John Deere Vs Kubota Zero Turn Mower | Which Is Best?

We’ve all been there; you’re about to tackle that luscious, mountainous grass on your property when your trusted zero-turn mower gives its final breath: it’s time to hit the stores for a replacement.

There are many options, but with price tags that can reach upwards of 5,000 dollars, it’s a massive investment. You probably want a machine that will last. This is a battle between John Deere Vs Kubota Zero Turn mowers! Read on to learn which mower is a better fit for you and your mowing needs

Which Is Best: John Deere Or Kubota Zero Turn

It’s not easy to find fault with the John Deere Z345N zero-turn riding mower. Not only is John Deere a trusted name for powerful, performance-based machinery, but it’s also easy to operate. 

On the other hand, the Kubota Z231 KW-42 represents another quality brand with a powerful engine and intuitive operation. The design even prioritizes operator comfort with thoughtful additions and upgrades.

Check out Best Zero-Turn Mower for 3-5 Acres

John Deere loyalists might prefer the Z345N, but I think the Kubota Z231 KW-42 edges it out just a bit when you compare them side-by-side. Read on to see how I came to this conclusion.

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John Deere Vs Kubota Zero Turn Model Comparison

At first glance, these models look similar with 42-inch decks and comparable engines. Kubota comes with a slightly higher price tag, but you can expect to pay at least $3000 for either one. 

The Z345M ships with a 22HP Twin V engine John Deere engine, and is suitable for mowing areas of 1/2-2 acres of residential lawn with a 2.1-gallon fuel capacity.

Top flat speed of 7mph this is not the fastest mower, but it provides great drive control, side discharged, and a stamped steel deck. Allowing this mower to hit that entry price point of under $3,000

The Kubota Z231 is notably more expensive at around $3,900 and it shows on some elements of the product specification list.

The larger fuel tank gets this mower across 2-3 acres, albeit it rides slightly slower at 6.5mph.

The main difference is with the chassis build offering a fabricated steel deck, and a machine supported by a 4-years warranty.

John Deere Z345M

  • Engine Size: 22 HP V-twin 
  • Max Speed: 7 MPH
  • Fuel Capacity: 2.1gallons
  • Cutting Deck Type: Stamped
  • Max Cutting Height: 4 inches
  • Max Cutting Width: 42 inches
  • Transmission Type: Hydrostatic
  • Terrain Type: Flat with some obstacles
  • Acreage: ½ acre up to 2 acres
  • Warranty: 2-Years or 120 hrs
  • Roll Bar: No

Kubota Z231Kw

  • Engine Size: 21.5 HP
  • Max Speed: 6.5 MPH
  • Fuel Capacity: 3.6 gallons
  • Cutting Deck Type: Fabricated deck
  • Max Cutting Height: 4.25 inches
  • Max Cutting Width: 42 inches
  • Transmission Type: ZT2200
  • Terrain Type: flat to slight grades
  • Acreage: up to 3 acres
  • Warranty: 4-Years or 300 hrs
  • Roll Bar: No

John Deere and Kubota have crafted similar machines here, but the Kubota Z231 has slightly more features, like a larger gas tank and a better warranty.

Who Makes John Deere Zero Turn Engines 

While John Deere typically makes the engines for their large machinery but not the smaller things, like mowers. Since smaller machines, like zero-turn mowers, use less horsepower, John Deere turns to other manufacturers for power, like Kawasaki, Yanmar, and Briggs & Stratton. However, the Z345M ships with a 22HP John Deere branded engine.

Who Makes Kubota Zero Turn Engines

Kubota also outsources engines for zero-turn mowers. The Z200 series uses Kawasaki for the 42-inch deck and Kohler or Briggs & Stratton for the larger versions.

Chassis Build Quality

Both mowers feature steel, welded frames for support, stability, and durability. Of note, Kubota lists the frame as 10-gauge steel, while John Deere uses 12-gauge steel.

Fabricated Vs Stamped Cutting Deck

John Deere’s Z345M zero-turn mower has a stamped deck, while Kubota uses a pro-commercial fabricated deck. There are a few differences between fabricated and stamped decks. 

Stamped decks come from one piece of steel, making them lighter, more flexible, and have increased airflow. Fabricated decks are more rigid and durable because it’s thicker metal.

Flat Or Hilly Terrain

Both mowers have similar wheels, 11-inches front tires, and 18-inch rear tires that can handle uneven terrain and some obstacles. That said, steep hills can be problematic for both mowers because they cannot adjust the level well enough. Read

Who Makes The Most Reliable Zero Turn Mower?

Before committing to one of these mowers, it helps to know that you can expect a quality machine that can last. John Deere and Kubota both have solid reputations for crafting reliable machines, but does that extend to these mowers?

John Deere: pairing a Kawasaki motor with a stamped deck creates a powerful, reliable machine with a smooth ride. There are no routine issues with the electrical systems or mechanical parts.

Kubota: Kubota also uses Kawasaki motors for the Z231 mower but pairs it with a 10-gauge steel frame to create a sturdy, durable base. There are no common concerns about the electrical systems or mechanical parts. 

Zero Turn Service Intervals

Like most heavy equipment, service intervals depend on how you use them. Machines that see heavy use typically require more frequent servicing. Typically start each new season with fresh gasoline. Do an oil change every 100 hours and sharpen the blades a few times per year.


John Deere offers a two-year or 120-hour manufacturer’s warranty. Kubota offers double that at four years or 300 hours.

How Long Do John Deere Zero Turn Mowers Last

Properly maintained John Deere zero-turn mowers can last ten to fifteen years depending on use. 

How Long Do Kubota Zero Turn Mowers Last

Kubota notes that their riding lawn mowers should last up to 20 years if they are properly maintained. Excessive use or poor maintenance schedules could shorten the lifespan.

Customer Support

Heavy machinery, like a zero-turn mower, should come with excellent customer support to ensure you remain satisfied with your high-ticket purchase. How do Kubota and John Deere fare in this category?

Is Kubota Customer Support Good

Kubota has a history of delivering reliable customer service across the board. It should be no surprise to learn that it’s easy to reach the support team and arrive at a resolution,

Is John Deere Customer Support Good

John Deere has an average of 3.9 out of 5 stars on Consumer Affairs. With more than three million reviews, it’s a safe bet that the company does a decent job supporting customers.

Verdict: John Deere Vs Kubota Zero Turn Mowers 

While John Deere is a reliable brand with an excellent, affordable product in the Z345M, it falls a little short of Kubota’s machine which hits the top spot as the best zero-turn mower.

Kubota Z231Kw-42 Zero-Turn Mower

The Kubota Z231KW has a larger fuel tank, more comfortable seating, a fabricated cutting deck, and a superior warranty to justify the higher price tag.