Kubota vs. John Deere: Homeowner Comparison Guide

When looking for an expensive piece of equipment, such as a lawn tractor, finding the best one for your needs is crucial. Kubota and John Deere hit the charts as the most popular of all brands out there. Both companies manufacture their lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers in the USA, their products addressing residential and commercial consumers alike. This guide comparing Kubota and John Deere can help you decide which brand is right for you.

Both John Deere and Kubota offer reliable utility vehicles at attractive price tags, but they differ in construction and technologies. For instance, John Deere has a more intuitive transaxle control system while Kubota boasts a smoother transmission. Read our in-depth Kubota vs. John Deere comparison to find out more.

Overview Between Kubota And John Deere

When it comes to choosing between Kubota and John Deere, most users go for the latter. JD’s strongest points are the simplicity of use and reliability. It also seems that John Deere yields better performance overall. Yet, both brands manufacture excellent pieces of equipment. Let’s find out more about each of them.

About Kubota

As a company, Kubota has Japanese origins. Kubota Corporation was established in 1890 as a foundry and produced the first horizontal, liquid-cooled kerosene engine for agricultural use in 1922. Since then, the brand has become a pioneer in agricultural and farming equipment. 

The Japanese heavy equipment manufacturer introduced its first tractor to the United States in 1969, addressing users looking for a sub-compact tractor. In 1982, Kubota established the first US Engine Division in Illinois, and most of the lawn tractors and riding mowers sold in the USA are now manufactured in Georgia. 

Today, Kubota proposes a range of residential and commercial lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers, in addition to their range of utility tractors designed for heavy agricultural use. 

Kubota Features

Metal construction 

One of the things that set Kubota apart from the competition is the heavy-duty metal construction. The side panels are long-lasting and reliable. However, they are easier to dent and require more maintenance than plastic composite panels. 

Quick Park Loader

Designed for easy mounting and removal of tractor attachments, the quick park loader comes as standard on all Kubota tractors (including the entry-level range). John Deere also offers a similar feature, but it is optional, and you’ll have to pay for it separately.

Medium Range Drive 

Another feature available on all Kubota tractors is the medium-range drive that allows you to gain speed and lose some high-end torque when you’re carrying on easier tasks. John Deere only offers a medium-range drive for its larger or deluxe utility vehicles.

About John Deere

Founded in 1937 in Illinois, John Deere is the largest manufacturer of agricultural machinery and heavy equipment in the world.

Originally, Deere & Company focused on manufacturing a variety of farm equipment products, but it expanded its offering in the implements business in the early 1900. Focused on bringing technology and innovation to the agricultural machinery world, John Deere acquired Blue River Technology in 2017 and is a leader in applying machine learning to agriculture.

Today, the brand offers a variety of utility vehicles, including a range of residential and commercial lawn mowers, snowmobiles, snow throwers, all-terrain vehicles, as well as a variety of tractors, harvesters, and other heavy-duty agricultural and forestry vehicles.

John Deere Features

Low-maintenance design

John Deere’s rugged plastic composite hood seems flimsier than Kubota’s steel but is longer lasting. This type of hood needs little to no maintenance. It won’t rust and will not dent as easily as a metal hood. 

Side-by-side pedals 

One of the reasons users love John Deere is the simplicity of the drive system. All JD riding mowers and lawn tractors have standard side-by-side accelerator and reverse pedals that allow for intuitive use. The brake pedal is also located within easy reach.

Drive-over mower deck

While John Deere’s drive-over mower deck doesn’t equip the entry-level units, it is a nice thing to know that you can opt for such a deck if you want to. This auto-connecting deck type allows you to drive over it for effortless mounting.

Specs Overview

Kubota and John Deere manufacture a wide range of lawn care and utility vehicles. For the purpose of this article, we compared the John Deere S240 lawn tractor – voted the best lawn tractor by Consumer Reports – and the Kubota T2290KWT, which features similar characteristics. 

The comparison chart below highlights their similarities and differences.

CharacteristicKubota T SeriesJohn Deere S Series
Hood materialSteel Plastic composite 
Engine Kubota 2-cylinder V-twinKawasaki 2-cylinder V-twin
Power21.5 HP21.5 HP
TransmissionHydro Gear G730 Tuff-Torq 46K
Torque230 ft./lbs.231 ft./lbs.
Transaxle controlTreadleSide-by-side
Operator comfortSuspension seatSuspension seat
Mower deck48 inches48 inches 
Turning radius14 inches18 inches 
Rear tire size22 inches20 inches
Cutting height1.0 - 4.0 inches (1/4-inch increment)1.0 - 4.0 inches (1/4-inch increment)

Comparing Differences Between John Deere And Kubota

Tractor Hood and Fenders 

One of the main differences between the two lawn tractors is the type of material each brand uses for the hood and fenders. 

Kubota’s reliability is often linked to its metal construction. In fact, Kubota is using traditional metal as its base material. The main issue is that metal is subject to rust and corrosion, requiring constant maintenance. 

John Deere, having a plastic material hood and fenders, seems flimsier but is actually more durable. Plastic doesn’t rust, doesn’t corrode, and the composite used by the brand resists UV light and heavy-duty use.

Engine 

Both lawn tractors feature 2-cylinder, V-twin engines. Kubota comes with a proprietary Kubota engine, whereas John Deere is equipped with a similar engine from Kawasaki. Both engines output the same power (21.5 horsepower), but Kawasaki is generally considered more reliable

Transmission 

While both vehicles feature reliable transmissions, Kubota’s choice is superior. All tractors from the brand come with a 3-range transmission that offers more speed and torque control compared to John Deere’s 2-range. 

That said, most residential users will unlikely notice a difference unless you have a very challenging terrain that requires constant speed and torque adjustments. 

Transaxle Control 

If Kubota excels in terms of transmission, John Deere wins points with its transaxle control. All lawn tractors from the brand boast side-by-side forward and reverse pedals on the right side. The brake pedal is located on the left side of the floorboard, offering an intuitive operation.

Kubota opted for a treadle control with the reverse pedal located in line with the forward pedal. Due to this layout, you’ll have to press the forward pedal with your toes and the reverse with your heel. Since the heel sensibility is generally low, controlling the speed in reverse can be challenging. 

Another downside regarding Kubota’s layout is the position of the brake pedal directly above the hydrostatic forward pedal. It is easy to understand how you could press the acceleration pedal accidentally instead of the brake in an emergency situation.

Stability 

Both lawn tractors can tackle challenging terrains in a breeze, but Kubota’s larger rear tires and heavier frame offer more stability on inclines.

Performance 

Overall, John Deere has a better performance compared to Kubota. The engine lasts longer, and its parts need less servicing. Another difference is the power take-off (PTO). This component is fully independent on both systems, but John Deere’s e-PTO saves fuel and engine life. 

Lights 

All utility vehicles from both brands feature bright headlights that make it easy to work in low light conditions. However, John Deere goes one step forward once again by equipping its vehicles with tail lights or rear reflectors, too

Rear lights or reflectors are only available as an optional on Kubota vehicles, including the T-series lawn tractors. 

Mower Deck

Homeowners and small-scale farmers alike use lawn tractors to mow grass, either to keep their lawns pristine or to feed livestock. 

In our feature comparison, both vehicles selected have a 48-inch mower deck with an adjustable cutting height between one and four inches. Each deck has three cutting blades with a similar layout and excellent cutting capabilities. 

The main difference is John Deere’s Accel Deep deck that is deeper. This design increases suction power, allowing the deck to lift the grass blades with more ease.

Lift Capacity

If you’re looking for a utility tractor, know that John Deere has superior lift capacity compared to Kubota. 

Dimensions 

Size-wise, John Deere and Kubota have about the same length (75.1 vs. 75.2 inches). However, Kubota is slimmer, measuring only 60.6 inches in width. John Deere has a width of 63 inches. 

Price and Warranty 

The two lawn tractors are very similar in characteristics and performance, but John Deere has a more attractive price tag. Kubota’s vehicles are generally more expensive, perhaps due to the more expensive materials used for the hood and fenders. 

Both companies offer limited warranties for their vehicles. Kubota’s warranty generally covers 24 months, whereas John Deere offers a 3-year or 200-hour (whichever comes first) warranty.

Kubota Vs. John Deere: Which Is Best?

John Deere and Kubota manufacture reliable vehicles, each with its advantages and flaws. Which is best depends on your personal preference and circumstances. 

Do you have challenging terrain and need more stability on inclines? Kubota is the best. Would you rather have easier foot controls? Go for John Deere. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but you can rest assured that both brands can meet your expectations.

FAQs

What brand engine does John Deere use?

John Deere uses Kawasaki engines for most of its lawn tractors, zero-turn mowers, and utility vehicles.

Are Kubota tractors made in Japan?

Most of the Kubota tractors sold in North America are manufactured in the USA. Kubota’s main production facility in America is located in Georgia. 

What is the difference between a compact tractor and a sub-compact tractor?

Compact tractors are utility vehicles designed for small to mid-scale farmers and agricultural workers. They have about 25 to 50 horsepower and generally fewer bells and whistles compared to the full-size tractors. Sub-compact tractors are very similar to compact ones but generally have under 25 horsepower.

Most sub-compact tractors are compatible with mid-mount mowing decks and other accessories intended for residential lawn care and light commercial use.

Summary

Concluding our John Deere and Kubota debate, we can say that both brands are worth your investment. Choosing one over the other is ultimately down to you. Consider your needs, the type of terrain, and experience in driving a lawn tractor, then use the guide above to pick the best option for you.