This website is about reviews of lawn tractors and zero turns but I have noticed that many of you are looking for your very first riding lawn mower. You really don’t know what size, what brand or what type you really need. Here is a list of articles that I have written on the different features of lawn tractors. These articles will help you decide what type to buy and the features that will make your lawn mowing the best experience for you.
Right Click on the links to open them in a new window.
I am going to start you out with a list of all the different types of riding mowers. Zero-turns are getting a lot of publicity lately and this article will help you decide if you need one: Lawn Tractor/Zero-Turn Types
Next I suggest you read about the different types and sizes of decks: What is the best deck for my yard
How Much Time Do You Have? Here is a chart that tells you how long it will take to mow your lawn: Acreage Chart
Transmissions: What is the difference between an automatic, hydrostatic or manual transmission? This article explains them: Lawn Tractor Transmission Types
Engines: Not all engines are built the same. There are different quality engines for different applications. Some brands use cheaper motors to keep the cost down. There are different grade engines for “WalMart Specials,” economy, homeowner, professional, and commercial applications. In addition the rating game for engines has changed: 2014 Tractor Engine Rating Standards
Zero Turns: You hear that a zero turn will save you time. It’s the latest fad. Do you really want one? 16 reasons why you may not want a zero turn mower
Did you know that only four manufactures make all of the lawn tractors for sale in the U.S? Here is a complete list who makes what: Who Makes What?
How To Get The Best Deals. Today buying a mower at a retail store or website is more than just going in and dropping your credit card on the counter. Most of the major retailers have loyalty programs that give you a better deal if you give them your email. In fact, many of the best deals by these retailers will be online through their websites. Here is an explanation of how a typical rewards program works: How To Get The Best Deals At Sears
Once you have figured out what is the best size and type of mower then determine how much you want to spend. There is a wide price range of mowers in every size. Here are 4 lists to help you get started
2015 Lawn Tractors under $1500
2015 Lawn Tractors over $1500
2015 Residential Zero Turn Mowers (R-ZTR)
2015 Landowner Zero Turn Mowers (L-ZTR)
Beware of Too Many Reviews
When you are out on the web reading reviews of mowers beware that usually only one person out of a thousand will write a review. Also be aware that a larger percentage of reviews will be from people who had issues with the mower. Many more people write reviews when they are upset than when they are happy with an item. My point is be wary of a seller that has hundreds of glowing reviews for a given mower. They may be giving people an incentive to write glowing reviews, may be using employees to write glowing reviews or they are taking old reviews and rewriting them for the new item. Also be aware that many of the negative reviews are operator error. (It won’t start because I left un-stabilized fuel in it all winter or I ran over a stick and it got stuck in the belts and they destroyed themselves) Please read the reviews on the sellers website with a grain of salt.
Beware of Negative Reviews, Negative Dealers, and Negative Neighbors:
It doesn’t do a lot of good to read the negative reviews and assume that a lawn tractor or zero-turn is bad. Why? Because there are millions of these items sold every year and usually thousands of each particular model. So if there are 2 or 10 or even 50 bad reviews that doesn’t mean that the product is inherently bad. Instead look at the percentage of bad verses good reviews. If there are 50 good reviews and 5 bad ones there is a better than good chance that the product is just fine. In addition, many of the negative reviews are from owners who are inexperienced, owners who had problems with an older model or customers that have “bone to pick” with the retailer or brand. I spend a lot of time reviewing reviews and if there is a product that has issues, a retailer or dealer that is not holding up their end of the customer service agreement – I’ll let you know. (Feel free to ask anytime about a certain brand or product)
OK! You are finally ready to read a review. I put together one comprehensive review that goes into every detail of a lawn tractor. If you read this review you will be able to use the information you learn to clearly decide which riding mower, lawn tractor or zero-turn is best for you: Yard Tractor Review
Plenty Mowers Service Melbourne
Thanks for sharing the information. We also offer a huge variety of lawn mowers to choose among. you can visit Plenty Mowers Service Melbourne for buying or repairing your gardening tools.
Thank You so very Much Paul, It is critical to get the right equipment for the job to be done. Too big can be just as big a problem as too small. This will make it easier to get it right.
Thank you so much for all of your wonderful reviews. My husband and I are about to purchase a 5 acre property in PG county, MD. about 3.5-4 of the 5 acres are fenced for horses with a pretty mild slope. The rest is fairly flat lawn. We are looking to purchase something that will allow us to mow both the yard as well as the pasture, but also to be able to do other small tasks as well- move snow, possibly drag the pasture, etc. Do you have any suggestions for us? Or would we be better suited to have a lawn tractor and a separate small tractor with attachments for the pasture/snow removal?
Hi Natalie, Yes, I would suggest a separate lawn tractor for the lawn. All the tractors that are designed to mow your house lawn are not heavy duty enough to mow the pasture and do the other tasks.
For the lawn: (Just use the search box at the top of the page to see my articles on these) Craftsman 25081 minimum. Craftsman 20442 is a great choice. Also Cub Cadet XT1 46 inch, John Deere D125 or D130, Husqvarna YTH22V46.
For the rest. If you spend the money on a compact tractor you will have something that will last 20 years or more. 22-30 hp. I also suggest getting a front end loader. That will be invaluable for moving hay bales, cleaning up around the horse barns, leveling potholes and moving snow.
A 5 to 6 foot, 3 pt bush-hog (field mower) is always the best choice for the pasture. It will cut the grass at the right height for the horses and also cut any brush (trees) that may get started. There are many other attachments like an arena rake that will greatly reduce the effort needed for a horse farm.
There are about 50 brands of compact tractors on the market. Look around your area and find the local dealers. These dealers will usually also have farm machinery. Mahindra is the most popular, I’ve always liked Kubota. John Deere’s are a little over-priced but the service is great. New Holland, International, Kioti are also good brands with full lines of attachments. If you find a different brand feel free to ask me a question about them.
Jim, Forest VA
Hi Paul, thanks for such a great service you are providing with your website and question/answer forum. Rather than a specific make/model, I’m just looking for advice on what type of machine you would steer me towards. I am considering buying a home with a .6 acre lawn and my only concern is the slope. It’s a measured 25 degrees / 47% at its steepest, and this portion runs about 200 ft wide by about 30 ft deep. Big picture: should I steer toward a lawn tractor, a ZTR, a walk-behind wide-area machine, or buy a different home? Thanks!
Jim, Forest VA
By the way, I’ve read through your comments and recognize that a ZTR isn’t recommended. Is a lawn tractor more capable on hills than a ZTR? Thanks again.
Hi Jim, In the “under $3000” range a lawn tractor will handle hills better than a comparable ZTR. When you get into the $4000-7000 zero-turns you then get heavier machines that are capable of slopes.
Hi Jim, Yes I would not use a riding mower of any kind on that slope. It’s too steep.
I do suggest a good rear wheel drive walk-behind. The rear wheel drive will give you good traction on the slope and most of these mowers will bag, mulch or side discharge well.
There are 4-wheel drive walk behinds but I feel they are harder to use. A rear wheel drive like the Craftsman 190cc* Briggs & Stratton Platinum Engine, 22″ Rear Drive Self-Propelled EZ Lawn Mower, Ariens Lawn Mowers Razor 21 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Walk-Behind Lawn Mower 911175 or Toro Lawn Mowers Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Briggs & Stratton Engine 20332 will do the job well.
Thanks for all the great info on this site. I’m from Walpole Mass and have 1/2 acre land that has an uneven surface with slight sloping (less than 15%) over 25% of land, other is relatively flat. There aren’t many obstacles, couple of trees with mulch around and a small flower bed. I will not need for snow plowing because already have separate snow ploy. I want to spend less then $1500. From what I read I should go no larger than 42-46. I want a rider because of less physical then self propelled and quicker, however if there aren’t anything reliable for my price range then I may have to stick to self propelled (do you have any recommendations for those or where to find info). Do you have any advice on a rider in my price range that is good for 1/2 acre with some uneven surfaces. Thanks
Hi Tracy, In my opinion the most reliable in that price range is the 42 inch Craftsman 25081 and 46 inch Craftsman 25083. The only difference in these two mowers is the deck size.
You can read my review here: Craftsman 25081 Review
Thank you for your suggestion, just curious on why you choose vs ie craftsman 13AP78XS099, similar pricing.
Hi Tracy, The 13AP78XS099 is a $1200 lawn tractor with a Kohler engine. The model I choose is a lot more versatile. It has better steering, a heavier frame, a better engine and ergonomically sits and rides better. In addition you can do more with it if you want. you can install a snow blade, snow blower and has a better selection of baggers.
Carl in Vermont
Hey Paul. So I took your advise and got the Craftsman 25081 for $1399 right from the store, and must say it’s fantastic. My only issue is the auto transmission is very touchy. When you first engage, it takes right off, and same putting in reverse. It also tends to slip if you have slightly engaged (trying to back up slow, etc…), and I find I have to keep my hand on the shifter for the slower travel. Other than that, mow in reverse works very well, turns extremely tight, and rides well. Thanks again for the recommendation!
Hi Carl, Thank you for your review. I’m going to ask the manufacture if there is a way to make the fender control a little less jerky when starting out.
HI Paul, Awesome site. I live in Twin Cities area of MN and we are buying a new house in Ramsey, MN with approx. 1 acre of grass with probably 30 trees mostly oaks. I also have a 120 ft drive way.
The current owner has a Husky 2748GLS. Still not sure if he is willing to sell it with the property. If not I am wondering what would be good my yard. I don’t necessarily need snow removal ability as I have a Ariens 30″ Platinum snow blower, but I may be adding a new garage with additional parking area in the future so I would like it to be an option to add it if possible.
I also have a fairly gradual slope of 6 to 9 percent on the front and west side of the house or half the yard. The rest is pretty flat. The drive way has a 4 percent grade.
Also I am not sure what dealers are like near our new house as it is on the other side of the twin cities from where we currently live. Any help would be appreciated
Hi Pat, The comparable machine today is the Husqvarna GT48XLSi. It is a nice machine but it may be more than you need.
Craftsman, Husqvarna and Cub Cadet tractors are the best choice if you are looking to add a snow blower later on.
One acre with lots of trees tells me you may want a machine that turns well. The 5-6 inch tight-turning on the Craftsman’s allow you to make one pass around a tree instead of two or three with a conventional 16-18 inch turning radius.
Here are a few to get you started:
Craftsman 20391 at Sears: You can read my review here: My Review 20391
At Sears: Craftsman Pro Series 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Elite 46″ Turn Tight Extreme Riding Mower. My review: Craftsman Pro 20442
John Barclay Photography
An amazing resource! WOW! I am in the market for a replacement mower that will handle snow removal from a flat small driveway as well as a small yard. Driveway is 80 feet by 25 feet. I’ve had a sears 42 inch 17HP tractor which has worked just fine. I’m struggling to understand what I need to handle the snow. I see your comments about 8mph drive. Can you help direct me. I think its an over $1,500 and maybe in the $2,500 range but its not clear which will accept a plow attachment. Or do I want a blower and not a plow.. Thanks in advance.
Hi John, A tractor mounted snow blower works well on longer driveways because it takes quite a bit of room to turn around. 80 feet is fairly short. They are also a lot of work to install in the fall and then take off in the spring.
If I read your question correctly I think you are looking at the Craftsman 42 inch single cylinder 25081 or the V-Twin 20390. Here are the links:
42 inch attachments
John Barclay Photography
Sorry if I was not clear. I was just saying my current 42″ Craftsman has been okay. So are you saying a blower is NOT necessary in my case. Im thinking its not with a short flat drive. If I understand that correctly, each of the mowers linked above should work?
@John, Yes, You’ll hate a tractor mounted snow blower on that short of driveway. The links all have the high speed tranny so they will work well with a snow blade. If you have a snow blade for your old green or red Craftsman it will fit on these new ones.
John Barclay Photography
Pulled the trigger on the 20390 using your link. I too am an affiliate for software companies for my Photography business, so I understand the benefit and happy to help support what you do. Thank you for making an overwhelming decision so easy! Will suggest your blog to all who have interest. The machine will arrive on Saturday just in time for my next mowing. Is it weird to be excited about mowing? 🙂
Hi John, No, it’s not weird. A good lawn tractor makes the job go faster and when you are done the lawn is something to be proud of!
This site is amazing Paul, thank you. Unfortunately for my inexperienced self, after reading every page, I’m still completely overwhelmed. We’re new homeowners on a 4-acre lot in Northborough, MA, of which probably about 2 is grass. The whole yard is a very slight slope (probably <10%) with only small areas that slope a bit more. Most of the grassy area is unimpeded, with the exception of a split rail fence surrounding about an acre (with a large gate). We need something that can mow pretty efficiently and be able to do some minor/moderate hauling and snow plowing, as we're down a country road in New England. After reading, I'm thinking a yard tractor would be most appropriate for our needs, and I find myself drawn towards John Deere and Ariens, just based on reputation, but I'm afraid I may be ignoring other quality machines because I'm less familiar. We have decent dealer access for Ariens, Cub Cadet, Husqvarna, and Deere, and we need something hardy and somewhat low maintenance, since we're new to the large lot game and not the handiest of people. We're trying not to break the bank buying it, but I am also willing to put more money in up front for something that will be reliable for a very long time. I would really appreciate any guidance on whether any brands might be better or if you have particular models in mind within the brands that are similar that I can then compare. Thanks so much!
Hi Claire, I’ll keep it simple. If you are just mowing the lawn and pulling a cart a zero-turn may be a great choice but like you said when you add the snow plowing then a lawn tractor makes the best sense. You will need weights and chains for plowing snow.
I’m only going to suggest Garden Tractors. The larger tires and stronger frames will give you a longer life mower and it will also ride better.
Ariens, I only suggest the Garden Tractor from Areins – but it has a top speed of only 5.5 mph. ($2800) There are other tractors that will go 8 mph so plowing snow will be a much easier chore with them. The rest of the Ariens tractors sold at the dealers don’t have a strong enough transmission.
Husqvarna, They have 2 or 3 tractors that will do the job well. It really depends what the dealer has in stock but I suggest one of the model with the “fast transmission.” Here are my choices: GTH24K54, GT52XLS. ($28-3300)
Cub Cadet does not have a “fast transmission” but if your lawn is flat and not very rough the Cub Cadet has one of the best cutting decks. XT1 GT50, XT2 GX54″ with Fabricated Deck. ($2800-3300)
And that leaves Deere. The D140, D160 and D170 work well on flat lawns but when you combine your slopes and the fact you want to plow snow I feel the transmissions may not hold up for 8-10 years. The next step up – the X300 series tractors like the X320, X360 are the tractors to look at. ($4200-5400)
Above all else pick the dealer you like (and trust) more than the tractor. Let them know your needs and tell them I suggest a garden tractor preferably with the 8 mph transmission. To me it sounds like the best choice for mowing, hauling and snow plowing for you. If you have any questions about what the dealer said feel free to stop back here and ask.
Thanks, Paul for such an informative site. I have 3/4 acre with some slopes which has been managed for years with an old Ariens 8hp 30″ rear-engine rider, which is now beyond repair, and with few rear-engine riders currently offered, I have begun to look at tractors. However, having never used a tractor with the engine in the front, I am concerned about the noise and exhaust fumes that I may be subjected to. Are there any brands that may address this better than some others? And, regarding rear-engine riders, do you have any opinion on the Snapper RE-210 mower? Thanks, again.
Hi Thomas, no, I don’t have an opinion of the RE-210. I’ve never actually seen one! It is supposed to be “better” than the old version, meaning it has better steering and with the hydrostatic transmission it will a lot easier to use than the friction disk tranny in the old models. It does have the best engine of all the 30 inch mowers on the market.
It costs more than most 42 inch lawn tractors because it is not a high volume tractor. They don’t make many of them.
If you want a mower that drives a lot like your this one and your old Snapper take a close look at the Toro SW3200 or the SW4200. The engine is in the rear, it is a very solid, well-built mower and I expect it to last as long as your old Snapper. You can read my review of all the Steering wheel models here: Toro SW3200
First, I wanted to thank you for the thorough and well-crafted website and reviews. There is a lot of information on mowers out there and your site seems to be one of the best.
I’ve just moved to a new house in Eastern Massachusetts (near Boston) and have gone from 1/3 acre of mostly trees to a full acre of mostly grass. The new lot has a gentle slope (about six feet from front to back) with some mulched tree beds in the front and a wide open back yard. I’ve been mowing with my reliable 21″ push mower so far and while I can get the job done, it takes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours and can be pretty exhausting if the temperature is above 75. I’d like to get a bigger mower so that I can hopefully reduce the time I have to spend mowing. If it can help with leaves in the fall that would be great (I probably spend the same amount of time per year on leaves as I do on mowing).
I’ve been thinking of what to get and have probably over-saturated myself with information. Having visited a few local shops I’ve narrowed down the possibilities, but still don’t know what would be best for me (or point me in a different direction):
1) A 30″ self-propelled mower: would be easier to move and store, but these really aren’t that much less expensive than a lawn tractor and by all accounts would be slower.
2) A 42″ Cub Cadet XT2 from a local dealer: The reviews on this model seem encouraging and the local dealer that sells and services Cub Cadet has good reviews and gave me a good impression when I stopped in.
3) A 42″ Craftsman from Sears: You give the Craftsman mowers high marks, I live relatively close to a Sears, and they seem like a good value. I wouldn’t know which model would work best for me and would be a little concerned about the long-term viability of Sears as a company and what impact that might have on any warranties or service.
4) A 42″ mower on sale at Lowe’s or HD: The internet advice I read is pretty split on big box store mowers–half the people say the money you save doesn’t make up for the low quality and non-existent service and that it makes way more sense to go to a local dealer, the other half say that for a low-impact homeowner, it doesn’t really matter what you get.
If you’re able to offer any suggestions or insight it would be greatly appreciated. I’ve been looking at your detailed reviews and guides and that has been a pretty good place to start. Thanks again.
Hi Matt, for some reason you comment got lost in my system. Sorry,
1) A 30 inch like the Toro will save you time but doesn’t do anything for the leaves. You can mulch the leaves but if you are getting as many as you say. mulching is not enough.
2) Yes, The XT2 has had no problems and I don’t expect it to have any. MTD did a good job on this new chassis. I do want to say that you will be just as happy with the XT1 model – probably the 46 inch. Why? The XT2’s enhanced traction control really works well for climbing hills but when it’s engaged it wants to “push” the tractor in a straight line. It’s automatic so the only way it disengages is when you stop the tractor. So if it’s engaged an you go to turn it sometimes wants to push the tractor. The XT1 doesn’t have that problem.
3) I think Sears is just fine. Craftsman, Sears Parts and Sears service are all separate companies so even if they close the retail (mall) stores you’ll still be able to get parts online and service in your home.
4) If you buy from the big blue or orange box some of the tractors are serviced locally and some through an independent service company. The extended warranty at the blue store uses a company that ships your tractor to a repair location and I have been listening to a few complaints where the repair takes weeks. The orange box usually uses local servicing dealers – most of the time you get great service but every once in a while you’ll get a dealer who gives ALL of his clients priority over your repair.
So I suggest you start with the local Cub Cadet dealer. Explain to him that you don’t need the enhanced traction control or a Kawasaki engine (you really don’t the Kohler is a good motor) and see if he will let you buy the 46 inch XT1. I suggest the 46 inch because the deck is a little easier to trim with and it has a nice V-twin Kohler 7000 engine.
Thanks for the great reply! I had assumed you were out wherever it is people where you live go for a long weekend (here it’s Cape Cod).
I think I’ve narrowed it down to the Craftsman and the Cub Cadet. You think a 46″ XT1 is my best choice? I’ll have to take a look at how much bigger that is–I was hoping to get something I could move in my pickup truck in a pinch.
Is there a Craftsman model that you think would be comparable to the Cub Cadet XT-1 or 2? It seems like the Craftsman models are slightly less expensive.
One more question–I would need to get a bagger for leaves, right? The lawn is covered with them in the fall–I don’t think it’s possible to mulch all that.
Hi Matt, The exact Craftsman Match is the Craftsman Pro Model 20442. It has the Turn Tight steering that everyone likes a lot and a slightly better engine than the XT1. The engine is a Kohler 7000 Elite. This one will fit in your standard pickup.
You can see it online and/or order it here:
Pro Series 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Elite 46″ Turn Tight Extreme Riding Mower
Here is the bagger for the 46 inch.
42–46 In. Cut 2-Bin Bagger. Both Craftsman and Cub Cadet only offer a 2 bin for the 46 inch.
And the mulch kit:
46″ Mulch Kit
Craftsman also has a red 48 inch that won’t fit in your pickup between the wheel wells. You can read about it here: Craftsman 20391
Wow. You have a gargantuan amount of great info on this site, and it is obvious you’ve put a lot of time into analyzing what is out there and matching it to what people need.
We are in Round Hill, VA and have about 1.5-2 acres of yard to mow, about half of it on moderate slopes and a grove of trees to mow around. I mostly do mowing, with only occasional hauling of things around the yard.
I’ve been making do with a series of used Garden Tractors (a CC 1450 and now a 3225). Because of the slopes and just in case I wanted to do any serious ground work in the future. (which has not turned out to be much of a need)
However my current one has 1000+ hours on it, and many things are starting to need to be replaced – and it is starting to look like the engine rings are starting to go bad.
So I’m facing the decision of either paying to put a new/rebuilt engine in it and continuing to replace things, or ‘downgrading’ to a new Yard Tractor in my price range (<$2000).
I like the idea of a Craftsman 20390 – it looks like the transmission would hold up and the service plan would be a whole lot better than the hours I have to put in to keep things up now!
But – compared to the build quality of the older CC 3225 (and with the 54" floating deck it does mow beautifully) – I don't want to feel like I've taken a step backwards by going with a Yard Tractor.
How do they compare? Will I be disappointed?
Hi Steve, I am going to suggest you go just a little higher on your budget and get the 20442. Why?
– It will give you the cut you want. This mower was rated as the best cut, bag and mulching this year by CR.
– the 46 inch deck sticks out a little more than a 42 and it will trim easier. it will be more like the 54 for trimming and getting close to objects.
– It has the new Kohler 7000. The Briggs in the 20390 is good by the way.
– The new 5 inch Turn Tight Extreme is really nice. It’s like having power steering.
Here is the tractor I am talking about: Pro Series 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Elite 46″ Turn Tight Extreme Riding Mower
Thanks for the suggestion. My concern with the 20442 would be the k46 transmission on the hills I have. Wouldn’t the cvt in the 20390 last longer on them? I would choose durability over cut quality if needed. Btw would you recommend buying from searsoutlet? they have things discounted even more and appear to offer the same warranty and protection plans.
Hi Steve, I don’t recommend buying from the Outlet for most people. I am finding that the used/repaired equipment at the Outlet is supposed to be fixed but that is not always the case. If you do get one that still has issues sometimes it takes Sears Repair a month to get the mower running properly. (7-10 days for the tech to come out, 7-10 days for the parts to get to you and then another 7-10 days for the tech to come out again and fix the mower) For some reason they don’t give these repairs the same priority as the regular warranty and Protection Plan repairs.
If you can repair your own equipment then the Outlet can be a good deal.
The CVT is a stronger transmission. The 20390 cuts well and it is one of Craftsman’s most popular tractors. I have no problems recommending the 20390 if durability is more important than having the best looking lawn in the neighborhood.
This site is ridiculous! I can’t believe the amount of information and how helpful it is. It’s been a great resource so far, but I feel like now I have information overload. Talk about the paradox of choice. I thought I knew what I wanted but now have some serious doubts.
I’m purchasing my first law tractor (probably in about a week). I’m moving from a house with a yard I literally use a weed wacker on to about 1.4 acres at the southern edge of Berks County PA near the border of Lancaster County.
It is mostly flat, but some slope (walk out basement) so I am guessing 15-20 deg slope, trees, large long paved driveway, and in the very back it looks like some drainage that might be a bit soggy in the early spring and after heavier rains.
I am planning on creating a fairly large garden.
I’ve read using most law tractors for snow removal is a bad idea for your tractors transmission, and I’m not opposed to purchasing a separate self propelled snow blower if it makes more sense.
My budget is around 2k, obviously less is better, but flexible for the right reasons.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Hi jd, Yes, any driveway less than 150 feet long I suggest a walk-behind snow blower instead of a tractor mounted. You can check out my other site later on this summer for a snow blower (MovingSnow.com.
My first choice will be the Craftsman 20391. It’s a 48 inch deck and since you don’t have the garden put in yet you can make sure you have enough room to mow around it with that deck. It will handle a snow blade at 7.5 mph if you ever want to get one for the light snows. It has a strong transmission if you ever want to put a snow blower on it. You can read my review here: Craftsman 20391 review. This is a great all-around choice.
My second choice is the Craftsman 20442. It’s a 46 inch deck and it cuts great. This one has a lighter transmission so it’s better not to think about a snow blower on it.
There is also a Toro Steering wheel zero-turn and a couple of Cub Cadets at Home Depot we can discuss if you want. If you have to have green paint we can talk about the Deere’s also.
Originally I was looking at green paint because everyone here says “nothing runs like a deer”… But I’m not really a brand guy. Just want something that will last.
I noticed that for the price the CCs had a bit more HP for than the deer, but I had some concerns about the slope with both CCs and the deer.
I’ve read your review on the 20391 and was impressed. I’ll have to see if I can look at one a bit closer.
My driveway might be just about 150 feet. It’s over two cars wide curves around the house to detached 3 car garage. It probably has a 15+ deg. slope.
I’ll have to check your snow blower page out. We average less than 3ft of snow per year. We usually get one really big storm each year totaling over a foot. So while it might be nice to move it with a tractor I don’t think it would be necessary.
Thanks again for the recommendation.
I read an answer you gave that the 2015 Pro-Series riding mowers do not have the easy change blades.
1. My town only has a Hometown Sears. The Pro-Series they carry have the easy change blades, does this mean they are 2014 models?
2. Lower pricing for the mower can be got by purchasing online. Will the Pro-Series purchased online be a 2015 model?
3. If purchased online, will I have to do any assembly when it arrives? I seem to get different answers when I ask the online folks this question.
4. Who delivers the online purchase and where does the mower come from? the local hometown store or ?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Brent, Yes, if they have the EZ Blade change they are the 2014 models.
The links I give here are for the 2015 models. The 2014 models have different model numbers and are no longer listed on sears.com. The links for the 2015 models are in this article: 2015 Craftsman Pro.
With the Pro series you will have to connect the battery. (combination wrenches or pliers will do) You may also have to install the steering wheel which is just pushing it on, tightening a nut and popping the center cap in. The engine will have oil in it and there will be too much air in the tires. Otherwise – gas and go.
It depends on your area who delivers it. It usually comes out of the warehouse, goes to a Full-line store and then their delivery teams bring it to your home.
Thank you Paul! I’m leaning towards the Pro 46″….(trying to decide if I want to spend that much) versus the 20390 or 25083. Decisions….decisions….decisions…
Hi Brent, I know, I’d probably go cheap with the 25083 and then get buyer’s remorse and wish I had bought the Pro……
Paul, thank you for all your knowledge and time you share about mowers. I went with the Pro 42″. Got 5% off the online price, 12 mos interest free, and free delivery from store salesman. Hopefully I won’t be disappointed the 42″ doesn’t have electric blade engage. After 29 years of pushing mowing I’ve got my first rider!!! Now, I just have to wait a week for delivery…..
Hi Brent, Well I missed that commission. Just teasing:) If you have any questions feel free to ask, and be sure to stop back and tell us how you like your new Craftsman Pro.
Paul, the salesman said to lower the rear tire pressure to 10 pounds. Do you agree? Thanks!
@Brent, I usually say 12 lbs. That gives you a soft ride but firm enough that the tire doesn’t squat going around a corner.
Paul quick question. Looking at the craftsman professional line of tractors. Can’t seem to find the new 2015 version for California. Sears website is no help either. Do they make a California model yet? Thanks in advance.
Hi Rich, No they don’t have a CARB model this year. You will have to stick with the “old-time” favorite red ones.
Thanks Paul. I found a 2014 42″ pro model that was carb compliant. Is this still a good model or should I stick with the Reds
Hi rich, Thanks, I missed that. According to Consumer Reports the Pro models cut, bag and mulch better than the Red ones. In reality they do cut better on flat, smooth lawns. If your lawn is old and rough the reds do just fine. New owners really like the new steering. It very easy and almost like power steering. Yes, they do have cruise control (sears.com is wrong)
The red 20390/20391 (or carb model) has a tougher trans if you are mowing hills. Right now the Red models have a better selection of mulching blades, 2 or 3 bin baggers, etc.
If you are just sweeping your artificial turf either one will do fine – sorry I had to say that – because of the water shortage the landscaping mags are full of people trying to get you to convert your lawn to astroturf 🙂
I’ve got a large area to mow (10 acres now, but less once the house/barn/ garden etc go in), more field than lawn at the moment, but would like to keep it under control for aesthetic and fire reasons… It’s about 1/3 flat and 2/3 slope (1/4 of which is more than the 15%). I was searching for something that could deal with taller grass and be able to haul or drag up and down the hill. Speed is not a concern, I can do it over a few days, deck size as well- considering getting a trail mower as well eventually. Mostly the hill, and hauling, as well as being able to keep on cutting. In the $4000 range would be swell, above that I’d probably consider an ATV with trail mower, or a used gator with the trail mower. A number of mowers I saw and considered from your reviews are not sold in california… CARB compliance… a point in the right direction would be much appreciated Thank you.
@Alex, my favorite rough cut mower is the Acrease. It is simply the best and toughest rough cut on the market. It’s a heavy duty pull behind mower capable of handling your larger property. You can pull it with anything from an old lawn tractor to a good ATV or Gator.
Go here to check it out. Kunz Engineering. Use the contact for or call Matt (they are on Central time)
I pretty sure he can set you up with one with a CARB engine. Tell Matt I sent you.
Hi Paul, lots of great info on this site & I’ve been reading all of it over the last few days. Just bought my first home which has a flat 7 acre field up against a river. Previous owner mowed about 3 of those acres & the rest is brush or some sections he brush-hogged twice a year (early summer & fall). I’m in Barre, VT, so it’s a colder climate with a relatively short mowing season. I’m trying to figure what machine will work best for me. I’ll plan on continuing to mow the 3 acres, with the possibility that I’ll have some of the brush-hogged areas ripped up to have more grass planted. So maybe 4 acres to mow. There are not a lot of obstacles on the property, probably just 6 small apple trees. There’s also a 20’x20′ garden plot that we’ll use to plant vegetables. I won’t be using the machine for snow removal (i pay for plowing), although i’d like to have it as an option for the future. I’d like to be able to haul dirt in a small trailer, but nothing crazy, probably just enough to use in the garden plot. I have a 4×4 Jeep that i can use if i want to haul firewood or anything heavier. Does this type of property sound like it’s suitable for a garden tractor? Thanks in advance!- Mike
Hi Mike, Yes a Garden Tractor like the new Craftsman Pro Series 26 HP V-Twin Kohler Elite 54″ Turn Tight Extreme Garden Tractor is tough enough to handle the job.
You may want to consider a zero-turn and then use a walk-behind snow blower for snow removal (assuming your driveway is less than 200 feet long.) A good Zero-turn like the Craftsman Pro 25 HP V-Twin Kohler 54” Fabricated Deck Zero Turn Riding Mower will get your mowing done about 25% faster and is tough enough to handle rough ground and a few rocks.
Thanks for the reply, Paul. Actually my driveway is probably 500-600ft & then there’s a large flat area (50yd x 50yd) in front of my garage. So that’s why I currently just pay to have driveway plowed; however, I’d like the option for the blower attachment in future which is why I figured garden tractor was the way to go over a zero-turn. Regarding brush mowing- can you hook up a brush mower to a garden tractor if you need to mow taller brush? I figured something like the Acrease or DR power brush mowers can be towed by a garden tractor if needs be. Thanks again for all of the great info!
Hi, You messed me up. You were Mike yesterday…..Yes, a Garden Tractor is the best choice. The Craftsman 20403 has a 50 inch snow blower available, cab, weights and chains.
Since you have such a long driveway you may want to consider a tractor that uses the bercomac made snow blowers. The Berco’s are heavy duty Canadian snow blowers that will give you years of use. The John Deere X500 series and the Simplicity PRESTIGE™ GARDEN TRACTOR both use this brand (even though they are painted yellow or black) Both tractors have traction control so both wheels will give you traction in the snow and both have good transmissions for pulling an Acrease.
Go here to take a look: Prestige, X540,
We had a Husky GT160, 16 HP B&S Vanguard engine, 42-inch deck, that finally gave up the ghost after 20 years. (And we bought it used!) We mow about 2 acres of rolling lawn on a farm and occasionally mow the stubble in the hayfields (appx. 5 acres). We’re on a limited budget so as much as I’d like to get a top-shelf mower we’d like to keep it under $1,500. What would you recommend?
Thanks, Paul, for all the information. I’ve learned quite a lot reading your various articles.
Hi Lou, That’s a pretty easy request. The best value mower in that price range is the Craftsman 25081. Great engine, strong transmission, good steering, and a good cutting deck.
Here is the link to the sears.com sales page: 42 in. Turn Tight® Automatic Riding Mower
Here is my review of the tractor: 2015 Craftsman Model 25081 42 inch 19 HP Yard Tractor Comprehensive Review
OK, still looking and asking questions. If we raise the price ceiling to $2,000, does that change your recommendation?
What do you think of the new Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro series? They’ve got at least one mower in that price range. I don’t see any recent CC reviews on the site.
Hi Lou, No, I have not had the time to get the new Cub Cadet Reviews done. I was hoping to get them done this week…oh well.
When you get into the $2000 range we can get a mower that is more suited for your 2 acres. A 48-50 inch deck will cut your mowing time down quite a bit.
The Cub Cadet Lawn Mowers XT1 Enduro Series LT 50 in. 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Mower LT50 fits that size and your price range very well.
If you are interested in Green the John Deere Lawn Mowers D155 48 in. 24 HP ELS Hydrostatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Mower BG20842 is another good choice.
Craftsman also has the 20391 22 HP V-Twin 48″ Turn Tight Fast Riding Mower – Non CA
Paul, we went shopping today and now I’m looking for guidance again.
We went to a Husky dealer — local, full service, which I like since they can deal w/ any warranty issues — and looked at a 2014 YT46LS, 46″ deck, Kawasaki FR651V engine. They’ll drop the price to $2199 since it’s a year old.
The dealer also has the 2015 YTH22V46 on sale for $1599. (Same model and price at Lowe’s.)
Then we stopped by Lowe’s, also local, just for comparison. They’ve got the 2015 YTH24V48 on sale for $1899 (ends 4/20). B&S engine, 48″ deck.
The two more expensive machines have the orange stamped decks (which the dealer said aren’t generally on the big box store mowers) and I understand are Husky’s mid-range deck quality. The $1599 model has a gray stamped deck.
This is where I get crazy: I’ve tried to research this purchase but still don’t know whether the YT46LS is worth the extra $300 — or if the basic YTH22V46 will suit our needs. Any thoughts based on your experience?
And the grass continues to grow …
Hi Lou, Goats are selling pretty cheap in my area….
The YT46LS has the locking differential and a Kawasaki engine. Everyone gets a $100-$150 more for the Kawasaki. It’s quiet and dependable. The Locking diff is also a premium option so there are $300 more value in that tractor. If you mow the field when it’s wet or muddy you will like the extra traction. It also has the deck reinforcements so the deck will take more of a beating without caving in.
The YTH22V46 is just a basic lawn tractor. The Vangard you had was a better motor than the one in this tractor. No reinforced deck, No electric blade engagement and of course no locking diff. If you look at how the manufactures rate the engines the engine in the YTH22V46 is the cheapest and is three steps down from the quality of the Kawasaki.
Husqvarna went to the 46 inch deck a few years ago because it cuts better than a 48 and it’s cheaper to maintain (2 blades instead of 3) Unfortunately so many people were used to having a 48 inch deck (they think a 46 is too small) that they brought it back so they could compete. In my opinion that’s why Lowes has the 48 inch Fast Tractor.
I would spend the extra $300. You are getting a better engine, a stronger deck and strong transmission. In my opinion and knowing the type of mowing you want to do the YTH22V46 may last you 5-8 years. I expect the YT46LS to last 8 to 20 years.
Paul: I’ve been checking out the JD D125, but am wondering if the Sears 25081 may be a better deal… Your thoughts?
Hi Carl, Understand up front – I like the D125. It’s a great John Deere mower and worth the money compared to the X300 series. That said,
The 25081 is one of the best value tractors on the market. It has a single cylinder 19 hp Briggs Platinum, a fender mounted speed control and the 6 inch Turn-Tight steering. Otherwise statistically it has the same features as the D125.
If you are used to a foot control for the speed look at the Craftsman 20390. It is also less money than the D125 and has a 22 hp V-Twin, foot control speed control and the 6 inch Turn-Tight steering.
In the upper right hand corner of this page use the search box to read my reviews. Search 25081 or 20390 or D125. Note: all three of these tractors use a branded engine but they are all Briggs & Stratton Intek Plus. All three engine will work on hills and last a long time.
Thank you for the information! I am lucky, as I have both a Deere dealer and a Sears store very close to where I live. I am going to check both out up close before I make my decision.
Thanks for the quick reply, Paul. Two additional questions:
1) Do you recommend using non-ethanol gas in riding mowers?
2) Is regular grade gas sufficient or should I use high-test?
@Lou, 87 octane – no more than 10% ethanol. I always put 2 tablespoons per gallon of Sea Foam in my can when I go buy my fuel.
Need a new gas can? I like these: No-Spill Poly Gas Can (CARB Compliant)
Hi Paul. We just purchased a house on 1 acre. Mostly flat with some sloping areas towards a pond. What tractor would you recommend for our situation? There are very few obstacles, no fences and its 98% flat. I’d like something that can bag and mulch effectively. North Attleboro, Ma
Hi Jensen, This the first weekend we have had good weather so I’m just getting to your comment.
One Acre and no obstacles works well with a 46 inch deck. You can mow your in about 1 1/2 hours. If you go to a 48 inch deck you can cut that down to 1 hour 15 minutes.
There are a bunch of tractors in that size and they range from about $1400 to $2400. But when you add in bagging and mulching the selection drops to just a few.
This model has the best ratings for mowing, bagging and mulching this year. Pro Series 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Elite 46″ Turn Tight Extreme Riding Mower. Here is my review of it. Craftsman Pro.
One of the best value tractors is the 46 in. Turn Tight® Automatic Riding Mower. You can read my review here. Craftsman 25081 Review.
Take a look at these and then feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Hello I am in the same size yard and in MA as well. I am stuck between this Pro model, the 20390 and the 20391, can you help?
Hi Rich, Comments on this blog are impossible to follow on my end. I can’t see the comment you are adding to. Which Pro model were you looking at and how big is your yard?
Paul, so glad to find your web site, as I was or am considering purchasing a ZTR riding mower. We mow 1 1/2 acres of which the lot slopes from the front down a hill. Backyard is fenced in so there are fences and an in-ground pool to mow around. Not sure what the slope is. Mow it vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. Have been mowing with a JD LX280 for 5+ years in Cincinnati OH. Also mow the neighbors backyard part of the summer because her JD riding mower and her small 4’11” body are not heavy enough to get her mower up and down her hill. Part of the summer she hires a commercial guy to mow her hill and his mows with his ZTR horizontally. Not sure of the brand. Wanted a ZTR because I thought it would save time and provide for a professional looking mow. After reading your recommendations, I am now questioning whether I should forget about one, as I don’t want to pay $7,000 for one that is capable for my yard. I had been looking for commercial used mowers too, but they all seem pretty beat up. I thought the two of us might mow together, one with the JD in the backyard and the other with the ZTR for the front and side yards, which is the largest areas of grass.
Hi Kathy, The riding mower market has changed this year. We finally have a good mower that is a zero-turn and a tractor. The new Toro Steering Wheel Tractors. I’m going to assume you are just mowing the 1 1/2 acres so let’s talk about the 42 inch mowers first.
The first mower I want to show you has the same transmissions as the commercial ZTR’s you have been looking at. It will mow your backyard well and if I understand your front lawn it will go up and down it well.
Toro Lawn Mowers TimeCutter SWX4250 42 in. Fab 24.5 HP V-Twin Zero-Turn Riding Mower with Smart Park 74787C
If your lawn can handle a 50 inch deck (about 61 inches with the discharge chute down) a great choice is the 50 inch version. You can mow up and down or sideways with this one. The wheel base is wider than the 42 inch model and a good 10 inches wider than your Deere. It priced less than you paid for the LX280 new.
TimeCutter SWX5050 50 in. Fab 24.5 HP V-Twin Zero-Turn Riding Mower
Feel free to ask any more questions. I’ll be glad to help you find the right mower.
To read my review on the: 2015 Toro Zero-Turn Tractors | My Review
Paul I am thinking about getting the 25083 instead of the 25081. For $50 more it seems like a good deal. I’d like to get the gator blades and a side discharge plug. Do you have the right links for those?
Also I just want to double check with you to see if there are any other cheaper options (based on my original March 3, 2015 post). I was hoping to stay well under $1500 but it doesn’t seem like that is possible. Thanks again!
Hi Chris, Yes, it’s not possible to buy a multi-purpose mower for under $1400. I like that the deck on the 25083 does stick out just a little more on the 25083 and that makes it easier to trim along fences and buildings.
46 in. Advanced Mulching and Bagging Blade Set
Sears does not sell the mulching cover separately. Here is the cover at Amazon: Craftsman Lawn Mower Part # 406581 COVER.ASM.MU
First off great site, thanks for all the work you put in! I am going to purchase my first ride on mower this year as I just moved into a new house with a yard that is just under 1 acre. Its flat with a couple obstacles to mow around that probably won’t be much of an issue. I prefer to mulch or bag, I don’t like grass build up that side discharging usually creates. I think I settled on a 42-46″ deck with dual blades. I would like to stay in the under $1,500 category but I don’t mind paying a few extra bucks for a better quality machine, especially one that will last longer as we plan to be in the house for many years to come. Getting service on my mower of any type isn’t a factor as there is a great service center down the street from me that makes free house calls and since I am so close they will even pick up my machine for free (they did this for my snowblower). The will service any brand, make or model.
I have to admit even after reading your article on transmissions I am still a bit confused but if it all possible I would prefer a machine that didn’t have a “gas” peddle and instead have the speed controlled with a lever (or maybe cruse control where can take my foot off the peddle), is this an option?
It seems like you are partial to craftsman in general. Before I found your site I was looking at the Husqvarna 42″ 20HP. I would love to know your thoughts and recommendations given my scenario.
P.S. the link at the very end of the article “Yard Tractor Review” is broken – goes to a 404 page.
@Chris, Thanks, I fixed that link. There are 4 fender controlled tractors out there. I suggest 3 of them. The Husqvarna 42 inch YTH18542, Craftsman 42 inch 25081 and Craftsman 25083. They all bag, mulch and side discharge well. These three have the best bagger and they have more blade options than the 4th tractor below. You can get side discharge blades, mulching and Gator blades for these 3. Gator blades chew up the brass into little tiny pieces yet have enough lift and throw so your lawn looks great. They make leaves disappear in the fall.
The YTH2042 has been discontinued and is now the Husqvarna YTH18542: Husqvarna YTH18542 18.5 HP Hydro Transmission Riding Lawn Mower, 42-Inch. Amazon has it for $1499 with free shipping.
The 2 Craftsman below have the 6 inch Turn-Tight steering and the full-pressure Briggs engine. Neither one of these features is required for you lawn. These are very popular mowers.
Craftsman 25081: 42 in. Turn Tight® Automatic Riding Mower
Craftsman 25083: 46 in. Turn Tight® Automatic Riding Mower
There is one other fender controlled tractor but there are two items you may not like compared to the first three. First, I don’t like the bagger for it. It sticks out a lot farther than the bagger for the Husqvarna and Craftsman above and it does not fill the bags as well. Second the speed control lever is on the left side of the tractor. I’m right handed so it really feels weird to drive the tractor with my right hand and control the speed with my left.
22 HP Kohler V-twin Hydro Automatic 46” Riding Mower
Husqvarna YTH18542: Fender control
Wow thanks Paul. Just curious other than HP is there any difference between the 25081 and the 20390 you reviewed? Also I had no idea there were so many different blades. The sears website says they come with 3 in 1 blades but you mentioned mulching and gator blades. Any reason I should think about replace the factory blades that they come with? Any good resources on the types of blades and their cost out there?
@Chris, The 25081 has a fender mounted shifter and a 19 HP engine. The 20390 also has an hour meter. Otherwise it’s the same. The deck comes with side discharge blades. If you want to mulch you’ll need a mulch kit that has different blades. The Premium blades will mulch, bag and side discharge well.
Of course I have a good source for accessories 🙂 Here is an article that lists all the stuff available for the 42 inch decked tractors. 2014 Craftsman Parts – Attachments – Accessories For Yard Tractors with a 42 inch deck
Paul, I have half an acre of lawn that I mow. It has two fairly steep slopes over 15 degrees. They cover maybe a fifth of the yard. The rest is fairly flat. I don’t have a lot of obstacles that I mow around. I want a twin cylinder engine and I will be mulching. Tractor or zero turn? And what tractor or zero turn would you recommend? I’m thinking that I want only two blades because that mulches and cuts better than three? I have a self-propelled mower that I will keep and can use on the slopes as it only takes me 10-15 minutes to mow them at the most. Thanks for your help.
Hi Mark, I don’t recommend ANY zero-turns that cost less than $7000 or so on slopes. They don’t have the weight to stay on the slope. In addition anything less than $3000 doesn’t have heavy enough transmissions to mow slopes over the years.
I’m always very nervous suggesting any tractor for use on slopes greater than 15 degrees. ALL of the manufacturers state 15 degrees is the max.
In addition most of the tractors now-days use an aluminum or poly transmission so there is no weight in the rear to get traction on hills.
Sorry to be so negative. That said, for 1/2 acre 46 inch V-Twin I would go with the Craftsman 22 HP Kohler V-twin Hydro Automatic 46” Riding Mower or Ariens Lawn Mowers A22VA46 Briggs & Stratton 46 in. 22 HP V-Twin with ReadyStart Fast-Auto Front-Engine Riding Mower 960460069
Paul, thank you very much for the information. It is very helpful. I am looking into the Toro Timecutter SW series that will come out in January, while also keeping the Scag WIldcat as a possibility.
Paul, I just bought 1.3 acres of moderately to steep slopes and which has no trees. A nearby dealer is offering me a 2007 Scag Wildcat with 1400 hours on it for $4500 or a Simplicity Citation XT with 27 hp abd 52 inch deck for $6200. I am leery of the Wildcat with 1400 hours (and the price is more than I prefer to spend) and am thinking that the Simplicity is overkill for my acreage and more than I want to spend.
I am having difficulty finding a residential ZTR that will do well on my slopes; a residential mower that my research suggests might work is a Troy-Bilt XP Mustang 25hp and 54″ deck sold at Lowes.
What do you think of these three options? Also, if not one of these, what ZTRs, either residential or lower cost commercial, would you recommend? There seem to be dealers in the area that can service most brands. I live in Hanover, PA. Thanks in advance for your help.
@Frank, Unless you are very experienced I don’t recommend any zero-turn mower on steep hills. And by steep I mean no more than 15 degrees. That Said:
There are NO residential zero-turns that will work on hills. Why? 1. They all use the EZT transmissions (including the Troy-Bilt) and these transmissions will overheat and fail if used for mowing hills (or pulling stuff) 2. They don’t weigh enough to get good traction. You need a zero-turn that weighs more than 750 lbs to even begin to be stable on hills. The Troy-Bilt is less than 620 lbs.
That’s not a bad price on the Wildcat. Scag’s hold their value well. I checked Fastline and the dealer is giving you a good deal. You didn’t say what year the Citation is but they don’t have the resale of the other brands.
This is the wrong time of the year to talk about new zero-turns. Plus if there was a heavy-enough ZTR you can easily mow with a 42 inch. Many of the brands have not yet announced the availability of their new models. One model that may work for you will be the new Toro SW series. Here is the press release: Toro Timecutter SW
What a comprehensive guide! Your personal philosophy on mower purchasing advice is refreshing.
@John, Thank You, You are very welcome. See you at GIE-EXPO!
Overland Park, KS. Trying to decide between craftsman 42″22hp Tight a Turn or the jD 125. 1/2 acre with trees to mow around and a few hills. Tom
@Tom, at $1799 for the John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D125 42 in. 20 HP V-Twin Hydrostatic Front-Engine BG20709at The Home Depot and $1709 for the Craftsman 22HP 42” Turn Tight® Fast Riding Mower – 49 States does make for a difficult choice. I like the Turn-Tight on the Craftsman and the engine has more torque (larger cubic inches)
Besides the extra 5% off online the Craftsman is also eligible for another 5% off or no interest with a Sears Card. If you don’t have Sears card you can apply during checkout.
Checked out the dealers and the Cub Cadet dealer was the most knowledgeable and caring by far. If I had to pick a dealer it would be him. I’m torn because from my research it seems the Husqvarna has better reviews and less complaints. Do you know if the transmissions in these are the same Tuff Torq k46??? (I have seen complaints about them). I can get the Cub Cadet LTX 1042 KW for $1699 but cost aside which tractor do you feel is better, the YT 42LS or LTX 1042 KW ?
@Merc, Cost aside the Husqvarna is better. Just remember there are about 100 different ways a manufacture can order a K46. They are spec’d for the equipment so the one in the YT42LS has a better reputation then the K46 in a $1400 lawn tractor.
Depending on the year the LTX 1042 KW can have either a Hydro-Gear 0510 or the K46. The Cub Cadet website states it’s using the K46 this year but your local dealer may have a 2012 or 2013 model that he is selling you. (The manufactures really don’t go by model year, only model number. A lot of tractors stay the same or have very minor differences for 3-5 years)
Thanks for the quick response, I’ll be sure to check out the dealers and get back to you.
I’m about to purchase my first lawn tractor and have it narrowed down to the following 3. Hoping that you can give me your take, and wich one you would choose. 3/4 acre of grass, few obstacles, 16% slope in the back.
Craftsman 42″ T3000 20390
Husqvarna 42″ YT42LS
Cub Cadet 42″ 1042 KW
@Merc, All 3 cut well. All 3 bag well into a 2 bin bagger. All 3 have a good to great reputation. All 3 have good motors. The Craftsman has service available in your home. The other two are kind of dependent on your local dealer. I strongly suggest talking to the dealers to see what priority you have for service and warranty work. Do you get it owrked on right away or do you have to wait behind the commercial mowers in for repair. What do they charge to get your mower and bring it back to the shop for service?
For the price the 22HP 42” Turn Tight® Fast Riding Mower – 49 States is the best deal.
For $400 more you get the YT42LS. It has the exact, same deck as the Craftsman. In it’s favor it has the locking differential. I’m not completely sure the Kawasaki has any advantages over the Briggs Platinum Engine.
At $300 more than the Craftsman the only advantage for the Cub Cadet is it is a dealer only tractor so your local dealer should stand behind it if you have problems. I feel it is a little over priced compared to the other 2. If it was $200 less I would be happier recommending it to you.
Trying to get some help with an old murray 12hp 38″ riding mower. The blade belt will not stay on the idler pulley? I replaced the belt and same issue. Wants to stay on at higher cut levels but for sure not on at lower levels (4 or below). Any thoughts. Not sure if this is where I should be posting but thought I might get some help. Thanks in advance.
@Bruce, Yes a better place to ask questions like this is over at mytractorforum.com Those owners eat, drink and dream about repairing lawn tractors. I woud check the idler pulley and the control bracket. Wiggle the bracket and if there is too much play replace it. Spin the idler pulley and wiggle it up and down. It should spin smoothly and not wiggle up and down.
I just bought the craftsman 20390 model t3000 and was hoping it was the right choice. This is my first rider and currently bought a house with half an acre with about 18% grade and quite a few stumps int the yard. Can you give me any insight on what you think?
@Shane, The 20390 sounds like a great choice. Plenty of power. The 42 inch deck is small enough to get around all those stumps yet it will mow that 1/2 acre in no-time. It is a good choice to pull a yard cart when you fill all those stump holes after you grind them out.
I’m always concerned when someone mentions slope. The manufactures all say no more than 15 degrees. So if you convert – An 18% grade is only around 10 degrees so the mower is quite capable of handling it.
We have a rougher two+ acre lawn to mow and want a mower that could push or blow snowfalls of maybe 6-8 inches in the winter. Can this be had for around the $2000 mark? What do you recommend. Ron
@Ron, I think the Craftsman 20391 may be just the answer. Wide tries, great v-twin motor.
Here is My review: Craftsman T3200 Review
42″ is what I have decided on in any make. I was at the local Sears and looked at two mowers, the model 20390 that seems to be a favorite of yours, and a local dealer special, the 98461, 7000 elete. Reg price $2799, special at $1999. Any thoughts on the 98461? It has the same trans as the 20390 but a Kohler engine. The frame and deck seem a bit beefiyer also.
At a JD dealer I found a 2010 X300, 69 hours with a brand new 2014 deck. Price was mid-$2000’s Clean. No warranty though.
@Jack, Interesting that you feel the 98461 seems beefier. They must be using thicker paint because the frame and deck are EXACTLY the same. The differences are.
Engine: 20390 22hp Briggs & Stratton Platinum – 98461 22hp Kohler 7000 (Elite means it comes with the longer oil filter)
Deck : 98461 has a flat bar around the bottom as a reinforcement and it has electric clutch. Some owners like the electric clutch but others like the mechanical. The electirc does cost over $300 if it ever needs repair.
Blade: 20390 uses the standard Craftsman/Husqvarna blades so there is a large selection of types available. (side discharge, mulching, heavy duty, and “Gator” blades. The 98461 uses the new Husqvarna uses the new EZ blade system and as far as I know there is only one type of blade available (side discharge)
Bumper: The 98461 comes with a single bar bumper standard
The issue I am having with the 98461 for 2014 is service and parts. Remember the Hometown stores are no longer part of Sears. These stores are owned by individuals who franchise the Sears name. (Just like your independant Husqvarna or Cub Cadet dealer) To get service and parts you have to go through the Hometown store where you bought it just like Craftsman at Ace. The Sears full-line stores have no record of your purchase, you can’t return it to a Full-Line store and you can’t get parts through a full=line store for it.
The 2014 X300 retails for $2999. In my opinion that mower should be a lot cheaper than the mid 2000’s since it’s 4 years old.
Hay Paul after looking around I found 2004 736 with 375 hrs for 3500 or a 2009 J d 465 for around 3650 which do you recomend
@Jim, I’d go with the newer 465. The other one is 10 years old and parts may begin to get hard to find.
I am looking to buy a reiable zero turn mower with a mower deck 60″around that is rated to mow a steep hilly lawn safely. My budget is $4000.00
If $ 4000.00 is not a real number for what I am requesting, please tell me the realistic price for what Iam looking for.
Thank you, Chuck
@Chuck, In your price range you will have to settle for a new GT54LS 54 inch Husqvarna tractor with differential lock, a used Simplicity 54 inch with differential lock or a very used Exmark 60 inch Zero-turn.
The Husqvarna is around $3200 and has a differential lock.
A Simplicity Prestige is about $7000 new and has a differential lock and automatic traction control. If you take your time you may find one for around $4000.
A 60 inch Exmark is heavy enough to handle most slopes but you will have a hard time finding one for $4000. All of the new zero-turns in that price range are not.
I’ll be glad to continue this conversation.