R1 vs. R4 Tractor Tires (Which One Should You Get & Why)

For manual laborers like farmers and construction workers, equipment and machinery can mean the difference between a job well done and a job not done. Tractors are one of the most important equipment vehicles that hard-working folks such as yourself rely on. 

But when it comes to a tractor, what’s best? The most important part of a tractor is the tires. This article will compare and contrast R4 vs. R1 tires.

You should get R1 tires if your work environment is agricultural. R1 has more buoyant tires with better traction, which is best suited for mud and challenging terrains. R4 tires are best for industrial environments where the ground is harder. They can also bear more weight than R1s, but they have less traction, which is something to keep in mind when making your selection. 

Difference Between R1 vs. R4 Tractor Tires Based on Features?

The “R” stands for radial construction, which is the type of tire. This type of construction gives the tire more stability. But not all radial tires are the same. Read on to learn more about R4 vs. R1 tires: their performance, safety, usability, price, and other things to consider before purchase. You can read about overall tire and vehicle safety standards 

1. Performance

R1 tires are also known as “ag” tires, which is short for “agricultural.” As the name suggests, these tires perform best on land that has varied terrain types, like a farm or other agricultural setting. They are perfect if you need to go up and down a hill or drive around on large expanses of dry or normal soil.

They can navigate mud and slushy ground because they have deep lugs; lugs are the perpendicular grooves in the tire. R1s are better for the agricultural setting because the tires are light and narrow, so the tractor can focus its weight more efficiently.

R1s cannot handle too much weight because they are very squishy and soft, so they do not perform well if you have a big load. But if you need something a little more solid for harder jobs, the R4 will surpass the R1 in this setting.

R4 tires are best for industrial settings, and more seasoned tractor experts will probably call them industrial tires, too. They have wide wheels that ride well in places with asphalt, gravel, or concrete. They can also carry heavy loads without tipping or disbalance, perfect for equipment or moving big items around.

The lugs in R4 are not as deep as the R1, though. So, if you need more traction, this is where the R4 lacks because they perform best on solid ground, not soft ground. 

For example, if you had to drive around in the mud, the R4 is much more likely to rut, stall, and get stuck. It’s best not to use R4s in a residential area because they are heavy and solid and are known for destroying supple land with dips.

2. Ease of Use and Safety

Regarding R4 vs. R1 tires, either tire can help in different situations, given their position on the tractor, whether in the front or back. The weight rating should be 60 for the forefront tires and 40 for the rear ones. It can make a big difference in performance and usability depending on whether an R1 or R4 is positioned as the front or rear tires.

Weight rating is one of the most important factors for figuring out what tires should be on your tractor of choice. There should be a little more than half of the weight rating in the front, hence the need for a 60-weight rating. This is important because it will determine how much of a load your tractor can take without becoming unbalanced or tipping over.

The less balanced a tractor is, the more likely it will get stuck and stalled in the mud. Setting with wetter terrain, such as if it is raining, can also cause trouble with balance.

R1 tires are much lighter and so have a lower weight rating. R4s are wider and heavier, so they obviously have a higher weight rating than R1s. But just because R1s have a lighter rating does not mean they should be avoided versus the R4s.

Rather, the owner should be conscious of where the R1s are placed on the vehicle. Since R1s are lighter, they’re best used as the back tires. R4s are best used as the front tires, especially if you have a carrying bucket in front.

3. Price Comparison

When it comes to R1 vs. R4 tires, the pricing varies due to their different composition and characteristics. The price will also vary depending on your location, demand, and where you buy it from, but generally R1 tires have a cheaper range than R4 tires, which usually have a more expensive range.

R1 tires can cost you at least $30 per tire on the low end. The highest R1 tires are normally $250 per tire, which is affordable for radial construction. This lower price might be due to their narrower, lighter makeup. 

But when you go to the other side and look at R4s, you will notice a significant spike in price. The cheapest an R4 tire can get is around $100, and the most expensive is $500. Right now you’re probably thinking: what’s with the price gap if they are better suited for different terrains?

Again, the two tires are priced differently because of their structure. R4s are prized for their ability to plow through snow, and they are known to have good tread on the road or terrain. However, they do not have solid traction as R1s do.

You can mix and match, but put the R1s in the back and the R4s in the front, which might make a big difference in price when you are ready to buy them.

4. Durability

Durability regarding R1 vs. R4 tires is heavily debated and depends on who you ask. For the most part, both tires are equal when it comes to longevity.

In general, tires should be durable whether or not they have radial construction like R1 or R4. Since vehicles of every kind (especially tractors) rely on solid construction, you really can’t go wrong with either.

If you were to test drive a tractor with all R1s, and then test drive another with all four R4 wheels, the result would be similar. Given that the ground is normal and dry, there is not much of a comparison since the tires were made to surpass normal conditions.

Though R1s and R4s are better suited for different environments, the overall consensus: a tire is a tire. The more you use a tire, the more likely it will wear out. But this will take a long time, as long as you frequently check the air pressure and get them retreaded if the need arises.

Handling can affect the durability of the tires, though. For example, R1 tires are more vulnerable to stress because they are softer, so they will wear out faster if you drive them on hard, rocky land. But remember that they have more traction, so it’s easier to get out of those situations.

5. Reliability

The ultimate test is between ply strength and puncture resistance when considering the reliability of tractor tires. In tough driving situations, the R1 has better traction overall, but the R4 has better puncture resistance.

Plies are the tire’s inner structure, and the more plies, the more resistant the wheel is to puncturing. Most tires, including the R1, usually have four plies and no more or less than four. R4s, though, have at least six plies and sometimes more.

This is why R4 tires are thicker and better suited for harder, rockier ground like asphalt. R4 tires have double the durability and strong sidewalls for bearing weight. Again, this is most reliable if you are in an industrial setting and don’t want to worry about riding over jagged debris.

But don’t forget that the R1 is more reliable for traction in every setting except asphalt, gravel, or concrete. And that’s with less plies than the R4. R1s are reliable for leaving the ground undamaged and intact.

6. Overall Efficiency

Determining the overall efficiency with R1 vs. R4 tires varies because they are suited for different jobs. To figure out the true efficiency of your radial tires, you have to consider a variety of factors, like the amount of weight and where you’ll be driving.

If you have a construction job to do, you probably need to lug lots of weight around. From boulders to mounds of sediment, the R4 is hands-down the most efficient in this case. That is because it is made to bear the weight of all the materials you need to cart without tipping or becoming unbalanced.

But if you’re a farmer who needs to drive back and forth over your property, the R1 is most reliable. It has a perfect grip on the ground, so you don’t have to worry about going up a hill or down into a valley and losing contact with the earth. Be careful because R1 tires are squishy, with weaker side walls that can’t bear too much weight.

And don’t forget: you can mix and match your tires and get the best of both worlds. Again, it depends on the terrain and what kind of job you need to do, but usually as long as the front tires are heavier and the back ones are lighter, you can count on reliability.

7. Resale Value:

The resale value for R1 vs. R4 tires depends on age and condition. It will be much harder to sell either the R1 or the R4 if they are more than two or three years old. In general, people are more likely to buy an R4 than they are to buy an R1 tire.

Used tires are a great bargain for those looking, and tractor tires are no exception. You might be wondering about reselling if you are looking to buy a radial construction R1 or R4 tire. You could also already own them and are ready to sell now.

Regardless of the tire type, consider the tires’ ages. Has it been more than two to three years since they were first used? If the answer is yes, you will have a harder time finding a buyer because a lot of people consider this age range “old.”

Next, consider the condition of the tire. To sell, the tires should be in good, usable condition, and undamaged. You should check the treads and get them inspected by a professional if you like and get an estimate.

R1 tires are less likely to be bought because they are cheaper than R4s. R4s are more expensive, so more buyers will be looking to buy them used rather than pay the new price that’s much higher than the used price. Read more about tire quality grading here.

Which One to Choose, R1 or R4 Tractor Tires, 

R1 and R4 tires have radial construction. R1s are narrow, buoyant, and softer. These tires have superior traction everywhere except on asphalt; these “ag” tires will be perfect for you if you are an agricultural worker.

R4s are wider with a bigger “footprint.” They have six strong plies and durable sidewalls that can carry heavy loads. They should be used if you’re a construction worker who will need to drive in the snow, concrete, or other rough surfaces, but remember that they don’t have as good of a traction as the R1s.

When it comes to price, make sure you know what terrain you will be working on. And what’s more, don’t forget that you don’t have to choose between all four R1s or all four R4s. When it’s time to resell them, make sure they are in good condition and as new as possible so that you can get the best deal from potential buyers.

If you are driving on normal terrain, it doesn’t matter if you get the R1 or the R4. They are comparable in that setting. Again, R1s are best for farms or residential areas because they don’t damage the land. But R4s are rough and sturdy, and usually damage softer ground.


Overall, R1s and R4s vary the most in their performance depending on what you need to get done. Their durability, ease of use, and reliability are all dependent upon the environment, which is key.

Use R1s for agricultural work or when you need good traction and trusted contact with the ground. Use R4s when you need to do big jobs that carry weight back and forth. In the end, depending on your needs, you might not have to choose at all, but simply put the R1s in the back and the R4s in the front!

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