Jan 2012: Until I hear something different DO NOT buy a Craftsman Smart Rider, Poulan Pro PB 30 or Weedeater SmartCut unless you have a FLAT lawn and you weigh less than 150 lbs. The transmission is prone to quit working if you are too heavy or you try mow slopes. I was told Husqvarna is developing a solution but so far we have heard about an update.
It’s Not The Best Lawn Tractor….It’s The Best Lawn Tractor For You! My Rating of this Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower:
Update June 1, 2011.
It has come to my attention that the Craftsman Smart Rider, Poulan Pro PB 30 and the Weedeater SmartCut have a transmission issue that you need to be completely aware of BEFORE you purchase one of these units.
Like the original Weedeater One, this riding mower is designed for a specific use and the owners who use it for that purpose love it. The mower is designed to mow flat lawns. The transmission is also designed for an average weight rider and no attachments. If you use the mower to mow slopes you will have to have the transmission adjusted as often as every 25 hours. If you pull a yard cart or any other attachment and your weight and the weight of your attachment is over 200 lbs you will experience a sluggish moving riding mower that will eventually stop working.
This need for a regular transmission adjustment is not explained in the sales literature by the manufacture and it is not something an owner can to themselves. You will have to pay for this adjustment.
All three units, The Poulan Pro, Weedeater 2 and Craftsman Smart Rider all use the same transmission and are all affected by this need for regular adjustment.
This is not a safety issue but a performance and customer satisfaction issue. There will be no recall on these riders.
I know many of you have purchased the Craftsman Smart Rider. I still think it is a good mower for what it is designed for and for the price. This is not a safety issue and Sears will stand behind the product. I know Sears will support this riding mower for the 2 year warranty period and if you purchased the 3 or 5 year protection plan will adjust the trans as part of that program for the duration of the plan. If you purchase a Poulan Pro PB30 or Weedeater SmartCut from a different retailer or dealer be sure you have in writing that they will service it for the warranty period.
My Original Review:
Craftsman “Smart Rider” Riding Mower
My Value/Cost Rating: Rider: Mows Lawn Well, Mulches, Gets Through Tight Spaces Well. Great for 1/4 to 1 Acre Lawns, Light Hauling, No Snow Removal. Accepts Light Attachments & Bagger.
Don’t Forget Your Trailer, Dethatcher, Aerator, Broadcast Spreader.
What I Like!
I have one acre, 35 trees, 9 landscape beds and a big dog yard. The yard gates are 34 inches. This riding lawn mower is perfect for this type of yard. The 30 inch deck (big blade) will mulch well and the light weight (220 lbs) won’t leave ruts in the sandy areas. This is a great mower for small, complicated, lawns like this. It is very easy to drive and gives you great visibility all around. The small deck and step through design will be easy for us old, stiff guys to get on and off. Even better, it is over $300 less than the riding mower it replaces.
By the way, This mower with a smaller motor is also branded as a Weedeater and Poulan Pro. Buy the Craftsman. You will like the extra power!
What I don’t like!
The steering wheel is too small for me. This is a direct turn mower meaning you only have to turn the steering wheel 1/2 turn from pin to pin. I would like to see a larger steering wheel like the one on the 28034 .
This mower is not that great on hills. Running on a side hill it feels tippy (even though it’s not) and two customers so far complain about it not going up hills well. If you need a small mower and have hills – buy the 28034.
This is the bigger, stronger brother!
There are three other versions of this mower. All of them have a smaller motor than the Craftsman version. The Craftsman has a 12.5 hp Pressurized Briggs with spin on oil filter. In my opinion more power is always better, especially if you are going to mulch so I recommend you purchase the Craftsman version.
Here are two videos of this mower. Every detail is explained well. The Website where you can learn more is:
Craftsman Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower 12.5 HP 30 in Model 28001
Product Description From Sears
Powered by a Briggs & Stratton 12.5HP OHV engine, this riding mower is designed to maximize efficiency and power. With infinite mowing speeds and an ergonomic high back seat, you can comfortably cut more area in less time, making this mower a great solution for all of your cutting needs. Briggs & Stratton Quick Start OHV Series engine 30″ high-lift 2-n-1 deck; mulch or side-discharge Automatic transmission Premium comfort steering wheel Ergonomic high back seat
Weight: 222 lbs
Cutting Range: 1-1/2 to 4 in. Deck Thickness (Gauge): 13 Deck Cut Width: 30 in. Type: Turf tread Rear: 16 x 6.5 x 8 in. Brakes Type: Disk Speed & Direction Control: Shift lever Steering Wheel Type: Standard Steering Type: Conventional Turning Radius: 30 in. Chassis: 14 ga. steel Bagger Model: 23010
2011 Craftsman 30 in SMART RIDER Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower Model 28001 Review by Paul Sikkema