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

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

Cons:
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

Dimensions

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

Comments(98)
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