Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:17 am

The deck on my Simplicity mower of 16+ years has rusted thru in too many places (lack of due diligence, ouch!) and I'm contemplating replacing the whole mower with a new one.

Been looking at the John Deere D140 and the Cub Cadet LTX1050. So far, I haven't liked some of the reviews I've read about either:

http://www.compacttractorreview.com/rev ... LA145.aspx and http://www.compacttractorreview.com/rev ... T1050.aspx

I know each are "entry" level riding mowers and you get what you pay for. But to spend $2000+ and have to deal with belts popping off or inferior quality seems a bit too much to ask.

So, w/o opening up a can of worms: What have you heard about the newer Cub Cadet or the John Deere lawn tractors? Like 'em? Don't like 'em?

My price range is set around $2000, I have a somewhat flat 1 acre to mow w/ trees. Don't want to use my Cub as a mower. A more expensive mower is just not in the budget. Don't really want a zero turn mower. Would love to buy an older IH Cub Cadet and restore (uh, I'm sorry, refurbish it :roll:), but need a dependable mower that can be used now and at least once a week. As long as it take me to tear things apart and put them back together, I'd have it in pieces and the grass would get away from me. :lol:

Any comments will be appreciated. Or, if you have a usable, older IH mower that you'd like to sell, PM me... :D

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:46 am

I've had good service out of the three John Deere L/GT's that I've owned. I didn't buy any of them new, however. The most recent one is a lightly used 2005 model. If you have a good JD dealer nearby, I'd see what he has in used mowers. It's pretty easy to see whether a mower has been well taken care of or has been abused.

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:53 am

4 or 5 years ago I was in the market for a lawn tractor. I had a cub cadet 782 with a 50" deck that I bought new and had used for 22 years for lawn and garden plus snow removal.
I have several cubs so a "garden" tractor was not necessary. A "lawn" tractor was all I needed.
I visited my local cub cadet dealer figuring that was going to be my source for a mowing tractor. I looked at what he had in stock and really didn't see what I wanted. I wasn't looking at an entry level lawn tractor but wasn't interested in the upper end of the line garden tractors either.
I should mention that the cub cadet dealer is within 5 miles of me and I have known and dealt with him for years. He told me he had some tractors coming in the next week and a couple of them were right in line with what I was looking for. I told him to call me when they came in.
I never got a call. (this guy is not known for customer service)
A couple of weeks later the local JD dealer had an ad on the radio about a sale they had going on. We were already out so we stopped by on the way home. The salesman showed me the entire line from entry level to top of the line. I saw what I was looking for. I found it was easier to mount and dismount than the cub cadet was and had some other features that I liked over the cub cadet. The best part was that the price was better than the comparable cub cadet.
I ended up buying the Deere. It was an LX 277 with the convertable 48" deck. It has been flawless in operation and maintenance has been a breeze.
I'm sure that might be different at the entry level or when buying from a big box store.
I know lots of people who have bought lawn tractors from Sears and are satisfied with them. But most of these people are totally non mechanical and usually end up buying Sears' service plan and are paying through the nose for oil changes and belt adjustments and changes they don't need but to each his own.

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:36 am

Spring local agricultural equipment consignment auctions are coming up. Typically the auction in Linn, Mo. will have 20 or so used rider type lawn mowers/tractors. I usually go in the day before to kick the tires and operate anything I'm interested in.

Just me, I love the older Cub Cadets. A used one in working condition typically sells for under $500-. For $2000- you could buy 4, 5 or more Cadets. Have plenty of spare parts, one or two in working condition and one being restored.

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:56 am

I have 3 Lawn Tractors.

pic fm tractordata.com

My CC129 needs to be refreshed - mechanically. Engine only has 5 hours but the rest needs major work as well as a deck. I am really looking forward to getting my 129 up and running.

My original Lawn Tractor was a Craftsman 12.5 deluxe which lasted me through a lot of hard work.

pic from ridingmowersshop.com

Here in Canada when I bought it back in 1990, with the mower deck and the trailer it was listed at almost $3,200.00 with taxes in. So I went to Calais Me. where Dad and I each bought the very same mower (he got the grass catcher) and all told with taxes/duty we ended up paying $1,200.00 and change Cdn. That was probably the best mower I have had. As a lawn mower it also served as my primary tractor cause it was all I could afford. I hauled over 9 tons of rip rap rocks for my pond, dragged my driveway with a 5 foot I-beam, hauled wood and of course mowed my grass. It probably lasted 15 years before I blew the engine. (it is being rebuilt)

When that happened Em bought me a JD L111 42" mower from our local JD Dealer back in 2005. It is now in it's 6th season and it is still providing excellent service. Mind you it is used only for mowing duties primarily and maybe hauling some yard trash (bio-degradeables) up the road, so it should last at least as long as the Craftsman did. The only complaint I have with this hydro is that it is very heavy, difficult to lift when on the side of the lawn and loses traction due to the angle. It is no where near as good as the old Craftsman 6 speed that preceded it on inclines.

pic from deere.com

Compared to the Big Box store models the dealer model is different and cheaper... much better deal. It has a 20hp (pdn/l) hydrostat and is pretty cool. Only thing is it cost me around $3,200.00Cdn. Our customs and excise/tax system is different so the very same mower would probably be cheaper in the US. Apparently this model was between $1,700.00 and $2,000.00 US when new back in 05.

If you can find a used one in good condition, this would be a good unit to get. I did a quick google on Used JD L111 Lawn Mowers and got some interesting hits. This one is pretty good Fastline.com

Oh, the JD Sabre line apparently are off-shore products and I am not sure if this is true, but I was told that the dealer units are a different quality than the big box stores. I am not sure why, but i heard that both at Home Depot where we started looking and at our JD Dealer where we bought it. Apparently, and this makes me happier, my JD is made in the US with parts from Canada, so it keeps our people working too :!:

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:16 am

I currently have 2 John Deere lawn tractors. One was a wedding present from my parents. It is a 1986, John Deere 160, an entry level tractor with a 12 hp Kawasaki engine.This year will be 25 years that this tractor has been used until the last 2 years. Two years ago I picked up a used Grasshopper with a blown engine. I have been using the Grasshopper for most of my mowing since.

The 160 has earned its keep well, mowing about 2 acres all summer and blowing snow all winter. It has never let me down. The second JD mower is a 1974 model 110 that works great too. A friend gave me an old 48" deck a few years ago and it became my main mower, until I got the Grasshopper, mainly due to the larger deck.

My dad still uses his JD 210 that be bought new in 1971 and has never had the motor apart. He has always lived out in the country and had large yards. It has been my experience that money spent on John Deere equipment has never been wasted. The older Cub Cadets were probably every bit as good as a JD, but the newer ones are built, I believe, buy MTD who are used to building cheap throw-a-way mowers. My self, if I were looking to replace my mower, I would seriously consider looking for a good older JD or CC, one in good condition. If I couldn't find one that suited me, I'd go with the JD. JMHO

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:31 am


I have a 1450 Cub Cadet that I bought used almost 20 years ago. Nothing done to it other than normal routine maintenance. It has operated flawlessly during those years. Compared to what you can buy now, it is built like a tank.

There are six new CCs in my immediate neighborhood, all new within the last 3 years. Five of the six have been returned, some more than once, for work within weeks of purchase, one for a completely new engine. My next door neighbor has the only one not returned for work, however, I heard the muffler rattling (prior experience with the neighbor across the street) so I stopped her to check for sure, then went to the Cub House and got the tools needed to tighten the muffler.

I fully understand your need to have an operational mowing machine. A good used older CC is cheaper and more reliable, in my experience. As a side note, I have mowed my lawn an average of 75 times each of the last three years. Yes, I do keep written records of my lawn care activities. :)

Good luck.


Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:55 am

As always, you guys are a valuable resource. Thanks to all who commented.

Takin' the rest of the week off...I'll be doing something very soon; let you know what I've decided.

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:23 pm

I must be the biggest cheapskate on this board but $2000 is a high end mower.

I have a Lowes Bolens MTD mower, around $700, purchased 7 years ago. I used to mow 5 acres with it for a few years until I got my 154. I still use it to mow a 3 acre field that gets mowed a few times per year when the grass is 2-3 feet high as well as mowing the 5 acres a few times per year just to keep it active. The 154 will not fit between the 1000 or so trees. Does fine. The only problems have been a broken PTO cable that actually was cut by my son trying to change a flat tire and a set of blades bent in half from someone hitting a steel bar. It has a variable speed shift on the go drive with a belt and pulley, no power and gasoline wasting hydrostatic. Although it has been reliable, I can also fix it with a hammer and a welder if needed. No transmission, just a belt. Still has the original belt.

You should not need much of a mower for one acre and $2000 will buy several of the less expensive mowers. Something to consider.

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:45 pm


Here ya go:


And plenty left in the budget for a road trip to get it.... :big afro:

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:08 pm

Stanton, look caseih dealer, stated to me, "I wouldnt buy a cadet mower, even if you paid me." Friend of mine has a newer cadet mower, throws a belt every 3rd or 4th mow, finally got tired of it, spent $5000 on it, now it sits in the corner of his pole barn, went out and bought one of them big box store beginners for 1100 at the end of the season last year, and happy as heck.

Think david has it right, the old cadets are hard to beat.

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:03 am

dgrapes59 wrote:Stanton,

Here ya go:


And plenty left in the budget for a road trip to get it.... :big afro:

That should be a sweet set up. Grump

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:27 am

I know this is not what you were planning, but if you can get another deck for your Simplicity, or get a welding shop to repair or make another one you would be ahead to go that way. You will not find any new one as good as the old Simplicity.

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:06 pm


John, makes a great point :!: :idea: :D Although I have never had a Simplicity, my wife's cousin has one and it is awesome. Really well built and has lasted a long time. Quality ain't what it used to be and that old deck is might be restorable. If so a good welder with a good mig can do miracles. Joe's Outdoor Power usually has a couple Simplicity's in stock that he parts out. May want to check him out :eBay: can be a good source as well along with Craigslist and your local PennySaver, Kijiji or classifieds.

Re: Riding Mowers: John Deere vs. Cub Cadet

Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:41 pm

As you know, there is a lemon in every batch. It mostly is how you maintain it, but you know this. I work in a lawn mower shop doing service and repair work. Some of the things :censored: people do to riding mowers should be against the law. New mowers, I would go with a John Deere from a dealer. They just seem to be better built and can take alittle more abuse. No I do not work for John Deere. I have three riding mowers plus my cub. Bought new in 2004, a Husquvarna 21hp Briggs motor with a 48" cut (The better halfs ride). It has been a very good mower with no major work other than one set of spindle bearings. It gets a complete go though every 25 hours. My mower is a AYP product that I bought used. I use it when she lets me mow. It has a 16 hp Briggs and 42" cut. The hydrostat is a little weak but the mower is 15 years old. It also has served me well. I know neither of these are JD's or CC's but dependable mowers. I have a Jacobsen Chief 1000 that pulls my yard cart and various chores where I do not need the cub. It has a four speed with a tree dragging low gear. Back to the question. Of the two, John Deere would be the best buy for long life service if your partial to these two brands. 8)