How to Buy Tractor and Ride-on Mowers

Here's How to Choose the Right Model for Your Lawn Maintenance

If you have the luxury of a big yard or if perhaps you're just not at the top of your physical form, a lawn tractor or ride-on mower might be a good investment for your lawn maintenance.

If you have jobs that go beyond just cutting your lawn a tractor model is your best bet. Craftsman Tractors, available exclusively at Sears, provide over 12 attachments to choose from that can complete tasks like hauling firewood, picking up leaves, aerating and fertilizing your lawn, and even clear your driveway of snow! Click here for a snapshot of your choices, or keep reading for more details.


If your yard has plenty of obstacles such as trees or rocks, a sitting mower with a zero turn radius, would be more appropriate. Sitting mowers allow you to make tighter circles around beds and trees which ultimately saves on hand trimming.

Make sure you consider where and how you'll be using your tractor when selecting what is best for you. Yard size is important but so is storage, gates, obstacles in the yard, and the jobs you'll be performing.


Generally speaking, the higher the horsepower the more efficient - but more expensive - your mower will be. If your grass tends to be wet a lot, a more powerful motor will perform best for you, but ultimately, your individual needs will determine your budget.

Deck Size & Turning Radius

The deck houses the lawn mower blade and its size is therefore directly related to the length – and the cutting swath – of the blade. A bigger deck will get the job done quicker, but bigger is not always better if you have to navigate around a lot of tree wells and beds. In this case, if the deck is too large, you will have to manually mow these narrow areas with a regular push mower. While lawn size and garden layout is important; keep obstacles like gates and storage facilities in mind as well:

  • 42” decks can fit through most gates and into most storage buildings
  • 42” to 46” decks give you a manicured finish
  • Transmission
  • Larger decks are ideal for large acreages to get the job done fast:
    • Under 2 acres – consider a 42” – 46” deck
    • Larger than 2 acres – move up to a 46” – 54” deck


Craftsman Turn Tight technology gives Craftsman tractors the best turning maneuverability in their class. Turn Tight technology gives Craftsman tractors a 30% tighter turning radius than the competitors; it provides the tightest turning radius on Yard and Garden tractors. Available exclusively at Sears.

Craftsman: Innovative Turning Technology


Evaluate the terrain you'll be mowing when selecting your transmission:

Gear Transmission:

  • Good control on hilly terrain
  • Lower gears to emphasize power; higher gears lower power and control speed
  • Requires stop to change speed or go from forward to reverse

Shift-On-The-Go Transmission

  • Allows you to vary the ground speed while maintaining a constant engine speed
  • Speed selector sets certain speed
  • Brake pedal allows control of slow down
  • Releasing the pedal allows the tractor to automatically resume to the pre-set

Foot-Pedal-Controlled Auto Transmission

  • Allows the operator to vary the ground speed of the tractor with the convenience of a pedal
  • Drives like a car: simply move the fender control to Forward or Reverse
  • The degree to which the foot pedal is depressed determines how fast you go

Hydrostatic Automatic Transmission

  • Ideal for relatively flat lawns with obstacles
  • Sealed system uses fluid to drive pumps that control speed - similar to an automobile transmission
  • Smooth operation with speed control

Overall Design

Not all Craftsman riding mowers are created equal. Be sure to test a couple of options to assess whether you find steering and braking easy. Compare visibility on models featuring rear vs. front engine placement. Get into the seat and try it out for comfort, legroom, and to make sure the controls are easy to reach and intuitive to use. Make sure it's easy to adjust the cutting height, and be sure to clarify whether additional accessories are required for activities like bagging or mulching, if they are important to your process.

Storage & Transportation

If you don't already have an appropriate place to store your mower, you will have to add the cost of a shed or suitable storage facility to your total budget. Also, an often-overlooked nuisance is how to transport a mower of this size for maintenance and repairs.


Maintenance can be expensive for ride-on and tractor mowers as they require regular changes of oil and air filters if you plan to maximize your investment. A good warranty goes a long way and the Sears repair agreement has you covered for repairs to punctured tires, cracked damaged or broken belts, battery replacement, and more. Furthermore, Sears is the only major retailer with in-home, no-charge service for parts under warranty! With Sears you know you're making a good choice for the long-term health of your Craftsman product.

Tractor Types

Sears offers 5 tractor categories to choose from depending on your needs:

  • Lawn Tractors: a 42” deck makes this product ideal for mowing flat lawns up to 2 acres
  • Yard Tractors: A larger seat, fuel tank and deck from 42” to 46”, yard tractors are ideal for lawns over 1 acre and for heavy duty hauling, lawn maintenance and snow removal
  • Garden Tractors: The most versatile machine offered at Sears, a large 54” deck and heavy-duty transmission it gets the job done fast and is the only tractor that accepts all universal tow-behind, front-mount and ground engaging attachments
  • Professional Tractors: These tractors have a heavy-duty 12 gauge frame, an industry leading 12” turning radius and decks from 46” – 54”. The Craftsman professional tractors pack power, quality and comfort that is generally found on much more expensive tractors
  • Zero-Turn Tractors: These machines can maneuver in and out of tight spaces and around objects more easily than other tractors. Deck sizes range from 42” – 60” and are great no matter the lawn size. However, make sure to avoid these models if you have hills or steep inclines or plan to use snow blower type attachments.

When you start thinking about purchasing a tractor or lawnmower be sure to do your homework: ask lots of questions, talk to your friends and neighbors in order to find out what they like or don't like, and research blogs and reviews on the internet. All this will allow you to better understand what you need before you buy. If a tractor is too much muscle for your lawn maintenance, check out this handy buying advice on different types of lawn mowers and which best suits your needs.

Shopping Advice

Men's Denim Destination

Whatever your style, find your new favourite pair from DIESEL,...

Print Party!

Wake up your wardrobe with new spring dresses awash in lush,...

Spring's Hottest Jewellery Trend: Bold Bangles!

Layer Lucite, metals, crystal and leather, or load up with...

Workout Wear

The New Word in Workout Wear: Zella's innovative designs are...

Get our Trends Newsletter:

Subscribe to Shopping Trends Subscribe to Shopping Buying Guides

Garden Supplies & Tools

Garden Supplies & Tools