If you have a large yard, chances are you’ll need a lawn tractor to see the most out of it.
While a riding lawn mower may be sufficient for some, a lawn tractor allows for more cutting room, making quick work of bigger land areas. A standard riding lawn mower may have one cutting blade, while most lawn tractors feature two or even three-blades.
Also, these bigger machines are built to use as a true multi-purpose tool around your yard.
Instead of just being a cutter, a lawn tractor can pull attachments on the end, bag units for easy cleanup, trailers full of other tools. Plus, you can even hook up smaller pieces on the front if necessary.
A lawn tractor is a do-it-all type of machine, and if you’re thinking about investing in one, you might as well make it a quality piece of equipment.
There are plenty of manufacturers to consider when buying a lawn cutting device, but today we’re going to focus on a Craftsman lawn tractor.
Specifically, the 20373 42-inch 420cc Lawn Tractor.
Will this piece of big red machinery stand up to the task?
To put it simply, the 20373 42-inch 420cc lawn tractor is a mower that allows for some attachments to be used, giving you a good selection of tools to finish up your yard.
The engine is made by Craftsman to be on par with other 420cc engines on the market. There are five different cutting positions from the 4-inch mark down to 1.5-inches, allowing for good flexibility among how your lawn looks and its height. The machine is made from a mostly-steel design, and the front axle comes with a 10-year warranty for any problems with the material.
This tractor is a safe bet to use for any light hauling that you may need to do around the yard, and can be used on many different terrain types, including hilly, uneven, and obstacle-ridden areas.
Remember back at the beginning where we said that a lawn tractor is different from a lawn mower in that it can do more?
Well, the same applies to this Craftsman lawn tractor.
While the overall device may not accept attachments like snow or bulldozer blades, you can still outfit it with a bagger or mulch kit. This means that in addition to mowing your lawn, tearing up unwanted weeded areas or using that freshly cut grass as mulch is easy to do.
All these accessories must be purchased separately, of course, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be done.
Most other lawn tractors are priced quite a bit higher than this Craftsman, with the pinnacle being John Deere machines, and as such this model can prove a nice value in the power equipment space.
Of course, this means the machine must last if other machines to be beneficial to you, the consumer.
You’ll also find an easy-to-use automatic transmission paired to the machine, making it easier to use on a day-to-day basis. The transmission paired with a mid-back seat should allow for a comfortable day on the yard.
Other than an appealing price, you’ll find that this model features a proprietary engine, built by Craftsman. Rather than using another companies engine as a baseline, such as Honda or Briggs and Stanton, this 420cc lawn tractor employs a Craftsman-built block.
This could be good or bad.
On the one hand, an engine built by the company that made the mower could last longer, as the engine should be specified for that type of machine. On the other hand, certain engine makers, like the two mentioned before, are renowned for quality parts that don’t require much maintenance.
Craftsman engines aren’t of that caliber, so knowing that going in can help with any decision.
There is usage of a spin-on oil filter with full-pressure lubrication to extend engine life, which isn’t always found on lawn equipment either.
One other bonus: this power machine is CARB Compliant. For those that are unfamiliar, a CARB Compliant piece of equipment means that it can be used within the state lines of California.
Not many machines like this are able to produce CARB-approved engines and emissions, so the Craftsman gets a win there.
This tractor comes in at an appealing $1099 MSRP, proving to be a potential value product in the market.
With that chunk of change you get a dual-blade lawn cutter, 18-inch turning radius, speeds up to 5.5 mph, and a 13-inch steering wheel that has grip cutouts to make it easier to turn when in use.
On top of that, you get Craftsman’s Turf Saver tires that are designed to stop excess skid marks and damage to your lawn.
Speaking of things that can go wrong, one thing to always consider when pricing out any piece of outdoor equipment is warranty and seeing as gas powered machines tend to fail, it’s smart to do so.
All Craftsman lawn tractors come with a 2-year limited warranty to protect against any defects or sub-par workmanship. This is the standard you’d want to see, and most engines start to fail or need service after the 2-year mark.
To put it mildly, there are mixed emotions regarding this lawn device.
On the one hand, people seem to praise the potential longevity of the machine, with it last years on end. Others haven’t been as lucky, with multiple accounts of engines not starting after only one year of use.
In addition to the reliably complaints, there are a few instances of the cutter being made cheaply, rather than quality you might expect from a big piece of power equipment.
This is not to say all Craftsman lawn tractors aren’t great, but this model is cheap for a reason, and you should be weary of a piece of equipment that’s priced lower than others. That said, this model does come with a good warranty that protect you from any factory-based issues, and the 7-speed transmission is a nice touch.
Whenever you find any power equipment, especially that meant for heavy outdoor use, with mixed reviews, it could be a red flag.
As we mentioned before, there are plenty of other companies that are in the lawn cutting business. We’ll look at three other models and see how they stack up to the Craftsman lawn tractor.
What you’ll see with these other models is that they all cost considerably more than the 20373 Craftsman model. The biggest difference you’ll notice, then, is the type of engine used in each, building materials, extra comfort items, and more power.
Cub Cadet is company that’s been around since 1961 and is part of the MTD Products family.
Since its inception, the brand has built a reputation for delivering higher-quality utility vehicles for many different outdoor uses. One of their biggest investments is within lawn care, and their XT1 LT46 lawn tractor may be one of the best machines out there for cutting grass.
The XT1 features a 22HP, 725cc Kohler OHV 4-cycle engine, allowing for plenty of power to get the job done. There are dual-sealed air filters to keep all debris out of the engine, and just like the Craftsman features full pressure lubrication using a full-flow filter.
You can even mow grass in reverse if you’d like, which isn’t something everyone includes in their machines.
Being one of the best does come with a cost, though: at a retail price of $1800, the XT1 is no cheap investment.
Like we mentioned, though Cub Cadet products represent some of the best on the market, so the difference of $700 could be worth it to you.
The XT1 features a 3-year limited warranty.
Husqvarna is another manufacturer whose name rings superior craftmanship and reliability, as opposed to other, smaller brands.
As such, they have plenty to offer in the realm of lawn tractors, but the model that is closest to the Craftsman comes in the form of the YTH18542.
This 18.5HP cutting tool features a 540cc Briggs and Stratton Intek engine that can make quick work of grass. This is a reliable engine that shouldn’t give you any problems, so long as you keep up with standard maintenance.
The 13-gauge steel deck design allows for a long-lasting design, and the spring-assisted side adjustment lever makes moving the height easy.
Just like the Craftsman, this cutter uses two blades to cut through 42-inches of grass at a time. The transmission is powered by your feet, and there is also a mid-back seat for comfort when cutting.
Husqvarna also offers mulching capabilities for this tractor, just like the others on the list.
Lastly, you’ll find that the Husqvarna comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
If the $1500 price tag of the Husqvarna scares you, then the Poulan Pro 20VA46 may be better suited for your needs.
This lawn tractor features a Briggs and Stratton 20HP V-Twin gas engine that can produce solid cutting speeds and great reliability. Plus, the fuel-efficiency is better than you’d expect from a power machine like a mower.
In addition, this is one of the cheapest models that uses a 46-inch mowing deck, which allows for quicker mowing than the slightly-smaller 42-inch standard deck.
Speaking of decks, the mowing deck found on the PP20VA46 comes with a 10-year shell warranty and is made form 13-Guage stamped steel. This provides well-built device that should last through the wear-and-tear of mowing large lawns.
There is an included towing hitch and cupholder, giving you some nice convenience features right out of the box. You can also mulch easily without any attachments.
The only drawback is found with the shorter 2-year limited warranty, just like the Craftsman lawn tractor.
It’s always hard to put down a product, but there really isn’t a reason to consider the 20373 Craftsman lawn tractor unless you’re on an absolutely-tight budget.
The price alone should make you cautious about testing out this lawn tractor, and for good reason.
Between the inconsistent building materials, unreliable engine and starting mechanisms, and wide-range of customer reviews, we can’t feel comfortable recommending this mower. It’s not a terrible product, but in the realm of average versus great equipment, there are other models of tractors that have more going for them than this Craftsman does.
That’s not to say there aren’t features to like about the Craftsman, such as an all-steel front axle with 10-year warranty, and one of the best turning ratios around.
Even so, the Husqvarna YTH18542 is our preferred choice when it comes to riding tractors.
Utilizing a better warranty, a proven track record of quality, and good price-to-performance ratio, the Husqvarna should be able to fit most people’s needs. Sure, it will set you back more upfront, but the ultimate cost of any piece of equipment boils down to long-term money spent, not just upfront cost.
The 20373 Craftsman lawn tractor does have potential, and there are other lawn tractors made by Craftsman that should prove to be better equipment for everyday use.
Ultimately, though, the cheaper product here loses out.