John Deere S100 vs. S120: Which is the best in 2024?

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By Marvin Tucker

Farming Equipment

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Making the decision to invest in a tractor comes with many considerations, from size and power to cost. If you’re seeking the perfect lawn tractor, you may have heard about the John Deere S100 and S120.

When choosing between two models of John Deere lawn tractors, the S100 and S120, various factors should be considered.

Both models are part of John Deere’s 100-Series line of lawn tractors, designed to provide reliable performance and easy operation at an affordable price.

These two models are similar in many ways, but many key differences set them apart.

In this post, we’ll look at these two tractors side-by-side, helping you decide whether either model is right for your needs.

John Deere S100 vs. S120: Quick Overview

We all know that lawn care can be a time-consuming task, but having the right equipment is key.

If you are looking for a powerful and reliable lawn tractor, two options to consider are the John Deere S100 and S120. They are both excellent options when it comes to choosing a lawn tractor.

Both of these tractors have many features in common, but they also have some distinct differences.

Now, let us dive deeper into the qualities that make these two models stand out.

John Deere S100 Overview

The John Deere S100 is a great option for homeowners who want a beautiful yard without spending too much money.

It comes with an 18.5HP Briggs & Stratton engine that offers plenty of power for mowing and other tasks.

The mower deck can be raised or lowered quickly and easily, allowing you to customize your cutting height according to your needs.

The S100 also includes a hydrostatic transmission, so you never have to worry about manually changing gears while driving.

John Deere S120 Overview

The John Deere S120 is another great option from the company’s 100-Series line of lawn tractors.

This model features a powerful 22HP V-Twin engine that provides plenty of power for any job.

It also comes with hydrostatic transmission and an adjustable mower deck, allowing you to customize your cutting height as needed.

Finally, the S120 includes an ergonomic seat and steering wheel for added comfort during operation. 

John Deere S100 vs. S120: The comparison

Are you looking to buy a John Deere lawn mower and are trying to decide between the S100 and S120 models? If so, then this article is for you.

Here we will discuss the differences between these two popular John Deere models so you can make the best purchasing decision.

We will look at what makes each model unique, their features and specifications, as well as any other factors that may influence your choice.


First, we need to look at the pros of these two models.

The John Deere S100 is powered by an 18.5 hp Briggs & Stratton engine and has a 42-inch cutting deck, making it great for smaller yards.

It also features an electric PTO clutch which allows you to engage and disengage blades without ever having to leave your seat. 

The John Deere S120 packs even more power with its 22 hp V-Twin engine, giving it plenty of power for larger yards.

It also features comfortable seating and an adjustable soft-touch steering wheel, making it easy to operate for hours on end.

Both models have cruise control, so you can set your desired speed and maintain it without constantly adjusting the throttle lever.


One potential downside of both models is that they are not foldable or collapsible, meaning they take up quite a bit of room in your garage or shed when not in use.

Additionally, while both models come with cruise control, they do not feature any auto-steering capabilities like some other tractors on the market do.

Finally, neither model is 4WD, meaning they may struggle in wet or uneven terrain compared to 4WD tractors. 

Differences between John Deere S100 and John Deere S120

1. Size & Weight 

The John Deere S100 is slightly smaller than its counterpart, measuring 42 inches wide and weighing 463 pounds. The S120 is a bit larger and heavier, with a width of 48 inches and 545 pounds. 

2. Engine Power 

The engine power differences between the John Deere S100 and S120 lawn tractors can be significant.

The S100 is powered by an 18.5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine, while the S120 has a 22-horsepower V-Twin engine.

So, if your land is larger or more steeply sloped, then the extra power from the John Deere S120 will come in handy. 

3. Fuel Capacity 

Both models have a 2.4-gallon fuel tank capacity, so you don’t need to worry about running out of gas while mowing your lawn. 

4. Mower Deck Widths 

The mower deck on both models measures 42 inches in width, allowing you to cover more ground in a shorter time when cutting your grass.  

5. Cutting Width

The cutting width is also different for these two models.

The cutting width of the John Deere S100 is 42 inches, while the cutting width of the John Deere S120 is 48 inches.

Although a 4-inch difference may not seem like much, it can be incredibly advantageous when attempting to swiftly and effectively cover an expansive area.

6. Cruise Control Feature 

One feature that sets the S120 apart from its counterpart is its cruise control feature. This allows you to maintain a consistent speed without adjusting it manually with each turn or hill you encounter on your yard work journey.

7. Transmission Type 

Another vital difference between these two models is their transmission type.

The John Deere S100 uses an automatic transmission, while the John Deere S120 uses a hydrostatic transmission with cruise control.

This allows you to determine how much power you need at any given time without manually shifting gears, making it easier and more efficient to work on challenging terrain or hilly landscapes. 

8. Reverse Operating System (ROS) 

Both models are equipped with a reverse operating system, making it easier for you to maneuver around tight corners or hilly terrain without having to get off your tractor and turn it around manually each time.  

9. Headlights & Horns 

Another difference between these two models is the inclusion of headlights and horns on the S120 model, making it easier to see obstacles during nighttime mowing sessions or alert pedestrians when needed.

10. Maximum Speed 

The maximum speed of these two models also varies greatly.

The maximum speed of the John Deere S100 tops out at 5 mph, while that of the John Deere 120 can reach 8 mph!

If you have large areas to cover quickly, then this extra speed might be worth considering when choosing which model to purchase. 

11. Turning Radius 

If maneuverability is what you’re after, then note that there is also a difference in turning radius for these two models.

With a tight 16-inch turning radius, the John Deere S100 has an advantage over its counterpart, which has an 18-inch turning radius thanks to its wider frame design.  

12. Price Point 

Finally, let’s discuss the price point.

Although both are relatively expensive machines, there is still quite a bit of variance between them – with prices ranging from $2199 for an entry-level model up to $2799 for top-of-the-line version.

So be sure to consider what features are most important before settling on a final decision!  

John Deere S100 vs. S120: Which is the best?

Overall, when comparing the features of each model side by side, it becomes obvious why they carry such different price tags.

They vary significantly in engine power output, cutting widthstransmission typesmaximum speeds, and turning radius. Though, if you need something powerful yet versatile, either one should do just fine!

Ultimately, the S100 is best for those with smaller yards or tighter budgets, while the S120 offers more power and features for larger yards.

When looking at the two models side-by-side, the S120 has a slightly larger engine and an automatic drive system, as well as more cutting height settings. This makes it better equipped for tougher terrain and more demanding mowing tasks.

On the other hand, the smaller engine of the S100 means it is a quieter option and can be easier to transport or store in tight spaces.

So whether you choose the John Deere S100 or the more powerful John Deere S120, you can rest assured that your lawn tractor will get the job done right every time, thanks to its durable construction and robust engine options.

However, each model has some drawbacks, such as their size when stored away and lack of 4WD capabilitiesDo your research carefully before purchasing either one —but rest assured, knowing that whichever one you decide on will be an excellent choice!

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