The initial step in choosing the right utility tractor is to take a good honest look at what you need one for in the first place. Now, if your lawn care is limited to mowing an acre or two of grass each weekend, you probably don't need a utility tractor -- a simple lawn and garden tractor will likely work for you. These machines can do some light towing and may even have a few useful attachments like a snow blower, for instance. However, they probably won't have a three-point hitch for more complex attachments, and they likely won't have power take off (PTO) either.
If your home and garden includes extensive areas of brush, pasture, as well as livestock and even large gardens, you may find that a subcompact or compact tractor works for you. Subcompact and compact tractors generally have horsepower ratings from 15 to 50 horsepower, two-speed transmissions and may even have available attachments like small hay balers. They also tend to come with a PTO and a three-point hitch. You can also usually find compact and subcompact utility tractors with four-wheel drive and diesel engines.
When you've gone way beyond typical lawn care needs, and say, own a small farm, you'll likely need more than what a compact utility tractor can provide. Enter the utility tractor. This type of machine goes one better than compact and subcompact utility tractors. Like its smaller brothers, the utility tractor offers a PTO and a three-point hitch, but it also has more horsepower -- generally between 45 and 110 horsepower. This type of tractor is extremely useful on small farms, but even larger operations may have a use for a smaller tractor that can handle jobs where it might be tough to get a larger machine in place.