The John Deere 1023e versus the John Deere 1025r. Both are excellent options and, in my opinion, these two machines are as close to perfect as anything on the market right now. Yes, they have their limitations, but the wide array of tasks that these machines can tackle with quality results might be hard to top. Couple that with a reasonable price point, the largest dealer network for parts and service, and an inherent ability to retain value gives the John Deere 1 Series the top spot in my book.
The tractor market has been shifting in recent years towards homeowners as more and more need or want the ability to tackle projects around their home, farm, and hunting land themselves. The John Deere 1 Series isn’t intimidating or at least doesn’t take long to get over the fear of first time tractor owners. Relatively low to the ground, stable, and simple to operate allows young and old, male or female, novice or expert to become a pro in no time.
The 1023e and 1025r (watch the comparison here) share most of the basics in common. Features such as frame, tire size, loader, mower and other attachments all fit either tractor. In fact, if you took a quick glance at them side by side, it would be tough to tell them apart. What these similarities mean is that the actual work you want to accomplish with your tractor will be identical with each machine. I would keep in mind though that the 1023e base version will come outfitted with the cheaper D120 front end loader and 54″ manual connect mower deck. You’re always able to upgrade to the 120r (H120) loader and an AutoConnect 54″ or 60″ mower deck most often found on the 1025r.
So far, so good? Yeah, I think so. Now, what exactly makes that roughly $2,000 price jump to the 1025r? Well, you’re going to get a lot of bells and whistles for the most part. Items such as fender mounted work lights, tilt steering, cruise control, an upgraded suspension seat with arm rests, toolbox, additional trim, and floormat to start with. Then there’s the, in my opinion, overrated additional 2HP. Nominally 23HP to 25HP (1023e vs 1025r). However, I’ve personally used both the 1023e and 1025r more than any other tractor models and have never found a scenario that left me wanting more horsepower from the 1023e.
A few years back, I had a customer trade-in a 1023e with a 60″ tiller on it. It was early fall and I had some tilling jobs to tackle for customers, so I thought I’d load that tractor up and see how it performed. I tilled those gardens without any issue at all and continued to use that setup for the rest of the fall. I was amazed at the performance and it changed my view on horsepower, both at the engine and PTO. You see, typically, you’ll want attachments roughly the width of your tractor. An old-fashioned way to gauge the right size attachment is to estimate 5HP at the PTO for each linear foot of attachment. However, I find that to be a bit conservative based on my experience.
So, your decision is going to come down to convenience. Do you want the extra bells and whistles afforded by the 1025r? Or, should you save the couple grand and stick with the simpler workhorse in a 1023e? Both will do an excellent job mowing, efficiently tackle snow removal, and save you hundreds or thousands on equipment rentals and labor for landscape, home improvement projects, and weekly yard maintenance. The 1023e vs 1025r debate is a tough one. Not because one is so much better than the other, but because both are such good options to choose from.