Understanding 3pt hitch categories

posted under tractor-basics by neilm on 1/5/2018

 

So as you work through a tractor spec sheet, you're gonna notice a section on there that's gonna have the category of the three-point hitch of a tractor. What that category is telling you is the size implements that are really made for the back of that machine. Smaller category numbers, zero or one, are typically gonna be your smallest implements, and as you work in the larger categories, you're gonna go to bigger, heavier implements. And what that category is telling you is the size of the ball that's back here on the three-point hitch. And these run anywhere between about five-eighths pins up to full 2 inch pins for the largest tractors that we sell. And as you move up through these categories, the pins are gonna get bigger, and thus the implements are gonna get larger, and the linkage that's attached to the back of the tractor is gonna be heavier as well to support those bigger, heavier implements. So, the category of a three-point hitch is really very simply referring to the size of these balls on the back and the size of the pins that go into them.

The smallest hitch category is Category 0. We don't actually even have any Category 0 stuff out here on our lots. It's typically reserved for the smallest garden tractors that typically can have add-on three-point hitches put on to them, not stuff that typically comes as standard equipment.

Category 1 is very, very common and typically you're gonna see Category 1 on tractors under about 50 horsepower. The back of this B-series tractor here is a Category 1 hitch. It's gonna have five-eighths holes in it. Now, there's one caveat inside of Category 1 where you may notice some sub-compact tractors being listed as limited Category 1. Kubota's early BX series were done that way, today's are full Category 1, there's some other competitive sub-compact tractors that are limited Category 1. And, what that limited part is telling you is that because the hitch is low to the ground, it may not be able to lift as high or open as wide as a full Category 1 hitch. So you can find some Category 1 implements that are not gonna work properly on a limited Category 1 tractor.

Once you cross over 50 horsepower and you move up into utility tractors, you're gonna move into Category 2. This is typically used on tractors between about 50 and 150 horsepower or so, although there are always gonna be some exceptions in those ranges. If you look here at the size of the pins, we've got much bigger arms, much bigger linkage in order to support a much bigger implement. This Category 2 here is gonna take a one and an eighth inch pin in through that hole in order to support your implement.

The lines on your hitches start to get blurred when you get into real big equipment. This New Holland T7 here is a Category 3 tractor and you'll see that the arm back here is shaped a little bit differently. When we're moving into this class of tractor, we're typically having large, large implements behind it, things that you can't kick the arms over top of the hitch like you do on smaller equipment. And because of that, we're generally gonna get these U-shaped three-point hitches where you're gonna lift underneath of a pin and then lift up into your implement to lock it in place with this quick hitch. Generally, when you get into this class of tractor, you're gonna have some options. You can get say a T7, T8 tractor in either Category 3 or Category 4, depending on exactly what your implement needs are.

 

Tags: 3pt-hitch