2012 Craftsman 42 in 24 hp YT 4000 Hydro Model 28856 Yard Tractor Review

The 2014 Craftsman T3000 Model 20390 replaces this 2013 Craftsman and improves it with a great new look. 2014 Craftsman 42 inch T3000 Model 20390

Executive Summary: This is my choice for a 42 inch riding mower! It is one of Craftsman’s most popular riding mowers. For the features it offers compared to all the other brands it continues to be one of the best value riding mowers on the market today. If you want to put a snow blower on your tractor this is a great choice.   It has a better motor than other lawn tractors, a hydrostatic transmission, a great cutting deck, plenty of available attachments and the industry leading Craftsman Turn Tight 6 inch turning radius. This tractor has not changed for 2013.

By Paul Sikkema. Find Paul on 

This lawn tractor review covers the Model 28856, 42 inch version of the Craftsman Yard Tractor. There are seven other models in the series:

42 in 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28851,
42 in 21 hp Gear Drive Platinum Briggs Model 25022,
46 in 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28852,
46 in 22 hp Kohler Plus Model 28853,  This review covers all the features!
46 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28857,
54 in 26 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28858,
54 in 26 hp Kohler Model 28008.
The 42 in 24 hp Gear Drive Model 28925 is discontinued for 2013.

Brand/Manufacture: Craftsman / Husqvarna
Model/Series: Yard Tractor YT 4000
Item Number:  28856 (49 State) 28866  (CA Version)
Buy Online, Pickup At Your Local Sear: Buy Online, And Have It Delivered To Your Home Ship:Craftsman 42″ 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in.
Street Price: Less than $1779.99

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is Craftsman’s Best Quality. The 28881 is less quality.  The Premium Craftsman’s are better.

Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Yard Tractor. See the list of attachments at the end of this article.
Compare it to: John Deere D120 42 in. 21 HP Front-Engine Hydrostatic Riding Mower $1799.00 at Home Depot Note Home Depot does not have  42 in Cub Cadet with a hydro for 2012 (only a CVT)

Craftsman 42 in 24hp Hydro

 Pros:
Foot Control Hydro Trans
Twin Cylinder Motor
Step-through Platform
6 inch Turning Radius

Cons:
Deck is a wide as front wheels!

Retail Price: $1699.99 Check The Best Sale Price Here: Craftsman 42″ 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in.

My Review:

This tractor continues to be one of the best value tractors on the market for your average size suburban yard! This is a great lawn tractor with an excellent cutting deck.  It has an oil pump B&S twin cylinder motor, with yellow oil filter.  It has only four anti-scalp wheels so it will mow your lawn without gouging or scalping the turf.  You have plenty of power for mowing and blowing snow. This tractor continues to get the best reviews from the review organizations for value, cut, and dependability.  Sears has the best service of all the big box stores and they come right to your home if your ever have a problem with your tractor.

This lawn tractor will mow in reverse.

People who buy this yard tractor know what they are buying and this is just what they want. That is why you will find so many good reviews on Sears.com.  This is a great tractor with a great cutting deck and may just be the best value for you and your suburban lawn.

This article was first published at TodaysMower.com 

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on this review.  If you have specific questions leave a comment below and myself or the readers will be glad to answer them.  This is a great tractor and if you want one to last this should be at the top of your list.

Comfort – Ease of Use:  Deluxe high-back seat, easy to use operator controls, good field of view.  This Yard Tractor is very comfortable to operate and drive. .

Power For Mowing:  This tractor has plenty of power for side discharge mowing, mulching and bagging. It will handles a snow blower well.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by Sears.  There have been a few issues with the build quality. One thing to know – Sears takes the tractor out of the shipping crate but they do not “setup” the tractor. (John Deere dealers are the only retailer who does) You have to put gas in it, and run it for the first time. If there is an assembly problem you call 1-800-469-4663 and a service tech comes out to your home and fixes the issue. The store where you picked it up from or the delivery team does not repair the tractor. If you buy another brand make sure you understand the repair policy if you have a problem.  This is actually a good way to do this because many of the other brands make you take the mower to an “authorized service center”

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has average traction and handling and is similar to all the other lawn tractors from the other retailers.

Mow – Mulch- Bag:  This tractor gets high marks by owners for mowing, mulching and bagging.  But, be aware this is not a “high-speed” deck like you will find on a commercial lawn mower.  It mows perfectly at 3-4 MPH but don’t expect it to mow as fast as the tractor will go (5.5MPH) and give you the same results.  With this tractor/deck you set the height of cut using a lever on the tractor fender.

Specifications, Features, Benefits

The rest of this article is taken from the retailers website. Specs subject to change.

Type:  Yard Tractor
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 1.4 acres at 4 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes, Moderate slopes
Excels in mowing around obstacles? Yes 
Will Mow In Reverse? Yes
Manufacturer: Husqvarana
Brand: Craftsman
Engine Power: 24 hp* 
Displacement: 724 cc. 
Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
Cylinders: Twin, cast-iron liners
Type: OHV, oil filter, Pressurized with automotive style oil pump
Charging System: 15 amp regulated
Battery: DieHard
Choke/Speed Control: Integrated One Lever
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.0 U.S. gal. 
Transmission: hydrostatic 
Transmission Control:  Direction/speed – Foot Control
Cruise Control: Yes
Forward Speed: 0-5.5 mph
Reverse Speed: 0-2.5 mph
Chassis: 11 ga.
Front Tires: 15x6x6
Rear Tires: 20x8x8
Front Axle: Cast Iron, lifetime warranty on axle
Hood Material: Steel
Hourmeter: Yes
Tool Tray: NA

Cupholder: Yes
Headlights: Yes
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes, Under Seat
Deck washout port: Yes
12-volt outlet: No
Steering: Type 2-wheel steer
Turning Radius: 6 in.
Uncut Circle Radius: ? in. 
Spindle Bushings: Metal, replaceable
Seat Back Height: Deluxe high back
Fore-aft Adjustment: 6 in. while seated
Seat Suspension: Two coil springs
Deck Lift System:  Spring assist, Fender
Mower Cut Height: 1.5 in. to 4 in., 6 position
Cut Height Increments: ? in.
Preset Cut Height: No
PTO clutch: Manual

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge
Mower Cutting Width: 42 in.
Blades: 42 in.
Mower Deck Material: 13 ga.
Mower Wheel Adjustment: Yes
Mower Level Adjustment: Exact
Mower Drive System: In-line belt, Manual PTO
Mower Attachment: 3 point Not EZ-Off
Mower Drive: Belt Tension Spring
Mower Wheels Rotate For Deck Removal: No

Dimensions

Wheelbase: ?-in. 
Overall Length: ?-in. 
Width without mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) ?-in. 
Height: ?-in. 
Weight: 518 lb with mower, no fuel

U.S. Warranty: 2 year limited, 3 and 5 year optional protection plan

Craftsman 42″ 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in.

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56 Comments on "2012 Craftsman 42 in 24 hp YT 4000 Hydro Model 28856 Yard Tractor Review"

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Brian
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Brian

I think I found the issue. There’s a noticeable gap between one of the cylinder heads and what looks to be a plastic intake manifold. There is a black residue cover a portion of that side of the engine.
Brian
Grand haven

Tylor
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Tylor

Can I pull a 1700 pound boat with this tractor

Brian
Guest
Brian

Paul, I held the choke with my finger to make sure it was closed while my wife tried to start it and still no luck. I then let the fuel drain out if the tank over night, put a new fuel filter in with fresh Shell gas and seafoam. I mowed the entire lawn and the next day it still won’t start. This is a head scratcher because it runs great after I get it started. Any more ideas?
Brian
Grand Haven

Brian
Guest
Brian

Paul, I have model number 288563. I bought it late last summer from a dealer it was returned from a customer because he had starting issues with it. They claimed they got it back to specification and I got a good deal on it. I mowed with it about 10 times and now it absolutely won’t start it’s own. The only way to start it now is to squirt a little carburetor cleaner down the air intake. Once I get it started it runs great. If it sits a day it won’t start again. Any ideas?
Brian
Grand Haven, Michigan

Rob
Guest

Hello Paul, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this website. Thank you for putting it together. I have a question about the 28856 Craftsman. I live in the snow country here in Syracuse, NY what are your thoughts on the snow plow blade? Would the salt from the winter roads corrode the mower? And would pushing anywhere from 2-3″, up to 6-8″ put undue stress on the tractor? I am getting mixes reviews, thanks!

Matt
Guest
Matt
Paul, I am looking at a 2-3 year old yt 4000 42″ 24 hp with hydro. I have about 1/2 acre to lot but my dirt is “clay” so i am looking at pulling a rolling drum yard plugger that i can fill with water and the total weight will be about 400 LBS along with the pull & friction of the pluggers themselves. Will the hydro handle this or will it get hot and go bad quickly? There are several 8+ year old manual lawn mowers that i could bye just for the tractor because i’ve gathered the manual… Read more »
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[…] Briggs Model 28852, 46 in 22 hp Kohler Plus Model 28853,  This review covers all the features! 42 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28856, 46 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28857, 54 in 26 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28858, 54 in 26 […]

Matt
Guest
Matt

Paul, I have an option to buy a Cub Cadet GT2542 for $1600 with 300 hours on it or an almost new one of these 28856 for $1200. How would you compare these 2 tractors? The CC has a 20 HP Kohler Engine and seems to be a fairly reliable Garden Tractor. Do you have any experience with these? Is it worth the extra money? I will be mowing about an acre and use it for snow removal during the winter months.

Thank You.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Hello, I have done a lot of research on this tractor and even purchased it on friends and family at a local hometown store. Do you think i’d be better off with the 20390 or the 28856. I realize the 28856 is an older model, but how do they compare? I was able to get the mulching kit, double rail bumper and a poly dump cart for under $1500 with tax. is there anything I am not getting asides from the higher price tag and less horse power?? great site!!!

Jim
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Can the Craftsman 28856 handle the slopes of a sand mound septic system?

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[…] 42 in 21 hp Gear Drive Platinum Briggs Model 25022, 46 in 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28852, 42 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28856, 46 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28857, 54 in 26 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28858, 54 in 26 […]

Julian
Guest
Julian

Paul,

Thank you for the prompt reply! Thanks to your input, I was able to steer away from the JD D130. Now that you point out some other ideas I have another few questions:

1) 28856 or 28857?
2) Sears Extended Plans?
3) Bumpers really worth the money?

Julian
Guest
Julian

Paul,

Great reviews on your site! Thanks for giving us a real view of what’s on the market.

Just moved into a house settled on 1.2 acres of flat land. The 2 options I am seeing is the Craftsman YT4000 28856 and JD’s D130 with no need for much more than light hauling (grass seed and etc.) Pound for pound, option for option, and dollar for dollar, which would be my best option? Where would you look to get the best price?

Tony
Guest
Tony

Paul, Is there a standard way to adjust deck wheels on this model? I’ll be doing it on a “level” patio surface. GREAT site!!!
Tony

Joe
Guest

your thoughts on the Husqvarna 23v42? How does it compare to the Sears 28856?

Howard
Guest
Howard

I recently purchased the 28856 VTwin and originally thought I got a great deal at < $1429 including tax delivered after all the SYWR coupons… And it looks fantasic… but some parts of my yard (most) are not smooth and the 'hood' rattles like crazy (its not secured, just a floating hood) and I sometimes think I'm driving a tin can on wheels..
Is this normal??

Orlando
Guest
Orlando
Paul, I order the 28856 and it will be delivered in July. I am not in the continental USA. But I am still a little concern with the tranny. Are the hydros really the weak link when compared to the same tractor with a 6 speed? Any special service required. I know you can change the oil but you will need to remove the tranny from the tractor. While surfing at the Tuff Torque site they recommend changing oil at the first 50 hrs and every 200 hrs after that. Is it worth the work required to change the oil?… Read more »
Orlando
Guest
Orlando
Is there any difference other than the transmission between the 28856 and the 25023? I saw a 25023 at a store today and the front wheel wheelbase appear to be just a little less wide than the deck. If the tractors are the same ( same chassis and front wheelbase) I will go with the hydro unit. I know both are turn tight but I do not know if there are any difference in the front wheel system. I saw the 25023 at one of the independently own sears retailers and the representative at the store was not very knowledgeable… Read more »
Bill
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Bill
(I added the numbers so I can respond to a few of these comments. Paul) I purchased the same riding mower in 2010 after my 1988 craftsman garden tractor finally died after 21 years of hard use. Here it is 2013 and I can say the quality of the new riding mowers sucks period. 1. The mower was supposed to be delivered and setup including leveling the deck. Obviously the person who did this didn’t have a clue what they were doing because the left side was cutting about 3/4 of an inch lower than the right side. 2. The… Read more »
Annu
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Annu

Is it an issue to have Deck as wide as front wheels? What issue one would face?

Thanks,

Jake
Guest
Jake

what is the lowest cost craftsman mower with tight turn that is still good?

trackback

[…] Briggs Model 28852, 46 in 22 hp Kohler Plus Model 28853, This review covers all the features! 42 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28856, 46 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28857, The 42 in 24 hp Gear Drive Model 28925 is discontinued […]

pat
Guest

I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Husqvarna yth19k42. Since craftsman is made by husqvarna why not just get thr husqvarna?

Dustin
Guest
Dustin
Hi Paul, I love your reviews, thank you for your time in making them. I wanted to offer my experience with this tractor and any feed back you may have. First off, I have never owned a riding lawn mower or tractor. However, I have found myself in need of one this year. I went to my local Home Town store originally to buy a refrigerator my wife picked out earlier in the day. And there sitting next to the appliances ON SALE, was this tractor. FOR LESS than the refrigerator!!! It was like clouds peeled back and heavenly song… Read more »
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[…] can put a snow blower on it, but I don’t recommend it. Why? I prefer the 24 hp twin in the 28856: so you have plenty of power. This tractor continues to get the best reviews from the review […]

Tony
Guest
Tony

Paul, Got ready to order this model at $1529.99, but when in my Cart it jumped to $1547.99; what gives? Also, are you sure 33472 is the mulching plug # for this model? Plus, how do I get you a peso-or-ten for this handy-dandy site?

rick ferrero
Guest
rick ferrero

Paul,

I have about an acre, or just under to cut. I was looking at both the YT3000 and 4000. It looks like the main difference is HP and 2 cylinders vs 1. Am I missing anything else? I’m just mowing, not planning at this point for hauling and definitely not doing snow removal. Also, is the initial set-up difficult? I read that leveling the deck can be difficult. Thanks for your input. -Rick

trackback

[…] Zero Turn, Stand-On) Lawn Tractor.  Handles most pull-behind attachments. Compare it to: Craftsman 42 in 24 hp Turn Tight Hydro John Deere […]

Tony
Guest
Tony

Guess I didn’t actually ask a question with my last post, but do you know why Sears has changed the frame gauge on these mowers from 11ga to 12ga; and still 13ga on the 6-speed models?

Tony
Guest
Tony

Well, here we go again…..now Sears has changed the stat sheet to show a 12ga frame on this series. You’ll notice your stats still show 11ga. Getting the turning radius wrong is bad enough, but frame gauge roulette shows poor attention to detail.

Tony
Guest
Tony

Is there a way to tell if you’re buying the 2012, as opposed to the 2011 model?
Why didn’t Sears apply the TTT to the Premium line; seems like a no-brainer, although I realize they’re made by different companies.

nick noel
Guest

Paul’ one more thing i forgot to ask you on my last comment.does this have cruise control ? you are saying yes on the review and sears does not say but on the 46″ deck sears list it. thanks again nick

nick noel
Guest

Paul is the yt 4000 42″24hp the same as 2011? and do you have a part # for gator blades and a mulch plug ? thank you. nick noel

Tony
Guest
Tony

Paul, Couldn’t help but notice the pic didn’t match the review. Are you rating the 2012 model, or re-hashing the 2011 info? If the former, are you confirming an 11 ga. frame for 2012?

ps Any word on upcoming sales?