ATV Guide: Different Types Of ATVs And How To Choose The Right One For You

Believe it or not, All-Terrain Vehicles (or ATVs) have been around since the 60s. But they've gotten more efficient, more advanced, and more fun since then.

If you're considering purchasing an ATV, it's a good idea to do your homework so you know you're getting an ATV that is the most suitable for you.

There are a few of different types, so we've put together a guide that explains the differences. Keep reading to determine which one is right for you.

Types of ATVs

ATVs are purchased for many different reasons. Their all-terrain capability means they're great for work, play, or sometimes both!

To get the most bang for your buck, you'll want to choose an ATV that best fits your needs. Below, you'll find the different types of ATVs and how they're used.


If you want to go fast, then sport ATVs are for you. These vehicles are lightweight, with forgiving suspension and responsive engines, making them ideal for riding through rough terrain.

You'll be able to turn quickly, whipping through the woods with horsepower somewhere between 15 and 50.

Because of their speed and agility, sport ATVs are what you'll want mainly for leisure or competition.

While you can use multiple types of ATVs for pleasure, sport ATVs are the only kind of ATVs that you can use competitively. Check out the American Motorcyclist Association for more info on ATV racing.

For extra fun, you can modify these ATVs to alter their look and/or performance. This process can get a bit pricey, but if you've got the funds, there are tons of accessories available to make your ATV unique!


Utility ATVs tend to be more popular due to their versatility. These vehicles have shorter suspensions, bigger engines, and even more customization options.

Because of their size and power, they are more expensive than sport ATVs. But they can also be used in a higher number of situations.

Utility ATVs are commonly seen being used by farmers, hunters, construction workers, etc. They're ideal for heavy-duty tasks such as towing, feeding, and plowing.

Utility ATVs can be fun, too. You won't be able to slip and slide around like you can on a sport quad, but their powerful engines can take you to some hard-to-reach places.

Side by Side

Side by Side ATVs, sometimes referred to as simply SxS, are the biggest ATVs available. They function more like heavy-duty golf carts.

In fact, some communities are using Side by Sides in the same way that many communities in Florida use golf carts!

These vehicles are meant to carry you and all your stuff comfortably. Two people can sit side by side in the front, with plenty of room for your cargo in the back; some models can even seat more than two passengers.

If you're not used to driving ATVs, a Side by Side might be more familiar to you. These models use steering wheels rather than handlebars.

Not one to be left out, SxS ATVs also have endless options for customization. If you want all the fancy bells and whistles, an SxS is for you. Ride through the swamp in absolute comfort - and maybe even air conditioning!


If your kiddo has a wild side, a youth ATV might be the perfect gift. These ATVs are small and easy to control, so you can rest easy while they zip about.

In general, they are slower than full-sized ATVs, and most of them feature an automatic transmission or no gears whatsoever.

Plus, many youth ATVs offer extra safety features. For example, some will automatically shut off if a rider falls off. Some come with parental control, allowing you to kill the engine whenever you feel necessary.

Because of their smaller size and reduced power, youth ATVs will be easier on your wallet than a full-sized ATV. But a smaller price certainly doesn't mean less fun!

If it's within your budget, we highly recommend purchasing a full-size ATV and a youth ATV. Riding the trails together makes for a fantastic bonding activity.


While these are the main types of ATVs, there are still a few others that are less common.

If you're looking for something out of the ordinary, you could opt for a six-wheeled ATV. The very first ATV, called the Jiger, actually had six wheels. These models, while a bit funny looking, offer some useful features.

For example, a six-wheeled ATV allows for more passenger space than a sport or utility ATV. They are also amphibious, so they can be used in the water as well as on land.

Or you could look into an electric ATV. Not only are these better for the environment, but they can be especially useful for hunters because they make less noise.

Keep your eyes peeled for the newest versions of electric ATVs. Innovative companies are making an effort to have the most advanced models; some have the capability to charge your personal electronics!

Get Ready to Hit the Trails

Riding different types of ATVs for fun or even using one for work can be a truly exhilarating experience.

But considering the cost, the maintenance, and the patience that it takes to learn the ropes, owning an ATV is a big responsibility.

If an ATV is something you're interested in, but you're unsure if you have the time, energy, or confidence for, don't hesitate to contact us.

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