2011 Poulan XT 42 in. 19.5 HP 6-Speed Riding Mower Review

This mower has been replaced by the Ariens 42 in 17.5 HP 6-speed Riding Lawn Mower. Yes there is a review of this mower in here somewhere:

I have seen this mower before. It looks like a very popular tractor from the last decade.  It took me a while to figure out exactly where I had seen it, but finally I figured it out.  It has the exact same specs as a 2008 Craftsman.  Right down to the hood, engine type, turning radius and controls. Because of this fact I will change my normal review layout to include a direct comparison of this tractor with the 2011 Craftsman it is competing against.

2011 Poulan XT 42 in. 19.5 HP 6-Speed Riding Mower Review 1

2011 Poulan or 2008 Craftsman?

What do you want to do with your riding mower? It’s Not The Best Lawn Tractor….It’s The Best Lawn Tractor For You!

What a compliment to Sears and their Craftsman tractors.  It’s one thing when someone copies your work because they like it and feel it is the only way to compete.  It’s another when they use your old, outdated technology to say they have a “new” riding mower.

This move by Home Depot makes me wonder two things. First, “If one of the world’s largest brands of mowers (Ariens) decides that using their name on old Craftsman technology is the best way to sell mowers, what does that say about the new 2011 Craftsman?”  Second, “Home Depot may feel that the only thing you are interested in is price.  These old technology Ariens and Poulan mowers are priced $100 less than the 2011 Craftsman mowers they compete with. It appears they are not interested in getting you the best mower, just getting you to buy their mower because of the price. This is my opinion only, and Home Depot, Ariens and Poulan are welcome to send me a rebutal that I will gladly post on this site.

Face it, Craftsman mowers are popular.  They consistantly are the best rated mowers in the industry for the price range/features they compete in.  They are so popular that it looks like Home Depot is now offering similar (read older) versions of them with Poulan and Ariens names and colors. The Poulan has gone so far as to use the red color instead of it’s own black/yellow paint scheme!

Proof? I happen to have a copies of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 spec books that a Sears Sales Associates carried around in their pocket to help you find the right mower. This is the handbook that goes along with the hours of training every Sears Lawn & Garden Associate gets before they are allowed to help you. Anyway, I spent a few hours comparing the specs of the “new” Ariens and Poulan XT mowers at Home Depot and I have come to the conclusion that these Ariens and Poulan tractors have the same, exact specs that the Craftsman models had in 2008!

Ariens, Poulan and Home Depot are welcome to contact me and show me the difference!  I’m sure the engines in these mowers have the required EPA changes for 2011 otherwise I can’t tell the difference between these “new” mowers and the 2008 Craftsman lineup.

The Poulan and Ariens do not have the Craftsman Turn Tight Technology.  In fact the Ariens has a large 16 inch turning radius.  The older 2008 Craftsman had a 14 inch.

My Review:

My Value/Cost Rating: Rider: Mows Lawn Well, Mulches, Gets Through Tight Spaces Well.  Great for 1/2 to 1  Acre Lawns, Light Hauling, Light Snow Removal. Accepts Light Attachments & Bagger.

Type: Lawn Tractor. See Tractor Rider Mower Types for a complete explanation.
Engine Type: Good. See Engine Types for a complete explanation.
Transmission Type: 6 speed manual. See Transmission Types for a complete explanation.
Speed Control: Fender Gear.
Accepts Light Duty Attachments

Direct Comparison of this tractor with the Craftsman it is competing against.

Product Data is taken directly from Home Depot .com and Sears.com at the time of this review. Please check the sites for current info.

  • Brand: Polan XT Model 960460022 Craftsman Model 28884
  • Engine Size: Polan XT 19.5 HP B&S Craftsman 19.5 HP B&S
  • Cylinders: Polan XT 1 Craftsman 1
  • Transmission: Polan XT 6-speed gear-drive Craftsman Automatic
  • Cut Width: Polan XT 42 in. Craftsman 46 in.
  • Blades: Polan XT 2 Craftsman 2
  • Turning Radius: Polan XT 16 in. Craftsman 18 in.
  • Frame: Polan XT Steel Craftsman Steel
  • Cutting Positions: Polan XT 6 Craftsman 6
  • Forward Speed:  Polan XT 5-1/2 MPH Craftsman 5-1/2 MPH
  • Gas Tank: Polan XT 1.5 Craftsman 1.5 gallon
  • Average Price: Polan XT $1099 Craftsman $1199

What I Like!

This mower is great for those of you who want a cheaper mower and don’t have a lot of obstacles to mow around.  The manual transmission means you will have to stop and shift the tractor every time you want to back up or change the forward speed.  The 16 inch turning radius makes it more cumbersome than the newer Turn Tight Craftsman mowers.  It will mow well and the 19.5 hp motor should have enough power to do your weekly lawn chores.  Don’t expect to mow very fast if you have dense, heavy grass or you don’t get around to mowing as often as you should.

Home Depot’s website is not clear if this mower has a splash-lube engine or a pressurized with filter. It most definitely does not have the best Brigg’s engine with an oil pump. (How to tell. If the motor has no oil filter it is a “good” splash-lube, a black filter with a yellow label it is a “better” pressurized motor and if it has a solid yellow oil filter it is the “best” oil pump Briggs)

Product Description From Home Depot .com

The Husqvarna Poulan XT 42 in. 19.5 HP Briggs & Stratton 6-Speed Front-Engine Riding Mower features a double-blade mowing deck ideal for cutting average-size lawns. It has a turning radius of 16 in., so you can easily maneuver around obstacles when mowing the lawn. This riding mower features 6 cutting positions, allowing you to choose a cutting height ranging from 1-1/2 – 4-1/2 in., depending on the job.

  • 19.5 HP Briggs & Stratton single-cylinder engine offers a powerful performance
  • 6-speed gear-drive transmission allows you to set the appropriate mowing pace for the job
  • 42 in. cutting width for a manicured cut
  • Double-blade mowing deck is ideal for average-size lawns
  • 16 in. turning radius permits easy maneuvering around obstacles
  • Steel frame for strength and durability
  • 6 cutting positions allow you to select cutting heights ranging from 1-1/2 – 4-1/2 in.
  • Travels up to 5-1/2 MPH forward and 1-1/2 MPH in reverse for efficient mowing
  • Handy beverage holder for user convenience
  • 1-1/2-gallon gasoline tank helps reduce the need for refueling
  • MFG Brand Name : Poulan XT
  • MFG Model # : 960460022
  • MFG Part # : 96046022
  • Number of Cylinders : Single Cylinder

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tom schneidermichael leachmanPaul SikkemaGeorgePaul Recent comment authors
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tom schneider
tom schneider

Got one been fine for over 6 years until I noticed the wheels out of alignment. had it repaired at a shop but they never got it right with the alignment better but not right causing the tires to drag and ware out quickly. they replaced parts but still not right . what to do would get a new mower but the engine runs fine ???

michael leachman

Ground Drive Beit Pappern


I agree that these are basically Craftsman knock-offs with last year’s technology. I’ve had two old Craftsman mowers and my “new” Poulan was basically the same technology painted red. Two months are I purchased it, the valve springs needed adjusting. I called Home Depot, they told me to call Poulan. Called Poulan, they told me to call Briggs. Called Briggs, they told me to shove it. Finally fixed it on my own and vowed never to buy Home Depot or Poulan. Take my advise, spend the extra money on a real mower (Craftsman) and let Home Depot keep their French… Read more »

dave s
dave s

Greetings, I like the craftsman brand too, mainly the GT like the gt6000. But you seem to be misinformed. The craftsman tractor isnt a form of flattery, is is the cloning known as mass manufacturing. AYP which is Husqvarna makes some of the craftman brands as well as husqvarna, poulan, poulan pro, ariens(except the zero turn mowers) etc. This mower in the craftsman brand was still available from my sears store, but was more expensive than you quoted in your article, and I got the last one of this model from home depot this year as the one remaining brand… Read more »

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