If you own a tractor without an adequate tractor canopy, you know the problems you face when working in the field or around your home.
Even if you have a roll-bar or ROPS protection (which every tractor should), you still face direct sunlight, full exposure to precipitation, and the occasional tree limb hitting your face.
Whether you are buying a tractor canopy for a large farm tractor or a small garden tractor, make sure you get a tractor canopy designed to stand the test of time and make you proud of your tractor.
So, what should you look for when you consider purchasing a canopy for your tractor?
In this article, we look at the five main components for a reliable, high-quality tractor canopy. We also look at four reasons a well-built tractor canopy makes a difference.
Are you ready to begin? Let’s get started!
5 Components Of A Quality Tractor Canopy
You’ve seen the tractor canopies that are falling apart - burlap or canvas fluttering in the wind, or oddly painted strips of metal attached to the tractor’s frame.
Unfortunately, most jerry-rigged tractor canopies don't really get the job done. And beyond that, you don't want your tractor looking like it was put together from the scrap yard.
Here are five components to make sure a canopy has before you purchase it for your tractor.
1 - Sturdy metal instead of plastic
There are many kinds of universal tractor canopies available in today’s market based on a hard plastic construction.
And we’ve all seen the homemade models using fabric or canvas.
These canopies provide some protection from the sun and weather, and they are cheaper to purchase (especially when homemade!), but they have several significant problems.
First, they tear, fade, and start falling apart quickly. Hitting a tree branch or experiencing a hail storm often causes severe damage.
Even if you don't physically bump or rip the canvas, the sun's rays begin to break down the material over time.
Second, they often detract from the tractor’s aesthetics. Hard plastic canopies are usually painted, but they tend to fade faster and distract from the tractor’s true brand colors.
Third - and most important - these canopies provide little to no protection in a rollover.
Don’t worry; we understand a tractor canopy is NOT the same as a tractor ROPs!
However, a well-built metal tractor canopy does assist your tractor’s roll bar or ROPS in protecting your head and body in an accident.
Besides some additional safety protection, what else do metal tractor canopies provide?
- Easier to paint and hold their colors longer
- Last longer - usually the life of your tractor!
- Don’t tear or start to shred
If you want the best canopy for your tractor, go with a well-built metal shade canopy, even if it costs a little more in the front end.
2 - Standard sizing and parts
When some people hear the term “universal tractor canopy,” they may view it as an inferior product because they want something custom for their tractor.
Some manufacturers do make a specific canopy for each tractor model. Specific tractor models are more important when discussing certified tractor ROPS, but it isn’t as critical when talking about a shade canopy.
We follow a similar approach here at Iron Bull Manufacturing: we have certified tractor ROPS designed for specific tractor models, but we also provide universal tractor canopies for many tractor brands.
Why do we see universal tractor canopies having an advantage?
Here are a few reasons why:
- It is easier (and cheaper!) to find replacement parts, especially the smaller bolts, nuts, and fittings.
- They are more cost-effective because they are manufactured faster and don’t require custom engineering or parts.
- If you buy a similar model tractor or want to sell the canopy in the future, it is easier to make it fit the new tractor without extra modifications.
If you want a genuinely custom tractor canopy, they are available for your tractor.
However, for the average tractor owner, you will find a beautiful, sturdy universal tractor canopy for your model.
If you do want some help in getting the right size of canopy make sure to read our blog: 3 Steps To Properly Size Your Tractor Canopy.
3 - Comes prepackaged with all parts and instructions
No one likes opening a box or kit and seeing the words “Not all parts are included.” Some required assembly isn’t unusual, but please don’t make us need to buy parts!
When looking at buying a canopy, make sure you ask the manufacturer or seller if it includes all the necessary parts.
Obviously, it won’t come with all the hand tools and wrenches you need, and you’ll have to do the work of actually attaching it to your tractor, or sending it to your local farm mechanic.
However, if it doesn’t come with all the required bolts, nuts, and fittings, then you have a reason to be cautious about buying it!
When it comes to instructions, it doesn’t hurt to ask in advance for a PDF of the mounting instructions. This gives you an idea of how clear the company is with its mounting process.
Here’s an additional tip: Check the reviews for the company’s mount.
If you see other customers complaining about the hassle with parts or mounting instructions, then maybe do a little more research or ask the company for more information before you purchase.
4 - Has pre-drilled holes and is ready to mount
Similar to having all the parts included, a tractor canopy should be shipped and arrive at your farm or home with everything pre-drilled and ready to mount.
While doing your research or reading the reviews on the mount, make sure it is ready to be mounted as soon as it arrives - no drilling required!
5 - Fits your tractor’s style and colors
You want to be proud of your tractor’s colors and aesthetics, and adding a canopy plays a significant role in this.
Choosing one that is pre-painted and matches your current tractor makes your tractor look original, clean, and valuable.
Many tractor canopies come pre-painted, but it is good to confirm this with the manufacturer.
While some say they are “painted,” this doesn’t always mean they are painted the true brand colors. No one wants a John Deere tractor with a slightly off-green canopy!
Another thing to check with colors is the painting process. Check with the manufacturer and read reviews to make sure the paint doesn’t fade, chip, or scratch off easily.
4 Reasons A Quality Shade Canopy Matters
Now that we’ve looked at the main components, let’s look at four reasons it’s worth paying a little more for a well-built tractor canopy.
1 - It helps protect from the sun and skin cancer
When sitting on your tractor for several hours in the afternoon on a sunny day, it doesn’t take long to appreciate having a good sunshade.
And yes, we are talking about more than just wearing your favorite hat!
However, even though being protected from the direct sun keeps our bodies cooler, there is a better argument to having quality sun protection.
It’s no secret that the sun’s UV rays can cause skin cancer, but it’s easy to forget its seriousness.
Studies show farmers who work in the afternoon have at least three times the UV ray exposure than those who work indoors.
However, some say this is a conservative number, and it is closer to six to eight times higher when working in the sun, especially from 12-4 PM.
If you or your loved one spends significant time on a tractor, especially during the summer months, it is not worth risking their health - and possibly life - to save some money.
If you want to take a deeper dive into this topic, please read our blog: Get A Lawn Mower Canopy And Kick The Negative Effects of Prolonged Sun Exposure.
2 - It provides protection from weather
A good canopy not only protects from direct sunlight and the subsequent risk of cancer, but it also helps protect from inclement weather, especially rain and other precipitation.
A disclaimer needs to be made: Even the best shade canopies do NOT guarantee you won’t get wet when it rains!
Unless you have an enclosed cab, there is always a chance the rain or snow will get you on the tractor, especially during a storm or windy weather.
However, if you are working during a typical rain or snow with minimal wind, then a good canopy provides some weather protection.
A good tractor canopy could be the difference between finishing your lawn while the first rain drops come down and needing to call it quits half way through.
By the way, this is where metal shade canopies have an advantage over the plastic or canvas models - metal won’t tear or have holes that leak!
3 - It helps keep the operator safe
We have already mentioned that a tractor canopy is not the same as a roll guard or ROPS for your tractor.
However, a well-built canopy does help protect the operator.
When working along hedgerows or close to trees, a sturdy canopy helps keep tree limbs from hitting the operator’s head - something a roll guard doesn’t always prevent.
They also take your existing roll bar protection to the next step in an accident.
While the roll bar is the primary safety measure (assuming you are wearing a seat belt), a metal canopy provides the next level of protection to your neck and head in an accident.
This is where metal canopies are much safer than plastic ones - quality metal won’t snap, tear, or break when hit by a tree branch or other obstacle.
We get it - it's easy to roll your eyes at the "stay safe" argument. After all, what are the chances of you really getting hurt?
Well, it may be higher than you think. Lawn mower accidents are the leading cause of amputations in children and farming is considered one of the most dangerous vocations in America - largely because of the large machinery involved.
Seriously - don't assume you won't be the one affected and keep you and your loved ones safe. It's worth it.
4 - It gives you a reason to be proud of your tractor!
We’ve already touched on your tractor’s aesthetics, and this is where a quality canopy really shines.
When you have a canopy with the true brand paint colors, you don’t need to worry about your tractor looking like a hodge-podge of after-market parts or homemade accessories.
Instead, you can be proud of your tractor and the way it looks!
At Iron Bull Manufacturing, this is one of the highest compliments we get from our customers.
Whether a customer buys a universal tractor canopy or a specific model tractor ROPS, we love hearing them say it fits their tractor perfectly and looks like it came straight from the tractor manufacturer!
Iron Bull Manufacturing - Your Trusted Source for Standard & Universal Tractor Shade Canopies
We know there are many tractor and shade canopy manufacturers and suppliers available to choose from, but if you are looking for a well-built canopy or ROPS for your tractor, we would love to help you!
We’ve helped hundreds of farmers and homeowners make their tractors safer and look beautiful.
Whether it’s a canopy for a classic JD 4020 or your smaller Kubota garden tractor, here’s why your next ROPS or canopy should be from Iron Bull manufacturing:
- We don’t use any plastic on our products - our canopies, both the frame and shade portion, are made with 14 gauge metal.
- All our canopies come pre-drilled and have all the parts and instructions you need. All you need is a few tools and some muscle!
- To ensure a quality paint finish that doesn’t fade or chip, we use a high-quality two-part urethane painting process - similar to what car manufacturers use.
- Our team has worked hard to make the parts look like they belong on your tractor. From using brand colors to a quality frame, our canopies will make you proud of your tractor!
- To ensure long-term durability, we tested the welds by putting them through a vibration test. The test gave us some good ideas, including installing an anti-vibration barrier on the cross pieces to reduce the negative effects of vibrations.
And we offer more than tractor canopies at Iron Bull Manufacturing!
Make sure to check out our other products as well:
- Self-dumping trash hoppers
- Forklift dumpsters
- Specialty hoppers
- Lawnmower canopies and ROPS
- And more products!
Contact us today if you want to increase your tractor safety, comfort, and versatility
We look forward to hearing from you.