The Best John Deere Lawn Tractors of 2022

The slogan “Nothing runs like a Deere” isn’t just marketing lingo. If you’re looking to buy a John Deere lawn tractor, don’t miss our guide to getting the best one for your needs.

By Glenda Taylor | Published Jun 23, 2022 12:39 PM

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The Best John Deere Lawn Tractors Option

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Pushing a lawn mower can be great exercise, but not everyone wants to spend every Saturday morning mowing a large yard. To avoid a weekly time-consuming mow, riding mowers and lawn tractors can help. Both types of lawn-cutting machinery make quick work of mowing, but lawn tractors are typically the more heavy duty of the two, and they come with the ability to use attachments such as utility carts, aerators, and even snow blowers. John Deere lawn tractors are also available in various sizes to suit a range of lawn-care needs.

Deere & Company, whose roots date back to 1836, has a well-earned reputation for making some of the highest-quality agricultural equipment. Its consumer-size lawn tractors resemble the highly recognizable John Deere tractor, sporting classic green bodies with bright yellow seats and trim. Ahead, learn more about the lawn tractors manufactured by this brand and find out why the following machines are among the best John Deere lawn tractor options on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: John Deere S140 Lawn Tractor
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: John Deere E120 Lawn Tractor
  3. BEST FOR MOST YARDS: John Deere S120 Lawn Tractor
  4. BEST EASE OF OPERATION: John Deere S130 Lawn Tractor
  5. BEST FOR MID-LARGE YARDS: John Deere S160 Lawn Tractor
  6. BEST 4-WHEEL STEERING: John Deere X739 Signature Series Lawn Tractor
  7. BEST FOR LARGE YARDS: John Deere X570 Lawn Tractor with 54-inch Deck
The Best John Deere Lawn Tractors Option

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What to Consider When Choosing the Best John Deere Lawn Tractor

Top-of-the-line John Deere mowers and lawn tractors are not inexpensive, but they can be a wise purchase for those looking to invest in high-quality yard-care equipment. Choosing the best John Deere tractor for lawn and landscaping involves considering yard size, engine power, and the type of attachments owners want to use.

Engine Source and Power

Lawn tractor engines are measured in horsepower (hp), and the larger the engine, the more powerful the machine. John Deere uses a variety of engine sizes in its lawn-tractor offerings. Engines produced specifically for John Deere may be made by Briggs & Stratton or other manufacturers, but they are often listed as “John Deere–branded engines.”

They range from a 17.5-hp Briggs & Stratton engine in their compact S100 lawn tractor up to a 24-hp Briggs & Stratton engine in their S180 model. In their high-end specialty, the X500 Select Series, buyers can find a couple of higher-power options, including the X590, which is fitted with a 25.5-hp Kawasaki engine.

In addition to engine size and type, John Deere makes it easy to put all that power to use by implementing hydrostatic transmissions in most of its machines. This type of transmission converts the power generated by the engine into fluid power that drives the shaft. Hydrostatic transmissions are valued because they conserve energy, operate quietly, and reduce wear and tear on moving parts.

Deck Size and Cutting Options

On lawn tractors, deck size indicates how quickly the user can cut the grass. John Deere lawn tractors feature deck sizes ranging from 42 to 60 inches. Compared with some push mowers with deck sizes as small as 18 inches, it’s easy to see how the larger decks on lawn tractors will cut much wider swaths and significantly reduce the time it takes to mow a lawn.

In addition to deck size, mowing height is a consideration. Most lawn tractors can be adjusted to cut as low as 1 inch or as high as 4 to 5 inches. On some models, mowing height is adjusted with a hand lever. In contrast, some of the pricier models come with a hydrostatic dial that allows the user to adjust the height in inches, and then the deck automatically adjusts to suit.

Yard Size and Ground Type

In general, riding mowers and lawn tractors are well suited to cutting large lawns such as yards with 1 to 3 acres or more of grass. Depending on the speed at which the user operates the lawn tractor, the yard can be mowed in a fraction of the time it would take with a push mower.

Still, not all yards are suitable for mowing with riding mowers or lawn tractors. If the yard is small or there are many trees and other obstacles to navigate, a large riding machine may be too cumbersome. Plus, it may be too wide to fit through a yard gate.

Steeply sloped terrain can also be a hazard for a riding tractor, which tends to tip if the user is mowing along the side of a steep slope. However, the risk is reduced by mowing either going up or down the hill rather than sideways. When considering mowing on steep or rough terrain, always follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines.

Fuel Capacity or Battery Life

All John Deere lawn tractors are powered by gas or diesel engines, such as the 2.4-gallon gasoline engine in the S100 model. The company offers higher-capacity tanks on some of its larger models, such as the X570, which has a 4.4-gallon tank.

Larger fuel tanks provide longer runtimes and the extra power that is necessary for operating attachments. They’re most often found on bigger lawn tractors that use fuel more quickly as well. Larger tanks also translate into less-frequent fill-ups, but they also require storing more gasoline in a garage or shed.

Controls and Comfort

John Deere’s residential lawn tractors are designed to maximize user comfort and include such features as Twin Touch forward and reverse foot pedals that allow the user to change the machine’s direction. This is a user-friendly way to control the movement of the tractor compared with what was available on older models that required stopping the machine and then using a hand-shift gear to change directions.

All of John Deere’s basic lawn tractor models come with power steering, a feature that may be missing on some less-expensive brands. In addition, the standard John Deere seat is a two-part seat and backrest that allows air circulation between the two, won’t hold water, and may be less likely to rip as one-piece seats can be prone to do.

Attachments 

Some of the larger John Deere lawn tractors can be fitted with agricultural-type attachments that expand their versatility. Users can opt for a special-order backhoe attachment or a front-end loader that simplifies digging and moving dirt or compost. These attachments are installed at the factory before the tractor is delivered.

Standard attachments that will fit most John Deere lawn tractors include an adjustable chute that ejects grass clippings, a sun shade for protecting skin from sunrays, a rear bagger for collecting clippings, and more. Attachments are available for using the machines during any season of the year. If the goal is to find the right option that provides mowing capability only, John Deere also makes some of the best John Deere riding mower options.

Our Top Picks

Selecting the best lawn tractor from John Deere’s dozens of high-quality machines was no easy task. This respectable brand produces a wide range of mowers and tractors. We stuck with basic lawn tractors for our list and didn’t include riding mowers or zero-turn-radius (ZTR) mowers. Those looking for a quality lawn tractor are likely to find a model that suits their needs in our lineup.

Best Overall

The Best John Deere Lawn Tractors Option: John Deere S140 Lawn Tractor
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Finish mowing chores in record time with the John Deere S140 Lawn Tractor, which reaches maximum forward speeds of up to 5.5 mph so mowers can finish yard work and get on with more enjoyable activities. The S140 features side-by-side forward and reverse foot pedals for easy operation, and it comes with a comfortable 15-inch padded seat that’s open in the back for enhanced air circulation.

The S140 cuts an admirable 48-inch swath of grass in a single pass, and its 22-hp gas engine offers plenty of power for mowing and mulching (mulch kit sold separately). It comes with Deere’s patented Edge Cutting System that makes it possible to mow right up to obstacles such as trees or storage sheds. It features the company’s 30-Second Oil Change System for quick maintenance, and it comes with electric blade engagement and a rugged front bumper.

Product Specs 

  • Deck size: 48 inches
  • Engine: 22 hp
  • Max forward speed: 5.5 mph

Pros

  • Cuts lawns up to 2 acres quickly
  • Comfortable seat for long mowing sessions
  • Compatible with many John Deere accessories

Cons

  • Lawn tractor only—no attachments included

Get the John Deere S140 Lawn Tractor at The Home Depot, Lowe’s, or your local John Deere dealer.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best John Deere Lawn Tractors Option: John Deere E120 Lawn Tractor
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John Deere lawn tractors are not budget mowers, but those looking to buy one of these high-quality machines can still get a good deal on a slightly less-expensive model. The John Deere E120 Lawn Tractor is designed to provide economically minded consumers with a high-end lawn tractor for a modest investment. This model offers some of the same features found on more expensive models, such as a hydrostatic transmission as well as forward and reverse foot pedals. The seat is a one-piece model, but it adjusts to 10 positions for the best fit and feel.

The E120 offers EZ 30-second oil change and provides plenty of mowing, mulching, and clipping-catching ability with its 20-hp engine. And to maintain an optimal speed when mowing those vast expanses, the E120 offers cruise control. Attachments are sold separately.

Product Specs 

  • Deck size: 42 inches
  • Engine: 20 hp
  • Max forward speed: 5.5 mph

Pros

  • Makes quick work of mowing large lawns
  • Compatible with standard John Deere accessories
  • Adjustable seat for comfort

Cons

  • Hood made from composite material, not metal

Get the John Deere E120 Lawn Tractor at The Home Depot or your local John Deere dealer.

Best For Most Yards

The Best John Deere Lawn Tractors Option: John Deere S120 Lawn Tractor
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Those looking for a high-quality lawn tractor for mowing and other landscaping tasks may need to look no further than the John Deere S120. This model comes with a 22-hp gas engine and runs at forward speeds up to 5.5 mph. The S120 is one of John Deere’s midline machines, and it’s well suited for most large yards of a couple of acres or so.

With a 42-inch deck, the S120 can mow a large lawn quickly, and it comes with consumer-friendly features such as an easy-read fuel gauge on the dash and a deck that adjusts to 13 cut heights, ranging from 1 to 4 inches. It comes with edge-cut technology that allows users to mow right along the edge of fences and trees to reduce the need for weed-eating in those spots. Like other John Deere lawn tractors, the S120 can be used with many yard and landscape-related attachments.

Product Specs

  • Deck size: 42 inches
  • Engine: 22 hp
  • Max forward speed: 5.5 mph

Pros

  • Wide 42-inch deck makes for quick mowing
  • 2-piece seat won’t hold water
  • User-friendly forward and reverse pedals

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Attachments all sold separately

Get the John Deere S120 Lawn Tractor at The Home Depot or your local John Deere dealer.

Best Ease Of Operation

The Best John Deere Lawn Tractors Option: John Deere S130 Lawn Tractor
Photo: lowes.com

The John Deere S130 22HP Lawn Tractor comes with a wealth of user-friendly features that were put through their paces during hands-on testing. It could haul more than 700 pounds of concrete bags in a garden trailer with ease. However, the tires did lose traction on steeper parts of the lawn, and John Deere recommends users not mow slopes greater than 13 degrees. Because most yards feature gentler slopes, that won’t be an issue for many.

The S130 comes with a two-piece padded seat, a powerful 22-hp engine, and an impressive 42-inch deck. It also features side-by-side forward and reverse pedals and will accept John Deere’s wide range of attachments. During testing, the S130’s quiet operation was appreciated, thanks to its hydrostatic transmission. Plus, its headlights were bright enough to navigate in near-dark situations.

Product Specs 

  • Deck size: 42 inches
  • Engine: 22 hp
  • Max forward speed: 5.5 mph

Pros

  • Capable of hauling more than 700 pounds (with trailer)
  • 42-inch deck for quick mowing
  • Side-by-side forward and reverse pedals

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Tires lost traction on sloped area
  • No attachments included in purchase

Get the John Deere S130 at Lowe’s or your local John Deere dealer.

Best For Mid-Large Yards

The Best John Deere Lawn Tractors Option: John Deere S160 Lawn Tractor
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The John Deere S160 is a step up in many directions. It features a sizable 24-hp engine that is designed for extended use, and its 48-inch mowing deck means it makes quick work of cutting lawns up to 4 acres in size. Its large 20-inch rear wheels make it better suited for use on hilly terrain, but it works just as well as flat parcels. It comes with John Deere’s hydrostatic transmission and a fully welded steel frame for strength and durability.

The S160 accepts a variety of John Deere yard and garden attachments, including the manufacturer’s snow blower, snow blade, and aerator. An easy-to-see fuel gauge on the dash lets users know when to fuel up, and the two-piece seat is designed for comfort and won’t hold water. Set the cruise control on those long lawn stretches and enjoy mowing.

Product Specs 

  • Deck size: 48 inches
  • Engine: 24 hp
  • Max forward speed: 5.5 mph

Pros

  • Powerful 24-hp engine for large yards
  • Cruise control
  • Wide 48-inch deck for quick mowing

Cons

  • Pricey
  • No attachments included

Get the John Deere S160 Lawn Tractor at The Home Depot or your local John Deere dealer.

Best 4-Wheel Steering

The Best John Deere Lawn Tractors Option: John Deere X739 Signature Series Lawn Tractor
Photo: deere.com

Make no mistake: The John Deere X739 is a costly lawn tractor. It comes with four-wheel steering, meaning the rear wheels turn on their axles in the same manner as the front wheels to navigate the lawn tractor in a tight 21-inch radius. This translates into the ability to cut the grass around many trees without the need to stop, back up, and then go forward again. This enhanced steering concept also helps smooth out the ride and allows the user to navigate on slopes.

Buyers can choose from decks up to 60 inches when ordering a custom X739 direct from the company or a certified John Deere dealer. For those who have difficulty getting the hang of operating a zero-turning mower, the X739 is a respectable option. Its user-friendly features include an in-dash fuel gauge, a robust 25.5-hp engine, hydrostatic transmission, and side-by-side forward and reverse pedals.

Product Specs 

  • Deck size: Up to 60-inch deck
  • Engine: 25.5 hp
  • Max forward speed: 8.5 mph

Pros

  • Superior maneuverability
  • Large mow deck option
  • Smoother ride
  • Can be custom-ordered

Cons

  • Very pricey

Get the John Deere X739 Signature Series Lawn Tractor from your local John Deere dealer.

Best For Large Yards

The Best John Deere Lawn Tractors Option: John Deere X570 Lawn Tractor with 54-inch Deck
Photo: deere.com

Have a large lot to mow? Consider the John Deere X570 Lawn Tractor that comes with a 54-inch mowing deck and a 24-hp engine to make quick work of grass cutting and other landscaping chores. The X570 has a mulching capability that cuts and uniformly distributes the clippings on the lawn, eliminating the need for bagging. Users can switch between mulching mode and side-discharge mode.

The lawn tractor features oversize 24-inch rear wheels for added traction and maneuverability. Like most John Deere lawn tractors, the X570 comes with a hydrostatic transmission and side-by-side forward and reverse pedals. It also features an adjustable two-piece comfort seat and comes with an easy-to-see fuel gauge on the dash. The X570 accepts standard John Deere attachments, including a rear bagger, utility cart, snow blade, and sun shade. Users can even order a soft-side cab enclosure for operating the lawn tractor in inclement weather.

Product Specs 

  • Deck size: 54 inches
  • Engine: 24 hp
  • Max forward speed: 7.2 mph

Pros

  • Powerful 24-hp engine
  • 54-inch deck for quick mowing
  • Accepts wide range of attachments

Cons

  • Costly
  • No attachments included

Get the John Deere X570 Lawn Tractor with 54-in. Deck from your local John Deere dealer.

Our Verdict

John Deere manufactures some of the best-selling lawn tractors, and any of the models we’ve chosen for this lineup are among the best options for a variety of mowing and landscaping needs. Still, the John Deere S140 Lawn Tractor, our best overall pick, tops the list for a quality lawn tractor for the typical sizable residential yard. It features a 42-inch cut and comes with a 22-hp engine.

Our budget model, the John Deere E120 Lawn Tractor, is still a pricey prospect for many, but it comes at a slightly lower cost while providing features found on some of the more-expensive models.

How We Chose the Best John Deere Lawn Tractors

In choosing the tractors for this lineup of John Deere-specific lawn tractors, we focused on what we felt were among the most common residential yard-care needs. We selected models from a range of prices because no two yards—or budgets—are identical.

We looked for models that offered standard John Deere features, such as hydrostatic transmissions and easy-to-see fuel gauges that make mowing more user-friendly. Then, we hunted down models best suited to specific needs such as the need to mow tight radiuses around multiple trees or to cut closely along the edge of a fence or structure.

The result is a lineup with an array of John Deere lawn tractors within a range of power levels and price tags. Still, each of the chosen models is suitable for use with multiple John Deere attachments to extend each one’s versatility.

FAQs

Buying a lawn tractor is an investment in the landscape. Numerous manufacturers make lawn tractors, but the John Deere name has become synonymous with high-quality machinery and agricultural equipment. Those looking to buy their first John Deere lawn tractor will probably have a few questions.

Q. Which series John Deere tractor is best?

The best tractor depends on an individual buyer’s needs. Models in the 100 Series, from which we’ve selected multiple picks for this lineup, are most likely to be sold at local home improvement stores. Still, models in other series are just as durable, although some may have to be special-ordered from the company or through a local John Deere dealer

Q. Which is the best John Deere tractor?

Choosing the best John Deere lawn tractor will depend on individual needs, but our best overall pick, the S140, offers a good combination of power, dependability, and price.

Q. What brand engine does John Deere use?

John Deere uses a variety of engines in its lawn tractors, including Briggs & Stratton and Kawasaki. However, because some of these engines are manufactured explicitly for John Deere, they may be listed as “John Deere–branded” engines. Users can google the engine model number to find out its manufacturer.