Reviews say the John Deere X304 (Est. $3,800) is one of the best lawn tractors available. Its exceptional handling comes courtesy of a unique setup that turns all four wheels, bringing the turning radius to 15 inches to nimbly cut around obstacles. Owners say the X304 is fun to drive and user-friendly, with a cushioned high-back seat, large 3.3-gallon fuel tank, electric power takeoff and cup holder. The only feature it's missing is a washout port to clean under the mower deck, which is just a minor inconvenience to most owners. Many reviewers say the X304's capacity to use so many attachments is one of its best qualities. John Deere offers many compatible implements, including a snow blower, garden cart, front blade, shovel and sprayer. It also comes with one of the best warranties for riding mowers: four years or 300 hours. According to a large survey by a reputable consumer organization, John Deere is one of the most reliable brands of lawn tractors.
If you don't need quite as much power as the X304 provides, the John Deere D110 (Est. $1700) performs at the top of its class. According to one expert test, it bags and mulches clippings almost as well as the X304. Reviewers like how smoothly the hydrostatic transmission shifts and say the 42-inch D110 handles and cuts well too. It's also strong enough for some attachments like a snow blade, and owners say the mower is easy to maintain. But even though John Deere is one of the most reliable lawn tractor brands and the D110 gets high marks from experts and owners, some say its durability isn't quite on par with the brand's pricier models. Some owners mention problems with the transmission, and others say certain plastic parts feel flimsy. The D110 also lacks cruise control.
Several reviewers say the Cub Cadet LTX 1045 ($1,600) offers unparalleled bang for your buck. Its claim to fame is a very tight 12-inch turning radius, which bests the John Deere's X304's 15-inch radius and D110's 18-inch radius. A hydrostatic engine adds to ease of use and maneuverability, and experts say the mower does an excellent job of cutting and mulching. Reviewers also like the high-back seat, which makes for more comfortable mowing. The LTX 1045 also boasts cruise control, which the John Deere D110 lacks. But the mower isn't quite as adept as others at bagging, some say. Cub Cadet is also poorly ranked for reliability in a large consumer survey, and owners of the LTX 1045 say the mower's belts fail frequently, among other problems.