John Deere E120 Riding Mower Review

If you’re looking for a comfortable riding mower that gets the job done quickly and efficiently, the John Deere E120 riding mower is a solid choice. This workhorse has a plethora of features to make your job easier. Let’s take a closer look.

Review At a Glance

The John Deere E120 has easy to use operations, an adjustable cutting height setting, and an EasyChange oil change system that allows you to change the oil in 30 seconds flat. Thanks to the John Deere E120, mowing the lawn is a simple, enjoyable process that won’t take up all of your valuable free time.


Curious about the John Deere E120? Here’s an in depth look at what’s under the hood, its fuel type, and more.


  • Model: 40N877 (M40)
  • Type: Overhead valve, full-pressure lube, oil filter
  • Power: 20 HP V-twin running engine
  • Fuel type: Gasoline
  • Fuel capacity: 9.1 liters
  • Displacement: 40 cu in.
  • Transmission: 2-pedal foot-controlled 2-wheel drive Hydrostatic
  • Choke/speed control: One lever, ReadyStart
  • Oil drain: Not required due to EasyChange 30-second oil change system
  • Steering type: Sector and pinion with single drag link and tie rod
  • Lift system type: Lever on fender deck
  • Cutting width: 42-in Edge mower deck
  • Deck cutting height: 4-in
  • Forward speed: 5.5 miles per hour
  • Reverse speed: 3.2 miles per hour
  • Front tires: 15×6-6
  • Rear tires: 20×8-8
  • Turning radius: 18-in
  • Limited Warranty: 2 years or 120 hour bumper-to-bumper, whichever comes first

The Good

Thanks to John Deere’s trademark EasyChange oil change system, you can change the oil in around 30 seconds. With the E120, there’s no more struggling with caps and cans. Changing the oil is quick, convenient, and mess-free.


Still not a fan of daytime mowing? You can mow your lawn in the evening thanks to the E120’s LED lights. The engine is much quieter than most riding mowers, too, so you won’t have to worry about annoying the neighbors if you choose to mow the lawn in the evening.


John Deere thinks of everything when designing equipment. This riding mower offers a storage compartment — perfect for storing oil for quick, convenient changes — and a cup holder, allowing you to quench your thirst while you work.


Lastly, if you want a riding mower that will stand the test of time, look no further than the John Deere E120’s welded steel frame. The hood is UV-resistant, so it will hold up to bright sunlight — and the elements — without chipping, warping, or fading.


The Not So Good

Let’s take a look at a few aspects of the E120 we’re not so crazy about.


While the adjustable deck height is impressive, it only adjusts at 0.25 increments and doesn’t have a preset cutting height. The E120 isn’t the most adept when gathering up leaves, often requiring multiple passes to clear them all.


The mower’s fuel capacity also leaves a little to be desired. The tank only holds 9.1 liters of fuel, so you can’t mow for hours at a stretch with this model.

Pros and Cons At a Glance

Want a brief rundown? Here goes.



  • Levers are color-coded and easy to adjust
  • Meets ANSI and OPEI standards
  • Tight turning radius
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Not as loud as most lawn mowers



  • Limited fuel capacity
  • Warranty only lasts for two years
  • Adjustment deck is limited


Many riding lawn mowers come with a steep learning curve, but the E120 is easy to operate, so you’ll be mowing like a pro in no time at all. This is the perfect riding lawn mower for beginners, but it also provides the power and stability seasoned riders need.


Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the John Deere E120.

How easy is it to change the oil with John Deere E120?

It’s effortless to change the oil. The John Deere E120 offers the EasyChange oil system, which allows you to change the oil in 30 seconds.

How do you mulch John Deere E120?

You can purchase a mulch kit (BM21816) from John Deere. It provides a plastic baffle you install under the deck and mulching blades, which work more efficiently than the traditional blades installed on the E120.

What blades does a John Deere E120 come with?

The John Deere E120 comes with 3-in-1 carbon-boron blades, which provide a long lifespan and lasting sharpness, so it cuts through grass instead of breaking or bending it.

How to level deck on John Deere E120?

You can level the deck in a few quick, easy steps:

  1. Park your mower on a flat, level surface
  2. Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper level
  3. Raise the deck to the highest position
  4. Place three 2-in wood blocks under the edges of the deck
  5. Lower the deck to 2.5-in cutting height position
  6. Ensure the mower deck is level
  7. Raise the cutting height to the next highest position and remove wooden blocks
  8. Turn the nut on the front draft arm 1-2 full turns counterclockwise so the front of the deck is ⅛-in to ¼-in lower than the rear to prevent double cutting

How to drain gas tank John Deere E120?

Draining the gas isn’t difficult. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Park the mower on a flat surface
  2. Remove the fuel tank and gas caps
  3. Insert a hand siphon into the fuel tank
  4. Place the siphon tube into a spare gas can
  5. Pump out the gas into the spare can until the mower’s tank is empty

How to change blades on John Deere E120?

Always take safety precautions when changing lawn mower blades.

  1. Park your machine on a flat, even surface
  2. Remove the mower from the machine
  3. Raise mower to access blades, using wooden blocks between blades and mower to prevent turning during bolt removal
  4. Remove the bolt, washers, and blades
  5. Ensure the deflector cup is seated between the spindle and blade
  6. Install blade with the cutting edge facing the ground
  7. Install the washers and bolt
  8. Use wooden blocks to keep blade from moving while tightening the bolt

John Deere E120 how often should I change oil?

You should change the oil once per season or after every 50 hours of use.

How to adjust the tension on a John Deere E120?

After parking your mower on a flat, level surface, do the following:

  1. Put the lift lever in the lowest position
  2. Use a 15mm closed wrench or sock on the idler sheave nut and move idler sheave toward the front of the machine to release belt tension
  3. Install the belt on the drive sheave
  4. Release the idler sheave to tighten the belt

How to tighten gas tank on John Deere E120?

Ensure the tank itself is loose before tampering with your mower. If the tank still jostles around when full, check to ensure the springs are securely in place. Contact John Deere if your gas tank is still loose, as attempting to repair the tank yourself may invalidate your warranty.