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What's the difference in build quality on a Home Depot Deere vs a dealer ? Also what is a garden tractor vs a lawnmower ?
I have a Scott's(made by John Deere) that used to be Home Depot's store brand. It is a 25h.p./48 inch deck. I think we have had it for about 12 years and use it to cut about 2 acres of finished lawn on our property, twice a week during summer months. It sees some pretty rough use as much of the grass is sloped or uneven. Only repair, other than usual maintenance (blades, belts, oil change etc.) has been one of the three deck bearings that rotate the blades. Changed it myself of course for about $70. It seems to be a pretty tough little machine. I would buy another but no sign of this one dying.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I have a Scott's(made by John Deere) that used to be Home Depot's store brand. It is a 25h.p./48 inch deck. I think we have had it for about 12 years and use it to cut about 2 acres of finished lawn on our property, twice a week during summer months. It sees some pretty rough use as much of the grass is sloped or uneven. Only repair, other than usual maintenance (blades, belts, oil change etc.) has been one of the three deck bearings that rotate the blades. Changed it myself of course for about $70. It seems to be a pretty tough little machine. I would buy another but no sign of this one dying.
Do those older models have a cast front axle? I was told to stay away from the stamped steel front axles
 

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I like my older JD 425 for a few reason one it's liquid cooled, drive shaft driven mower deck, made from thick steel where it counts, commercial grade, and has plenty of attachments
 

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ok everyone above is right. all of those models are great. yes cast front end is important. the boxed steel ones are a sign of low grade imo.
size at least 42 inch. those are the most common but increasing the deck size decreases time to cut. Also you didn't say do you actually HAVE an acre of grass? I only have like a 1/4 acre of grass and takes me 20 min to mow with my tractor. I honestly use it more for hauling around stuff in my little cart instead of a wheel barrel.
If you can afford to new is the way i'd go. And its tricky so do your internet homework. about ten years ago dealer only models began selling at big box stores. JD started it at home depot and lowes I think had cub cadet. it took off like wildfire. the dealers got pissed so they started selling the same "lower quality" models in their showrooms as a tactic to upsell to their standard professional models. yes the upsell was to a better engine and machine but same warrenty.
I got a used john deer scotts mower 15 years ago at hd that someone returned. got it for 500 bucks. I leave it outside all summer long. change oil once a year. and otherwise beat the snot out of it and abuse it. again this is the lower quality and I've got the money for a new one but I aint doing it till this old dog aint kicking. right now the tires need replacing which is expensive so that might end it. but I have plans to make the machine into a sawmill as it just wont die. hydrostatic transmission and 16.5 hp kohler.
All that said the worst riding mower that actually mowes is soooo much better then a 22 inch walk behind. as you said budget is an issue and a new house will suck you dry i'd be watching craigslist in your area. people selling houses all the time moving to florida or to a condo and you should be able to get a decent one for 3-4oo. so about 1/3 to 1/2 of new. its a gamble but if you can work on cars you can work on tractors.
get one that mulches so you don't have to use a bagger. if you have leaves buy a tow behind. never buy accessories you can only use on that machine like a snowblower.
 

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Like stated above, if you go with a Deere, go dealers vs big box. I have a X300 42" cut with mulch that is 13 yrs old with no issues. I'm cutting about 2 acres and does great. I was going to go zero turn, but glad I did not since I use tractor for more than just cutting. Living in the south, we cut grass here more months than up north, so that also factors into lasting durability.
 

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As has been said those old Deere mowers never die, and parts are as close as your nearest dealer. I used a 185 Hydro for twenty years, one set of deck bearings. Sold it to my BIL years ago and it's still running.

Upgraded to an X320, really nice smooth running tractor, 22HP two cyl. Kawasaki, zero issues beyond maint. although doesn't go real fast (2.9 mph IIRC).

Now that I'm mowing more than four acres (well, not me, can't pry Jani off the seat!) and needed a loader and 3 point, brought home a 1025R.

If you go with a Deere, old or new, stick with the REAL ones built in Horicon WI. I understand the cheapies have lots of issues with trans-axles.
 

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Like stated above, if you go with a Deere, go dealers vs big box. I have a X300 42" cut with mulch that is 13 yrs old with no issues. I'm cutting about 2 acres and does great. I was going to go zero turn, but glad I did not since I use tractor for more than just cutting. Living in the south, we cut grass here more months than up north, so that also factors into lasting durability.


For the John Deere mowers, the residential versions are the 100 series mowers and have the same product specifications and quality checks whether you purchase them from a dealer or the big box stores. There is no difference at all dealer vs Home Depot/Lowes. The commercial mowers (300 series and up) are not sold in the big box stores and are only sold at dealers and have different specifications, all JD mowers have rigorous quality and safety inspections. Residential mowers are built in Horicon, Wisconsin. Commercial mowers are built in Augusta, Georgia.


Today 50% of all marriages end in divorce, but 100% of car part deliveries end in happiness.

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ill say it again. if you used a good zero turn mower you wouldn't even consider a little tractor. i have an older john deer 312 from around 1980 and theres nothing that it will mow that the turf tiger wont mow twice as fast and twice as good including brush. i use the john deer to pull wagons . any brush the turf tiger wont mow that john deer wouldnt touch either. in those cases you need a big tractor with a brush hog
 

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I kind of want a newer, bigger mower myself. Looked at big box JD, 4wd Kubotas, and all sorts of other ones from cheap to crazy.

But, I'm still using the 10 y/o 12hp troy bilt 38 inch that I got for free. And realistically, for the acre I mow, its fine. I put new belts and blades on it, and aside from it eating batteries, it works great. I just keep a jump start box in the shed with it, and it starts every time. Mows well, even on hills. Tows a yard trailer, and log splitter around easily, even through the woods where the deck drags on the uneven ground. If you need to move snow though, I'm sure it's too light for that.

My point is, while there are much nicer tractors, I don't really need one. If you're truly on a budget, a Briggs powered , cheap ($700 or so when new, or a couple hundred used) lawn mower could work just fine. I'm keeping mine till it's dead. And could replace it with 5 more new ones like it for the price of a JD garden tractor. Jmho.
 

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When we bought our 5 acres, I started with a Home Depot Murray. Within 5 years, the sandy soil here had blown holes in the mower deck. Patched a few with scrap steel, but got to the point I was welding patches on patches. Tried to buy a replacement deck, sorry, obsolete. The sold me a replacement deck (yah, right) that was 3 blades, not two, that kept throwing the belts about every 30 minutes.
When I went searching, I discovered a lot of guys were buying up old John Deere's.......parts are available for all of them. That sold me. Happened to notice them at Lowes, but I told my wife I was going to buy mine from someone who knew more about them than me. The dealer told me they had to price match Lowes. This August mine will be 10 years old. It still looks new. Best mower I've ever had.
 

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A JD dealer Garden tractor has a heavier built transmission , larger wheels, front axle, kawasaki engine and generally is more robust everywhere. Store bought JDS have very weak transmissions and lightweight decks as well as Kohler engines. Difference in price is about 3 k but you get what you pay for.

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There is no difference between the 100 series John Deere garden tractors sold at big box stores versus those sold at dealerships. They come with the exact same parts, specifications, and quality checks. All are manufactured in Horicon Wisconsin. The commercial grade (300 series and above including the zero turn mowers) are manufactured in Augusta Georgia. I was an engineer for John Deere for 10 years, the difference between dealer and big box mowers is a common misconception.


Today 50% of all marriages end in divorce, but 100% of car part deliveries end in happiness.

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Discussion Starter #34
When we bought our 5 acres, I started with a Home Depot Murray. Within 5 years, the sandy soil here had blown holes in the mower deck. Patched a few with scrap steel, but got to the point I was welding patches on patches. Tried to buy a replacement deck, sorry, obsolete. The sold me a replacement deck (yah, right) that was 3 blades, not two, that kept throwing the belts about every 30 minutes.
When I went searching, I discovered a lot of guys were buying up old John Deere's.......parts are available for all of them. That sold me. Happened to notice them at Lowes, but I told my wife I was going to buy mine from someone who knew more about them than me. The dealer told me they had to price match Lowes. This August mine will be 10 years old. It still looks new. Best mower I've ever had.
Guy told me he would deliver the 265 to my house for 750 bucks . I'm thinking if it runs and doesn't smoke and isn't beat up that should be a decent deal..
 

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As of today John Deere does not make a 100 series in a Garden tractor. A X570 is the entry Garden Tractor and it's only available at a dealer ..no box stores.

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John Deere X570 Garden Tractor

New for 2016, the John Deere X570 Riding Lawn Mower is the introductory garden tractor in the premium select series line-up. The X570 is equipped with larger tires than a lawn tractor matched to a heavy duty transmission with locking rear differential for faster ground speeds and more traction. *Also standard is the Accel Deep™Mower Deck, enabling superior cut quality at higher speeds, and a backlit LCDinstrument panel.

As a garden tractor, the X570 is built on a heavy frame fitted with a large 24HP Kawasaki engine. John Deere's X570 Riding Mower is available with a 48" or 54" deck and can efficiently run a front blade, snow blower, and many rear attachments including a rotary tiller.

4 Year/500hr Warranty













*





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I guess it depends on what your definition of a Garden Tractor is versus a Lawn Tractor. Seems as if John Deere calls them Lawn Tractors from the 100 series through the 700 series.

https://www.deere.com/en_US/products/equipment/riding_mowers/lawn_tractors/lawn_tractors.page

Just don't fall for the misconception that the ones that you see in Home Depot or Lowes are of different quality for the same model at a dealership. They are EXACTLY the same, made on the same line, by the same people, with the same parts, and the same tools. If anyone tells you different, have them go to the factory in Wisconsin and see for yourself.

The 300 series, 500 series, 700 series, and zero turn mowers are 'commercial grade' mowers and not sold at the big box stores and have different specifications, parts, and are manufactured in a different facility. You will pay a lot more money for the 300, 500 and 700 series of Lawn Tractors from a dealer than you would for a smaller 100 series Lawn Tractor from either the dealer or the big box stores.
 

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They may make them on the same line but they are definitely not the same quality parts. Bayliners are made in the same place as Sea Ray......just saying.
 

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I parked a 265 this fall that was the first mower that I ever ran. The Kawasaki engine started knocking. GREAT mower. The farm that I grew up on bought it new in 1991. I drove it 6 days a week from about 9 in the morning until dark except for the two days I had little league games starting at age 9. It was a pretty big farm, and we had to start over as soon as we finished. I personally drove it for 3 or 4 years until I graduated to other more important labor. A couple years later, my dad bought it at the auction when the farm split up. There is absolutely no telling how many hours are on that machine. The hour meter quit a long time ago. My dad got tired of messing with it after I moved away from home (dirty fuel) and drug it out into the bushes. I asked for it when I found out he was going to scrap it. I got it about a year ago, cleaned the carburetor, emptied the gas multiple times to get all the trash out, replaced the drive pulley that was frozen and adjusted the valves. It ran like a top. I shut it off when it started knocking a couple of months ago, but I am looking for a used motor right now. I think I will be able to find one in the 150-200 dollar range.

I definitely would trust a former engineer that worked for the company that builds them. I guess the point is, the ones sold at the box store are not the same quality as the ones that they only sell at the dealership. If you buy new or used, the dealer only ones are made better.
 
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