Let’s Talk Tractor Options

What Tractor Options Do You Really Want?

If you’re buying a tractor, there are options you need to know about so you get the ones that are exactly what you want. Many of the options are difficult or impossible to add after you buy a tractor, so it’s important to get it right the first time. In the related video, I go over the options that you should always get, as well as the options you should buy with your new tractor if you’re pretty sure you want them. I also have a few to recommend, and point out some that I could take or leave.

First of all, you need to know that most tractor makers don’t allow you to really select options. They produce an inexpensive model ( the one the dealers advertise with low payments and cheap price), and then a deluxe tractor with a lot more factory additions. This means you  can’t mix and match the options on those tractors. But I can offer some tips to help you decide whether you want to spend the extra money for the deluxe tractor or go with the bargain version.

Options To Always Include in Your Tractor Purchase

Two option to always get when you buy the tractor are 4wd and a front end loader.

Now, if you are running a tractor above about 50 hp or a utility tractor, you can live without front wheel assist. But on anything smaller than that, 4wd is a must. Without it, little tractors are pretty helpless. So that’s one option that isn’t optional in terms of using your new machine.

The other essential item is the front end loader. Some folks think they’ll save their money now and add the front end loader later, but it’s much cheaper to get it when you buy the new tractor. Buying it as part of your initial purchase insures that the cost goes along with any low rate program and saves freight and installation later. Plus once you have a tractor with a front end loader, I guarantee  you’ll find uses for it. It will also help your resale value when it’s time to sell the tractor.

Another large option you must decide on is which transmission to get. Most smaller tractors come with either gear or hydro. Hydro is going to be about $1000-$1500 more, but in my mind it’s worth it.

Some Options You Might Be Considering

If you think you want a belly mower, rear remotes, or a third function valve, get those when the tractor is new.

Why? Because the belly mower needs a mid-mount PRO and many of the brands offer only mid-mount PTO on hydrostatic drive tractors. If you buy a gear drive machine and decide later that you want a belly mount mower, you’re out of luck.

As for  rear remotes and third function valves, these factory kits are generally available only when the tractor is new. Once new models come in, these kits get separated out and allocated to the parts department. Unfortunately, buying each individual component to make the kit is much more expensive than buying the whole thing in the original kit form, and sometimes the parts go obsolete. Plus, they’re easier to install while the tractor is still in the dealer’s shop.

If you don’t want to spend the high price for those kits, I do carry a hydraulic diverter valve kit. And while it’s not a third function kit,  you can install it to get hydraulic flow to the front end of your tractor.

The Options I Feel Are Must-haves

Options I couldn’t live without include a quick attach front loader bucket (I could live without a quick attach loader), a folding roll bar and telescopic stabilizers. Those telescopic stabilizers should be available through the aftermarket, but they’re not, and usually they only come with deluxe tractor packages. That option alone would make me want to invest in a full feature tractor.

And Some I Don’t Really Care About

Options I could live without include the extendable lower link arms (as long as I have Pat’s Easy Change), tilt or telescoping steering, a swivel seat, or economy PTO. The last option I’d use, but wouldn’t pay extra for it.

Choose the Right Options to Save Money Down the Road

It costs a lot of money to trade a new tractor in, so it’s really important to get the right thing the first time. Having an awareness of these options will help you choose the right machine the first time. Don’t economize any more than you absolutely must on your tractor purchase, and you’ll save money later on.



Tractor Mike


  1. Gilbert Libby on at 12:21

    You are correct about front end loader making the tractor more usable. Here in New Mexico a cab would have the advantage of sun and wind protection. The umbrella and shade roofs have to contend with 50 to 60 MPH breezes which can rip them of their mounts. Good insights into the tractor world.

  2. Ross Leach on at 17:32

    G’day Mike Ross here from Narangba Queensland Australia (which is about the middle of the eastern side of Australia) One thing that you and others don’t mention about the extendable ball joints on the lower 3 point linkage is the fact that they get bound up with all types of stuff like mud, grass especially when using a slasher or in your case you would you call it a brush hog. In my case I recently bought a Massey Ferguson 1560 (60hp) with 500 hours which someone’s belted the crap out of the lower link extender latch obviously because it wouldn’t release. I couldn’t be bothered looking to see what the problem was with it I just ordered a Pat,s Quick Hitch as I’m too old now to fight linkages which put you off even thinking about changing implements. I started life as a earthmoving mechanic and have a couple ideas how things work. Another case in question was when I ran a volunteer group which maintained our local airstrip at Caboolture using a 2010 100 hp Case-International pulling a multi gang mower 21 feet in width (I won’t confuse you with our metric measurements). Australia is a fairly dry country and we suffer a lot of dust when we mow with tractors and in this case it was no exception so with the mower hooked up sometimes for a month or so at a time when you went to change from the multi gang mower to the slasher it was a major task because those drop our links are completely frozen with grass packed in tight so that you had to spend considerable time which would amount in some cases well over 30 minutes to get them freed up so as to enable them to help you connect up the next implement. That is another reason you could give when explaining about the extendable lower links versus the Pat’s system. Feel free to use my name and experience. Just thought I’d help with the suggestions and of course I always enjoy your videos which goes without saying. Regards Ross

  3. Ross Leach on at 17:42

    Ross again I forgot to mention I bought my Pat’s Hitch From an online store here in Australia which operates from a farm in the middle of nowhere in the state of New South Wales so that shows our adaptability in good old land of Oz. They have to drive into town to post their orders out and collect their freight but mind you they were very helpful so I’m not knocking them I’m just showing you we’re a bit different over here at times. Regards Ross

    • Charles on at 07:57

      I have a question is it safe to add a freemans 3000 front loader to a massey Ferguson 285 tractor to use on my property and how do you know if a front loader is to small for a tractor

      • Tractor Mike on at 10:02

        Ross, I was just talking to a friend on Friday who told me about a cousin of his who bought a new Massey tractor and wanted to keep his Case IH front end loader, so he “”made” it fit. It ended up cracking the engine block after a few years resulting in a really expensive fix. There’s no way to know about the long term impact of blacksmithing a loader on a tractor, but I’d rather have too small a loader on a tractor than too big a one.

  4. D. Vance Baugher on at 14:02

    I can recommend Pat’s Quick Hitch. Purchased from Mike’s store and pleased with a good product and efficient service.
    Concerning desirable features for a tractor I have found the following to be very useful: front end loader with quick attach bucket. Prefer the skid steer quick attach (ssqa), compatible with many different manufacturers. Don’t consider a small tractor without front end assist. Diverter valve for front attachments such as a grapple, and at least one rear remote hydraulic outlet. I know of not one operator who has willingly gone from a tractor with a cab to one without. My brother and I put about three times the hours on our cab tractors as we do the open platforms.

  5. Tom Herman on at 11:21

    Hey –

    I wonder if you have any steering wheel knobs/spinners? I have a Kubota L2800 and have been looking for a suitable steering wheel knob style for awhile. Thanks.


    • Tractor Mike on at 08:42


      We don’t have anything on the website, but there is one on my Amazon Affiliate page here: https://amzn.to/3GhMSkl. There are also several other choices on Amazon if you don’t like that style. Thanks for reaching out!


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