2014 Craftsman Pro Series Lawn Tractors Now At Sears!

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.

Quick Facts:

  • Four Models.
  • 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.

NameCraftsman ProSeries Riding Mower 7000 SeriesCraftsman ProSeries Riding Mower 7400 SeriesCraftsman ProSeries Garden Tractor 7400 SeriesCraftsman ProSeries Zero-Turn Tractor
Model Number98641986439864520417
Engine BrandKohler® 7000 EliteKohler® 7000 EliteKohler® 7000 EliteKohler® 7000 Elite
HorsePower22.024.026.026.0
Engine Displacement (CC)725725747747
CylinderTwinTwinTwinTwin
LubeFull PressureFull PressureFull PressureFull Pressure
TransmissionFast CVTFast CVTFast HydroDual Hydro Gear ZT3100
Deck Size(IN)42” Reinforced54” Reinforced 11 guage54” Reinforced 11 guage54” Welded Chasis 13 guage
Turning Radius(IN)6”6”6”0”
Blade EngagementElectricElectricElectricElectric
Cutting Positions10101010
Max Speed(MPH)7.57.57.57.5
Mow in ReverseYesYesYesYes
SeatHigh BackHigh Back w/ Arm RestHigh Back w/ Arm RestHigh Back w/ Arm Rest
BumperYesYesYesNo
Warranty3 Yr. Limited Warranty
5 Yr. Frame, Lifetime Axle
3 Yr. Limited Warranty
5 Yr. Frame, Lifetime Axle
3 Yr. Limited Warranty
5 Yr. Frame, Lifetime Axle
3 Yr. Limited Warranty
5 Yr. Frame, Lifetime Axle
OtherEZ Blade ChangeEZ Blade ChangeEZ Blade Change, Ground EngagingN/A
What makes the new Kohler better than the Kohler Courage in your current tractor?
Kohler 7000 Series™Kohler 7000 You want an engine as durable and fully loaded as the pros? Now you’ve got it with the KOHLER air-cooled, V-twin 7000 Series engine. Power up your tractor or ZTR and run rings around your neighbors with pro-grade features, durable components and powerful cuts. A high-torque inertia drive starter provides extra-large output for quick, reliable starting. Consistent-Cut™ technology provides more consistent power to your deck, helping you get the perfect cut.
Go Here To See The Entire Line: Pro Series Tractors

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168 Comments on "2014 Craftsman Pro Series Lawn Tractors Now At Sears!"

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Mason
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Paul,
Great site, awesome info. Thank you

Which transmission is in the Craftsmen pro 20442? How does it compare with the K-46 in the JD X330/350 (per JD’s specs K46 hydrostatic integrated with transaxle) ?

I mow 2 semi rough acres and have one incline that is less than 15 degrees but more than 10. Which transmission or mower model would do decent job? I don’t want to go to a deck larger than 46 (if I can avoid it)

Trying to decide between a JD x xx and spending less on another model is brutal 🙂

Thank yu.

Chris
Guest

Paul,

Best value garden tractor with heavy duty tranny, durable deck, and reliable engine? My Mom has several acres of mixed topography, including flat, ditches, trees, upper edges of ravines and forest trailed. Tree branches fall, rocks and stumps sometimes are hidden. The 10-year old Toro runs great, but the deck is pretty beat with no replacement available. Looking for a bullet-proof garden tractor at a reasonable price. Perfect cutting isn’t a must. Toughness is.

Bruce
Guest

I have the GT48XLSi that I use on 3 acres with a couple of ditches, hills, a lot of uneven ground and a horse area. Maybe the Sears Paul said has it, but something that has save me more than once is the locking rear axle. Don’t know if that is something you need?

Joe Benjamin
Guest
Hi Paul, I have a 2014 42″ pro Craftsman with the Kohler 7000 in it. I have 25 hours on it and have kept it in tip top shape with oil changes, plugs, fuel filter, and chassis lube. Anyways this season I notice a huge white plume of smoke and then continue to smoke for a couple minutes. Is that normal? I called Craftsman and they say moisture in the fuel. I’m not doing anything different this year than before. I always put Sta-bul in the new fuel and it last me for about 6-8 weeks. Is fuel the issue… Read more »
Doug
Guest

HI Paul
I am just following up from last year with the 42″ craftsman pro. It worked good on flat or slight uphill but at 10% grade it had a tendancy to slip. They changed the transmission for me and everything seems to be working well now.
I had bought it used but warranty still covered it. They had to have previous owners phone number though. Serial numbers etc were no good for warranty. I am posting just in case anyone else goes through the same thing
Doug in northern Minnesota

George E
Guest
Hi Paul, Considering Canadian Craftsman “CRAFTSMAN®/MD 23-HP 54″ Turn Tight Yard Tractor”. Two to three acres, some 15% slope, pretty lovely lawn for an ex dairy farm. Trees, some short portions of extreme slope which will require hand held trimmer, lots of wooden fence (same). Reading all your Craftsman reviews *thank you!*, I note that you don’t have the 23HP 54″ version in the USA. I called Sears Canada who couldn’t tell me the model number/name apart from “W- 7160435”. Here is the link: http://www.sears.ca/product/craftsman-md-23-hp-54-turn-tight-yard-tractor/671-000927525-60435 Please let me know which review of yours would best represent the model in question… Read more »
Ken
Guest

Comparing craftsman pro 20443 against a cub cadet xt2 gx54.
Yard is about an acre, even mix of 10 foot hill and flat slightly sloped.
Are these the same machine minus cosmetic differences?
Thoughts on 1 vs the other, mostly concerned with strength and longevity.
Thank you very much for your reply.

Rhyne
Guest

I found a hometown store that has both the 2014 and 2015 42″ pro series. There both the same price. which one would you chose?

Chuck
Guest
Paul, I am in Greenwood, IN, I am looking at buying a new Garden Tractor and have been reading your reviews and comments, here. They’re very helpful. I am looking at these three: Craftsman 20403, Craftsman 98645, and Craftsman 20445 are garden tractors. What are the real differences here that justify the price differences? I currently have an 12 year old Huskee Supreme Garden Tractor 26hp/54″ deck that is finally reaching it’s old age. I have 7.5 acres and mow about 4 acres, Mostly flat with some trees. I also pull a Swisher 60″ finish mower and cut a long… Read more »
Bruce
Guest
Paul, First off, you rock, great website. I live in Colorado and the terrain at our house is rough and I have some hills to go up and down. I will cutting about 2 acres, also be dragging a horse area with a wire harrow and pulling a box scraper to do some light work. For heavier stuff, I can borrow a Kubota tractor and for winter, I have a nice tracked snow blower. The 2 tractors that I am looking at is the Sears 98645 Craftsman Pro Series GT 54″ 26hp Hydrostatic Kohler Elite Garden Tractor or the Husqvarna… Read more »
Laurie
Guest
Hi, I was wondering what you thought about the Craftsman Pro Series with the Kohler engine as compared to the regular Craftsman with the Briggs and Stratton? I have been looking at the regular 6′ turn 48″deck Craftsman that you recommend for yards with slopes and hills. My husband went by Sears to look at the mowers and was shown the Pro Series. He prefers the Kohler engine (probably because the 22hp 46″ Troybilt that is dying on us has the B&S). He also has looked at the Cub Cadet Z ForceSZ48 Commercial Series; the other mower you recommended for… Read more »
George
Guest
Paul, Thanks for the website. I have an LT1042 Cub Cadet about 12 years old that is in the shop with a cracked block (Kohler engine). Rather than repair it, I’ve been looking at couple mowers and was wondering your opinion. One is the Craftsman 42″ Garden Tractor model # 20390 for $1712 and the other is the Pro Series Craftsman 42″ Lawn Tractor model #98641 for $1999. I have about 10 acres with 1.5 acres to mow but need the 42″ to negotiate through gates, around trees and fit in the trailer. I have completely flat terrain and need… Read more »
Randy
Guest

Also it is a very fast tractor. No offense. But you may be over powering while turning. If you do often enough no clip will hold very long.
Most of the weight is over the front. So if your sliding out your probably goin to fast.

David Paulsen
Guest
Hello, I have a 7400 series Craftsman lawn tractor, model 917.98645. I bought if from Sears in June of 2014. My problem – the wheels keep falling off!! The left wheel fell off six weeks ago – wheel baring lost – sears came out and replaced bearing and put the wheel back on. Today, the right wheel fell off!! What do you think the problem could be? My theory: whenever I turn the mower I can see that there is tremendous outward force on the wheel. In other words the wheels want to slide sideways as they roll. The little… Read more »
Douglas
Guest
Canvas West Virginia I have the 42″ cut pro series and was wondering is you could suggest something to improve traction. I have added the wheel weights but really feel I need some type of chain although it does not recommend it. If I get in bind or have to mow along a ditch the top wheel begins to spin and if I move to counter it the seat safety kills the engine . I need something that will not rub the mowing deck. It is a shame they did not allow a bit more room between tires and deck.… Read more »

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