New 2013 Craftsman Lawn Tractors, Riding Mowers and Zero Turn Mowers

The new Craftsman Lawn Tractors are up on Sears.com so I thought I would go through the highlights and changes for 2013.

by: Paul Sikkema

First the highlights:

Sears continues to best the best place to order online, pick-up at your local store or have it delivered to your home. They started online shopping first and continue to make it as easy as possible.

Sears.com will have special pricing different from the stores. These special deals allow you to get the best deal possible on your new tractor, rider or zero-turn.  These special deals may be as short as overnight and include promotions like free delivery, extra 5% off, free attachment and other incentives at different time throughout the season. Order you new tractor from the comfort of your home, pick up at your local store or have it delivered to your home.

Sears.com  will have special bundles for the most popular attachments. Sears has recognized that many customers want to purchase attachments with their new tractor.  They have identified five popular tractors and set up attachment bundles with special offers for them. When you visit Sears.com look in the right hand column for these special bundle offers.

Shop Your Way Rewards Members will have even more promotions available to them.  These promotions are above and beyond the sales on Sears.com  (be sure to sign up for free here Sears.com Click on the SYWRlogo at the top left of your screen )

The process to buy your mower online is easy.

  • Just click on a link on this site and you will be taken to the item on Sears.com you are looking for.
  • Order it safely and securely through Sears.com
  • Pick it up at your local Sears (Many tractors will be stocked at your local store and you can pick it up the same day)
  • Or have it delivered right to your home. There may be a delivery charge but expect Sears to have free delivery promotions every time Lowes and The Home Depot runs it.

Craftsman will continue the “Nobody Beats Craftsman” program from 2012:

This program highlights the best of Craftsman through “Legendary Performance”, “Lasting Durability” and “Lowest Price Guarantee”

Legendary Performance:

Turn Tight Technology – 6 inch turning radius on all the Yard Tractor and Garden Tractor series continues to lead the industry in maneuverability. No other brand comes close to this unique steering system. (The Turn Tight has proven to be a strong and reliable steering system and for most customers is a better choice than purchasing a zero-turn mower. Turn Tight allows you the maneuverability similar to a zero-turn and lets you pull (and back up) yard carts, dethatchers etc. ) Turn Tight

Most Reliable Start – Briggs & Stratton motors in the LT & YT series Craftsman tractors come equipped with MRS Spark Plugs. This one small feature is a key to your tractor starting every time.

The Craftsman Exclusive Platinum Series™ engines – Available exclusively on YT series Craftsman tractors. Qualified to 25% longer life, created for medium to heavy-duty use. Heavy-duty single and V-Twin engines deliver more power, less vibration, quieter running and greater durability for the toughest work in your yard. Full Pressure Automotive type, Lube System oil system for cooler operation and longer life.

Lasting Durability:

Lifetime Cast Iron Front Axle Warranty, 10 Year Steel Front Axle Warranty (Select Lawn Tractors) and 2 year warranty on all riders, tractors, and zero-turns.

Lowest Price Guarantee:

The Turf War continues for 2013 with the Craftsman Price Guarantee.  If you find a lower price on a tractor, mower or line trimmer at your local Lowes or The Home Depot store, Craftsman will match it and give you up to $100 in Shop Your Way Rewards Points. Sears will have a special web page set up on Sears.com to match the comparable Craftsman model to the item at Lowes and The Home Depot.

The 2013 Craftsman Tractors, Riders and Zero-Turns

The Craftsman YT3000 and YT 4000 series will continue to be the most popular tractors on the market and in the Craftsman line. There are no expected changes for 2013.

The YT4500 54 inch Yard Tractor and GT6000 Garden Tractor will also stay the same for 2013.

And now the new ones!  I have had a chance to look over and touch all of these new mowers.  I got the chance to inspect them as they were being uncrated at my local Sears.  What I’ll tell you is hands-on, not some advertising copy like the other blogs will let you read.

New Riding Mower: The 2012 30 inch 25000 riding mower is replaced with the 2013, 30 inch Model 29000. Craftsman Model 29000  The only difference though is a new, redesigned discharge chute.  The original chute caused the rider to not start, or run erratically.  The new discharge chute fixes this issue and Craftsman decided to change the model number to avoid any confusion. The owners of the 2012 model absolutely 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 16×6.5

New Under $1000 Lawn Tractor: Sears is introducing a lawn tractor specifically priced at under $1000.  This mower is replaces the 2012 Model 28881. The Craftsman 420cc 42 7-Speed LT1500 is the same tractor as last year’s 28881 with the new Craftsman 420 cc engine that debuted in the Model 25000 rider last year. Customers that own this engine like it a lot. It’s quiet and very powerful.  It’s under $1000 and has an oil filter! Go here to read my 2012 review: Craftsman 28881 Review See it at Sears.com here: Craftsman 420cc 42 7-Speed LT1500 Craftsman Model 28882

New Hydrostatic, 22HP Lawn Tractor!  Completely new this year is the Model 28915.  See it at Sears.com here: Craftsman 22HP Kohler 46 Hand Hydro LT2500 20×8 Craftsman LT2500 Model 28915

The LT25000 is designed for those of you who want a hydro trans, a great motor, but don’t need all the features the Yard Tractor Series have.  Consumer Reports gave this 46 inch deck a “Best Buy” last year under the Craftsman 28884.  I expect this tractor to get “best buy” ratings this year.

One little item I especially like that I haven’t seen for a long time on a lawn tractor.  The fender mounted hydro lever has a slot for normal mowing and another for running around the yard.  You can set the control and know you are mowing at the right speed to get the best cut!

Here are some highlights:

  • 22HP Kohler engine — With its innovative twin-cam design, the Kohler Courage® single-cylinder engine delivers more horsepower and greater displacement than any engine in its class
  • Infinite-speed dual hydrostatic transmission with large 1 in. drive axle provides precise control, and the sealed designed reduces maintenance.  (1 inch axle is what you find on the heavy-duty garden tractors)
  • 46 in. twin blade deck provides great cutting performance
  • Deep-design of the deck lifts grass up , for a superior cut
  • 5 cutting heights from 1.5 in. to 4 in.
  • High back seat
  • 13 in. comfort grip steering wheel
  • 18 in. turning radius
  • Cast-iron front axle with lifetime warranty
  • 2-year limited warranty backed by Sears In Home Service

New 54 inch Craftsman ZTL 8000 Zero Turn! Completely New!

Finally, a Zero Turn Craftsman Mower you can be proud to own!

Craftsman Model 25061 Zero-TurnI have been waiting for quite some time for Craftsman to get their act together and develop a quality zero-turn that is better than the other brands and still at a Craftsman price. I believe they have done it with this mower.

As you know, I really don’t like most of the consumer zero-turn mowers. They are too light for hills, flex too much for a quality cut, and the hydro drives are prone to failing long before the rest of the mower wears out. This new Craftsman fixes most of my issues with consumer zero-turns.

1. Most of the other brands use a welded tube chassis.  These chassis if not gusseted well tend to flex and crack over time. The new Craftsman uses a “tub” chassis.  This gives you a chassis that doesn’t flex and will give you years of service.

2. Most of the other brands have casters mounted directly to the chassis. This makes for a very rough ride over normal lawns. The new Craftsman uses a pivoting front axle to take the bumps and jars out of the ride. The larger front castor tires also help cushion the ride. I know it will ride better than any other zero-turn under $5000.

3. The new Craftsman has a shorter wheelbase and a wider stance than the very popular 54 inch Husqvarna. The shorter wheelbase will make it just a little more maneuverable and the wider stance will make it just a little more stable on hills.  Coupled with the oscillating front axle it should hold on slopes better than most of the other brands.

4. Step on deck pulley covers. I don’t know about you but for me it has always been an athletic event trying to get on a 54 inch zero-turn without stepping on the deck.  The pulley covers on the new Craftsman are diamond plate steel and can be stepped on for easier on and off the mower.

5. The Price!  At $2999.99 it is a good deal but Sears.com will have even better deals all through the year. Right now they have an extra 5% off, free Delivery and 1, 2 or 5% rewards points using your Shop Your Way Rewards.  (Depends on if you give Sears your email and if you use your Sears card to purchase the mower)

6. The transmissions: You normally only find the ZT-2800 transmissions on mowers in the $4000 to $5000 range. These transmissions will eliminate the fading on long slopes you find with other mowers. I feel this is the best feature on this Craftsman and I’ll bet all of the other review sites will agree that these transmissions alone make this zero-turn is the best “under $3000″ mower on the market for 2013.

Read more about it here on Sears.com:
Craftsman 24HP Kohler V-Twin Zero Turn 54 Riding Mower

The highlights:

  • Kohler Courage 24HP OHV V-Twin natural counter-balance design results in more power, less vibration, quieter operation, full pressure lubrication and premium spin-on oil filter for longer life
  • Premium HydroGear ZT-2800 transmissions provided infinite speeds with serviceable oil reservoir
  • 54 in. wide deck design features a timed triple blade system
  • Deep-design of the deck pulls grass up into the blades, for a quality cut that leaves behind fine mulch
  • Electric blade engagement controls blades with the push of a button
  • 6 cutting heights from 1.5 in. to 4.0 in.
  • Pivoting front axle and floating deck
  • 12-volt, 230 CCA battery assures reliable starting in many different weather conditions
  • 3-gallon gas tank with sight gauge
  • Deluxe high back seat with auto slide
  • 2-year limited warranty backed by Sears In Home Service

Please give your city and state when you comment

  1. Pingback: The 10 Most Popular Posts Of 2013 - TodaysMower - TodaysMower.com

  2. Paul – was in store ready to pull the trigger on YT4000… seemed like a good deal at the start, around 1800, but then as I began adding one thing after the other I was over 3k and couldn’t do it. I am re-considering my decision comparing what’s out there seems like the best deal going for tight turn + motor + deck size.

    Question I have is whether it’s worth it to buy their 3 or 5 year warranty. They say they will cover everything but consumables (belts and blades). Considering the rocks and hills where I live I thought it would be worth it but wasn’t sure.

    • @Kurt, The protection plan does cover belts and the battery. It does not cover blades, oil, filters, garage fires, tornados and dropping it out of your truck. If you do buy it instore it covers replacement cost of the mower. If you purchase it through my link online it covers up to $1500.

      I had one customer this year who purchased a YT4500 4 years ago and the 5 year protection plan. At that time the tractor was yellow and black. Last fall they called Sears because the seat had cracked (it is covered) so a Sears tech came out and tried to order a new seat. After about a week he found out that the yellow/black seat was no longer available. So, he ordered them a new tractor! That’s how good the Sears protection plan is.

  3. Paul,
    I bought a Craftman ZTL8000 zero turn from Sears 2 weeks ago, and really like the way it mows and rides, cut my mowing time significantly from the lawn tractor I had been using. The problem I am having is after the mower sits a couple of days, it acts like a mower you have run the fuel dry…have to crank and crank to get the fuel system primed before it will start. I have a troy-bilt tractor with the same Kohler engine on it, and I can go out in the middle of winter, after sitting for a month and a half, and it will start after only turning over a couple of times. Also, the second time I was mowing, I noticed it getting louder and louder, so I shut it off. After looking at the exhaust system, I noticed that one of the two manifold bolts on the right side had fell out and the exhaust gasket had blown out. I say again, the second time mowing with it, less than 6 hours on the meter, and bolts are falling out. Did I just get a mower made on a Monday after a long weekend, or is this a sign of things to come from this mower??

    • @Don, Right now it seems Kohler is having more problems with the assembly of their engines than anyone else. I don’t have a reason why, but for the last 18 months there have been a dozen or so separate problems with their engines. The problems range from the electric clutches falling off after about 1 hour to blown head gaskets and ignition modules.

      That said, call 1-800-4MY-HOME and have a tech come out and fix the exhaust. Sears techs don’t always do a lot of engine work so don’t be surprised if they just switch out the engine. (They send the bad one back to Kohler for troubleshooting.)

      Do you know how to adjust the choke cable? If you do loosen the carb end of the cable and move it just a little bit so that the choke closes completely. That should fix your starting issues. If it doesn’t let the tech know when he comes out and he will inspect the fuel pump. (It’s a vaccumn pump)

      Let me know if you don’t know how to adjust the choke cable and we can walk you through it. It just takes a screwdriver or 1/4 inch socket to adjust.

  4. I bent the front baffle on my Craftsman 46″ mower. Do I need that baffle or can I just take it off? It bent the lip on the deck where it connects on the left side of the baffle.

    • @Chris, The baffle keeps the dry grass and leaves from blowing out the right front of the deck. You can use your mower without it, but it may be dirtier to use.

      I have a 3 lb sledge hammer I use to straighten out a deck when my wife finds something to hit. I take the deck off, turn it upside down and beat it straight.

  5. Paul
    I purchased a craftsman YT 4000 model # 28857 in May 2011 . You were quite helpful then . The tractor has performed pretty well up till now. Last Fall i noticed that the front of the deck seemed to be “digging in” to the lawn . I think I have determined that I have apparently somehow managed to bend the center baffle under the deck( part# 198 in the mower deck section of the parts manual). I cut the grass after resetting the front to back levels on the deck & bending the “baffle ” back in to place as good as I could & the situation is almost resolved. My question is this – not knowing what this baffle looked like originally – I am not sure how it should look now. Mine projects about 1/2 ” below the bottom of the deck as I look at the deck from the front. Should this project below the bottom of the deck at all ? It doesn’t seem like it should.

    Thanks , Guido

    • @Guido, Go to this article and click on the picture of the bottom of the tractor. You can enlarge it so you should be able to see what your deck should look like underneath. If that works let me know, I really couldn’t find another picture that is as good.

      You can always go to a store and look at the 46 inch deck. They will let you get down on the floor and inspect it.

  6. I’m looking to the the 54″ zero turn Craftsman (# 25061) but see that it doesn’t mow in reverse. This concerns me. Is there a bypass at the key switch? Is there a work around. Seems self-defeating to have a zero turn without mowing in reverse.

    • @Brian,

      To be exact, the mower will zero-turn and the deck stays running. In other words one wheel can go in reverse while the other is stopped or moving forward and the deck stays running.

      Only when you pull back on both levers does the deck shut off. For most people this is fine – and the manufacture has been making their zero-turns this way for about 5 years and no one complains…much.

      There is no bypass. I can’t tell you how to rewire the unit to bypass the reverse safety (I don’t want to get sued by the person who backs over their kid)

      Here is a discussion on the switches: How do I get my zero turn mower to mow in reverse.

  7. Hi Paul. I asked a Sears rep about price matching a Craftsman YT3000 to a comparable mower at Home Depot. I was told that Sears only price matched identical items. Since Sears is obviously the only retailer that sells Craftsman, the price matching policy is completely useless for Craftsman mowers. Do you have any details of the price match policy you mention here?

    Also, any opinions on the Husqvarna Yth22V46? Seems like a tremendous value for a V-Twin 46 inch “name” brand mower. I’m comparing it to the single cylinder Craftsman YT3000 46 inch. I like the turning radius of the Craftsman but everything else about the Husky seems like a value.

  8. HI PAUL; I JUST PURCHASED THE LAST NEW 2012 CTX9000 46″ 25005 IN STOCK FROM OUR LOCAL SEARS OUTLET IN CROSSVILLE TN. YESTERDAY. ITS SUPPOSE TO BE DELIVERED ON 2/20/2013. MY QUESTION IS WILL SEARS STILL SUPPLY MY PARTS OR WILL I HAVE TO GET MY PARTS FROM SIMPLICITY IN THE FUTURE! P.S. LOVE YOUR ARTICALS ON HERE!

    • @Steven, Sears will carry parts. Just go to searspartsdirect.com and enter you model number (107.250050) You may start having problems getting specific parts like a black hood after 10 years or so but general they will have the normal wear and tear parts.

      The Simplicity dealer won’t be of much help because they will not have the Sears parts numbers. If you ever go to them bring you manual with you so they can cross-reference the parts.

  9. Hi Paul. I have really enjoyed reading your comments. I have narrowed my new purchase down to the Craftsman 28857 46 inch deck w B&S engine, the Craftsman 28853 46 inch deck w Kohler engine and the Husqvarna (Jimmie Johnson) 48 inch deck w Kohler engine. All are somewhat similarly priced with the first two being Sears and last being Lowes products.

    I mow about 1.5 acres of level ground with the exception of one 35 degree sloped area about 80 feet by 25 feet. I have around a dozen trees or bushes to cut around. For the past 10 years I have used a Craftsman DLT 2000 48 inch deck with 20 hp Kohler and it worked well enough.

    I feel like any of the three finalists would do the job and was actually leaning toward the Husqvarna until I got on some other website filled with horror stories about Husqvarna products. That led me to do more research and I found your site which is full of wonderful information.

    In you expert opinion, which of the three would you choose or all they all close enough that it really doesn’t matter (in which case I suppose going with the lowest price would be the deciding factor). I am aware the Sears will do onsite repairs but in the case of my DLT 2000 I never had to use their services. I also am aware that the Jimmie Johnson is a fast machine when not mowing, something I probably would not use much.

    Thanks much.

    Tom

    • @Tom, Sorry I took so long to get back. Somehow your comment got caught in the spam folder. The 28853 has a single cylinder Kohler, the 28853 a twin Platinum Briggs and the Husqvarna a twin cylinder Kohler Courage. My readers and I have had good luck with all 3 motors.

      The Jimmie Johnson tractor also peaks my interest because I do a lot of running around my yard pulling a yard cart.

      I do like the 6 in turning radius on the Craftsmans. In my opinion the Craftsman 46 inch deck lifts and cut better than the 48 inch Husqvarna deck. (Consumer Reports agrees) If you want to use a bagger the 46 inch is one of the best decks for throwing the grass into a bagger. The 46 also mulches better than the 48.

      The 48 inch deck is the easiest to take on and off because it has the belt release lever.

      The 28853 will be the lowest price.

      With Husqvarna you have to know your local Husqvarna Dealer because he will be doing the warranty work on your tractor. Before I bought a Husqvarna from Lowes, I would find out who that is and go talk to them.

      I don’t know who Lowes (and all the other retail stores) will be using for extended warranty work. It is not always the same repair shop as the warranty work.

      Sears uses their own techs for both the warranty work and their protection plan service. The Sears techs come to your home.

  10. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the clarification. So B&S isn’t just a small engine mfg they are the manufacturer for Simplicity & Snapper lawn tractors?

    Since the CTX line only had (1 ?) model year and B&S has cancelled the Simplicity- CTX chassis & they stated they plan to focus on simp/snap dealer sales, maybe Sears will not have a CTS replacement this March? Time will tell.

    I still have my eyes on the floor model CTX 26hp/52″ at my local Sears hardware store; Current deal is 40% off MSRP plus an extra $280 off = $4k, pluse the 5 year plan for $569. Time to tweak them some more…lol. Thanks again, Bob

    • @Bob Mac, Yes B&S is much more than an engine manufacture. Some of the brands you know and love that they own are: Briggs & Stratton, Vangard, Snapper, Simplicity, Brute, Ferris, Murray, Victa (Australian) and Snapper Pro.

      Good Luck, I hope you get it before someone else.

  11. Hi Paul, Any news on the CTX9000/9500 line? Are they in fact being discontinued or is it still unknown? Thanks, Bob Mac

    • @Bob, The CTX line using the Simplicity chassis is discontinued. Craftsman has stated to me that they will make a statement around March 1st about continuing the Premium CTX line. Craftsman likes to take 2 years to introduce a new model (design and testing for dependability) so it will be interesting to see what the statement will be.

      Four facts worked against the line in 2012.
      1. The drought. Every L&G manufacture saw poor sales last year. Briggs & Stratton in particular stated their engine sales were down 25%.
      2. Loyal Craftsman owners are happy with their $1500 to $2500 tractors. The YT series is the most popular line on the market. Even though the CTX tractors were exceptional machines, Craftsman owners were not willing to spend the $5000 to $7000 on them. The $4000 to $10,000 market is over crowded in the first place.
      3. Briggs & Stratton canceled the Simplicity chassis the CTX’s were built on. They now have a new chassis with 4 wheel suspension (at an even higher price) If I was B&S I would want to keep this new line for at least two years all to myself.
      4. B&S stated last year they are going to focus on selling Simplicity/Snapper at Dealer Stores. This may be working against Craftsman to use B&S as a tractor source in the future.