2011 Craftsman Professional Yard Tractor 42 inch 24 hp Model 28980 Review
It’s Not The Best Lawn Tractor….It’s The Best Lawn Tractor For You!
My Rating of this Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower:
My Value/Cost Rating: Lawn Tractor: Mows Lawn Well, Mulches, Gets Through Tight Spaces Well. Great for 1/2 to 2 Acre Lawns, Light Hauling, Snow Removal, Accepts Light Attachments & Bagger.
Type: Lawn Tractor.
Engine Type: Best.
Transmission Type: Hydrostatic.
Speed Control: Foot (Pedal) with cruise
Accepts Medium Duty Attachments
What I Like!
This tractor has been discontinued! There is too much duplication in the Craftsman line and with the introduction of the Turn Tight in the YT line Craftsman decided to drop this tractor for 2011. This tractor is unchanged from the 2010 model (Read my review here). Last year I was a little cautious about this mower because it was a new model from a new vendor and even though it looked good, I wanted to get a little time on it before I made my review. Well, the 28980 has proven to be one of the best lawn tractors in the entire Craftsman line. It has virtually had no repair issues, it mows great, bags great and is very agile for it’s size.
I want to make one thing perfectly clear though. This is not a garden tractor and this is not a commercial mower. Craftsman Professional series are “deluxed” tractors, with great extra features that make them more comfortable to drive and easy to use. They not heavy duty commercial machines. (though the 28985 comes very close)
Reading the reviews over at mysears.com I noticed the negative reviews were all about what the tractor isn’t and for some reason the new owners did not realize this when they bought the tractor. It is simply a great lawn tractor with the great cutting deck, the best motor Briggs has to offer and a few extras that make this lawn tractor easy to use. If you want to install a johnny bucket or pull ground engaging attachments look at the garden tractorseries, not this tractor. Go here for garden tractors (4 Craftsman garden tractors which one is right for you) Think of this Tractor as the best LAWN TRACTOR you could own.
I have two customers who use this model to make money. They have put more hours on their 3 tractors than you will in 15 years mowing your 2 acre lawn. Of course they did normal maintenance like changing the oil, air filter, belts and blades. Both are happy with the cut and agree with Consumer Reports that this is one of the best cutting decks out there (Consumer Reports rated this deck on the Craftsman Revolution as the second best mower of all mowers tested)
The only service issue I have heard is about 1 out of every 200 engines sold in this tractor has a problem with the electronic ignition right away. (first 10 hours) Of course your realize this is a Briggs problem, not a problem with the mower itself. All the owners had to do was call 1-800-4MY-HOME and a Sears tech fixed the problem.
Product Description From Sears
The Craftsman Professional 24 hp Yard tractor is the essence of productive lawn mowing. Featuring a powerful OHV V-Twin engine and optimal riding and cutting features, this mower will cut grass with great precision and simplicity.
- 24 hp Briggs & Stratton OHV V-Twin engine
- 42″ precision cut mowing system
- 4 deck wheels, 12″ turning radius
- Foot pedal hydrostatic automatic transmission with cruise control for added convenience
- 12 cutting heights ranging from 1.5-4″
- High back seat with extended auto slide
- Premium fender flares with grab handles
- Double bar brush guard to protect front end
- Mow in reverse capability
This mower is considerably different than the 2009 Model 28970. While it has the same yellow and black paint scheme, the frame, deck, transmission, tires, controls and overall appearance are different. It still has the high-end Briggs & Stratton motor, electric blade engagement and rugged front bumper.
This tractor has some of the basic components found in other mowers from this manufacture but Sears has dramatically improved this tractor over it’s cousins the Cub Cadet LTX 1042 and the Toro LX427 . The Craftsman Professional has a commercial grade Briggs & Stratton ELS motor, a free brush guard and offers their legendary Protection Plan.
The deck is very similar to the deck on the Revolution Model 28933. Consumer Reports rated the Revolution’s cut very high in 2009 and 2010.
The frame is an “L” design instead of the channel frame found on the 28970. It is a heavier 9 gauge steel. The 28970 had an 11 gauge frame. It appears to be strong and stiff. I don’t expect you to have any problems with this design.
The hydrostatic transmission is a medium duty transmission and designed for the application. It can pull all of the non-ground engaging attachments Sears sells. It is does not weigh as much as the retired K 46 found in the 28970 but I don’t feel this will be a problem. The tranny manufactures are very careful to size their transmissions to the application.
Last years tires were 20 x 10. The new tires are 20 x 8 and not as flat across the tread. These new tires are a very common size and won’t give you any problems unless you are trying to mow in sandy or muddy conditions.
The drive control is a foot control and drives a lot like your car. It uses a simplified button for cruise control and the parking brake.
I have had a chance to “mow” with this model a few times. One of my customers purchased one with a three-bin bagger and used it to pick up thatch that he had pulled from a lawn with a power rake. It was a good lawn so there was 3 to 4 inches of loose grass on the surface and the PTY9000 did a very good job of picking up this grass and throwing it into the bagger. It filled the bagger well and evenly.
One of the key points for me on a bagger is how much suction the unit has. A good way to check this is to run the mower down a sidewalk and have one edge of the mower hanging over the lawn about six inches. This is an easy way to see how well it picks up the grass clippings along the edge. Many poorly designed decks will take the grass and blow it to the other side but the 42 inch deck on the PTY 9000 did a very good job of picking up the grass along the edge and throwing it in the bagger. I’m confident it will work well for you on normal grass bagging.
I am not a big fan of the 12 inch turning radius. If you have a poor lawn or sandy soil the tractor will “scuff” your lawn if you try to turn that tight. To get the 12 inch turning radius on this mower the manufacture had to put in some negative camber in the steering design. If you buy one of these tractors and it does leave marks in your yard when turning sharply the only way to “fix” this problem is to not turn as sharp. The tractor is engineered to turn sharply, but it will not work well in ALL lawn types and it will leave marks in your lawn under certain circumstances. This is not a “don’t buy” situation, I am just telling you that while this is a good, solid, machine, there will be times where you can’t turn as sharp as the machine can without leaving marks in your lawn.
In summary, this mower is a step up from the YT 4000 series and is worth the extra money over the YT series. The free brush guard and Extended Life Briggs alone are worth the extra cost. This Professional Series Craftsman will give you many years of good service.
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