This tractor has been retired.
I didn’t give you much of a review last year on this Craftsman Garden Tractor because it was brand new. Well, we have a year of use under our belts and I can now give you a factual review.
It’s Not The Best Lawn Tractor….It’s The Best Lawn Tractor For You!
My Rating of this Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower:
My Value/Cost Rating: Garden Tractor, Mows Lawn Well, Mulches, Great for larger lawns. Very comfortable to use and drive. Great for 1 to 3 Acre Lawns, heavy hauling, medium to heavy snow removal.
Type: Garden Tractor.
Engine Type: Best.
Transmission Type: Hydrostatic.
Speed Control: Pedal Infinite
Accepts All Garden Tractor Attachments:
With the exception of a plastic pulley in the deck lift system this tractor has one of the lowest service records of any Craftsman ever. This Garden Tractor is not the top of line Craftsman (the 28985 is) but is one of the best for service, initial quality and overall satisfaction. For the price this is one of the best values in the garden tractor class.
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 GTX 1054. The Craftsman Professional has a larger commercial grade Briggs & Stratton ELS motor, and offers Sear’s legendary Protection Plan.
The frame is an “L” design instead of the channel frame found on the GT 6000 Craftsman Garden Tractor. It is a heavier 9 gauge steel. The 28861 has 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 GT6000 Model 28861 Garden Tractor, not the YT 4500 series. The hydrostatic transmission is a heavy duty transmission like the GT6000 and is designed for garden work. It will not go as fast as the GT6000 or turn as tight. It does not have the Turn Tight Technology found on the GT6000. It can pull all of the non-ground engaging attachments Sears sells. It is a heavy duty garden tractor transmission.
The new tires are 23 x 10.5 are flat across the tread. These new tires are a very common size and won’t give you any problems in sandy or muddy conditions.
The drive control is a foot control. It uses a simplified button for cruise control, reverse mowing and the parking brake.
The deck is the same deck as the Cub Cadet GTX 1054. Consumer Reports did not rate GTX 1054 this year. But 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 from Consumer Reports. This size of deck is suited for someone who wants to mow larger areas, but doesn’t need to have the “golf course” look and evenness.
I’m not sure if this is a con but this 54 inch deck uses sealed bearings instead of the greaseable spindles you are used to on the Model 28861. Sealed bearings will give you years of service and you don’t have to remember to grease them.
It does not have a automatic or manual differential lock. This tractor is designed to pull ground engaging attachments and at this price I personally feel the transmission should have a differential lock. If you have steep hills and need to pull a chisel plow for your food plot you will be happier with the Craftsman 28985 Estate Tractor.
I am not a big fan of the 21 inch turning radius. But for most of you who buy this Craftsman Garden Tractor for you large mowing areas this is not a problem. 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 for trimming around small objects.
This mower is considerably different than the Craftsman Model 28861. It is a “different” machine for a different type of customer. You will appreciate the commercial grade motor and extra features it includes.
In summary, this mower is a step up from the GT5000 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.
Product Description From Sears
The Craftsman Professional 28 hp garden tractor is the essence of productive lawn mowing. Featuring a powerful Briggs & Stratton OHV V-Twin engine and optimal riding and cutting features, this mower will cut grass with great precision and simplicity. This product does not meet current California emissions regulations.
- Briggs and Stratton 28 hp OHV V-Twin engine with electronic fuel management and spin on oil filter
- 54 in. deck featuring 12 cutting heights ranging from 1.5 in. to 4 in. and four deck wheels and nose roller and rear striping roller
- GT foot pedal hydrostatic transmission with cruise control
- 21 in. turning radius
- Deck wash system for easy clean-up
- Large 11-gauge frame with cast iron axel
- 3-gallon gas tank with sight gauge
- High back seat with armrest and extended auto slide
- Mow in reverse capable
- Premium fender flares with grab handles
- 16 in. x 7.5 in. front tires; 23 in. x 10.5 in. back tires
- 230 CCA Die Hard™ battery
- Color: Black/yellow
- 2-year consumer warranty, 1-year commercial warranty
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