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!
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.
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
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 ?
Engine Power: 11.5 ? hp*
Displacement: 420 cc.
Manufacturer: MTD ?
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
Tool Tray: 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
Type: Side discharge 3-in-1
Mower Cutting Width: 30 in.
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
Overall Length: ?-in.
Width without mower: ?-in.
Width with mower: ?-in.
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) 32-in.
Weight: 332 lb with mower, no fuel
U.S. Warranty: 2 year/Unlimited hour
Mower Model Number: 25000
Mulch Kit: 3352
Draning the oil
I was wondering if you've come up with a better way to drain the oil?
I'd like to have a cleaner way for my next oil change. You mentioned easy-to-find pipe and connectors might be a solution in November 2012.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
Response: No, Plumbing your own drain using 1/4 inch pipe is the only way right now. Craftsman has that wonderful drain on the YT series but since this motor is built by a different manufacture I\'m sure we won\'t see anything similar for anytime soon.
Love the Mower!
I posted in the spring after I ordered this mower. I used it all summer and fall and love it. I had a couple issues with the switch on the chute but that was easily corrected. I bought the mulch plug and it worked great on my bermuda and zoyzia lawn. I also bought the bagger but haven't been as thrilled with it compared to other I've owned. Overall it's an excellent mower and I think I made the perfect choice. I noticed that the mower is not showing on the Sears site, have they discontinued it already?
Response: I\'m glad you like you 25000! Other than adjusting the chute switch I have heard of no other problems either. Sears has sold out of the 2012 model and they stated the 2013 will be out sometime in Feb. That\'s why it is not showing at the moment.
Draining the oil for the 25000
Paul, I made a huge mess trying to use the included drain chute to drain the oil in my 25000 mower. You mentioned putting an extension on the mower. Can you be more specific with details on how to do this? Thanks.
Except for getting access to the battery and the oil issue, I'm happy with my purchase.
Response: Jim, I\'ll work on this an put together the entire project in the next month. It\'s not a hard job, but I want to find easy-to-find pipe and connectors
Overall, very good mower
We purchased the Craftsman 25000 RER mower early in the summer 2012. I have been using it on average once a week to maintain a 3/4 lawn with lots of trees to dance around. This mower seems to cut and mulch very well (with the optional mulch plug). Seems to have plenty of power, even pulling a trailer. There is much to like about this mower - looks, power, handling, comfort, fits into tight spaces. That being said, there are some quirks. The steering sticks at full lock, left or right. THe cowling makes access to the battery difficult. The oil drain tube did not work too successfully spilling oil everwhere. Finding alternate blades (pure mulching or hi-lift) proved a challenge with the 6 point (rather than the more common 5 point) star hole in the blade. The optional bagger blows dust profusely (my backside is black after bagging leaves). The 'safety' interlocks are problematic. The shift between your legs took some getting used to. The mower tends to blow leaves out instead of sucking them into the bagger. Also, hard to tell when the bagger is full. I did have a new (longer) trailer hitch made, so it is not covered up by the triangular bagger mounting plate. Now I can leave the mounting plate on AND use the trailer hitch. Neither Sears nor MTD have been especially helpful, sorry to say. Would I buy it again, yes! My biggest concern is long term availability of parts, since this is not a hugely popular model and could be discontinued or redesigned in the future. Gotta go - time to suck up those pesky fall leaves again!
Response: Mark, I\'ve been told that blades will be available in-store next year at Sears. Sales have been strong enough that this mower will be around for quite some time.
I agree with you on the battery access, the oil drain, the interlock switch on the deck and the shifter between your legs.
If I had one I would put a pipe extention on the oil drain so it doesn\'t make a mess.
This mower is new and you are right, there is a real lack of knowledge about the mower yet. But, the engine and trans have been around for years. It will get better in the coming years. Troy-Bilt and Lowes are also selling this (with a different engine and name on the hood) so I expect to be able to get parts.
Works great for me
I bought this mower May 12, 2012 and it was delivered May 16. I also bought the 40" aerator and it was delivered at the same time. I've used it 6 times, one time to aerate my 1/3 acre lot, which is not level and has a slight slope in the back yard. After the first use, I ordered a mulch plug frm MTD. I couldn't drive the mower through two of my 36" gates. Wouldn't fit. With the mulching plug in place, I can go through all gates. I have to say I am really happy with this mower. Even though it's a slight hassle to have to stop the cutting blade before going into reverse, it becomes routine after a while. It cuts very well. I use the number 2 cutting height. I've had no problems with scalping. It turns really well. I run it in number 3 speed. Because my lawn is not flat, I do have to wait for the dew to dry, or the tire will slip on the slopes. I was amazed at how well and easy it was to use the 40" aerator. The mower had no problem pulling the aerator, which had 30 pounds of concrete block in the tray. The aerator did an awesome job of taking 21/2" to 3" plugs out of the lawn. I weigh 165#, and the mower did not have a problem aerating the lawn. I've had no problems at all with either piece of equipment. Only once did I have a problem which was reported on another review, and that was when I stopped the blade, put the mower in reverse, backed up, then put the mower in forward, and it didn't go forward. I put the mower back in reverse, then forward, and it went forward. So, this was a one time issue. The mower starts flawlessly. The washout feature is great.
I am really satisfied with this mower and aerator.
Love my new mower, but have noticed an issue with the transmission. Put it in reverse...worked okay. Then I stopped and placed it in forward and engaged the PTO. When I took my foot off brake, it went in reverse and was mowing. What could cause this malfuntion. I've tried to duplicate, but so far it hasn't occurred again.
Response: I have heard of one other instance of this. It was the shift linkage was not adjusted quite right.
The seat on my new Craftsman 25000 lawn tractor is not making sufficient contact with the PTO switch. I weigh about 170 lbs and when seated, the PTO switch is not fully pressed. I was able to start the engine by holding the brake/clutch down with my foot, completely depress the PTO switch with one hand, and turn the key with the other. Any suggestions?
Response: @Mike, Make sure the chute switch is making contact first. The chute switch is giving most people the problem.
If you are sure the seat switch is the culprit call sears service and have a tech come out and replace the switch or seat as needed to make it work correctly.
Call 1-800-4MY-HOME to set up an appointment.