2017 John Deere D100 Series Lawn Tractors at The Home Depot and Lowes – What is wrong with these lawn tractors?

It’s been a long time since I’ve written an article about the John Deere mowers at all so it’s time to give you a thorough update.  This is my review of the John Deere D100 Lawn Tractors. The 100 series consists of the D105, D110, D125, D130, D140, D155, D160, D170 Lawn Tractors.

Are these good tractors and are they the best choice for you?

The Internet is full of statements from people stating that the John Deere D100 Series lawn tractor you buy at Lowes or The Home Depot is different and not as good as the same model sold at a John Deere dealer. In this article I’ll discuss this statement and then give you a short review of each model to see if a John Deere 100 Series lawn tractor is the best riding mower for you.

John Deere manicure When sized properly to their lawns, John Deere owners love their lawn tractors.

The John Deere D100 series riding mowers are designed for the same types of lawns as the Cub Cadet XT1, XT2 Enduro series, Husqvarna YT, Troy-Bilt XP and Craftsman Yard Tractors. The mowers are good, dependable lawn tractors when properly sized for your lawn. They feature dependable engines, good cutting decks, good ergonomics and easy to use controls.

My opinion in this article is backed up by other reputable online review sites. Specifically, Consumer Reports and consumersearch.com regularly give the John Deere D100 series lawn tractor high marks for quality, cutting your lawn and dependability. 

Common Questions about the John Deere D100 series tractors.

Fake news, misinformed news or more to the point “my uncle’s brother’s 2nd cousin’s mechanic” is alive and well in the riding mower industry with Google indexing the lawn tractor forums and other sites where opinion means more than the facts. Because of that it is really hard to figure out what riding mower is best for you. In this section I will separate the facts from the opinions so that you can make a better decision in regards to a John Deere 100 series lawn tractor.

My local mechanic/dealer told me that the John Deere D100 series are built in China. Is that true? Do yourself a favor and run away from that mechanic as fast as you can. Hard telling what other lies he is trying to get you to believe about why his products are better than the other brands. Or maybe he has just been misinformed. Either way, The facts are the 100 and 200 series John Deere lawn tractors are proudly made in Greeneville, TN. While that area of the country may be “foreign” to the mechanic it is still a wonderful part of the United States.

My brother-in-law said the John Deere tractors are made by MTD? So who actually makes the John Deere D100 series Lawn Tractors?  John Deere D100 series tractors are made by John Deere in a John Deere assembly plant. They are not farmed out (subcontracted) to another manufacturer.  John Deere is the O.E.M. Just to be clear. Just like every other manufacturer today, the Greenville plant does not make every component that goes into the tractor. John Deere is a worldwide manufacturer so some of the parts may be made in other states or countries in another John Deere plant. In addition, some common parts like nuts, bolts, engines, transmissions, pulleys and electrical solenoids are made by other companies for John Deere. Some of these parts may be sourced from another country.

Who makes the engines? John Deere labeled engines in the D100 series are made for Deere by Briggs & Stratton.  The basic engines are similar to the B&S Intek, Intek Plus and ELS engines.  Briggs & Stratton has a product page that proves that fact: John Deere Lawn Mowers Powered by Briggs & Stratton

Who makes the transmissions? General Transmissions makes the CVT transmission in the D105. Tuff Torq makes the transmissions in the rest of the D100 series lineup.

Are the John Deere D100 series tractors at The Home Depot and Lowes the same as the tractors at my local John Deere dealer? Yes. There is no difference between the D105, D110, D125, D130, D140, D155, D160, D170 lawn tractors at your local big box store, local hardware store or the corporate John Deere implement dealer. There may be some confusion in the fact that some retail stores do not carry the entire line. For example, one big box store may carry the D125 and D160, another store carries the D130 and D155. Your local John Deere implement dealer will also carry other John Deere lawn tractors that look similar. The other tractors they carry are much more expensive and may be a better choice if you have a large property to mow, a small acreage to maintain or own livestock.

John Deere X758

See this one at your local John Deere dealer

Can the John Deere D100 series pull heavy loads? John Deere recommends loads no more than the weight of the tractor and the rider.  I am going to add this means a small yard cart, dethatcher, lawn sweeper and plug aerator on a relatively flat lawn. Specifically, John Deere 100 series lawn tractors are NOT garden tractors and you should not expect them to pull heavy loads through the woods, mow steep hills or use ground engaging implements.  They are great for what they are designed for but will fail if abused. If you do use them to pull heavy loads the transmissions will not last. The list below states the transmissions in the different models and these trannys are all designed to mow your lawn for many years but they are not designed to pull heavy loads uphill. (See my review of the D170!)

  • GT RS400 CVT – D105
  • Tuff Torq TLT200A – D110, D125, D130
  • Tuff Torq T40J – D140, D155
  • Tuff Torq K46AC – D160, D170

What size decks do the John Deere D100 series have? The John Deere D100 series has 42 inch 2 blade, 48 inch 3 blade, 54 inch 3 blade stamped decks. All the decks are the basic John Deere Edge™ style that are tested and proven to mow your normal suburban lawn well. A smooth underside prevents grass buildup and clumping. A deep-deck mower design lifts grass for a clean, even cut.

How does the John Deere D100 series compare to the Craftsman, Cub Cadet and Husqvarna Lawn Tractors? The 42 inch John Deere Edge deck on the D105-D130 models is consistently rated “as good” as the Craftsman Pro and Cub Cadet XT Enduro 42 and 46 inch decks by independent testing magazines and by customer experience. The 42 inch John Deere Edge deck consistently rates higher than the Husqvarna 42-46 inch decks and the Simplicity 42-44 inch decks.

Initial, first mow experience is consistently higher than the other brands of lawn tractors – I’ll tell you why in the next key point below.

Why does the John Deere D100 series Lawn Tractors cost a little more than the comparable Cub Cadet, Craftsman, or Husqvarna?

Three reasons – no, green paint is not one of the reasons 🙂

Reason One: Consistent Buyer Experience. John Deere strives to create the same buying experience no matter where you buy your John Deere 100 series lawn tractor. In other words, John Deere has a much closer and consistent relationship between the retailer (Lowes-The Home Depot) and your local John Deere servicing dealer than the other brands. If you buy your John Deere at Home Depot and it needs service your local John Deere dealer treats you the same way as the person who came into his dealership and bought the tractor there. In fact, the local John Deere dealer’s sticker is on the tractor you bought at The Home Depot so you always know who to call if you have problems or questions about the lawn tractor.

Reason Two: Pre-Sale setup: The 10-Point Pre-Delivery Inspection

Every John Deere product, no matter where you buy it from, goes through a series of quality checks by a factory-trained technician before it goes out onto a showroom floor, let alone into your backyard. Yes, even the lawn tractors at The Home Depot are inspected. John Deere calls these quality checks the “10-Point Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI)”. You’ll call it reassuring, intelligent, and common sense.

Here’s what is done. Every lawn tractor with the dealer sticker on the back of the machine has gone through this process:

1. Remove manufacturer’s packaging, dispose of properly, and remove product from the shipping crate
2. Connect the battery, test start the unit to make sure it “Runs Like a Deere”
3. Check fluid levels
4. Inspect safety switches
5. Examine belts and belt guides. Ensure nothing loosened during shipment. Install bumper if required
6. With engine running, engage the mower deck
7. Check tire pressure; ensure optimal pressure
8. Check to ensure the mower deck is level
9. Check Reverse Implement Option (RIO) on tractors
10. Ensure owner’s manual is with the unit and place PDI Dealer sticker (dealer sticker) on the unit, visible on the back green fender of the product.

Yes, some independent dealers of other brands may also have a pre-inspection but John Deere has a consistent pre-inspection from every dealer and retailer for every lawn tractor sold. Why does this matter? For example, I read many owners state that their Briggs & Stratton engine in other brands starts hard. In other words you have to crank the engine 10-20 seconds most of the time before it starts. You never hear of this issue with a D100 series Deere. Why? Because the John Deere tractors are started before you use them the first time. (The problem is actually a very simple one-screw adjustment of the throttle/choke cable.)

Reason Three: Backed by the John Deere Promise. Click here to read the 30 day money back promise: John Deere Home Trial  Note: Your local Lowes and The Home Depot’s return policy may override the John Deere dealer promise. Please check with the dealer located on the sticker on the mower to be sure.

So this extra time spent by John Deere and your local John Deere dealer is the main reason these lawn tractors cost just a little more than the competing brands riding mowers. Consistent Quality, Consistent Dealer Experience and Consistent First Time Use means you will be happy right from the start.

So – What is wrong with these lawn tractors?

As a group there is nothing wrong with these lawn tractors, they are great riding lawn mowers. But there are two models I don’t recommend to most people.  The John Deere 100 series are very competitive machines when compared to the current Cub Cadet and Craftsman for cut quality, bagging and mulching. They are consistently better than the Husqvarna, Poulan Pro, and Simplicity lawn tractors for cut quality, repairs and initial quality.

But are they worth the extra money you have to spend to get the “green paint? Let’s continue by reviewing the individual John Deere 100 series lawn tractors to find out. The John Deere D100 series consists of the D105, D110, D125, D130, D140, D155, D160, D170 Lawn Tractors.

John Deere D100 Series Review

From the John Deere website:

“Made Right from the Start. This is what happens when you don’t take short cuts.

Built to mow a 1/3 of an acre up to two acres, with mower deck sizes ranging from 42 to 54-inches, and horsepower to match, the D100 Series has been engineered the right way, right from the start, down to the tiniest detail.

With the D100 Series, a consistent, quality cut can be measured down to the ¼-inch, while toughness can be gauged through a cast iron front axle (to negotiate ruts and roots) and a 12-gauge steel frame that stands up to time.

Thoughtful engineering touches, such as a covered glove box for storage (D125, D130, D140, D155, D160 and D170), an electric power take off (PTO) to engage the mower deck (D140, D155, D160, D170), and lumbar seats (D155, D160, D170) make the D100 Series a cut above.”

So let’s go through each model of the John Deere D100 series models. I’ll list it’s basic features and then tell you who each model it is best suited for.

D105 Lawn Tractor

John Deere D105 17.5 hp‡ (13.0 kW) engine; 42-in. Edge™ Cutting System; CVT/automatic drive; Manual power take-off (PTO) About $1,499.00

Buy From:

Note: There is no California model.

The D105 is the most basic John Deere lawn tractor available. It has an adequate 17.5 hp engine and the same deck as the more expensive D110, D125 and D130 units.

This is a fun, lightweight tractor designed for about 1/3 acre, flat lawns. This is a great mower for your small in-town lawn that you mow every week and you want to look the best. DO NOT expect this model to perform as well or last as long as the more expensive mowers or last on larger lawns.  The engine is not designed for mowing on slopes. You may pull a small yard cart (John Deere 450 lb. 7 cu. ft. Tow-Behind Poly Utility Cart) but I strongly suggest that you don’t fill it with dirt, rocks or other heavy materials. It will accept the 2 bin bagger.

Let me repeat, don’t buy this lawn tractor because it’s the cheapest John Deere you can buy. It is only designed for small, relatively flat city lawns. I recommend this mower to very few people.

In fact, if you are doubt about if this is the right mower – DON’T buy it. Buy the D110 instead.

D110 Lawn Tractor

John Deere D110 19 hp‡ (14.2 kW) engine; 42-in. Edge™ Cutting System; Hydrostatic drive; Manual power take-off (PTO) About $1,699.00

 This is the smallest John Deere riding mower that I recommend to most people. The single cylinder engine has plenty of power to handle any mowing task on your nice suburban yard. It has the same deck as the D125, D130 and S240 Sport that are rated so well by Consumer Reports. In fact, it’s mowing quality is only slightly less than the X350 Deere which cost a whopping $1500 more! It’s a nice, basic riding mower that will pull your John Deere 450 lb. 7 cu. ft. Tow-Behind Poly Utility Cart, dethatcher, and aerator.  (Notice this aerator does not have as many spikes as the more expensive models. It will pull easier for this tractor) 

The single cylinder engine will have a little more vibration than the V-twin engines in the next two tractors – D125/D130 – but everything else is the same. I’ve driven this mower many times and to me the single cylinder engine is not an issue at all. The D110 steers easily and really works well for your 1/3 to 1 acre suburban lawn. Personally, I would have no problems owning this riding mower for my one acre gently sloping lawn.

Buy From:

Note: There is a California model.

D125 Lawn Tractor

John Deere D125 20 hp‡ (14.9 kW) V-twin engine; 42-in. Edge™ Cutting System; Hydrostatic drive; Manual power take-off (PTO); Cruise control. About $1,799.00

FYI: The D125 and D130 lawn tractors are the same mower except for the engine and where they are sold. The Home Depot sells the D125 with the 20HP V-Twin and Lowes sells the D130 with the 22HP engine. John Deere has a comparison page where you can verify this yourself here: (John Deere Online Brochure)

If you are looking for a great mower for your 1/2 to 2 acre lawn the D125/D130 is a great choice. The V-Twin engine is smooth running and has more than enough power to handle any lawn. The deck cuts well and bags well. If you follow accepted practices these decks also do a great job for mulching. (mow 3 inches or higher and don’t cut off more than 1/3 third of the grass at a time)

The D125 is the most popular John Deere Lawn tractor and I highly recommend it for most suburban lawns. The 20 HP V-Twin engine in this mower is especially nice. The engine is quiet and smooth running. It has a little better fuel economy that the 22 HP in the D130.

This lawn tractor will handle a small/medium yard cart, dethatcher, aerator, lawn sweeper and other typical attachments. It is not designed for ground engaging or pulling heavy loads. The transmission has proven itself to mow hills well and last.

The steering radius is not as tight as the Craftsman Lawn tractors but it is very easy to steer and comfortable to mow with. I particularly like the foot operated speed control because I don’t have to move my old stiff ankle as much when speeding up and slowing down. Yes, it has cruise control.

One more thing: I am not exactly sure if this riding mower uses the basic Intek or Intek Plus engine internals so I am only going to recommend it for flat and gently sloping lawns. Why? The Intek Plus engine will handle 15 degree slopes for years and years because it uses a full pressure internal lube system that pumps the oil up to the critical bearings. The Intek engine does not have the same system and if you run it all the time on steep slopes it will fail 3 times faster than the Intek Plus. It’s a good engine and I own two tractors with the Intek but it’s not designed for constant use steep slopes.

Buy From:

Note: There is a California model.

D130 Lawn Tractor

John Deere D130 22 hp‡ (16.4 kW) V-twin engine; 42-in. Edge™ Cutting System; Hydrostatic drive; Manual power take-off (PTO); Cruise control. About $1,899.00

FYI: The D125 and D130 lawn tractors are the same mower except for the engine and where they are sold. The Home Depot sells the D125 with the 20HP V-Twin and Lowes sells the D130 with the 22HP engine. John Deere has a comparison page where you can verify this yourself here: (John Deere Online Brochure)

If you are looking for a great mower for your 1/2 to 2 acre lawn the D125/D130 is a great choice. The V-Twin engine is smooth running and has more than enough power to handle any lawn. The deck cuts well and bags well. If you follow accepted practices these decks also do a great job for mulching. (mow 3 inches or higher and don’t cut off more than 1/3 third of the grass at a time)

This lawn tractor will handle a small/medium yard cart, dethatcher, aerator, lawn sweeper and other typical attachments. It is not designed for ground engaging or pulling heavy loads. The transmission has proven itself to mow hills well and last.

The steering radius is not as tight as the Craftsman Lawn tractors but it is very easy to steer and comfortable to mow with. I particularly like the foot operated speed control because I don’t have to move my old stiff ankle as much when speeding up and slowing down.

One more thing: I am not exactly sure if this riding mower uses the basic Intek or Intek Plus engine internals so I am only going to recommend it for flat and gently sloping lawns. Why? The Intek Plus engine will handle 15 degree slopes for years and years because it uses a full pressure internal lube system that pumps the oil up to the critical bearings. The Intek engine does not have the same system and if you run it all the time on steep slopes it will fail 3 times faster than the Intek Plus. It’s a good engine and I own two tractors with the Intek but it’s not designed for constant use on steep slopes.

 Lowes Protection Plan: Be aware that the Lowes Outdoor Power Equipment Extended Protection Plan is not the same as the John Deere Extended Warranty. Specifically, your local servicing John Deere dealer may not be the authorized repair center for the Lowes warranty. In other words, you must go through Lowes for your extended Protection Plan repair work.
Buy From:
I have no affiliation with Lowes so I can only give you a link to the John Deere site. 
John Deere Dealer

Note: There is a California model.

D140 Lawn Tractor

John Deere D140 22 hp‡ (16.4 kW) V-twin engine; 48-in. Edge™ Cutting System; Hydrostatic drive; Manual power take-off (PTO); Cruise control. About $1,999.00

The John Deere D140 has a 48 inch 3-blade deck and consistently rates as one of the better cutting “large area” decks for your lawn.  The 48 inch size fits onto smaller utility trailers well and will go through the doors of most utility sheds easily.  This is also one of the better bagging decks and surprisingly handles green grass clippings well. (Most baggers on lawn tractors don’t bag green grass well.)  This size deck works well for 1 to 2 acres. John Deere does not have a 46 inch 2-blade deck or a 50 inch 3-blade deck.

 The John Deere D140 has a stronger transmission than the D125/D130 and works well with this deck. It will handle slopes well but as with all the John Deere 100 series lawn tractors please don’t expect it to pull heavy loads all the time and last. This riding mower is designed to mow well pull your yard cart, dethatcher and other typical lawn tools. It is not designed for ground engaging work.
One more thing: I am not exactly sure if this riding mower uses the basic Intek or Intek Plus engine internals so I am only going to recommend it for flat and gently sloping lawns. Why? The Intek Plus engine will handle 15 degree slopes for years and years because it uses a full pressure internal lube system that pumps the oil up to the critical bearings. The Intek engine does not have the same system and if you run it all the time on steep slopes it will fail 3 times faster than the Intek Plus. It’s a good engine and I own two tractors with the Intek but it’s not designed for constant use on steep slopes.
Buy From:

Note: There is a California model.

D155 Lawn Tractor

John Deere D155 24 hp‡ (17.9 kW) V-twin engine; 48-in. Edge™ Cutting System; Hydrostatic drive; Electric power take-off (PTO); Cruise control. About $2,199.00

For $200 more than the D140 the John Deere D155 gives you a better engine and electric deck engagement.  Deck belts will last longer with the electric deck engagement. The 48 inch 3-blade deck and consistently rates as one of the better cutting “large area” decks for your lawn.  The 48 inch size fits onto smaller utility trailers well and will go through the doors of most utility sheds easily.  This is also one of the better bagging decks and surprisingly handles green grass clippings well. (Most baggers on lawn tractors don’t bag green grass well.)  This size deck and engine combination works well for 1 to 3 acres. John Deere does not have a 46 inch 2-blade deck or a 50 inch 3-blade deck.

 The John Deere D155 has a stronger transmission than the D125/D130 and works well with this deck. It will handle slopes well but as with all the John Deere lawn tractors please don’t expect it to pull heavy loads all the time and last. This riding mower is designed to mow well pull your yard cart, dethatcher and other typical lawn tools. It is not designed for ground engaging work.
The John Deere D155 uses the upgraded ELS engine. I can recommend it for any type of terrain. It has the full pressure with oil port lubrication system just like your car and will last many years without a whimper.  It’s a good engine and a better engine than the other B&S engine you will find in other lawn tractors. It’s very comparable to the Kohler 7000 series and arguably better than the Kawasaki FR series.
Buy From:

Note: There is a California model.

D160 Lawn Tractor

John Deere D160 25 hp‡ (18.6 kW) V-twin ELS engine; 48-in. Edge™ Cutting System; Hydrostatic drive; Electric power take-off (PTO); Cruise control;. About $2,349.00

For $200 more than the D155 the John Deere D160 gives you a heavier transmission and larger tires.  The larger tires allow this lawn tractor to ride better and won’t be as hard to use on rough lawns.  This is a great tractor for your typical 1-3 acre farm lawn.

The 48 inch 3-blade deck and consistently rates as one of the better cutting “large area” decks for your lawn.  The 48 inch size fits onto smaller utility trailers well and will go through the doors of most utility sheds easily.  This is also one of the better bagging decks and surprisingly handles green grass clippings well. (Most baggers on lawn tractors don’t bag green grass well.)

 The John Deere D160 has a stronger transmission than the D140/D155 and works well with this deck. It will handle most slopes well but as with all the John Deere lawn tractors please don’t expect it to pull heavy loads all the time and last. This riding mower is designed to mow well pull your yard cart, dethatcher and other typical lawn tools. It is not designed for ground engaging work.
The John Deere D160 uses the ELS engine. I can recommend it for any type of terrain. It has the full pressure with oil port lubrication system just like your car and will last many years without a whimper.  It’s a good engine and a better engine than the other B&S engines you will find in many other lawn tractors. It’s very comparable to the Kohler 7000 series and arguably better than the Kawasaki FR series.
Buy From:

Note: There is a California model.

D170 Lawn Tractor

John Deere D170 25 hp‡ (18.6 kW) V-twin engine; 54-in. Edge™ Cutting System; Hydrostatic drive; Electric power take-off (PTO); Cruise control. About $2,799.00

Every brand makes at least one lawn tractor or zero-turn that I don’t recommend and the John Deere D170 is that John Deere lawn tractor. Why?

This riding mower falls into the category of LGT “light garden tractor.”  What that means is just about every brand has a lawn tractor that looks like a great deal. It’s priced $300-$500 less than the garden tractors. It looks larger, has big tires, a big deck and looks muscular and cool. But there is a major problem with the LGTs.

The transmission is too small for the tractor. Let me explain.

The Tuff Torq K46 hydrostatic transmission is the most popular lawn tractor transmission ever and there are millions of them out mowing lawns every week. When sized properly to the lawn tractor they will last years and years.  They are designed for lawn tractors and riding mowers that weigh up to 550 lbs, use a 48 inch or smaller deck, and 20 inch or smaller tires. (Kanzaki/Tuff Torq IHT Transaxle series K)

Unfortunately, a few manufactures have also used this transmission in lawn tractors that are a little too heavy, use too large of tires and/or too large of deck. When they do that, the transmission has to work too hard and fails much sooner than it was designed too. The John Deere D170 is one of those tractors. The rear 22 inch tires and 54 inch deck will cause this transmission to fail within a few hundred hours if used for anything but mowing a flat lawn.

Now, there are thousands of the John Deere D170s out mowing lawns every week. If you have a flat lawn, for example a typical farm lawn in central Illinois, this lawn tractor will work very well for you. But do not expect the transmission to last if you have any slopes to mow up and down or you plan on using the tractor for chores like hauling a cart full of feed/manure.

I asked an engineer from Tuff-Torq once, “Why do the brands use this transmission for these heavier tractors when they know it’s too small.” His answer, “We can only suggest what they do with the transmissions. We can’t make them use them in the correct application.”

I wish John Deere would install the K58 transmission and increase the price $200. It would then be one of the best large area lawn tractors on the market. 

Buy From:

Note: There is a California model.

Yes, You need a new Gas Can!

With today’s fuels you need a gas can that seals tight. It helps the fuel last longer and the escaping vapors won’t wreck the environment. But the biggest problem is find one that works. The cheap ones ($20 or more now) don’t have vents so it takes forever to fill the tank on your lawn tractor. The cheap ones are also flimsy and the spouts break after the first year.

Well, I’ve found one brand that works great! It’s vented inside the spout so it pours fuel quickly yet seals tightly when not in use.  I’ll give you links at Amazon for two sizes. I suggest buying the size so that you don’t keep more than a month of fuel around the house.

No-Spill 1405 2-1/2-Gallon Poly Gas Can. A good size for snow blowers and push mowers. 

No-Spill 1450 5-Gallon Poly Gas Can (CARB Compliant) This one has a second handle in the back so it is very easy to use and hang onto when pouring into your fuel tank. A good size for lawn tractors and zero-turns.

If you have a problem holding a gas can the SureCan is a great can. It’s very comfortable to use to use and built well.

SureCan – Gas Can with Rotating Spout. 

Fuel Stabilizer: When I go to the gas station and buy fuel I always put fuel stabilizer in the storage tank. It helps keep the fuel fresh and some also clean your carb and fuel system without messing it up. There a man good brands but I’ve used

SeaFoam for years and it’s always worked well. I use 2 tablespoons per gallon of fuel.

Seafoam 

Other fuels stabilizers to check out: Fuel Stabilizers

Have I helped you? If would you like to buy from your local dealer or store but still want to support TodaysMower just click on this link and buy anything you need. I’ll make a small commission from the sale. Buy at Amazon. TodaysMower.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and we get a commission on purchases made through our links.

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