The Key Differences Between R1 vs. R4 Tractor Tires

On a tractor tire, the letter R indicates radial construction. In case of R1 and R4 tires, there exist a few differences. These differences can change your tractor experience.

What is the basic difference? R1 tires are mostly used for farming on dry land or where the soil is average to good. However, an R4 tire is best for working in factories or the highway department.

But that’s not the only difference! In this article, I will give you enough differences between these two tires. So that you can ultimately choose between one.

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

Before you go on and change the tires, make sure the rims of your tractor fit them. The following criteria are discussed based on testing keeping the same vehicle and running it with both tires.

Different kinds of work such as agricultural or dirt work and industrial work have been done. The features have been tested against each parameter and summarized below:

1. Performance:

There’s not much difference in performance if we talk about the R1 and R4 tires on regular soil. However, in mud and other conditions, the performance varies. It is reported that R4 tires get stuck more in soil, due to changes.

Compared to the R4 tires, the R1 tires are very squishy and bouncy. R4 tires on the other hand are quite firm. They have a strong sidewall. This is very important for a safety issue.

As tractors tend to put weight on the back tires more than the front tires, the back tires need to be strong. But for loader usage, the front tires need to be strong too. Consider this while running around with just the R1 tires.

The R1 tires however have more traction than the R4. It is the traction of R1 which stands through and through. Again, the R4 tires are more thorn resistant.

However, tires with traction also get slipped. This is a small price to pay for the catastrophic accidents I will talk about in the next section.

The R4 is really good for dirt work. Both the tires will slip. But the R4 tires dig quite hard. They are also light on the residential areas.

2. Ease of Use and Safety:

The weight rating of the tires varies. The weight rating of R4 tires is significantly higher than that of the R1 tires. The weight ratio recommended for your tire should be 60 in the front and 40 in the back.

Suppose you are using a large bucket on the loader. If you have R1 tires on the front and the bucket is empty (not the loader), the tractor will get highly unbalanced.

The front tires will drop significantly. And when you load, the tires get overloaded. So it seems like using R1 tires on the front is uncomfortable.

Moreover, working with the squishy R1 tires in dirt or mud is going to be dangerous. While carrying something heavy in this situation, if one of the front tires bursts, it is going to be very dangerous!

Getting inclined due to slopes or any other reason, or the instability itself can cause terrible accidents too. However, R4 tires do lack side grip. It also tears up property because of its configuration.

3. Price Comparison:

The R1 tire costs $30-250. On the other hand, the R4 costs $90-500. R4 tires do cost more than R1 because of their tread pattern and snow plowing benefits.

They’re more expensive than R1s, but they’re not as good in terms of traction, in my opinion. The R4s have a substantially longer lifespan though.

4. Durability:

I don’t think there’s much of a difference. You may be stuck with both. On the most typical ground, performance appears to be the same.

If your ground is consistently damp, necessitating more aggressive traction, it’s usually best to keep away from there, regardless of the tire. That is simply my viewpoint.

You would think that the R4 tires are stronger than R1 so they are more durable. But there is no substantial evidence for that statement.

5. Reliability:

There is no doubt that R1 tires provide superior traction in practically all scenarios. With the probable exception of operation on concrete or asphalt, however.

R4s have a little more puncture resistance and overall ply strength than R1s. The R1s also tear up the ground a little less.

However, R4s have at least six plies. Six-ply tires are 50% more durable than four-ply tires. Under strong Loader loads, R4s squat very little, which exposes R1 tire bulging sidewalls.

6. Overall Efficiency:

The efficiency of R1 tires in maintaining traction is the best. The weight support of the R4 tires is the best. It is difficult to singularly calculate the overall efficiency because they are perfect for different jobs.  

7. Resell Value:

As far as tires are concerned, you can tell that used tires over 2-3 years don’t have an attractive resell value. However, people are more prone to buy a used R4 than an R1. The tire should be in usable condition.

R1 or R4 Tractor Tires, Which One to Choose?

Now comes the question of choosing between tires! But like I discussed before, it is not easy to determine which tires to go with. But the solution is mixing these tires up!

You probably have read a lot about this and my research also suggests that it is a logical solution.

A R1 rear and R4 front setup is what you are looking for. The R4 front tire requires a wider wheel than an R1 tire, so measure the width of the wheel before making your selection.

The rolling circumference at the tread is another consideration to bear in mind. Switching to R1 rears should not be a problem for this aspect. Changing tire air pressure and tread wear will also affect the vehicle’s performance.

Because of the difference in tire diameter, the rotational ratio of larger tires can increase by a factor of one. You’ll also need to replace the rear R1 tire rims and center disks.

But after all this is done, you can expect to have good results. Replacement of just the rear tires (together with new wheels and disks) is more cost-effective than purchasing four sets of tires and rims and disks.


Q: What is better R1 or R4 tractor tires?

Ans: R4 is best for industrial or highway work. R1 is best for agricultural work.

Q: What does R mean on a tractor tire?

Ans: Radial construction.

Q: What is SS on tractor tires?

Ans: It is a code that indicates the nominal maximum speed of a tire.


From the discussion, you know what is the better way to approach the R1 vs. R4 tractor tires problem. I suggest using both by mixing them up. But for loader work, you can just pass with the R1s if you do not have the budget. Hope this sums it up for you!

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