2012 Craftsman 54 in 26 hp GT 6000 Model 28861 Hydrostatic Garden Tractor Review

Executive Summary: This Garden Tractor was a great tractor way back in 2008 and Craftsman has continued to improve it year after year. What makes it better than the competition? 7.5 mph, brush guard, arm rests, 6 inch turning radius, 5 anti-scalp wheels, and it looks good!  This is the best deal in the “under $3000” class.  I like this tractor and would buy one if it fit my lawn.

This tractor has not changed for 2013.

Brand/Manufacture: Craftsman / Husqvarna
Model/Series: Garden Tractor / GT6000 | GT 6000
Item Number: Model 28861 (49 State) Model 28867 (CA Version)
Buy Here: Craftsman 54 In. 26hp Kohler Turn Tight Hydrostatic Garden Tractor Non CA 23 x 10.5 x 8 in.2012 Craftsman 54 in 26 hp GT 6000 Model 28861 Hydrostatic Garden Tractor Review 1
Store Pickup: Delivery: Craftsman 54 In. 26hp Kohler Turn Tight Hydrostatic Garden Tractor Non CA 23 x 10.5 x 8 in.2012 Craftsman 54 in 26 hp GT 6000 Model 28861 Hydrostatic Garden Tractor Review 1 
Street Price: $2999.99

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

Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Garden Tractor. 
Compare it to: Cub Cadet Cub Cadet GT1054, John Deere John Deere D170

2012 Craftsman 54 in 26 hp GT 6000 Model 28861 Hydrostatic Garden Tractor Review 3

Craftsman 54 in 26 hp GT 6000

Large Tires
7.5 MPH!
Heavy Duty Hydro Trans
6 inch Turning Radius!

Does Not Have Diff Lock

Retail Price: $2999.99 Check The Best Sale Price Here:  Craftsman 54 In. 26hp Kohler Turn Tight Hydrostatic Garden Tractor Non CA 23 x 10.5 x 8 in.2012 Craftsman 54 in 26 hp GT 6000 Model 28861 Hydrostatic Garden Tractor Review 1 

My Review:

If you are looking for more than just a lawn mower. If you want to till your garden. If you want pull fire wood out of the timber quickly. If you want the best ride, this is the mower for you.  This is Craftsman’s workhorse. It will mow your lawn quickly, do most of the trimming as you mow and get you there faster than all the other tractors under $3000.  The deck side-discharges well and like all 54 inch decks that don’t use an auxillary blower bags adequatley.  I don’t really have any bad things to say about this tractor. It is a great tractor, with a good deck. Do the regular maintenance and it will last you longer than any other mower in it’s price range.  For anyone who has a few acres to mow, a large garden to tend and a few other chores that will quickly kill a lawn tractor this is the best choice.  This tractor is heavy enough to pull an Acrease wing mower or food plot chisel plow.

This garden tractor will mow in reverse.

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 seat with armrests, easy to use operator controls, good field of view.  Very comfortable ride. Oh, It is shipped with the tires over inflated. Read the manual and adjust the tire pressure and you will have a great ride.

Power For Mowing:  This tractor has plenty of power for side discharge mowing every week.  It has plenty of power for every other task.  Don’t over fill the crankcase. If you don’t know how to fill it properly read the manual and ask someone you know.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by Sears.  There have been a few issues with the build quality. There have been very few issues with the build quality but learn to take the deck off and put it back on by yourself. The store personnel don’t always get the deck on correctly. Read the manual and do this a couple of times until you are comfortable doing it.  This way you can easily clean the deck and sharpen the blades.   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. You may have to hook up the battery and charge it. If there is an assembly problem you call 1-800-4MY-HOME and a service tech comes out and fixes the issue. The store where you picked it up from or the delivery team does not repair the tractor.

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has good traction and handling and with the large tires is better than most of the other lawn tractors from the other retailers.   You can use this mower on slopes and medium hills, but I recommend you never use a mower like this on wet or drought-dry slopes. The 6 inch turn-tight is a great feature. Be aware that it is designed to almost zero turn around obstacles, don’t try and crank it all the way at 5 to 7 mph – you will bend the front steering. Remember, you don’t use your economy car for off-roading in the mountains, don’t use this tractor for a race car through the roughest part of your lawn.

Mow – Mulch- Bag:  This tractor get high marks by owners for mowing but not for mulching and bagging.  When you install a mulch plug the deck tends to throw debris out the right front.  If the wind is just right you will be covered in grass by the time you are done mowing. Be aware this is not a “high-speed” deck like you will find on a commercial lawn mower.  It mows perfectly at 4-5 MPH but don’t expect it to mow as fast as the tractor will go (7.5MPH) and give you the same results.  With this tractor/deck you set the height of cut using a lever on the tractor.

Specifications, Features, Benefits

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

Type:  Garden Tractor
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 2.5 acres at 5 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes
Excels in mowing around obstacles? Yes

Will Mow In Reverse? Yes

Manufacturer: Husqvarana
Brand: Craftsman
Engine Power: 26 hp* 
Displacement: 725 cc. 
Manufacturer: Kohler Courage
Cylinders: Twin, cast-iron liners
Type: OHV, oil filter, Pressurized
Charging System: 15 amp regulated
Battery: DieHard
Choke/Speed Control: Separate Choke/Throttle Lever
Fuel Tank Capacity: 4 U.S. gal. with Reserve
Transmission: Heavy Duty Premium Hydro 
Transmission Control:  Direction – pedal; speed – pedal
Cruise Control: Standard
Forward Speed: 0-7.5 mph
Reverse Speed: 0-2.5 mph
Chassis: 12 ga.
Front Tires: 16×6.5×6
Rear Tires: 23×10.5×8
Front Axle: Cast Iron
Hood Material: Steel
Hourmeter: Yes
Tool Tray: NA

Cupholder: Yes
Headlights: Yes
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes
Deck washout port: Yes
12-volt outlet: No
Steering: Type 2-wheel steer
Turning Radius: 6 in.
Uncut Circle Radius: ? in. 
Spindle Bushings: Ball Bearing Grease
Seat Back Height: Deluxe with armrests
Fore-aft Adjustment: 5 in. while seated
Seat Suspension: Two coil springs
Deck Lift System: Fender 
Mower Cut Height: 1.5 in. to 5 in., 12 position
Cut Height Increments: .25 in.
Preset Cut Height: No
PTO clutch: Electric

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge
Mower Cutting Width: 54 in.
Blades: 3
Mower Deck Material: 12 ga
Mower Wheel Adjustment: Yes
Mower Level Adjustment: Exact
Mower Drive System: In-line belt, Electric PTO
Mower Attachment: 4 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) 57 -in. 
Height: ?-in. 
Weight: 596 lb with mower, no fuel

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


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