2012 Craftsman YT 4500 54 in 26 hp Hydro Yard Tractor Model 28858, 28008 Review

Executive Summary: If you have a lot of yard to mow and not a lot of money to spend on a mower this is the one!  It has a large 26 hp Briggs or Kohler motor, a good hydrostatic transmission, a great cutting deck, plenty of available attachments and Craftsman’s Turn Tight 6 inch turning radius. It will handle all of the non-ground engaging attachments Sears sells.  This is Craftsman’s most inexpensive large area Yard Tractor. Compared to all the other brands this yard tractor has more of the features you want. With Craftsman continuing the Turf War this year it will be a great deal!

By Paul Sikkema. Find Paul on 

This lawn tractor review covers the Model 28858 and 28008, 54 inch version of the Craftsman Yard Tractor. There are six other models in the series:

42 in 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28851,
42 in 21 hp Gear Drive Platinum Briggs Model 25022,
46 in 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28852,
46 in 22 hp Kohler Plus Model 28853, This review covers all the features!
42 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28856,
46 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28857,
The 42 in 24 hp Gear Drive Model 28925 is discontinued for 2013.

Brand/Manufacture: Craftsman / Husqvarna
Model/Series: Yard Tractor / YT 4500
Item Number: Model 28858 (Briggs & Stratton Motor) Model 28008 (Kohler Motor)
Buy Here: Craftsman 54 In. 26hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 10 x 8 in.
Kohler Version: Craftsman 54″ 26hp V-Twin Kohler Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA

Store Pickup: Delivery: Buy Online, And Have It Delivered To Your Home:
Street Price: Less than $2199.99 (Less than $2249 for 28008 with Kohler)

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is Craftsman’s Best Quality. The LT 2000 series is less quality.  The Premium Craftsman’s are better.

Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Yard Tractor. See the recommended attachments at the end of this article.
Compare it to: Husqvarna 26 HP V-Twin Dual Hydrostatic 54-in Garden Tractor $2299.00 at Lowes, John Deere D160 48 in. 24 HP Hydrostatic Front Engine Riding Mower $2599.00 at Home Depot


Craftsman Model 18858

Good Foot Control Hydrostatic Trans
Step-through Platform
6 inch Turning Radius

Could Use Larger Tires
Will Not Mow Over 3.5 inches
No Ground engaging Equipment

Retail Price: $2099.99  Check The Best Sale Price Here: Craftsman 54 In. 26hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 10 x 8 in.
Kohler Version: Craftsman 54″ 26hp V-Twin Kohler Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA

My Review:

This is not a Garden Tractor. This is a lawn tractor with a big motor and big deck. !  The 54 inch deck sticks out the side of the tractor and makes it easier to get closer to landscape beds, fences and buildings without the tires making a mess. The 6 inch turning radius is so good you will forget about wanting a zero-turn mower.

This lawn tractor continues to be the best priced tractor on the market for your larger suburban yard!  For example, my neighbor has four acres of flat, sandy lawn with about 150 trees on it.  He mows short (about 2 inches) and doesn’t own a string trimmer.  He only pulls a lawn sweeper once or twice a year and always side-discharges the clippings.  He has older zero-turn now but he never did learn how to use it well and always tears up his turf every time he mows. This Yard Tractor is perfect for him.

This tractor has a larger motor and stronger transmission than the YT 3000 and YT 4000 Series Craftsman’s.  It has smaller tires and a smaller transmission than the GT6000 Garden Tractors.  If your lawn is fairly smooth and flat this combination of tires, engine, and deck will do a good job for you. It has the same deck as the GT6000.

This lawn tractor will mow in reverse.

People who buy this yard tractor want a dependable mower with a dependable motor.  They want the step-through design, a nice seat all at a good price.   This is a great tractor with a great cutting deck and may just be the best value for you and your suburban lawn.

This article was first published at TodaysMower.com 

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on this review.  If you have specific questions leave a comment below and myself or the readers will be glad to answer them.  This is a great tractor and if you want one to last this should be at the top of your list.

Comfort – Ease of Use:  Deluxe high-back seat, easy to use operator controls, good field of view.  This Yard Tractor is very comfortable to operate and drive. The 6 inch Turn Tight steering greatly reduces your trimming time.

Power For Mowing:  This tractor has plenty of power for side discharge mowing every week.  It bags well, but mulches only average.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by Sears.  There have been very few issues with the build quality but learn to take the deck off and put it back on by yourself. Read the manual and do this a couple of times until you are comfortable doing it.  This way you can easily clean the deck and sharpen the blades. About 1 out of 1000 Kohler motors have an oil leak right out of the box.  If you see oil dripping from the engine area call Sears service right away and get it fixed. It’s an easy fix and once does the motor will run fine for years.  One thing to know – Sears takes the tractor out of the shipping crate but they do not “setup” the tractor. (John Deere dealers are the only retailer who does) You have to put gas in it, and run it for the first time. If there is an assembly problem you call 1-800-469-4663 and a service tech comes out to your home and fixes the issue. The store where you picked it up from or the delivery team does not repair the tractor. If you buy another brand make sure you understand their repair policy if you have a problem.  Many of the other brands make you take the mower to an “authorized service center”

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has average traction and handling and is similar to all the other lawn tractors from the other retailers.  The steering though has the tightest turning radius of all the brands.  Some users complain about the traction and I feel if your lawn is not fairly flat you may not like this mower.  I recommend you never use a mower like this on wet or drought-dry slopes.

Mow – Mulch- Bag:  This tractor gets average marks by owners for mowing, mulching and bagging.  There are two concerns you need to be aware of. First, because of the smaller tractor tires the deck will not mow higher than about 3.5 inches.  Second, when you install a mulch plug the deck tends to throw debris out the right front.  If the wind is just right you will be covered in grass by the time you are done mowing. Be aware this is not a “high-speed” deck like you will find on a commercial lawn mower.  It mows perfectly at 3-5 MPH but don’t expect it to mow as fast as the tractor will go (5.5MPH) and give you the same results.  With this tractor/deck you set the height of cut using a lever on the tractor fender.

Specifications, Features, Benefits

The rest of this article is taken from the retailers website. Specs subject to change.

Type:  Yard Tractor
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 2.0 acres at 4 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes, Moderate slopes
Excels in mowing around obstacles? Yes, Tightest turning radius in the U.S.

Will Mow In Reverse? Yes

Manufacturer: Husqvarana
Brand: Craftsman
Engine Power: 26 hp* 
Displacement: 725 cc. 
Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton or Kohler
Cylinders: Twin, cast-iron liners
Type: OHV, oil filter, Pressurized with automotive style oil pump
Charging System: 15 amp regulated
Battery: DieHard
Choke/Speed Control: Separate Choke/Throttle
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3 U.S. gal. 
Transmission: hydrostatic 
Transmission Control:  Direction/speed – foot control with dash mounted cruise control
Cruise Control: Yes
Forward Speed: 0-5.5 mph
Reverse Speed: 0-2.5 mph
Chassis: 12 ga.
Front Tires: 15x6x6
Rear Tires: 20x10x8
Front Axle: Cast Iron, lifetime warranty on axle
Hood Material: Steel
Hourmeter: Yes
Tool Tray: NA

Cupholder: Yes
Headlights: Yes
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes
Deck washout port: Yes
12-volt outlet: No
Steering: Type 2-wheel steer
Turning Radius: 6 in.
Uncut Circle Radius: ? in. 
Spindle Bushings: Metal, greaseable, replaceable
Seat Back Height: Deluxe high back
Fore-aft Adjustment: 6 in. while seated
Seat Suspension: Two coil springs
Deck Lift System:  Spring assist, Fender
Mower Cut Height: 1.5 in. to 4 in., 6 position
Cut Height Increments: ? in.
Preset Cut Height: No
PTO clutch: Electric

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge
Mower Cutting Width: 54 in.
Blades: 3
Mower Deck Material: 11 ga.
Mower Wheel Adjustment: Yes
Mower Level Adjustment: Exact
Mower Drive System: In-line belt, Electric PTO
Mower Attachment: 3 point Not EZ-Off
Mower Drive: Belt Tension Spring
Mower Wheels Rotate For Deck Removal: No


Wheelbase: ?-in. 
Overall Length: ?-in. 
Width without mower: 42-in. 
Width with mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) 57-in. 
Height: ?-in. 
Weight: 520 lb with mower, no fuel

U.S. Warranty: 2 year limited, 3 and 5 year optional protection plan

Buy Here: Craftsman 54 In. 26hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 10 x 8 in.
Kohler Version: Craftsman 54″ 26hp V-Twin Kohler Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA


  1. GA July 10, 2013
    • Paul Sikkema July 13, 2013
  2. Scott April 18, 2013
  3. Scott April 18, 2013
    • Paul Sikkema April 18, 2013

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