Best Craftsman, Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

New Year – Big Changes.

By Paul Sikkema. Join the conversation on Facebook!

For the last 10 years I have always started out the new review year with the 2017 Craftsman Garden Tractors. Why? Two reasons. 1. Craftsman always has all the information I needed ready to go to write these reviews. 2. The Craftsman Garden Tractors are still among the most popular, innovative and dependable residential riding lawn mowers on the market even though the news media had written Sears off.

This year though there is a third reason. The Craftsman brand has been sold to a company that will take its long, rich history of honest products for Americans and expand the name exponentially from where it is now. Craftsman is alive and well and ready to once again become the most trusted name for the American homeowner. The agreement allows Sears to continue to sell and service your Craftsman for many years. You may read more about the sale here: Best News For Craftsman Lawn & Garden 2017

What’s New?

  • Every year Craftsman tweaks this line to make it better and this year is no exception. The Craftsman Pro’s now all have the Craftsman Smart Lawn App.  The Craftsman Smart Lawn app wirelessly pairs with your Craftsman riding lawn mowers, providing you with a smarter way to mow. Enabled with Bluetooth technology, it provides alerts, tutorials, weather info and other up-to-date information about your mower’s key replaceable components to help you keep your mower running smoothly. Learn more about the Smart Lawn App here: Craftsman Smart Lawn App: A Smarter Way to Mow

Did you know you can use the Craftsman Smart Lawn Kit on most Craftsman riding mowers? The app works with Craftsman Riding Mowers manufactured from 2010 to present for all model numbers beginning with 247 and 917. Read more here: Craftsman Smart Lawn Connect Kit *Excludes 917.20401, 917.20404, 917.20414 and 247 models with no mow in reverse operating system.

  • Personally, I’ve wanted this next feature on a Craftsman Garden Tractor for at least 10 years. There is a new model with a heavy-duty transmission. The same transmission that is used on tractors costing three to four thousand dollars more! The best feature of this transmission is that it has a locking differential! To make this new Garden Tractor even better it will be offered with a smaller, more maneuverable 50 inch deck!  Later in the article I’ll help you decide if a locking differential is the right choice for you.

Best Craftsman, Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

The 2017 Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors have been on the market for a few years now and have proven to be a very dependable, easy to drive and comfortable riding mower.  It turns almost a sharp as a zero turn mower but will easily handle the other tasks around your property that a zero-turn can’t. The Craftsman Garden Tractors (Red Models) are a great tractor if your budget is no more than $3000.

Figuring out which model is right for you or even if a Garden Tractor is the best choice is tough work. I understand how hard it can be. I recently spent 3 months trying to decide which mirrorless camera I needed to take pictures and videos for these websites. It took me a long time to understand the new functions, the differences, whether it would last. Based on advertising hype and the way other websites write reviews, the initial model I thought I wanted turned out in the end to be one of the worst choices I could have made.

So, I am going to show you a table with the basic features side-by-side. Then I’ll talk about the common features. Finally, I’ll go through each model’s unique features to help you make the final decision.

[table id=1 /]

Common Features – Best Craftsman, Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

  • One of the features that many people like on the Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors is the seat not only adjusts forward and back  – but it’s also built to move up and down on an incline. For people with short or extra long legs this is always a big deal for them. In other words, if you have short legs when you move the seat forward it also lowers. This lets you easily reach the right speed control and the left brake pedal. If you have long legs you most likely also have long arms so sliding the seat back gives you the leg and arm room you need to make this a great riding mower to drive.
  • All Pro Models will accept Craftsman Snow Blowers. Yes, you do need the Craftsman Snow Thrower Mounting Kit to mount the snow blowers on the Craftsman Pro Models
  • All will accept Craftsman Snow & Dozer Blade
  • All have cast iron front axles. The Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors use a king-pin style cast front axle assembly that arguably makes the axle the strongest. Many owners state the best feature is how well it drives and how easy it steers.
  • All have electric blade engagement.
  • All use high quality full pressure lube engines. The Craftsman Pro uses the Kohler Pro Elite that is proving to be an extremely reliable engine that will last.
  • All have key ignition. Yes, that push button “thing” is gone from the red Craftsman Garden Tractor.
  • All have cruise control.
  • All have 12 cutting positions.
  • All have a spring assist deck lift system. The deck lift lever on the Craftsman Pro Models is on the right, discharge side. A lot of us who are older, stiffer or have minor disabilities have a very hard time getting off a lawn/garden tractor where it has fender levers on both sides.  It’s just as hard for most of us if the lever is on the left fender because to get on and off the mower we have to step over the discharge chute on the right side. Having a clear left fender let’s me turn on the seat and then step down off the tractor. It’s a lot easier than having to stand up on the tractor and then step off. 
  • I’ll talk about how well the decks cut below.
  • All have 4 deck anti-scalp wheels plus a nose roller
  • All have deck wash. 54 inch Pro models have two!
  • All have “Mow In Reverse”
  • Fuel Tank. 4 gallon on Red Models, 3 gallon with sight gauge on Pro Models.
  • Bumper. Heavy duty brush guard style. (except Model 20407) These protect the hood well.
  • Hour/Amp meter
  • All have 16X6.5 Front Tires. Pro series has premium (flat tread face) tires
  • All have 22X9.5. Rear Tires. Except 23X10.5 Rear on 20408. Pro series has premium (flat tread face) tires
  • All have a deluxe high back seat with arm rests. Pro has Auto Slide seat adjust.
  • 13 inch steering wheel. Pro has a soft touch grip.

The two questions I get asked all the time. I want to mow my lawn higher than 4 inches or will Garden Tractors mow my horse pasture or open field? The answer is No. All the current riding mowers on the U.S. market are designed to mow lawns. Even the models with reinforced/fabricated decks are not built to withstand that kind of bouncing and abuse pastures will give it. They are also designed to mow 6 inches or less of top growth. If you go out and try to mow down that field with 24 inch tall orchard grass you will break belts, overheat bearing and possibly twist the deck out of shape. There are pull-behind models from companies like Acrease and walk-behind models from DR-Power and Ariens that are built tough enough to do that kind job. Please don’t be fooled by the advertising, the guy in the tractor forum or the farm store near you. If you have a three to ten-acre pasture a good pull behind field/brush mower. These are self-contained, tough and will cost well over $3000. You can pull them with your Garden Tractor, ATV or UTV . Anything costing less than that is a 2 year throw-away. If you are a “Rural Lifestyler” I suggest that you seriously look at Compact Tractor instead of a Garden Tractor. The Compacts can handle the equipment you need around your acreage.

Which One Is Right For You – Best Craftsman, Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

So far this article has gone through the common features of all the Craftsman Garden Tractors. The next step is to focus on the Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors and explain the common features they all have. After that I’ll show you the features that make each model different. Finally, the rest of this article will go through the details of the Red Craftsman Garden Tractors to help you decide which one is the best for you.

Common Features of the Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors That Make Them The Best Choice.

As of January 26, 2017 this is the best Garden Tractor you can buy online or through the retail stores. This is not only a great Garden Tractor but is one of the easiest tractors on the market to drive! It has Power Steering! Your neighbor with the green lawn tractor has to spend over $1300 more to get that feature! He has to pay even more get the larger wheels that absorb bumps better or the ability to use ground engaging equipment.

This is the same tractor as last year’s CR highest rated large deck riding mower – Craftsman 20445 (now 27055).  The only difference is this Garden Tractor is equipped with power steering and the Craftsman Smart Lawn App. Yes, the electric power steering component is that expensive.

The Craftsman Pro series is already easy to steer and the power steering makes it an additional 40% easier. Combined with the 5″ Turn Tight Extreme this gives you the tightest turning radius on any non-zero turn riding mower sold in the U.S. today. If you don’t like zero-turns this is a great choice for you. You can read the article here to see if a zero-turn is a good choice. (Read Do you really need a zero-turn mower?)

This tractor works well on lawns up to 5 acres or so. It mows extremely well and has plenty of power for mowing and snow blowing tasks. It’s comfortable to drive and easy to adjust for big and small users.

Maintenance is straight forward and this Garden Tractor requires a lot less maintenance than one’s built 20 years ago. Maintenance, service and parts are made easy with the new  Craftsman Smart Lawn App: A Smarter Way to Mow

Engine: The V-Twin Kohler 7000 Elite Series with Consistent-Cut Technology  (whew – long name!) gives you longer engine life. The Consistent-Cut senses the mowing or snow blowing load and quickly adjusts the engine speed so the engine doesn’t slow down.  The Kohler Elite Series engines feature a pro-grade oil and fuel filter for longer engine life, and a platinum spark plug for more reliable starting.

Speed Control: Personally, I don’t like foot pedal hydrostatic speed controls. With most foot pedals my foot cramps up when I use it too long. The pedal on this Garden Tractor is different. Because of the way you sit on the seat and the style of pedal my foot doesn’t want to cramp up.  The pedal controls the K58 hydrostatic transmission smoothly throughout the entire forward and reverse range. Yes, It’s equipped with a set-and-forget “Mow-In-Reverse” and has a good cruise control to reduce fatigue over long jobs.

Deck and Cutting System: Why is this deck one of the best? There is a lot of knowledge and engineering that goes into the design of a great cutting, durable cutting deck. Creating a 50 inch or larger deck that will side-discharge, mulch and bag well is a very, very tough task. I’ve spent many hours over the years learning from the half-dozen engineers who really understand deck design so what I’m about to tell you can accept as fact.

There are three basic types of decks used on Garden Tractors today. Stamped decks, deep-dome stamped decks and fabricated decks.

  • Stamped decks are inexpensive to build once the initial stamping die is made, fairly durable and usually side discharge well. They usually require extra parts to “make” them mulch and even then don’t do a great job. The brands all sell rear baggers for them but in reality they only work well for picking up leaves in the fall. They really don’t like cutting off more than a few inches at a time and won’t bag at all if the grass is wet. Many of the 48 and 54 inch stamped deck designs have been around for 15 years or more. 
  • Deep-dome stamped decks are a considerable step up in the design evolution. This design is much newer and there has been a lot of research, testing and tweaking so these decks lift the grass and cut it really well. The deep-dome improves the airflow under deck so this design side-discharges exceptionally well. These are the best large decks for mulching. They bag leaves well and under normal, weekly mowing conditions they also throw the grass into a rear bagger well. To give credit-where-credit-is-due John Deere was the first to use this better design on large decks. 
  • Fabricated Garden Tractor decks are primarily built for strength and durability. In general they don’t cut as well as the deep dome stamped designs. Most current designs don’t offer mulching or bagging with the fabricated decks. Yes, they will take more abuse than a stamped deck but they are still not designed to go out into the horse pasture and mow the brambles down. There are great cutting fabricated decks on commercial zero-turn mowers but that’s not part of this discussion. 

Now that you have that information…., the 50 and 54 inch decks on the Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors use the deep-dome deck design. The decks produce optimal airflow for excellent cutting performance. This is the best large deck for side-discharge, mulching and bagging. In addition, these decks are reinforced to give them the strength of a fabricated deck, yet still cut exceptionally well.

The spring-loaded lift system on the Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors allows you to easily change the height and uses heavy-duty brackets to add stability needed for an even cut. These decks don’t “flop” around like decks on some other brands.

Note: The Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors are not designed for rear wheel weights. There are no holes in the rear wheel rims to mount the weights. The tractors accept a rear weight kit and tire chains for winter work. The correct rear weight is the Rear Weight Kit. (The wheel weights listed on sears.com are for 917. built tractors with 23 and 24 inch rear rims) I don’t care what the kid on the phone at the call center told you – if you drill holes in the rims you will void the warranty. 

The Specific Details of the Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors That Make Them The Best Choice.

No. 1 Craftsman Pro Series 54″ 26 HP Model # 27047 Garden Tractor

 Sears Item # 07127047000P

  • Power Steering
  • 54″ Deep Dome 3-Blade Deck
  • 26 HP V-Twin Kohler
  • Hydrostatic Transmission
  • TurnTight Extreme®
  • Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology

Is Craftsman Pro Series 54″ 26 HP Model # 27047 Garden Tractor right for you? If you have any questions feel free to use the comment section below. If you are ready to take the next step use this button to go to Sears.com. [maxbutton id=”1″] At Sears.com you can read more, read reviews, buy online, have it delivered to your home or pick it up at your local Sears.

No. 2 Craftsman Pro Series 54″ 26 HP Model # 27055 Garden Tractor

 Sears Item # 07127055000P

  • 54″ Deep Dome 3-Blade Deck
  • 26 HP V-Twin Kohler
  • Hydrostatic Transmission
  • TurnTight Extreme®
  • Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology

In my opinion the Model 27055 is the best value Garden Tractor on the market.  It’s not the cheapest but the price is very reasonable for what you get.   It (#27055/20445) has quickly gained a great reputation and the new owners like the way it cuts, rides and drives. Many owners love how it steers and have stated in the comment sections on this website that it is the best Craftsman or any other brand Garden Tractor they have owned.

This one does not have power steering. This is the same tractor as the CR highest rated large deck Craftsman 20445. (now 27055) Craftsman added the Craftsman Smart Lawn App: which is why the model number changed.

Is Craftsman Pro Series 54″ 26 HP Model # 27055 Garden Tractor right for you? If you have any questions feel free to use the comment section below. If you are ready to take the next step use this button to go to Sears.com. [maxbutton id=”1″] At Sears.com you can read more, read reviews, buy online, have it delivered to your home or pick it up at your local Sears.

No. 3 Craftsman Pro Series 50″ 26 HP Model # 27048 Garden Tractor

 Sears Item # 07127048000P

  • 50″ Deep Dome 3-Blade Deck
  • 26 HP V-Twin Kohler
  • K62 Hydrostatic Transmission with diff lock
  • TurnTight Extreme®
  • Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology

This Garden Tractor is a little different from the other two Craftsman Pro’s. It has all the features except:

  • It has the smaller 50 inch deck. The smaller deck (and discharge chute) is great for people who have rougher lawns where the larger 54 inch decks want to gouge and scalp.
  • It has the heavy-duty Tuff-Torq K62 Hydrostatic Transmission with Differential Lock.
  • It does not have power steering.
  • It does not have the 5 inch TurnTight Steering. It has the standard 16 inch turning radius.

Do you want or need a locking differential?

Craftsman Pro Diff Lock

Craftsman Pro Diff Lock

I’ll guess that there are at least 10,000 other Garden Tractor buyers who are jumping up and down about the news that Craftsman now has a Craftsman Pro with the heavy-duty K62 Diff-Lock transmission.  It’s been one of the most requested features by readers on this site for many years.

You need to know that if you have a lot of areas in your lawn where you get stuck or loose traction easily with your current tractor a locking diff is really worth considering. If you are aware of how this transmission operates it can be one of the best tractors you have ever purchased.

What a locking diff will do.

  • It will allow you have better traction going through soft, slippery areas of your lawn.
  • It will allow both rear wheels to give traction at the same time.
  • It to move bigger piles of snow with a dozer blade and will give you more traction when using a snow blower.
  • You will be able to pull heavier loads in your yard cart through soft turf without tearing up your lawn.

What a locking diff won’t do.

  • It will NOT allow you to safely go up and down slopes and hills steeper than the recommended 15 degrees.
  • It won’t let you work any safer when mowing a side-hill. There are many important factors that will affect your working safely on slopes and having a locking differential is only a small benefit.  Yes, I know you’ll find the guy over on the tractor forum who says, “My tractor with a locking differential will go up a 30 degree hill! Sure, it may work for him but it’s likely he’s also the guy who starts a lot of his sentences with, “HOLD MY BEER and watch this!”

Driving a Garden Tractor with a locking diff.

There are two types of Locking Differentials. Electronic and Manual.  This is the manual version. I won’t go into the differences here but I like this version because it let’s you decide when it’s needed. When you step on the floorboard pedal by your left foot the diff lock engages.

  1. When you are driving in a straight line and feel or notice one of the rear wheels starting to slip, press the pedal with your left foot.
  2. The diff lock engages and both wheels now have full power to them.
  3. This point is very important to understand.  To dis-engage the diff lock you MUST stop the forward motion of the tractor. (return the speed control to the center/neutral position) If you try to turn the tractor with the diff lock engaged the tractor will want to continue going in a straight line. 
  4. If you are going up a slope with a fence at the top with the diff lock engaged and try to turn the tractor may crash into the fence. You need to safely be able to stop (to release the diff lock) and then make the turn.
  5. If you are going down a slope with the diff lock engaged (for more traction) and you have to turn before you get to the bottom the diff lock will try to push the tractor in a straight line. You have to be able to stop the tractor on the slope to release the diff lock before you try to turn. Be especially careful when working around ponds and stream banks.
  6. Because this is a heavy Garden Tractor, if you forget to release the diff lock and make a turn it may turn but it will tear up the turf or ground with the inside rear tire.  If you turn too sharply with the diff lock engaged it will tear up the ground/turf under the wheel on the inside of the turn. This could be a problem for you if you turn sharply at the end of a mowing swath or try to trim with your tractor around smaller trees. If your lawn is light/sandy with a lot of trees don’t use it unless absolutely needed.
  7. If you need the locking diff for other tasks it’s not hard to learn/remember to release it for turns.

By the way: All K62 narrow drive transaxle models (the transmission in the Craftsman Pro Model 27048) use automotive-type heat-treated steel bevel gears in the differential. There is one company trying to market this as an exclusive feature of their transmission.

Is Craftsman Pro Series 54″ 26 HP Model # 27048 Garden Tractor right for you? If you have any questions feel free to use the comment section below. If you are ready to take the next step use this button to go to Sears.com. [maxbutton id=”1″] At Sears.com you can read more, read reviews, check the current sale price, buy online, have it delivered to your home or pick it up at your local Sears.

Craftsman Garden Tractors – The Red Ones.

4. Garden Tractor: Craftsman 24 HP 54 in. Turn Tight® FAST Hydrostatic Garden Tractor

SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $2899 ish
See Actual Sale Price Here. Be sure to check the special offers tab for extra savings! Craftsman 24 HP 54 in. Turn Tight® FAST Hydrostatic Garden Tractor

20408

This Garden Tractor is arguably the most iconic riding mower on the market. Since the first model using this chassis was introduced over 12 years ago it has been painted different colors, the improvements have been made to keep it up-to-date with emissions, new features have been added and more durable engines introduced. For the price you pay, it still is one of the best value, longest lasting riding mowers on the market. 

All your attachments from your old Craftsman Garden Tractor with the sloped hood still fit and all new (917) attachments fit without adapter kits. If you still use them and just want to upgrade your tractor this is the right choice:

  • 3-bin bagger
  • Spare mulching, bagging and side discharge blades.
  • 42 inch Craftsman snow blower (2007 and later)
  • Front attachments like the front scoop and dethatcher
  • Rear sleeve hitch, electric sleeve hitch and the attachments
  • Rear 23/24 inch wheel weights, chains

The Craftsman 54 in. Turn Tight® garden tractor has everything you need to cut your lawn comfortably. You get a deck with a 54 in. cutting path and a chassis with a 6 in. turn radius. This means a faster and more efficient cut. 

This garden tractor also works with all ground engaging attachments including a tiller and aerator. You will be able to use your tractor during every season. The 24 HP motor gives you all the power you need to get over hills. The FAST hydrostatic transmission with top speeds of 7.5 MPL allows you to get any task quickly and easily..

The deck under this tractor has been around for quite some time. It is a great deck for large areas that are relatively smooth. It does not cut as evenly as the newer Craftsman Pro Design but it still gives a good-looking lawn. It side-discharges well, bags leaves in the fall well but has a lot of blow-by if you try to mulch with it. (Blow-by is the grass blowing out of the right front of the deck, lifting up in the wind, and settling on your lap) If you want this tractor because of your existing attachments you won’t be disappointed. It cuts as well as all the other Husqvarna/HOP built decks. BUT. If you are looking for the best possible cut or would like to mulch most of the time I suggest Craftsman Pro’s instead. 

To give you an example. My father has five acres of grass around his farm to mow weekly and a mile of trails that he keeps mowed down in a restored grassland. He’s more concerned with getting it mowed than he is comparing the cut to his neighbor’s lawn. This is a great choice for him because the Garden Tractor rides well and because the tractor will go 7.5 MPH.  He can usually mow faster with this model than with other riding mowers.

For 2016 Craftsman by consumer request REMOVED the smart ignition switch and replaced with the standard key switch your are used to.

Manufacturer: Husqvarna Outdoor Products
Brand: Craftsman
Series: G5600
49 State Item number: 20408
CA Item number 2016: 20409

Defects WARRANTY: 2 Years
FRONT AXLE WARRANTY: Lifetime
FRAME WARRANTY: 5 Years

Please see the complete Specifications on sears.com here: Craftsman 24 HP 54 in. Turn Tight® FAST Hydrostatic Garden Tractor

Is the Craftsman 24 HP 54 in. Turn Tight® FAST Hydrostatic Garden Tractor  right for you? If you have any questions feel free to use the comment section below. If you are ready to take the next step use this button to go to Sears.com. [maxbutton id=”1″] At Sears.com you can read more, read reviews, buy online, have it delivered to your home or pick it up at your local Sears.

5. Updated (Light) Garden Tractor: Craftsman 48 in. Turn Tight® Hydrostatic Garden Tractor

SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $2499 ish
See Actual Sale Price Here. Be sure to check the special offers tab for extra savings! Craftsman 48 in. Turn Tight® Hydrostatic Garden Tractor

20407

Craftsman states this is a Garden Tractor. In reality it is a full featured lawn tractor. It has a garden tractor frame and large tires but uses a lawn tractor transmission that is lighter-duty than a typical Garden Tractor transmission. With the 48 inch deck, heavy-duty frame and larger tires it is a great value if you have a rough lawn and like the better ride a garden tractor gives you.

For example, my neighbor has three acres of gently sloping, older lawn with 25 or so mature trees. He hates zero-turns. He doesn’t move snow or pull a cart – he just mows every week and bags leaves in the fall. This is a great choice for him.

Craftsman states this is a Garden Tractor. There is no clear-cut definition of what a Garden Tractor should be but in my opinion this tractor is a lawn tractor comparable to the John Deere D160. It will handle all your chores except using ground engaging equipment.

For 2016 Craftsman by consumer request REMOVED the smart ignition switch and replaced with the standard key switch your are used to.

Manufacturer: Husqvarna Outdoor Products
Brand: Craftsman
Series: G5200
2016 49 State Item number: 20407

Defects WARRANTY: 2 Years
FRONT AXLE WARRANTY: Lifetime
FRAME WARRANTY: 5 Years

Please see the complete Specifications on sears.com here: Craftsman 48 in. Turn Tight® Hydrostatic Garden Tractor

That’s it! Feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.

Yes, You need a new Gas Can!

With today’s fuels you need a gas can that seals tight. It helps the fuel last longer and the escaping vapors won’t wreck the environment. But the biggest problem is find one that works. The cheap ones ($20 or more now) don’t have vents so it takes forever to fill the tank on your lawn tractor. The cheap ones are also flimsy and the spouts break after the first year.

Well, I’ve found one brand that works great! It’s vented inside the spout so it pours fuel quickly yet seals tightly when not in use.  I’ll give you links at Amazon for two sizes. I suggest buying the size so that you don’t keep more than a month of fuel around the house.

No-Spill 1405 2-1/2-Gallon Poly Gas Can. A good size for snow blowers and push mowers. 

No-Spill 1450 5-Gallon Poly Gas Can (CARB Compliant) This one has a second handle in the back so it is very easy to use and hang onto when pouring into your fuel tank. A good size for lawn tractors and zero-turns.

If you have a problem holding a gas can the SureCan is a great can. It’s very comfortable to use to use and built well.

SureCan – Gas Can with Rotating Spout. 

Fuel Stabilizer: When I go to the gas station and buy fuel I always put fuel stabilizer in the storage tank. It helps keep the fuel fresh and some also clean your carb and fuel system without messing it up. There a man good brands but I’ve used

SeaFoam for years and it’s always worked well. I use 2 tablespoons per gallon of fuel.

Seafoam 

Other fuels stabilizers to check out: Fuel Stabilizers

Have I helped you? If would you like to buy from your local dealer or store but still want to support TodaysMower just click on this link and buy anything you need. I’ll make a small commission from the sale. Buy at Amazon. TodaysMower.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and we get a commission on purchases made through our links.

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94 Comments on "Best Craftsman, Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors 2017 – Buyer’s Guide"

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Mike Weaver
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Mike Weaver
Well, Paul, I have the wonderful 27042 46 inch. Oh is the cut even and the power great!! It is a great tractor save for one thing and it might be a show stopper. The deck adjustment system is prone to creating scalds or rings. There is no master raise and lower to a normal adjustment. You just set it between 1 and 4 inches based on 1/4 increments. Well, I have a ditch and some little hills where I need to raise and lower the deck to keep from scalding a bit. The deck rollers just don’t quite do… Read more »
Mike Weaver
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Mike Weaver
Paul, Great website and wonderful knowledge of your topic. You are appreciated. So I have three 1/3 acre lawns and a 1/3 acre lot to mow. Rather small and a 46 inch deck may be perfect. My current 17 year old Craftsman 27222 42 inch deck with bagger has done well but the floppy deck, curved blades, and single cylinder Kohler leave the cut so so. The steering pinion skips every now and then. I have had my eye on the 27042 and it looks solid. Compared to the Cub Cadet XT2 LX46, why should I spend more for the… Read more »
Tracy Lashway
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Tracy Lashway

Thank you for this incredibly informed website Paul, I’ve learned so much here. I just ordered an Craftsman model # 27042 and was wondering if I could put larger tires on it. I didn’t Know if that would hurt the tranny.

Mike Farrell
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Mike Farrell

Hi Paul,
What is the JD equivalent to the 27042? Is the 27042 frame flimsy like the JD D series or like the JD X series?

Why isn’t Sears selling the diff lock anymore? Also, none of the models have power steering. I thought that this was a feature?

Thanks!
Mike

George
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George
Paul, I have an 8300 Pro Series. The manual says its a 50″ deck, although I thought the dealer told me it was 54″. The belt came off and we can’t get it back on. I had five lawnmowing guys here trying to put it back on (their combined years of experience mowing lawns is 90+ years) – they couldn’t do it. When I bought it I told the dealer I had a lot of problems with the belt with my John Deere and he assured me this belt was an easy replace because it had a place on a… Read more »
Fran C
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Fran C
Paul, looking at the 20408 versus 20407. I like the heavier transmission on the 20408 for snow plowing versus that on the 20407 but would rather have the 48″ deck from the 20407. I did an online chat with Sears parts and they said that the 48″ deck would work on the 20408 so for only around $300 I’m thinking of making that modification. Can you think of a reason why I might not or should not do that? My goal is for better cut quality with the narrower deck given the contours of my lawn and storage. I did… Read more »
John in Round Rock Tx
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John in Round Rock Tx
Hi Paul- I am looking at either the Craftsman Pro Series 50″ or 54″ (w/out power steering). I am not sure turn tight is a good technology for the garden tractor classification. I am conflicted by the transmission offerings on the units. I really like the 50″ with K62 locking diff transmission and no turn tight. According to the TuffTorque, the K62 is for light duty garden tractors and the K58 for heavier garden tractor applications. I have seen both referenced as heavy duty. What is your opinion? Is there really a big difference in the two? Why would a… Read more »
Maged Mehanni
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Maged Mehanni

Hi Paul,
Which garden tractor accepts a front trailer hitch to help in parking a 2000 lbs boat ?
If this works, it will be much better than electric boat movers, since I can use the tractor for mowing a large yard and other functions.
Maged.

Tom Simpson
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Tom Simpson
Hi Paul, Great info on the Craftsman mowers. I mow about 5 acres of land that was farmland 30 years ago – gently sloping, but with the occasional smoothed out furrow to drive / bounce over. I’m looking at the 27042 (46″) and the 27055 (54″). I’d probably prefer the 27042 since a good part of the mowing is in smaller spaces around the house, and the narrower cutting width makes things easier. The specs I’ve seen on these two models seem to be nearly identical. Is there anything with the 27042 that might reduce reliability or lifespan in my… Read more »
Guy J. Nowlan
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Guy J. Nowlan
Good morning/evening Paul, Thank you for all that valuable information and your great website; you and CR got me sold on 27048 with differential lock which will be delivered July 18th. Could you help me telling me whether these accessories fit and what bracket(s) do I need – currently the Sears.com garden tractor fitment chart is dated 2015 and does not include the Pro-Series line, the Lawn & Garden associate did not know, and neither did the Sears call center (will call/email me back). I have no problem with installing them by myself (engineer). These are the accessories that I… Read more »
Nathan
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Nathan

Hi Paul,

What is the Deere equivalent to the Craftsman Model 27055, and why is the Craftsman a better value?

Thanks,
Nathan in NC

Darin
Guest
Thank you Paul for all your valuable information ! I am going to pick up my refurbished Craftsman 27055 from the outlet store this weekend. (4 hours run time $2,350.00 out the door) feel like a dork being giddy about a new lawn mower but hey I’m in my 50’s now lol ! I checked it out to the best of my ability on site. Blades were sharp with no dings. started right up and mower engaged. I ran it 3′ forward and backwards on the entrance of the building lol ! There were bar codes on the back of… Read more »
Richard Mazzella
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Richard Mazzella
I have a 1997 Craftsman model no. 917.251492 46″ cut that I’d like to replace. It’s got a fender hydrostatic trans, which I really like. I’m 77 years old. I cut an acre and a half of grass, not hilly but bumpy and uneven in spots. I haven’t had much trouble with it except had to replace belts more frequently the past few years. The powertrain has been very reliable. It has 23″ wheels in the rear, which are good for bumpy terrain. What do you recommend? i don’t think that I want a pedal automatic, I’d prefer the fender… Read more »
Mike P.
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Mike P.
Hi Paul, I’ve been doing my homework and your site has been a great help! I have narrowed my choice for a garden tractor down to two brands – the Cub Cadet and the Craftsman Pro Series. Here’s where I’m at, and where I need help getting over the hump… My main hang-up is that I can’t decide what’s more important to me – the 5-6 degree turn radius of the Craftsmans or having a rear locking differential. I would like to have both, but I’m sure there is a specific reason why they are not offered on the same… Read more »
tim
Guest

One point that I see being raised by a few people is the 6-point center to the blades used on the pro series locks people into buying fairly costly in-house replacements. I’ve also read some complaints that the blades are too thin and bend easily. Any chance that they’ll come out with something heavier duty or that third party manufacturers will hop on to them?

Michael Piper
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Michael Piper

Just noted something odd. While doing some research I noted the 2017 CR data states the Craftsman 27055 does NOT have power steering. Furthermore, the 27055 was only given a rating of “very good” in the handling category (which includes “clutching or drive engagement, braking, steering, turn radius, and stability”), while comparably rated machines (with presumeably larger turn radius) were given a handling rating of “excellent.” And speaking of turn radius – not a word of Turn Tight Extreme (and it’s 5″ turn radius) was mentioned in the CR data. Hmmmm…
Mike

George
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George

Hiya Paul,

Great site! Any thoughts on the Craftsman 25581 vs. the Craftsman 27398?

David
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David
Hi Paul. Enjoy your articles and various replies. I have a 1992 Lawnboy Model 14YT. 14 horse Kohler with hydro transmission with electric pto…it has been a heck of a mower, but I have been having problems the last few years…mostly engine starting. It has not started the last few springs and won’t again right now. Last year my service man said bad gas. This year I have made sure of a good gas supply. Once running last year, there was some engine surging. My lawn is pretty small compared to my former home and it would probably suit me.… Read more »
john podlesak
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john podlesak

Paul, Want to replace 20 year old craftsman 42″ 16hp hydrostatic(fender) with a 3bin bagger.I want 46-50″cut with 5-6″ tight turn and one that will take a 3 bag bagger. I like my old mower with fender mount but would buy foot hydrostatic trans. Liked look of 46″craftsman pro but don’t think you can get 3 bag bagger. what mowers would you recommend,my yard is flat about one acres . Like Craftsman but will consider any brands thank John

Matt Behr
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Matt Behr
Hi Paul, Great article. Thank you. It seems to me that the Craftman 27048 is basically the same tractor as a Cub GX54D, with exception of deck size. My old tractor has a 50″ deck and I’m fine with that. So which would you prefer, the Craftsman 27048 or the Cub GX54D? I mow 1.4 acres on a lake with a slope from the lake side to the road side. I need ability to tow stuff around for projects on wet grass or sand too. These tractors are winning my attention over a Simplicity Broadmoor or Deere X380 on cost/value… Read more »
Philip Dussault
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Philip Dussault

Looking for an opinion.
I want to buy a tractor to use summer/winter and want something that will provide many years of service. I would like to use a snowblower in the winter. Do you think a general transmission RS800 is sufficient or should I be looking at something with at least a K58 or heavy duty hydrogear? I am not picky about the cut of my lawn. I would like a Bercomac blower.

Thanks

Mike Williamson
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Mike Williamson

Paul last year I bought a craftsman T 8200 pro series lawn tractor. It has a 24 kohler and a 46″ inch deck. The model number is 247.204420. I’m looking for a grass catcher for this model. Do you know any thing about the catchers for this tractor I understand that 3 models are out there now when last year there was only one. Which do you recommend?

John Landers
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Hi Paul, Your site is the most complete source of info that I have ever seen. I appreciate your work. I am interested in the Craftsman Garden Tractor 27048 with the locking differential and k66 transaxle. My primary reason for this interest is I need a stronger transmission to pull a Trac-Vac 550 leaf vac in the fall and some clean up snow blading in the winter. Your site references the 27048 as having the k66 Tuff Torq tranny but in contacting Sears the sales rep said he checked with someone up the chain who claims the transmission is a… Read more »
Rich Tarkowski
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Rich Tarkowski

Hi Paul,
I am looking at the Husqvarna GT54LS at dealer and now the new Craftsman 27048. The GT54LS has the electronic locking differential verses the Craftsman manual foot switch? Which is better – electronic with a switch or manual foot pedal? Do they work and act the same?
Thanks,
Rich

rick eickholt
Guest

i was also looking at the husqvarna gt52xls kohler at dealers and the cub xt3gs and a massey 2700 yard tractor,i like the cub shaft drive cast rear end ,also the fast g730,s on the g5600 and gt52xls

rick eickholt
Guest
hi paul,i was just reading here about the craftsman pro 50 inch tractor with diff. lock,you say it is a tuff torq k66 locking diff,i see on the cub cadet site there new xt1 gt54d uses a tuff torq k62 locking diff,seems like they would both use the same,being there mtd built.by the way great site.im leaning towards the red g5600.i got a t2400 in 2014 3 seasons of rough country lawn ,here in michigan,i also own a gc2400 massey with a loader and turf tires,its a snow plowing monster,and digs dirt really well i have a small farm,but i… Read more »
Jim Bollibon
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Jim Bollibon
Paul, Thanks for the info. I looked at the Husqvarna at on-line dealers and also saw one a Lowe’s. I have been looking at the Craftsman mowers for the past 2 years. The Craftsman 25591 has been such a workhorse that it’s hard to look toward others, but my original Craftsman was a lemon. It was a Special Purchase 18 HP made my Murray. After a year, Sears replaced it with the current one. I haven’t been pleased with Sears service either, but found that many other service outfits could do repairs. Plus there were very few issues I couldn’t… Read more »
Bill
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Bill
Hi Paul, Thank you for the great info! I am getting ready to purchase a #27048 and your reviews and information has helped so much in my decision. Do you know why the 5″ tight turn radius is not offered on the Model # 27048? I am thinking it has to do with the locking differential being that it won’t turn when locked it would be even worse with the 5″ tight turn radius. Also in the action of disengaging the locking differential with automatic foot pedal, do you just let off the foot pedal and come to a stop?… Read more »
Jim Bollibon
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Jim Bollibon
Paul, I’m considering the Craftsman 27055 or the Husqvarna GTH52XL. Both are about the same horsepower and have about the same deck width but the Husqvarna has a fabricated deck and appears much more durable. My yard is about 1.5 acres and is flat but has some roots around trees and is rough in areas. I also use my tractor to pull a 4×8 road licensed utility trailer that I use to move mulch. In addition I have a small 14′ boat that I pull from my backyard to the driveway a few times each summer. I’ve had my current… Read more »