2012 52 in 26 hp Craftsman CTX 9500 Premium Model 25006 Garden Tractor Review

Executive Summary: Unfortunately not enough Sears Customers were interested in spending this much on a premium Craftsman tractor and this model has been discontinued. 

You have been asking for a Craftsman tractor that will mow slopes and hills. This is it! The CTX 9500 Craftsman Model 25006 has automatic traction control and differential lock. What does that mean to you? If you are going up a hill and one of the rear wheels start to loose traction this transmission automatically will transfer power to that wheel. When the going really gets tough you can step on the Diff Pedal with your foot and BOTH wheels get full traction.  No more getting stuck in ditches or dips or slopes.  If you are brave enough to go up it, this new Craftsman will take you there all the while giving you a superior cut and ride. (Please follow safety instructions in the manual)  The 25006 has a better motor than the Craftsman 28861 Garden Tractor  and this new motor starts just like your car … just turn the key.  There is no choke position or separate choke control for you to mess with.

Is this the right mower for you?: This is arguably the best two-wheel drive lawn tractor on the market today particularly when you compare the price to similar tractors from John Deere and Simplicity.  It has a heavier transmission than most “Garden Tractors”  If you are looking for the best out there because everything else is built “too cheap” seriously look at this mower. This is Craftsman’s best mower. It has a heavy-duty frame, deck and drive-train.  This tractor will easily mow 2 acres per hour.

This lawn tractor has many great features including electric deck height, automotive style starting, ground following deck, automatic traction control, differential lock and a transmission capable of pulling anything Sears sells.  If you want to mow your lawn in style and comfort, pick this one. If you want to till the garden and pull firewood out of the timber pick this one.  While this is not Craftsman’s biggest tractor it has all the features that make it a “luxury” model.  There is no other mower out there for the price if you want the best.

This is going to be a very long review.  There are many points to over why this style of tractor is different than the current lawn or garden tractor you now have.  This tractor is more expensive than you are used to, but I will show you why it is actually a better value over time.

Brand/Manufacture: Craftsman / Briggs & Stratton
Model/Series: Garden Tractor 
Item Number:  25006 (49 State) NA  (CA Version)
Buy Here: 
Store Pickup:  Delivery:
Street Price: $5399.99

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is Craftsman’s Premium Quality. All other Craftsman’s are less quality.
Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) This tractor handles most attachments.
Compare it to: John Deere X500 54 in 24 hp, Simplicity Conquest, (The Simplicity uses the same frame) Cub Cadet (MTD) does not make a tractor at this time that is equal to the CTX9500.  The 3000 series Cub’s have been discontinued. Husqvarna and Ariens don’t make a tractor this heavy.  Husvarna does have a riding mower of the same caliber available in Europe. 

Craftsman CTX9500 52

Cut quality is outstanding
Floating Deck feature ensures no scalping
Easy Deck removal
Strong, easy to use steering


Bigger than you are used too
Lift/Height controls takes some getting used too.

Retail Price: $6749.99 Check The Best Sale Price Here:

My Review:

Warning! If you buy this tractor, it will be the last one you will have to buy for many years.  If you have a house with a larger lawn and plan on staying there for quite some time, this may be the last tractor you will buy.

In my opinion you will easily get 1500 hours of trouble free use out of this tractor with normal maintenance.  That’s mowing four hours a week, 26 times a year for almost 15 years!  Try that with any other lawn/yard/garden tractor on the market.  (Many of the cheap lawn tractors are designed for only 250 hours of use)  Take the cost of a typical lawn tractor and the cost of this tractor and you can quickly see that the Craftsman Premium is really a better value!

I want to apologize to Sears for these pictures.  This tractor was just taken out of the crate and the Sales Associates did not get a chance to wipe the dust off the tractor before I took these. 

Craftsman Premium 25006 Fuel Gauge, Cut Height, Reverse Safety Key

 The deck is not a “free floating” deck like you now have.  The height of cut is set electrically with gauge wheels and these wheels ride on the turf.  This allows the deck to ride on the turf and follow all the contours of your lawn.  It gives a superior cut compared to the free floating design on other brands. The only disadvantage is you will have to replace the gauge wheels every few years.

This deck does not have the full length roller across the back of the deck like some of the other Briggs made tractors.  These full length rollers give you a “striped” effect when you mow but are just extra parts to wear out for most of us.  The striping rollers don’t give you the superior cut that gauge wheels do because don’t they follow the ground contours as well on a rough lawn.

The entire tractor is metal.  There are very few plastic parts to crack or fade. The entire hood is metal and in my opinion the steel is as thick as the deck of your Craftsman or Husqvarna push mower. Some of the other brands are using more plastic than metal parts now-days.

This lawn tractor will mow in reverse. This tractor has a removable reverse lockout key! If you don’t want the operator to mow in reverse you can remove the safety key. They can mow normally, but not in reverse.  This is a great feature when training inexperienced users!

People who buy this lawn tractor know what they are buying and this is just what they want. Loyal Craftsman owners have been asking for a tractor of this caliber for quite some time.  This tractor has all the features you asked for. Solid, dependable, easy to use, easy to steer, traction control, ground hugging deck……….

This article was first published at TodaysMower.com 

Craftsman Premium 25006 Transmission Filter Cover. You don’t need to change this, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

 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, nice placement of the controls.  The forward/reverse is done with pedals but the top speed is set with a lever on the fender.  This is a great feature because you can set the forward speed for an even cut.

One of the best features of this mower is how quickly you can remove the deck.  Lower the deck, remove four spring clips.  Pull the handle on the front of the tractor and turn the front wheels. Slide the deck out.  This is so simple a task that you will be removing the deck just so you can use the tractor for other yard work.

Power For Mowing:  This tractor has plenty of power for all types of mowing every week.  This Briggs & Stratton Professional engine has electronic fuel management.  It has no choke lever and starts just like your car.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by Sears.  Since it is made by Briggs & Stratton I expect no 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. 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 uses “low effort” steering.  Get on it and turn the wheel.  The steering is easy and very responsive.  I really like the heavy duty steering on this tractor.  The tie-rod and steering linkages are MUCH stronger than what’s on your current tractor.  The ball ends are heavy duty and everything is built strong.  One of the many overlooked features is the stops on the front axle. When you turn the wheel all the way, there are steel blocks that reinforce the front axles so you will never bend the front end tie rods or steering parts.

Craftsman Premium 25006 Steering

This tractor weighs over 300 lbs more than your typical garden tractor.  With this extra weight traction and steering are much better than you are used to.  The ride is better too.

This tractor has the best traction of all the Garden Tractors on the market in this price range.  The automatic traction control and differential lock gives this tractor the ability to go where no other garden tractor can.  If the rear wheels start to spin just slow down and the automatic traction control sends more power to the slipping wheel.  This tractor will go up hills you never dreamed of with your old tractor. There are other brands of tractors that have this feature, but they are all more expensive than this Craftsman.

Craftsman Premium 25006 Diff Lock

Here is a video of a Simplicity tractor with the same transmission this CTX 9500 has.  They are comparing it to Cub Cadet’s best shaft drive tractor:  httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOBBKNUc2vE  As you can see there is no comparison for traction. Again this Craftsman Premium uses the same transmission as the Simplicity (The Craftsman has a better deck)

 Mow – Mulch- Bag:  This tractor uses Briggs best 52 inch deck.  This deck was designed about 3 years ago and has been getting very good reviews for quality of cut, mulching and bagging.  It is a stamped deck so you will not have to spend the extra money for a additional blower for the grass catcher. With this tractor/deck you set the height of cut using a switch on the dash.  You can also raise the deck for transport and doing other tasks using a lever on the tractor.

Specifications, Features, Benefits

Craftsman Premium CTX 9500 Model 25006

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

Type:  Premium Garden/Estate Tractor
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 2.3 acres at 5 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes
Excels in mowing around obstacles? Does Well

Will Mow In Reverse? Yes

Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
Brand: Craftsman
Engine Power: 26 hp* 
Displacement: 724 cc. 
Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton Professional

Cylinders: V-Twin, cast-iron liners

Type: EFI, OHV, oil filter, Pressurized
Charging System: 15 amp regulated
Battery: DieHard
Choke/Speed Control: Automatic car type starting
Fuel Tank Capacity: 1.5 U.S. gal. 
Transmission: Tuff Torq K66 with traction control and differential lock
Transmission Control:  Direction – pedal; speed – lever
Cruise Control: Yes
Forward Speed: 0-6.1 mph
Reverse Speed: 0-3.0 mph
Chassis: 10 ga.
Front Tires: 16 x 6.5 x 8
Rear Tires: 23×10.5 x 12
Front Axle: Cast Iron
Hood Material: Steel
Hourmeter: Yes
Tool Tray: Yes

Cupholder: Yes
Headlights: Yes
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes, Real fuel gauge on dash
Deck washout port: Yes
12-volt outlet: Yes
Steering: 2-wheel steer easy-steer
Turning Radius: 18 in.
Uncut Circle Radius: ? in. 
Spindle Bushings: Metal, greaseable replaceable
Seat Back Height: Deluxe
Fore-aft Adjustment: 5 in. while seated
Seat Suspension: Two coil springs
Deck Lift System: Lever
Mower Cut Height: 1.5 in. to 4 in. electric adjustment
Cut Height Increments: infinite fingertip
Preset Cut Height: Yes
PTO clutch: Electric

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge
Mower Cutting Width: 50 in.
Blades: 3
Mower Deck Material: 12 ga
Mower Wheel Adjustment: Infinite
Mower Level Adjustment: Exact
Mower Drive System: In-line belt,  electric PTO
Mower Attachment: 4 point, one handle, quick attach
Mower Drive: Belt Tension Spring
Mower Wheels Rotate For Deck Removal: No, But deck slide out easily


Wheelbase: ?-in. 
Overall Length: 89-in. 
Width without mower: ?-in. 
Width with mower: 58-in. 
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) 53-in. 
Height: 49-in. 
Weight: 908 lb with mower, no fuel

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



  1. Joe McCleskey
  2. Gregg Teeters
    • Paul Sikkema
      • Dell Wallace
        • Paul
  3. Paul Sikkema
  4. Joe
    • Paul Sikkema
  5. Josh Little
    • Paul Sikkema
    • Paul Sikkema
      • Josh Little
        • Paul Sikkema
    • Paul Sikkema
      • tony
        • Bob Mac
          • Bob Mac
            • Paul Sikkema
              • Bob Mac
                • Paul Sikkema

Leave a Reply

Get more stuff like this from

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

%d bloggers like this: