2012 John Deere 42 in 17.5 HP Gear Drive Model D100 Review

When you get done here stop by and read this new, updated article: Which New 2018 John Deere E100 Series Lawn Tractor Is Right For Me?

Executive Summary: Get’m while they last! My understanding is the D100 has been discontinued and is being replaced with the D105 automatic. 

This is John Deere’s cheapest Lawn Tractor.  Priced at about $100 more than the comparable Craftsman with Turn-Tight, this John Deere lawn tractor is a good mower for the normal suburban yard.  This model features the new John Deere design,  step through operator’s platform, pressurized lube engine with oil filter, and a 42 inch deck.  The D100 has a 5 speed manual gear drive transmission.  This transmission is easy to use and will perform well for mowing and light duty yard tasks.

by: Paul Sikkema

Brand/Manufacture: John Deere / John Deere
Model/Series: D100 / Riding Mower
Item Number:  BG20650
Where To Buy: Deere.com
Store Pickup: Buy Online, Pickup At Your Local John Deere Dealer Delivery: Buy Online, And Have It Delivered To Your Home Ship: NA
Street Price: $1499.99

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is John Deere’s Cheap Quality.  All other John Deere’s are better.

Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Riding Mower.  Handles a few attachments.
Compare it to: Craftsman 42 in LT1500 Shift-on-the-go, and  Craftsman 42 in 21 hp Model 25002 6 speed. The LT1500 is the same quality and is $500 less. The 25002 is $100 less and much higher quality. 

2012 John Deere 42 in 17.5 HP Gear Drive Model D100 Review 1

2012 John Deere D100

Least Expensive Deere
Good Cutting Deck
Step-through Platform
It’s a Deere!

Single Cylinder Engine
18 inch Turning Radius!
Gear Drive

Retail Price: $1499.99 Check The Best Sale Price Here:    

My Review:

If you want a Deere to just mow your small suburban lawn and don’t have a lot of money this is the one! This is a basic lawn tractor with a good cutting deck.  I don’t have a lot of good things to say about this mower, but I don’t have any bad things to say either.  It has a pressurized motor.  It has only two anti-scalp wheels and if your lawn is smooth it will mow just fine.  If your lawn is flat and open the turning radius is just fine. It doesn’t mow fast, but it mows well.

I highly recommend you purchase the optional protection plan when you buy this mower from Lowes. Why?  This tractor is serviced by your local John Deere dealer and without the protection plan they will charge you for ANY trip charges or pickup and delivery.

This lawn tractor will mow in reverse.

People who buy this lawn tractor know what they are buying and this is just what they want. No frills, they just want to mow their small suburban lawn and they don’t want to walk.

The D100 has manual gear drive transmission.  This transmission is easy to use and will perform well for mowing and light duty yard tasks.

This lawn tractor will work well for 1/2 to 2 acres lawns, handle a snow blade, and light duty non-ground engaging attachments.  I would only recommend it for flat, smooth lawns.  There are other mowers that will mow faster, or pull more.

I think this machine does represent a good value, but is overpriced.  This is John Deere’s economy line and you should not compare these tractors to the ones your father had. It is not comparable to the X300 series at your John Deere Dealer. If you take care of of this lawn tractor properly it will last you a long time.

This yard tractor is capable of using all the light duty attachments John Deere offers including a snow blade. You can find a complete list of what they recommend at johndeere.com


Craftsman really up’d the ante last year with the introduction of the Turn Tight on their YT 3000,  YT 4000 and GT 6000 series mowers.  (see comparable tractors above) The Craftsman’s 6 inch turning radius is so much better than Deere’s 18 inch turning radius that it would be hard for me to go buy this Deere.   The D100 John Deere is a good basic riding tractor though and is a good choice if you want “green” on your lawn.

I recommend going to a twin cylinder motor (D 130)  if you want to attach a  snow thrower.

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 Lowes or 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 D 100 may not be the best choice for you.  Seriously look at the Lowes Protection Plan or Deere extended warranty if you don’t have a local dealer.  The extended warranty includes on-site repair or them hauling your mower to a repair shop to work on it.

There are very few negatives with this mower as long as you understand that it is a good quality entry-level mower.  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.

This article was first published at TodaysMower.com 

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:  Standard seat, easy to use operator controls, good field of view.

Power For Mowing:  This tractor has plenty of power for side discharge mowing every week.  I feel it is under powered for mulching and bagging.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: One thing to know.  This tractor is serviced by your local John Deere dealer.  This tractor has not changed for 2012. FYI: Your local John Deere dealer will charge you to come and get your tractor unless you purchase the protection plan from Lowes when you buy the mower. Without the protection plan you may have to “get in line” to have yours repaired at the dealer.

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has average traction and handling and is similar to all the other riding mowers from the other retailers in the $1000 range.   I recommend you never use a mower like this on wet or drought-dry slopes.

Mow – Mulch- Bag:  This tractor gets high marks by owners for bagging.  But many owners complain that the deck does not mow evenly and gets out of adjustment easily. Be aware this is not a “high-speed” deck like you will find on a commercial lawn mower.  It mows perfectly at 2-3 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 lever on the tractor.

Specifications, Features, Benefits

The rest of this article is taken from the retailers website. Specs subject to change.

Type:  Riding Mower
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 1.05 acres at 3 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? No
Excels in mowing around obstacles? No

Will Mow In Reverse? Yes

Manufacturer: John Deere
Brand:  John Deere
Engine Power: 17.5 hp* 
Displacement: 502 cc. 
Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
Cylinders: Single, cast-iron liners
Type: OHV, oil filter, Pressurized
Charging System: 15 amp regulated
Battery: ?
Choke/Speed Control: Integrated One Lever
Fuel Tank Capacity: 2.4 U.S. gal. 
Transmission: Inline 5 speed gear
Transmission Control:  Direction / speed lever with clutch
Cruise Control: NA
Forward Speed: 0-5 mph
Reverse Speed: 0-2.3 mph
Chassis: ? ga.
Front Tires: 15×6-6
Rear Tires: 20×8-8
Front Axle: Cast Iron
Hood Material: JD Loy (plastic)
Hourmeter: No
Tool Tray: NA

Cupholder: Yes
Headlights: Yes
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes, Under hood
Deck washout port: No
12-volt outlet: No
Steering: Type 2-wheel steer
Turning Radius: 18 in.
Uncut Circle Radius: 25 in. 
Spindle Bushings: Metal, replaceable
Seat Back Height: 11 in. open back
Fore-aft Adjustment: 5 in. while seated
Seat Suspension: Two coil springs
Deck Lift System: Fender
Mower Cut Height: 1.5 in. to 4 in., 13 position
Cut Height Increments: .25 in.
Preset Cut Height: No
PTO clutch: Manual

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge
Mower Cutting Width: 42 in.
Blades: 42 in.
Mower Deck Material: 0.105 in.
Mower Wheel Adjustment: EZ Level
Mower Level Adjustment: Exact
Mower Drive System: In-line belt, Manual PTO
Mower Attachment: 4 point Not EZ-Off
Mower Drive: Belt Tension Spring
Mower Wheels Rotate For Deck Removal: No


Wheelbase: ?-in. 
Overall Length: 70-in. 
Width without mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: 52-in. 
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) ?-in. 
Height: 43-in. 
Weight: 442 lb with mower, no fuel

U.S. Warranty: 2 year limited, 120 hour

Optional Attachments

Mowers: 42X (standard)
Material Collection System: 6.5 bu 2 bag
Mulching System: Cover or plug
Front Thatcher: NA
Front Blade: 46 in
Tractor Shovel: No
Snow Blower: NA
Front Bumper: bumper option
Brush Guard: No
Bucket Holder: No
Tow-Behind Tools: 16


  1. Danny emberlin
    • Paul
  2. David Marsala
    • Paul
  3. Kenneth chase
    • Paul
  4. Brian
  5. Brian McDougal
    • Paul Sikkema
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