If you have a farm, you’re an agriculturist, or you work on tough terrain, a dependable ATV can be your closest work friend. However, not all four-wheelers are the same, and the most popular models will not be appropriate for utility tasks. If you’re looking for the best ATV for work available on the market, here’s what you need to know.
The best ATV for work is the Can-Am Outlander MAX XT 850 because it is a sturdy, powerful quad with a large hauling capacity and superior comfort. From mowing grass and plowing snow to hauling wood and running around the crops, the Outlander MAX XT 850 helps you with any work task and never gets tired. Can-Am is renowned for making some of the best utility ATVs and UTVs on the market, and their best technology was invested in their newest 2021 model. The Outlander excels in terms of comfort, traction, and towing capacity, all important criteria when choosing a utility ATV. A less expensive alternative to Can-Am’s star quad is the Honda Fourtrax Rancher 420 4×4, which has been designed specifically for farm work.
There are many similarities and differences between these two quads that you need to take into account before making your decision, the main distinction being the price range. Keep on reading to learn if the extra $5,000 paid for the Outlander 850 really makes a difference, or if the Rancher 420 4×4 is more than enough for your workload.
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What is the Best ATV for Work?
Aside from quads created for youth, there are two main categories of ATVs: sports ATV and utility ATV. While a sports ATV is created for leisure and can get to adrenaline-pumping speeds, a utility ATV is created for work. This usually means less speed, more durability, and larger towing capacity.
Because they are created with different purposes in mind, it’s rare that a pure sports four wheeler will handle the daily work tasks on the farm, a construction site, or on the beach.
Let’s take the Yamaha Raptor 700 for example. This road beast is known to be an incredible quad that wins races like no other, but its need for constant maintenance and fixes will make it less desirable for a farmer. The small build and lower towing capacity can also be a disadvantage when your main purpose is to use it for work. Therefore, don’t be swept up by the mind-boggling top speeds of the Raptor or the Banshee, and focus on your priorities.
When searching for the best ATV for work, I would look at: comfort, traction, towing capacity, and accessories. The best way to test comfort is by sitting on the ATV seat yourself at a dealer’s shop, but forums can be helpful in giving you more information about long-term comfort on a variety of models.
You need to be aware that you will be riding on that ATV for hours on end, so a comfortable seat is a must. On top of that, the suspension system can have a huge impact on your experience.
Next up, you need to be aware of your utility ATV’s traction on difficult terrains. If you will be working through rocky terrains, snow, or even sand, you want your quad to have a 4WD System. The four wheel drive will help you steer easier and not get you stuck into place.
Depending on your work, towing capacity might be a key criteria you need to take into account. If you are hauling wood or farming equipment on the daily, you should look into an ATV that can tow heavy loads. While no ATV can beat a UTV in storage and hauling capacity, there are a few more spacious models on the market that you can look into.
Last but not least, you can research the available accessories for your utility ATV and check other people’s experiences with upgrading a model you’re interested in. Added features such as a towing strap, snow plow, storage boxes, and LED lights might all be extremely helpful for a work machine.
Sidenote: Chances are you want to use your work ATV as a lawnmower too. Here is all you need to know about transforming your quad into a full-capacity lawnmower.
The Best ATV for Work – Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850
I know I’ve just said that sports ATVs are not the best companions at work, but Can-Am has managed to walk the fine line between a trustworthy utility quad and a powerful machine ready for trail riding as well. While researching the best work ATV options out there from other reliable brands such as Polaris, Yamaha, and Kawasaki, I couldn’t ignore how Can-Am’s Outlander offers riders the best of both worlds.
While this is a pricey purchase starting at $11,499, the Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850 hits a unique need for reliability for farm work and speed for trail riding. If you want to know my thoughts on how this quad performs like a sports ATV, I recommend you read this article where I talk more in-depth about my criteria when choosing a quad for mountain terrain.
For now, let’s get back to the point at hand. The former Bombardier knows how to create comfortable quads like no other, and the year 2021 came with an important upgrade to all of their Outlanders: new suspension technology.
The Smart-Shox available on the newest utility ATVs from Can-Am is said to make adjustments up to 200 times per second based on the terrain detected. This means that you as a rider don’t need to manually adjust your shocks for a smooth ride – the four wheeler does it all for you.
While self-adjusting shocks are not a revolutionary idea in the off-road industry, the Smart-Shox technology might provide the smoothest ride available on the market at the moment. Regardless if you keep long hours or not, you know you will ride comfortably on the Outlander Max XT 850 around the clock.
Can-Am claims that their Outlander models are the most versatile machines in their portfolio, so you can imagine their traction on any terrain is great. Whether you need to plow snow or go looking for firewood in the forest, this beast with 11 inches clearance and double A-Arm suspension will go over any obstacle with ease.
As for towing capacity, the Can-Am website tells us that it can haul up to 1,650lb of cargo, which is a very impressive number for an ATV. The factory-included winch can haul up to 3,500lb more weight, so there is really no need to invest in other towing accessories after purchasing this quad.
The Outlander is equipped with a powerful Rotax V-Twin engine with 854cc capacity, 78 horsepower, and a top speed of 60mph. Even though speed should not be your main concern for work tasks, it’s great to know that your new ATV can be fast when needed.
Last but not least, I have to mention that this ATV has two seats available, which means you don’t need to go out with two machines when you need an extra pair of hands. It’s rare to see an ATV that can accommodate a second passenger, and I’m honestly amazed that Can-Am managed to add this benefit into the mix as well.
As you can see, there is really no reason not to love the Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850. The manufacturers know how to create a versatile, powerful, and reliable ATV great for farm work and trail riding alike.
The only downside to a beast like this is the hefty price, which might not fit your budget. There is no need to fret though, there are cheaper options on the market that can still be great out on the farm. In my opinion, the best budget-friendly ATV for work is the Honda Fourtrax Rancher 420 4×4.
The Budget-Friendly Alternative – Honda Fourtrax Rancher 420 4×4
An ATV company with a long history and great reputation, Honda knows how to create cheap quads that still impress in many ways. The new 2021 model of the Fourtrax Rancher 420 has the four-by-four system included, which needed to be installed on older models.
This Honda four wheeler can tow up to 848 lbs and has an impressive turn radius of 9.2 feet. This maneuverability can come in very handy if you need to get around on tight trails. The 420cc liquid-cooled engine is more than enough to get you around the farm and still be ready for work hours later.
The 26 horsepower machine can reach a top speed of 51mph, which is neither the fastest nor the slowest utility ATV out there. At the starting price of only $6,499, I think Honda put into this quad more than it’s necessary to get the job done hauling equipment and moving around your worksite.
Compared to the Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850, the biggest difference you will notice is in comfort. Spending more than 6 hours on this quad will start feeling uncomfortable even for a seasoned off-rider, while the Can-Am promises a premium ride even for beginners.
How much weight can a 500cc ATV pull?
On average, a 500cc ATV will pull cargo of around 1100lbs. If you install a winch, you can extend your quad’s hauling capacity by 1500-2000 lbs. This is the maximum weight winch recommended for an ATV of this size. Therefore, the total average hauling capacity of a 500cc results in around 3100lbs.
If your work requires you to haul cargo every single day, you need to keep in mind that these maximum weight capabilities should be regarded just as that: a maximum. Putting 3000lbs of weight every single day on your 500cc quad is sure to wear it down and cause a slew of problems.
There are quite a few 500cc utility ATVs out there, so this isn’t to say that they do not work great for some people. But if you know you will abuse the towing capacity of your ATV, then I recommend going with a larger engine just to be safe. The ulterior fixes on a 500cc will probably cost you more than your initial investment on a 700, 800, or 1000cc quad.
Is Can-Am Worth the Money?
Taking into consideration the amount of added features, the powerful engine, the extra-smooth suspension, and the overall reliability of their vehicles, Can-Am is definitely worth the money. Their brand is positioned as a premium choice for people that have the budget for it, but you aren’t paying for empty promises.
Can-Am prioritizes comfort and convenience and invests in innovative technologies such as the Rotax engine and the Smart-Shox suspension system in order to provide that.
I find myself talking about the former Bombardier quite often here since their off-road vehicles are equipped with so many features that make them versatile. Their Outlander and Maverick models are strong contestants in about any type of ATV comparison, from utility to tough terrain to long-distance riding.
The Rotax engines are said to be the most reliable engines for a quad, so you know you won’t have to deal with expensive fixes in the future. All that being said, I want to make it clear that no ATV brand is perfect.
If you want to get more acquainted with the brand before making your final decision, then please take a look at this article talking about the 6 most common Can-Am problems. You will get a better understanding of the good and bad that comes with a Can-Am off-road vehicle.
What is the Best UTV for Farm Work?
The best UTV for farm work is the Kawasaki Mule Pro-MX, because it has an impressive towing capacity of 2,000lbs, a large cargo box great for hauling firewood, and independent suspension for added comfort.
Created especially for heavy-duty tasks, this massive Kawasaki model is loved by many farmers. The Mule is equipped with a rather powerful 695cc four-stroke engine with impressive torque, which makes it one of the more speedy UTVs on the market. The top speed for this vehicle is 40mph.
The two-seats bench and dual A-Arm suspension system ensure comfort throughout the day. This Utility Terrain Vehicle only exceeds the price of an Outlander by $500, so if size is not an issue for you, the Mule is a viable alternative.
The superior towing capacity of a side by side and its elevated comfort make it the clear winner for farmwork. However, ATVs have their own pros such as maneuverability, compatibility, and versatility. If you have the money to pay for this UTV but want to hit a difficult trail on the weekend as well, then I recommend you choose the Can-Am Outlander MAX XT 850. This is my top choice out of all the utility ATVs available on the market right now!