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Selecting a John Deere Lawn Tractor 100 series 300 series

by The Handyguys

in Audio Podcasts

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The Handyguys Discuss John Deere Residential Lawn Tractors

The John Deere Lawn Tractor The Handyguys are busy mowing and evaluating John Deere’s LA115 Lawn tractors this summer. In the first of our 5 part monthly series on residential Lawn tractors from John Deere, the Handyguys expose some of the differences between the entry level Deere 100 series and the higher end x300 select series of tractors. The differences are not always obvious so be sure to listen to the podcast for all the details.

John Deere 100 Series vs x300 Select Series of Lawn Tractors

John Deere Tractor Lineup

John Deere has an extensive lineup of Lawn Tractors. Click this image to see it larger.

Comparing the first two levels of residential lawn tractors from John Deere is a tricky task with subtle differences accounting for the costs when moving up the product line. We had a couple weeks last year to review the X324 select series and now we have completed three weeks mowing our lawns and a field behind Handyguy Brian’s house (2-3 acres) with the LA115 model.

The LA115 mower is highly rated by a leading consumer magazine, and it proves why by cutting a nice even path across our lawns at a brisk 5.5 mpg pace. The LA115 does a great job, but understanding the feature sets across the Deere product line is essential for selecting the best model for your needs.

The John Deere LA115 lawn tractorSo what are the differences between the LA115 tractors and the more expensive x300 series? Brian suggests that the x300 series must have bigger engines or go faster. But the differences are more subtle. You will find higher quality engines as you move up in the John Deere lines but not necessarily more powerful or larger engines (the 100 series uses Briggs and Straton while the X300 uses Kawasaki engines). Both the x324 that we used last summer and this year’s LA115 model max out at 5.5 mph so you can move just as fast in your LA115 as the X300 series tractors.

Other significant differences between these lines include features such as 4-wheel steering (found on the the x304 and x324), bigger gas tanks (than model 100 series mowers), and a longer warranty on the x300s.

Brian makes the point that if you have open areas that require mowing in long straight lines, get the cruise control. It will save your leg from getting tired. You can find this feature in both the 100 series and X300 series but it is not on the LA115 model (sorry Brian!)

Selecting and Ordering An appropriate Tractor

John Deere Mower Selection ToolFirst of all, try out John Deere’s tractor selector. Use this tool as a guide to compliment your research. Be sure to talk to an expert at your closet JD dealership to zero in on the model that best fits your requirements.

If you are leaning toward the 100 series line, you can probably find them at your local home center or hardware store. Typically, the X300 series and higher tractors are purchased at a local John Deere dealership. The mower selector tool will guide you to your closest dealers. If you don’t have a truck or trailer, you will need a dealership that can deliver the mower to your location. The nice thing about working with a  dealership is that they can also pick up your mower if it requires servicing.

As usual, listen to the podcast for more details!

Accessories For Your Lawn Tractor

Be sure to consider what accessories you desire for your lawn as this might effect which model tractor you choose.  John Deere AccessoriesBoth the 100 series and the 300 series support many of the same accessories, but certain accessories may require the performance characteristics delivered by specific models. Your JD expert can steer you to the correct model based on your accessory requirements so be sure to consider accessories along with your mower even if you will not be purchasing those accessories up front.

The Handyguys will continue reviewing our LA115 mowers and provide further information on initial setup, mowing, maintenance, accessories usage and end-of-season shut down procedures during our 5-part monthly series on JD Lawn Tractors.

FTC DISCLOSURE: John Deere provided The Handyguys with the LA115 tractors and accessories featured in this 5-part series. However, the opinions of The Handyguys are entirely our own and we have not been paid to make positive comments.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

theCrackerBoxKitchen June 21, 2010 at 11:36 am

Thanks for the comment guys! Best of luck with your own fence building adventure!

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Jennette July 21, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Fantastic reviews! I love your site — I have found so many relevant topics already — and I have only gone through a few of them….the toilet in the basement of a split-level (we will be doing that hopefully in the next year…) and we will be buying a new tractor before all those leaves start falling all over our yard!
Thanks soo much for sharing your knowledge!

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The Handyguys July 22, 2010 at 9:04 am

Jennette – Thanks for your comment. Feel free to let us know if you have any topics you would like us to cover in a future show.

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Ron Martin July 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Can you direct me to a contact that can identify what plow blade will fit my 1998 JD Model 345 garden tractor? I am looking for a plow blade but don’t know hat specific blade and hardware is needed. Hope you can help. Thanks.

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The Handyguys July 25, 2011 at 11:30 am

Ron – I would use the dealer locator on the Deere website and then contact the dealer. If you want an aftermarket plow blade then I would contact the manufacturer of the blade and ask what it fits.

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Ken August 16, 2011 at 11:04 am

Is there a difference in the models offered via a JD dealer and the model offered at Lowes? There seems to be some adverse feelings about the models offered at Lowes on the used market, as if they are inferior.

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The Handyguys August 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Yes and no, there are no differences between an la125 at the homecenter and a la125 at a dealer. There are likely different models available at a dealer (higher end models) and also different service arrangements.

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Kittles February 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm

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John Deere 7920 owner April 19, 2012 at 8:27 am

Thanks for this well written post, it describes the differences very well and should be helpful to guys like me who want to get a little tractor to do the lawn work. I myself own a bigger brother – JD 7920 but I’m looking for something smaller. And now I know I will get another Deere.

Thanks, good post and nice blog!

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The Handyguys April 19, 2012 at 8:45 am

Ha! The 7920 tractor is bigger than some of my friend’s lawns!

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Bruce August 12, 2014 at 10:30 am

My john Deere 314 keeps breaking off the bolts that mounts the drive shaft to the engine what’s wrong.

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The Handyguys August 12, 2014 at 6:46 pm

I would suspect a compound issue.
1) you have vibration somewhere. Possibly caused by a bent drive shaft or something else out of balance or something similar.
2) cheap replacement bolts – some bolts are not as strong as others, try a better, stronger bolt.

Using a stronger bolt may mask the issue but get you through the rest of the season or longer. Replacing the parts that could be vibrating AND using a better bolt would most likely solve the issue.

The only risk could be the shaft from the engine could be bent which is a much deeper issue and more complex repair.

See some related discussion here
http://gardentractortalk.com/forums/topic/34078-john-deere-314/

good luck

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