2014 John Deere 42 inch Model D125 Review – Is this mower for you?

It’s Not What’s Best, It What’s Best For You! 

NEW! Premium 42” John Deere Model D125 Riding Mower with powerful V-Twin engine, Only at The Home Depot.

The 2014 John Deere D125 sports a new V-Twin 20 HP engine and high back seat. This lawn tractor mows great.  The foot pedal hydrostatic transmission is designed to ensure excellent performance and reliability. This is a great choice for your 1/2 to 1 1/2 acre yard. The 18 inch turning radius is not the best in the industry but if you don’t have a lot of small obstructions to mow around it is just fine. I can recommend this tractor for most attachments including a bagger, lawn sweeper and 10 cu. ft. yard cart.

D125 Cruise Legendary John Deere durability is here on the 125 Series, thanks to a solid, one-piece, 12-gauge frame, along with heavy-duty crankshaft, a cast-iron front axle, and a high capacity engine filter – all proof that a lot more goes into a 125 Series tractor than meets the eye.

Is this mower for you?

  • It will mow about 1 acre an hour
  • Terrain: Flat, Slopes
  • Standard Low Back Seat
  • Cast Iron front axle. This is axle won’t bend or break.
  • Turning Radius similar to the Craftsman, Troy-Bilt, Ariens or Husqvarna lawn tractors, but is not as good as the Craftsman Yard Tractors or Cub Cadet 100 Series. If you don’t have a lot of small landscaping features and trees to mow around the 18 inch turning radius is fine.
  • John Deere has good quality engines, but am not sure how this one stacks up against the competition. When I learn more, I’ll add my viewpoint.
  • I do like the 13 position cutting height control. You can fine tune your cut to easily match other mowers (your neighbors edge of the yard)
  • It is easy to operate, push the large pedal on the right to go forward, push the small pedal to go back. A parking brake is on the left.
  • It is priced at $1799. For only $100 more than the D110 you get a V-twin, nice seat and cruise control!
  • If you just want to mow your lawn, use a bagger to collect the clippings, and pull a yard cart this mower will work well for you. This tractor will handle a snow blade or snow thrower.
  • Some John Deere dealers have on-site service or will pick up your tractor but you are responsible for the trip charge or for getting your tractor to the dealer for service
  • John Deere will set up this tractor and deliver it within 7-14 days by a local John Deere representative. At Delivery the customer will be taught by John Deere how to operate and maintain the mower.
  • Standard 2 year/120 hour warranty on the tractor.

 RIO Switch

RIO Mowing while backing up is strongly discouraged. The operator who deems it necessary to keep the mower (or other implement) engaged while backing up should first bring the tractor to a stop and look behind the tractor to be sure there are no bystanders. Then actuate (push in) the RIO button. The RIO button must be held down in the reverse implement position as the shift lever is moved into reverse (reverse foot pedal is depressed on automatic drive models). The operator may then release the button and the mower will continue to operate while backing up and also when resuming forward operation. This procedure must be repeated the next time the operator chooses to keep the mower engaged while backing up. If the mower (PTO) is engaged and the operator shifts into reverse or depresses the reverse pedal prior to pressing the RIO button, ignition to the engine will be shut off. The engine will stop unless the operator either pushes on the RIO switch or shifts out of reverse. If the engine does stop, the operator must return the mower engagement (PTO) switch or lever to the ”off” position, depress the brake pedal, and then turn the ignition switch to restart the engine. 

 Recommended Attachments:

John Deere Garden Cart. 650 lb. 10 cu. ft. Tow-Behind Poly Utility Cart
John Deere 100 Series 42 in. Twin Bagger for Tractor
John Deere 100 Series 2-Bar Bumper for Lawn Tractor
42 in. Mower Blades for John Deere (2-Pack)
John Deere 42 in. xtreme Mulching Blade for Tractor
John Deere Landscaping Supplies. 42 in. Mulch Cover
John Deere 46 in. Front Blade Attachment for Tractors

Complete Product Description: John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D125 42 in. 20 HP Hydrostatic Front-Engine BG20709

See All Buying Options, Special Offers: John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D125 42 in. 20 HP Hydrostatic Front-Engine BG20709

See All Pickup and Delivery Options: John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D125 42 in. 20 HP Hydrostatic Front-Engine BG20709

See All Financing Options: Credit, Special Financing  John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D125 42 in. 20 HP Hydrostatic Front-Engine BG20709

California Model: John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D125 42 in. 20 HP Hydrostatic Front-Engine – California Compliant BG20713

2014 John Deere Lawn Tractors.

D125 cart From the beginning, every 100 Series Tractor is made right. With The Edge™ Cutting System, a 3-in-1 deck, you can choose between mulching, bagging, and side-discharging. The stamped deck design completely lifts grass for a precise, even cut. And you can find the precise mowing height every time, thanks to the ¼-inch height of cut adjustment. Legendary John Deere durability is also found on the 100 Series, thanks to a solid, one-piece, 12-gauge frame, along with heavy-duty crankshaft, a cast-iron front axle, and a high capacity engine filter – all proof that a lot more goes into a 100 Series tractor than meets the eye.

  1. Hi all!
    I am looking to buy JD D125 I am told that there is a problem with the transmission.
    Any one
    Appreciated
    m.k.

    • @Mannyk1, Well U’all, there is nothing wrong with the transmission but there may be something wrong with what you plan to do with it. Please tell me about your lawn – how big, terrain, and what else you would like to do with your new D125.

      What are you replacing and why do you want/need a new John Deere.

      • Hi I’m trying to decide between the Deere 125 or Cub Cadet Xt1 I’ve read putting a snow blower on the Deere ruins the tranny. Is this true? The Cub comes with a 3 year bumper to bumper warranty. Why doesn’t the Deere do this if they stand behind their machine? Thanks! Rich Pottersville, NY

        • Hi Rich, Lawn tractors like the D125 and XT1 42 or 46 inch are lawn mowers first. They designed to do this job very well and at an affordable price. They do a very good job of mowing the lawn, pulling a small yard cart and an occasional aerating your lawn.

          But when you hang 200 lbs on the front and another 150 on the rear you pretty much overload these tractors. I always suggest going to a garden tractor or a larger walk-behind snow blower.

          Cub Cadet has the XT1 54, Craftsman has the 20403 and Craftsman Pro GT. John Deere has the X340. Husqvarna also has garden tractors.

          I don’t have a tactful way of saying, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

          The D125 does have a smaller transmission than the XT1 42 or 46 but the K46 in these Cubs is still a lawn tractor trans.

          Why does Cub Cadet have a longer defects warranty than the other brands – it’s simply a marketing and does not reflect the overall quality of the mower.

    • Ho Rod, Lowes has the D130 – D160 and Home Depot has the D125 – D155. Now add the dealers – they have the X240. Each have to have their own toys to sell…..that’s why Lowes has Troy-Bilt, THD has Cub Cadet, Tractor Supply had Jonsered and on and on. Craftsman has to play that game with the Hometown stores.

      In addition if they each have their own toys than they don’t have to worry about price matching.

      Lowes Exclusive! Home Depot Exclusive! Our model at the dealer is better than the box store models!!!

      Do you get the picture :)

      I’m sorry, I forgot to answer your question. The D125 has a 20 hp and the D130 has a 22 hp. Both are V-twins

      • I compared the two on the John Deere website and 2 hp is the only difference I could find. $100 for 2 more hp. I’ve been researching for over a month. I’m leaning towards a Craftsman 20376. At $1500, I think it’s the best deal.

        • Hi Rod, With Craftsman finally putting the 20376 on sale it has become a very good deal. It is a very dependable lawn tractor that is very easy to drive. The Kohler 7000 engine is the same Kohler everyone else is putting in tractors costing twice as much.

          There are seven different models of the Craftsman lawn tractor and you have picked the 42 inch model with the best engine. If you would like to compare it to the other tractors in the series go here. 2015 Craftsman Lawn Tractors – My Review. The article also lists the correct bagger, etc. for your new tractor.

              • (Palmyra, PA) I just bought the 20376 online. First I followed your advice and joined the Craftsman Club and rewards program. Delivery on Wednesday. Thank you!

                • Hi Rod, You are very welcome! If you have any questions and/or tell us about it feel free to leave a comment.

  2. I have recently purchased a D125. Seems the balancing/leveling of the blades is fairly important but somewhat complicated, even with the dealer explaining it to me. Are there any simple ways to do ensure the blades are correct? Any suggestions?

    • @John, The Deere dealer probably has a precision blade balancer hanging in his shop like this: MAG-1000 Lawnmower Blade Balancing Instrument. It’s a great machine and his techs might even use it.

      For the rest of us there are 2 ways to get “close enough” results without having to spend $200.

      First, the Oregon Lawn Mower Blade Balancer 42-100. It has been used for generations and is still one of the simplest and easiest balancers to use. Set it on a level surface, put the blade on it, and grind off a little of the side that tilts down.

      Second, the tried and true method that will give you good enough results that you will never ruin a spindle bearing from an unbalanced blade is simply a nail stuck horizontally in a stud in the garage. Here is a picture of a screw that does the same thing. The top blade needs balancing, the bottom blade is balanced well enough that it will not ruin your mower.

  3. I just recently purchased a D125, I have 18 hours on it and it takes me approximately 2 hours to cut my lawn. I really like the way the tractor drives but I noticed that no matter how often I cut my lawn and how short or long it is, it will leave clumps everywhere and my neighbor cuts his with a 30 year old lawn tractor and it leaves no clumps of grass. I was cleaning the deck the other day and noticed the front of my blades were not straight but had wave to them. I then realized the people at John Deere designed the blades that way for so they can sell more baggers and grass sweepers as accessories. if you have that same issue please reply…I will be replacing my blades for my next cut.

  4. @Jeff, With the Home Depot John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D125 42 in. 20 HP V-Twin Hydrostatic Front-Engine BG20709 you know what your cost is and you don’t have to haggle for the best price. Your tractor will be taken out of the crate and delivered to your home by a John Deere Dealer. The dealer will show you how to use it. The John Deere extended warranty only covers defects in the tractor for an extended period of time. About 90% of what happens to a tractor is not covered under an extended warranty.

    As a comparison: A Protection Plan like the one sold for the Craftsman 22HP 42” Turn Tight® Fast Riding Mower – 49 States covers a lot more. Most wear and tear like batteries, belts, tires and engine related issues are covered. By the way Sears always comes to you to repair or service your Craftsman Tractor.

    It really depends on the dealer if I would purchase from them. If I walked into a dealer wanting to buy a D125 and the salesman spent the next 10 minutes to 1/2 hour explaining why I should buy a mower that costs twice as much, I would run out of the dealership. That is the reputation most John Deere dealers are getting. (“I want good an inexpensive $1800 mower” but the dealer insists that the mower I need is the $3000 one.)

    If the dealer listens to you, asks you questions about your lawn, your experience and agrees that the D125 or D130 is the correct tractor for you then go ahead and purchase from him.

    Some dealers will come pick up your John Deere and take it back to their shop to service (for a fee) other dealers have on-site repair where they bring a mobile workshop to your home. Either way you don’t need to transport it yourself.

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  6. I have a side yard which has a slope coming down from the roadway into my backyard. The slope angle, using various Android apps, comes in around 14-15%. 8 or so degrees. It’s steep enough the kids can get a good sleigh ride, not so steep that I can’t mow it across wise with a self propelled. The rest of the yard is more or less flat.

    I need to look at a tractor as the various walk behinds are now basically junk and my knees are just not taking kindly to working on that slope anymore. The on new walk behind mowers wheels last a season if lucky, the engines are under powered and just can’t handle the 10% gas mix even with gas treatments very well. At $300 for the basic self propelled why not go tractor.

    All that said and with your comment that people are tearing up the transmission on these mowers due to hills what comment would you have about this mower and my slope issue? I would most likely mow down the hill come around the house and do it again, dozen or so passes would take care of most of it, it gets a bit steeper the further from the house plus there is no run out over there so back to a self propelled for that little area. How stable are these lawn tractors on such a grade, weight balance so if going up it doesn’t want to flip or going down the rear end doesn’t want to get ahead of the front?

    A tractor seems such overkill for our yard but I’m about the only one left in the neighborhood still walking a mower. The only reason I haven’t gone that route is the slope and it’s about the only exercise I get with having a desk job.

    • @James, the John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D125 42 in. 20 HP V-Twin Hydrostatic Front-Engine BG20709 is as stable as the rest.

      Tractors like the D125 are rated for 15% but you may have some traction issues if the grass is really wet of drought dry. Mowing down the hill will fix those issues though.

      The easy way to check balance and traction. Try backing up the hill. If it goes up it backwards, it will go up it forwards safely. Plus a little time, experience and getting used to the tractor will reduce the “pucker factor”.

  7. Wethersfield, CT. I just bought a 2014 John Deere D125. I told the salesman I also wanted to buy the 44″ snow blower attachment for it. He said he would not recommend because the transmission could not handle it. It seems to me if they make a snow blower for it then it should work.

    • @David, There are 3 concerns with using a snow blower on a lawn tractor. 1. Is the front end heavy enough to handle the extra weight? 2. Does the engine have enough power to make the job quicker than doing it by hand? 3. Is the transmission able to handle the xtra weight you will put on the rear for traction?

      Your D125 has No 1 and 2 covered well. The cast iron front axle and v-twin will get the job done well. 3. The salesman has heard that owners are tearing up the K40 transmission but he probably doesn’t know why. Owners are tearing up hydros from overusing them to pull heavy loads and to mow hills steeper than 15 degrees. This over heats the transmission and causes it to fail.

      They are not tearing them up using them with a snow blower unless they put too much weigh on the rear axle. The trans in the D125 is rated for 675 lbs total weight. Figure 155 lbs for the tractor rear end that leaves 520 lbs MAX for you and the counter weights you will put on the unit.

      Since the salesman doesn’t want the commission, here is everything you need to move snow with your D125. This is through Home Depot.

      John Deere Weight Bracket for 100 Series Tractors
      John Deere Rear Weight You may want two.
      John Deere Tire Chains for D100, D105, D110, D120, D125
      John Deere Snow Blower Attachment for 100 Series Tractors
      John Deere Snow Removal. L100 Series Tractor Snow Cab

      • Thanks Paul. I weigh 170lbs and the snowblower weighs a little over 100lbs and most of that weight is in the front so I guess I should be alright. But should the total weight of the tractor be put in the equation? I am not a mechanic so I probably don’t know what I’m talking about.

        • @David, No the total weight of the tractor is not a factor. The weight on the rear axle is: Figure about 150 lbs of axle weight from the tractor, yourself and then what weight you want to install for traction. Like you said, the snow blower really doesn’t factor into the weight because it is hanging off the front.

          • Then you think I should be able to use it. The amount of weights I put on the back I think is 100lbs. Add that to my weight and the axle (150-155lbs.) and that comes out to about 425lbs. give or take a few. Far below the max. I’m just very paranoid with things like this.

            • @David, Correct. Old guys (lots of experience) like myself have abused these mowers a lot over the years and we know what they will put up with. You will be just fine with this set-up.

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