2014-2015 Craftsman T3000 Model 20390 42 in 22 hp Yard Tractor Review

Is The 2014 Craftsman T3000 Model 20390 42 in Hydrostatic 22 hp Yard Tractor Mower The Best For You?

From John,

Paul, I have a 1 acre lawn with many intricate landscaping beds. I haul a lot of firewood, mulch, dirt and rocks in my 10 cu. ft. yard cart. I usually mulch but I have a lawn sweeper for when the leaves or pine needles need to get picked up. I want a smooth running tractor that gives me all the power I need to mow that is agile enough so I don’t have to string-trim around my 35 trees and 11 landscape beds. I only have a 3% slope from the front of my lawn to the back of the property but the loads of dirt and rocks sometimes can be 400 lbs and I am always pulling them uphill. I have ruined one lawn tractor with a hydrostatic transmission pulling those loads. I also want a smooth running V-Twin That will last. John

John, Many of us want a 42 inch mower for our 1/2 to 2 acre yard that will mow the lawn well, trim around our landscaping easily and haul stuff. We want a good V-Twin motor and a very dependable transmission. In this review I will go through the new Craftsman T3000 Model 20390. It features a 42 inch deck and a 22 hp Briggs & Stratton Platinum motor and a sleek new look. For the features it offers compared to all the other brands it continues to be the best value mower with a 42 inch deck and will work well for a yard up to 1 1/2 acres.  It is one of the best 42 inch tractors under $1700. The motor has an expected life 25% longer than the motor on other comparable lawn tractors, a new bulletproof transmission, a great cutting deck, and plenty of available attachments. In addition the industry leading Craftsman Turn Tight 6 inch turning radius makes it a better choice than a zero-turn for most of us. Even with more features is priced $100 to $500 less than the competing tractors.

If you are looking at new lawn tractors because the engine on your old one failed, seriously look at this tractor. It features a Craftsman Platinum engine that is designed to handle hills and slopes that will kill a standard Briggs Intek/ Craftsman Gold engine. The oil lubrication inside the engine works like the oil system in your car. Your old engine used a splash-lube system oil system, this one uses oil pump that pumps the oil right to the bearings and other critical internal engine parts.  

203903 My Opinion: The Craftsman Yard Tractor are arguably the most popular lawn tractors on the market. The combination of features, price and service make them some of the best values around. For 2014 Craftsman kept all the features that make this tractor one of the best and added a sleek, new look! This sleek new look has fixed the biggest complaint previous owners have had. The new hood is designed so it won’t rattle around. It features a new hinge that is stronger and keeps the front from vibrating. There are now cushions at the back of the hood just like you would find on the $6000 tractors. In addition new side panels and air plenum keeps the dirt out the engine compartment and funnels clean air into the engine cooling system. Craftsman has also added new features to the yard tractor line that will make it one of the best value riding mowers on the market. 

 I suggest you use this review of the Craftsman Yard Tractor Series as your basis for comparing all the other lawn tractors on the market. This is a comprehensive review and after you are finished reading it you will be able to compare all the other brands. When you are done you will know more about lawn tractors than most dealer sales associates. You may decide this tractor isn’t the right one for you but I know you will be able to make the right decision for you and your lawn.  I apologize to you if you are reading this on your phone. It’s over 6000 words. Settle in to a comfortable spot and enjoy!  

2014 Craftsman T3000 Model 20390 42 in Hydrostatic 22 hp Yard Tractor

203902 Brand: Craftsman
Manufactured By: Husqvarna
Model/Series: 20390/T3000 Yard Tractor
Item Number:   07120390000P (49 State)
See All Buying Options and Online Only Deals Here:  Craftsman 22HP 42 Turn Tight Fast Yard Tractor 49 States 1 Acre and Above Buy Online 24/7, Pickup At Your Local Sears at your convenience, or have it delivered to your home.
Street Price: $1699.99  Online Only. Sears wants you to buy online this year. They will have the best deals online this year and your local store is not able to match this price. Buy Online 24/7, Pickup At Your Local Sears at your convenience, or have it delivered to your home. Check the Special Offers tab on the product page to get the special deals price and exclusive discounts.
CA Model: None

This is Craftsman’s Best Quality. The Craftsman T1000 is less quality.  This is a direct replacement (upgrade) to your old green Craftsman Lawn Tractor and most of your attachments will fit. If you liked your old Craftsman, you will love this one!

Craftsman calls this a Yard Tractor. It has more features than a lawn tractor but less pulling power than a garden tractor.

Compare it to: John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D125 42 in. 20 HP V-Twin Hydrostatic Front-Engine BG20709 at 1799, or the Cub Cadet Lawn Mower. 46 in. 20 HP Kohler Courage Hydrostatic Gas Riding Lawn Mower at $1699

Parts – Attachments – Accessories Tractors With 42 inch Decks

Quick Summary Review


  • Foot Control Trans with integral cruise
  • Top Speed 7.5 mph!
  • Step-through Platform
  • 6 inch Turn-Tight Steering is the best in the industry.
  • 42 inch deck with spring assisted lift and washout port
  • Disperses clippings evenly in side-discharge mode.
  • Mulches well, leaves fine clippings with little or no clumps.
  • Fills 2 bin bagger to capacity. (3 bin is avaialable)
  • Easy adjust, comfortable high-back seat.
  • 22 HP Full Pressure Briggs & Stratton Platinum V-Twin Engine
  • Type: Yard Tractor
  • Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 1.4 acres at 4 MPH
  • Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes, Moderate slopes
  • Excels in mowing around obstacles? Yes
  • Will Mow In Reverse? Yes


  • Deck is a wide as front wheels!

20390 See All Buying Options and Online Only Deals Here:  Craftsman 22HP 42 Turn Tight Fast Yard Tractor 49 States 1 Acre and Above Buy Online 24/7, Pickup At Your Local Sears at your convenience, or have it delivered to your home.

2014 Craftsman Yard Tractors with a 42 inch deck – Parts – Attachments – Accessories

My Full Review:

You know I have been doing this blog for a while now and I have spent hundreds of hours researching, testing, reading reviews, analyzing and listening to you about residential lawn tractors. I know that most of you want to spend less than $2000 on a lawn tractor that will mow, mulch, or bag your yard well, do other yard tasks. You want it to last you a long, long time. This yard tractor gives you the all of those features plus a 6 inch turning radius and a great Briggs & Stratton Platinum engine all for less than $1700!

I know zero-turn mowers are the hot topic today but for most of us residential zero-turns are not the best choice. Yes, they are more agile than a conventional lawn tractor so you may mow your lawn faster but they don’t work on slopes. They are designed just to mow so they don’t pull stuff. They are expensive for what you get.  The Craftsman Yard Tractor Series with Turn Tight continues to be the best choice.

The Craftsman Turn Tight 6 inch turning radius on this yard tractor allows you to quickly get your lawn done without the pitfalls of using a zero-turn mower.  No learning curve to operate it. No divots or scuff marks in your lawn. No worries about mowing the septic mound or slopes. No extra cost for two transmissions. It will pull stuff.  The Craftsman Yard Tractors have the tightest turning radius in the industry and the steering works well. It is the best value riding mower on the market today for most of us. Compared to all the other brands this yard tractor has more of the features you want at a price lower than a conventional lawn tractor from the competition.  It has a better motor than other lawn tractors in this price range, a very dependable automatic transmission, a great cutting deck, and plenty of available attachments. It will handle all of the non-ground engaging attachments Sears, Lowes and The Home Depot sells.

I am not going to TELL you this is the best tractor for you. But for many of you reading this article it will be the best lawn tractor for you. There are other tractors with larger motors, bigger decks and heavier transmissions. This tractor continues to be the best value tractor on the market for your average size suburban yard! This is a great lawn tractor with an excellent cutting deck.  It has four anti-scalp wheels so it will mow your lawn without gouging or scalping the turf.  This tractor is new but I am confident it will get the “best buy” reviews from the review organizations for value, cut, and dependability.  Sears has the best service and repair network. They come right to your home if your ever have a problem with your tractor. You never have to bring your tractor anywhere or arrange for a pickup to have it serviced.

This lawn tractor will mow in reverse.

Owner Reviews: Right now there are no reviews on Sears.com because this is a new model for 2014. The real changes though are a new sporty look and a relabeled engine. The basic tractor is still the one everyone likes.

8 reasons why Craftsman Yard Tractors are a good choice for you!

(Disclaimer: All features listed in the remainder of this article are subject to change and my interpretation of the information available on the sears websites.)

1. Look Better:

203902 I don’t know about you, but I like the new look. I like the modern hood and smooth fenders. The rounded edges of the control console (dash) make it much easier to get on and off. And of course the cup holder is essential. That was one of the reasons why I never even considered a Craftsman back in the 80’s and early 90’s. They were UGLY! Today’s hoods have more metal. The front of the old 80’s and 90’s hoods was one big chunk of brittle plastic.  Any bump into a tree or other obstruction and it was time to get out the duct tape, and eventually $140 or more for a new nose piece.  Today’s hood uses less plastic, and the plastic appears to be more flexible to withstand more abuse from your teenagers.

2. Deck:

For most of us it’s all about the deck and how it mows. 

Craftsman – It’s all about the 42 inch Deck

Decks Cut Better:

203901 Mow – Mulch- Bag:  The 42 inch deck on this tractor gets high marks by owners for mowing, mulching and bagging.  But, be aware this is not a “high-speed” deck like you will find on a $10,000 commercial lawn mower.  It mows perfectly at 3-4 MPH but don’t expect it to mow as fast as the tractor will go (7.5MPH) and give you the same results.  With this tractor/deck you set the height of cut using a spring assisted lever on the left tractor fender. (FYI: It’s not the deck, it’s the government that decides how fast you can mow. Regulations limit the blade tip speed on residential mowers which also limits how fast you can mow well)

It’s hard to beat a “Best Buy” The leading consumer magazines have given this deck many “Best Buy” awards.  (Last year on the 28856) One of the major reasons why they do is the superior cut of the deep, top vented deck.  This deck cuts well, mulches well and bags very well.

Better Anti-Scalp: These decks come standard with 4 anti-scalp wheels and a rounded bottom lip.  The anti-scalp system and the spring assist deck lift lets it ride over obstacles easier than the older decks.

Decks are easy to adjust: The deck lift is almost as great of a change as the Turn Tight Steering.  Your old lever was always in the way. It was hard to use.  Getting on and off the tractor my sweatshirt, coat etc. always got caught on that lever sticking up in the wind.  The new fender mounted lever is out of the way and the spring assisted system requires very little effort to use.

Leveling the deck is easy. The 3-point linkage is easy to adjust if the deck gets abused and starts to cut unevenly. One adjustable link levels the deck side to side and one adjustable link levels it front to back .

 There is always a discussion about fabricated/welded decks and stamped decks over on the tractor forums. The reality is welded decks take more abuse, stamped decks cut better.Welded decks will take more abuse if you are the type to go around and bang your mower into trees, buildings, rocks and other obstructions. If you are mowing fields and properties where you never know what type of stumps, metal debris, rocks and other junk you may find a welded deck is the best choice. But, besides the extra cost of fabricating the deck, welded decks need special, expensive baffle kits to mulch well. A tractor with a 42 inch fabricated deck will cost over $900 more than this tractor. Plus welded decks have poorer airflow and require you to buy a separate blower to use a bagger ($500-750 for the blower)

The Craftsman 42 inch deck on the T3000 Series is a stamped deck. This deck is engineered to mow well. Because these decks have channels and other stiffeners built into the design making these decks lighter than welded decks but still very strong. They can handle a direct frontal hit from a stump and not bend. The Craftsman decks have better corrosion resistance than the decks of the past. The powder coated finish resists scratches and rust-through so prevalent with decks 20 years ago.

Aluminum Spindles. This deck uses cast aluminum vented spindles with sealed bearings.  There is no maintenance or lubrication needed. They will last the life of the mower with proper blade maintenance and cleaning.

I have read some reviews where owners complain that they have had to replace the spindles multiple times on their lawn tractor. (Not just this deck, but other brands as well.) Spindles fail for only two reasons, operator abuse and improper maintenance. Lawn tractor decks are designed to mow lawns. They are not designed to mow fields, cut down brush, hit rocks, stumps, concrete, kids toys, water shut-off valves and other debris. If you hit something and you break a spindle be glad it broke. Replacing a $50 spindle is cheap compared to bending the $400 deck housing and having to replace that. You can also break spindles by not balancing your blades when you resharpen them. If one end of the blade is shorter than the other or it is bent out of factory specs the blade will vibrate and eventually wreck the spindle. If you hit something or if you sharpen the blades and the mower has more vibration than it did before, stop and find out what is wrong. If you don’t know how to properly sharpen and balance blades always replace them with new.

 This tractor gets high marks by owners for mowing, mulching and bagging.This lawn tractor will mow in reverse.

The Craftsman 42 inch Precision Cut Mowing System side discharges very well and regularly gets great reviews for evenness of cut.  The wide discharge chute spreads the clippings evenly and doesn’t leave windrows and clumps like other decks. One of the key features of this deck is the vented spindles. The top of the spindles has slots that let air into the deck. This creates a powerful vacuum effect that lifts the grass and allows the blades to cut your lawn evenly. The blades are offset just right so there are no uncut strips when you make a turn.

These decks have four anti-scalp wheels so it will mow your lawn without gouging or scalping a rough lawn. These wheels allow the deck to ride over tree roots. These anti-scalp wheels do not set the height of the deck. They are just used to protect the deck from obstructions in your turf. The height of the deck is set with a spring assisted lever on the left fender. There is a little red tab on the fender control that you can adjust to remind yourself where to set the cut height you prefer.

 The Craftsman 42 deck is designed to mulch well with a set of mulching blades and a simple “plug” that snaps into the discharge hole. With the mulch plug installed you can raise the discharge chute out of the way for closer trimming on the right-hand side of the mower. There are two types of mulching blades available. The standard wavy type and premium mulching blades that enhance the mulching for extra thick lawns and leaves. The other review organizations that test lawn tractors all verify that this deck mulches well.

Because the Craftsman 42 inch deck has such good airflow for side discharge mowing, it also bags well. The available 2 and 3 bin baggers are specifically designed to collect all the clippings and fill completely. They have “soft” sided bags that reduce the dust and debris around your neck and back.

What deck size do I need? Besides how large of a lawn you have to mow consider the gates, doors and strips between your landscape beds.  The 42 deck will fit into a standard size pickup bed. With the discharge chute lifted up the Craftsman 42 inch Precision Cut Deck requires 45 inches of side to side clearance. With the chute down, 50 inches.  (The Craftsman 46 inch Precision Cut Deck requires 47.5 inches of clearance. With the chute down, 54 inches. The Craftsman 54 inch Precision Cut Deck requires 57 inches of clearance. With the chute down, 61 inches.)

I have hills and use tire chains: Tire chains will fit on a tractor with a 42 inch 2-blade deck installed but will not fit on a tractor with a 46, 2 bladed deck. This includes the Craftsman, Husqvarna, Poulan Pro and Ariens tractors. I have not checked the MTD built lawn tractors. John Deere does not have a 46 inch deck.

3. Engine:

People who buy this yard tractor want a dependable mower with a dependable motor.

Note: This Briggs & Stratton Platinum motor compares to the Kohler Courage Plus and the new Kohler 7000.  It is better than Briggs & Stratton Gold, Silver, Intek and IC engines found in most lawn tractors.

Ride Mower Engine - 2600 Platinum Craftsman V-Twin Why are These Engines Are Better?

Longer Life Engines: The Platinum Series Engine in the T 2000 and T 3000 series Yard Tractors is a significant improvement over the engine in the 1990’s Lawn Tractors. Briggs & Stratton has made over 80 improvements to this engine ranging from efficient Overhead Valve Design to a better oil drain system that uses no tools and doesn’t get used engine oil all over the frame.

Built for the toughest work in your yard. Craftsman Exclusive Platinum Series™ V-Twin tractor engines deliver more power, less vibration, quieter running and greater durability. Available exclusively on select Craftsman tractors, this lawn tractor engine will last 25% longer under heavy-duty use.

Better Fuel Economy: Today’s engine offer better fuel economy over the 1990’s version. They are also designed to run on todays fuels that seem to have more additives than gasoline. These engines will runs on 10% ethanol BUT WILL NOT RUN ON THE 15% BLENDED FUEL!

Full Pressure Lube: The Platinum engine has an oil pump and actually pumps oil to the critical engine components. These engines will run on slopes that used to kill the old side-valve, splash lubricated engines. In addition, a long-life filter removes contaminants from the oil and provides less wear on the engine.  This engine uses the same yellow filter found on the Briggs & Stratton Professional Series.

More Efficient Air Cleaners:  The air cleaners on the Platinum Series are significantly better than the old paper or foam filters on your old Craftsman.  Cleaner air into the engine means less wear and longer life.

MRS Spark Plug: Most Reliable Starting (MRS) spark plug delivers optimized performance and extended service life

 It’s all about the details:  Sears does two things to this motor that really sets it apart from the competition. First they use the high quality yellow Briggs Filter. This gives you the best oil filtration and this engine is designed to make the best use of the filter. Second, is the oil drain.  The Craftsman no-drip drain is the easiest to use. Just unclip the no-drip cap, attach the extention hose, tilt it down to your bucket and push/twist the drian. No drips on your frame no cleaning, no oily film that collects dirt and debris on your tractor!

These Craftsman tractors are assembled at the factory in Orangeburg, S.C. Like all mechanical devices I suggest you take some time and completely go over the machine when new and understand it’s operation. Read the manual completely. After you use your new mower for an hour or so I suggest you look at all the fasteners and check to be sure they are tight. Especially check the bolts that hold the transmission to the frame and the engine-to-frame bolts. Here is an article showing you the most critical bolts to check. 8 Bolts On Your Lawn Tractor You Need To Check Now  I recommend this for all new lawn tractors but I especially recommend it on tractors made by Ariens, Husqvarna, Poulan, Cub Cadet, John Deere and Craftsman. 

4. AutoMatic Transmission

Simple to use, ideal for most terrain. 

CraftsmanTrans Transmissions Are Better:

Today’s automatic transmission in Craftsman Yard Tractors are ideal for any type of terrain. The transmission in this mower is sized for it and has a proven reputation.

Craftsman is not making a big deal about this new transmission, but I feel it is the best improvement in yard tractor technology. This bulletproof transmission is designed for high performance and low maintenance. The new Element V™ Automatic transmissions are right for yard tractors. The V-Motion™ patented technology that is the heart of this transmission is based on a CVT, Continuously Variable Transmission, system. Unlike traditional gear transmissions, V-Motion™ equipped transmissions are infinitely adjustable to match your acceleration needs. Eliminating the need to stop and shift, you won’t lose any of the momentum that is lost when you shift gears with a manual transmission lawn tractor. 

Unlike Hydrostatic Transmissions there are no pumps, motors or hydraulic oil to wear out. The transmission is sealed and never needs maintenance. In fact the only wear point on the trans is the CVT belt and I don’t expect you will ever have to replace that during normal use. If you do the belt is only $45! Go here to read more about the new automatics:  CVT Automatic Transmissions

The pedal on the left side of the tractor is the parking brake.  You do not need to depress that pedal to shift the tractor.   The forward, reverse speed and braking is controlled with the pedal on the right side fender.  To go forward push the pedal forward.  To stop take your foot off the pedal. (The parking brake pedal can also be used to stop the tractor.)  To back the tractor push the small pedal on the right side. Because of the way a automatic transmission operates the braking is internal and part of the operation. When you release the pedal the transmission brakes your travel automatically. You only need to use the left hand pedal to park the mower or to leave it stopped on a hill.

5. Comfort –

If you are going to mow, you might as well be comfortable.

20390 Start with the seat: When comparing this lawn tractor to others sit on the seat and ask yourself these questions.

Sit on the seat and envision yourself sitting there for 2 or more hours. Is it comfortable? Does it give you good back and lumbar support? Does it have side supports to help you stay in the seat on slopes and when mowing rough spots? The seat should be easily adjustable if you have more than one person using your lawn tractor. When you sit on the seat, is it level? (Some tractors have heavy springs under the seat for “suspension” and it feels like you are constantly sliding forward.)

The seat on the T3000 sits level, has a nice high back, good lumbar and side supports> It slides back and forth easily. There is plenty of seat adjustment so any operator from 5 ft 1 inch to 6 ft 4 in can easily operate this lawn tractor.

 The Steering Wheel: Is the steering wheel textured so it is easy to grip? Smooth steering wheels cause your hands to sweat in hot weather. When it’s cold out and you are wearing gloves smooth steering wheels are very hard to use. Your hands keep slipping all over the place. The steering wheel on the T3000 is textured so your hands won’t get sweaty and your gloves won’t slide around.

Sloping Hood: Some big box stores are still using hoods from 10 years ago on their 2013 tractors. They are tall and boxy and you have to look around them to see in front of the tractor. I know this is a minor issue but if you are used to a sloping hood and then use one with the old box style you’ll realize how cumbersome the old hoods are when trimming and getting close to objects.

Getting On And Off: Ease of Use: The first thing potential buyers notice when they get on the T3000 is how easy it is to get on and off. Craftsman has designed this mower with a lot of space between the seat and the steering console to make it as easy as possible to get on and off this tractor. The step through design and rounded control console allows you to get on and off the tractor easier than before.  No more banging your knees trying to get on or off the tractor.

Deluxe high-back seat, easy to use operator controls, good field of view.  This Yard Tractor is very comfortable to operate and drive.

6. Six Inch Turn Tight Steering:

Better Steering Box, Axle and Steering System:

One of the major improvements that I like with the Craftsman Yard Tractors is the steering.  If you own a 90’s green Craftsman LT you probably have at least a 1/2 revolution of play in the steering wheel by now.  Long gone is the old half-moon system with the plastic pinion gear that always wore out.  Today’s Craftsman tractors steer easier and the pinion gears don’t wear out. I have seen Craftsman Turn Tight Yard Tractors with 100’s of hours with no more play in the steering than the day they were purchased.

The steering wheel feels better: The steering wheel is bigger and has a better feel. I see many of the old 1990’s steering wheels cracked and the plastic bracket that’s supports the steering rod on the dash broken.  This doesn’t happen with the new Craftsman Turn Tight Yard Tractors.

Front axles are better: The front axles are now cast iron and have a lifetime warranty. I have yet to see a broken or bent one!

Turn Tight Tighter Steering: The exclusive Turn Tight steering is one of the “wonders” of the YT Series.  With a 6 inch turning radius this tractor is the most maneuverable tractor on the market today.  In most cases you can trim and mow without ever taking your walk-behind mower out of the shed.  I personally feel for most homeowners this is a better solution than a zero-turn. It works on slopes, requires no training to use and even your spouse will like to drive it.

7. Reliability –

What do I do if it breaks?

This tractor is serviced by Sears.  Sears service techs come to your home to repair your lawn tractor. You never have to take it anywhere. There have been no issues with the build quality of the Craftsman Model 20390.

People who buy this yard tractor know what they are buying and this is just what they want. That is why you will find so many good reviews on Sears.com.  This is a great tractor with a great cutting deck and may just be the best value for you and your suburban lawn.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by Sears.  There have been very few issues with the build quality. 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 the repair policy if you have a problem.  Many of the other brands make you take the mower to an “authorized service center”

Replacement Parts Are Much Easier To Get:

15 years ago to get Craftsman parts you had to go to the Sears Service Center and order them.  Your local repairman wouldn’t touch your Craftsman because he said that he couldn’t get parts.  (He could, he just had to go to the Service center and order the part himself) The Internet is a wonderful thing and today is very easy to get parts. All you need is the model number from under the seat, go to searspartsdirect.com, order the part and within a few days it arrives at your home. You can even use this link: Shop at Sears PartsDirect and get 10% off your purchase with code: 90055 Searspartsdirect has all of the parts diagrams for your mower, making it very easy to get your part. If you are not really mechanically inclined, all you have to do is write down your model number, go to your local Sears and anyone in the Lawn & Garden Department can help you order the part.  Again, it comes right to your home. By the Way: If you lost your tractor manual, get the model number from under the seat, use the link above and you can view or download a copy there for free!

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has average traction and is similar to all the other lawn tractors from the other retailers. This tractor has better steering than all the other lawn tractors under $4000. I recommend you never use a mower like this on wet or drought-dry slopes.

8. Better Value:

A Sears Custom with a deck in 1975 cost about $2300.. That’s $9650 today. That’s for 8hp, 3 speed hi/lo, 38″ steel mowing deck. Electric start, head lights and tail light… and that’s it” (source: http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/relativevalue.php) You can still buy this 2014 lawn tractor with a larger deck and motor for less than $1500.  That’s a much better deal than your last new car!

See All Buying Options and Online Only Deals Here:  Craftsman 22HP 42 Turn Tight Fast Yard Tractor 49 States 1 Acre and Above Buy Online 24/7, Pickup At Your Local Sears at your convenience, or have it delivered to your home.

Specifications, Features, Benefits

The rest of this article is taken from the retailers website. Specs subject to change. (Note: as of Feb 10, there are some mistakes. I have corrected them here)

Product Specifications

Cutting Deck & Blade:
  • Blade Material:
  • Blade Type:
    3 in 1
  • Blade Width (in.):
  • Cutting Deck Material:
  • Cutting Deck Nose Roller:
  • Cutting Deck Style:
    Mulch/Rear Bag/Side Discharge
  • Cutting Height Adjustment Type:
    Spring Assisted
  • Cutting Height Maximum (in.):
  • Cutting Height Minimum (in.):
  • Cutting Positions:
  • Cutting Width (In.):
  • Deckwash System:
  • Number of Cutting Blades:
Controls and Features:
  • Blade Engagement Type:
  • Blade Lift:
  • Speed Control:
    Foot pedal
  • Overall Item Dimensions:
    72.75 x 45 x 46
  • Wheelbase (in.):
Product Overview:
  • Commercial/Residential:
  • General Warranty:
    2 Year / 5 Year Frame & Axle
  • Recommended Terrain:
    All Types
  • Recommended Yard Size:
    1/2 Acre and Above
  • Terrain Type:
  • Terrain Type:
  • Terrain Type:
  • Terrain Type:
  • Terrain Type:
  • Frame Material:
  • Frame Type:
    Stamped steel
  • Front Axle Material:
    Cast iron
Handling & Operating:
  • Cruise Control:
  • Hour Meter:
Drive System:
  • Maximum Forward Speed (mph):
  • Maximum Reverse Speed (mph):
  • Mow in Reverse:
  • Number of Forward Speeds:
  • Number of Reverse Speeds:
  • Turning Radius (in.):
  • Turn Tight:
  • Air Filter Type:
  • Cooling System Type:
    Air Cooled
  • Cylinder Liner:
    Cast iron
  • Electronic Ignition:
  • Engine Brand:
    Briggs & Stratton(r)
  • Engine Cycles:
  • Engine Series:
    Intek Platinum
  • Engine Displacement (cc):
  • Horsepower:
  • Number of Cylinders:
  • Oil Filter Type:
    Full pressure
  • Overhead Valve Engine:
Wheels & Tires:
  • Anti-Scalp Gauge Wheels:
  • Front Tire Size:
    15″ X 6″ – 6″
  • Rear Tire Size:
    20″ X 8″ – 8″
Accessory or Attachment:
  • Accepts Bagger:
  • Ground-Engaging Attach.:
  • Hauling Equipment:
    Light Hauling
  • Hauling Equipment:
    Heavy Hauling
  • Snow Blade or Thrower Capable:
    Snow thrower, Snow blade
Fuel System:
  • Fuel Capacity (gal.):
  • Fuel Gauge Location:
    On Tank
  • Fuel Type:
  • Adjustable Seat:
  • Cup Holder:
  • Headlights:
Gauge Accessory:
  • Gauges:
Convenience Features:
  • Power Steering:
  • CARB Compliant:
    Not Compliant with Cali. Air Resource Board
  • Location:
    All other
  • Arm Rests:
  • Tractor Grade:
    Yard Tractor

 Why a Craftsman Yard Tractor?

  • The Craftsman lawn and yard tractors are one of the most popular lawn tractors ever offered to mow your lawn. Just search “Craftsman Lawn Tractor” and you will find millions of pictures and articles of Craftsman Tractor owners proudly showing off their pride and joy. In fact on Google there are more pictures and articles for Craftsman Lawn tractors than John Deere or Cub Cadet.
  • Most of the tractors bought in the late 90’s are still around and mowing lawns every week. Unlike owners of the other makes, Craftsman owners are not complaining about “they don’t make them like they used to.” From my observation many owners of these old lawn tractors come in to Sears today and buy a new tractor not because their old one is wore out.  They are just tired of it and want something new.
  • The design is stable: Using computer terms this “build” has been around for a few years now. This year they added a great new look, a bulletproof transmission for the V-Twins, and a 48 inch deck is back but otherwise the tractors are using the same proven designs that made this series so popular. The bugs you normally find with a new product are all fixed and there are no known issues with the T 2000 and T3000 series.  The consumer review magazines continue to like the tractor, the cut and the dependability for the price. Craftsman continues to “tweek” the models by adding features like the Turn-Tight steering but in general this is a proven, reliable platform that will offer years of use….. Just like your old green Craftsman. Craftsman owners are still loyal to the brand because they know the new 2014 tractors are actually better than they used to be. Go here to read about all of the improvement Craftsman has made just for you! 12 Reasons Why Craftsman Lawn Tractors Are Better Today,
  • FYI: The new 2014 Craftsman Yard Tractors are still made right here in the U.S.A. in the same factory where your 1990’s Lawn Tractor was made.  The same quality “craftsmanship” you have come to know and trust.

See All Buying Options and Online Only Deals Here:  Craftsman 22HP 42 Turn Tight Fast Yard Tractor 49 States 1 Acre and Above Buy Online 24/7, Pickup At Your Local Sears at your convenience, or have it delivered to your home.

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298 Comments on "2014-2015 Craftsman T3000 Model 20390 42 in 22 hp Yard Tractor Review"

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Michael Davis

I have a Husquvana 46 inch cutting deck. My question is, could I take the 46inch cutting deck and use it for this type mower Craftsman T3000 42 inch cutting deck?

He Paul. Wanted to say once again how much I appreciate your site. It’s helped me out a ton with my 20390. Hoping to get more help here. I am just over the 3 year and 50 hour mark on my mower. The past few times I’ve mowed, the gas/reverse pedal has been sticking. What I mean by sticking is, if I’m pushing the pedal to go forward, and take my foot off, the engine break should stop he mower. However, I continue to roll until I push the physical break. While rolling, I cannot put the mower into reverse,… Read more »
John P.

Mowed my lawn today with the Craftsman 20390 which I purchased in 2015. After I used my weed eater and blower, I went to put the tractor away. I noticed after I started it the tractor’s idle was surging up and down no matter if I had the throttle full up or at the lowest setting. I’ve been using Seafoam in the gas since day one. I’m concerned the next time I go out to mow I’ll have problems with the tractor running. Anyone else experience this problem?

Ed F.

Thank you for the quick reply!


Craftsman uses a pushnut on the pedal assembly. It had worked loosed. It really should have been a threaded shaft with a cotter pin and a slotted nut.
The tech just tapped it back on further, so its working, but I suspect it will work loose again.
Also, the top of the transmission needs to be kept clean, or the mechanism that puts the tractor in free wheeling mode will get stuck.

Stanley bielewski

We have always dealt with sears in the past and never had any problems with their warrantys. However, with sears closing many of their stores what would happen to the warranty. Other than one small independent sears store near us the big stores have been closing. Thank you for your help. Stanley

Randy Seppala
I have a T3000 I bought less than a year ago and am having problems with reverse. Sometimes when I need to back up I step on the pedal and absolutely nothing happens. If I tap the pedal to go forward and then push reverse it may engage. Other times when trying to reverse it is very jerky and slow. I have had a Sears tech visit and of course it would not act up for him and we could find nothing wrong. It still does this and I am calling for the tech to come out again but I… Read more »
Joshua Stockton

Hi Paul. I know you have the replacement parts link up above. Is there an air filter model that would be available for this mower on amazon? I found the specific craftsman one but it takes a while to ship. I know a couple other brands have the same design/engine and was wondering if there was a part I could order on Amazon so I can get free/fast shipping. Thanks!

Josh Stockton
Hi Paul. Thanks again for the great info on the site. Hoping you can help me out. I have a t3000 that’s just over 2 years old. I had some warranty work done recently (just before the 2 year warranty was up) and before he got there the engine started idling funny. Instead of a steady RRRRRRRRRRRR it was more of a RUM…RUM…RUM…RUM like someone was hitting the gas and letting off constantly. Tech heard it and ordered a new carb under warranty and replaced it. All was good for about two mows and we’re back to the funny idle.… Read more »

Hi paul.i bought the model 20390 about 7 weeks ago.ran great until mon. when cutting back yard.it started surging under a load when blades were engaged.i drained gas from tank& refilled with fresh fuel..i let it run for awhile but still has surging and lose of power..any reply would be helpful..thanks DOM//////


Thanks for all the helpful info on your site! I purchased a 20390 almost a year ago and I have already had 1 transmission replaced under warranty. I’m concerned again because it seems when I drive up a slope in my yard the tractor speed is decreased like there is a belt slipping. After the replacement trans it climbed hills without issue and I’ve put less than 10 hours on it so far. Have you heard of anyone else having this issue?


Thanks Paul. I appreciate you for responding so quickly. Based on where the fluid is on my garage floor and what you mentioned re: color, axle grease sounds like a good bet. What would cause it to leak? And should I contact Sears at this point?

Hello sir, I took your advice last year and bought the Craftsman 20390 for my yard. I’m happy with the mower overall. The problem I have ran into today is while I was mowing there came a grinding noise and sparks started shooting out the bottom of the mower. I stopped mowing and pushed the mower to where I could get a look underneath. Seems to me the problem is that the wheels on the mower blade drive belt have gotten out of whack and the left side is grinding into some sort of brake built in down there. I… Read more »
Ron Green
Ron Green, Marysville Kansas on this end. I have this model 917.20390 mower. 146 hours on it today. Bought it in Beatrice Nebraska Sears Store, April 2014. Its been very hard starting since the day I bought it. But my real problem is the forward/reverse linkage. When i take my foot off either pedal the mower continues that direction until I apply the brakes. Didn’t do this when it was new. I do mow some small slopes, and it got so it would not back up any slope. Started acting up at 130 hours. I replaced the drive belt this… Read more »
Paul – just want to say thanks for all you do. I started researching tractors in December when we bought our new house. We have 1 acre with some small hills and a number of trees. After much research and reading basically all of your reviews, I settled on the 20390. It arrived early April and I’ve had 5-6 mows on it already (lots and lots of rain here in the DC area). I’m a mulcher not a bagger and it doesn’t do a great job of mulching – you said it wouldn’t so spot on there – but the… Read more »
Paul and others, just wanted to share my recent issues and experience with Sears Home Service……….background: Going on my second mowing season and so far really enjoy this mower. I have two questions: 1) The mower seems to have to crank for a very long time before the motor fires up. Yes, it does have a new air filter, new plugs and a new fuel filter. Still cranks for a very long time. Paul suggested an adjustment in the throttle/choke cable……….which I did and it now starts within 1-2 cranks. SO MUCH BETTER! Thanks Paul. Next 2) All of a… Read more »
Hi Paul, I bought the 20390 spring 2015 and have had an overall great experience with it. I do have one question. In the manual, in the section about changing the air filter, it talks about changing and cleaning out the foam piece that wraps around the air filter. When you buy the replacement filter, it comes with the foam piece as well. However, when I took off the cover on my tractor, the air filter did not have the foam filter that wraps around the paper element. I thought that maybe this was an oversight during the manufacturing process.… Read more »
Thomas McIntosh
In my research in trying to find the best lawn tractor for my needs I have come up with some conflicting information that I can determine what would best suit my needs and I thought maybe you could shed some light on this subject. I want to use my lawn tractor not only to mow grass but to push snow in the winter and haul firewood in the fall. I have read that ‘hydrostatic’ transmissions under stress like this could overheat causing various problems and the the CVT transmission would be better equipped to handle the needs that I have.… Read more »

It’s time to change the oil in my T3000 mower, which is new but has 5 hours on it. However, I can’t access the filter or the drain plug because of the mesh side panels. I can’t figure out how to remove the panels easily and with damaging them. Help! Thanks.


Issaquah, Wa
I have a 20390 that I bought last year.
One of my front tires went flat. As I was fixing it, I noticed both front wheels were very loose–as if the washer was at least a 1/16″ too thin. Is this by design?

Going on my second mowing season and so far really enjoy this mower. I have two questions: 1) The mower seems to have to crank for a very long time before the motor fires up. Yes, it does have a new air filter, new plugs and a new fuel filter. Still cranks for a very long time. Normal or should it fire up somewhat faster? 2) Why is so there so much slop and play in the front tires? Last year I did not notice this problem, there this year there is SO MUCH play and slop. Almost to the… Read more »
Charles Deutsch
I bought the model 20390 in Aug 2014. the motor kept surging so i called Sears repair, they ended up replacing Carb, and adjusting the linkage. Ran ok the rest of the mowing season. Spring of 2015, the engine would not start. Called Sears, and they replaced fuel pump, ran OK for awhile, and then acted up again, called Sears again, and they had to replace fuel pump again. Ran OK for about a month, and then would not start again. Sears came out and replaced the fuel pump again (3rd pump). Toward end of mowing season the engine just… Read more »
Hi Paul, We purchased the 20390 about a year ago and so far only one issue and a minor one at that. Occasionally reverse is a bit slow on the uptake. It usually works great and so far this season I’ve had no problem at all, but when it does hang up I’ve found by rocking my body weight forward and backward in the seat it’ll grab and I’m back in business and typically it only happens in one small part of the yard, an area where going forward isn’t an option (of course, right?) Other than that one small… Read more »
Thomas McIntosh

Is the Craftsman 42″ Fast Auto 22HP Briggs & Stratton Turn Tight® Riding Mower’ for 2016 just as good as the one that you reviewed in this article? My Sears tractor of about 17 years gave up the ghost last year and I would like to upgrade on what I had with a tight turn radius tractor that hauls firewood with no problem and basic yard maintenance without any trouble. Please advise if the new model is as good as the older version in this article.

Tom McIntosh

Paul, I like the v engine on this 20390 but im a little scared of all the negative reviews on sears, so it has me leaning towards the 20381 or the 25081. Do you think theres any validity to all the negative press the 20390 has gotten in the reviews, or is it just as reliable as the 20381 was/is? Also, the 20390 does not have an electronic ignition. How then does it start? Is it a pull chord? Other then the bigger engine (greater power) is there any reason why one should choose the 20390 over the 2508?. I… Read more »
Hi Paul..after one season using my Craftsman 20390 it’s been great! I do have one issue. I have some slopes and the tires tend to spin at times and I can tear up some grass just spinning the tires and getting it turned to get more traction. I would like to get some tractor chains. I know tractor chains can cause some issues to grass and pavement but I can deal with that rather than having to deal with the constant spinning of tires. This is usually the case in the spring and fall when the grass hold more moisture… Read more »
After 12 years, my Craftsman LTX 1000 finally bit the dust. So, I went to Sears and bought the T3000 724cc, 22hp lawn tractor. The price was very good and I wanted a lawn tractor with the larger engine since I move about 2 1/2 acres. I wasn’t thrilled with the change to using the foot accelerator after 12 years of using the forward/reverse lever on the right fender. To my relief, I didn’t have any difficulty in adjusting to the foot accelerator. But, the other change, that I really do not like, is the deck adjustment lever located on… Read more »
Bruce Hawkins

I bought the craftsman 3000 with 22 hrp briggs. I’ve already had them out 2 times in 17 days of purchase. belt kept coming off and head lights filled up with water. now the deck is hanging sideways .( I have a flat no obstacle yard. deck has not hit anything ) only one wheel on the deck touches the ground. the mowing lever won’t go below 5 on the settings. and last but not least sometimes it want go forward or backwards.

Dave - St Louis, MO
Paul, Sure do appreciate all you do bringing fourth the quality reviews to this forum. Just a quick comment (beef actually) on the Briggs and Stratton 21 HP Platinum Series. My YT 3000 (red) Craftsman (think it’s a 28551??) was purchased new for 2013 and has approx 60 hrs on the 21 HP Platinum Series motor which is always maintained every twenty hrs with 10 – 30 Mobil One, and OEM filter. Well, this spring, after two seasons of use the darn thing locked-up on me. The Sears guy came and replaced the cam. He mentioned this part (actually a… Read more »
A. Zagrodnik

Under your review of the Craftsman 20390 you have:
7. Reliability –

What do I do if it breaks?

This tractor is serviced by Sears. Sears service techs come to your home to repair your lawn tractor. You never have to take it anywhere. There have been no issues with the build quality of the Craftsman Model 28851.

What does the model 28851 have to do with model 20390? Same platform?


During the first two years is there really any advantage to the add-on warranty?

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