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Review: John Deere Lawn Tractor Line Spoils the Weary Grass-Cutter

The name John Deere is synonymous with the sort of big tractors Old MacDonald is driving to harvest his crops between an oink-oink here and a moo-moo there. Renowned for their power and reliability, a smaller version of those tractors stands ready to help you with one of summer’s more boring recurrent tasks.

With four models ranging in price from $1,699 to $2,099, the John Deere 100 Series Lawn Tractors allow anyone outside of children (hopefully) to sit in comfort, master simple controls and transform grass cutting into a brief, simple and even pleasant activity.

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John Deere

What We Liked About the 100 Series Lawn Tractor

The 17.5-horsepower, gas-powered engine gives you plenty of oomph, and even a little speed if you open the throttle.

Meanwhile, a small tractor like one of these John Deere lawn tractors isn’t expected to handle particularly well. It could have a simple straight-rod steering system to get around a big yard, and it would still sell. Still, the John Deere engineers built in a wide turning radius and surprisingly precise maneuverability. The result is a riding mower that can make the rounds as accurately as a push mower.

That’s important because it means a buyer who thinks his or her yard is too small for a lawn tractor could reconsider that assumption. The only handling restriction for any of the John Deere machines is its size. Otherwise, it’s nimble enough to cover the bends and corners of a smaller yard.

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John Deere

Most Unique Feature: The Big Cut

With a cutting radius of at least 42 inches, the John Deere lawn tractor all but doubles the amount of grass cut per pass over just about any brand of push mower, whether gas or electric. That greatly reduces cutting time — thought, admittedly, it’s not exactly like working in a salt mine to sit atop a lawn tractor and steer your way around a yard.

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John Deere

What We Didn’t Like About the 100 Series Lawn Tractor

While it’s a controllable feature, the buyer must beware of the John Deere 100 Series Lawn Tractor’s adjustable blade control. A spring-assisted hand grip lever raises and lowers the blade deck so you can adjust the cut height. Be careful with that control the first couple of times you put the John Deere to work. That lever has the power and cutting radiance to hack your real estate down to scorched earth if you’re not paying attention. Start high. Adjust low.


The Verdict: You Make Cutting Grass Fun

That would be the title of a hit song if Fleetwood Mac collectively needed a lawnmower, but I imagine they have people for that sort of thing.

The 100 Series Lawn Tractor takes the grind out of cutting your lawn. Even with the best push mower, the up and down march of getting your grass under control can be a grind. That’s why dads like to pawn it off on sons and daughters as soon as they’re old enough to give four wheels a push. Parents would rather let their children sweat it out for an allowance payment.

With a John Deere 100 Series Lawn Tractor, the work becomes a matter of mastering the throttle and whipping the wheel around. The lawn is cut in a fraction of the time, leaving only minor trimming behind.

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John Deere

And if you’re looking to up your John Deere game even further, don’t forget to pick up a protective storage tarp for your new lawn tractor and a pair of John Deere-branded gloves!


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