John Deere S120 or S130: Which Is Better?

Buying a lawn tractor can be a headache because there are so many manufacturers and types available in the riding mower market, many of which seem to be the best option. Even if you’re starting with a reputable name brand like John Deere, how do you decide between two nearly identical models? Where do you begin to narrow down your options to find the perfect model? Every question you have can be answered with a well-thought-out comparison, which is why I’m here.

As residential lawn tractors, the John Deere S120 and S130 are extremely similar to one another, making it difficult to determine which is the better buy. Since these are not identical models, however, there is a ground-breaking response to your inquiry: the S130 is superior to the S120. While both models will work flawlessly for you, the S130 is a step beyond the S120 in terms of performance, as you’ll see in a moment.

I’ll be going into great detail on the differences and similarities between the two models, as well as why you should get the S130 instead. The time for talk is over; it’s time to act.

s120 vs s130

In this article, we will compare the John Deere S120 and S130 and highlight the four main distinctions between the two models.

You are not alone if you have wondered why John Deere offers two nearly identical models at various price points. For what it’s worth, though, these are the key distinctions between the S120 and S130:

Sizing Your Tires

You might assume the tires are hugely important because of this, but the S130 has rear tires that are only 2 inches wider than the S120’s.

Both the S120 and the S130 feature front tires measuring 15 by 6 by 6, while the S120 has rear tires measuring 20 by 8 by 8, and the S130, rear tires measuring 20 by 10 by 8. Although the S130 will perform slightly better than the S120 because to its obviously beefier tires, both versions are adequate for running over all sorts of terrain suitably.
Size does make a difference in ride quality, so if you’re dead set on tire performance, the S130’s extra inches will help it live up to your standards.

I’ll be honest and say that larger tires don’t necessarily ensure a comfortable ride. Other factors, such as tire pressure, vehicle weight, and even how you maneuver through the yard, can all make a difference. If you want rides of the highest quality and safety, check the tire pressure to make sure it’s appropriate for the road conditions.

PTO system

When you turn on either brand of lawn tractor, the PTO system will either disengage or engage the cutting deck blades.

The blades of the S120 mower can be engaged or disengaged using a manual PTO system controlled by a lever that can be swiveled to the left or right. The S130, in contrast, has a pull- or push-operated electric pop-up switch. Therefore, it provides a more relaxed technique of use, elevating it above the S120.
Since using the cutting deck is obligatory, any approach that makes it easier is appreciated, which is why I propose the S130 lawn tractor.

Bumper Grille

A John Deere lawn tractor’s front bumper protects the vehicle from damage in the event of a minor or major mishap while mowing the grass. The S130 is the more robust option between the two versions because it has a front bumper instead of a traditional grille guard. In my opinion, the S130 is the best choice for a beginner mower because it provides an extra layer of protection during the learning process.


Surprisingly, the S130 is less expensive than the S120 despite all the extra bells and whistles that were added to it. Depending on the dealer, the S120 may be had for around $2,700, while the S130 can be had for around $2,400. This bargain on the S130 is yet another compelling argument in favor of making the investment.

s120 vs s130

5 Ways In Which The S120 And S130 Are Same And ifferent.

Now that you know what sets these two devices apart, you can focus on learning their shared strengths and weaknesses.

Data On The Engine And Its Output

Briggs and Stratton engines are the industry standard and can be found in both types. All of the motors produce 22 horsepower, which is more than enough power for intensive household mowing and other tasks. While the horsepower is impressive, employing any of the models for commercial usage, which would include frequent use of the machine, will eventually erode the quality of your lawn tractor and limit its lifespan.

Power Transfer And Velocity

You may attribute a lot of your lawn tractor’s maneuverability and top speed to its transmission.

Hydrostatic two-wheel drive is standard on both the S120 and S130, and it is operated by pedals placed side by side. When you consider that most lawn tractors come standard with hydro gear units, the smoother operation of hydrostatic tranny units comes as a welcome relief.

Both models’ handling is reasonably fluid, given their lack of experience.
Both models provide a maximum forward speed of 5.5 mph and a maximum reverse speed of 3.2 mph, which is more than enough for efficient mowing and is more than adequate for the task at hand.

Deck Design and the Performance of Cuts

Both the S120 and S130 feature the same deck—a 42-inch, stamped 13-gauge steel surface outfitted with double scalp wheels and a washing port. There’s nothing extravagant here, but it gets the job done for a home.

The S120 and S130 have impressive cutting abilities. When it comes to cutting, the quality of the cut is usually proportional to the speed of the machine, which is why the two factors here are so well matched. Although the decks lack special abilities like the bullnose or accel deep components on high-end lawn tractors, the amount of time you spend on each area determines how thoroughly the deck ruminates on the grass strands before ejecting them over the side. Both of these models have excellent tailoring, so you won’t be disappointed.

Comfy Seating Options and Design Features

Two-piece, 15-inch seats with an open back and spring suspension are standard on both the S120 and S1230. In spite of their reasonable price, these are not the most comfortable seats for mowing. To begin, the lawn tractor does not come with armrests; if you want some, you’ll have to pay extra when you buy it.

Moreover, the quality of the padded seats will be felt greatly during turbulent situations. If you’re physically limited, a suspension seat is your sole option for riding in relative comfort while zipping around your yard on your bike.


Both the S120 and the S130 come with the same 2-year/24-hour bumper-to-bumper guarantee on parts and labor.


Could It Be Said That The John Deere S130 Is Of Poor Quality?

Since the S120 and S130 are both made without the benefits, a reasonable question is why the S120 costs more. But the truth is that we don’t know why. However, the S130 model’s price has nothing to do with the machine’s reliability and efficiency.

If not for the S130’s wider tires, which improve its handling and responsiveness, the two models may be mistaken for each other. In spite of this, the S130 is not a step down in quality from the S120.

When compared to the JD S110, does the S120 or S130 lawn tractor have a longer lifespan?

Lawn tractors are reliable tools that stand up well to the passage of time. When properly cared for, the S120 and S130 mowers have an eight to ten year lifespan. This includes discouraging the use of your system for tasks that are much above its capabilities. Once you’ve checked off every item on the lawn tractor’s list, you should have at least as much fun with it as you were hoping for.

The John Deere S120 and S130, what is its towing capacity?

The JD S120 and S130 are both capable of hauling no more than 400 pounds. Grass tractors can tow more, but at what cost? As a result, the transmission and engine will sputter and faint after a few blind but forceful tugs.

The Results

If you’re looking for the best value in this comparison, the JD S130 is your best bet. The decision of which version is ideal for you, though, rests entirely on your shoulders. If you prefer the comfort of a known quantity and decide to upgrade to the 120 instead, you will be pleased to know that you are still receiving a good deal. In the right hands, any model will serve you well for decades as a reliable home lawn tractor. Good luck to you!