2012 Craftsman 30 in, 420cc, Model 25000 Riding Mower Review – Updated

Executive Summary: 2013 Update: Yes, there was that one problem with the safety switch on the deck. Craftsman fixed that for 2013 and decided to change the model number to avoid all confusion. Read the review of the 2013 Model 29000 here: Craftsman 29000

 This is Craftsman’s new Small Yard Solutions Rider.  I got a chance to test it yet April 17th.  Read the comments at the end of this article to see what I thought about it.  Hint: It is a good as I expected!  It features a 30 inch 3-in-1 deck, 6 speed shift-on-the-go transmission and a short turning radius for a riding lawn mower.  This is not the same mower that Sears had last year.  This new mower has the same proven trans as the LT 1500 series tractors.

UPDATE 3/24: I had a chance to look this one over last week. This rider has a very nice metal rack and pinion steering. It steers very easily and turns shorter than the Weedeater and the Craftsman 28034. I like the tire size on this mower. The tires are very large for the size of the mower and you will not have the traction issues the Weedeater One’s have. There will be a mulch kit for it, and a bagger. Update: 3/28. The mulch plug and bagger are ready to order.  See the attachments at the end of this article.

You can adjust the steering wheel height!  This means that short and tall people can comfortably drive this mower!

5 foot 2 inch rider with steering down / 6 foot 2 inch rider with steering up

Is this the right mower for you?: If you just want a good mower and you have a flat lawn about 1/2 to 3/4 acre put this little rider at the top of your list. This mower will go through a 32 inch gate. This mower is fun, agile and easy to drive, but it is limited to mowing a flat lawn and pulling a small yard cart. If you try to pull heavy loads or use this mower on hills you will not be happy with it.   This tractor will mow up to .75 acres an hour.

This tractor uses the popular and dependable MTD shift-on-the-go transmission. The 30 inch deck is a vented design.  At this point there is no mulch kit or bagger available.   This is a great yard mower and is designed to primarily mow lawns.  If you need a tractor that will pull a heavy yard cart, sweeper or other normal pull-behind attachment look at a different tractor.

Brand/Manufacture: Craftsman / MTD
Model/Series: Craftsman 420cc 30″ 6-Speed Rider (49 States) Mid Back

Where To Buy: Craftsman 420cc 30″ 6-Speed Rider (49 States) Mid Back

Buy It Here! Craftsman 29000

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is a “Good” quality. The Craftsman LT 28881 series is less quality. The  YT-3000 series are better.

Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Riding Mower.  This is considered a rear engine rider even though the motor is in front of the rear axle for better weight distribution.

Craftsman 420cc 30 in 6-Speed Riding Mower

Proven Transmission
Tight Turning Radius
EZ on and off
Will Fit Through Most Gates

For Small Yards
Use for light attachments ONLY
No anti scalp wheels

Retail Price: $999.99 Check The Best Sale Price Here: Craftsman 420cc 30″ 6-Speed Rider (49 States) Mid Back

My Review:

There is not a large market for this small of a mower and when Briggs decided to stop making their 30 inch a few years ago no one wanted to fill the gap right away. 

Last year Husqvarna came out with one (Craftsman, Weedeater, Poulan Smart Rider) but the transmission was not heavy enough and Craftsman decided to stop selling it in the middle of the season.  This year though MTD has developed this mower for Craftsman. It features their bulletproof 6 speed shift-on-the-go trans.

This mower is designed to go through most gates, mow small yards and be inexpensive. ($400 less than the 28034) I expect a lot of customers to give this little mower good ratings as long as they use it for it’s intended purpose.

This article was first published at TodaysMower.com 

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail at this time. After I get a chance to drive it in April, I’ll come back and fill you in. I don’t expect ANY problems with the rider though.  This mower uses “standard” technology and won’t give you problems in normal use.  If you have specific questions leave a comment below and myself or the readers will be glad to answer them.  

Comfort – Ease of Use:  

Power For Mowing:  The motor is adequate for side-discharge and bagging. I’ll let you know about power for mulching. 

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by Sears.  

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has a low-effort steering.   I recommend you never use a mower like this on wet or drought-dry slopes.  It is too narrow to work on slopes. 

Mow – Mulch- Bag:  The 30 inch blade on this mower will cut great, but will tend to scalp your rough lawn.   If you have a rough, uneven lawn be aware of this and just raise the deck up a notch and it will mow fine. 

Specifications, Features, Benefits

The rest of this article is taken from the retailers website.

Type:  Riding Mower
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): .75 acres at 3 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? No
Excels in mowing around obstacles? Moderate to good

Manufacturer: MTD ?
Brand: Craftsman
Engine Power: 11.5 ?  hp* 
Displacement: 420 cc. 
Manufacturer: MTD ?
Cylinders: Single
Type: OHV, oil filter, Full-pressure Lubrication
Charging System: 12 v ? amp regulated
Battery: 155 ? cold-crank amps
Choke/Speed Control: Integrated levers
Fuel Tank Capacity: 1.3 U.S. gal. 
Transmission: Six Speed Shift on the Go
Transmission Control:  Fender/Clutch pedal
Cruise Control: NA
Forward Speed: 0-5 mph
Reverse Speed: 0-2.8 mph
Chassis: Frame Welded heavy-duty/Primer/Paint E-coat/powder
Front Tires: 13×5
Rear Tires: 16×6
Front Axle: Steel Tube
Hood Material: X
Hourmeter: No
Tool Tray: No

Cupholder: Yes
Headlights: No
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes
Deck washout port: Yes
12-volt outlet: No
Steering: Type 2-wheel steer, Telescoping 
Turning Radius: 18 in.
Uncut Circle Radius: ? in. 
Spindle Bushings: Metal, replaceable
Seat Back Height: 11 in. 
Fore-aft Adjustment: 5 in. while seated
Seat Suspension: NA
Deck Lift System:Fender
Mower Cut Height: 1 in. to 4 in., 5 position
Cut Height Increments: ? in.
Preset Cut Height: Yes
PTO clutch: Manual

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge 3-in-1
Mower Cutting Width: 30 in.
Blades: 1.
Mower Deck Material: 14 ga. Steel
Mower Wheel Adjustment: NA
Mower Level Adjustment: Exact
Mower Drive System: In-line belt, Manual PTO
Mower Attachment: 4 point Not EZ-Off
Mower Drive: Belt Tension Spring
Mower Wheels Rotate For Deck Removal: No


Wheelbase: ?-in. 
Overall Length: ?-in. 
Width without mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) 32-in. 
Height: ?-in. 
Weight: 332 lb with mower, no fuel

U.S. Warranty: 2 year/Unlimited hour

Optional Attachments

Mower Model Number: 25000

Mulch Kit: 3352
Baggers: 24035

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111 Comments on "2012 Craftsman 30 in, 420cc, Model 25000 Riding Mower Review – Updated"

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I have a Craftsman 30″ rear engine 247.25000 RER1000 mower. My deck belt broke and I ordered a new 954-04318 belt. I followed the manual instructions for replacing the deck belt and had no problem by removing the deck. The only problem is the manual does not show or tell where to attach the Blade Idler Pulley Bracket, Upper Part #: 783-07306 spring. One end attaches to the pulley bracket but does not show where to attach the other end of the spring. Where do I attach the other end?

Hi Paul, Thanks for the suggestion of tipping the engine up to access the carburetor. For now, I was able to get the mower running about 1/4 throttle. I added half a can of Seafoam to a quart of gasoline. I used a new battery filler to force the mixture into the fuel line just after the tank filter. Then I started the engine for a few seconds. Next I reconnected the fuel line system and removed the small vice grip that pinched off the tank line. I added to the tank the Seafoam and gas mixtur÷a and started the… Read more »
Hi, I have the 2500 and it started to run out of gas when the tank was over half full. The trouble was traced to the fuel cut-off solenoid at the bottom of the carburetor. Since there was only a $20 difference in price between the new solenoid and a new carburetor assembly I opted for the carburetor. I see that there are three bolts that hold the carburetor and air horn in place, but there doesn’t seem to be room enough below the solenoid to get the carburetor assembly out, and the solenoid can’t be removed first. So I… Read more »

Paul, Do you have any tips on replacing the drive belt on the rer1000? It seems impossible without a total disassembly. One year old and the main belt broke for no apparent reason. Thank you


what is the best 30″ mulching blade for the 2500

Sharon Little
Bought the 25000 Craftsman in April 2012. Loved the mower………6 weeks later when I shifted into neutral, it would go in reverse. Called Sears and they come to look at it. After running it in my driveway, the tech got it to do it. They ordered a new transmission and it was installed in July of 2012. All worked well until this spring…..2015 three mows into the year, I experienced the reverse when in neutral. Knew that the transmission was on the “fritz” again! Continued using it maybe one more mowing and it made noises…….I could hear them over my… Read more »

Please give what is needed for lawn mover CRAFTSMAN 25000

Bob Simpson

Bob Simpson – Smithton, Il

is there a mulch plug for model 247.25000 I recently got one from sears part number 33525 but it is for the model 247.29000 the 247.5000 does not have the small tab on the deck area or the the studs on the deck surface for installation. Can you help

Paul, I’m happy to report what ended up happening with my poor performing 25000 on two issues. First, the uneven cut. I believe this was caused by the spring holding the deck pully (belt release/engage) was installed incorrectly. After the tech installed the simple spring to the correct location on the tractor, the belt pully worked flawlessly and was delivering full power to the blade, now the tractor cuts perfectly even with the mulch plug on. Second, the known problem you discussed above, (the deck safety switch) – there is a Service Kit Fix (p/n 753-08040 – RER 1000 REAR… Read more »
wells carey

I have bought the crafsman 247 25000 model and am completely satisfied with it after solving the discharge safety switch. also I have read this model had transmission problems is there any truth to this ?

@Paul (June 5, 2013) Paul, I think you’re on to something. Taking your advice, I removed the deck and gave it a good scrub. There was about a 1/8 inch or so buildup of tightly compacted buildup all along the top of the underbottom of the deck. I cleaned it up, put the deck back up, and FIXED…for about 5 minutes. Then it started the strange cutting before. Going with your idea, I thought maybe my mulch cover (I left off that detail before) might be causing the same effect that you’re describing, that the deck is getting all clogged… Read more »
Ray Farley

If you are having with the mulch switch, make sure that all 3 tabs are in the holes and bump the mulch attachment until it fully makes contact with the switch.

Bob Simpson

Is there a mower lift that will fit this 3o inch mower. I want to sharpen the blade and would like to have a lift to get under the mower – also it would help to get a good clean out from under the mower.

I got to say I purchased this mower in large part to the review on this site. First mow was awesome, and I loved it. Second mow, the battery cable came loose, and tractor wouldn’t start. After awhile, I figured it out, tightened up the cable, and then I loved the tractor again. After awhile, I started having the infamouse mulch cover safety switch problem. I fixed that with folded paper, and I have to reseat the folded paper now about every 5-10 mows. I loved the tractor a little less. Then, I started having problems that seem to be… Read more »

Does anyone have any idea how to level the deck side-to-side….or is it strictly in the tire pressure?

Than ks

Ray Farley

The mower will mow in reverse.


[…] love their rider and I expect the 29000 to be even more popular! Go here to read my 2012 review: 2012 RER-1000 See the new rider here on Sears.com: Craftsman 420cc 30″ 5-Speed Rider […]


I have a Craftman 30″ Rear Engine and I have enjoyed. My only problem has been with cutting. Lately, when I cut my grass there are uneven cutting lines. Have you heard of this before or what can I do to correct this problem? The mower is less than two months old.

Mike T
I absolutely love my Craftsman 30″ model 25000 lawn tractor; that is when it works. When the first tractor arrived, it worked well. The next time I tried to use it, it wouldn’t start. Since it was going to be quicker to get a new one in exchange quicker that a tech could could be scheduled to repair it, I opted for a new replacement. Used the second one successfully twice. When I went out to mow just before leaving town, it would not start. Turn the key, and not a sound. Both safety switches were engaged and proper starting… Read more »

[…] Owners either love this mower or hate it. This is a nice, small mower designed to mow flat, level, smooth lawns.  If you are mowing an old, rough lawn with large trees, dips and ruts you will not like this machine.  If you are unsure of your lawn, but a small rider is right for you move up to the Craftsman Shift-On-The-Go.  […]

Ed K
Paul – I’ve had a chance to use my mower a couple times now. Overall I like it a lot, it handles great and it’s a comfortable ride and I especially like that it fits in my garage. I have been using the Mulch plug and it works fine. However, compared to my neighbor’s 42″ twin-blade (craftsman LT1000, the lowest model) it’s not quite as clean of a cut, and the 42″ would spread the mulch a little bit better. Also, this 30″ mower’s tires are thinner, and thus tend to leave a little more “track” on my lawn than… Read more »
Jack Sawyer

How can I modify the 25000 to get it to mow in reverse? I am electrician and I can do it with the right wiring diagram. I have NEVER seen this before, my last Craftsman could mow in reverse. These laws are ridiculous.

Ed K

Jack – I think there’s a liability risk by telling you exactly how to do it. That being said, it’s VERY EASY to disable. Takes 5 seconds once you see it, requires no cuts. Just look at all the wires around the levers – you’ll figure it out.

Nick C
Paul Thank you for the review of this product. I went into the local sears a couple days ago to check this unit out after reading your review. I was very surprised to hear the “salesman” do everything he could to talk me out of buying this unit. He said he had sold one to somebody a few days prior and the customer brought it back the next day saying it was horrible. He told me he vowed at that point not to sell it to anybody else. I have a completely flat hard with only a couple minor dips.… Read more »
bill jeffery

Hi Paul,Anxiously awaiting your review on the Craftsman 25000. It’s now available in Wisconsin. Have heard you cannot mow in reverse?! Does the provided mulch blade do a good job? What about the grass catcher performance? What is your opinion on which extended warranty is the best value? Thanks. Bill

Paul, Sears delivered my tractor a few weeks ago. I have cut once and am very happy so far. (The statement here about the reverse switch was removed because of liability concerns) The only thing I am a little unhappy with is that with the blade setting in position one, I think it cuts a little too close. In position two, it seems much higher (too high for my liking). Any suggestions on how I could find something in between? Maybe a couple washers on the blade bolt so I can cut in position two but the blade will be… Read more »
Bob Simpson

I am planning to purchase this riding mower, however I would like to see your test review before I make a decision. When do you plan to complete your test.

Thank you


Paul, I ordered this mower Tuesday (with the additional 3 year warranty) but won’t get it until May 3rd. Maybe that’s an indication that they are selling a lot of these. I’m anxious to start using it. I prefer the 30″, single blade, mowers for my half acre and have owned 30″ mowers before and got very little scalping. You eased my mind concerning the engine being made by the 4th largest manufacturer, can you say who? I’m looking forward to reading your full evaluation after you test drive next week. Thanks for all of the info you’ve provided.

James Gilbert

Paul- I just received this mower this week and I have not gotten the chance to try it out on my lawn or hook up the bagger, but it runs great and turns very well. My only concern at the time is that all the pictures of this on the Sears website show a black possibly rubber cup holder insert and the actual holder is just a large opening that I think a drink will fall out of while mowing the grass. Do you know if there was suppose to be a insert for this?

Bob Simpson

I have heard that it is hard to change the oil on the sears craftsman 30 inch model 25000 riding mower. What are your comments. Thanks


I’ve had it for a month now. Nothing happens when i turn the key. the repair man is coming in two more weeks to look at it. the 3352 MULCH plug is still NOT AVAILABLE!


Paul, You were 100% correct! It was the grass chute not tightened correctly, so the inactivated button would not allow it to be cranked. After adjusting the grass chute, making sure the button was depressed, it worked perfect! thanks

Paul, I have ordered this mower, but did not come across your site until afterwards. Now I have one slight doubt. My yard is a half acre. The front yard is totally flat, but the backyard is slightly sloped. No rolling hills, but definitely a bit of a slope. I weigh about 140 pounds and will generally be the one doing the mowing with the mulch plug in place. Any wisdom would be much appreciated. Assuming I go ahead with the purchase, do you recommend the extended warranty? What is the approximate cost of that? Thanks, Susan

Hey Paul Came across this website by chance Very informative,Thank You. My question is with the 30in. 420cc model.Because it is a smaller tractor built for smaller flat yards (which I Have) are there any weight restrictions for riding this machine (6’2″ 250lbs).Do you know when in April you’ll be posting a review? Really nawing at the bit get this one but want to wait to hear what your results are Thanks again


OK Paul The 17th has come and gone and we are all chewing at the bit to read about your test drive of the unit and to get the real deal on what you think about it. How’d it go?

Scott D.
I just bought this last night and it will be delivered on Friday. I was torn between this one and the Snapper knock off. One thing you should be aware of is that it does not mulch. My needs are small, slightly less than 1/4 acre flat contiguous regular grass (no brush). While the other one is all steel and proven for years, frankly, what made the difference for me was the ease of reaching and operating all controls from the saddle. I also purchased the optional 3 year parts & service maintenance plan which covers everything short of bending… Read more »
Paul, I have about two acres of flat mountain land to be mowed. Right now, the grass is high (over 12″) from last season, because I didn’t get my last mowing in before the snow. Will this mower handle that? Also, I have the normal indentations that come with the terrain. Will it be shaken to death by those? If the answer to either of these is in the negative, do you have a recommendation? I have to pay around $200 to have a pro do my mowing; so I would like to have my own that is easy to… Read more »
Barbara Iliff

I own a Weed Eater One and want to make sure that this one steers better, also, does this one cut in reverse? I need this size because of my 36″ fence gate.


[…] Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Riding Mower  Compare it to: Craftsman 28 in RER, Craftsman 30 in 420cc Shift-on-the-go Rider […]

NEW Craftsman 30 in SMART RIDER Riding Lawn Mower Model 28001 Review | TodaysMower.com

[…] dependable transmission that is in the 28881 Lawn tractor. Here is my write-up of this new mower. 25000 Review . By the way, the28034 is still one of the best “under 30″ mowers on the […]


[…] dependable transmission that is in the 28881 Lawn tractor. Here is my write-up of this new mower. 25000 Review . By the way, the 28034 is still one of the best “under 30″ mowers on the […]

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