Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best tractor tires

You might think that choosing tractor tires would be a fairly straightforward task. Whether you own a riding lawn mower, garden tractor, or agricultural vehicle, there’s a limit to the number of sizes that will fit, so your options are quite narrow. However, if you want the best performance and highest value, things get more complicated.

There are different types of tire construction to consider. Terrain needs to be factored in when selecting a tread pattern. You might also need to check if the tires are suitable for highway use. And with a dozen or more tire brands vying for your attention, making the right decision can get complicated!

The BestReviews team has been busy investigating all the latest tractor tires. The result is this comprehensive buying guide. We’ve included a range of recommendations that highlight the best options in a number of categories. We also offer an in-depth look at the different types and the technical specifications that will impact your choice.

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Most tractors have four wheels, but eight-wheeled models are not unusual. The extra wheels and tires help spread the load on soft ground. That can be taken to extremes in some cases, with tractors that have up to five wheels per corner!

Key considerations

Size is obviously an important factor when choosing tractor tires, and how you check that is something we cover in our FAQ section below. However, it’s only one consideration when picking the right tractor tire. The other two main factors are construction (bias ply or radial) and performance specifications.


Bias ply: This type of tractor tire is made as a single unit. The tread and sidewall sections are the same and made up of a number of plies (anywhere between 2 and 12). More plies increases durability. Sidewalls can be immensely strong, but they’re also very rigid. These tires are not recommended for road use because they can overheat and delaminate. “Non-highway service” (NHS) is usually found on lawn and garden tractor tires, this is telling you that the tire is not rated for highway speeds.

Radial: On these tractor tires, the tread and sidewall are quite different. A more flexible sidewall spreads the load better, increasing traction and power transfer. This, in turn, results in better mileage. However, radial tractor tires are more expensive, which is a factor in commercial operations.


Manufacturers provide figures so you can see a tire’s performance specifications. Information is provided in sales data and often printed on the sidewall.

Load range: This is the vehicle weight the tractor tire can support safely. It is directly related to the number of plies in bias tires. Load rating A (LRA) is for two-ply tires, LRB for four-ply, and so on. This figure is independent of tire size. For example, a 16x6.0-8 four-ply tire might be good for 800 pounds. The eight-ply version could be rated for over 1,200 pounds.

Load index: This is the same as load range but for radial tractor tires. Full charts are available online.

Speed rating: This may also be provided. It’s seldom an important factor on lawn or garden tractors, but agricultural models often have to travel on the road. (Surprisingly, the world’s fastest tractor can top 100 miles per hour!)

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Expert Tip
Tractor tires sometimes have up to 75% of their volume filled with water to increase traction. The addition of calcium chloride to the mix keeps the water from freezing.



Tread is a major factor when it comes to the surface you’re working on.

Soft ground: Typically, when you think of a farm tractor tire, you might picture big chunky blocks of tread (called lugs) at 45° angles. These are great on soft ground, giving good grip and, equally important, channeling loose dirt and mud out of the way so the tire gains traction on more solid ground underneath. They are an excellent general-purpose choice (for garden tractors, too).

Lawn: The tread design is in part intended to dig into the ground, not what you want on a lawn tractor (or golf cart) at all! You need some grip, in case the surface is damp, but the last thing you want is to chew up the grass. Lawn tractor tires tend to have lots of small, shallow tread blocks on comparatively wide tires, spreading the load as evenly as possible.

Sandy or rocky soil: On loose sand or rocky ground, neither of the two patterns we’ve mentioned is very effective. Both have a tendency to skate across the surface, unable to generate much traction. In this case, straight-ribbed tractor tires are often recommended. They have deep bands that run right around the tire, with little or no cross tread. They cut in, giving great directional control where other types just slide around, though the lack of lugs does mean these tires don’t grip so well in mud. As a result, they’re quite a specialist choice rather than an all-rounder.

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Expert Tip
Radial tractor tires are more expensive, but if you spend much time on pavement, they could last up to a third longer than the bias equivalent, and save you fuel, too.

Tractor tire prices

At BestReviews, we usually like to provide a range of prices in the inexpensive, mid-range, and expensive brackets as a quick reference to what you can expect to pay, but tractor tires vary so much in size and construction that it’s not really practical.

As a rough guide, you can expect to pay somewhere between $20 and $40 for a garden tractor tire and between $60 and $200 for a farm tractor tire. Of course, some agricultural tractor tires get very big, indeed, and can exceed $1,200 apiece! You’ll often get good deals buying pairs. This makes sense because while you don’t necessarily need to replace front and rear tires at the same time, you do want to replace both tires on the same axle.

Tire-fitting safety

With lawn tractors, it’s relatively easy to fit your own tires. You don’t need many tools, and there are plenty of useful videos online to show you how. However, make sure you always think of safety first. Even a relatively small tractor will cause a lot of damage if it falls on you! Use axle stands, not just a jack. And it’s a good idea to enlist a friend to help, so you can look out for each other. If you’re not confident, get a pro to do it.

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Expert Tip
It’s common to run different tread patterns front and back, or even mix radial and bias ply, but it’s not advised to mess with the tire’s circumference. It could alter the gear ratio and damage drive components.

Other products we considered

We found a few other options you might be interested in. The TRIBLE SIX 15x6.00-6 Tubeless Tractor Tires are durable budget lawn and garden tractor tires. They’re rubber on an abrasion-resistant nylon carcass, which keeps the cost down, and it’s fine for lightweight applications.

The MaxAuto 16x6.50-8 Turf Tires are from a popular supplier of affordable tires for lawn and garden tractors. These are for John Deere models and designed to minimize surface damage. They’re four-ply, rated for 615 pounds, and come in pairs.

The Carlisle Farm Specialist Bias Tire displays the wide-ranging expertise of one of the top brands in the sector. The three-rib design gives excellent directional stability in broken, rocky, or sandy soil and sheds mud easily to maintain traction.

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If you need to use your tractor on the highway, check the tire specifications carefully. Some tires are not meant for highway use. They could be both illegal and dangerous. Overheating might cause a blowout.


Q. How do I tell what size my tractor tire is?
It’s printed on the tire sidewall. There are some differences between the way they’re marked for lawn and garden tractor tires and for agricultural models.

Lawn and garden tires: Lawn tractor tires have three numbers, such as 16x6.50-8. The first number is the diameter when the tire is normally inflated. The second is the width. The third is the diameter of the wheel rim it will fit (all dimensions are in inches).

Agricultural tires: With agricultural tires, things aren’t so straightforward. There are three possibilities. On the sidewall of bias ply US tires, you should find two figures, such as 16.9 x 24. The first is the width from sidewall to sidewall. The second is the diameter of the wheel rim. On radial tires, the information is written slightly differently: 16.9R24.

Metric tires are different again. They’re in millimeters. The first figure is the width when inflated, the second is the aspect ratio (width to height). The third is the diameter of the rim. In this example, 16.9R24 is equivalent to 420/85R24.

Q. Are radial tires better than bias ply on tractors?
As a general rule, radial tires last longer and are more flexible, which gives a better ride. While that’s important for your car or motorcycle, and might be a consideration on a lawn tractor, the difference is not so pronounced on a farm tractor in a field. Bias ply tires have a stronger sidewall, which is less prone to damage by rocks, tree branches, or other debris. Bias ply tractor tires are also quite a lot cheaper. Technically, you could argue that radial tires are better, but bias ply tires remain very popular, and on rough terrain they are often more appropriate.

Q. Are tractor tires tubed or tubeless?
It varies. Smaller garden and lawn tractors often have tubed tires, agricultural tractor tires can be tubed or tubeless. It’s important to check when ordering, because the tubes may need to be ordered separately. A tube may also be fitted to a tubeless tire if there’s been a puncture, to prolong the working life of the tire when there’s enough tread left for it to be usable. It’s legal so long as the tractor isn’t driven on public highways.

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