2009 Craftsman 13.5 hp 30 in. Deck, RER Lawn Tractor Review

Craftsman 13.5 hp 30 in. Deck, RER Lawn Tractor Review

Sears item# 07127032000 Mfr. model# 536.270320


2010 UpDate:

Sears has discontinued this great little mower.


Not everyone needs a 42 inch 850 hp lawn tractor to mow their average size lot.  Many of us have less than an acre to mow, with a lot of intricate landscaping.  We are tired of walking, but a regular lawn tractor is just too big for most of the lawn.

Consider the following.

Are you tired of walking, but don’t think your lawn is big enough for a lawn tractor?
Do you have a lot of landscaping?
Do you have a lot of small strips of lawn between plant borders and a walkway?  Or small strips of lawn between the street curb and sidewalk?
Do you have 36 inch gates throughout your yard that you need to go through with your mower?
Would a smaller riding mower fit better in your garage?
Do you have one acre or less?
Do you like to collect your clippings and make compost with them?
Do you want a mower that is compact, yet mulches and bags really well?
Is your lawn really rough?
Do you have hills and berms where a 42 inch or larger deck scalps and tears up your grass?
Do you have a large lawn, a large mower, and are looking for another mower to reduce your trimming time?

The Craftsman 13.5 hp RER lawn Tractor may be just the mower you need.


  • Independent Steering, Floating Front Axle
  • Beverage Holder
  • Deluxe Comfort Grip Steering Wheel
  • Tool-Free Deck Leveling
  • Stamped Steel Cutting Deck
  • 30 in. – 1 Blade System for an Even Strip Free Cut
  • 3-Way Cutting Deck Side Discharge & Mulching Kit Standard – Easy Attach Bagging Kit Optional
  • Compact Design For Easy Maneuverability with an average 12 in. Turning Radius
  • 10 in. Front Wheels with Turf Saver Tires
  • 15 in. Rear Wheels with Turf Saver Tires
  • 13.5 hp Briggs & Stratton I/C Series Motor
  • See below for the bagger attachment for this mower.


Floating front axle.  Goes through dips, ditches and over bumps well.

Built really well.  For the money this is a good value.  It is a simple, well designed mower.   The design has been proven over time as an easy to use, dependable riding lawn mower.

The hydrostatic transmission (not a belt drive or cone drive like other brands) is smooth and easy to use.

The 13.5 hp Briggs full pressure IC motor is a proven, dependable, fuel efficient motor.  No, it’s not the latest design, but it is one of Briggs & Stratton’s best designs.  The motor has plenty of power for mowing, mulching, bagging, and pulling your yard cart around.  Side Note:  The 30 inch Dixon that I use at home only has a 10 hp Briggs & Stratton motor and that has plenty of power to mulch.  The 13.5 hp on this mower is plenty powerful.

Comes with a side-discharge chute and mulching cover.

Will fit through a 36 inch gate.

Sears advertises this as a RER (Rear Engine Rider) but it is actually a mid engine rider.  This is a better design than the rear engine type because it puts the engine in the middle of the yard tractor and is lower than the rear engine mower.  This gives this mower a very low center of gravity.  Some of the old rear engine riding mowers were notorious for pushing (not turning well) and the mid engine design solved that problem.

Very simple design.  Reliable, easy to service and repair.


Higher priced that the gray Craftsman lawn tractors.   You may feel you are paying more than you should because of it’s physical size but this riding mower is built very well.  (To put the price into perspective the 30 inch Dixon I own retailed for over $3200.  Even today they bring $1000 to $1800.  More than the cost of the RER new!)

The RER is a good mulcher and the 30 inch blade has alot of throwing power so it is a very efficient bagger.  The original equipment blade works well but I suggest buying a Gator Blade if you are going to mulch or bag.   The Gator blade shreds and chews up leaves and grass clipping into a fine mulch.  It also takes less power to mulch and does a much better job than the original blade.  I have one on my old Dixon and it makes leaves disappear.  You can buy one here: 30 in. Gator Blade

It is a small lightweight riding lawn mower so it can only pull a light yard trailer.  If you need to plow snow or haul heavy loads this is not the yard tractor for you.

Optional Grass Bagger:

The bagger becomes an integrated part of the mower but you can quickly take it off and convert your mower back to a side-discharge or mulcher when you want to.  To dump the grass catcher just pull the lever on the bagger and the clippings on the ground.  This system works very well for composting.  Just back the rider up to your compost pile and pull the handle.

The optional bagger takes about 45 minutes assemble initially and then goes on and off the mower in 5 minutes or less.  It is easy ro remove the bag and discharge chute and install the mulching plate or side discharge chute.

You can quickly take the bag off and use the hitch to pull you garden cart.
Sears item# 07124981000 Mfr. model# 24981 

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RingozennyTristanScottPaul Sikkema Recent comment authors
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@Paul, so the link in the article won’t work? (I’ve already ordered and rec’d it). Is there a difference in the 2 models of mowers (536.270321 & 536.270320)? Thanks again.


Hi Paul,

I realize this is an old thread, but in this article and comment thread, you suggest a mulcher blade from Oregon Gator through Amazon. The link in the article is different than the part you mentioned in the July 9, 2010 comment to Phil.Harris. I have the Craftsman model 536.270321 also. Will the blade linked in the article also work? What’s the difference between linked and suggested model? Thanks.

Ringo, Fort Wayne, IN


model 536270280 automatic 13.5hp I/C 30″ 6 speed. I don’t understand why is running forward or back too slow.
Do somebody know why is that?


I’ve been trying to find the bagger for this mower, but have had no luck. It seems Sears has discontinued it. Do you know if there is another bagger that would fit on this from a different manufacturer (like Murray) or straight from the Sears supplier?

Rex Jackson
Rex Jackson

I have a Craftsman Lawn Tractor, model #917.28033. How can I remove the rear bagger and still run the mower. I know this can be done, but I am not sure how to do it.

Thank You,


Don Sparks

My “attachment clutch” or as identified other places as “shift lever” broke and I am trying to locate a new one.



Absolutely love this mower. Now that I am out of warrentee and maintenace agreements I am having a hard time getting people to talk to me about a simple matter. I just changed the battery and off and on the mower will act like it has no batter power. When I turn the key there is a clicking sound. I repeat the on off motion a mumber of times and slowly the engine turns over and eventually fires. Is this the selinoid or the starter that is going? Please advise.

Phil. Harris
Phil. Harris

Paul: Thank you for your quick reply.In a small way you have restored some of my confidence that I have lost with your company. The blade that came with my mower may well have been designed to mulch but I can say with a great deal of authority that it does not..When I cut the grass it leaves piles of grass along in strips. I have to take my Honda push mower which mulches and go over the rows,I have read all the instructions and am unhappy with the product as it was presented to me, I will not bother… Read more »

Phil. Harris
Phil. Harris

All I want to do is purchase a mulching blade for my 30 inch mower( Model 536.270321. Which was conviently not bought to my attention by your sales person at the time of purchase.I was lead to believe that my new mulching mower was all set to go when I received it.Needless to say, I was rudely surprised when I finally experienced the fact that it was not mulching with the blade that came with the mower. I have not used the mower enough to realize this fact for over a year due to the fact that I have been… Read more »

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