To cab or not to cab. That is the question…for many compact utility tractor owners, that is. While some operators prefer the open, airy environment that comes with no cab, others enjoy the comforts of an enclosed cab.
This is a decision that’s typically made prior to a tractor purchase. But what if an operator wants to add a cab at a later date? And is there an option to add a cab, yet be able to switch it up later in the year to make it more open?
Utility tractor owners have options when deciding to cab or not to cab. Here are eight factors to consider in the debate of adding an enclosed cab or keeping an open station-style tractor.
Tractor size is the first variable and the most important one that determines cab options. Some tractor manufacturers only offer a factory-installed cab on certain-size machines, typically larger sizes, while smaller tractors have additional options of aftermarket cabs.
On John Deere utility tractors, for example, a factory-installed cab is an option on most. Smaller units, the 2 Series compact utility tractors and smaller 1 Series sub-compact utility tractors, are available with aftermarket options as well.
2. Option vs. Aftermarket
Understand the differences between a factory-installed cab and an aftermarket option to better set expectations of what kind of experience is in store.
Factory-installed cabs on larger machines offer features like air conditioning and radios, while aftermarket options typically only offer heat. And only factory-installed cabs are guaranteed airtight.
3. Installation and Removal
It’s advised to have a tractor cab installed by a trusted, local dealer partner. Even for trained experts, installing a cab is a complex job that can take several hours, not something most operators have the skill or time to do themselves.
Those choosing an aftermarket cab that can be removed should also have the task be taken care of by a professional at the dealership.
4. Fuel Economy
A cab that’s standard, factory-installed on a larger utility tractor won’t negatively affect the machine’s fuel economy. Technically, an aftermarket cab on a smaller machine won’t either, however, it is adding weight to a machine that otherwise wouldn’t have that weight. Fuel efficiency will be impacted to a degree.
Height restrictions come into play with cab units vs. open-station tractors. Compact utility tractors have a rollover protective structure (ROPS) that can be folded down if height restriction would otherwise prohibit the tractor in an area.
Cabs, however, cannot be easily taken off to accommodate height restrictions so keep in mind transport and storage space when considering a cab machine. There are options, however. One aftermarket cab option for sub-compact tractors, from Austrian company, Mouser, will allow the tractor to fit under a standard seven-foot garage door when installed.
If cleanliness is important, a cab is worth considering. Operators working in especially dry or dusty environments or those wanting to avoid grass clippings, debris, and other elements that come with lawn, landscape, or agricultural work will want to consider a cab.
Perhaps the biggest consideration of whether to add or forgo a cab comes down to climate. Those working in the Central Coast region of California likely don’t need the climate-control of a cab. On the other hand, a homeowner in Minnesota using the tractor year-round, for everything from lawn care to snow removal, would appreciate air conditioning in the summer months, and shelter and heat a cab provides during the snowy, cold months.
While a full-on cab might not be practical or cost-effective, especially for compact utility tractor operators in warmer states, there are other options to make the tractor experience better.
Some aftermarket cabs offer the option to remove all windows, a good compromise for an operator wanting a full cab part of the year, an open station the rest of the year – without going through the time-consuming, expensive process of removing and reinstalling the cab.
Canopies offer an even simpler option to block direct sunlight while keeping an open, air environment. Offered on smaller tractors, they’re a good choice for those not wanting the expense or hassle of adding a cab.
About the Author
Alex Mitchell is passionate about customers, John Deere machines, and RDO Equipment Co. As a Consumer Products Sales Account Manager, Alex enjoys educating potential customers on what John Deere equipment can deliver and he especially loves showing them they can turn their dreams of owning a Deere into reality.
Find the John Deere compact utility tractor package that’s the right fit for you or to demo a machine, visit your local RDO Equipment Co. store.