2011 Craftsman Professional Yard Tractor 46 inch 26 hp Model 28888 Review

Update: This tractor has been replaced with the new CTX Series  Craftsman!

2011 Craftsman Professional Yard Tractor 42 inch 24 hp Model 28888 Review

A Great Mowing Lawn Tractor!

It’s Not The Best Lawn Tractor….It’s The Best Lawn Tractor For You!

Craftsman Pro Model 28888

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, Medium Hauling, Snow Removal, Accepts Light Attachments & Bagger.

Type: Lawn Tractor. See Tractor Rider Mower Types for a complete explanation.
Engine Type: Best. See Engine Types for a complete explanation.
Transmission Type: Hydrostatic. See Transmission Types for a complete explanation.
Speed Control: Foot (Pedal) with cruise
Accepts Medium Duty Attachments:

What I Like!

What do you get when you take a Cub Cadet 1046 and drop in the best 26 HP Briggs & Stratton Professional Series Motor?  Yes, The Craftsman PTY9000 Model 28888!  This mower replaces the 42 inch 28980 from last year.  It has a larger deck, larger motor, 12 inch turning radius, high back seat, and 12 position cutting height control.

The 28980 proved to be one of the best lawn tractors in the entire Craftsman line.  It had virtually had no repair issues and this mower will be the same. It mows great, bags great and is very agile for it’s size.  This mower will be the same quality as the 28980 it replaces.  A great mower, a good tractor, capable of performing all the yard tasks around your 1/2 to 2 acre suburban yard.

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 tractor series, 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 the 28980 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 do normal maintenance like changing the oil, air filter, belts and blades. The 28888 will do the same.

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

Do you want all the bells and whistles? The Craftsman Professional 46″ Yard Tractor features a high performance cutting deck with 12 cutting heights that will give you the flexibility to get your job done faster. Power and performance comes from the 26 HP engine and foot controlled hydrostatic transmission; a tight 12″ turning radius will save time. Its fully loaded with features that will do the job faster and make you more comfortable.

  • Briggs and Stratton 26 hp OHV V-Twin engine with spin on oil filter
  • 46 in. deck featuring 12 cutting heights ranging from 1.5 in. to 4 in. and four deck wheels
  • Foot pedal hydrostatic transmission with cruise control
  • 12 in. turning radius for extreme maneuverability
  • Deck wash system for easy clean-up
  • Heavy-duty 9-gauge steel frame with cast iron axle
  • 3-gallon gas tank with sight gauge
  • High back seat with extended auto slide
  • Mow in reverse capable
  • Premium fender flares with grab handles
  • 15 in. x 6 in. front tires; 20 in. x 8 in. back tires
  • 230 CCA Die Hard™ battery
  • Color: Black/Gold
  • 2-year full, 5-year frame and limited lifetime front axle warranty
  • Not available for sale in California
  • *as rated by engine manufacturers

Added on January 06, 2011

My Review:


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 and offers their legendary Protection Plan.

The frame is an “L” design instead of the channel frame found on the Turn Tight Tractors.  It is a heavier 9 gauge steel. Yes, the frame is thicker, but is it stronger?  Only time will tell.  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 am not a big fan of the 12 inch turning radius, but it should not be a “deal breaker” for you unless you have very poor, sandy soil. This is the same steering found on the Cub Cadets and 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 MTD 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 the motor alone is worth the extra money over the YT series.  This Professional Series Craftsman will give you many years of good service.

Ask a question, leave a comment, tell us about your mower below:

If this tractor is not for you use the categories in the right column to read about other sizes and brands:



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