John Deere vs Craftsman

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John Deere vs Craftsman

Stephanie I am in the market for a garden tractor and, knowing absolutely NOTHING about them, I am completely at the mercy of the dealers I have talked to. I have attempted to educate myself by reading some of the posts on this site, but there is so much information I am bewildered. My property is about 2 acres and is a bit hilly in parts with a number of trees. The 3 tractors that have been suggested to me (by salesmen) are:
John Deere L110 @ $1799
Craftsman DYT4000 (27364A) @ $1499
Craftsman LT2000 (2003 model - similar to 27318A but with 17 HP instead of 17.5) @ $1259.00 (they are willing to negotiate if I buy the $250.00 service contract).
I live alone and am not mechanically inclined so I really need something reliable. I would like to keep the price under $2000.00 if I can. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have only looked at John Deere and Craftsman. Is there something else I should be considering?
Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Holz Our shop doesn't work on garden tractors for the public, but from my experience of owning several mowers over the years I have to honestly say that you couldn't run fast enough to give me a Craftsman. John Deere will out last Craftsman by far & with less break downs. I have seen Deere units over twenty years old still going strong. However it is always best to purchase as big a unit as possible, for the more horsepower you have means that engine will not have to work as hard & will last longer doing the same work. Hope this helps. Frank, at-Holz Equipment Service
Stephanie Thanks, Frank. Years ago my mother owned a Craftsman she had a lot of trouble with, but I was willing to give one a chance if I heard some rave reviews. I guess I need to bite the bullet and spend the extra money.
bontai Joe You started your post by saying that you need a garden tractor. None of the machines you listed are garden tractors, they are lawn tractors. Lawn tractors will cut grass very well, but lack the strength in the frames and transmissions to pull a plow through the soil, or for heavy duty snow removal, etc. Now the bad news, almost all Garden tractors are over your stated budget. All the machines you mentioned are good lawn tractors. You did not say how wide the mower decks are on the machine you looked at. For 2 acres, you are going to want a 48" wide deck to minimize cutting time unless the space between the trees and the number of trees indicates a smaller deck is better. To trim close to the trees, a tight turning radius is a good thing. Most importantly, since you will be sitting on this machine a few hours each week, sit on all of them and check out the placement of controls, leg room, ease of reach to every thing. A tall left handed person will have different needs than a short right handed person. I believe the Craftsman machines come with a 1 year warantee, so the service contract really is not necessary. Out of the three you mentioned, I'd narrow it down to the Deere L110 or the Craftsman DYT4000. The other Sears tractor is kind of light duty to cut 2 acres every week. You might want to check out the Cub Cadet 1500 series tractors as well.
Stephanie Thanks. I appreciate your response. I think I'm leaning towards the John Deere. All 3 of the lawn tractors I mentioned have a 42" wide deck by the way.
I believe the JD L120 has a 48" wide deck. I may go with that even though it does push me over 2K. I will check out the Cub Cadet 1500 series though before I make any decision. Thanks.
What is your opinion of Troy-Bilt?

bontai Joe After seeing Holz's reply. I just wanted to say that the Craftsman tractors have improved in quality recently. And the new Deere "L" series tractors are not as good as the 20-30 year old Deere tractors were/are. Those old Deeres were all garden tractors and built like a tank (Mine were built in 1978 and 1984) but their equal today will cost over $4000. To stay within your stated budget, I'll stick with my recommendations and add the Simplicity Regent.
Brian The John Deere your talking about isn't in her price range. The very expensive Deere will last a long time, but the lower end units aren't that much better than the new Craftsman. I've seen both the new cheaper deere and the really nice ones, and there is a difference.
bontai Joe The Troy-Bilt tractors are no where as good as the Deere, Cub, or Simplicity. MTD owns the Troy-Bilt name as well as others (including Cub Cadet) but only the Cubs are really as high quality as they were in the old days. The original Troy-Bilt factory closed years ago. MTD did see fit to keep the quality up on Troy-Bilt tillers, but not for tractors named Troy-bilt, Bolens, and White.
Holz Well like I said we don't work on lawn & garden equipment, & I know that others out there are bound to have more knowledge about the garden tractors then my pea brain does. But I don't think that you can go wrong with a Deere., However I would suggest that a person go with the higher end & better made unit, a little more paid up front for a heaver machine can pay big dividends over the long haul. Again; Frank at Holz Equipment
bontai Joe Frank is right in that if you can pay a little more now, you will enjoy a better made and stronger machine for years to come. The Deere L120 is a better machine than the L110. If you can stretch your budget to the Deere LT series, you will get a much better machine, same with the Cub Cadet 2000 series. Good financing plans are available right now as it is the slow time of year. But only you know what the budget will handle.
Stephanie Thanks to both bontai Joe and Frank for taking the time to give me some advice/suggestions. I appreciate it!
Bob I have a Craftsman LT2000 which has served me well. It comes with a Kohler 17 horse engine, which is also commen in similar model John Deere tractors. The Craftsman I own also has a cast iron front axle, just like the John Deere. I think you would be ok with either brand, however you will save a little money buying the Crafsman. Just make sure you get one with the Kohler motor.
John I agree the L-120 is a larger machine but uses the Briggs and Stratton engine which is inferior to the Kohler engine. I would suggest either the L110 with the 17.5 Kohler engine or the L130 with the 20HP Kohler engine. Another key factor is the size of your lawn, if it is under an acre then the L110 will be more than enough.
derek so nobody's saying anything bout husky mowers? They seem to be a pretty decent value. The newere craftsmen are alot better than the older ones, and the newer john deeres aren't as good as the older ones. I would buy the one that feels most comfortable and the one with the best service and cheaper parts.
Ken B & S - Just say no. I don't have the model number handy, but the first time I changed the oil it had a lot of gray (read that METAL) in it. After 3 1/2 years mowing an acre in CA (meaning 9 months of the year) it still runs and starts OK. The auto-transmission is a problem. Had one replaced under warranty, second seems like it's going.
jb i havn't looked yet but what is the difference between the L130 jd and the larger version jd lt series other than the frame/deck
Henry Tills Get the Craftsman #27366. They are on sale this month for $1800 and if you have a sears clearance center in your town, you can get a scrathed one that is new, for $1500. And with the money saved, you can get some attachments (bagger, snow plow, spreader, ect) ALso can get some JD green paint... I painted mine. :-) The Kohler engine is the only way to go. Made in the USA. Briggs are all imports now (they closed the factory in Minnesota last year - my uncle lost his job after 23 years with them) Now the Twaiwans have his job. I had a JD L118 but it had issues with grass clumping and the steering was sloppy. Then I got a L110 and it pulled to the right ( I was told this is normal) Well it is not for Craftsman. The new model is black signature series. real nice machine. Good luck.
Susan My JD L118 front hood melted from the heat of the engine. They sent me a replacement and an aluminim blanket to put on the engine. I tried it and the engine blew up. They sent me another one and it did the same thing. I took it back for my money back. Now I have a Craftsman DYT4000 with the Kohler. It is a sweet machine.
Kevan Any comments on the Zero turn models, good, bad, how do they handle on hills, worth the extra money?
Ken Biggest piece of junk I ever bought. It's a Craftsman lt2000. paid the extra 300.00 for the Kohler,,,should have bought anything else. Kohler lasted 93 hours,then started using 2 qts of oil with each 3 gallons of gas. I had it completly overhauled, 855.00,,bored out with new pistons rods etc....Never again in my lifetime,(or anyone else I might talk to)
henry Ken, you have to use unleaded and not kerosene.
Kevin Ken, lets talk. You have had an LT2000 which is one of the bottom line sears tractors and it ran you 93 hours... Maybe its not craftsman's fault that happened, maybe you should have stepped up in the line to a 3000 4000 or 5000 if u want great proformance you need to spend the money. Now with that said screw JD nothing but problems from my x300 . I went and bought a craftsman GS6500 best tractor of my life... 120 hrs on right now and still brand new.
Alan C. Cilley To Derek...Husky makes Craftsman now so they are basically the same....To Stephanie...The John Deere Model L100'S that you get at Home Depot and Lowes are not the same level as the other Deere tractors.. The local John Deere dealership in Concord NH don't even want to sell them...I have had Simplicity, Cub Cadet, Craftsman etc..You get what you pay for.. Al
jim I am ready to buy a garden tractor, as we have just purchased 15 acres (11 tillable) so I will be moving 4 acres. I have researched enough to know the difference between a 'yard' riding mower and a 'garden tractor'. I have narrowed my research down to two: buying a one year old JD (GT 235/245) or buying a new Simplicity/Agco - the 1800 series (the 1700 is Yard/Garden and 2000 series seemed more than I need). The cost is virtually the same for the one year JD and the new Simplicity. Anybody know/have these machines and can anybody offer help.....Jim
alan cilley I had a Simplicity Conquest. I paid $3,500 for the tractor and mower deck. I bought a turbo vac and grass catcher trailer for $1,200 to go with it. It was a great tractor. I had to sell because of moving. I would recomend Simplicity. However John Deere keeps coming up the best in Consumer Reports etc. I have not used the JD 235/245 but we use them at the State of NH DOT. help any?
Benji I am ready to buy a craftsman GS6500 new for $2500, go for it or not?
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Brian Thanks for all the good advice. I too am looking for a good lawn tractor. I was almost going to jump for the HD version of LA110 (Deere) but think it is worth holding off and view some of the other models and motors you suggest.

I cut about 8 acres with varying degrees of lawn on a farm property.

Until then I will continue to push my older faithful Briggs and Stratton which keeps on going.

Bob I am considering a Craftsman YS4500 (#28734) with a 20hp Kohler or a Deere LA110. My lawn is less than an acre. The Deere is priced at $1649 and the Craftsman is on sale at $1499. Any advice?
Jeff Bob.. I am looking at the exact 2 models with the same price points.. I'm almost leaning towards the Craftsman..., From what I've read, it seems that Craftsman's quality since they hooked up with Husky.. I've also been reading that the hydro transmission seems the way to go as well as sticking with the Kohler angine as opposed to the Briggs... If anyone has any thoughts between these two or possibly a Troy-Built Range Rider with a 20HP Koeler and Automotaic CVT Drive System...please offer..
Craig James I've been shopping and have pretty much decided on the Craftsman 28734. Kohler engine, 42" deck, hydrostatic transmission, $1499 today.
I was told that this unit is made by Husqvana, which is the other tractor I was considering. They have a good reputation
My property is just a bit bigger than one-half acre and is essentially flat.

Toro_Guy I would suggest looking at a used commercial z mower for the size of your property. You can find them quite easily for that price range, and they will far outlast the home owner residential mowers you are considering for that price range. They have much more speed and they will be much easier when mowing around the tress.

Schon Jackson I own a Craftsman Lt 3000 and I absolutely love it. It has 20hp B&S. Ample power and smooth handling, turns on a dime. Go Crartsman!
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Revelation I think the higher end Craftsman who pretty good. What made me choose a John Deere over the Craftsman?
1. The name
2. Better seat
3. Separate control for motor speed and clutch
4. No interest for a year at the Deere dealership and no cost to have the unit sent to my home.
5. Service at my John Deere dealership and parts which are easily available.

confused please some help-i bought a new cub cadet 1000 serries lt1018 4 years ago this oct. and it started backfiring within the first 10 hrs of run time after going to the shop and comming back a number of times because it was still backfiring and started blowing puffs of smoke. the shop first said it was the carb replaced it then said the valves needed adjusting did that then lastly the motor needed replaced replaced it.when i got it back with the new motor i still didnt think it felt just right when running but was told by the shop and cub cadet teck rep that every thing was fine with it.well 70 hours latter it started backfiring again and after a repeat of first set of repairs they ended up saying replace motor.i said no way i am fed up with this mower my extended warrenty runs out in oct. and i dont trust it wont do this again and cant afford to chance it.after pleading my case-like pulling teeth-i finally got them to buy me out thru my warrenty and will be getting a refund of my purchase i am trying to do my homework and believe i have found most to agree john deere or craftsman is the best way to go.other than that half say john deere half say craftsman half say kohler half say briggs and all seem to have good it just a coin toss between these and hope you dont get one of the also thinking maybe maybe buying a used rebuilt one may be the best way to go but this time of the year seems to be the best time to get a great deal on a new one with winter comming a used ones 90 day warrenty will run out before i have a chance to really test it out.i know theres alot ive talked about here but if anyone can give me some advice on whats the best way to go so i end up with a rider that will last and if i do have problems will stand behind there product.thanks for all your help-deb
R Dorn
Re: John Deere vs Craftsman

I have about 10 acres and a 1/4 mi driveway to maintain, with a lot of snowdrifts. My Crafstman GS6500 has been fine - on its 3rd year now, starting in the coldest weather. I use the snowblower attachment on the drive (plow when there is only a little wet snow that picks up a lot of gravel), and supplement the mower with a Swisher for the big field. I plow and disk a small garden. Sears service has been fine - even when I misplaced a part. The tractor I really want would cost more for 3 years interest than the GS6500 costs in total.

Jon R I have been reading through many posts and am glad to have found this and a few other sites.

I am currently considering an x300 or a new gt5000 or pgt9000 from craftsman.

I am mowing about 3+ acres on some decent grade in spots and would prefer the larger deck on the craftsman the x300 is in right price range but just seems a little less of a tractor. I will be using for some snow plowing in the winter and some hauling thanks for any feedback or thoughts.

kevin My mother-in-law recently passed away and she had a craftsman 2000LT 17 horse, i think its a 2005 or 2006, with very low hours. Great condition. I have no idea what to ask for it. Any suggestions?

j i have a 6 year old lt 2000, paid extra for the kohler. i have gas in the oil and it is dead - told i should replace or rebuild it. piece of shit.
beer gut FYI- Husky makes all the Sears tractors. Sears / Husky = same thing, diff trim. I've been mowing my 3 acres with an LT2000 every week for 4 years without a single problem. Waste of money paying a premium to have a green & yellow JD tractor- everyone in the trade know they are over priced and pay 2x as much for basic tune up parts
T Roberson This is FYI for all of you that do not know: American Yard Products (AYP) a subsidiary of Husqvarna has been making Craftsman lawn mowers for over 50 years.
Mike S I recently purchased a 2010 Craftsman GT5000 Excellerator with the Kohler engine. It is the best machine I have ever owned. Just be sure to read "ALL" the instructions, lower the tire pressure to the recommended level or you will just spin tires. This Garden Tractor is capable of handling many attachments both front and rear including the Johnny Bucket and plow.
For hilly terrain I strongly recommend the universal wheel weights from Sears that have only two bolts to hold the in place. I looked at many different tractors and the new GT5000 Craftsman is a tremendous. Oh yea, many people say the hood is floppy. I fixed that with a $2.79 package of Velcro placing it on the corners and more problem!!

Vincent I had a 2003 LT2000 Craftsman and the transaxel just gave way and Sears wanted $700 to repair. Instaed, I am looking at a LA135 John Deere - or should I go back to a Craftsman. Anybody have any ideas?
Don L I would NEVER waste my money on another piece of %$#% John Deere! I spent way to much on a L130, it's crap! JD won't do anything, it breaks down EVERY TIME I use it! My neighbors have a Craftsman that cost half as much and they're mowing with no problem. Look on the internet and you'll find out JD isn't a shadow of what it used to be.
AW The two most important things to remember:

1) What is my budget?
2) What am I using the tractor for?

I am someone that has owned some great John Deere tractors, including the older 300 series that are tanks. However, I am also someone that just bought a new Craftsman. I asked myself what am I using it for and what am I willing to spend. Ultimately I was between a ten year old John Deere LX model or a new "box store" lawn mower. My budget was around $1800, and I am only mowing the less than 1 acre lawn I have. Regardless of what you buy, at ten+ years old they all need help at some time.

Anyone buying a lawn tractor new for under $2000 needs to look carefully at all of these tractors, Craftsman, John Deere, Cub Cadet, etc...they are all the same - seriously they are. They really do not change until you get into that $2500+ range - and of course everyone says get the $5000 John Deere. I suppose when I shop for a new car I should buy the $65000 BMW as well? Does not make a whole lot of the best you can with the budget you have - and do not drive it like it is an army tank - they are all plastic now, take care of it and it will take care of you.

I would say anyone mowing less than an acre, and only mowing would be satisfied with any box store tractor. I guess the statements that John Deere is the best and Craftsman is terrible is not very well explained. Yes, the box store tractors are cheaper, both quality and price - but they mow the lawn. If you have cash buy the best, for the rest of the world that has a budget - don't be afraid of these negative reviews, just be a smart shopper and do the spec research on what you need.

Jeanne I need a riding mower. My terrain is very rough. (Used to be a farm field) steep hills. No trees, fences etc but about 8 acres. I will also want to use it to plow snow in the winter, (large u shape drive, snow to 1 foot or more). Please help me understand which would be the best mower!!
Of course I too have limits on cost.

Re: John Deere vs Craftsman

whatever you do, DO NOT buy a john deere L series or D series from home depot or lowe's. those are a buy-and-throw-away mower. the transmission lasts all but 2 years in those. if you get a john deere, get a LX series or X series or LT series. just dont get the ones they sell at home depot and lowes because those ones dont last long. but john deere is a very good mower. just not the l series or d series. just warning you now. personally, i would buy a John Deere LT155 or LT166. those are 2 good mowers. look on and find some good john deere's for pretty cheap. good luck.

Nicole Ok, so I was offered a Craftsman DLT 3000 18.5hp for $650. It has a B&S engine. Does anyone think it is a good buy? I need it for .75 of an acre with some trees and a slight slope in the front. I dont need anything fancy, but I don't want to waste money either if it is better to pay more up front.

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