Reviewers say the John Deere D110 is a clean-cutting mower that mulches and bags almost as well as the John Deere X304 (Est. $3,800) at half the price. It ranks at the top of the light-duty class with a smooth hydrostatic transmission, easy maneuvering and dash-mounted fuel gauge. Most owners agree that the D110 is well built and durable with proper maintenance.
Best for flat lawns. The D110 is part of John Deere's starting line of lawn tractors and delivers great performance in the light-duty class. Landscaper Paul Sikkema calls it a "basic lawn tractor with a good cutting deck," saying it mows well and works best on flat lawns. It's recommended for mowing up to 2 acres.
Powering the 42-inch deck is a 19.5-horsepower, one-cylinder engine by Briggs & Stratton. This lawn tractor can mow in reverse and comes with headlights and a choke, but no cruise or electric power takeoff. The D110 is strong enough to handle a snow blade and other light-duty attachments, Sikkema says, but heavier implements may overload it.
Maintenance required. In a test of riding lawnmowers costing less than $2,000, Popular Mechanics gives the D110 4 stars out of 5, saying it's "sure-footed going up and down hills, over roots, and around any obstacle." The 18-inch turning radius is wider than Husqvarna's YTH21K46 (*Est. $1,600) , but many reviewers say the D110 is easy to handle and maneuvers well.
The D110 is the cheapest John Deere available with a hydrostatic transmission. It's "easy to use and will perform well for mowing and light-duty yard tasks," says Sikkema. He reports that the D110 cuts cleanest when going 2 to 3 mph, even though its maximum speed is 5.5 mph. "I absolutely love the hydrostatic transmission," says one HomeDepot.com customer. "After having a mower with a clutch and shift, this is a real treat!"
Overall, the John Deere brand has a low percentage of serious problems, according to a survey by a major consumer organization. Most owners at both HomeDepot.com and Deere.com agree that the D110 is durable and well built. Numerous reviewers complain about transmission problems, however, with some saying the D110 requires above-average repairs and maintenance. Testers at Popular Mechanics had a few minor grumbles, too: "the plastic hood hinge, seat, and discharge chute are insubstantial and evidence of cost cutting."
The D110 comes with a two-year, 120-hour warranty.
Meets national standards. The D110 uses a reverse implement option (RIO) for mowing in reverse. A driver must come to a full stop, push the RIO button and shift into reverse, and the button resets each time you shift into a forward gear. A few users say the button is hard to push, but others say it's easy to use when you get accustomed to it.
The RIO is part of the safety equipment recommended by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The D110 meets all other ANSI standards and John Deere includes a safety video with the lawn tractor. However, the D110 was recalled in September 2011 for issues with the brake assembly on the mower blade.
No consensus. Owners have mixed opinions on how quiet the D110 is. "This is by far the quietest mower I've ever owned," says one user at HomeDepot.com. Others disagree, with another HomeDepot.com customer calling it "extremely loud." No professional testers weigh in on noise compared to other light-duty lawn tractors.
It's always advised to wear earplugs or other hearing protection when operating even a light-duty lawn tractor, experts say.
Editors field-test how well the John Deere D110 bags, mulches and side-discharges as part of a large review of lawn tractors and mowers. They comment on steering, maneuverability, comfort and features of each model. The report includes ratings and reviews from D110 owners.
Review: Lawn Mowers & Tractors, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
Berendsohn takes a team from Popular Mechanics to a horse farm in upstate New York to test four lawn tractors and determine if an affordable model can also be high quality. They give the D110 4 stars out of 5, praising the steering, "foot-pedal hydrostatic drive and a PTO (power takeoff) lever by the steering wheel." They list a few issues in the lawn tractor's construction, but call them only "minor complaints."
Review: Tool Test: 4 Riding Lawnmowers Under $2000, Roy Berendsohn, Not dated
This landscape professional compliments the John Deere D110's hydrostatic transmission and recommends it as a good entry-level lawn tractor for flat lawns. Overall, he calls the Craftsman 28856 a better buy because of its tight turning radius and features for the money.
Review: 2012 John Deere 42 in 19.5 HP Hydro Model D110 Review, Paul Sikkema , 2012
More than 90 users review the D110 at HomeDepot.com, giving it 4.5 stars out of 5. While many are pleased with the lawn tractor's performance and it gets a 93 percent recommendation rate, a few owners complain about its transmission.
Review: John Deere D110 42 in. 19.5 HP Front-Engine Hydrostatic Riding Mower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of May 2013
Most of the roughly 90 owners who review the D110 at Lowes.com call it durable and high quality, saying it performs well on hills and when towing a garden cart. Ratings aren't quite as high here as at HomeDepot.com, and some of these posts come from Deere.com.
Review: John Deere D110 19.5 HP Hydrostatic 42-in Riding Lawn Mower with Briggs, Contributors to Lowes.com, As of May 2013
About 25 owners rate and review the D110 at the manufacturer's website, although some of this feedback also appears at Lowes.com. Users give the lawn tractor 4.1 stars out of 5 and more than 75 percent say they recommend this model. It gets the highest marks for being easy to use.
Review: D110, Contributors to Deere.com, As of May 2013