Which John Deere S100 or S120 Should You Buy?

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It’s understandable that you’re confused about which John Deere lawn tractor is right for you given the company’s penchant for releasing largely identical models to the consumer market. If you want to buy a good residential-grade mower for your lawn without any hassle, the S100 series can be confusing to understand. However, a good comparison will clear everything up.

To choose the lawn tractor that will help you tackle your mowing conditions best, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the benefits of the models you are considering. If you are trying to decide between two different models of lawn tractors, it is best to go with the one that meets all of your needs rather than relying on formal or informal research.

Simply put, the S120 is superior to the S100 because it is stronger, more comfortable, and has longer battery life. If you need a quick recommendation for the most productive mower, the S120 is your best bet. In spite of this, I won’t jump to the conclusion that the S120 isn’t a good option for you and will instead explain why.

This article will help you choose the best lawn tractor for your needs by comparing the John Deere S100 and S120. C’mon, let’s go underwater!

Major different
Major different

There are five big differences between the John Deere S100 and the S120.

Understanding the differences between the two models is the best place to start so you can take advantage of them.

A Measure Of Horsepower

Even though a lawn tractor’s horsepower is a convenient determinant of which mower to purchase, it is not the best way to select a machine for your needs.

The S120 has 22 horsepower, while the S100 only has 17. This is a significant increase in power. It’s ideal if your lawn tractor has enough power to take on difficult mowing tasks, but it’s not always necessary.

That’s why you should give some thought to the layout of your yard and how often you plan on using your mower. Consider the size of your yard as a starting point; if you have a half-acre to an acre to mow, the S100 should be adequate, while the S120 is the better choice for an acre or more.

The slope of your yard and the type of grass you’ll be running over are also important factors in determining the amount of power necessary to achieve long-term stability.

Engine Cylinder Setting

The S100 and S120 share the same make of engine, but the cylinder configuration is different, which may work to your advantage.

When compared to the S120’s V-twin double-cylinder engine, the S100’s single-cylinder engine is more fuel efficient. The S100 offers the benefit of requiring fewer gas station stops. However, for more demanding yard work, the S120’s double cylinders will perform more smoothly and efficiently. Once again, your yard can serve as a useful yardstick: if you mow less than an acre, the S100 will save you money on gas. If you ignore that, the S120 will always be more efficient in any mowing situation.

Seating Features

Seat quality varies widely between the two models and is a major factor in how you’ll rate both cars. To start with the negative, the S100 has the least comfortable seats available. They are a miserable “L” shape made of hard plastic and foam that provides no back support and no air circulation behind the user. The plastic cover will eventually crack, allowing moisture to seep in; once that happens, the entire seat will quickly deteriorate, especially if your lawn is uneven.

The S120 is matched here with the good seat. They’re not the most comfortable seats available, but they’re a big improvement over the S100, thanks to upgraded padding and cover material, a back height that’s 15 inches instead of zero, and a ventilation hole in the middle of the seat. One drawback that both seats have in common is that they may be too tight for some people, especially those who are on the heavier side.

Installing a suspension seat on either of the lawn tractors is an adequate solution to preventing bloodshot legs after two hours on either of the lawn tractors; these seats have ample space for you and your pet to sit in, plush padding, and an exquisite suspension, allowing you to drink from a mug while running over ditches and bumps.

Engine Air Filters

The S100’s larger air filter, in comparison to the S120’s, provides a cooler, less hazardous environment for the machine’s carburetor. The S100 has an advantage over the S120 because of its superior airflow and reduced likelihood of becoming clogged, both of which are crucial to extending the life of your lawn tractor and its engines.


The S120 can be purchased for between $2,500 and $2,700 from a dealer, while the S100 will run you between $2,000 and $2,200.

Standard Similarities
Standard Similarities

Six Standard Features and Similarities Between The S100 and S120

Maneuverability And Speed

In terms of speed and responsiveness to steering, there is no difference between the S100 and S120. The forward and reverse speeds of 5.5 and 3.2 mph, respectively, on both models, are more than sufficient for mowing residential grades and performing other tasks such as towing.

Deck Material and Cut Quality

The S100 and S120 come standard with a cutting deck made of 13-gauge steel and featuring double anti-scalp wheels; this deck measures 42 inches in diameter and produces a clean cut regardless of the material. The decks’ time to settle over the turf at moderate tractor speeds is optimal for a clean, assertive cut that eliminates stragglers and turf tear. When compared to the S100 and S120, some commercial-grade lawn tractors feature a tow mode speed that allows the mower to run as slowly as the tractor.

Stability and Tire Size

Both models come standard with high-quality tires measuring 13 by 6 by 6 inches in the front and 20 by 8 by 8 inches in the back. Lawn tractors may be steady on level ground, but their small tires make them unable to handle inclines. Please keep any slopes these models encounter at no more than a 12 degree angle. Although it is not recommended, some lawn caretakers go as high as 13 degrees.

If you want to be as safe as possible while mowing, you should go vertical. Altering the tire pressure to better suit your garden is yet another option for coping with the situation. The best tire pressure can be achieved by following the many advices and tricks available.

PTO System

Both the S100 and the S120 have a PTO system, and both have a manual PTO lever for safely engaging and disengaging the blades. Your S100 or S120 is equipped with a manual PTO, which is more reliable than the electric PTOs found on more expensive models in the S100 series.

Fuel Tank Volume

Both vehicles come with 9.1-liter fuel tanks as standard equipment. With its single-cylinder motor, the S100 can cut the grass twice on a full tank of gas, but the S120 might not pass the test. However, each model has sufficient fuel capacity for the type of work you should be doing.


The S100 and S120 come with a residential-grade warranty that covers both parts and labor for two years and twenty-four hours.


What is the S100’s and S120’s lifespan?

Depending on how well you take care of them, the S100 and S120 lawn tractors can last for up to nine years. Because mowers can last even longer when subjected to less work than is typically required, this range is an average rather than a minimum.

Can The S100 and S120 Mulch Well?

Beginner residential-grade lawn tractors don’t do a great job of mulching, but that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame than with more advanced models. Both riding mowers are adequate, but the S120 will mulch better due to its increased horsepower.

Can The S100 and S120 Tow?

You can safely tow with an S100 or S120 so long as you don’t go over the maximum allowable weight for you and your mower. It is recommended that the weight of the towing equipment not exceed that of the mower itself, and both the S100 and S120 weigh 414 and 444 pounds, respectively.

Keep in mind that your presence on the lawn tractor will add to its total mass. Next, divide both your own and the mower’s weight by 2, then add the resulting numbers to get the maximum weight that your lawn tractor can pull. Please refer to “Can You Tow with a Lawn Tractor” for clarification.

Can The S100 and S120 Plow Snow?

Both the S100 and S120 are powerful and stable enough to plow snow, but only if you don’t overload your lawn tractor. Maximize your riding mower’s usefulness all winter long by installing a quality snow plow. Everything you need to know about using a lawn tractor to remove snow from your lawn is right here.

Are Other Deck Sizes Available for the S100 and S120?

Only 42-inch decks can be found on the S100 and S120. A bigger deck can be installed, but it’s not recommended if you care about the machine’s reliability and longevity.


The S120 will rise to the challenge of a competition thanks to the advantages in durability and convenience they offer. However, since the point of this comparison is to determine which option is best for you, your needs are the sole arbiter here. To make the best long-term decision, you should compare and contrast each model and think about how they apply to the needs of your lawn. Success to you!