2010 Craftsman Professional Yard Tractor 50 inch 26 hp Model 28981 Review

I have been waiting to write a review this tractor because this is a new tractor from a manufacture who has not made this type of mower for Sears before.   I was finally able to test it and get answers to a few questions I had on April 15.

Sears Item 07128981000

Listed On Sears.com as: Craftsman Professional 26 hp 50 inch Yard Tractor


Read My Review Below These Specs:

Brand: Craftsman
Series: Professional Series
Model: 28981
Ca Model: None
Engine HP: 26 hp
Engine Brand: Briggs & Stratton Professional
Cylinders: 2
Transmission: Hydrostatic
Transmission Control: Two Lever Foot Control
Mower Width: 50 inches
Blades: 3
Cutting Positions: 11
Gauge Wheels: 5
Washout port: Yes
Blade Engagement: Electric
Turning Radius: 12 inches
Front Axle: Cast Iron
Rear Tires: 20 x 10
Seat: High Back
Slide Seat Adjust: Yes
Service Minder: Yes

My Review:

This mower is considerably different than the 48 inch 2009 Model 28972 from last year.  While it has the same yellow and black paint scheme, the frame, deck, transmission, tires, controls and overall appearance are different.  It still has the high-end Briggs & Stratton motor, electric blade engagement and rugged front bumper.


This tractor has some of the basic components found in other mowers from this manufacture but Sears has dramatically improved this tractor over it’s cousin the Cub Cadet LTX 1050 . The Craftsman Professional has a larger commercial grade Briggs & Stratton ELS motor, a free brush guard and offers their legendary Protection Plan.

The deck is the same deck as the Cub Cadet LTX 1050.  Consumer Reports rated the LTX 1050’s cut average this year so I expect this deck to cut the same.  In my opinion Consumer Reports asked to much from the larger decks.  When you have a deck larger than 46 inches on a residential mower the free floating design of the deck suspension causes the deck to not mow as evenly as the smaller decks.  The decks themselves cut well, it’s just the overlap from one pass to the other that gets the average rating.  This size of deck is suited for someone who wants to mow larger area, but doesn’t need to have the “golf course” look and evenness.

The frame is an “L” design instead of the channel frame found on the 28972.  It is a heavier 9 gauge steel.  The 28972 had an 11 gauge frame.  It appears to be strong and stiff.  I don’t expect you to have any problems with this design.

Compare the features of this tractor to the 28990 YT 4500 not to the GT5000 Garden Tractors.  The hydrostatic transmission is a medium duty transmission like the 28990 and is designed for mowing lawns not garden work.  It can pull all of the non-ground engaging attachments Sears sells.  It is not a heavy duty garden tractor transmission,  but I don’t feel this will be a problem.  The tranny manufactures are very careful to size their transmissions to the application.

The new tires are 20 x 10 and not as flat across the tread as the tires on the 28972. These new tires are a very common size and won’t give you any problems unless you are trying to mow in sandy or muddy conditions.

The drive control is a foot control.  It uses a simplified button for cruise control and the parking brake.


I am not a big fan of the 12 inch turning radius.  I personally feel this is too tight for this length of machine and if you have a poor lawn or sandy soil the tractor will “scuff” your lawn if you try to turn that tight.  If you buy one of these tractors and it does leave marks in your yard when turning sharply the only way to “fix” this problem is to not turn as sharp.  The tractor is engineered to turn sharply, but it will not work well in ALL lawn types and it will leave marks in your lawn under certain circumstances.  This is not a “don’t buy” situation, I am just telling you that while this is a good, solid, machine, there will be times where you can’t turn as sharp as the machine can without leaving marks in your lawn.


In summary, this mower is a step up from the YT 4500 series and is worth the extra money.  The free brush guard and Extended Life Briggs alone are worth the extra cost. This Professional Series Craftsman will give you many years of good service.

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