“This site is not about me – but this page is!”
Hi, I’m Paul Sikkema.
The primary purpose of TodaysMower and Mycountryacre.com is not to sell you the most expensive lawn tractor, but to give you enough information so you make the best decision when purchasing the best tractor for you.
I don’t have all the answers, I am not going to tell you what to do. I just want to be part of the conversation so you can make the best decision for you. Feel free to leave a comment after any post and my readers and I will help you.
I would like you to not only get the best deal on your new zero-turn mower, lawn tractor, or garden tractor, but get the best one for your needs.
Everyone has a hobby, something they really like and enjoy doing. Some people collect stamps, others go hiking, camping and fishing. I happen to like buying used commercial lawn mowers, fixing them up and reselling them. I have had dozens of different types, brands and ages. You can go here to see some of the types I’ve owned over the years: Pinterest – Mowers I have owned
I also go to the bigger trade shows and have a few trusted dealers who give me the “scoup” on the brands they sell. I can tell you the best and the worst. I know zero-turns, lawn tractors and garden tractors.
And even better for you….. I built, owned and operated a 400 property lawn and landscape company in the Chicago/Northern Illinois area. I was one of the first companies to switch to zero turns and the first to implement the standon mower. These new methods allowed me to reduce my man-hour costs by 70% over the traditional methods. (Yes, 70%) I’ve spent more hours using and maintaining my own mower fleet than most of you want to know.
I know mowers (and snow blowers) well enough that I am regularly invited to the manufactures factories. Todaysmower.com and movingsnow.com have been listed as two of the most trusted review sites on the web. Of the thousands of other sites that offer reviews on L&G products only Consumer Reports rates higher for trusted information.
I repeat: The primary purpose of this site is not to sell you a zero-turn mower, lawn tractor, or garden tractor, but to give you enough information so you make the best decision when purchasing a new one. I would like you to not only get the best price on your new lawn tractor, but get the best one for your needs. (Yes, I do get a small commission when you go to Sears, Amazon, The Home Depot, Tractor Supply or Northern Tool websites and buy the tractor, but I also lose the commission if you buy the wrong one and return it.)
For 2017 TodaysMower is going to focus on residential zero-turn mowers, lawn tractors, and garden tractors.
I will also review some very innovative accessories and attachments for your mower.
Today’s residential lawn tractors are designed to mow off 1 to 2 inches of grass, 1 to 2 hours a week, 25 to 30 times a year. If you use them this way and maintain them properly they will last you 5, 10 years or longer. They are not built as heavily as the mowers built 30 years ago, but in many cases they are built better and they offer a vastly superior cut, more comfort, more features, are easier to use, have better fuel economy, and much lower emissions than your 30 year old riding mower. Being lighter they are easier on your lawn.
If you are spending more than 2 hours a week mowing your lawn you may want to consider a commercial zero-turn mower.
The information on this site is accurate ONLY to the extent of the information I have available at the time the article is written. I get my information from my own hands-on testing, my own hands-on observations, the manufactures experts, the manufactures engineers, the manufactures literature, the manufactures website, other authoritative websites, word – of – mouth, press releases (verbal, video, print) and actual owners experiences of the equipment reviewed. If I get the information wrong, the brands are welcome to send me a clarification and I will gladly include it within this site. Brands, you can send me information at email@example.com
If I can’t verify the facts I will state that the information is just a rumor.
For those of you who care …. I compare most of these tractors to the corresponding Craftsman model. I don’t feel Craftsman is the best, this just gives us a baseline to accurately give you a way to pick the best mower for you. I don’t care if you buy a John Deere, Simplicity, Ariens, Hustler or Cub Cadet – as long as it is the best one for you.
This site is part of my ToolBoxHero Organization.
ToolBoxHero consists of TodaysMower.com, MovingSnow.com, My Country Acre, and ToolBoxHero.com Each site has a specific purpose, yet each site is part of my goal to help you find the right product for your home and how to use that product. I’m here to have fun and help you in the process!
I am a freelance writer with lots of experience. I am not associated with or receive special compensation from any of the retailers, manufactures and distributors that are reviewed on this site. From my many years of working at the forefront of mower technology I do know some of the engineers and manufactures personally and I will point this out when appropriate.
I share with you my views and knowledge. I do everything I can to provide the best information I can. I never provide false information on purpose. But the fact is that I’m only human … I can, and most likely will be, wrong at times. Hey, it happens. But basically, the point of this sentence is to tell you that by using this site, and by reading my posts, you do not hold me liable for anything.
By The Way, Using Information From This Website
Permission is given for the downloading and temporary storage of one or more of these pages for the purpose of viewing on your personal computer, tablet or cell phone. The contents of this site are protected by copyright under international conventions and, apart from the permission stated, the reproduction, permanent storage, or retransmission of the contents of this site is prohibited without the prior written consent of www.todaysmower.com.
Reproduction, distribution, republication, and/or retransmission of material contained within this website are prohibited unless the prior written permission of www.todaysmower.com has been obtained.
In general though, I will give permission to use quotes or parts of the site as long as your directly reference todaysmower.com and leave any embedded links intact.
Great site. Wish I had seen this years ago. I have an Ariens lawn tractor made by Husqvarna. The transmission went after 3 years (just past the warranty). The tractor works great, just no reverse. I found the part number for the transaxle online and it is $350. I am thinking that if I can find a similar mower someone has with a bad engine I can get it for $100 or so and use the transaxle in my Ariens. The question is how do I determine what other tractors used that same transaxle. The brand could be Husqvarna, Craftsman, or Poulan. My Ariens tractor is a 22 HP, 46 inch. “A22A46”. The model number is 960460056.
Hi Seamus, to get parts listings go to this site https://parts.ariens.com/. You must have the model and serial number off the nameplate to see the manuals.
If your transmission is silver it was made by Hydro Gear or Tuff-Torq. There is a part number on the transmission case and you will have to get the same part number for a replacement.
If your transmission case is black it was made by General Transmissions and most likely is not bad – just the top of it is full of dirt and debris. Blowing the top clean with an air compressor works the best to clean it.
After you get it clean, try it. If it still doesn’t work go here. You have an RS800 trans. General Transmission Troubleshooting and repair. Follow the steps for troubleshooting, watch the videos and don’t be afraid to call them for help. GT is very willing to get you back running.
hi paul i want to buy a garden tractor wich is beter for plowing snow with Troy-Bilt Super Bronco 54 GT or cudcadect gt54 from roy
Hi Roy, Both tractors are basically the same. The only real differences are the engine, color and seat. I would spend some time with the dealers and buy from the dealer you like the best.
A friend of mine told me I could buy a dual can bagger attachment for my Craftsman lawn tractor through your site, however, I don’t see any buttons to click on for such things. You also don’t give a phone number with which to reach you.
Can you help?
Hi Terry, Just reply with the model number of your tractor and I’ll give you the link. The model number is the number under the seat that starts with 917. or 247.
After reading your material I decided to buy the Poulan Pro 960420184. When I try to buy it on Amazon I get a message that it cannot be delivered to the address. I tried several different addresses but none work. What is the problem?
Hi Tom, I can’t even guess because I don’t know what city, state you live in. Are you using a P.O. Box or an address outside the U.S.?
Dohhhh…. I live in California…and I tried several actual addresses (not PO boxes) in different cities. It seems this is a non-California product possibly. I did a test and tried to have it shipped to Reno, Nevada and that works! Can you recommend an equivalent Poulan Pro model that will ship to California? I am needing to mow about 2 acres and it does have some rough ground and slopes.
Ron (Woodstock, GA)
Thanks for your reply, Paul. Do you know the year that the Craftsman GT 5000 series began offering a locking differential?
@Ron, I really don’t know that much about older Craftsman Tractors. Anyone?
I suggest you go over to mytractorforum and ask there.
Ron (Woodstock, GA)
I have a 1974 Sears ST/12 Garden Tractor that has served me well for 40 years now but is finally giving up the ghost. I mow about ½ acre, but with significant hills, and a certain section causes me to have to shift my weight to the side to balance the tractor. It would be very difficult for me to have to keep my foot on pedals and I definitely need a locking differential.
Also, one of the items I have had to replace numerous times over the years is the metal insert in the hub of the front wheels that gets worn because of riding across the slant of the hill. I cannot go straight up and down the hill, the slant is too great. So I need my replacement tractor to be able to handle the sideways torque on the front wheels.
Any suggestions? Thanks.
@Ron, I actually don’t have a solution for you under $10,000. There are very few mowers designed for slopes greater than 15 degrees and they all cost between 15 and 60 thousand. Here is one Shibaura.
For only 1/2 acre I suggest you take a look at Toro Lawn Mower. 30 in. TimeMaster Variable Speed Self-propelled Walk-Behind Gas Lawn Mower with Electric Start. Wear shoes with good traction.
Hi Paul, Thank you for the great info! I have read for hours on your site (both last year & this year) & am still stuck.
I have 5 acres, of which 1 acre is flat lawn around the house, about 1/2 acre is flat paddock around a barn (lots of grass & daily piles of horse manure), the rest is in pasture. We would mow around the house & barn weekly, the pasture about once a month. Would use the GT regularly to haul a cart for tools/picking up brush, etc.
The pasture has a small creek very shallow (usually barely a trickle) which runs through it. Where the creek has pretty steep slopes, we weed-eat the steep slopes & mow only the gently sloping part. We mow up & down the slope, the safe way.
Last year I bought a 2013 Craftsman GT6000 to replace a 20yr old Craftsman garden tractor. While I loved the turning radius on the GT6000 and the 54″ cut, I HATED that this thing got stuck (yes, stuck) 3 times. One time a back wheel dropped into a very shallow small depression. There wasn’t enough power to the other wheel to maneuver it out. I was astounded. I had to lever the tire up, brace it with a board & push the machine out by myself. Two times it simply wouldn’t chug up a very slight incline that it’s predecessor laughed at. Also, it seemed to be poorly balanced. I always felt as though it was about to flip on the slightest slope. I don’t think I am expecting anything unrealistic, as the old gt laughed at these things. My husband also had the GT refuse to go up a slight slope.
….So, should we look at the 2014 GT5500 or is there a better choice (Maybe a Husqvarna)? I’m OK spending about 3K. Thank you so much!
@Christina, It won’t help to look at the G5500 or a new Husqvarna unless you want to buy a new one with a locking differential. Husqvarna GT54LS.
The transmission in your old tractor was about 60 lbs heavier than the transmissions in the all the new tractors today. Because of that it had better traction. Your old tractor’s engine was also heavier. Your old tractor felt more stable because of that extra weight.
Todays tractors are rated for no more than 15 degree slopes. If you are having traction problems many owners add weight. Wheel weights are the easy way to go. .
Other owners add fluid to the tires or fill them with liquid rubber to increase the traction. If you add the wheel weight so or fluid the tractor will have more traction and feel more stable. Some owners add chains but that is not a good choice since you have the flat lawn around the house.
I know you know this but many owners reading this comment won’t. Owning a mowing service and mowing in a wet year like this one, my zero-turns were always getting stuck. Sometimes it would be so bad that they would mow ok but if the operator had to stop on the lawn the zero-turn would sink in and get stuck. We learned to lift the deck up if it felt like we were getting stuck. Many times that extra inch is all we needed to get unstuck or keep from getting stuck.
By the way, the Raven MPV-7100 that I am using this year weighs twice as much as the garden tractors (over 800 lbs) I have no traction problems with slopes and hills. It has a very low center of gravity so it also feels really well in a ditch. DR Power is now selling it.
Well, I’m back…..last year we couldn’t find the Raven or the Husquarvna you suggested, so paid someone to cut around the house let the horses maintain the pasture. We have no need for snow plowing, or other ground-engaging attachments-we need is a cart to move hay & tools & brush-nothing much
I decided to get a Raven tomorrow from Lowes (though very concerned if it needs repairs-nearest service center is 100 miles away & Lowes won’t repair it on-site, but will arrange shipment to the center, and every second it’s away the grass will keep growing).
Just saw your review of Garden Tractors….and wonder if either the new ProSeries 54 inch Garden Tractor or the JD 500 series would be better than the Raven? . The local JD dealer is quite rude so am concerned about speed of service, plus the expense of service calls, $100+.
BTW, I’ve recommended your site to the Lowe’s mgr, and just about anyone who is interested in machines. I think you are amazing!
Thanks so much!
Hi Christina, Nice to have you back!
I would be concerned about the Raven myself especially if Altaquip is involved with the repair. Altaquip has a good service network on the east coast but they do’t have enough service center west of the Ohio River. It sounds like the Raven is not the best choice.
No matter how great the X500 is if you don’t like the dealer – you won’t like the mower. That said, Is there another dealer within driving distance?
The X500 is a nice tractor – it will last you years. But you can buy two of these new Pro series Craftsman for what one of those X500’s will cost. The trade off becomes do you want one tractor that will last 20 years or buy another after 10 years? The way Lawn Equipment is changing in 10 years you may be able to buy a new one that doesn’t need gas.
Keep asking, I’ll keep answering.
Hi my name is TeresaHolly I have a Crafts Man mover I need model 917.255560 Serial# 111891s007819 if you can help me please I need a key for my lawn mover thank you
Hi Teresa, Your mower is old enough that it uses a standard ignition key. If you want to get it from sears go to searspartsdirect.com then search for part number 109310X. It will be $4.48 plus $8 shipping.
Or you can go to any local mower shop or hardware store and buy and lawn tractor ignition key. Here is a picture of the key. Print this picture to take with you.
The key does not have to say craftsman on it. The hardware store key is just a plain metal key.
Am trying to find instructions for removing deck and changing blades on YT3000 model 28924 purchased in 2009. Manual does not include. Can you help?
@Marilyn, Here is a youtube video that show how to remove the deck and replace the blades.
I have a lift table so I don’t have to remove the deck but I am going to change to a MoJack this year. A lot of owners are purchasing a MoJack lift so they don’t have to remove the deck everytime they want to replace the blades.
Here is a link to look at it.
EZ Tractor Lift
I was considering the purchase of a Craftsman 20390 yard tractor. I just received a sale flyer which shows a tractor called Craftsman Pro Series 22 hp. I could not find this tractor on the Sears Website. Could you please provide some information on it and advise if this would be a better choice than the 20390 for residential use on a lawn of about 1 acre with the hills of a sand mound?
New Hope, PA
@Jim, It looks like the Sears Hometown stores will have an enhanced line of Craftsman tractors called Craftsman Pro. They all have Kohler 7000 series motors, reinforced decks and a 3 year defects warranty. Here is a pict of one:
Hi Rick- I wasn’t sure how to contact you, so I decided to do it through the reply section of your website. You seem to know a lot about tractors, and I really need your help. I’ve been trying to get answers for 2 weeks from Sears, and other websites without any success. I just bought a Craftsman LT2000 Model-28885 21hp with a 46″ deck, and I want to get it set up for snow removal for this coming Winter. I know that a lot of Craftsman lawn tractors are made by other companies, and the parts are interchangable. I need a snow blower attachment, and a vinyl snow cab for my 28885. I know that Sears sells models 24837 & 24838 snow thrower attachments. Will one of these fit on my tractor, and if not is there one out there that will. Also is there a snow cab that will fit on it. I hope that you can help me out, and I thank you for your time……Dan
@Dan, Here is a link to the Craftsman Fit-Up Chart. It lists most of the tractors and the attachments that fit each tractor.
Unfortunately, Your tractor will not accept a snowblower. The frame and front axle are too light. If you need a tractor that accepts a snow thrower you need to upgrade to the YT3000, or YT4000. These tractors have the heavy cast iron axle you need to carry that big, heavy attachment.
There is no snow blower on the market that is made light enough to work on the 28885. There are other choices for snow blowers for the YT3000 and YT4000 series besides the Craftsman
Well, still haven’t bought. My 13 year old Craftsman made it through the season. For yucks I checked and the outlet is selling what they have even cheaper than they were in October. The 28928 is now $1,049 instead of $1,155. They also have a 28890 which appears to be a 2008 version of the 28990. Would I be correct that it does NOT have the updated deck? I didn’t see a review on it.
Also, why does Sears profess to list their inventory on the web when they don’t keep it current? Real lost opportunity.
The 28990 is not an updated version of the 28890. The 28890 is a 2008 model and was discontinued in the 2009 line-up. It had a 48" three blade deck. It is the old design and blades will become special order only in a few years.
The outlet store discounts the items they have at a regular rate (every three weeks or so) until the price gets low enough that someone buys that particular mower. (This is completely separate from sale prices in the stores or on the web)
I've seen a lot of mowers drop off the site in the last few weeks as they sell out of them, but it does vary from district to district as to what's available. There may be certain mowers in one area of the country and will be completely unavailable in other areas. The outlet center listings are "as is where is" and to find what's at your local store, you have to do a zip code search.
Thanks Paul. I figured I didn't want the 28890, so thanks for confirming it.
My outlet has lots of tractors in stock, but only 1 on the website. Depending on who you talk to on the phone, they either "only update a few times a week" or "only put 1 on the site ever". The one 28990 on the site isn't even in the store, and they have nothing else listed. But you call and discover they have a bunch, although apparently only one YT4000. Apparently they don't realize that if they kept the site updated they would sell more.
I was under the assumption that the outlets and stores clearance was automatically put on the outlet site, but I guess I was wrong.
1) :(. Well that changes the economics of things. Makes fixing the old one more economical. I plan to price out all the parts and then do a real comparison, I hope to keep it working for the last few mows and then having months to figure this out.
2) I saw the rating, didn’t realize it was as compared to forever. My experience with the 46″ inch is that a 3 blade deck is worse than a 2 blade deck, more clogging and such. It seemed other had that experience also. Is that also not true?
3) Interesting. I always felt that my mower was made more cheaply than my neighbor’s Husqvarna. My frame cracked by the front axle, and I discovered his had a brace there, which I could buy in a kit. My steering started getting sloppy and slipping and I found that his was engineered differently. I also had to replace starter gear and alternator in addition to normal maintenance.
4) Appreciate the transmission info. I noticed a difference in models (i.e. YT designation) and some clearance on the gray models, have to research that a bit more. Now that I can’t use the bagger or the mulch shield (but can sell them on Craigslist), it’s a different economic decision.
We have a Sears Outlet here, I will see what they have. Appreciate the insight.
I appreciate all your quick answers and will be using your site for future research (and I’ll buy via the links if I don’t go through the outlet).
1. Except, now is a good time to find a bargain. There are clearance mowers sitting around at various stores and if you are lucky you can find one for less than half the price of a new one. Sears has a habit if you buy a new rider and something breaks on it in the first 90 days they many times just switch out the unit instead of making you wait for parts and repair. Most of these clearance mowers were replaced in the first 90 days of use and needed only minor repairs.
2. The 2008 and 2009 42″ and 46″ decks are two bladed. You may have seen a picture of the 54″ deck. That is 3 bladed.
3. All of the “consumer” mowers in the 90’s had frame problems. MTD was the worse with broken front axles, frames, and steering falling apart in less than two years. The 2009 Red and Black Craftsman tractors all have a cast iron front axle and a five year frame warranty. Most owners don’t have steering problems unless they use a snow thrower on it a lot.
4. I have always believed that with a drill, bolts and duct tape you can fit just about any bagger to any machine. 🙂
1) Right. I’ll have to consider that. In checking my outlet store online I do see some interesting discounts, including the 28928 YT4000 26hp 46″ priced below the YT3000 28924 same 21hp. Appears the 28928 is foot control, haven’t figtured out the 28924 yet.
2) My 46 from 1996 is a 3 blade, nice to know that the 46 now is a 2 blade.
3) Interesting. I did note the frame warranty now.
4) LOL. Right. I’d likely buy the new mower and see how far off I am. I might be able to just get the bagger part that attaches to the deck and adapt that to my bagger unit, depending on how they attach the pieces. I’ll have to look at it.
I appreciate the info.
Ok, I’ve reviewed all the models and am considering only the YT4000. It appears that there is no fender controlled 46″ inch model, is that correct? Appears my outlet only has the 28928, not the 926 or 927.
Also, I don’t see any description of the blade clutch. Mine is electric, I pull the button and the blades engage. Are all these electric?
The 28924 is the only 46 inch with a fender control. The 926, 927 and 972 are getting hard to find.
The YT4000’s all have a manual clutch. The Professional models, the 28990, and the garden tractors have an electric clutch.
Good luck in your search. Check your local stores and
Sears Outletonline. You can do a search by zip code to see if a model is available near you.
Thanks Paul. Although I have no way to test drive the pedal control, I'm assuming it won't be hard to adapt to it, and I do have the 90 day period to return it.
Do you know if you buy at the outlet and pick it up, does the 90 day return require you to return it or do they come get it (assuming it's defective and you want it replaced)?
Having only had an electric clutch, and disadvantage to the manual one?
If I buy at the outlet, when I go through the link and print the ticket do you get credit even though I'm completing the purchase at the outlet store?
The pedal control is easy to use and does have a cruise control lever.
If you pick it up, you have to bring it back. If you pay them to deliver it, they will come and get it. BUT, if there is a problem with the machine (other than you don't like it) call 1-800-4MY-HOME first. Sears will probably opt to fix the mower at your house instead of having you return it to the outlet.
I think the manual clutch will wear out the belt faster (3-5 years verses 5-7 years) and there is an extra pulley to wear out over time. But, 1000's of manual clutch units are sold each year that perform well.
No, I don't get credit unless you buy online, but don't worry about it. 20 bucks in my pocket is not near as important as you saving hundreds of dollars on a good Craftsman Lawn Tractor. When you need accessories (like baggers) and maintenance parts come back here and buy then. Thank you for asking.
So last night I visited my local Sears store (not outlet) to look at the models. Boy, have they not changed. Service was horrible, no one knew anything. After eating dinner nearby went back and got someone to give me the 2009 equipment book that answers lots of questions that the website doesn't, like which models have the "service minder" (i.e. hours meter). Anyway, I liked the design of the new mowers as compared to my current mower, although the lack of an electric clutch means I can't just punch a button to disengage the blades quickly. I also noted that their nose roller is different than mine which was long and connected between the two front links, it's just a regular roller that connects on to the now one front link. I suspect I might be able to remove a gauge wheel from my old mower and attach it for that purpose. I was very surprised to see only 1 front link, and it attaches much better, not sideways through a hole that vibrates and wears, but a simple bolt attachment. Can't tell you how many trunions I went through on the old mower and even replaced the brackets when those holes elongated.
I didn't bring my mulch shield to see if it would fit, I believe you when you said it would not. I suspect that I may be able to worse case buy the bagger tube for the new mower and then it will line up on my old bagger, which looked like it might fit on the new mower. Regardless, I'm not going to not buy for that reason. I can look at the baggers at the outlet which has them for $205 and $225 and see.
I think I'm going to buy the 28926, 27, or 28 based on availablility at the outlet. Thanks again for the info, I'll be back if I need more :).
The YT4000’s all have a manual clutch (28925, 926, 927, 928). The Professional models, the 28990, and the garden tractors have an electric clutch.
All the YT4000's have service minders.
Yes, the new decks use a three point "floating" mount and they actually cut a lot more evenly than the four point mounts on the older tractors.
Good Luck in your search.
I have a Sears 19HP 46″ tractor model 917.256670 with a hydrostatic transmission purchased in 1996 with 700 hours on it. I have done my own maintenance over the years, adding in a frame reinforcing kit, replacing the steering mechanism, 3 batteries, etc. I now have two front bald ties, need to replace the steering mechanism again as well as the connecting rods, drive belt, and now the left front deck attachment has rotted off. In other words, I’m making it last three more mowings and then I am likely buying a new one or spending $500 in parts.
As you are probably aware, it’s basically a Husqvarna mower with a Briggs and Straton engine. I have some questions that maybe you can answer:
1) Can the three bagger attachment from my old mower fit the new mowers? Is the discharge the same? If so, then my mulch shield will work also.
2) The underside of the decks in the pictures look very cheap compared to mine. Am I right?
3) Are the new Sears mowers made by MTD also?
4) Are the hydrostatic transmissions the same, or better now?
Any other advice?
1. No, No, NO
2. No, the new decks are cleaner so they get rid of the grass quicker. Consumer Reports rated the 2008 and 2009 decks as the best cutting deck in the industry.
3. Everything is made by Husqvarna except the Revolution (MTD) 30 inch rider (Murray) Red Zero-turns (Simplicity) and the professional zero-turns (Bobcat mowers)
4. The garden tractor trans is better, the rest are the same.
Check for deals at your area stores. Right now there are quite a few clearance mowers in my area. Check Sears outlet. It is now tied to the individual stores clearances.