2011 John Deere 54 in 26 HP Riding Mower Model D170 Review

 Go here to read the latest review: 2014 John Deere Review 

The 2011 54 in 26 HP Riding Mower Model D170.  This tractor sports a new hood and includes a free 10-point delivery inspection by certified John Deere technician.  This new inspection program insures your new mower was assembled properly at the factory and the mower is ready to mow.  Be assured this new mower is ready to run!  This riding mower is sized for your suburban lawn.

It’s Not The Best Lawn Tractor….It’s The Best Lawn Tractor For You!

My Rating of this John Deere Riding Lawn Mower:

John Deere D170 Lawn Tractor

My Value/Cost Rating: Yard Tractor,  Mows Lawn Well, Mulches, Gets Through Tight Spaces Well.  Great for 1 to 5  Acre Lawns, Light Hauling, Snow Removal. Accepts Attachments & Bagger.

Type: Yard Tractor.
Engine Type: Better.  Full Pressure Lube.
Transmission Type: Hydrostatic.
Speed Control: Pedal (Foot) Infinite
Accepts Medium Duty Attachments:

My Review!

You all know I use the Craftsman lawn, yard and garden tractors as my baseline when comparing other brands.  Craftsman has the largest line of under $3000 tractors so it is easy to make comparisons.

This tractor is in a class of it’s own.  It is better than most of the 54 inch lawn tractors from other brands yet is not as heavy-duty as the Garden Tractors from Craftsman, Cub Cadet and others.  It is priced about $700 more than a YT4500 Craftsman but about the same price as the Cub Cadet 1054 and Craftsman Professional GT 9000 Model 28984.

Find the best price here:

The D170 has the foot control hydrostatic transmission.  This transmission is easy to use and will perform well for mowing and medium duty yard tasks.

If you want a mower that will mow up to 5 acres well, handle a snow blade, snow thrower, and all the non-ground engaging attachments this is a great choice for you.  This tractor is heavy enough to handle gently sloping and smooth lawns.  There are other mowers that will mow faster, or pull more, but this is a great all around mowing machine.

I think this machine does represent a good value.  This is John Deere’s economy line and this model does use a Briggs & Stratton ELS motor.  If you take care of of the lawn tractor properly it will last you a long time.

This yard tractor is capable of using all the non-ground engaging attachments John Deere offers including a snow blade and snow thrower.


This John Deere Lawn Tractor compares somewhere between the Craftsman YT 4500 and Craftsman GT6000 . The Craftsman’s have the new Turn Tight 8 inch radius steering. The Deere’s turning radius is 18 inches.   The decks cut about the same.  54 inch residential decks do not mow as evenly as a 42 or 46 inch deck and the Deere and Craftsman’s mow about the same. This is the best John Deere “lawn tractor” for larger properties.  It is not as rugged as the 300 series but if you mainly want to mow lawn and your lawn is not too hilly or rough this is a great choice.

Note: For only $100 more you can get the Craftsman GT6000. The Craftsman has a heavy-duty transmission, 7.5 mph speed, and the new Turn Tight 8 inch turning radius.  It has larger tires, a Kohler motor, and is designed to handle ground engaging attachments.  Seriously look at the GT6000 before you buy this particular John Deere.  Sears will come to your home to work on GT6000 and their service plans includes not only manufactures defects like the Deere extended warranty, but also includes wear and tear items like belts.  I will be glad to discuss which tractor is the best for you in the comment section below.

Craftsman really up’d the ante this year with the introduction of the Turn Tight on their YT and GT series mowers.  The new Craftsman’s 8 inch turning radius is so much better than Deere’s 18 inch turning radius that it would be hard for me to go buy the Deere.  The D170 John Deere is a great riding tractor and is a good choice if you want “green” on your lawn and have a larger suburban lawn to mow.

Final Thoughts:

John Deere is a great company and they are one of the largest manufactures of farm equipment in the world.  They have had a great reputation for good quality lawn tractors.  The dealer network is good, though mainly located in rural areas.  If you buy one from Home Depot be sure you understand the service options available including extended warranties and local service options.  If you end up buying a Deere from them and then finding out that you have to haul your lawn tractor 40 miles to get it serviced or repaired …. the John Deere D170 may not be the best choice for you.  John Deere does offer a warranty extension that includes hauling your mower to a servicing dealer for up to 4 years.

There are very few negatives with this mower as long as you understand that it is a good quality mower designed to mow lawns well.  Take care of it (do the normal maintenance all lawn mowers need) and it will last you a long time.  I like this lawn mower for what it is designed for.

Product Description From:

The John Deere 54 in. 26 HP Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower is equipped with cast iron front axle for added durability and a full length welded steel frame to increase operator comfort. The wide, step-through frame allows easy access on and off the tractor. Hydrostatic transmission and 2 foot control pedals allow you to set your own pace while the overhead valve design offers efficient fuel economy and superior power.

  • 2-pedal automatic transmission is easy to use
  • 54 in. cutting swath easily cares for up to a 2-1/2 acre lawn
  • 3-blade edge cutting system provides a precise cut
  • 18 in. turning radius allows maneuverability
  • Wide, step-through frame allows easy access on and off the tractor
  • Controls are color coded and at your fingertips
  • 16 positions allow cutting heights from 1 – 4 in.
  • Can travel at speeds up to 5-1/2 MPH for efficient mowing
  • Hour meter helps monitor usage for proper maintenance intervals
  • Cruise control and electronic PTO engagement for efficient operation
  • Includes high back seat with lumbar adjustment for operator comfort
  • MFG Brand Name : John Deere
  • MFG Model # : D170 BG20547
  • MFG Part # : D170 BG20547
  • Number of Cylinders : Twin Cylinder

Extended Warranty:

I am having difficulty establishing just what extended warranties are available for this tractor through Home Depot.  I went through the check out process but at no time could I find the option to get an extended warranty.

John Deere does offer a plan that extends the normal 2 year warranty by one or two years (defects, not wear & tear.)  Their best maintenance plan which includes wear and tear is not offered on this mower.

  1. Hello! I was about to purchase a D170 from Lowes when I caught you review on the Sears GT6000. The D170 uses a transaxle K-46. What transaxel is in the GT6000 and is it serviceable or only replaceable? How much more work can the GT6000 actually perform vs. the D170? Does the hydro work better on one of these machines? How about the quality of the metal on both of these units? Which uses better materials? Do you know which company makes the GT6000?

    • The Gt has a better trans than the K46. I’m not on my own computer tonight so I can’t find what trans it is on the 28861 comments. The trans in the GT 6000 is serviceable (even though the operator’s manual says nothing about it) You can change the trans oil filter and oil.

      Husqvarna, make the GT6000. Please read through the comments after my review of the Model 28861 and they will answer all your other questions.

    • Hello Paul,
      I can not find confirmaton on the model of the transaxle in the GT6000. Please let me know if you found out which model it has. I called Sears and got nowhere. Also, have you ever changed the oil and filter on the transaxle in the GT6000? Do you have to drop it off the frame of the tractor or can it be changed in place? Thanks.

      • @Timothy, Here is a direct quote from the Operator’s Manual for the GT6000

        The transaxle was sealed at the factory and
        fluid maintenance is not required for the life
        of the transaxle. Should the transaxle ever
        leak or require servicing, contact your nearest Sears or other qualified service center.

        I don’t recommend changing the fluid in your trans unless you have over 500 hours on your tractor (by the hourmeter)

        I also don’t recommend that you change the fluid because you may introduce contaminants (dirt) into the trans and ruin it. Yes, you have to work under “clean room” conditions and not get ANY type of foreign material into the trans. Today’s trans use extreme close tolerances and you WILL wreck it if you change the oil under non-ideal conditions.

        You can find the transaxle part number at searspartsdirect.com. Just enter the model number of your tractor and parts diagrams and listings will pop up. You can find the fill and drain plugs off the diagrams.

        The filter you need though is not available because Sears only replaces the transaxle as an entire unit. They also do not list the correct oil for the transaxle.

  2. I think you should proof read your reviews before publishing. The product description for the John Deere D 170 is incorrect. this description is for the John Deere D 120.

  3. Looking for a mower to handel 5 acres with a house on it. The entire land area is on a 10 percent grade up to maybe 15~18 ish in some areas. I was thinking of a zero turn JD (z245) or anything else in the same price range. Then i realized i might like the snow thrower so i went looking for the more traditional lawn tractor, the d170 or the 300 line. I also don’t have to stick to JD.

    Can zero turns use attachments like a snow thrower? Should i be worried about 4 wheel drive, air vs liquid cool, anything thing else i might be missing…

    Any ideas what would be good to get for around 2,800?

    • @David, I just read the May 2011 issue of Consumer Reports and the $3600 Deere X304 got top marks. The X340 would be good then for your size yard.

      I am not a big fan of residential zero-turns for your type of lawn. The grades are steep.

      Consumer Reports and I both feel the Craftsman GT 6000 (model 28861) is a better mower than the the JD 170. Take a hard look at it before you buy the 170.

      Liquid cooled and 4 wheel drive will get you into the 8 to 10 thousand dollar range.

  4. I just purchased this lawn mower a few days ago. D170 John Deere.
    I did much research on mowers but missed the craftsman trying to find one right for me. I really could not find much help so I went with the D170 because it was what I have owned for the last 6 years but it was under the Scotts brand made by JD.

    Here is my problem. I have 3 acres to mow. It is all flat for the most part. BUT the moles have completely taken over my property. This makes mowing very painful and jarring to my already bad back which I have had surgery on so it is more sensitive to pot/mole holes in the yard.. I see the craftsman has what seem to be larger tires than the D170? If so would this make any difference that I would notice?

    Is there is ANY lawn mower made in this price range that will take the 1000s of mole hill bumps I have and not jerk me all over the place for 3 hours making mowing a nightmare! Did I make the wrong choice here? I don’t know if I could return the JD I have not mowed with it yet but have gased it up and run the motor for about 5 minutes. Thank you!

    • @ Randy, The difference in tire size won’t make that much difference on the ride. I suggest you keep your tire pressure down 12 lbs rear and 10-12 in the front. That will give you the smoothest ride.

      I also suggest you set up a grub control program. Get rid of the grubs, the moles will leave.

      Build yourself a road grader to pull behind your mower. Here is a picture of an idea. http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/attachments/attachments/109463d1220494243-road-boss-road-grader-img_0079.jpg. Use that picture as a basic plan to make a pull behind drag/leveler. Use a couple of 4 foot wide 4X4’s and use a couple of hundred lbs of weight. Drag it behind you every month or so when you mow and you will eventually get it level again.

  5. I am intersted in your opinion on a good mower for us. We have 3 acres in southern California so it gets hot and dry. The terrain is very hilly with lots of obstacles (stumped trees)and uneven ground due to animal burrows and rain runoff. Is there a riding mower that can cut our weeds?

    • @Lisa, There are very few riding mowers that will handle uneven ground, hills and obstacles well. You need a wide stable mower that will not lose traction on the loose soil around the burrows and is stable enough to turn on the hills. You may even need a 4-wheel drive if your hills are very steep.

      The first tractors that come to mind are the compacts. Kubota http://www.kubota.com/product/B2320/B2320.aspx or Simplicity Legacy http://www.simplicitymfg.com/products/yard-and-garden-tractors/legacy-xl/ are good 4 wheel drive mowers. Your question is tied to a John Deere review so you may be interested in a John Deere X748 http://www.deere.com/en_US/ProductCatalog/HO/servlet/ProdCatProduct?pNbr=SKU21823&tM=HO

      If your land is not that rough or you can’t afford that expensive of a tractor the Craftsman Model 28985 is the most inexpensive mower that has traction control and limited slip differential. Read the review to see if it is for you.

      Depending how often you mow. If you let your weeds get 6 inches or taller you may have to make more than one pass over the weeds to get them cut down well. The tractors I review on this site are all designed to mow lawns, not heavy, tall weeds. But you can get a “brush” mower for the compact tractors that will mow just about anything. The finished cut is not as well as neat as a lawn mower.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.