Finding a Used Compact Tractor Under $5,000

By TBN August 31, 2017 22:10
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Tractors aren’t cheap. Well, not new ones, anyway. A good quality new tractor can run tens of thousands of dollars. But even if you don’t have that kind of budget, that shouldn’t stop you from getting a machine that can help you get some work done. Fortunately, most tractors are built to last and even older equipment can give you many years of service on a tight budget.

Some things to keep in mind when buying a used machine:

  • Safety is number one. Used equipment sometimes has safety equipment such as ROPS or PTO shields removed. These are definitely items you’ll want to replace.
  • Think about repairs. If you aren’t mechanically skilled to fix the machine if repairs are needed, find a local mechanic who you can turn to for reasonably priced repairs should the need arise.
  • Have realistic expectations. This isn’t a brand new machine, so you’re going to compromise on comfort and convenience features when buying older equipment.
  • If it’s too good to be true… it probably is. Watch out for scams! Not just the typical online scams where you see a $20,000 machine advertised for $5,000, but the kind of scams that involve a machine with a bad engine or failing transmission. If you aren’t mechanically inclined, find a local pro to help you out.
  • Budget for attachments. As you’ll see on our list, some used tractors won’t have any attachments. That should definitely factor into your decision making process, especially if you know you need a front-end loader. Best bet is find a machine that already has a manufacturer-matched loader.
  • Take your time searching. Our list is just a few examples. Please keep in mind that these machines on our list are just examples of the types of deals we found when searching online. You might find better deals, or better machines than the ones on our list. Or maybe not—who knows. Every market is different, and there’s no such thing as a used tractor factory. Each one is different.

Regardless of budget, get a tractor that fits your needs

Are you going to mow with your tractor? Move dirt? Till a garden? Plow snow? All of the above? The tasks will determine the tractor—if all you’re going to do is mow and haul a trailer, maybe you don’t need 4WD, and maybe you don’t want ag tires. If all you’re going to do is box scraping, more weight will come in handy.

What you can find on a $5000 budget

When looking for a compact utility tractor on a $5,000 budget, you’re going to find a lot of machines that have had a fair bit of use. High hour machines and machines that have seen the end of their useful life by one or more owners. Depending on your plans for the tractor, you might want to filter those out and start to look at machines that are in good condition and have some life left on them.

On a $5,000 budget, we would search for:

  • A brand we trust and can find a local dealer for parts and service needs.
  • Under 40 horsepower
  • 4WD (unless you don’t want 4WD)
  • Good tires (can be expensive to replace)
  • All safety equipment installed
  • Good physical condition, no major rust or missing panels

Where to search for a used tractor on a $5,000 budget

Watch For Scams!

Unfortunately tractors have been targeted by scammers because they are a high ticket item and some buyers have fallen for these scams. We recommend completing deals in person and never sending money to a seller before seeing the tractor in person. Doing business across state lines with a trusted, reputable dealer is a safer way to conduct out of state transactions than buying from an individual seller in another state.

What we found on a $5,000 budget

Check out the machines we found for $5,000 or less, starting with this Cub Cadet:


1. Cub Cadet 7273

We found this nice 1997 Cub Cadet 7273 for just $4995 at Great Outdoor Powersports & Lawn in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. Doesn’t have a loader, but it’s a nice modern machine with less than 1,200 hours on it. Looks like the tires are in good condition, too.

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By TBN August 31, 2017 22:10
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  1. Rodney September 1, 01:08

    I once had a 1980 Kubota B7100HST with FEL, 4wd, that I bought new for $10,000. I used it hard for 30 years and sold it for $1500. It needed a lot of repairs, and many parts were worn out with 2500 hours on it. I used such attachments as a 4′ Bush Hog, a 60″ finishing mower and a 50″ rototiller. I replaced it with a larger tractor: Mahindra 5035 HST. What a beast! It breaks 3/8″ chain while logging!

  2. JonnMero September 1, 08:56

    When it comes to small tractors, aren’t Kubotas and other Japanese ones usually the best bet? Especially considering that Japanese farmers often have much smaller lots than Canadian?

  3. Teg1928 September 1, 10:53

    Thanks for the info for compact tractors under $5K. Useful data. Starting a search for another myself. Currently have a Kubota L4200 with cab and loader. staring to look for a smaller no-cab model with mid mount PTO and can handle a backhoe attachment.



  4. ilikeurtractor September 1, 10:56

    Before a comparison of any tractor (or anything else for that matter) is made, the concept of “best” needs to be defined. Cost, safety, a person’s time/ability, purpose, are only a few of the considerations. Once all of the characteristics are defined then a determination of best can begin to be discussed. In a lot of cases, “best” my be to rent a tractor.

  5. SGM97B September 1, 13:03

    My biggest gripe/problem is that almost all small tractors I find on the market have front end loaders. I don’t want nor do I need one. And many owners of these thought their little tractor was a tank and they were abused hard. I just need a small tractor to cut grass and haul firewood out of the woods and perhaps do some light tilling for food plots.

  6. Mark September 1, 18:23

    Folks 3 of these are oversized lawnmowers. You can buy running tractors with a bucket all the way down to $1500 if you don’t mind buying an older tricycle tractor that run on gasoline. With farm equipment it has to be able to do its job, not look pretty.

  7. Joe September 2, 12:50

    How much life does a JD 870 with 4000 hours on it have left?

  8. Ken September 2, 16:16

    Must be a location thing. Used BX tractors go for 8-10k here. Add a backhoe and it’s common to see them 12-18.

  9. SpikesHD September 3, 04:17

    Look for trading opportunities too. I had a Jeep Wrangler ’87 model worth about $3500 and saw a Craigslist ad from a used tractor dealer looking for a Wrangler for his wife. I got a 4WD L3450 in good shape and even made him put new tires on it for a straight trade. I could get $8000 for the tractor today.

  10. brent May 10, 20:35

    I want a 4 wheel drive machine with a loader and box scrape. i need to be able to handle jobs around a 12 acre homestead. mostly wooded. i dont need a belly mower or bush hog. a backhoe would be a bonus. since its ag i can write it off on taxes but dont have a hug start up budget.

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