2009 Craftsman 17.5 HP 30In. Model 28033 Side Rear Discharge Lawn Tractor Review

This Tractor has been replaced by the Husqvarna SRD 30 inch bagging mower

Craftsman 17.5 HP 30In. Side Rear Discharge Lawn Tractor Review

Sears item# 07128033000 Mfr. model# 28033



It seems that every mower manufacturer makes many great mowers and one or two duds.  This is Craftsman’s dud.

The design (idea)  is sound, BUT the implementation of the design is terrible.

So what is really wrong with this mower?

1.  The tractor wheelbase is wider than the deck.

2. The yard tractor only has a 30 inch deck, but will not fit through most 36 inch gates.

3.   The lawn tractor is advertised as a side, rear discharge mower but the side discharge or mulching cover are not included with the mower.

A Little More Detail:

This type of mower is very popular in Europe.  Many homeowners there compost everything so they don’t side-discharge or mulch.  A small deck with an integrated bagger works great.  Mow your yard and when you need to dump the bagger, just back up to your compost pile and pull a handle.  Here it will work fine if you compost.  So the concept is good, just the implementation of that concept in this mower is what is wrong.  Specifically here is what’s wrong.

1.  The tractor wheelbase is wider than the deck.  The way the yard tractor is built the deck sits to one side of the machine.  You can mow flush with the left side of the tractor, but the wheelbase is over 2 inches wider than the deck on the right side.  If you mow back and forth on your lawn like most of us, each time you mow with the uncut side on the right you are knocking over the grass.  If you have an area of your lawn where you can only mow in one direction you can not mow right up to the edge on the right side.  The bagging chute does not come out of the deck flush with the edge and sticks out the right side of the deck (but still under the fender.)

2. The Yard Tractor only has a 30 inch deck, but will not fit through most 36 inch gates.  Most 30 inch mowers will fit through a 36 inch opening and a 36 inch gate.  What’s the difference?  For example with my 36 inch chain link gate in my back yard the hinges stick an inch or so into the opening making the effective width of the gate about 33 1/2 inches.  Since my 30 inch mower is only 30 inches wide, it fits through the gate easily.  The Model 28033 on the other hand has a 30 inch deck, but the actual width of the tractor is 33 1/2 inches.  It will not fit through my gate.  A lot of other gates that use a pin style gate hinge will have the same problem.

3.  The Lawn Tractor is advertised as a side rear discharge mower so I am assuming (as will most people) that the yard tractor will side or rear discharge.  The first thing you notice when you unpack the unit from the crate is there is no side discharge chute.  The second thing you notice is that the bagger discharge chute is bolted to the mower deck.   A side discharge or mulching cover are not included with the mower.   A discharge chute or mulching cover are not listed anywhere on the Sears website, the owners manual or SearsPartsDirect.  Maybe I am just misunderstanding the name but 28033 Side Rear Discharge is not the mower the name suggests it to be.


I’m not even going to go through the specs for this mower, because I am not recommending that you purchase this mower.


Instead of designing this machine right it looks like some engineer went into the back warehouse and pulled parts out of the existing inventory and then built this mower without any modifications.  Why anyone would allow a mower to be produced with these basic design flaws is beyond my reckoning.  I know Peerless makes a hydrostatic trans that is narrow enough for this deck and it should be easy to manufacture the front axle 1 inch narrower on each side.

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Dave MurrayBrentDAVEJohnBeverly Barger Recent comment authors
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Dave Murray
Dave Murray

I do own one, and if you want something that looks like a lawn tractor but doesn’t do much, this is the machine for you. Like many Craftsman products, it seems to have been designed to do the absolute minimum that would be expected of it. It will cut 1/2″ off the top of a level lawn. That’s it! -There are 5 items on the mower designed to make it not run, and I’ve had trouble with three of them in 6 months. Seat switch, bag present switch, and clutch switch. -I’ve heard the “Bag Full” warning about three times,… Read more »

Beverly Barger
Beverly Barger

Why would our new Sears model 28033 riding lawn mower backfire and quit when the blade is engaged?

We were first told it was the gas cap needed was to tight, then we were told there was a switch under the seat that needed checked. There Is NO switch under the seat.

Would there be a faulty engine in the mower?

We are wondering if we got a lemon?


According to the owners book (pdf from Sears parts)there is an optional rear discharge chute. The salesman had mentioned that rear discharge is possible. You are correct in mentioning that there is NO information about aquiring this optional rear chute. It must work with the safety sensors too.

Folks have made comments about the bag sensors not cooperating. I would hope that Sears can make corrections AND issue announcements about product enhancements to close a sale.

Beverly Barger
Beverly Barger

What is the length of the model 28033
I found the width but not the length.


I've owned this mower 4 mos. Love it. side rear discharge as name suggests is exactly what it is. doesn't say side or rear discharge. mulching on this machine is the way it's designed, it mulches then deposits in rear bagger. 33 1/2 is perfect for most gates, pin or not. at least the rear bagger doesn't hang 1ft+ off the side as most do. You're in no way an authority on this mower and personnaly wouldn't recomend your reviews on mowers. Sorry for the harshness but you really missed the point of this superb mower. Loading...

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