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Updated June, 2022

So, you want to buy an ATV or UTV. There are many factors to consider before making your purchase. When shopping for your first four-wheeler, you need to first understand the key differences between ATVs and UTVs in order to make the best decision that will suit your lifestyle.

This article spotlights both ATVs and UTVs, exploring how they measure up against one another and the best uses for each.

What Is an ATV vs UTV?

You might know that an ATV and UTV are both four-wheel vehicles used on a smaller scale than cars and that they are both ideal for different types of activities. But what is the main differentiating factor between the two?  An ATV stands for “All-Terrain-Vehicle” which means it’s a bit more flexible, at least recreationally speaking. Though one may know how to ride an ATV, a UTV – also known as a side-by-side – is similar to operate but better for more labour-intensive projects that take place outdoors and in the woods.

Read More: Mods for a Better Off-Road Experience

The Best Uses for UTVs

Outdoor Work

Because UTVs have a lot of storage space, they are optimal for any type of outdoor work. They are often used for hauling feed, hay and farming supplies. Also, they are increasingly being used for other types of outdoor work that involve the transportation of heavy and bulk objects from one place to another. They are also great for plowing snow, which makes UTVs ideal for harsher climates.


UTVs are great for hunting because of their ability to maneuver difficult terrain and move around in tight spaces. On top of ample storage space to carry larger game animals and other hunts, UTVs are an SXS (side by side) vehicle which allows for a hunting buddy to ride with the hunter.


As mentioned above, the storage capacity on the UTV makes it an amazing vehicle for transporting bulk items and heavy loads back and forth. This can include hay and other agricultural materials. These vehicles are also great for hauling other heavy loads and may even be used to transport jugs of water, and suitcases at airports –  you name it. They are also easy to actually haul on the highway as they fit in the bed of most pick-up trucks.


UTVs make for a nice recreational vehicle when two people want to ride together. As a side-by-side vehicle, the UTV can safely accommodate a passenger and can be used for sportive activities such as races or tours on off-highway terrain. They are also known as “show-off” vehicles, as a nod to how high-tech and sophisticated they are.

Read More: How to Prevent Your ATV From Overheating This Summer

Instances Where ATVs Are Better


As its name suggests, ATVs are best suited for all terrains, whereas their utilitarian counterpart isn’t as skilled. Off-roading is considered touring rough terrain from sand, dirt, and rocks, and ATVs are specifically built to handle them.


Mud also falls into the “all-terrain” category, allowing for seamless travel in even the muddiest puddles post-rain. The tires allow for traction and minimal slippage, making this vehicle ideal and lower in risk than the UTV would be in a similar environment.

Single Rider

If you aren’t looking to transport anything regularly, you don’t need to keep this vehicle on a farm, and you don’t need to accommodate a passenger, then an ATV is for you.

Travelling Long-Distance

Believe it or not, the ATV can handle a long-distance drive. If you take good care of your ATV, it can give you up to 10,000 miles of happy cruising. But be mindful that while it can technically support the terrain of a highway, ATVs are in the OHV (off-highway vehicle) family and street-riding is illegal.

You’re on a Budget

ATVs are significantly less expensive than UTVs are because they are smaller and aren’t as utilitarian. You will need some added safety features to make your experience an enjoyable one, but in terms of pricing, they are considerably cheaper.

Read more: ATV Storage Tips

Types of ATVs to Consider

Sport ATV

If you like adventure, racing, camping trips, and showing off your rugged riding skills, then a sport ATV is your match. These are purely recreational and can be taken everywhere.

Utility ATV

Like its UTV cousin, the ATV can be used for utilitarian purposes as well. A UTV, on the other hand, is more spacious. If you need an ATV for work, consider a utility model for more efficiency and safety.

Youth Model

Get them started young! A child-sized ATV makes an amazing holiday gift for your little ones, especially if they have a sense of adventure in their DNA. You can take them wherever you go and they can happily ride on safer terrains with you. Just be sure to teach them important safety tips.

Every type of ATV and UTV has its advantages, but you will ultimately have to make the decision based on your own needs. When shopping for an off-highway vehicle, always remember to follow all safety precautions and prioritize asking your supplier for all the help and advice you need. Happy riding!