Is An ATV Or UTV Better For Farming or Ranching?

Farming is hard work that takes plenty of dedication. That’s why choosing the best equipment is essential to the efficiency of the work. That’s why deciding between an ATV and a UTV can be a difficult decision for many farmers, as both offer unique advantages and disadvantages.

So, is an ATV or UTV better for farming? The answer isn’t so straightforward, as it depends on the job at hand and what is required. However, generally, a UTV is better for farm work as it’s safety, large load capacity, protection from the elements, and high maneuverability cause it to be superior to the smaller, more dangerous, and less powerful ATV.

There are still many advantages of an ATV over the UTV, while the UTV can excel in many scenarios the ATV can’t. The lower price range of an ATV compared to a UTV is also noticeable and would need to be considered. Read on to learn more about the differences (and similarities) between these two vehicles.

Why You want An ATV or UTV on the Farm or Ranch?

There are so many uses for an ATV or a UTV on the farm or ranch, it isn’t surprising that you will see one or the other on pretty much every farm or ranch.

ATV’s and UTV’s can be used to help haul cargo across large expanses of land. They can also be used to quickly get from one area to the next. You can attach numerous accessories to aid in more specific tasks such as snowplowing, spreading or hauling.

Some may ask the question as to why not simply use both? Both an ATV and a UTV have advantages and disadvantages that a farmer or rancher would have to weigh for the job at hand. For example, an ATV is cheaper than a UTV, while a UTV has more power. Another example is that the smaller size of an ATV would give more space in the barn for other equipment.

If you’re a farmer or rancher who could benefit from utilizing both of these vehicles separately, then you could buy both an ATV and a UTV; however, a UTV fits the mold when it comes to accomplishing most heavy-duty farm work and transportation. However, understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each should certainly aid you in your decision!

What Are The Advantages of An ATV on the Farm or Ranch?

Three words define the ATV: versatility, compactness, and practicality. ATV’s are quick and small, able to get you where you need to go and fast.

They may not usually have as much power as a UTV, but they certainly are versatile in their uses. Attachments are often used to improve their versatility, though these attachments have to take into account the ATV’s lack of power. 

ATV’s have extremely high maneuverability and can make quick turns when you need them. This makes them incredibly useful for wooded areas, where you need to make constant movements to prevent them from crashing.

This leads to the next big advantage of an ATV-their small size. They take up minimal space within the barn, resulting in more space for other useful equipment.

ATV’s also don’t use very much gas, which is great for farmers or ranchers who plan on utilizing one of these vehicles often. Less gas means less money, which is an advantage

Part of an ATV’s attractability is in its affordability. ATV’s are more cost-effective than UTV’s, so if money is a concern, than an ATV would be worth considering over a UTV.

When you will want an ATV instead of a UTV

An ATV is a small, fast vehicle that is easy to get on and off of. As such, an ATV is more useful for the following types of situations: 

  • Jobs that require an agile vehicle with quick maneuvering.
  • Smaller projects, particularly with small cargo loads.
  • Jobs that have frequent stops when you need to get on and off.
  • Areas where you are dealing with a smaller pathway and need to have a smaller footprint.
  • When you don’t have a ton of storage space to keep a bigger UTV.
  • When money is an issue and a UTV isn’t necessary.

Why you wouldn’t want an ATV or UTV on the Farm or Ranch

Even with the many advantages to using an ATV, there are still many cons to consider.

ATV’s are generally a bit more dangerous than UTV’s. This is especially true for an inexperienced rider, which may happen if you have young kids helping out or hired help that may not be experienced.

ATV’s are not great for hauling people or equipment. You are limited to 1-2 people on an ATV whereas UTV’s fit 2-4 people usually. This makes ATV’s less useful if you have to get more than just yourself anywhere.

It also makes it less practical for hauling. UTV’s can be purchased with small beds for carrying items, but you are going to have to add a small trailer or hauler to your ATV if you want to haul anything.

ATV’s also lack in the towing comparison. They lack the torque and power of a UTV usually, which makes it harder to haul a heavy trailer. If you are using an ATV, check out this helpful guide to increasing torque and horsepower.

What Are The Advantages of A UTV on the Farm or Ranch?

The UTV generally has decent maneuverability as well, but it also excels in handling larger cargo loads, protecting the user, and getting tough jobs done easily.

One of the biggest benefits to a UTV over an ATV is that they provide room for more people. You are usually stuck to one person on an ATV, but UTV’s routinely hold 4 passengers. This is great when you are not working alone on the Farm or Ranch.

While I personally think ATV’s are more fun, UTV’s are generally considered safer than ATV’s. They come with seat belts and roll bars, and won’t tip as easily regardless. You also don’t run the risk of flying over the handlebars in a UTV.

Another reason a lot of people prefer a UTV is that they are highly customizable. With an ATV you mostly have what there is with a few add-ons on, but there are a ton of styles with UTVs and they can be further customized with a ton of available specialized accessories. Some of these can be a big aid in farming or ranching jobs.

Comfort is big seller on UTVs over ATVs because riding in a seat can be much nicer than straddling the four wheeler. During a long day of work on the farm or ranch, having the comfort of a UTV can definitely be appealing.

UTV’s are better than ATV’s in regards to power, comfort and functionality. In our mind, these maintraits makes them superior to ATV’s for use on a farm or ranch. However their are some drawbacks.

Why you wouldn’t want a UTV for the farm or ranch

The three big cons on the UTV are (1) they take up more space; (2) they require bigger trails; and (3) they are more expensive.

All the benefits of a UTV come because of their bigger size. If you have a small barn or storage area, you may not have the room for a UTV and a smaller ATV would be less intrusive.

Another downside to their bigger size is that they need more ground for driving. If you have trees on your ranch or need to drive in narrow paths on a farm, a UTV may be unusable for you.

Finally, the price of a UTV can be a big deterrent. That extra money is well worth it for most farmers and ranchers, but may not be worth it for you so make sure to include it in your consideration.

When you will want a UTV instead of an ATV on a farm or ranch

The UTV is a powerful workhorse that can get most heavy-duty tasks accomplished. They’re especially useful if you want to carry more than one person. If you do the following types of jobs on the ranch or farm, the UTV is for you. 

  • Jobs that require multiple passengers.
  • Jobs that involve heavy loads and hauling cargo.
  • Frequent need to carry tools or other items in a small bed.
  • Need for more accessories and tools.

The UTV is particularly useful at hauling. To me, the ability to throw a tool bag or something else on without using a trailer is the real game changer that makes a UTV more practical for farm or ranch use.

What Are The Different Types of UTV’s?

UTV’s come in all shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, there are three types of UTV’s to choose from: utility, sport, and sport-utility. For farming or ranching, you will want to purchase a utility-based UTV. Unless you just want to have a lot more fun off the farm, you won’t need the more aggressive handling and speed that comes in a sport UTV, and you lose the option to have a bed on the UTV. If you aren’t using the UTV full time on the farm and want it to be a toy as well, a sport-utility model may be a good fit.

Final Thoughts on why a UTV is our choice for farmers and ranchers

Farmers and ranchers typically need a greater payload and towing capacity to be able to effectively complete their tasks. UTV’s are incredibly powerful machines that can handle almost any given task that is set before them, allowing the farmer or rancher to operate at greater efficiency. Farmers and ranchers who haul hay bales, manure, gravel, fencing, or anything of the sort will find greater use for a farm-ready UTV.

A UTV is also going to be much more comfortable. In addition to the more comfortable seats and riding style, your work does not stop rain or shine, so the added protection from the elements that UTV’s offer is another big comfort point.

If you want the best equipment for farming or ranching, it has to be a UTV. An ATV simply won’t cut it for a farmer or rancher that needs more power and functionality. With an ATV, you can’t carry any additional people and can’t carry cargo without an attached hauler, in which case you may be stuck watching your vehicle struggle to move heavier cargo loads.

A UTV remedies every problem that an ATV creates. On top of that, they are easily cleaned and allow the family to join in on the action. They are often thought of as fun and rewarding vehicles, boosting productivity and aiding owners in the everyday tasks that come with being a farmer or rancher. While they may be slightly more expensive, they are entirely worth the money.

Brent Huntley

Brent Huntley is the owner of ATV Man and is responsible for almost all the material on the website. He also runs and loves to travel and ride ATVs with his family. When he isn't playing, his day job consists of owning Huntley Law.

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