May 21

The Most Reliable Tractor Brands in the World

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Last Updated on August 12, 2022

From planting to plowing and harvesting, the most reliable tractor brands in the world are responsible for many agricultural endeavors and innovations.

Often thought of as simple machines, tractors are actually quite diverse. Some consider them to be smart work horses, and statistics reveal the impact tractors have on society. Research firm Mordor Intelligence valued the global tractors market in 2020 at 66.5 billion USD. The firm predicts value will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly five percent.

This means the market will reach 87.45 billion USD by 2026!

According to a poll published by Farm Equipment Magazine, 33.7 percent of agricultural equipment dealers in the US expected their dealerships to be two to seven percent more profitable in 2021 compared to 2020. In this poll, 8.7 percent believed their dealership would be more profitable by at least eight percent.

The agricultural tractor machinery market is segmented into the following categories: less than 40 HP, 40 to 100 HP, above 100 HP, and four-wheel drive (FWD). Over time, tractor companies have proven to be innovative, providing advanced technologies, numerous tractor implements, and niche-specific customizations in their machines.

Tractor brands originate in different parts of the world, but in America, the agricultural tractor machinery market is consolidated. Only a few players dominate the competition. In other parts of the world like Europe, other companies reign on top. Of all the big name companies, here we list the most reliable!

Tractors & Landscaping Equipment at Auction

American Tractor Brands

JOHN DEERE

most reliable tractor brands - John Deere infographic

Pros/Cons 

  • Wide variety in tractor models
  • High quality, long-lasting
  • Expensive, but popular brand
  • Common lighting, battery, & transmission issues
  • Unideal repair requirements for DIYers

Price ranges

Smaller tractors start around $15,000, and the largest tractors are over $600,000.

History

For generations, the John Deere company has bore a distinctive green color decorating their 22-640 HP range tractors. This reliable tractor brand entered the business in 1918 with two models: the Waterloo Boy and the John Deere Tractor.

Just a century before, in Vermont, 1837, a man by the name John Deere found success as a blacksmith creating and selling a self-scouring steel plow. The invention was an upgrade from the customary wooden and iron plows of the time. From there the entrepreneur created a ride-on plow which relied on horses and added even more ease to agriculture.

His success as a businessman paved the way for the eventual creation and incorporation of Deere & Company in 1868.

John Deere, the company, purchased Waterloo Engine Gas Company before releasing their first two tractors to the market in 1918. 

Of the two, the John Deere tractor included features that weren’t common on other tractors until much later. This included all-wheel drive, a friction-drive transmission, and a high-speed four-cylinder engine. 

The Waterloo Boy was revolutionary too, relying on gasoline and kerosene to operate instead of animals. This machine had a single-speed transmission and a two-cylinder engine, accompanied by a two-bottom plow. 

Today, the company offers a range of products for every tractor application: compact, utility, low-clearance, high-clearance, narrow, row, four-wheel drive, two-track and four-track. John Deere’s popularity in agriculture is hard to miss much like their iconic color.

CASE IH

most reliable tractor brands - Case IH infographic

Pros/Cons 

  • Mostly reliable, largely affordable
  • Easy to repair for DIYers
  • Fuel tank leaks
  • High fuel consumption

Price ranges

Smaller tractors start around $15,000, and the largest tractors are over $100,000.

History

Case IH first began with entrepreneur Jerome Increase Case who in 1842 started Racine Threshing Machine Works in Racine, Wisconsin. While he worked with threshers, in another part of America, Cyrus McCormick started McCormick Harvesting Machine Company in 1847.

Similar to Massey Ferguson, Case IH is the combination of what would become two tractor manufacturers. In 1876, J. I. Case and Company invented the first self-propelled steam-powered tractor and the first gasoline-powered tractor in 1892. Gasoline-powered equipment didn’t go over well at first, so the company reintroduced it in 1911. Meanwhile, McCormick Harvesting Machines and several other companies merged into the International Harvester Company in 1902. They released the Titan tractor in 1910 followed by the first commercial power take off (PTO) in 1919. 

In 1985, the two companies merged to form Case IH, which is today owned by CNH Industrial N.V. The company still manufactures tractors out of Racine, Wisconsin. They offer 12 different series and models ranging from 30-620 HP, catering to the agricultural, utility, and compact tractor markets.

NEW HOLLAND

most reliable tractor brands - New Holland infographic

Pros/Cons 

  • Eco-friendly design and innovation
  • Less versatile than the previous brands
  • Common hydraulic & glow plug problems

Price ranges

Smaller tractors start around $15,000, and the largest tractors are over $110,000.

History

Blacksmith Abe Zimmerman founded New Holland in 1895 in none other than New Holland, Pennsylvania. He originally endeavored to produce engines for farm machines like animal feed mills. The company grew from there, creating other farm implements before New Holland eventually introduced their first tractor in 1917. This machine was called the Ford.

After the Ford proved to be a successful innovation, the company followed this creation with the highly-coveted Fiat Model 702 in the following year.

Ever since, the company has been bought out and owned by many other companies: Sperry Corporation (1947), Ford Motor Company (1986), FiatAgri (1991) and CNH Global N.V. (1999). Then in 2013, CNH Global N.V. and Fiat Industrial S.p.A. merged into CNH Industrial N.V. 

As of today, New Holland, Pennsylvania serves as the location for the company’s North American operations, with its global operations stationed in Turin, Italy. The company manufactures more than 23 series of tractors that range from 22 HP-682 HP and offer a variety of attachments. In 2022, New Holland will have been in operation for 127 years.

MASSEY FERGUSON

most reliable tractor brands - Massey Ferguson infographic

Pros/Cons 

  • Offers three different categories of tractor models
  • Limited tractor options
  • More affordable than previous brands
  • Fuel efficient, durable
  • Excellent warranty & customer support

Price ranges

Smaller tractors start around $12,000, and the largest tractors are over $90,000.

History

Massey Ferguson is the result of a merger between two tractor companies, Massey-Harris (US) and Ferguson (UK) in 1952. Originally, Massey-Harris was the combination of two farm equipment manufacturers in 1892. This company exported farming equipment like mowers before later partaking in the tractor industry. They produced their first tractor in 1919. 

Meanwhile, Harry Ferguson, an Irish inventor who had been developing farm implements for Model Ts, eventually converted these into tractors. The first tractor he produced was the Ferguson Black in 1936. He is also credited with developing the Ferguson System – a three-point hitch mechanism that prevented the tractor from rearing when hitting a hard surface with its plow.

Later, in the year 1994, Massey Ferguson became, along with Fendt (1997), Challenger (2002), and Valtra (2004), an agricultural equipment manufacturing division of Allis-Gleaner Corporation (AGCO). The agricultural conglomerate is based out of Duluth, Georgia. Under their wing, the Massey Ferguson brand still has several lines of tractors from sub-compact to utility to high-horsepower in the 24-400 HP range. Their reliability is proven by their 175 years of existence.

International Tractor Brands

KUBOTA

most reliable tractor brands - Kubota infographic

Pros/Cons 

  • Wide variety in tractor models
  • Versatile tractor design
  • Wide range of tractor implements
  • More affordable than previous brands
  • Common engine failure & overheating

Price ranges 

Smaller tractors start around $10,000, and the largest tractors are over $100,000.

History

Kubota Corporation began as a foundry called Ohde Casting in Japan during the year 1890. The company was founded by Gonshiro Ohde. The company cast machine parts and kitchen items, before later manufacturing pipes and machines. In 1894 the company became Ohde Casting Iron Works, and their clientele grew to include big customers like Kubota Match Machine Manufacturers.

The owner of this other Japanese company, Toshiro Kubota, told Gonshiro Ohde that he wanted to adopt Ohde. Ohde agreed and changed his last name to Kubota. 

With time the company grew to produce a number of items like kerosene engines for agricultural purposes. In 1930, the company was divided into two independent entities – Kubota Iron Works and Kubota Iron Works Machinery. The latter first produced, among other items, engines for agricultural machines, then started producing their own machines. The company entered the North American tractor market in 1969. Kubota offers a large range of models from the sub-compact to agricultural to specialty with models that range from 16-200 HP. Kubota is recognized on every continent and popular for their compact tractors. From Ohde casting to today, Kubota boasts an  impressive 132 years of reliability.

Tractors & Landscaping Equipment at Auction

FENDT

most reliable tractor brands - Fendt infographic

Pros/Cons 

  • Advanced technology: twin intercooling & coated soot filter
  • Limited tractor options
  • Very expensive brand
  • Common engine & transmission issues

Price ranges 

Smaller tractors start around $90,000, and the largest tractors are over $400,000.

History

In 1930 Germany, Johann Georg Fendt sold the first Fendt-branded, diesel-powered tractor to a local farmer. The farmer named his new machine the “Dieselross” (which is German for diesel horse). This mechanism was a small 6 HP tractor with a mounted plow and a mower.

Fendt adopted the name and along with his sons Hermann and Xaver, began manufacturing more and larger units. The company was incorporated in 1937 as Xaver Fendt GmbH & Co. In this same year they released a 16 HP tractor with travel-independent power shift PTO. They called it Dieselross F 18.

In 1997, AGCO purchased Fendt, and that is when Fendt’s tractor sales in North America skyrocketed. Fendt manufactures tractors today in the 124-673 HP range and only for the agricultural market.

CLAAS

most reliable tractor brands - Claas infographic

Pros/Cons 

  • Advanced technology: four-point suspended cab & CEBIS
  • Limited tractor options
  • Common uneven weight distribution
  • Very expensive brand

Price ranges 

Smaller tractors start around $90,000, and the largest tractors are over $400,000.

History

August Claas, son of an agricultural equipment manufacturer, founded Claas in 1913 Germany as a straw binder manufacturer. Just a year later in 1914, his brothers Franz junior and Bernhard joined the company. Their fourth brother wouldn’t join the company until 1940. 

After commercial success with the straw binder, they began creating combine harvesters, releasing their first in 1936. In the years since, the company has expanded their equipment functionality and become well-known for manufacturing combines across Europe. In 1999, the company established facilities in the US. Though they didn’t enter the tractor market until the acquisition of Renault Agriculture in 2003.

Claas manufactures only three tractors for the North American market. They are all agricultural tractors in the 210-530 HP range.

DEUTZ-FAHR

most reliable tractor brands - Deutz-Fahr infographic

Pros/Cons 

  • User-friendly
  • Great fuel economy
  • Wide variety in tractor models & engines
  • Very expensive brand
  • Not ideal for small-scale farmers
  • Lacking dealership network outside of Europe

Price ranges 

Smaller tractors start around $50,000, and the largest tractors are over $500,000.

History

Deutz-Fahr has been in operation for about 150 years selling agricultural machines like combine harvesters and tractors. The company came into existence in 1968 when Deutz—a German-based engine manufacturer with the company Klockner-Humboldt-Deutz AG (KHD) group—purchased the majority share of Fahr. Fahr was a German-based agricultural equipment manufacturer who had been manufacturing tractors since 1938. 

The first tractor produced by Deutz-Fahr was a two-wheel drive 22 HP model called the Fahr F22. Other notable tractors include the Deutz MTH 222, which hit the market in 1927. Almost a decade later came the Deutz 11 Series.

In 1985, the company purchased Allis-Chalmers, and that purchase ended up being a bad investment for the company, so they sold it to AGCO. In 1995 Deutz-Fahr joined the Italian Group SAME to become the SAME Deutz-Fahr Group (SDF Group). The company now manufactures 14 agricultural tractors between 65-336 HP.

ARGO

Pros/Cons 

  • Advanced technology: ISOBUS & PSM systems
  • Consists of multiple tractor brands with specific focuses
  • McCormick: affordable, user-friendly
  • Landini: reliable, user-friendly
  • Valpanda: limited tractor options, great power to weight ratio

Price ranges 

Smaller tractors start around $10,000, and the largest tractors are over $100,000.

History

ARGO SpA is responsible for marketing three different tractor brands across the world: McCormick, Landini, and Valpadana.

The McCormick brand started in 1831 when Cyrus Hall McCormick redesigned a harvester model. Three years later he patented his work before eventually starting a Chicago factory to produce more machines. Later in 1900, McCormick Harvesting Machine Company (USA) merged with Deering Harvester Company. They became the International Harvester Company, the first wide scale agricultural machinery company in the world! They produced their first tractor in France in 1951 with the Fc Farmall model.

The company McCormick Tractors International Ltd. officially ended in 2000 when McCormick was bought by ARGO SpA. From there the former company became only a brand and stopped being a separate company. Their tractors are robust and designed for large jobs, ranging from 165-175 HP.

Landini was an Italian tractor company that first began in 1884 in Fabbrico, Italy. Their tractors came about through the ingenious work of Giovanni Landini who created the first fixed bulb engine in 1910. Five years later the company produced their first 30 HP locomotive, the precursor to their 1925 tractor prototype. The company went on to produce more models with greater horsepower before being acquired by ARGO SpA in 1994. This brand offers tractor options for smaller and larger jobs. Their tractors range from 49-114 HP.

One year later ARGO SpA acquired Valpanda in 1995. This company also originated in Italy, specifically in 1935 Rio. The company produced their first lawn mower in 1954 which preceded the invention of their first tractor in 1960. This brand of tractor focuses on compact size and speciality uses. Their tractors range from 18-55 HP

All three companies marketed their tractors within and outside their country before being acquired by ARGO SpA.

STEYR

Pros/Cons 

  • Reliable & efficient engines
  • Cab built for comfort
  • Limited service outside of Europe
  • Not ideal for smaller tasks

Price ranges 

Smaller tractors start around $25,000, and the largest tractors are over $110,000.

History

The global brand known as Steyr Tractors sold their first tractor – a model Steyr 180 – to a farmer in 1947. A year after that success story, in 1948, the company began creating implements for tractors including cutter bars. Yet another year later, Steyr created the Type 80 model. This tractor originally ran at 13 hp. Around 45,000 units of this single-cylinder tractor were produced until 1964. 

The company dove into producing robust tractors starting 1952 to help on farms. One of these models was the Type 280 which ran at 60 hp and had a four-cylinder engine. Over the years, then decades, the company continued to grow, adding more model types and implementations to their machines. Tractors became equipped with four-wheel drive, along with higher horsepower. The Austrian company entered the Turkish market in 1977, then Vietnam two years later.

Steyr celebrated 75 years of operation in 2022, boasting a history of functional and reliable tractors that exist now globally. Their tractors fall between 110-300 HP.

VALTRA

Pros/Cons 

  • Eco-friendly design and innovation
  • Basic & advanced tech options
  • Very limited operation outside of Europe

Price ranges 

Smaller tractors start around $15,000, and the largest tractors are over $105,000.

History

In 2021, Valtra accomplished 70 years of service in the tractor industry. The company’s roots date back to the year 1832 when a Theofron Munktell established a workshop in Eskilstuna, Sweden. Munktell’s workshop merged with another Swedish group called J & CG Bolinder in 1932. This organization, headed by brothers Jean and Carl Gerhard Bolinder, produced steam engines, sawmill machines, and similar products. The Bolinder-Munktell merger was subsequently bought out by AB Volvo, a car company, in 1932. Between the 30’s and 40’s the company created agricultural tractors in addition to engines, graders, sawmill machines, and more.

Production ramped up even more in 1951 and eventually expanded beyond the Swedish borders. Since then they have produced multiple new model series and new implementations to use on tractors. In 2004, Valtra was acquired by Allis-Gleaner Corporation (AGCO).

THE BEST TRACTOR BRANDS?

Now that you have a greater understanding of tractors and the market’s history, you’re one step closer to finding one that meets your needs. These smart work horses are worth the investment. Find the best used tractors to be kind to your wallet while picking up a great work horse for years to come.


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