2012 Craftsman 46 in 21 hp YT 3000 Model 28852 Yard Tractor Review

My Opinion: This is the 46 inch version Craftsman’s most popular riding mower. It continues to be the best value riding mower on the market today. Compared to all the other brands this yard tractor has more of the features you want.  It has a better motor than other lawn tractor brands, a hydrostatic transmission, a great cutting deck, plenty of available attachments and the industry leading Craftsman Turn Tight 6 inch turning radius. It will handle all of the non-ground engaging attachments Sears sells.  This is Craftsman’s best value Yard Tractor. With Craftsman continuing the Turf War this year it will be the best value single cylinder yard tractor. This tractor has not changed for 2013.

By Paul Sikkema. Find Paul on 

This lawn tractor review covers the Model 28852, 46 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 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 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 3000
Item Number:  28852 (49 State) 28853 (with 22hp Kohler Motor) 28862  (CA Version)
Buy Here:  Craftsman 46 In. 21hp Briggs & Stratton Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in.
Street Price: Less than $1499.99 

Get A Deal On This Craftsman Lawn Tractor |Buyer’s Pick Bundle Deals For 2013

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is Craftsman’s Best Quality. The 28885 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 attachments at the end of this article.
Compare it to: John Deere D105 17.5 HP Single Cylinder Automatic 42-in Riding Lawn Mower $1499.00 at Lowes, Cub Cadet 42 in. 19 HP Kohler Courage Front-Engine Automatic Riding Mower $1499.00


Craftsman 46 in 21 hp Hydro

Fender Control Trans
Hydrostatic Trans
Step-through Platform
6 inch Turning Radius

Single Cylinder Engine

Retail Price: $1899.99  Check The Best Sale Price Here:   Craftsman 46 In. 21hp Briggs & Stratton Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in.

My Review:

If you have a lot of landscape beds and yard stuff to trim around this is the best single cylinder lawn tractor. The 46 inch deck sticks out the side of the tractor a little bit farther than the 42 in version.  This makes it easier to get closer to landscape beds, fences and buildings without the tires making a mess.

This tractor continues to be the best value tractor on the market for your average size suburban yard! This is a great lawn tractor with an excellent cutting deck.  Independent review companies continue to rate this deck as one of the best for how well it cuts. It has an oil pump, pressurized B&S motor, with yellow oil filter.  It has four anti-scalp wheels so it will mow your lawn without gouging or scalping the turf. Sears says you 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 organizations for value, cut, and dependability.  Sears has the best service and they come right to your home if your ever have a problem with your tractor.

This tractor comes in three versions.  The 28852 (49 State) and 28862  (CA Version) have Briggs & Stratton motors.  The 28853 (with 22hp Kohler Motor) has a 22hp Kohler motor for those of you who like the Kohler brand over the B&S. Just use a link on this page and search the model number when you get to sear.com

This lawn tractor will mow in reverse.

People who buy this yard tractor want a dependable mower with a dependable motor.  They want the step-through design, a nice seat all at a good price.  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 a tractor 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 every week.  It mulches and bags well.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by Sears.  There have been very 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.

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.

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, Tightest turning radius in the U.S.

Will Mow In Reverse? Yes

Manufacturer: Husqvarana
Brand: Craftsman
Engine Power: 21 hp* 
Displacement: 540 cc. 
Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
Cylinders: Single, 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: 2.5 U.S. gal. 
Transmission: hydrostatic 
Transmission Control:  Direction/speed – foot control with dash mounted cruise 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: No
Tool Tray: NA

Cupholder: Yes
Headlights: Yes
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes, Under hood
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: 46 in.
Blades: 2, 46 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


Wheelbase: ?-in. 
Overall Length: ?-in. 
Width without mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) ?-in. 
Height: ?-in. 
Weight: 513 lb with mower, no fuel

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

Craftsman 46 In. 21hp Briggs & Stratton Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA 20 x 8 x 8 in.

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43 Comments on "2012 Craftsman 46 in 21 hp YT 3000 Model 28852 Yard Tractor Review"

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I just bought 2013 46 in 21 horsepower. Gave 900 for mower it has sat for three years. May have used a couple of times. MOWER looks brand new. I heard it run and in gage blades before I bought it. I AM going to change oil and gas filter. Before I crank it again. When I first heard it run it start out a bit loud and rough but plain out for smooth sound. She I be worked about anything and what else should be done or check before I cracking it again? It is 2016 now in May… Read more »

We don’t have a Sears service center on our town. I have a 42″ deck and it seems like it needs adjusted. I have to mow in the top position or it scalps the yard. Is there a way to raise this deck? I’ve tried adjusting with the nut on the lever but then it makes the deck sit higher on that left side. Please help

Hello, I have a 2 year old Sears riding mower. Briggs & Stratton engine. At the end of last season the engine started smoking white smoke out muffler. This season I took apart the carborator twice. My gasoline goes into the oil repeatedly. The gas solenoid pops up and down fine and appears to be ok. The carborator is clean as can be. Today I replaced the needle valve, put new oil (SA30) and still blows smoke. The carborator has a plastic flat inside and the float assemble looks clean and moves up and down. I know some articles recommend… Read more »
Kathleen Huball
Kathleen Huball
Purchased a 21.0 HP, 46: mower, model# 917.288525 in July 2013. The Fan Pull Kit (part# 72294) keeps melting. This is the fan pulley on top of the transmission. Called sears parts dept. and first replacement cost 65.10 and 2nd replacement cost 80.35. Why does this keep melting? Could it be because they use plastic parts. The 2nd part is supposed to be metal and hopefully this will correct the problem and the tractor won’t catch on fire or anything. Basically I am putting this out here to let anyone who has this tractor know about the problem we are… Read more »
@Dick, I too have not had any luck with the “6 inch” turn radius, no matter the speed, mine will go no more than 2.5 feet. Did you ever find a fix for this? Also, @ Paul, I purchased my mower last Sept. and mowed with it for the fall, then used it to blow snow through the winter. Now that spring is here, I have noticed that the “cruise control” on the right will not maintain its position/speed, unless I am physically holding it forward. Also, the reverse seems to have lost its speed and power. In fact if… Read more »

Dick Lemont, IL I got a new Yt3000 Tractor with the Briggs engine 46″ deck. I have a problem with the tight turn the front wheels are toed out way to far, I have a 4 foot diameter tree in my yard that I can’t even cut around. the front wheels turn sideways and digs into the soil causing the the rear tires to loose traction even at low speeds. The system does not work and the worst part is that the manual says the alignment cannot be adjusted. Does anyone have any ideas?


[…] in 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28851, 46 in 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28852, 46 in 22 hp Kohler Plus Model 28853,  This review covers all the features! 42 in 24 hp Platinum […]


[…] 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 […]



Do you know why the 28853 is so scarce? Has Sears discontinued this model or is it so popular that it sold out? The only ones I’ve seen for sale are reconditioned models at Sears Outlet stores. I’ve read some really scathing comments about the Kohler Courage engine in other forums, and this was the only mower in the YT3000 line that used this engine. I am wondering if Sears will replace it with another model, remove it from the line, or continue making it.

St. Louis, MO


I bought this tractor, in part, because of your review. Now that winter is coming, I am preparing for throwing snow off the driveway. How well does this handle the blower in reality. I know they are compatible, but will it really handle it, and perform well? Will belts break, will there be enough power, or will the engine bog down? I would like to know before spending the $1400 on it, instead of $800 on a walk behind.



I am trying to decide between two 46″ craftsman mowers. We now have an old green Craftsman that has served us well, but is truly on it’s last leg. We have one acre, fairly flat with a moderate slope on one side, not a lot of complicated landscaping. I am torn between the 21hp Briggs & Stratton 28852 or the 22hp Kohler 28853. I know there is a small difference in price, but can you give me your opinion which would be the better choice, especially when it comes to performance and reliability? Thanks!


Would you be able to tell me how wide the entire tractor is? I have a fence that I will need to drive through that is 48in wide. Also I plan on using mulching blades and want to make sure that these are the correct blades for this model Craftsman 46 in. Advanced Mulching and Bagging Blade Set and this is the plug I would need Mulch Plug. I am excited about the new tractor and cant wait for it to arrive!


Thanks for the advice Paul and the quick response. I appreciate that you will look into this for me. I looked over the wiring and didn’t see any obvious unused wires. I was shocked that there is no latch for the hood. Any recommendations on adding one?



First of all, thank you thank you thank you!!! This site is awesome!! I just bought 5/2013 a yt3000 28852. Great mower, thinking of ordering the mulching kit. I’m disappointed with the lack of an hour meter. Can I order the hour meter for another model and hook it up? I notice the cut out for the meter.



[…] 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, 42 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28856, 46 in 24 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28857, 54 in 26 […]

Ken Litten
Ken Litten

Just bought the 46″ started mowing and noticed a bad smell, drove onto driveway and fluid was running out from under the transmission. From bolt holes and gasket.

I called Sears and they said bring it back….. Mowed like 10 minutes this is frustrating.

I took pictures and collected dripping from what appears to be the transmission…

Hopefully the next one will be OK. Will try one more before I give up.


[…] in Gear Drive 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 25022, 46 in Hydrostatic 21 hp Platinum Briggs Model 28852, 46 in Hydrostatic 22 hp Kohler Plus Model 28853,  This review covers all the features! 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! 42 in 24 hp Platinum […]

Jeff Dexter
Jeff Dexter


I bought the 28852 mostly on your recommendation last August. So far so good. Thanks. Question: I have 3 acres to cut and mulch (leaves in the Fall). Does a bagger make sense? When doesn’t a bagger make sense? I had to rake grass clippings once in a while last year (when I let it get too high) and had to rake a lot of leaves. Not sure about a bagger being a great help though…I suppose for larger lawns it can be a pain when you’re emptying it out all the time. Thanks for your thoughts on this.



I just purchased a 28862 B&S (not my first choice, but I’m cursed by California regulations. The price was right, though, less than $1300 on sale). I’ll be needing to reverse frequently. Is there any non-safety downside to just leaving the key in the reverse operation position for normal operation? Thanks, and thanks for a very informative site.

Rodney V
Rodney V

Hey Paul, Thanks in advance for answering my question.I am thinking about purchasing a craftsmant YT3000.I have a 1/4 acre, mostly flat yard with one tree and some shrub and flower landscaping.I am questioning the difference between the two engines.(Kohler vs. Briggs and Stratton)Is one better suited for my situation or just better in general.Any info you can give me is greatly appreciated. Again thank you in advance for answering my question


Hi Paul,

Thanks so much for such an informative site. It makes me so much more confident making such an expensive purchase. I have a question: my old mower was a Husqvarna with a 42″ deck. The bagging attachment looks identical. Do you think I can use that attachment with this mower/46″ deck?


Paul, I am looking to purchase this tractor NEW. you are only one of a few that give it such a rave review.
the comments submitted on the sears sites i have seen complain about vibration and noise, not being as good as the competition. Did you experience the same issues from your test?
Any thoughts?

Link to Craftsman.com that had the bad reviews.




I have the opportunity to buy a 2009 54 inch with the 26 HP Kohler for $1000. It has only one season of mowing on it on a flat yard, but is out of warranty. It is a neighbors. Do you have any thoughts on this mower versus getting a new 2012 42 inch tight turn 21 HP? Thanks again.



Great site, very informative. You rate the 46 inch Craftsman YT3000 a full star better than the 42 inch. Is this just because of the deck protruding out to the wheels? Or are there other reasons? Thanks!