Craftsman Pro 20442 Review

cs-product-header
Craftsman Pro 20442 Review
Bottom Line

Reviewers say that when it comes to performance and value, the Craftsman Pro 20442 is a compelling choice. Its performance is very good to excellent in all cutting tasks. This Craftsman lawn tractor is an especially good choice if you have lots of trees, plantings and other obstacles, as its five-inch turning radius is the tightest you'll find in a non-zero-turn tractor. It's powered by a Craftsman-exclusive Kohler engine that experts say should stand up well over time.

ProsManeuvers well around obstacles, Mows, bags, mulches well, Great ergonomics, High quality motor, Easy-to-remove bladesConsShorter warranty than some competing tractors

Breaking it down

Performance

A close, capable cutter. If there's a killer feature in the Craftsman 20442 it's its Turn Tight Extreme technology that delivers a 5-inch turning radius -- unheard of up to now in a traditional garden tractor, where turn radiuses of 15-inches were previously considered to be superb. That means that the Craftsman 20442 is almost a no-brainer for properties that are something more than flat expanses of grass. We did see a couple of comments from owners that the 20442 struggles a bit with traction right off the bat, but several other reviewers note that the tires are over-inflated for shipping and that could be causing those issues. The proper psi will be stated on the tire sidewall. Testing shows that the Craftsman tractor excels when mulching and bagging, and it does nearly as well when simply discharging clippings to the side. The 46-inch deck is more than adequate for most suburban properties; Craftsman rates this for up to 2 acres, and comments we saw from users tend to agree, with a few saying it even handles 3 acres with aplomb.

Ease of use

Lots of pluses. Thanks in large part to its tight turning radius, experts praise the easy handling of this Craftsman Pro lawn tractor. It's capable of forward speeds of up to 5.5 mph, 3 mph in reverse, and has an "infinitely variable" automatic transmission. The high-back seat is judged to be comfortable, and the controls are easy to reach. There's a washout port for quick clean ups, and the deck is easy to detach if you want to do a more thorough job or to change blades. The cutting system can be raised or lowered using a spring-assisted lift system that provides 12 cutting positions between 1 inch and 4 inches high. One concern is that the overall warranty is short at two years, but the front axle is guaranteed for life.

Safety/noise

Good safety features. The Craftsman 20442 is built with all of the typical safety features. Those include safety interlocks that prevent the engine from starting if the parking brake is off or the power take off (for providing power to attachments) is engaged. The engine will also turn off if the operator leaves the seat without engaging the parking brake or disengaging the power take off. This tractor can mow in reverse, though that's not recommended, but will not engage the reverse mode unless the operator is seated. This tractor is also not recommended for slopes greater than 15 degrees. We've not seen any commentary on actual engine noise, but TodaysMower.com notes that the engine compartment is fully enclosed, which will cut down on noise and dust. Owners who mention noise say this lawn tractor seems pretty quiet to them.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Craftsman 20442 lawn tractor, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

This review provides the results of testing of the Craftsman Pro 20442 lawn tractor at ConsumerReports.org. Ratings are given for various aspects of performance and use, and an overall score is issued that can be compared to similar lawn tractors. However, the full information is only available to subscribers.

2. ConsumerReports.org

Pick the best riding mower for your property, Ed Perratore, March 18, 2016

In this free article, Ed Perratore names the top finishers in ConsumerReports.org's testing of lawn tractors for 2016. Details are slim, but the Craftsman 20442 makes the list and is noted to be a CR Best Buy. Since this article was published, we found that the 20442 has dropped somewhat in price as well.

3. TodaysMower.com

2015-2016 Craftsman Pro Series Tractors – The Future Is Here, Paul Sikkema, March 21, 2015

After spending considerable time researching the updated Craftsman Pro line, including the 20442 he concludes that "you can't find any mower on the market that cuts any better." He notes the improved design, which he says has made this one of the best Craftsman lines in years.

4. Sears.com

Craftsman Pro Series 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Elite 46" Turn Tight Extreme Riding Mower, Contributors to Sears.com, As of May 2016

The Craftsman Pro 20442 has only been on the market for about a year, so doesn't have as many reviews as other Craftsman tractors. However, more than 30 owners give the 20442 an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5. Most are very pleased and say it's an excellent tractor, comfortable and powerful. A couple complain about bent blades.