2014 Craftsman Pro Series Lawn Tractor Review. Are They Really Better?
Update: As of March 15, 2015 these Pro Series Mowers have been discontinued. A new Pro line will be introduced by April 15th. You can read this article for historical purposes but it will not apply to the new 2105 Pro series.
Why did Craftsman make another brand?
As you know if you have been reading this blog for very long there are many different brands of riding lawn mowers on the market but in reality very few manufactures who produce all those brands. Why so many brands? Because your local store wants to be able to carry a different mower than it’s competitor down the street. Your local store wants to be able to shout, “Mine’s Better! Mine’s Cheaper! or Mine will make your neighbor envious” so you will identify with them and continue to shop there for years to come. For example, Home Depot has the “exclusive” John Deere D125, Lowes has the Troy-Bilt Brand, and Tractor Supply has Jonserd. Craftsman has now added the Craftsman Pro Series that was until now unique to a select group of independently owned Sears stores. Reference: Riding Mowers – Who Makes What
In late 2012 Sears split off the Hometown, Outlet and hardware stores into a separate, public company. It appears these stores wanted to differentiate themselves from the “big-box” Sears Full line stores. The Hometown stores, Outlet stores, and Hardware stores are mostly independently owned dealer stores. These stores, based in smaller communities often only offer proprietary Sears products such as Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard.
The Craftsman Pro Series tractors were originally built for the Hometown Stores. You can now buy these tractors at your full-line Sears store.
New Craftsman Pro Series. A Better Craftsman?
These tractors are being advertised as “The all-new Craftsman Pro Series riding mowers make other yard tractors look like total amateurs.” Are they better? No, but they are different and offer features you may want like changing the mower blades without wrenches. Craftsman has had all the features these tractors offer on various mowers before. (except the Craftsman EZ-Blade) This year they are just built (spec’d) a little differently to make them unique than the 2014 red Craftsman. They have the same features of the red Craftsman tractors found on Sears.com and in the Full-Line Sears Stores. The only real difference is they add a $9 strip of metal around the bottom of the deck (reinforced deck) and a unique and possibly problematic quick blade change system.
This is the 3rd time Craftsman has used the Pro Series label. Back in 2006-2009 Craftsman had a pro series made by Husqvarna. Many owners really liked these tractors and were upset when Craftsman switched the Pro line to MTD in 2010. I like their decision to go back to Husqvarna to revive the Pro Series for 2014. This is not the Premium Series made by Briggs that was sold in 2011-2012. This Pro Series is completely different than the Canadian Versions.
- Four Models.
- One 42 inch Yard Tractor: Pro Series 42″ 22hp Automatic Kohler Elite Yard Tractor
- One 54 inch yard tractor: Pro Series 54″ 24hp Automatic Kohler Elite Yard Tractor
- One 54 inch garden tractor: Pro Series GT 54″ 26hp Hydrostatic Kohler Elite Garden Tractor
- One 54 inch pro-sumer zero-turn: PRO Series 54″ 26 hp V-Twin Pro Z7400 Series Zero-Turn Riding Mower Non CA
- All tractors have electric deck engagement, turn-tight steering and black/yellow paint scheme.
- All 4 Pro Series tractors come equipped with Kohler 7000 Elite Series engines with Consistent-Cut.™ This new engine is advertised to have technology that provides more consistent power to your deck, helping you cut through wet turf that would make other engines stall. (You can also get this engine on select red Craftsman mowers)
- The Pro Series ZTR uses heavy-duty ZT-3100 drives. These are the same transmissions found in most entry level commercial ZTR’s and will hold up to anything you can dish out.
- All of the Pro Series decks are stamped reinforced decks. (there is an extra piece of steel that wraps around the bottom of the deck to make it stronger)
- The Pro Series ZTR sports a welded chassis for extreme conditions.
- All Pro Series tractors feature the Craftsman 6-in. Turn Tight™ technology.
- All Tractors will have new tool-less, magnet-assisted Craftsman EZ-Blade system. Husqvarna calls it RapidReplace. At this time there is only one style of general purpose side discharge blade available. Don’t expect a mulching or premium blade until next year.
- All models have key start. They do not have the Complete Start Ignition System.
- The Craftsman Pro Series Lawn Tractors are now available online through the links in this article and at your local Sears Store. By online, pick it up at your nearest Sears or have it delivered right to your home.
- Sears.com is offering free Delivery on these tractors (through November 3, 2014)
Here is a chart from Craftsman.com showing a few more details.