You’re seriously looking for a sub-compact tractor. Most likely you are excited about the potential purchase while simultaneously in shock when you consider the price of this ‘over-grown lawn mower’. This feeling of shock likely has you considering the 1023e rather than the EVEN MORE costly 1025r. This article will evaluate the differences, hopefully helping you to make a wise decision.
First, we should examine the shared aspects of these tractors:
- Same Frame.
- This means the same strength of materials, same height, length, width, etc.
- Same Tires
- Combined with the frame, this means the same turning radius
- Same Attachments
- Backhoe, Loader, Front Blade/Blower, Mid-mount mowers are identical, and are available on both tractors.
- Same Hydraulic Capacity
- Hydraulic pressures and flow rates are identical.
Based on all of the shared characteristics above, the 1023e seems like the better value. But, before we make a decision, we should evaluate the differences. I’m going to list them in the order of importance from my perspective.
Engine Size & Power
Arguably the biggest difference is in the engine. The engine has a much (~30%) larger displacement, resulting in roughly 2.5 additional horsepower. Maybe 2.5 HP isn’t so much, but on a percentage basis, the 10% improvement seems quite relevant. While I haven’t heard any 1023e owners complain about lack of power, I certainly wouldn’t want any less power on my 1025r.
3 Point Hitch Position Control
All larger tractors have this feature. Rather than a simple ‘up/down’ control like the loader or other hydraulic outlets, the 3 point hitch can be set to any specific height. There is an adjustable ‘stop’ which allows the operator to repeat the same working depth on each pass. This type of control is important on almost all types of ground engaging equipment, especially plows and cultivators which do not have any ‘gauge wheels’.
Tilt Steering Wheel
There isn’t a lot of room to get your legs in and around the steering wheel. So, I find that I use the tilt wheel EVERY SINGLE TIME I get off the tractor. I don’t like to drive it with the wheel in the upper position, and I can hardly get out/off with the wheel in the lower position. Try this out for yourself. It is easy to test at the dealership, even without starting the tractor.
Fender Mounted Work Lights
The front lights are essentially useless when using the loader. They shine directly on the loader bucket, providing a glare in your face, and a shadow on what you WANT to see. The fender lights are a requirement if you intend to work at night. I would even go a step further and suggest that you get the additional ROPS mounted lights. With all 6 lights, you can finally see what’s going on.
One other note on the lighting. I THOUGHT I read that the 1023e did not have the same pre-wiring for the additional ROPS worklights and rear light(s) which the 1025r has. However, I cannot confirm that at this time.
The 1023e does not have the 12v outlet. So far, I know of 3 uses for this (which don’t cause cancer…).
- I have a sprayer with a 12v pump. I use the 12v connector to power this sprayer.
- The Artillian Hydraulic Diverter Kit used with grapples and the loader mounted blades.
- Charging all of the Tractor Time with Tim video and audio equipment with a 12v USB converter.
You may not need to have a bunch of video production equipment on your tractor, and you may not be planning to buy a grapple or sprayer either. However, it is quite nice to know you have the necessary expansion available if needed.
Rubber Floor Mat
I don’t have much to say about this. I don’t know if it makes a difference or not. As a kid, all of the tractors on our farm had steel ‘floorboards’. The only time I remember this being a problem was with the IH 656 Hydro belonging to my uncle. It became so hot that it would burn your feet through your shoes! …but I digress. I doubt you’ll burn your feet with the 1023e!
A toolbox is very important (at least for me.) I suspect you can talk your dealer out of a toolbox, even if you choose the 1023e. You need one.
This one sounded important when I bought the tractor. Perhaps it would be if I were mowing 5+ acres with no turns involved. In reality, I’ve tried to use it only once or twice, and then just because I wanted to figure out how it worked. I found it cumbersome. The foot pedal is easy to use and maintain consistent control. It is actually surprising how well one can control the tractor with the foot pedal, and equally surprising that it doesn’t cause fatigue on the leg and foot.
So, you’re planning to buy a Deere 1-series and necessary attachments. The 1023e is $1800 cheaper than the 1025r on the Mutton Power website right now. I suspect you could push them a little on that delta. I would estimate that the 1025r outsells the 1023e at least 5 to 1. I base that estimate on the ratio I see on dealer lots of each model, by the discussions on Green Tractor Talk and by the ratio I see for sale on craigslist.
Of course, it is your money. You should NEVER spend more than you can afford. Having said that, if you are cutting it so close that the additional $1800 makes it un-affordable, perhaps you should save up for a year or two before entering the sub-compact tractor market.
For me, (and the vast majority of 1-series buyers), the choice was rather obvious. Get the 1025r. You will not regret it.