Some names simply become synonymous with their industry. Mention McDonald’s and you’ll immediately think of drive-thru burgers. Michelin immediately channels images of tires. There are brands that come to define their entire business, and another one bears a simple green logo. And that iconic image is the John Deere riding lawn mower.
For some people, a John Deere riding mower is a rite of passage. They don’t quite feel complete until they’ve had the sensation of hopping on their John Deere and grooming their lawn. There’s a lot of hype behind the John Deere name, but just how good are they?
That’s what we’re here to find out.
What’s So Special about a John Deere Riding Lawn Mower?
A John Deere riding lawn mower is practically intertwined with the American Dream. Ask anyone who owns a sizable yard with their home what their ideal riding mower is. Most likely, they’ll tell you a John Deere belongs in their shed.
For almost two centuries, the John Deere name has directly linked American homeowners to their own land. Today, we’re going to be looking at the John Deere E100 series of riding lawn mowers. They are replacing the D100, one of the more affordable options in the John Deere riding mower family.
What do I need to know about the E100 series?
The John Deere riding mower, known as the E100 series, is not going to break your budget in half. Even with the purchase or finance of a brand new E100 series, you won’t have to take out a loan to own your piece of Americana.
Depending on the size of your lawn, you could find yourself in several different versions of the E100 series. There are models for flat lawns that only cover a quarter of an acre. There are models that will cover up to 5 acres per week. Thanks to the E100 series, you can find a John Deere riding mower that is tailored to your personal yard setup.
In our studies, we have found that anything with a 42-inch deck earns top ratings from us. For the price that you’ll pay, a John Deere riding mower is going to pay you back in dividends. You’ll be guaranteed to make the most for your dollar.
As we mentioned, the D100 is now replaced with the natural evolution seen in the E100. The D100 series was no slouch. And for us, it’s been one of our favorite riding mowers to use on any size lawn. We did, however, see some room for improvement. That’s exactly what John Deere has done for the E100 series.
What's changed in the E100 John Deere riding mower series?
Along with a shiny new coat of paint and name, the E100 series received a number of new features under the hood. Right off the bat, we love how the lever easily lowers and raises the deck. It’s a noticeable improvement over the D100 series. It reduces the effort in making adjustments throughout your time cutting your lawn.
The E100 series now shifts the blade height in quarter-inch increments. Best of all, the operator station is much wider and more comfortable than what we experienced with the D100. The steering wheel and operator controls are much easier on your hands. Also, you’ve got two different pedals for forward and reverse movement. That’s one less spot to worry about putting your hands if you need to back up.
Each model in the E100 John Deere riding lawn mower series contains a cast-iron front axle. This ensures that you won’t be making repairs any time within a recent purchase. So, if you’ve been letting your riding mower sit for a while, don’t worry, as the battery inside the E100 is a beast. We let it sit for weeks and it started up with no problem to speak of.
Although the deck design is as deep as it ever was, we noticed that it lifts grass for an even better cut than the D100 series. We appreciate John Deere’s commitment to improving something that worked perfectly well as it was. The “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality does not apply to John Deere’s business model.
Speaking of not breaking, you’ll find an extended life through the engines on the E160, E170, and E180 models. You’ll get up to 50 percent longer of a lifespan out of each of these engines. This is pretty fantastic considering the investment you’re making in a John Deere riding mower. There’s also the John Deere patented Easy Change oil change system in most models. You’ll feel like a complete professional with this helpful system in place.
What would prevent me from purchasing a John Deere riding lawn mower?
If you’re someone who has an enormous area to take care of, you’ll need to invest in a legitimate tractor. The John Deere riding lawn mower is a lot of things, but it’s not a legitimate piece of farm equipment. You won’t be plowing or using a food plot cultivator with the E100 series.
If you have a lot of different elevations in your lawn, and you want to use the E100 series, use caution with which model you choose. The bigger the wheels on the mower, the shorter they will last from treading across different types of elevation. Even if you keep it through the warranty period by replacing tires for free, you’ll still do more damage than necessary to the entire vehicle.
We also don’t want you to end up using a John Deere riding mower on anything other than a regular lawn. Anybody who has paddocks or a certain patch that might only be tended to every month should look for something more substantial. The John Deere E100 is a fine riding mower, but only if you plan on keeping it inside a residential area. Keep the vehicle within the confines of why it was designed, and you’ll be fine.
Where Can I Purchase a John Deere Riding Mower?
Because of the size, you’ll need to purchase a John Deere riding lawn mower in person. There are certain places like Amazon and eBay where you can find replacement parts, but if you’re in the market for a new mower, you’ll have to make the trip yourself.
Lowe’s and The Home Depot are the best places to start if you want to look into a new John Deere riding mower. You can also check your local hardware or home improvement store to see if they are an authorized dealer. Depending on your local price, you might find a better deal shopping for your new mower in a smaller store.
If you choose to go to Home Depot, you’ll earn free delivery, assembly, and a professional inspection with the purchase of a brand new John Deere riding mower. It’s hard to pass this up.
Which models are available in the E100 series?
Now that we’ve sung the praises of a John Deere riding mower, let’s check out the different model numbers in the series. We think there’s something in here for everyone, and we’ll start at the beginning.
This is your basic John Deere riding lawn mower that you can use with a smaller yard. If you have a quarter of an acre, the E100 is the perfect choice for you. You’ll feel incredibly comfortable cruising around your yard and snagging a few stray sticks and leaves with this mower.
And if you like, you can attach a bagger or sweeper. However, but we recommend leaving this for the autumn months. Doing this with your grass collection will put more wear and tear on the mower than necessary, and you’ll want to save its energy for later.
You can also pick up a mulch plug and other types of mulching blades for this mower. We don’t recommend this mower if your grass gets overly thick or bushy, but it’s fantastic for basic lawn care.
The E110 isn’t too noticeable of an upgrade from its smallest cousin. However, you will notice a more consistent cut over time. It has 1.5 more horsepower in its engine, and the lever on the body has been completely redesigned. Also, you’ll be able to drop and raise the blade with much more ease than the previous D100 series.
While you might go through more foliage and loose twigs with the E110 than the E100, we still recommend you hold off if you have a thicker area to work with. The slight jump in engine power isn’t quite enough to push it over the edge in our recommendation, and the E110 is kind of a lame duck for us.
If you can find the perfect balance of a lawn between a simple suburban lot and one that borders the woods, you might find a good home for the E110. Otherwise, we recommend you stick with the E100 or make the jump to the next entry on our list.
Now, we get into some real performance changes. The E120 has a very economical twin cylinder engine that contains a notable jump in power from the engine you’ll find in the previous two models. If you have an entire acre that you typically mow once a week, this is definitely the John Deere riding lawn mower for you.
This is also the smallest model that introduces the Easy Change oil change system. Without taking this to a mechanic, it’s one of the simplest oil changes we’ve ever performed on any vehicle. And that's whether it’s a John Deere riding mower or an SUV. The E120 is not designed for the biggest of hills, but if you have a few slopes here and there, you won’t run into any problems.
The E120 is much more of a step up from the E110 than the latter is from the E100. If you’re working with a lawn that has a few twists and turns, plus some changes in elevation, this is the upgrade you’re looking for.
Aside from an upgrade of 2 horsepower in the engine, the only difference we could tell between the E120 and E130 is the fact that only certain retailers sell the E130. You won’t be able to find this one at Home Depot, but you can pick it up at Lowe’s.
We’re skipping a few and giving you our favorite of the next batch of John Deere riding lawn mower models in the E100 series. The E160 is a powerful mower that can handle lawns up to 2 acres in size.
Along with a 24 horsepower engine, the E160 has an incredibly comfortable seat with extra lumbar support. While you don’t want to fall asleep during your lawn mowing sessions, you’ll be at peace while tending to your property when you sit in the seat of the E160.
The Extended Life Series engine guarantees that you will be spending many years with the E160. You also get the Easy Change oil system. Most of all, this is one of our favorites in the entire E100 series, and we give it our highest recommendation for bigger lawns.
Which John Deere Riding Mower Should I Choose?
The answer to this question really comes down to the size of your property. If you only have a small yard with basic grass and weeds, you’ll be good with the E100. Save yourself the $200 by ignoring the E110, as we don’t think it’s different enough to justify the added cost.
From here, those with a bigger lawn should determine how many shifts in elevation and design their lawns have. If you only have a few dips, the E120 or E130 is perfect. Anyone with a more complex yard, or those who need extra support in their seat, will want to steer in the direction of the E160.
We hope you enjoy your John Deere riding mower. There’s a reason this name has stuck around since before the days of light bulbs.