John Deere S120 vs S130: Which one is the best in 2024?

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By Marvin Tucker

Farming Equipment

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The John Deere S120 and S130 lawn tractors are distinctive in that they differ significantly from other lawn tractors in terms of their looks and capabilities. The most significant distinction between them is their size and cost, even though they appear similar.

Throughout the winter, the S120 tractor may be a great snow removal tool to assist you in getting rid of the snowbank in your driveway.

The S130’s spring, on the other hand, produces resistance and pushes the lever back into its usual position in order to prevent the throttle from jamming in the choke position. But would that knowledge be sufficient to convince you to choose one over the other?

In this guide, we will discuss the different features and benefits of both the S120 and the S130 manufactured by John Deere to better assist you in making the best suitable decision for your needs. Let’s get started.

John Deere S120 vs. S130: Quick Overview

It may be difficult to tell the John Deere S120 and S130 apart based on value because they are both residential-grade lawn tractors with a ton in common. 

There is a ground-breaking response to your query, though, as they aren’t identical models after all. The S130 is superior to the S120 despite the two models’ fierce rivalry. 

While each model will perfectly meet your demands, you’ll discover that the S130 will perform better than the S120, as we discuss them in further detail throughout this article.

John Deere S120 Overview

Consider that while looking for a John Deere riding lawn mower, your objective is to save a few dollars, but you also don’t want to sacrifice dependability. The John Deere S120 could be the ideal choice if that’s the case. 

The S120 will only cost you $2,100, in contrast to other riding lawnmowers; Consumer Reports designated it a Best Buy due to its affordable pricing. With its hydrostatic transmission, strong V-twin overhead-valve engine, and plush, high-back seat, the S120 Tractor is a fantastic deal.

The one-piece hood lifts up simply to allow for monitoring and maintaining the engine, and key service points are situated close at hand.

The 20-hp V-twin engine is powerful and torquey enough to tackle challenging mulching, mowing, and bagging situations. Furthermore, the V-twin cylinder architecture allows for more torque, less vibration, and better audio. 

The electric ignition fires up quickly. Cast-iron cylinders are designed for extended lifespans, with overhead values for good power and fuel efficiency. A spring-return mechanism ensures the operator won’t leave the throttle in the choke position.

John Deere S130 Overview

The S130, produced in Greeneville, Tennessee, distinguishes between the entry-level and top-of-the-line John Deere 100-series lawn tractors.

It has several performance and convenience enhancements, as seen on the S140 and above models, including the same 42-inch Edge mower deck as the S100 and S120 models.

This machine is made to last for many years of dependable operation, as evidenced by its strong engine with a full-pressure lubrication system, 12-gauge solid steel frame, solid cast-iron front axle, and many other high-quality construction elements.

The John Deere S130 attachments include both branded and universal equipment, such as baggers, snow blowers, dump carts, and many more (available separately) that significantly increase its possibilities of working in any season.

The S130’s 22 horsepower exceeds expectations because the majority of 42-inch riding mowers are constructed with engines rated between 17 and 20 horsepower. 

The additional horsepower kept the blades from stuttering, allowing the mower to move along at a regular speed.

John Deere S120 vs. S130: The comparison

With the exception of the manual vs. electric PTO and the front bumper on the S130, the S120 and S130 are practically similar. The moment has come to explore this in more detail.

As we review the characteristics of the John Deere S120 and S130, it is clear that both models come with identical features. 

This is insufficient, though, as aspects of these models that astound customers must also be considered in order to select a better solution for them. Read on to know more as we break them down for you.

Engine

Briggs & Stratton produces the S120 engine, a 2-cylinder, air-cooled, vertical shaft V-twin engine. Its 22-horsepower engine is very good for a lawn tractor.

This powerful engine will increase the possibilities and smooth running of your lawn thanks to its V-twin capacity. The placement of their 9.1L petrol tank in the back also makes it easily accessible.

The Briggs & Stratton gasoline engine that powers the John Deere S130 has enough horsepower to handle complex tasks such as cutting thick grass. Because of its overhead engine valves, the S130 produces maximum power while maintaining fuel efficiency.

A full-pressure lubrication system and oil change technology are also advantageous to the engine and its parts.

Briggs and Stratton’s engines are standard in both models. It is excellent for multitasking and vigorous residential mowing because the motors generate 22 horsepower throughout. 

Although the horsepower is impressive, employing any of the models for commercial usage—which would require regular use of the equipment—can impact the quality of your lawn tractor over time, resulting in a limited lifespan.

Transmission

The S120 and S130 use the hydrostatic two-wheel drive system, controlled with side-by-side pedals. When compared to hydro gear units, hydrostatic tranny units are smoother, which is, quite simply, a breath of fresh air given that lawn tractors are typically partnered with hydro gears.

Fortunately, both models’ steering and mobility are rather fluid for their degree of experience.

Both versions can propel you at a maximum forward speed of 5.5 miles per hour and a maximum reverse speed of 3.2 miles per hour, which is more than enough for cutting the grass efficiently but not quite fast enough.

With a Tuff Torq TL200 gearbox and a 22-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine, the S130 is well-equipped to handle difficult lawn jobs.

The tractor moves in the appropriate direction thanks to the belt-driven hydrostatic transmission, delivering power from the engine to the back wheels. The John Deere S120 lawn tractor’s belt-driven hydrostatic Tuff-Torq TL200 gearbox type transfers power from the engine to components like the tires.

Due to its standard cruise control technology, which allows the pace to stay consistent regardless of the terrain you’re mowing, you can concentrate on cutting fantastic patterns.

Tires

You could assume that the tires must be quite important to be used as an instance. However, the rear tires of the S130 are just 2 inches larger than the ones of the S120.

To get down to the point, the S120 has 208-8 tires in the back, while the S130 has 2010-8, with both versions having 156-6 tires up front.

Both models are sufficient to go over all types of terrain correctly; however, the S130 will perform somewhat better because the tires are beefier than those of the S120.

PTO SYSTEM

When you switch on the lawn tractor, the PTO system is in charge of engaging and disengaging the cutting deck blades, and both types have different processes. With the manual PTO system installed on the S120 lawnmower, you may engage or disengage the blades by swiveling a lever to the left or right.

The S130, in contrast, features an electronic pop-up switch that may be pushed or pulled to achieve the same effect. Offering a far less stressful way to operate as a result, it is an improvement over the S120.

The S130 lawn tractor is my top recommendation for a simple operation technique since manipulating the cutting deck is necessary, so having an easy path through is always appreciated.

Cost

Given that they are made with the best features, it becomes imperative to question why the S120 costs more than the S130. 

Unfortunately, the cause is not entirely clear. However, the S130 model’s price has nothing to do with how long-lasting and efficient the device will be.

If not for the S130’s wider tires, which are an additional two inches for traction, both models are functionally constructed to be almost identical. But unlike the S120, the S130 is not of inferior quality.

John Deere S120 vs. S130: Which one is the best?

The S130 tractor will continue to maintain a slight lead over the S120 tractor after being compared based on several key distinctions between the two tractors.

Despite the fact that both lawn tractors provide almost identical features and operate equally well, the S130 gives you more value for money.

Therefore, you may choose the John Deere S130 tractor if you don’t have any financial concerns. The S120 will be a great choice for you. This tractor version may also easily complete gardening and lawn care tasks.

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