Deere 1023E vs. 1025R

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.

The Similarities

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.

The Differences

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’.

Better Seat

The 1023e does not have arms on the seat. For me, this is very important. The 1025r arms improve the comfort level significantly in my opinion.

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.

12v Outlet

The 1023e does not have the 12v outlet. So far, I know of 3 uses for this (which don’t cause cancer…).

  1. I have a sprayer with a 12v pump. I use the 12v connector to power this sprayer.
  2. The Artillian Hydraulic Diverter Kit used with grapples and the loader mounted blades.
  3. 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.

Cruise Control

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.


  1. Hello Tim
    Its Bill again, I was on your site awhile ago asking why you didn’t go for the 1023e. Well after reading your reasons and alot of your other articles I’am just about ready to go for the 1025r myself. I would like to ask a couple more questions as I trust your opinion, you and your family are great. First are you satisfied with the garding stuff the 1025r can do. Did I hear in one of your videos you bought your backhoe used, and if so do you look on craigslist or other places, and finally I’am looking at a 1025r,H120 loader and 54″ deck what do you think a good price would be. I’am 68 so this is a little harder of a desicion as to weather I really need it or not.
    Thank you Bill
    P.S. You don’t have to post this if you would rather not.

    • Hello Tim

      You bought your tractor new what’s your feeling on the extended warranty John Deere offers.

    • I wish John Deere would put that comparison on their website: it would make shopping MUCH easier. FYI, my 2018 1023E doesn’t have rubber floor mats, but it does have a plastic floor. Heat from that is not an issue, but heat blowing back from the engine is (I’m in Hawaii wearing flip flops)!

  2. Tim as always I really enjoy and appricate your prospective.
    Thank you Bill

  3. Hi Tim,

    I’ve been meaning to reach out. I stumbled upon your videos on YouTube when I was looking into buying a subcompact tractor. I’ve found you channel and website to be a invaluable resource.

    I have since purchased a 1025r with 54″ deck and h120 loader. I love the tractor. I had a question about maintenance. I read the manual and it says that the transmission and hydronic fluid should be changed after the the 1st 50 hours. But the first engine oil interval is 200 hours. That sounds like a long time. Do you change yours more often? As you can imagine after spending all that money in a tractor I want to make sure I’m maintaining it properly.

    Thanks for all the videos and posts. I already have a list of thing I want to get for the tractor because of your videos.


  4. Hello Tim

    I think you said you bought your tractor new from Mutton what’s your feeling on the John Deere extended warranty.

    Thanks Bill

  5. Tim, I want to find someone online that sells some kind of protective brush guard for my light kit. I already have brush guards for the flashers, but floodlights I have mounted on TOP of my brush guards need some protection for when I’m logging. Any suggestions would be appreciate. Thanks.

  6. Hello Tim
    Wonder if you could help with this question. I have a 1023e and want to trade it in for the 1025r cab tractor. Of course I would like the backhoe and they say it won’t work with the cab. Could it be the seat and rear glass are the only issue? In the Sumer time I can remove the glass and perhaps re position the seat. Any help you could provide with this I would appreciate it.
    I do watch your videos. Thank you David

    • Well, I have a suggestion. Just remember, any suggestion from me is likely worth a bit less than you are paying for it 🙂
      I would suggest that you not get the factory (Mauser) cab since it is not compatible with the backhoe. Rather, consider a 3rd party cab which DOES support the backhoe. For instance the Curtis Cab is compatible with the backhoe.
      Have you looked at the Curtis Cab?

  7. Hey Tim! I recently welded expanded metal on the front guard of my 1025r. It worked out well. Wondering if you have ever considered doing the same?

  8. I have a 1023e with a 54” snowblower attachemnt. I live in New England and this is my 3rd winter. I would never need the 1025r and its options. I am considering the Curtis hard cab this spring. It is a lot less than the John Deere cab

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  10. Hey Tim,
    I Love yalls You tube Channel, Ive watched almost all yall guys videos on
    myRuko 3 or my phone, since I Bought a 1023e/54d auto connect last year,Just the basics ,no attatchments or anything. My First tractor ever with 3 points and stuff. If I had of found yall’s channel before getting the 1023e, Id would have gotten the 1025r. .lol . But I do Love this tractor tho, works well for just the couple of acres I mow.
    Any who, I got a question for ya, Maybe you can make a video Called Tractor For Dummies after you read, But i mowed mostly last year, never took the 54d Auto connect deck off till last week, after putting on a bottom plow to start a garden,It did awesome plowing the garden ,but had a tuff time getting the deck back on ,it kept sliding on driveway. First i tryed on Asphalt part of drive, then i tryed on the gravel part , but it still slid there also even having the wheels up and deck on the ground, I finally got to ride over the deck on a hill part of the yard, Is it best just to use a grassy area to do this?
    The Bigger problem i had, was the Drive shaft kept hanging down and wouldnt line up to where it needed to go, I Had to lay on the ground and hold it up while my son inched the tractor foward. I know this wasnt safe to do, How can I remedy this from doing it again? or have you ever had the same issue with the 1025r?

    Thanks Jeff

  11. Tim , I’m buying a 2018 1025R w/cab (mauser) and a few attachments, 60″ mower, loader, 54″ snow blower 48″ cutter and tiller. I have too tell you that your videos made my purchase a ” I can’t wait till it gets here”, watching your projects and seeing how well this tractor works has me wishing it was here now. Please keep up the great work you are doing, God Bless.

  12. Douglas Johnson

    Tim, I have a 1025R tractor that I call Hulk. I was wondering what make of quick hitch do you recommend? What do you have? Thanks

  13. Have you ever thought about touring the John Deere factory at Grovetown, Georgia. Since you are a big supporter of John Deere products, the company might pay you for the trip.

    Just an idea, and I appreciate your videos.

  14. I am currently shopping for my first tractor and I am considering either the 1023E or 1025R. I was leaning toward the 1025 and your article has pushed me over the top! I think it’s a better long term investment. The ability to control a box blade for maintaining my very long driveway alone makes the extra $$ worth it. Thanks for the article.

  15. Tim, I bought a 1025R based on your analysis and I love it! I’ve used the loader and rear blade so far and it makes light work of everything.
    I do have a question about the snowblower though. I was attaching it to the PTO and noticed that I didn’t have a shaft to attach to. I then noticed that the shaft came off with the mower deck. Is this normal? Do I remove it from the mower and use it for the blower?
    Thanks for all your help and articles, very useful!!!

    • Solved my snowblower problem. It was a user problem! I forgot to remove the mower quick release bracket before attaching the blower! Oh well, I learned something.

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  57. Currently the price difference is $4,000 between these 2 tractors, and I just don’t see that buying the 1025r at that difference a value add. I may have to look at something different because of this.

    • The price difference should not be $4000. Usually about $2500. Perhaps your dealer has a 1023e he is having trouble selling?
      Anyway, the sales of 1025r to 1023e is probably 10 to 1. Some folks prefer to save the money, but most opt for the upgraded features described in this article.

      I certainly can’t say it is a mistake to buy a 1023e. They can do a lot of work for the money. Also, the ‘missing features’ are often missing on the competition tractors …even the premium versions. For example, position control 3 point hitch is not available on the Kubota BX or Massey GC1725M (both premium tractors).

  58. I have decided to go with the Massey Ferguson because the front loader has a higher capacity, it has cruise control, and the Deere Dealership said if I had repair issues, the pickup/delivery costs would be $180. Other factors were also considered. I did like the look of the Deere better, but the Massey is tje better tractor.

  59. I purchased a 1025r a few months ago. I am amazed by this little beast. I haven’t found anything it can’t do – and do easily. I use it daily for just about everything on my 12 acres. While is sounds simple, the arm rests, cruise control, and side lights make a huge difference. I had my sights set on a 2 or 3 series when I went to the dealer. Once I sat on the 1025r I changed my mind. My ego says go bigger – but there is no reason. This little machine will make you very happy.

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