The 42-inch John Deere X304 lawn tractor has better build quality than the entry-level John Deere D series, including the John Deere D110 (*Est. $1,700), though that tractor is still well regarded for light duty and smaller lawns. Reviews praise the four-wheel steering and 15-inch turning radius of the X304, which make it easy to mow around trees and other obstacles. The X304 also wins praise for overall comfort, cruise control and many other conveniences. The warranty is for four years or 300 hours, whichever comes first. Side-discharging clippings is the standard mode; switching to mulching or bagging requires extra options plus a blade change. If you don't need four-wheel steering for mowing around obstacles and are willing to settle for slightly less performance in bagging mode, the less expensive 46-inch Snapper NXT2346 (*Est. $2,800) features a smaller 14-inch turning radius plus conveniences that make it easy to use.
We found three excellent comparison reviews of the John Deere X304. At ConsumerReports.org, it's tested, rated and ranked in comparison with 26 other lawn tractors, all but one of which are priced much lower. At the German publication Family Home and Garden, it's tested along with seven more comparable lawn tractors over a longer period of use. At the Telegraph, a U.K. newspaper, it's one of five lawn tractors chosen for testing that meet strict European Union emissions limits. There are useful comments from owners at GardenWeb.com, ConsumerReports.org and the John Deere website. You can view some videos of the John Deere X300 series of tractors at YouTube.
This review compares the John Deere X304 with 26 other lawn tractors across a wide price range plus 11 lawn tractors with wider cutting decks. Based on objective tests, rankings are based on specific ratings for handling, ease of use and performance in all three cutting modes. More than 50 owners also review and rate the John Deere X304 here.
Review: Tractors and Riders, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
2. Family Home and Garden (Germany)
This detailed German comparison test, translated by Google, names the John Deere X304 the clear winner among eight lawn tractors tested over a summer by rotating testers on varied terrain. The ranking is based on 16 factors, but editors single out several features for special praise: the steering, ability to mow close to obstacles and overall comfort.
Review: Strong Performance in Continuous Operation: Long-Term Mulching Lawn Mower Test, Manfred Ecker Meier, April 2008
3. The Telegraph (U.K.)
Jean Vernon says that the John Deere X304 meets "the latest worldwide noise and emission regulations," and that tractor hoods are made from recycled materials. It's the first review we've found that evaluates each model for its environmental credentials.
Review: Best Ride-On Mowers (To Help the Llama), Jean Vernon, April 20, 2007
4. John Deere
The handful of owners reviewing the John Deere X304 here give it near-perfect ratings along with quite detailed, useful comments. One owner has used it for five years with great satisfaction; another reports problems with the deck. Owners here mow up to about 2 acres with this tractor.
Review: X304 Tractor With 42-Inch Deck, Contributors to JohnDeere.com, April 2008
This forum discussion compares the John Deere X304 with a zero-turn lawn tractor by Cub Cadet -- especially for mowing around obstacles. Most of the comments favor the John Deere for proven quality and durability, and several owners say it maneuvers around trees extremely well. Several other discussions at this forum also cover the John Deere X300 series.
Review: John Deere X304 Tractor or Cub ZTT 46, Contributors to GardenWeb.com
A Canadian owner demonstrates the John Deere X300 blowing snow. Other videos of the John Deere X300 series of lawn tractors at YouTube give an idea of the noise level and overall feel of using them.
Review: John Deere X300 with 44" Snowblower in Action, "Panalhuile", Jan. 15, 2008