The Craftsman 28885 is the least expensive riding mower in our report. Although it doesn't include features like cruise control, it boasts a washout port, headlights and easy handling. Experts say it can cut, mulch and bag about as well as more expensive lawn tractors, making the 28885 a great value.
Cuts like expensive models. Paul Sikkema of TodaysMower.com calls the Craftsman 28885 "one of the best values for the lawn tractor class." He says the 21-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine has "plenty of power to mow your lawn" and calls the 28885 the best in Craftsman's budget line.
The 28885's two blades deliver the same quality cut as more expensive mowers like the John Deere D110, according to a reputable testing organization. However, this budget mower isn't as durable and shouldn't be used to cut more than 1.5 acres.
This Craftsman has a continuously variable transmission that uses belts instead of fluid to shift. Experts say it does so smoothly, but a few users say at Sears.com that it can feel a little jerky at times. A couple of owners add that the mowing deck kicks dust while cutting.
Good for newbies. With a steering wheel and foot pedals similar to a car, the 28885 is easy to drive, even for beginners. Users post mixed reviews about the controls, however; some call them confusing while others find them accessible and straightforward. Experts say the 28885's seat isn't very high in the back but is still pretty comfortable.
This is an entry-level, lightweight Craftsman with an 18-inch turning radius that moves easily. It's best for fairly light mowing; attempts to haul or use heavy-duty attachments will overburden the 28885. As a small lawn tractor, it has an equally small, 1.5-gallon gas tank that owners say is difficult to fill.
The 28885 includes headlights and a washout port with which to hook up a garden hose and clean out clippings and debris. Recent upgrades include improvements to the hood, throttle lever, fenders and steering.
The Craftsman brand has one of the best records for lawn tractors, according to a study by a leading consumer organization. While the 28885's two-year warranty is shorter than Husqvarna's and Toro's, Craftsman steps it up with a five-year frame warranty and a limited lifetime warranty on the cast-iron front axle.
No reverse mowing. The 28885 is the only mower in our report that can't mow in reverse; a cut-off wire keeps the blades from turning when the mower moves backward. Numerous users say at Sears.com that it's a pain without reverse mow, and many modify their Craftsmans to get around this. No expert testers review this machine's safety features.
Loud. Experts say a one-cylinder engine like the Briggs & Stratton on this Craftsman vibrates more and is louder than two-cylinder engines. Professionals don't compare noise in their reviews, but a couple of owners say at Sears.com that this mower is a little loud. One uses automotive sound deadener underneath the hood to dampen the noise. Safety experts say hearing protection should always be worn when driving a riding mower.
Both budget-priced and deluxe lawn tractors are represented in this extensive 61-model report, including the Craftsman 28885. A few consumers also review the 28885 here.
Review: Lawn Mowers & Tractors, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
Sikkema reviews three budget-priced Craftsman riding mowers: the 28882, 28884 and 28885. With ample power for mowing and solid construction, the 28885 is "one of the best values" at this price, he says.
Review: 2011-2013 Craftsman LT Series Lawn Tractors – Improving the Bottom of the Line, Paul Sikkema, Not dated
About 150 consumers give the Craftsman 28885 an average rating of 4 stars out of 5, and most say it delivers a clean cut and is easy to use. Some reviewers complain of mechanical problems and say filling up the fuel tank can be a hassle.
Review: Craftsman 46'' 21 hp* Lawn Tractor Non CA, Contributors to Sears.com, As of May 2013