- Riding Comfort
- Mower Handling and Performance on Hills/Rough Terrain
- Quality of Cut
Today we’ll be taking a look at the John Deere E100 Riding Mower. This is an entry level mower in the John Deere series of lawn tractors. Can it make the cut?
I wish there was more to add here but it seems like a common complaint is the mower is rough riding. The seat has little to no cushioning and it is only an 11″ seat back. Not a very tall seat.
If your lawn is pretty much flat, the rough ride probably won’t be much of a concern. However if you have bumpy terrain, you may want to look into doing something different. You could try to run a lower PSI in the tires to absorb some of the bumps.
However, there is a cup holder and gas gauge, so those are nice.
The engine in the John Deere E100 is a 17.5 HP 500cc “John Deere Branded” engine, but let’s be real: it is a Briggs and Stratton 17.5 HP single cylinder engine that JD has contracted with Briggs to put their decals on. That’s all, nothing special. I feel like the engine is adequate for this mower and with the transfer of power from the CVT (see next section for what this is) it may be more in line with a 20 HP engine. As long as you’re not mowing big hills it should be just fine.
There is no 30 second oil change on this mower, it is the standard oil filter setup. I would actually consider this a plus. After 5 hours of use you’re supposed to do an oil change and then after that once a year (once per season) or every 100 hours.
There is a 2.4 gallon gas tank on the E100 lawn mower. This should be plenty big for this engine size.
Pretty standard stuff.
Click here to read the full warranty on the John Deere E100 Mower
Service Manual for John Deere E100 Lawn Tractor (This is a web version, not the greatest, IMO…but all I could find.)
Mower Handling and Performance
The John Deere E100 Lawn Tractor is meant for mostly flat terrains with some small hills. Yard size should be less than 2 acres and this mower is probably best suited for yards under an acre.
Maximum forward speed is 5.5 MPH and reverse is 3.2 MPH. You can mow in reverse. You really wouldn’t want to go any faster on a lawn tractor anyway.
This mower boasts 15″ front tires and 20″ rear tires, which is pretty standard in mowers of this size.
The overall width (with deck deflector raised up) is 44.8″ so double check that if you need to get through a gate.
The most interesting thing about this mower is that it uses a CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) over a Hydrostatic Transmission. A CVT gives a very smooth ride and some cars even use the technology for their automatic transmissions. You could probably think of the CVT on this mower more in terms of how a Go-Kart operates. It has a sliding pulley that changes the gear ratio as the speed of the belt changes from the engine pulley.
The upside is there is a more efficient power transfer (more HP to the ground) and it is a very smooth operation. Time will tell how long it holds up.
It’s a little difficult to put into words, so it’s probably best to watch a video if you’re interested in how a CVT Transmission works.
This video explains how a CVT works, keep in mind this is NOT directly related to this mower, only showing the concept of HOW a CVT Transmission works, the principles will apply to this mower though.
Quality of Cut
The quality of the cut on the John Deere E100 Riding Mower does seem to be the thing people like the most about this mower. The 42″ deck is made of 13 gauge stamped steel.
Only two anti-scalping wheels will try to keep your lawn safe.
Deck adjustment is an easy lever adjustment on your left side that let’s you adjust from 1″ to 4″ in 1/4″ increments.
There is a deck wash port to attach a garden hose for easy cleaning at the end of the day.
Because of the transmission setup it is not recommended to tow anything heavy, so I would keep it limited to maybe a broadcast spreader. Possibly a weed sprayer. I would stay away from pulling a trailer. The mower does come equipped with a standard garden hitch.
The E100 does have a mulching kit available, here is the cover: Mulching Cover GY00115
If you place a premium on the smooth ride of the CVT transmission, vs the herky-jerky movement of a typical hydrostatic transmission and have a yard somewhere around an acre then you will probably be happy with this mower.
All in all, I think this mower is a little bit pricey for what it has to offer. There are certainly other mowers that offer more bang for the buck (Poulan Pro 46″ – for example, this is a bigger mower for less money) but if you are a fan of Team Green and have a smaller yard I could see this working out for you. Maybe you need the smaller mower to fit through a 48″ gate, for example.