2012 Craftsman 42 in 21 hp YT 3000 Gear Drive Model 25022 Yard Tractor Review

The 2014 Craftsman T2000 Model 20380 replaces this Craftsman and improves it with a great new look. 2014 Craftsman 42 inch T2000 Model 20380

Executive Summary: This Yard Tractor has not changed for 2013 and replaces the 28925. It features a 6 speed gear drive transmission and the new 6 inch Turn-Tight Steering!   42 inch side discharge mower.  On sale at $1399 it is one of the best value mowers on the market but read this entire review before you buy this tractor.  The 6 speed, manual transmission and single cylinder engine may not be the best choice for you!.  The YT3000 series has an excellent reputation for dependability.  It has a great cutting deck. Owners give the YT3000 tractor series great reviews and most of the rating websites like consumersearch.com and consumerreports.org also rate it as one of the best.

by: Paul Sikkema

This lawn tractor review covers the Model 25022, 42 inch version of the Craftsman Yard Tractor. There are seven other models in the series:

42 in 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28851,
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,
54 in 26 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28858,
54 in 26 hp Kohler Model 28008.
The 42 in 24 hp Gear Drive Model 28925 is discontinued for 2013.

Brand/Manufacture: Craftsman / Husqvarna

Model/Series: YT3000 / Yard Tractor
Item Number: 25022
Buy Here: Store Pickup: Delivery: Craftsman 42″ 21 hp Turn Tight Yard Tractor 49 States Deluxe high back
Street Price: Less than $1399.99

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

Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Yard Tractor. See the list of attachments at the end of this article.
Compare it to: John Deere D100, Cub Cadet LTX 1040Ariens Model 960460025

 Pros:
Great Cutting Deck
6 inch Turning Radius!
Full Pressure Lube Engine
Nice Seat

Cons:
Single Cylinder Engine
Manual Transmission

Retail Price: $1399.99 Check The Best Sale Price Here:  Craftsman 42″ 21 hp Turn Tight Yard Tractor 49 States Deluxe high back

My Review:

I am personally not a big fan of manual transmissions in Lawn/Yard/Garden tractors.  My only gripe about them is they don’t have a clutch mechanism like a car. Yes, they have a clutch pedal but when you start, stop, or change gears you actually release the tension on the drive belt from the engine to the transmission.  Why does this matter?  First, There is no “feathering” action when you go to start moving so every time you shift the tractor jerks.  (A lot of people complain the  front wheels will lift off the ground) Second, If you release the clutch going up or down a hill you put the tractor in “freewheel” and it will coast down the hill. Third, The brakes on these lawn tractor transmissions (all manufactures, not just Craftsman) are horrible and have to be replaced every few years. 

The engine is a single cylinder Briggs & Stratton. It is not a smooth as the Twin in the YT4000 series and you will experience a little more vibration when you are mowing with this tractor. This motor is dependable, but the twin in the YT4000 also has a little more torque and if you plan on installing a snow blower seriously look at the YT4000 before you buy this tractor.

Don’t misunderstand me, the transmission itself is as dependable as you can get.  Most of these transmissions out live the tractor itself. (15-20 years) It’s just the jerking motion you get when starting and shifting that people don’t like.

The rest of this mower is the YT Series tractor that is rated by everyone as the best or at the top of the pile. In the “under $2000 price category, the YT Series is the “best value” tractor on the market.  It is a better value than the 100 series John Deere, 1000 series Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt. Toro and Ariens Lawn Tractors.  The YT series Craftsman tractors mows well, drives well, and lasts much longer than the LT Series Craftsman and most of the other “lawn tractors” you find at Home Depot or Lowes.  Heavier frames, cast iron front axles, good motors, and good transmissions.

Craftsman calls this class of tractor a “Yard Tractor”  This class of tractor is quieter, easy to use and will last longer than the “lawn tractor” class.

This article was first published at TodaysMower.com 

Comfort – Ease of Use:  Great seat, easy to use operator controls, quick steering, good field of view.  While not as comfortable as the New Premium Craftsman Tractors or the X300 John Deere this is one of the most comfortable tractors under $2000

Power For Mowing:  This tractor has plenty of power for for mowing, mulching and bagging.  I feel it is a little under powered for a snow blower. 

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by Sears.  This tractor is new, but I expect very few complaints on this tractor.  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 1-800-4MY-HOME and a service tech comes out and fixes the issue. The store where you picked it up from or the delivery team does not repair the tractor. 

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has average traction and handling and is similar to all the other lawn tractors in this price range.   I recommend you never use a mower like this on wet or drought-dry slopes.  If you need more traction, buy the Craftsman Premium with differential lock and traction control.

Mow – Mulch- Bag:  This tractor get high marks by owners and independent review organizations for cutting, mulching and bagging.  But, be aware this is not a “high-speed” deck like you will find on a commercial lawn mower.  It mows perfectly at 3-4 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 lever on the tractor.  

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.

Specifications, Features, Benefits

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

Type:  Yard Tractor
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 1.4 acres at 4 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes
Excels in mowing around obstacles? YES! 6 inch Turn Tight Steering!

Will Mow In Reverse? Yes

Manufacturer: Husqvarna
Brand: Craftsman
Engine Power: 21 hp* 
Displacement: 540 cc. 
Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
Cylinders: Single, Cast Iron Liner
Type: Platinum, OHV, oil filter, Full-pressure Lubrication
Charging System: ? amp regulated
Battery: DieHard
Choke/Speed Control: Integrated Throttle/Choke
Fuel Tank Capacity: 2.5 U.S. gal. 
Transmission: Helical 6 speed manual
Transmission Control:  Clutch, Fender Shift
Cruise Control: NA
Forward Speed: 0-5.5 mph ?
Reverse Speed: 0-2.5 mph ?
Chassis: 12 ga. rail frame
Front Tires: 15×6-6
Rear Tires: 20×8
Front Axle: Cast iron
Hood Material: Steel
Hourmeter: No
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, replaceable
Seat Back Height: High back, Deluxe
Fore-aft Adjustment: Yes
Seat Suspension: Two coil springs
Deck Lift System: Fender, Easy-Lift
Mower Cut Height: 1.5 in. to 4 in., 6 position
Cut Height Increments: 0.5 in.
Preset Cut Height: No
PTO clutch: Manual Lever

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge
Mower Cutting Width: 42 in.
Blades: 42 in.
Mower Deck Material: 13 ga.
Mower Wheel Adjustment: 4 anti-scalp wheels, tool required
Mower Level Adjustment: Exact
Mower Drive System: In-line belt, manual PTO
Mower Attachment: 3 point Not EZ-Off
Mower Drive: Belt Tension Spring
Mower Wheels Rotate For Deck Removal: No

Dimensions

Wheelbase: 49.4-in. 
Overall Length: 73-in. 
Width without mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) 45-in. 
Height: 46-in. 
Weight: 490 lb with mower, no fuel

U.S. Warranty: 2 year limited, 3 and 5 year complete


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  3. Orlando,Fl.. What are the 2 holes in the
    fenders and dash for? I’ve tried buying
    a canopy without luck.

    • @Pat, No one knows……….yes, there was a canopy available a few years ago and a mister/fan to keep you cool. I’ve never been to the factory in Orangburg but someday I’ll just have to see for myself.

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  7. I just have acouple questions about the YT 3000. Would a grass bagger in any way be hurtful or damaging to the mower? And also, what are the most common problems that you know of with the hydrostatic transmissions and would or should these deter you from purchasing one vs. the 6-speed transmission?

    • @Nelson, No, the mower is designed to use the bagger. The only problems that you may have is over working the hydro transmission. If you plan to pull 1000 lb loads up hill for the next few years you May wear out the hydro prematurely on this tractor. In other words Craftsman has very few problems with this transmission in this mower. You may also need to replace the drive belt if you use it on steep hills every few years.

      In fact, I have more issues with a six-speed than a hydro.

  8. Paul, is the $50(or so) extra cost between the 28851 and the 25022 worth it? Is the primary diference the hydrostatic transmission? As I understand it, the hydrostatic is a smoother transition while the helical “jerks” when disengaging the clutch, correct? Are there any other differences such as more torque, power, or longer life?

    Thanks.

    • @Kelly, YES! the hydrostatic transmissions are the easiest to use, they offer a continuously variable speed from just a crawl to a full speed. I also think the belts last longer because they have constant tension on them.

      My largest issue with the 25022’s manual transmission is to shift it you have to stop the tractor to shift and this makes it hard to use for most homeowners. For example, if you are on a hill and want to slow down, you have to stop the tractor on the hill and move the shifter. If you don’t push the clutch/brake all the way down you have the chance of rolling down the hill while you are trying to shift. In this example, the problem is compounded because the brake is just not that good. It is basically a parking brake and not a brake you can feather like the one in your car. It will hold the tractor on the hill when it is new, but after a few years it will not work right.

      Others may argue with me about the brake, but just about every tractor (and every brand of tractor) I have driven that is over 5 years old the brakes are junk.

      Torque and power are the same. The manual transmission will last the life of the tractor (10 to 30 years) The hydro will not last as long, but still it will give you 10 years or longer life.

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  10. I’ve noticed Sears has dropped the turning radius from 8″ to 6″ on the 2012 TTT line, but they now show the new 6″ radius on their 2011 models also. What gives?

    • @Tony, An interesting thing happened – Craftsman measured the radius the same way everyone else does and found that the Turn Tight is actually 6 inches. So nothing has changed between 2011 and 2012, the tractor steering is the same.

      • Thanks Paul, that had been bugging me. One more critique; hopefully the hydro models are coming soon. Only the “appearance” of a different shade of red seems to separate the 2 model years, but since the 2011 has an 11 ga instead of a 13 ga frame, wouldn’t it be a superior tractor to the 2012? Great site……….

        • @Tony, I’m not sure the frame gauge was ever written on any of the literature so I don’t know for sure if there is a change. I’ll ask.

          • Paul, The Sears L&G site gives that info on both the 11 & 12 3000 & 4000 series tractors………….

            • @Tony, I just want to verify the 2012 data because there is supposed to be no difference between the 2011 and 2012’s. It’s awful early and I expect a few mistakes and typos on the 2012 data.

              I’ve already caught three mistakes and that’s not including spelling Craftsman wrong on 4 different tractor pages :)