2012 John Deere X300/42X 42in, 18.5hp, Hydro Review

Executive Summary: This is John Deere’s best 42 inch side discharge mower.  On sale at $2599 it is also the best value John Deere X300 series.  The 300 series has an excellent reputation for dependability and longevity.  It has a great cutting deck. Owners give this tractor great reviews and most of the rating websites like consumersearch.com and consumerreports.org also rate it well. The online review sites usually rate the X304 as a better mower, but at over $1000 more than this one……..If you have your heart set on a “Deere” look closely at this tractor before you spend the extra money on a X304.

by: Paul Sikkema

Brand/Manufacture: John Deere / John Deere
Model/Series: X300
Item Number: X300/42X
Where To Buy: Your Local John Deere Dealer or John Deere Online 
Delivery: 7-10 Days by John Deere. Set-up Included
Street Price: $2499-$2999

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is John Deere’s Best quality. The 100 series is less quality. The X500 and X700 series are better.

Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor Handles at least 25 attachments including snowblower.
Compare it to: Craftsman Premiun CTX9000, Simplicity Broadmoor 20 hp/46 in., MTD Cub Cadet GT 2542, Kubota T2080A-42

Internal wet-brakes
Foot Pedal Lift System
Deck Leveling system built into tractor
Preset Cut Height

Competitors have larger engines.No fuel gauge
Must remove deck to switch to mulching
Optional lift-assist feature
Deck anti scalp wheels wear out quickly.
Large 16 inch turning radius

Retail Price: $2999.99 Check The Best Sale Price Here: John Deere Online

My Review:

There’s an old saying, “You get what you pay for.” The John Deere X300 series are a good example of that.  You are going to pay almost $1000 more for this tractor than for a 110 Series Deere, but what you get is well worth the extra money.

These tractors are designed to mow well, drive well, and last much longer than the John Deere’s you find at Home Depot or Lowes.  Heavy duty frames, heavy duty steering, on board deck leveling, good motors, and good transmissions.

I call this class of tractor an “estate tractor”  This class of tractor is quieter, easy to use and will last longer than the “lawn tractor” class.

This article was first published at TodaysMower.com Any forum members, writers and bloggers who feel that they want to “paraphrase” this post please include where you got this article, go here to learn more! 

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on this review.  If you have specific questions leave a comment below and myself or the readers will be glad to answer them.  This is a great tractor and if you want one to last this should be at the top of your list.

Comfort – Ease of Use:  This is a “real” lawn tractor.   Great seat, easy to use operator controls, low-effort steering, good field of view, quiet motor.  If you spend 5 hours on this mower, you will never go back to the 100 Series Deere’s.

Power For Mowing:  The X300 Deere gets high marks in all area except mulching.  If you want to mulch I don’t recommend this mower. It is under-powered for that task, but has plenty of power for all other tasks.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by your local independent John Deere dealer.  Although, Deere has a great parts network, the service itself is dependent on the dealer.  In 90% of the cases they will do a great job for you, but I do recommend you spend some time with the dealer to see if you can get long with them.  There have been very few complaints on this tractor.  About the only complaint is a very few owners had engine to deck belt problems that were fixed with a belt guide adjustment.

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has a low-effort steering and will steer much easier than the 100 series Deere’s.  Traction is above normal for a 2 wheel drive, 550 lb tractor.  I recommend you never use a mower like this on wet or drought-dry slopes.  If you need more traction, buy a tractor with differential lock and traction control.

Mow – Mulch- Bag:  This tractor get high marks by owners for cutting and bagging but very poor marks for mulching.  But, be aware this is not a “high-speed” deck.  It mows perfectly at 3 MPH but don’t expect it to mow as fast as the tractor will go (5.5MPH) and give you the same results.  With this tractor/deck you set the height of cut using a knob on the tractor.  You can raise the deck for transport and when you go to mow the next time, it goes right back to where you set it.  This is great if you have teenagers or other operators who don’t pay attention to the height of cut.  The bagging system is larger than the 100 series. You have remove the deck to install the mulcher parts.  The parts are made of plastic and I think with a normal lawn where you have small sticks, acorns, etc., it will wear out fairly quickly.  Mulching take a lot of horsepower and this deck is no exception. Users complain that they have to drive a lot slower using the mulch system. If you want to mulch, I suggest getting a tractor with a larger engine.

Specifications, Features, Benefits

The rest of this article is taken from the retailers website.

Type: Lawn tractor/Estate
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 1.05 acres at 3 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes
Excels in mowing around obstacles? No

Manufacturer: John Deere
Brand: John Deere
Engine Power: 18.5 hp* (13.8 kW)
Displacement: 36.8 cu in. (603 cc)
Cylinders: V-twin, cast-iron liners
Type: OHV, oil filter, Full-pressure Lubrication
Charging System: 15 amp regulated
Battery: 195 cold-crank amps
Choke/Speed Control: Separate levers
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.3 U.S. gal. (12.5 L)
Transmission: Type K46 automatic
Transmission Control:  Twin Touch pedals
Cruise Control: Standard
Forward Speed: 0-5.5 mph
Reverse Speed: 0-4.0 mph
Chassis: Frame Welded heavy-duty/Primer/Paint E-coat/powder
Front Tires: 15×6-6
Rear Tires: 20×10-8
Front Axle: Cast iron
Hood Material: Xenoy (Recyclable Plastic)
Hourmeter: Yes
Tool Tray: On fender and under seat

Cupholder: Yes
Headlights: Yes
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes
Deck washout port: No
12-volt outlet: No
Steering: Type 2-wheel steer
Turning Radius: 16 in.
Uncut Circle Radius: 28 in. (42X mower)
Spindle Bushings: Metal, replaceable
Seat Back Height: 15 in. open back
Fore-aft Adjustment: 7 in. while seated
Seat Suspension: Two coil springs, three-position no-tools adjustment for operator weight
Deck Lift System:Type Foot pedal with optional adjustable spring assist
Mower Cut Height: 1 in. to 4 in., 13 position
Cut Height Increments: 0.25 in.
Preset Cut Height: Yes
PTO clutch: Manual

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge
Mower Cutting Width: 42 in.
Mower Deck Material: 0.105 in. (42X)
Mower Wheel Adjustment: 4-position, tool required
Mower Level Adjustment: Exact Adjust ports and onboard deck-leveling gauge
Mower Drive System: In-line belt, electric PTO
Mower Attachment: 4 point Not EZ-Off
Mower Drive: Belt Tension Spring
Mower Wheels Rotate For Deck Removal: No


Wheelbase: 49.4-in. (125 cm)
Overall Length: 72-in. (183 cm)
Width without mower: 38-in. (97 cm)
Width with mower: 53-in. (135 cm)
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) 44-in. (111.8 cm)
Height: 43-in. (109 cm)
Weight: 556 lb (252 kg) with mower, no fuel

U.S. Warranty: 4 year/300 hour

Optional Attachments

Mowers: 42X (standard)
Material Collection System: 7-bu 2-bag
Mulching System: Yes
Front Thatcher: 38, 46, 54 in.
Front Blade: 44 in.
Tractor Shovel: 40 in.
Snow Blower: 44 in.
Front Bumper: Standard, also styled bumper option
Brush Guard: Yes
Bucket Holder: Yes, single and double
Tow-Behind Tools: 16


  1. Myron April 4, 2016
    • Paul April 5, 2016
  2. Mike September 29, 2014
    • Paul Sikkema September 29, 2014
  3. John K March 29, 2013
    • Paul Sikkema March 29, 2013
  4. Kevin June 8, 2012
    • Paul Sikkema June 11, 2012
  5. nick February 14, 2012
    • Paul Sikkema February 14, 2012

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