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A growing number of American families are getting back to nature and purchasing rural spreads-their own “little pieces of heaven.” And in the beginning, they may feel they can handle all of the related outdoor tasks. But work and school schedules often leave only the evenings and weekends for chores, so it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the property maintained.

To that end, many homeowners with acreage to maintain recognize that compact utility tractors are some of the handiest machines available to efficiently tackle chores ranging from mowing and blading to hauling and cultivating.

“We thought we could handle all of our outdoor tasks by hand, but our place was starting to look ratty,” explains Mike Hepworth, who, with his wife Nikki, bought a home and three acres in Prineville, Ore. “It was then that we decided we wanted one piece of equipment that would do what we needed around our home. That’s when we started looking at compact utility tractors.”

In recent years, the marketplace has exploded with a flood of products from dozens of manufacturers, which can make finding the right tractor a daunting task. However, keeping a few key criteria top of mind when considering your next compact utility tractor can make the buying decision much easier and more enjoyable.

Your Acreage Can Have

The Answers

Before looking at tractors, take a look at your property. What type of work needs to be done? Tougher tasks demand more horsepower and versatility. Other chores, covering more acres, require a larger tractor for greater efficiency. Making a list of current and future chores you want to tackle around your property can help you determine exactly what you need.

Not Just A Purchase

Skimping on quality to save money may be more costly in the long run. Make sure the tractor is capable of the work you demand of it. Otherwise, you may put extra strain on the machine, risking expensive repair and downtime.

“The upgrade from our old tractor to the John Deere 2210 enabled us to have more power to do our chores more efficiently without causing strain on the tractor,” explains Mike. “And because the John Deere provided more implement options, we were able to cut down on the amount of equipment we had in our shed and rely more on our tractor as a universal machine for our chores.”

See For Yourself

Long hours can seem even longer when you’re working with equipment that doesn’t work with you. What appears to be your perfect match on paper may not live up to the task, which is why it is important to test-drive any tractor. Pay attention to comfort and ease of operation. If it’s not easy to use, chances are you won’t use it often.

Go Behind The Scenes

When you purchase equipment, you engage in a partnership. Get to know your dealer and their commitment to you. Find out what services they provide from financing, warranties, maintenance and hands-on advice.

“We rely on our tractor to do almost every heavy-duty outdoor chore, which is why it needed to be durable, dependable and reliable,” says Mike. “We found peace of mind in John Deere’s long history in the tractor business. In addition, our dealer was awesome to work with, and supported us even after the sale was made.”