2011 Craftsman YT 3000 42 inch 21 hp Riding Lawn Tractor Model 28851 Review

Introducing the Craftsman YT 3000 42 inch 21 hp Yard Tractor Model 28851 with Turn Tight Technology. This new tractor let’s you spend a lot less time trimming your yard. Get done faster without the problems of a zero-turn mower. This easy-to-use riding mower is great for your suburban lawn.

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

My Rating of this Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower:

Craftsman Model 28851 with Turn Tight!

My Value/Cost Rating: Yard Tractor,  Mows Lawn Well, Mulches, Gets Through Tight Spaces Well.  Great for 1/2 to 2  Acre Lawns, Light Hauling, Light Snow Removal. Accepts Light Attachments & Bagger.

Type: Yard Tractor.
Engine Type:Better. Full Pressure Lube.
Transmission Type: Hydrostatic.
Speed Control: Fender Infinite
Accepts Medium Duty Attachments:

Don’t Forget Your Trailer, Dethatcher, Aerator, Broadcast Spreader.

What I Like!

Half of you who buy a Craftsman tractor this year will buy a YT 3000 or YT 4000.  The leading consumer magazine and I have rated these mowers as a “Best Buy” and with the new Turn Tight Technology I feel they are the “best mower for about $1500.”   This is the best Craftsman for value, cut, durability and overall satisfaction for your typical suburban yard.  Basically the YT 3000 and YT 4000 series are available with 42 or 46 inch decks, single cylinder or twin cylinder motors, manual or hydrostatic transmissions, and fender or foot control speed controls. Please read my reviews of all the YT models so you can find the best mower for you.  Over the last 2 years I have mowed with both the 42 and 46  inch decks and they cut as well or better than any other mid-sized deck.  With correct blades for your lawn the fully vented decks have good lift for poor lawns and get rid of the grass evenly and quickly for well kept lawns.  With premium mulching blades and a mulch cover they mulch well.  With hi-lift blades both decks bag very well.

Watch the New Turn Tight Technology In Action!


Craftsman YT 3000 42 inch 21 hp Riding Lawn Tractor Model 28851

Read More Here: Turn Tight Technology

My Review:

Priced at about $400 less than the highly comparable D120 John Deere and $300 less than the LTX 1042 Cub Cadet, this Craftsman is one of the best values on the market today.  This model features the new Craftsman Turn Tight Technology,  step through operator’s platform, oil pump lube engine with oil filter, and a 42 inch deck designed around the 46 inch Model 28724 Consumer Reports Best Buy.

The 28851 has the fender control hydrostatic transmission.  This transmission is easy to use and will perform well for mowing and medium duty yard tasks.  If you are replacing your old Craftsman that had fender controls this is the 2011 mower for you.  If you are new to mowers you may want to look at the YT 4000 series which feature foot controls. (it drives more like your car)

If you want a mower that will mow 1/2 to 2 acres well, handle a snow blade, and all the non-ground engaging attachments this is a great choice for you.  This tractor is heavy enough to handle moderately hilly and rough lawns.  There are other mowers in the Craftsman lineup that will mow faster, or pull more, but this is a great all around mowing machine.  This lawn tractor is one riding mower that will work well for your suburban lawn.

I like the mid-size YT 3000 series.  I think they represent a good value and a machine that if taken care of properly will last you a long time. If I didn’t have 34 inch gates to go through on my own yard I would seriously consider this model for myself.

This yard tractor is capable of using all the non-ground engaging attachments Sears offers including a snow blade.


The YT 3000 is heavy enough, but I recommend going to a twin cylinder motor (YT 4000)  if you want to attach a  snow thrower.   You will wish you had bought a larger engine for snow throwing.

Final Thoughts:

I personally feel the new Turn Tight Technology this yard tractor changes the game for just about all residential yard owners.  For most of you this will mow as quickly as a residential zero-turn.  It is easier to drive, is easier on your lawn and less expensive than the comparable zero-turn models.  There is no “learning curve” like there is with a zero-turn. It will handle slopes that the residential zero-turns won’t.  And………it will pull stuff!

There are very few negatives with this mower as long as you understand that it is a good quality mid-sized mower designed to mow lawns well.  Take care of it (do the normal maintenance all lawn mowers need) and it will last you a long time.  I like this lawn mower for what it is designed for.  With the Turn Tight Technology and at around $1399 on sale it is a great value.

Product Description From Sears

Cut grass easier and more efficiently with this 21 hp Yard Tractor by Craftsman featuring Turn Tight™ technology which gives you the tightest turning radius of any yard tractor available in the market at 8″ for best in class maneuverability. A tighter turning radius lets you cut more closely around landscapes obstacles and prevents you from the need to repeatedly reposition your tractor. Featuring a Briggs & Stratton® Platinum Series engine, this yard tractor is built to last. With 4 gauge wheels for easier maneuverability and a 42″ deck for wider cutting areas, this yard tractor is the perfect

  • Exclusive Craftsman Turn Tight™ technology delivers an 8 in. turning radius
  • Exclusive 21 hp Briggs & Stratton® Platinum engine with full pressure lube
  • Exclusive 42″ Precision cut mowing system
  • 4 adjustable gauge wheels
  • Premium hydrostatic automatic transmission
  • Fender shift for added convenience
  • Spring loaded deck life system
  • Handy cup holder
  • Wider step thru area
  • Automotive type slide seat system
  • Weight: 505 lbs
  • Color: Red/Black
  • Fully assembled
  • 2-year full, 5-year frame and lifetime front axle warranty
  • Not available for sale in California

Bagger Model:
Craftsman 6 Bushel 2-Bin Soft Bagger for Lawn Tractors

Turn Tight Technology  Buy Online – Pick Up At Your Nearest Sears, Buy Online – Have Delivered To Your Home.

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

Please give your city and state when you comment

  1. Owning the YT3000 42″ mower I would highly recommend wheel weights for uneven ground, I find myself losing traction at least 8-10 times while mowing my yard(it’s a bit uneven). I end up trying to lean to the side that’s spinning doing the balance act of leaning my weight to the side and keep the seat sensor from cutting the mower off. I truly believe once I get some weight added it will mow with no trouble. Pulaski VA

    • @Jacob, Great idea and it will help. Yes, a lot of lawn tractor owners add wheel weights for traction on really uneven ground. It’s a better idea than putting a weight box in the rear. The weight box can make the front end too light going up hill.

  2. I purchased a Craftsman YT3000 42 inch 21HP mower new 3 years ago. I had never owned a Sears mower but had always heard great things about the quality so I bought this one. This was a serious mistake. Super poor quality. Many problems the first year with stalling, backfiring, fuel filter leaking and finally during the second year after many service calls the tech told me the engine had lost compression and he would replace the engine. Right there I should have insisted on my money back as although the tractor now has this new engine 1 year ago, it still doesn’t start easily and at time tries to stall when I engage the mower deck. I am seriously considering biting the bullet and replacing this pile of junk, and no, I will not contact Sears for another service call nor will I EVER purchase another Craftsman riding mower. My 21 inch self propelled Lawn Boy which is about 17 years old is far more dependable!

    • @Jim, So it’s not the tractor that has given you problems, it is the engine? The engine is made by Briggs & Stratton and used by all the tractor brands. It will probably be in the next tractor you buy. It sounds to me like Sears has really stood behind their product because their two year defects warranty does not cover fuel related issues (none of the warranties cover fuel/carb issues anymore)

      That said, since you have the same issues with two different engines in the same tractor it’s most likely not the engine but something else. If you don’t mind I am going to play “Mr. Obvious” for a little bit.

      Hard starting with an engine that is only one season old is either fuel related or the choke is not closed completely when you go to start the cold engine.

      The first thing I would do is adjust the choke/throttle cable to be sure the choke is closed completely.

      Second I would look at your fuel supply.
      -Are you using a sealed gas can? If not throw the old one away and buy a new sealed one.
      -Are you using a fuel stabilizer all the time? If not I suggest 2 tablespoons per gallon of SeaFoam. Put it in your storage can every time you get fuel.
      -Are you using fuel less than 30 days old? I never leave fuel setting around for over 2 months even with a fuel stabilizer in it.
      -Are you buying your fuel from the same place all the time? Switch
      -Are you buying from a blender pump? One hose, but the pump has buttons you can push for the different grades. If you have to use a blender pump put one gallon into your car first before you put the fuel in your gas can. That way you will get the correct fuel.

      The fuel in your lawn tractor right now.
      -Remove the fuel filter and use the gas line hose to drain the fuel from the tank. You can put that fuel in your car. Remove the gas cap, push the mower inside and let it sit overnight just like it is. (You are letting the tank dry out if there is any water in the old fuel)
      -I suggest replacing the fuel filter.
      -The next day hook the filter back up and fill the mower with the NEW, treated gas you just bought.
      -Run the motor for at least 10 minutes (go mow your lawn)
      -When you start the deck be sure to have the throttle at least half-way before you try to start the deck (The motor will stall if you try to engage it at idle)

      Let us know how much better the tractor runs.

  3. Hi, the deck on my old Murray 42″ mower broke, and so I am considering purchasing a machine like this 28851. However, the 4″ maximum cut height may be an issue for me: among other things, I would be using this on a very rural property to cut along electric fence lines prior to string trimming. The grass will often be eight or more inches tall when I do this. The terrain is pasture terrain, and thus uneven, and the slopes can be about 12% in a few places. Despite being a low-end mower, the Murray actually fit the bill reasonably well, since it had a six inch cutting setting and the engine seemed able to do the slopes (although, who knows, it was probably over-taxed to do it and its a good thing I’m not very heavy). I’m not ever going to bag, and I’m not overly concerned about turning radius. I have a big tractor for ground engagement, so this purchase doesn’t need to cover that need. It would be nice if this tractor could pull a small sprayer (doesn’t need to pull it up the slope, since it is downhill to the pasture). Can you suggest a durable machine for farm-type work? Thanks, Kurt

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