2011 Craftsman Professional Yard Tractor 46 inch 26 hp Model 28888 Review

Update: This tractor has been replaced with the new CTX Series  Craftsman!

2011 Craftsman Professional Yard Tractor 42 inch 24 hp Model 28888 Review

A Great Mowing Lawn Tractor!

It’s Not The Best Lawn Tractor….It’s The Best Lawn Tractor For You!

2011 Craftsman Professional Yard Tractor 46 inch 26 hp Model 28888 Review 1

Craftsman Pro Model 28888

My Rating of this Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower:

My Value/Cost Rating: Lawn Tractor: Mows Lawn Well, Mulches, Gets Through Tight Spaces Well.  Great for 1/2 to 2  Acre Lawns, Medium Hauling, Snow Removal, Accepts Light Attachments & Bagger.

Type: Lawn Tractor. See Tractor Rider Mower Types for a complete explanation.
Engine Type: Best. See Engine Types for a complete explanation.
Transmission Type: Hydrostatic. See Transmission Types for a complete explanation.
Speed Control: Foot (Pedal) with cruise
Accepts Medium Duty Attachments:

What I Like!

What do you get when you take a Cub Cadet 1046 and drop in the best 26 HP Briggs & Stratton Professional Series Motor?  Yes, The Craftsman PTY9000 Model 28888!  This mower replaces the 42 inch 28980 from last year.  It has a larger deck, larger motor, 12 inch turning radius, high back seat, and 12 position cutting height control.

The 28980 proved to be one of the best lawn tractors in the entire Craftsman line.  It had virtually had no repair issues and this mower will be the same. It mows great, bags great and is very agile for it’s size.  This mower will be the same quality as the 28980 it replaces.  A great mower, a good tractor, capable of performing all the yard tasks around your 1/2 to 2 acre suburban yard.

I want to make one thing perfectly clear though. This is not a garden tractor and this is not a commercial mower. Craftsman Professional series are “deluxed” tractors, with great extra features that make them more comfortable to drive and easy to use. They not heavy duty commercial machines. (though the 28985 comes very close)

Reading the reviews over at mysears.com I noticed the negative reviews were all about what the tractor isn’t and for some reason the new owners did not realize this when they bought the tractor.  It is simply a great lawn tractor with the great cutting deck, the best motor Briggs has to offer and a few extras that make this lawn tractor easy to use.  If you want to install a johnny bucket or pull ground engaging attachments look at the garden tractor series, not this tractor.  Go here for garden tractors (4 Craftsman garden tractors which one is right for you) Think of this Tractor as the best LAWN TRACTOR you could own.

I have two customers who use the 28980 to make money.  They have put more hours on their 3 tractors than you will in 15 years mowing your 2 acre lawn.  Of course they do normal maintenance like changing the oil, air filter, belts and blades. The 28888 will do the same.

The only service issue I have heard is about 1 out of every 200 engines sold in this tractor has a problem with the electronic ignition right away. (first 10 hours)  Of course your realize this is a Briggs problem, not a problem with the mower itself. All the owners had to do was call 1-800-4MY-HOME and a Sears tech fixed the problem.

Product Description From Sears

Do you want all the bells and whistles? The Craftsman Professional 46″ Yard Tractor features a high performance cutting deck with 12 cutting heights that will give you the flexibility to get your job done faster. Power and performance comes from the 26 HP engine and foot controlled hydrostatic transmission; a tight 12″ turning radius will save time. Its fully loaded with features that will do the job faster and make you more comfortable.

  • Briggs and Stratton 26 hp OHV V-Twin engine with spin on oil filter
  • 46 in. deck featuring 12 cutting heights ranging from 1.5 in. to 4 in. and four deck wheels
  • Foot pedal hydrostatic transmission with cruise control
  • 12 in. turning radius for extreme maneuverability
  • Deck wash system for easy clean-up
  • Heavy-duty 9-gauge steel frame with cast iron axle
  • 3-gallon gas tank with sight gauge
  • High back seat with extended auto slide
  • Mow in reverse capable
  • Premium fender flares with grab handles
  • 15 in. x 6 in. front tires; 20 in. x 8 in. back tires
  • 230 CCA Die Hard™ battery
  • Color: Black/Gold
  • 2-year full, 5-year frame and limited lifetime front axle warranty
  • Not available for sale in California
  • *as rated by engine manufacturers

Added on January 06, 2011

My Review:


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 cousins the Cub Cadet LTX 1042  and the Toro LX427 . The Craftsman Professional has a commercial grade Briggs & Stratton ELS motor and offers their legendary Protection Plan.

The frame is an “L” design instead of the channel frame found on the Turn Tight Tractors.  It is a heavier 9 gauge steel. Yes, the frame is thicker, but is it stronger?  Only time will tell.  It appears to be strong and stiff.  I don’t expect you to have any problems with this design.

The hydrostatic transmission is a medium duty transmission and designed for the application.  It can pull all of the non-ground engaging attachments Sears sells.  It is does not weigh as much as the retired K 46 found in the 28970 but I don’t feel this will be a problem.  The tranny manufactures are very careful to size their transmissions to the application.

Last years tires were 20 x 10.  The new tires are 20 x 8 and not as flat across the tread. 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 and drives a lot like your car.  It uses a simplified button for cruise control and the parking brake.


I am not a big fan of the 12 inch turning radius, but it should not be a “deal breaker” for you unless you have very poor, sandy soil. This is the same steering found on the Cub Cadets and if you have a poor lawn or sandy soil the tractor will “scuff” your lawn if you try to turn that tight.  To get the 12 inch turning radius on this mower MTD had to put in some negative camber in the steering design.  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 4000 series and the motor alone is worth the extra money over the YT series.  This Professional Series Craftsman will give you many years of good service.

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Vince Mc

I have used my PYT9000 since April 2011. I tow manure spreader and use it as a general purpose mule along with about 1.5 acre texas lawn cut (small mesquite, cacti, various treelike weeds. The battery recently died, I started with a jump battery for many months. Then I replaced the seat switch after it would run for less than a minute and stop. I had to push it just before replaceing seat switch, but now it starts, but will not engage as if the break is on. After reading many postings, I’ll go out today and giggle the brake… Read more »


Hi Paul, Just wondering if you deal with generators. The one that I have an eye on is 7000 Watt elite series from Brigg & Stratton. It’s good as Ridgit 6800 Watt with Yamaha?
Thank you very much.


Hi paul,
The pyt9000 26hp 46″ #28888 can be used to pull dump carts, plow snow and some what semi heavy duties?



I was told at the local sears store that they stopped making the pyt9000. Is this true and what is the reason they stopped making it this year. My father has one that I like and I was wanting to get one myself.


Whenever I want to start my Craftsman pyt9000 26hp 46″ model 28888 it is always difficult but once it started the next try was much easier. Please tell me what happen, how do I fix it it was delivered yesterday 4/20/2012


I found a store that wants to sell this mower for $1500. The mower has 14 hours on it. I am hesitating because I’m not sure if this mower wasn’t for instance run very hard. How do you judge a resale in terms of operating hours? Is 14 hrs of something that should concern me at all with this mower? Thanks!

gregg Schoenrade
gregg Schoenrade

I’m trying to buy a PYT 9000, and having a mulch kit is a show stopper. Sears can’t get one for me….is there an option?

Ray Still
Ray Still

I have a question about the Craftsman 28888. Is it powerful enough, engine and transmission, to handle a pull behind tiller? I need something that will cut grass and handle a small(40`x60`) garden.


Hey just wondering what the two shoulder spacers are doing on the rear of the frame. one on each side of the tractor on my pyt 9000?

Callahan John
Callahan John

Hello Paul,
Cannot locate mower deck spindle grease fitting on my 289980. Sears Tractor Help Line claims fittings are under the pulley. Not there.
Thanks for your help.


The deck of the model 28888 in the store raises higher than the other models, i.e., the model 28856 and other nearby models. Is this true in general or just a fluke with that particular sample?


I noticed comparing the deck on the PYT9000 and the CC LTX1046 the the LTX 1046 has grease fitting on the two blade spindles and the PYT9000 does not. Is this of any concern?


Is the deck on the PYT9000 a floating deck?


I went and looked at the PYT9000 last night at Sears. I have downloaded the manual and I don’t see any info on adjusting the Gage wheels on the cutting deck. There is discussion on leveling the deck back to front and left to right but that is about it.
Don’t the Gage wheels need to be adjusted?

Do you thinks it’s worth spending and extra $460 for a 3yr service agreement? Any clue how the the 2yr full warranty that comes with the mower works. The staff at Sears just don’t seem to know.


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