2012 Craftsman 28 in 12.5 hp Rear Engine Rider Model 28034 Review

Sorry: The RER is discontinued. Snapper has a new model for 2013 and there is no word if Craftsman will ask them to make a black one.

But, Craftsman does have a great little 30 inch mower for only about $999. Go here to see it. Craftsman 420cc 30″ 6-Speed Rider2012 Craftsman 28 in 12.5 hp Rear Engine Rider Model 28034 Review 1

Executive Summary: This little riding mower has been around for a long time and has a great reputation as a fun riding mower.  It is basically the same as the Snapper RER12.5/28.  It is expensive when you first look at the price, but in reality it is a great value for the durability you get. And, it will go through most garden gates!  The Craftsman Rear Engine Rider has an excellent reputation for dependability and longevity.  It has a great cutting deck. Owners give this tractor great reviews.

This tractor has not changed for 2012.

Is this the right mower for you?: If you just want a good mower and you have a flat lawn about 1/2 to 3/4 acre put this little rider at the top of your list. This mower will go through a 32 inch gate. This mower is fun, agile and easy to drive, but it is limited to mowing a flat lawn and pulling a small yard cart. If you try to pull heavy loads or use this mower on hills you will not be happy with it.   This tractor will mow up to .75 acres an hour.

This rider is basically the same as the Snapper rider your dad had.  It uses the proven disk drive transmission. The 28 inch deck is capable of using the Snapper Ninja Mulch System.  There is a bagger available but it makes the mower 10 inches wider.   This is a great yard mower and is designed to primarily mow lawns.  If you need a rider that will pull a heavy yard cart, sweeper or other normal pull-behind attachment look at a different tractor.

Brand/Manufacture: Craftsman / Briggs & Stratton
Model/Series: 7800669
Item Number: 07128034000
Street Price: $1499

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is a “Best” quality mower. The LT series is less quality. The YT and Premium series are better.

Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Riding Mower.  Handles many attachments. See Optional Attachments at the end of this article

2012 Craftsman 28 in 12.5 hp Rear Engine Rider Model 28034 Review 2

Craftsman 28 RER

Bullet-proof transmission
Pivoting Front Axle
Can use Snapper “Ninja” Mulching Blade
Can Tip on rear for storage

Can use Snapper “Ninja” Mulching Blade
Takes a while to learn to use.
Large turning radius

Retail Price: $1839.99

My Review:

Except for the required safety features and fuel-efficient Overhead Valve motor this is effectively the same riding mower your grandfather had when you were a kid.  You are going to pay more for this mower than the sheet metal “lawn tractors” made so cheaply by other manufactures but it is a heavy-duty, small rider. It just may be the best mower you will ever own for dependability.

This riding mower designed to mow well, drive well, and last much longer than all the other “under $1500” Lawn Tractor.  It handles dips and bumps in your yard really well. It will go up and down hills very well, but I don’t recommend it for mowing across slopes.

This article was first published at TodaysMower.com 

The transmission is a sliding wheel style and is basically the same transmission as the one in your walk-behind snowblower.  It will last for years and can easily be repaired.  If you decide to pull heavy stuff with it, you will have to change the drive-tire (inside the trans) every few years, otherwise it just works.

Comfort – Ease of Use:  This riding mower is fun to drive, but is not that comfortable to use.  It will not mow in reverse and customers who have problems bending over don’t like where the deck engagement lever is placed.

Power For Mowing:  This rider has plenty of power for the deck size.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by Sears.  Of the dozens of reviews only one complained about starting problems.  Use fresh fuel and remember to open the vent on the gas tank and it will give you no problems.   There have been very few complaints on this tractor.

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has a low-effort one-to-one steering and will steer much easier than the cheap lawn tractors. It does have a huge 20 inch turning radius so it’s not that great for trimming. I recommend you never use a mower like this on wet or drought-dry slopes.

Mow – Mulch- Bag:  It mulches very well with Snapper Ninja Blade and mulch plug. (about $125)  The optional bagger is big and is a rear dump style. You back it up to a compost pile or over a plastic tarp and dump out the grass. Be aware this is not a “high-speed” deck.  It mows perfectly at 3 MPH but don’t expect it to mow as fast as the tractor will go (5.5MPH) and give you the same results.

Specifications, Features, Benefits

The rest of this article is taken from the retailers website.

Type:  riding mower
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): .75 acres at 3 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? Up and down
Excels in mowing around obstacles? No

Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
Brand: Craftsman 28034
Engine Power: 12.5 hp*
Displacement: 36.8 cu in.
Manufacturer: B&S
Cylinders: V-twin, cast-iron liners
Type: Gold, OHV
Charging System: 5 amp regulated
Battery: 230 cold-crank amps
Choke/Speed Control: Choke-a-matic
Fuel Tank Capacity: 1.7 U.S. gal.
Transmission: Manual 5 speed sliding disk
Transmission Control:  Clutch and shift lever
Cruise Control: NA
Forward Speed: 0-4.6 mph
Reverse Speed: 0-2.0 mph
Chassis: Frame Welded heavy-duty/Primer/Paint E-coat/powder
Front Tires: 11×4
Rear Tires: 16×5
Front Axle: Pivoting Cast iron
Hood Material: X
Hourmeter: na
Tool Tray: na
Cupholder: na
Headlights: na
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes
Deck washout port: No
12-volt outlet: No
Steering: 1-to-1 quick response
Turning Radius: 22 in.
Uncut Circle Radius: ? in.
Spindle Bushings: Metal, replaceable
Seat Back Height: 13 in. open back
Fore-aft Adjustment: 7 in. while seated
Seat Suspension: na
Deck Lift System: Manual Lever 
Mower Cut Height: 1.5 in. to 4 in., 5 position
Cut Height Increments: .75
Preset Cut Height: Yes
PTO clutch: Manual

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge
Mower Cutting Width: 28 in.
Mower Deck Material: ?
Mower Wheel Adjustment: NA
Mower Level Adjustment: Exact
Mower Drive System: In-line belt, manual PTO
Mower Attachment: Not EZ-Off
Mower Drive: Belt Tension Spring
Mower Wheels Rotate For Deck Removal: No


Wheelbase: 46-in.
Overall Length: 64-in.na38-in.
Width with mower: 32-in.
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) 32-in.
Height: 39-in.
Weight: 314 lb with mower, no fuel

U.S. Warranty: 2 year/Limited


  1. Michael Welu
    • Paul
  2. bailey
    • Paul Sikkema
  3. Jeff Cunningham
    • Paul Sikkema
      • rod
  4. Pingback: NEW Craftsman 30 in SMART RIDER Riding Lawn Mower Model 28001 Review | TodaysMower.com
    January 29, 2012
    • Paul Sikkema
    • Paul Sikkema

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