The 46-inch Craftsman 28857, made by Husqvarna, is in the well-reviewed YT4000 series and features a "Turn Tight" 6-inch turning radius for mowing close to obstacles. The 28857 model's deck is wider than the wheels, which can minimize trimming. Reviews report that this model has plenty of power (with a smooth V-twin engine), though owners give it mixed reviews for traction.
This lawn tractor is feature-rich, especially in this price range. Owners note minor inconveniences such as a height-adjustment lever mounted left of the seat, where it's easy to knock out of place by accident when getting in and out of the tractor. If this mower is too big for your needs and you don't mind a deck narrower than the wheels, the 42-inch Craftsman 28856 (*Est. $1,700) also earns good reviews.
We found the most detailed reviews of the Craftsman 28857 at TodaysMower.com, where landscaper Paul Sikkema reviews both the 2012 and 2011 versions. About 100 owners review and rate the Craftsman 28857 at Sears.com, and a YouTube video demonstrates the features, controls and performance in detail. ConsumerReports.org reviews the smaller, similar Craftsman 28856 plus two other similar lawn tractors in the same YT4000 Turn Tight series.
Landscape pro Paul Sikkema recommends the Craftsman 28857 for lawns up to 1.5 acres, praising the 6-inch turning radius and noting that it's easier to use than a zero-turn mower and better on slopes. He reports that the 46-inch deck cuts well and also mulches and bags well (when equipped with the optional kits). This mower will handle medium-duty non-ground-engaging attachments, but for areas with really heavy snow, he recommends stepping up to a heavier Craftsman tractor with bigger tires.
Review: 2012 Craftsman 46 in 24 hp YT 4000 Hydro Model 28857 Yard Tractor Review, Paul Sikkema, February 2012
More than 100 owners review the Craftsman 28857 here; around three-fourths of these reviewers say they'd recommend it to a friend. Owners praise this model's power, evenness of cut and ease of handling. Several also mention that the gas tank is easy to fill, though others say the translucent gas tank is hard to see through. The main drawbacks are a hood rattle, some slipping in wet grass or snow and that the maximum deck height is only 4 inches.
Review: Craftsman 46'' 24hp Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor Non CA Model# 28857, Contributors to Sears.com
While ConsumerReports.org does not test the Craftsman 28857, editors do test three other lawn tractors in the Craftsman YT4000 series, each with the "Turn Tight" feature, comparing them with 25 other models. Each tractor is rated for handling, ease of use and performance in each cutting mode (side-discharge, mulching and bagging).
Review: Lawn Mowers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
This video shows the features and controls of the Craftsman YT4000 riding mower quite well -- and even looks under the hood. There's a brief demonstration of mowing, plus one of how to pull it out of the mud if it gets stuck! Also demonstrated is how to clean the deck with the washout port.
Review: Craftsman YT4000 Lawn Tractor Mower, Seth Herbey, April 10, 2011