I am looking to purchase a tractor and am basing a lot on ease of installing attachments by an individual as well as flexibility in a variety of attachments. Your suggestions would be appreciated.
There's not much difference among tractors when it comes to this. The 3 point hitch system is standard. Some with telescoping links are a little easier than the typical hitch.
I'm new to the tractor game myself, but all the tractors I looked at over the last few months were pretty much the same when it comes to attaching implements. The 3-pt hitch appears to be the standard amongst compact tractors.
Being a newbie, I'm probably not the one to make suggestions, but I can tell you that if you want to hear from the real pros on this board you'll need to be a little more specific about the rest of your criteria. For starters --
How much acreage will you be working and what is the terrain?
What tasks are you looking to perform? (Finish mowing, log-skidding, ditch-digging, etc.)
How much time do you expect to spend in the seat on, say, a weekly basis?
Then there's the always popular, what is your budget?
And most importantly, what is your favorite color? [img]/w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif[/img]
I'd spend some time going through the archives here and CTB. There are a few discussions on hooking up 3ph implements. More important, I'd read everything I could about operation and especially safety.
I don't think there's a 3ph implement that can't be attached by a single person. However, like most things, there are a few tricks to learn. You can start off learning the tricks here before you start exposing an uneducated body to the hazards of a tractor. Putting implements on and off a tractor is a breeze, more or less. The greater problem is getting implements in and out of trailers and truck beds.
The hardest implements to attach are posthole augers and pallet forks. They both fold flat and have to be hoisted up and supported to make the top link pin. My pallet forks are too heavy for me to hoist and support alone. However, I attach it alone using a cable come-along, clevis pins and transport chain with grab hooks. You'll learn about these things, and 5' wrecking bars for shifting implements around.
A 3ph tractor is one of the most flexible things known to man--outside of politicians. Almost any type of equipment is available in a 3ph version. Outside of the loader, the most common implements are rotary cutters and box scrapers or blades. These items tend to be used regularly. Agriculturally oriented implements tend to be used for one or two periods a year and are tough to justify unless a lot of land is worked. Of course, some implements have multiple uses. Loaders can be fitted with forks and a range of other attachments. The rear blade on a box scraper can be used as a poor man's dozer. The scraifiers on a scraper make a poor man's tiller. And, of course any blade makes a decent snow plow.
A tractor tends to become specialized by the nature of the work that has to be done and the budget available to buy more toys. I have quite a bit of construction and material handling to do in a snow area. I have a snow blower, backhoe, box scraper, and 3ph pallet forks. If we didn't want to leave out bush as bush, I'd have a rotary cutter. If we worked more land than a garden, we'd have a tiller. But yikes, a rarity among tractor owners, MY WIFE ACTUALLY WANTS ME TO BUY A CHIPPER/SHREDDER. We do have brush piles to manage.
A couple of things you might want to think about as you research your new tractor. First, the larger the tractor, the larger the 3pt equipment you'll be able to use. Along with the larger pieces of equipment, the degree of difficulty in hooking up the piece to the 3pt gets larger. It's a whole lot easier to "muscle" a 4ft bush hog around than it is a 6ft bush hog. Now, the easy answer to that problem is set the equipment on rolling platforms when the piece isn't being used, but not everyone has that option. Adjustable lower links help a lot, also.
You also need to consider your budget, time available for work to be done, and how big a machine do you really need. I found a kubota B7100 to be enough machine to maintain 5 or so acres of lawn, a few acres of woods/pasture, and a good snowplow for the winters of Michigan. A larger machine would be nice, but budget constraints (called kids in college) made me seriously consider my real needs (now and future) and shop hard for a machine that fit my budget.
I guess that was a long-winded way to say that it really doesn't matter a whole lot as far as 3pt hook-ups go, they're all about the same. Buy what you need and can afford.
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There all good ..Kubotas.. tractors.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif[/img]
The first time when hitching your attachment will take the longest,but after a couple of time hitching it shall be a breeze.
Take your time and visit as many dealer as you can also ask questions.
I will say that the smaller compacts have shorter lift arms that make it more difficult to attach 3-point equipment (they don't swing out as wide).
Other than that, you need the determine the weight of the implements you want to use and the required PTO horsepower. Then find a tractor whose 3-point hitch lifting weight and PTO horsepower specifications meet or exceed the number you came up with.