Thursday, September 28, 2023
HomePre-Purchase QuestionsBut...Do I Really NEED a tractor?

But…Do I Really NEED a tractor?

One of the most frequent topics in the Tractor Time with Tim comment section is whether I need a tractor given my small yard space.

This is very easily and simply answered.  No!  I don’t need a tractor at all.  I could accomplish most of our yard work tasks with a Deere 100 series or 300 series lawn mower.  Better yet, any of the myriad brands of ZTR mowers would to the job nicely.

I was effectively handling snow removal with my walk behind blower.  I was able to till the garden by borrowing neighbor Bob’s tiller, and with enough arm twisting, I was even able to get Christy and Katriel to help me dig a 100+ foot trench 2-3 ft deep to run a drainage tile.

While I certainly didn’t need a tractor, now that we’ve had one, it is hard to see how we ever did without it.  That trench I spoke of, well, it nearly killed us, or at least that is what we thought at the time.  When the next trench digging project came along, it was a joy to dig, with Katriel and I almost fighting to get our hands on ‘the shovel’.  Of course the shovel had a seat, made lots of noise, and dug with much less effort than my old tile spade!

We have used the Artillian Forks on more occasions than I can count, including delivering the new washer and dryer from the truck bed to the door, hauling tree limbs and brush, even helping to dig out a small tree.

For me personally, even more important than the completed projects is the distraction from the day to day stresses of a ‘desk job’.  As shown in my tail light replacement video, even a ‘mistake’ on the tractor can provide stress relief after a difficult day at the office.

Another positive result of the tractor is that we finally have a way to be more ‘helpful’ to our neighbors.  I’ve long known that the best way to have good neighbors is to BE a good neighbor. The tractor provides a way that I can help the neighbors tackle projects that they might otherwise not do at all, or might pay someone a large sum of money to do.  The relationships we are building are incredible.

So, do I need a tractor?  Now that I think about it, yes, I DO need a tractor!

How about you?


  1. Ummmmmm, hi Tim , I’m trying to contact you about your old trailer, from your YouTube vlogs, nothing to do with this post. Yes I’m interested if you still have it.

  2. Not sure how else to email you. But I have a 1025R and am looking at a used Bolens tiller 19230 and wanted to know if it will fit. Some sites say it is a different style 3 point hitch than a cat 1

    • From what I see, the situation is worse than just a mis-matched 3 pt hitch size. You could build something to fix THAT.
      The real issue appears to be the differences in the PTO. The Bolens spins at 2000 rpm (vs. 540 for the Deere 1025R), and it spins in the opposite direction.
      Here is more info:
      I think I would pass on this.
      You really need a 48″ tiller for the 1025R anyway. You can find them used for under $1000. I paid $750 for mine used on Craigslist…but I searched a long time to find it.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Tim – I’m looking at a 1025R and can’t decide on deck size. I have some landscaping features, trees, shrubs, etc. You have a 54″. Have you ever wished you’d gotten a 60″? Thank you. I just want to make sure I make the best decision for me.

    • I have a tiny yard, so 54″ is even too big. So, no, I have no regrets.
      Some folks say the 60″ scalps worse. This makes sense. Others say it is easier to turn around a tree, etc with the 60″. This makes sense too.
      If you have a big (and FLAT) yard, go with the 60″.
      …but I don’t feel strongly either way. The dealer told me that they sell about 50-50. I found that surprising. I would have suspected many more 60″ decks sold.

      Are you getting loader/backhoe?

      • For right now just FEL and deck. Backhoe isn’t in the budget although I can think of a few projects that it would be handy. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your willingness to share. My concern with the 54″ deck is simply that I’m afraid I’d have to get so close to obstacles with the wheels. Thanks again.

        • I don’t think you’ll have any issues. Having said that, I think you should be able to drive a 1025R with 54″ deck at the dealership. You could sit a bucket in the parking lot, and pretend to mow around it. Christy did this before we bought the tractor. She found it very helpful in convincing her that she could maneuver it easily. In our case, I just stood there like a tree, and she ‘mowed’ around me. Easy enough.

  4. Tim,
    I am interested in purchasing a new 1025r or 2025r with a mower deck. I have several acres on level ground but in some places very bumpy due to being a natural field pasture. I’ve reviewed your belt changing video on the 1025r hoping to catch some insight on replacing (if needed) damaged mandrel’s. My neighbor has a 130 riding mower and has cracked several mandrel’s due to (bumpy ground) /scalping. I am not interested in a riding mower for that reason. That’s why I am looking at a mower/tractor 1025r or 2025r. Can you shed any light with the larger mower/tractor having issues with damaged mandrel’s? Your input is appreciated and thank you for your video’s.
    Thank you,

  5. Hi Tim;
    My son and I enjoy watching your videos from NC. Just a quick question…how did you decide the 1025r was the tractor for you? You mentioned that you could have used a Deere 100 or 300 series. I have an x300, which is great, btw. When you went to the dealer, were you originally shopping for a lawn tractor or did you go in knowing that you wanted a sub-compact? I’m interested to know your thoughts behind your decision to purchase the 1025r.


    • Christy and I talked about this for a long time before I ever went to the dealer. In fact, I had wanted a tractor for years, mainly so that I could have some reminder of what it was like on the farm. Reality told me that the Sabre was all I really needed.
      Well, the fever kept growing. One day I saw the x729 with 45 loader video on youtube referenced here:

      Seeing that x729 handling the loader, is what pushed me into seriously considering a tractor. I convinced myself that the neighbors would not send me to the looney bin if I had an x700. So, I made the first trip to the dealer.
      Within 1 minute, the dealer convinced me that the x748 I was eyeing was a bad idea. Cost as much as the 1-series, but didn’t provide nearly as much flexibility. Further, he convinced me that the 1025R would handle much like the x700 series, such that I would be able to mow my 1/2 acre yard with it if I really wanted to do so.

      I knew I wanted a loader (and forks) because we had been lifting around on stuff outside for the prior couple of years. Having farm experience, I knew that much of this lifting was not necessary.
      The mower deck was required, because there was no way I could justify a tractor if I didn’t use it to mow. …in fact, I couldn’t justify a tractor at all!
      While I wanted a backhoe, I didn’t think I could justify the $6000. Looking on craigslist, I found a guy wanting to dump his backhoe. Still not sure why, but I bought the backhoe before I bought the tractor!….for $2400.
      So, that is how I got started.
      My Artillian forks were delivered before I got the tractor too, so this was the core set of attachments.

      A few weeks later, Christy felt strongly about getting a snow blade. It has always been a priority for us to be good neighbors. She felt that a snow blade would allow me to clear all of their driveways, so this was more than enough motivation. It proved to be a wise investment. Our neighbors are more willing to put up with our antics since we freely help them with not only snow removal, but any other outdoor projects we can.

      I wanted a tiller, but couldn’t justify it either, with only a 50×30 garden, why would I need a tiller. Still, Christy went along with it. I found mine for $750 on craigslist. It was in good condition, and was the exact model I wanted.
      So, Christy and I drove 3 hrs each way one evening (!!!) to pick it up.
      We used the tiller more than we could have ever predicted even that first year.

      I hope that helps provide some perspective.

  6. Tim,
    I watched many of your videos and have the fever. I’m still a year out or more before I can afford one. I have never seen in discussion or video on the tire differences like a ‘turf’ tire to the more standard tractor tire type. I would think the later would have more potential for damage in the lawn. Thoughts or comments are appreciated!

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