do your due diligence on any piece of used equipment you’re considering. Checking the mechanical condition of a tractor you’re interested in can help you avoid issues with reliability and make sure you get the most positive risk-reward scenario for your farming operation.

Because farm tractor warranties typically only cover one or two years of service for the initial owner, the advantages of buying a new tractor, from a warranty perspective, are far less than those available in the car and truck industry. The reduced price of used tractors can make them an attractive choice for farmers with budget constraints.

Common Tractor Buying Questions

What are the advantages of buying a name-brand tractor?

Tractors from top manufacturers are easier to resell and generally offer better reliability, as big-name companies need to protect their reputation and their market position. These benefits come at a cost, however; name-brand tractors typically cost significantly more than their less well-known counterparts.

Are there any “Buying a Tractor” tips available from online resources?

Fastline offers a number of helpful resources on how to buy a tractor and what to look for when selecting used tractor equipment. Additionally, many of the major tractor manufacturers provide tractor guide information on their websites that could offer added useful information that may help you in your search.

What is the most important step in buying a tractor?

If possible, it makes sense that you inspect any farm equipment in person before you decide to make a firm offer. Particularly if you’re considering a used tractor, its general appearance can tell you a lot about how well it’s been maintained and may even be able to give you some insight into how likely it is to need repairs in the future. If you’re not a mechanical expert, enlisting the help of a friend or a trusted mechanic can potentially save you thousands of dollars in repairs in the long run.

Should I take a test drive?

The answer is an emphatic yes! If at all possible, try to schedule your inspection for early in the day—ideally before the tractor has been started for the first time. This can give you a clear idea of how easily the tractor hums to life during a cold start and can potentially allow you to identify any serious issues before you make your offer to buy. During your test drive, check how the brakes and clutch feel, and watch how the tractor handles on uneven terrain. This can give you valuable information that can significantly affect the price you offer.

How important is comfort when buying a tractor?

Purchasing a tractor with comfort features like automatic climate control, heated seats and wireless internet can help your farm crew achieve greater productivity and improve overall morale. Let’s face it, comfort pays off. So paying a little extra for these amenities might just result in increased motivation and improved experiences for your key staff.


Knowing how to buy tractor equipment means you have a better chance at getting the best tractor for your needs, at a price you can afford. Asking the right questions and enlisting professional support can help you make the right moves during your tractor buying experience. By taking time to analyze the needs of your farm and how you’ll be using your new tractor, you can feel confident that when you do write that check, your new tractor will perform as needed and expected in real-world situations. One last piece of advice: don't be totally discouraged if your first choice isn’t available at a price that’s in your budget. At Fastline, we offer thousands of options so you can be sure to find the right tractor, at the right price, for your needs.

Browse our huge selection of tractors. Use the Search Filters to narrow your selection by horsepower, distance, price, hours, and more!