Short History of Sears/Craftsman Lawn Mowers
Sears/Craftsman line of mowers has been around for over 60 years. It is the #1 selling lawn mower brand of all times in the U.S. Over the years there have been several different OEM’s build the Craftsman line of mowers.
1959-1962. David Bradley Suburban. Sears actually owned the manufacturing plant in Kankakee, IL. These are very rare and highly collectable
1964. David Bradley name was dropped and the “Sears” brand name was added to the Suburban tractors.
1965.. Sears introduced the “Craftsman” line of Riding Mower. They were still built by David Bradley and are also highly sought after by serious collectors because they are considered the “Model-T” of the Craftsman line.
1966. Roper Corporation bought the David Bradley plant(Kankakee, IL) from Sears and started building the Craftsman line.
1978. Electrolux bought Roper and started producing the Craftsman line (manufacturing was moved to Orangeburg, SC)
1988. Husqvarna bought Electrolux and the name was changed to American Yard Products (AYP). AYP then produced the Craftsman line in the Orangeburg, SC plant.
2006-2017. Husqvarna changed the name from AYP to the Husqvarna Group. Craftsman tractors with the 917 model number were made by Husqvarna, in the U.S., at the Orangeburg, SC plant.
2018. Craftsman lawn tractors, yard tractors, and garden tractors started being made by MTD in plants located in Parma Ohio and Verona, MS. One of my customers works at the Verona Plant on the South Side of Tupelo
Craftsman Lawn Mower Identification
Anyone looking for the Craftsman identification logo, new or old models or parts really needs to look no further than Craftsman.com. This is the official Craftsman website and includes company history, product details, customer assistance and even a Craftsman Club to provide advance information about new products and special offers. Information about Craftsman lawn mowers abounds on the Internet, though, so users and collectors alike have no shortage of sources to tap, especially for tips on how to identify a Craftsman lawn mower.
According to Craftsman.com, the first Craftsman lawn mowers came on the market in 1934, about seven years after Sears acquired the Craftsman trademark in 1927. The trademark belonged originally to the Marion-Craftsman Tool Company, but because the head of Sears’ hardware department, Arthur Barrows, liked the name, he offered the company 500 for the rights to put the Craftsman name on Sears products. Barrows’ aim was to set the Sears brand apart from other manufacturers with an easily identifiable name.
According to Consumer Reports, Craftsman is a brand name that lawn mower consumers are familiar with and that consistently scores above average in the consumer advocacy magazine’s ratings. It is a market leader in sales of lawn mowers and tractors. The “Craftsman” trademark imprinted on the body of the lawn mower, traditionally features white capital letters in a red rectangular box and remains the most recognizable symbol of this mower.
Every Craftsman lawn mower has its own individual model number. The number usually starts with three digits. Look for it on the model sticker, tag or plate. Some Craftsman model number digits are sized or styled differently. The model number is the key to the lawn mower’s profile and components.
Having found the model number, buyers of second-hand Craftsman lawn mowers that may not come with the original owner’s manuals can search for copies of these manuals. Copies of most model manuals are available at the Craftsman website or on other websites like Lawnandgarden.manualsonline.com or managemylife.com. The owner’s manual provides all the product specifications required to identify a genuine Craftsman lawn mower. The manual also includes the warranty, maintenance schedule, repair parts and parts ordering information.
A sure way to identify a genuine Craftsman lawn mower is by its engine. By way of identifiable components, many Craftsman lawn mowers have Briggs Stratton, Kohler and Honda engines. For example, using the model, specification and serial numbers of the Kohler engine, it is possible to verify full details of that engine and its parts. Each specification number designates certain engine features such as a crankshaft of a particular length and diameter or an oil pan of a specific design. The specification number differentiates the engine from other engines with the same model number. If the engine model number is missing or obscured on the lawn mower, it is possible to enter the specification number in the Kohler Parts Lookup System and determine the model number that way. This lookup process identifies the correct replacement parts assigned to that particular engine. The serial number pinpoints the engine’s year of construction, the factory code and any updates or changes to parts within that serial number.
How To Locate Your Push Mower Engine Model Number
Does your model number look like the image below? The first 10-characters (i.e., model and type) stamped on your engine will look like this:
Please Note: If the model type numbers on your Briggs Stratton engine are only 9 characters, please enter a 0 (zero) at the beginning of the model number.
Does the number you have look like this? If not, locate the correct number by following instructions in Step 2.
Step 2: Locate the Model Number
The engine model number is generally a number stamped into metal directly on your engine.
Some push mower engines come with a cover or “shroud”. It should be noted that these covers come in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes. Regardless of your cover, the engine model number will be in one of 3 locations:
Tools you may need: Flashlight 1/4″ or 5/16″ socket or screwdriver
Stamped on metal plate in between the overhead valve cover (OHV) and the air filter.
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WARRANTY CONDITIONS OF ITEMS SOLD:
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Troy-Bilt TB110 21-Inch 2-in-1 Gas Push Lawn Mower
Unlike many gas mowers, which require seemingly endless cord pulls to power up the machine, this one starts right up, thanks to Troy-Bilt’s ReadyStart technology. And once started, the 140cc Briggs Stratton engine has plenty of power to slice through even thick grass, leaving your lawn neatly groomed. This sturdy mower has a 21-inch cutting deck and six easily-adjusted cutting levels ranging from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches, so whatever your type of lawn grass, you can cut it to the appropriate height. However, one downside is that, like many gas mowers, you need to change the oil periodically—use 10w-30 oil—and to do so, you’ll need to tip the mower onto its side to let the old oil drain out before adding the new oil. There is no need to mix oil with gasoline, though.
Thanks to Troy-Bilt’s TriAction cutting system, the mower gives an exceptionally clean cut to the grass and produces very fine clippings, which can either be mulched back into the lawn or collected in the included 1.9-bushel bag. There is no side-discharge option on this mower. Its 11-inch rear wheels allow the mower to move easily over even rough terrain and up or down gentle slopes on lawns up to 1/4 acre or so in size. It comes fully assembled and has a two-year limited warranty.
Price at time of publish: 399
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 66 pounds | Power Source: Gas | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch
Best Reel Mower
American Lawn Mower Company 14-Inch Manual Reel Mower
There’s no motor or battery in this mower; it’s entirely powered by your own exertion in pushing it across your lawn. But if you have a small, flat lawn and want the ultimate in environmentally friendly lawn care, then it’s hard to beat this reel mower. Unlike powered mowers, which have a single blade that spins on a horizontal axis, this reel mower has four blades that spin vertically, neatly snipping your grass with a scissor-like action that creates a very even cut. And there’s almost no maintenance required; every few years, you’ll need to sharpen the blades. That’s it. It can occasionally get jammed on large sticks or other lawn debris, though, so it’s best to be sure there aren’t obstructions in your path while mowing.
The mower cuts a 14-inch swath of grass in a single pass. You can adjust the cutting height between 1 inch and 1.75 inches, but the mower won’t perform well on grass that is taller than four inches. The polymer wheels are 8.5 inches in diameter and roll smoothly. The clippings will mulch into your lawn, but American Lawn Mower Company does sell a separate bag for this mower if you prefer to bag your clippings. While you’ll get a bit of a workout using this mower, it does create a very fine cut, doesn’t make much noise, and won’t take up a lot of room in your garage or garden shed. It’s very reasonably priced, as well.
Price at time of publish: 82
Cutting Width: 14 inches | Power Type: Manual | Weight: 19 pounds | Clippings Options: Mulch
Best for Thick Grass
Craftsman M110 140cc 21-inch Gas Push Lawn Mower
With a 140cc Briggs Stratton engine, this gas push mower from Craftsman is best for smaller lawns that are no more than 1/4 acre in size, but it easily handles even thick or tall grass. Unlike many other gas mowers, this one starts up easily, so you won’t be yanking on the cord in frustration. The 21-inch cutting deck is wide enough to get the mowing down quickly, and there are six cutting height levels ranging from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches. The sturdy wheels maneuver easily over rough terrain or slight slopes. You can set the mower to side discharge clippings, collect them in the included rear bag, or mulch them back into the lawn.
At 65 pounds, this isn’t a light lawn mower, but it does handle easily. On the downside, this mower does require periodic oil changes, and you’ll need to tip the mower onto its side to drain the old oil before adding fresh 10w-30 oil. As a general rule, the oil should be changed at least once each year. However, there is no need to mix oil with gas as the mower has a 4-stroke engine. A two-year warranty covers the mower.
Price at time of publish: 369
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 65 pounds | Power Source: Gas | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge
Best for Small Yards
Worx WG779 Power Share 40-Volt 14-Inch Cordless Walk Behind Mower
This excellent mower from WORX comes with two 20-volt, 4.0-Ah batteries, both of which power the mower simultaneously for a total of 40 volts. That lets you mow up to 5,000 square feet on a single charge of the two batteries. The cutting deck is only 14 inches wide, so this mower is best for smaller yards, but you’ll be able to easily maneuver the mower around tree trunks, flowerbeds, and other obstacles. There are six height adjustments ranging from 2.5 inches to 3.5 inches. And the mower has WORX’s IntelliCut feature, which lets you up the power when tackling tough or thick grass, and then dial it back down again to conserve battery life.
At only 29 pounds, it’s not tough to push this mower, even on slight slopes. You can mulch the grass clippings or collect them in the included 0.85-bushel bag, which has an indicator that lets you know when the bag is full. There is no side-discharge option, however. The mower’s handle folds down for easy storage. Along with the two batteries, you get a dual-battery charger to charge both batteries together. The batteries can be used with any other WORX products. The mower is covered by a three-year warranty, and the batteries by a one-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 300
Cutting Width: 14 inches | Weight: 29 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch
Best Battery Powered
EGO Power LM2021 20-Inch 56-Volt Push Lawn Mower
It’s not inexpensive, but at up to a 60-minute runtime and a blazing 40-minute recharging time, this cordless mower from EGO has one of the best runtimes of any battery mower. Nor is it lacking in power; the included 56-volt, 5-Ah battery and high-efficiency brushless motor give this lawn mower plenty of oomph for handling tall or thick grass. It occasionally struggles a bit with wet grass, however. The cutting deck is 20 inches wide, and there are six height adjustments ranging from 1.2 inches to 4 inches. You’ll also appreciate the bright LED headlights, which make it easier to mow at dusk or in the morning.
You can bag your clippings in the included grass catcher, which is very easy to lift for emptying, let them discharge to the side, or mulch them into the lawn. And when you are finished mowing, the mower’s handle folds down so you can store it easily. The mower comes with a battery and charger. Like all EGO tools, the battery is compatible with any other EGO product. The warranty is good for five years.
Price at time of publish: 499
Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 57.5 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch, side discharge
Environmental Factors Impacting Craftsman Lawn Mower Oil Recommendations
A decrease in lubricant layer thickness due to low viscosity during the summer is one of the critical concerns for equipment operating in hot climates. The capacity of an oil to flow and form an oil film thick enough to separate lubricated engine parts is determined by its viscosity, which is critical. Inherently, in hot climates, higher viscosity oil is recommended.
You must pay attention to the weight you use, synthetic or conventional oil. Different weights are applied to both synthetic and conventional oils, such as a multiweight (10W-30 is a frequent example) or a straight weight (“straight 30” is frequently quoted).
Multiweight oils consider several temperature ranges; for instance, 10W-30 performs as a 30-weight oil while the engine works at operating temperature and as a 10-weight oil when the temperature is indicated as cold. While Straight 30 will use similarly to 30-weight when the engine is running, it makes no promises regarding cold starting and operation.
How Much Oil Does a Craftsman Lawn Mower Take?
You must pay attention to the weight you use, synthetic or conventional oil. Different weights are applied to both synthetic and conventional oils, such as a multiweight (10W-30 is a frequent example) or a straight weight (“straight 30” is frequently quoted). Multiweight oils consider several temperature ranges; for instance, 10W-30 performs as a 30-weight oil while the engine works at operating temperature and as a 10-weight oil when the temperature is indicated as cold. While Straight 30 will use similarly to 30-weight when the engine is running, it makes no promises regarding cold starting and operation.
It is recommended to change and replace the oil in existing push mowers, as seen in the video below, at least once every season or after 50 hours of use. It is advised to change and replace the oil in existing riding mowers at least once every season or after 100 operating hours.
Maintaining your lawn mower properly will ensure it functions well for many years. One area of lawn mower maintenance that is sometimes forgotten is how frequently oil changes should be performed. At least once every spring or summer, or after 50 hours of use, whichever comes first, engine oil and oil filters should be changed.
Most mower engines require an oil change after 20 to 50 operating hours. The owner’s handbook specifies how frequently to change the oil in a mower. An oil change and other seasonal tune-up maintenance should be performed at the very least annually.
Can You Put Car Oil in Your Lawnmower?
Your lawn mower needs clean, premium oil for efficient operation and extended service life. You may use motor oil in a lawn mower as long as it’s high-quality and the right oil for your particular mower.
In general, SAE30 is a decent option for both cars and lawnmowers. Always check with the manufacturer or dealer if you’re unsure which oil is appropriate for your equipment. Make sure to use oils that conform to your manufacturer’s recommendations and your lawn mower will thank you with many more years of use.
Can I use 10w30 instead of SAE 30 in my lawn mower?
Yes, 10w30 and SAE 30 are both appropriate for lawnmowers. The SAE 30 will provide excellent protection if your mower is older and has more wear. That said, the heavier oil may cause problems for some small engines.
The standard motor oil grade for many lawnmowers is 10W30. The precise quality needed will be specified in your owner’s manual. However, 10W30 is typically the best option for four-stroke engines. Any oil intended for vehicles or trucks will function admirably in your lawn mower.