• December 4, 2018
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Kubota Tractor Vs John Deere Tractor: Which is Best?

Kubota Tractor Vs John Deere Tractor: Which is Best?

“Should I buy a Kubota tractor or John Deere tractor?” It’s a common question that we thought we’d finally shed some light on with a quick comparison of the two brands. In fact, it’s so common that the brands have answered this question themselves! Watch the videos below to get the pros and cons from each perspective.

(Looking for a comparison for medium-sized tractors? We pit John Deere, Case IH and New Holland Tractors against eachother. Otherwise check out our small tractor comparison.)

Then take a look at our breakdown to see who comes out on top!

Kubota Tractor Video

Disclaimer: This video showcases an overseas model. Configurations may differ from the Australian model.

Still with us? Great, let’s get comparing!

John Deere Tractors Vs Kubota Tractors

Firstly, let us say that these brands are both at the top of their game when it comes to building high-quality tractors and machinery. Their specs are so close, it’s difficult to ‘pick a winner’ so to speak. So we have categorised these smaller tractors by their differences, as well as which brand comes out on top for that particular element. 

Round 1. Plastic or Metal?

Kubota and John Deere Tractor Hoods
Source: Machines4U

As both videos mention, Kubota tractor fenders and hoods are made from tough, durable steel. While the John Deere tractor is made with composite plastics.

Why does this matter?

Metal is great in theory—it’s built tough, it looks nicer, and if well maintained will stand the test of time. In saying that, there are some pretty big drawbacks to using metal in high-impact areas of the tractor, such as the fenders and the hood. Over time, the metal will:

  • Show up fading paintwork easier (no amount of buffing is going to work)
  • Rust, ding and dent
  • Show up the slightest mistakes

While yes, plastic can be damaged, it won’t rust and cosmetically, the John Deere fenders and hoods hold their colour and look much better than their metal counterparts.

Round 1 winner: John Deere

Round 2. Joystick Controls

Kubota joystick
Pictured: Kubota joystick. Source: Machines4U

Looking at the front-end loaders for this round, and no we’re not going to bang on about lift capacity. We’re actually looking at the joystick controls, more specifically the ability to move the joystick to its corners to curl and raise (or drop and dump) the bucket at the same time.

This ability is easily available on Kubotas, but not designed into the John Deere. While it’s possible to maneuver the John Deere in the same way, it takes quite a lot of skill, focus and patience to do so.

For this reason, Kubota wins this round!

Round 2 winner: Kubota

Round 3. Transmission

Kubota 3-range transmission

Now we’re getting to the nitty-gritty. When you’re driving your tractor, you want to be able to do so smoothly. A standard feature on Kubotas (except on the BX Series) is the 3-range hydrostatic transmission (L/M/H).

Comparatively, the John Deeres only offer 2-range transmission unless you invest in their more ‘premium’ series, like the 3R series. This means that the Kubota range gives you more control right off the bat, and many prefer having that M gear to power through the job without compromising on the quality of the work.

Round 3 winner: Kubota

Round 4. Pedals

Kubota vs John Deere pedals

John Deere stick to simplistic design when it comes to floor pedals: side-by-side pedals for forward and reverse. The brake pedal is found on the other side of the floor panel (the left), so emergency stopping is easy. While you’re left with less floor space, having separate pedals makes driving a John Deere tractor more comfortable and easy to master.

The Kubota have the treadle pedal, which is a little bit more technical. You have a pedal near your toe to accelerate, and to reverse you dig your heel into another pedal near the base of your foot. Kubota also have their brake above the accelerator pedal, which could be dangerous in the event of an emergency where quick braking is required.

Round 4 winner: John Deere

Round 5. Specs

When comparing similar compact Kubota and John Deere tractor models, in similar series, the specs are really much of a muchness. So we can’t really pick a winner here.

Round 5 winner: Tie

A Quick Recap

Element John Deere Kubota
Hood & fenders material Composite plastic Steel
Joystick controls Doesn’t easily allow for ‘curl/raise’ and ‘drop/dump’ Allows for ‘curl and raise’ and ‘drop and dump’
Transmission 2-range (L/H) only unless you go for premium series 3-range (L/M/H) available on all tractors except BX series
Pedals Standard side-by-side accelerator/reverse Treadle pedal system – accelerator/reverse pedals are placed at the toe and base of the foot
Other things to consider John Deere 1 Family Series Kubota BX Series
Serviceability More difficult to service due to tight working area Easily serviced
Attachments iMatch Quick Hitch allows for fast attachments without leaving your seat Swift-attach front-end loader is easily removable from operator’s seat
Dashboard Traditional gauges More modern fuel gauges
Mower decks Autoconnect drive-over mower deck – attach the mower without leaving your seat Multiple mower decks available
Will it fit in my garage? Yes – requires the ROPS to be folded Yes – no folding required

The Verdict

When it comes down to it, it really depends on your personal preference. What matters most to you? What are your dealbreakers?

Either way, Kubota and John Deere are solid brands and industry leaders for a reason. Whatever brand you decide, you’ll get good service, proven reliability, plenty of dealer locations and good support. In short, you’ll be happy either way—just choose the brand that ticks most of your boxes!

Have you got something to add to this article? Let us know by commenting below! Otherwise, why not check out John Deere tractors or Kubota Tractors for sale.

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