Two wheel tractors, also known as walking tractors or walk behind tractors, are relatively affordable and quite versatile. They provide cheap, reliable power to plough fields and vegetable patches, drive generators, threshing machines and water pumps, and even convert to handy rural people-carriers.

The engines can be 12 or 15 hp and come with 6 or 8 speed gearboxes. And in top gear they can be dangerously fast! They have been available in South Africa for well over 25 years, and second-hand machines are now to be found at auctions and tractor dealerships.

Two wheel tractors have the major advantage that, being so basic, there is very little that can go wrong with them. The engine has, literally, only a handful of moving parts. Moreover, being so common, spares are not hard to find.

They do require some skill to operate, otherwise they can be lethal.


And while they can do all the things a conventional tractor can do ~ rip, plough, rotavate, cut, rake and haul trailers ~ each operation requires a specially designed implement. There is a large range of interchangeable implements, such as mealie planter, potato planter and harvester, peanut planter and harvester, wheat planter and harvester, vegetable planters, plough, ditcher, lawn mower, water pump, and a ride-on trailer.

Two-wheelers can be used as walk-behinds or ride-ons, the choice depending on the use and the buyer. Again, the change from walk-behind to ride-on entails no more than hitching a wheeled driver’s seat to the engine bit. In the case of trailers (for goods or people) the driver’s seat and the trailer are sometimes one unit.

In light soils on smallholdings or small farms they are ideal, getting the job of cultivating done just as effectively as a four-wheel machine.

But, not unnaturally, each implement is an add-on, and an add-on cost. So while the cost of the tractor (engine, gearbox and drive wheels) may appear cheap, the cost of the implements ~ say a plough, grass cutter, driver’s seat and trailer can double, or more than double, the total cost.

7 thoughts on “Two Wheel Tractors: Cheaper Alternative For Tillage

  1. Hi, I’m looking for a Two wheel tractor which I could use on a small holding to mainly cut veld grass. could you recommend a secondhand unit for my needs?

  2. Goodday/ Goeie dag

    Im in the market for a two wheel tractor.

    Do you have?
    Please provide price and availibilty for me

  3. Good day, it seems most of us here are looking to acquire a push tractor but struggling to find a place where we can purchase them or their parts. Your article points out that these items are “common” and finding parts shouldn’t be hard. Although you do not sell anything yourself please could you add/advise on where these products and parts can be purchased.

    1. The first question you need to answer is what size of two-wheeler are you looking for? Are you looking for a petrol-powered rotary tiller? Or are you looking for a diesel-powered two-wheeler with ride-on capability and interchangeable implements? The deciding factor in either case is the size of the land you intend to till, and the type of soil.
      Two heel powered tillers are available from many power equipment importers, eg Stihl, Husqvarna, or Magnum for example. Diesel powered two-wheelers are either Chinese or Indian-built, and older models are not-uncommon via used tractor sales outlets and auctions. And, periodically, companies have set themselves up as dedicated importers catering for the smallholder market. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *