Craftsman vs Troy Bilt Riding Mower: Making the Best Choice

Choosing between a Craftsman and a Troy Bilt riding mower is more than just a decision about lawn maintenance; it’s about investing in a tool that can significantly impact your outdoor experience. Surprisingly, a recent survey revealed that homeowners spend an average of 4 hours per week on lawn care, underscoring the importance of selecting the right mower for efficiency and comfort. However, with both brands offering compelling features and benefits, making the best choice can feel overwhelming.

In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the Craftsman vs. Troy Bilt riding mower debate, providing you with the latest information, comparisons, and insights to help you make an informed decision. Whether you prioritize durability, performance, or value, we promise to guide you through the nuances of each brand, ensuring you find the perfect match for your lawn care needs. Stay tuned as we explore what sets these mowers apart and how they can transform your gardening routine.

Keynote: Craftsman vs Troy Bilt Riding Mower

Choosing between Craftsman and Troy Bilt riding mowers boils down to durability, performance, and cost. Craftsman offers robustness and innovation, ideal for those seeking reliability. Troy Bilt provides solid performance at a competitive price, perfect for efficiency and ease of use.

Key Features to Compare

When choosing between Craftsman and Troy Bilt riding mowers, several critical features directly impact performance, durability, and user experience. Let’s break down these features to help you make an educated decision.

Cutting Deck

The cutting deck is crucial for efficient mowing, affecting how quickly and smoothly you can cut your lawn. Here’s a comparative look at Craftsman and Troy Bilt:

FeatureCraftsmanTroy Bilt
SizeRanges from 42 to 54 inchesTypically 42 to 46 inches
MaterialMostly reinforced steelSteel, with some models offering reinforced decks
Number of Blades2 to 3, depending on the modelUsually 2

Craftsman mowers generally offer a wider range of sizes, which can be beneficial for larger lawns. Troy Bilt mowers, while slightly more limited in size options, provide robust performance for standard residential needs.


The type of transmission in a riding mower affects its speed, handling, and maintenance requirements. Here are the pros and cons of the transmission types offered by both brands:


  • Pros: Simple to use, generally less expensive.
  • Cons: Less smooth transitions between speeds.


  • Pros: Smooth ride, easy speed adjustments.
  • Cons: Higher maintenance and repair costs.


  • Pros: Ease of use, automatic speed adjustment.
  • Cons: Can be more expensive than gear transmissions.

Both Craftsman and Troy Bilt offer models with these transmission types, allowing users to choose based on their comfort and maintenance preferences.


The engine is the heart of any riding mower, determining its power, efficiency, and longevity. Here are some key facts:

  1. Horsepower (HP): Craftsman mowers typically range from 17 to 25 HP, while Troy Bilt models are usually in the 15 to 24 HP range.
  2. Fuel Type: Both brands primarily use gasoline engines.
  3. Warranty: Craftsman and Troy Bilt offer similar warranties, often ranging from 2 to 3 years, indicating confidence in engine reliability.

Craftsman engines are known for their durability and performance, often utilizing Briggs & Stratton or Kohler engines. Troy Bilt also uses reliable engines, including Briggs & Stratton and their own Powermore engines, offering solid performance with a focus on efficiency.

Comfort Features

Comfort features can significantly enhance the mowing experience, especially for those spending extended periods on their mower. Here’s what users say:

Seat Comfort: “The Craftsman’s high-back seat provides exceptional comfort during long mowing sessions,” one user noted. In contrast, a Troy Bilt user mentioned, “The padded seat is comfortable enough, though I wish it had more lumbar support.”

Steering Ease: Reviews often highlight Craftsman’s smooth steering and easy maneuverability. Troy Bilt mowers are also praised for their responsive steering, though some models may feel slightly less agile than their Craftsman counterparts.

Control Accessibility: “All controls are within easy reach on my Craftsman, making it a breeze to operate,” says a Craftsman owner. Troy Bilt users similarly report user-friendly control placement, with one noting, “The intuitive control layout simplifies the learning curve for beginners.”

Cut Quality and Performance

When it comes to maintaining a pristine lawn, the quality of the cut and the performance of your riding mower are paramount. Let’s delve into how Craftsman and Troy Bilt stack up in these areas.

Cutting Results

Craftsman and Troy Bilt riding mowers are designed to offer clean, even cuts that can transform any rugged lawn into a manicured landscape. While specific cutting results can vary based on model and conditions, both brands are generally praised for their efficiency and precision.

  • Craftsman: Known for its consistent cutting performance, Craftsman mowers utilize high-quality blades and deck designs that ensure an even cut across various grass types and conditions. Users often report satisfaction with the mulching and bagging capabilities, which leave behind a clean, healthy lawn.
  • Troy Bilt: Troy Bilt mowers also deliver commendable cutting results, with many models featuring specially designed decks that lift the grass for a finer cut. The brand’s mowers are effective in both dry and slightly wet conditions, though, like any mower, they perform best on dry grass.

Note: For the most accurate comparison, consulting before and after photos of lawns mowed by each brand can provide a visual representation of their cutting capabilities. However, these images are not provided here.


The ease with which you can maneuver your riding mower significantly impacts the mowing experience, especially in lawns with obstacles or varied terrain.

  • Maneuverability: Craftsman mowers are often highlighted for their tight turning radius and responsive steering, making them ideal for lawns with trees, flower beds, and other obstacles. Troy Bilt mowers also offer good maneuverability, though some models may have a slightly larger turning radius compared to Craftsman.
  • Speed: On average, Craftsman and Troy Bilt riding mowers have speeds ranging from 5 to 8 mph, depending on the model and the setting (forward or reverse). This range allows for efficient mowing without sacrificing the quality of the cut.

Slope Capability

The ability to handle slopes safely and effectively is crucial for many homeowners. Both Craftsman and Troy Bilt mowers are equipped to manage slopes, but their capabilities can vary.

  • Craftsman: With models featuring low center of gravity and excellent wheel traction, Craftsman mowers are capable of handling slopes up to 15 degrees efficiently. This makes them suitable for a variety of landscapes, ensuring stability and safety.
  • Troy Bilt: Troy Bilt mowers also perform well on slopes, with many models designed to maintain traction and stability on inclines. The brand specifies that their mowers can efficiently handle slopes up to 15 degrees, similar to Craftsman, provided the operator follows safety guidelines and uses appropriate speed settings.

Durability and Maintenance

For homeowners investing in a riding mower, durability and ease of maintenance are critical factors that influence the decision-making process. Let’s compare Craftsman and Troy Bilt in these aspects to see which brand might better suit your long-term lawn care needs.

Materials and Build Construction

The durability of a riding mower is largely determined by the quality of its materials and construction. Here’s a comparative overview:

FeatureCraftsmanTroy Bilt
Metal ThicknessGenerally uses thicker metal for deck construction, offering robustness.Uses durable steel, though some models may have slightly thinner decks compared to Craftsman.
BeltsHigh-quality, designed for longevity and minimal slippage.Durable belts, though replacement frequency may be slightly higher.
BearingsUtilizes high-grade bearings for smooth operation and reduced wear over time.Equipped with quality bearings, ensuring reliable performance.

Maintenance Needs

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping a riding mower running efficiently and extending its lifespan. Here’s what you can expect with Craftsman and Troy Bilt:

  1. Oil Changes: Both brands recommend oil changes after the first 5 hours of use and every 50 hours thereafter.
  2. Blade Sharpening: Sharpening the blades at least once a season is advised for both brands, or more frequently if the mower is used heavily.
  3. Air Filter Replacement: Checking the air filter every 25 hours and replacing as needed is common for both brands.
  4. Belt Inspection: Regular inspection of the belts for wear and tear is recommended, with replacements made as necessary. Craftsman mowers may have a slightly longer belt lifespan due to the quality of materials used.

Warranty and Lifespan

The warranty and expected lifespan of a riding mower can provide insight into the manufacturer’s confidence in their product and its durability over time.

  • Craftsman: Offers a 3-year limited warranty on most models, with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years with proper maintenance.
  • Troy Bilt: Similarly provides a 2 to 3-year limited warranty, depending on the model. The average lifespan is around 10 years, though this can vary based on usage and maintenance.

Facts on Average Years of Use

Consumer data suggests that both Craftsman and Troy Bilt riding mowers can offer a decade or more of reliable service, assuming regular maintenance and care. The slight edge in warranty length and reported durability for Craftsman may appeal to those looking for a potentially longer-term investment.

Cost Considerations

When investing in a riding mower, understanding both the initial purchase price and the long-term ownership costs is crucial. Additionally, considering the potential resale value can provide a comprehensive view of the financial implications. Let’s explore these aspects for Craftsman and Troy Bilt riding mowers.

Initial Price Points

The initial purchase price of a riding mower varies based on model, features, and specifications. Here’s a comparison of several popular models from Craftsman and Troy Bilt:

ModelBrandMSRP (Approx.)
Bronco 42Troy Bilt$1,499
Super Bronco 50Troy Bilt$2,099

These prices reflect the manufacturers’ suggested retail price (MSRP) and can vary based on the retailer, promotions, and location. Craftsman models tend to be slightly higher in price, reflecting their focus on durability and advanced features.

Long-term Ownership Cost

The long-term costs of owning a riding mower include maintenance, repairs, and parts replacement. Here are typical costs associated with these needs:

  1. Oil Change Kit: Approximately $20-$30, recommended annually or per usage hours.
  2. Blades: Replacement blades can cost between $20-$50, depending on the model and quality.
  3. Belts: Drive and deck belts may range from $30-$100, with replacements needed based on wear.
  4. Air Filters: Around $10-$20, with more frequent replacements in dusty conditions.

Regular maintenance can help avoid more costly repairs down the line, making it a crucial factor in overall ownership costs.

Resale Value

The resale value of a riding mower depends on its condition, age, and brand reputation. Based on market data:

  • Craftsman: Tends to retain a higher percentage of its initial value, thanks to the brand’s reputation for durability and performance. On average, a well-maintained Craftsman mower can retain up to 60%-70% of its value over the first three years.
  • Troy Bilt: Also holds its value well, with average retention of 50%-60% over the first three years. The brand’s widespread availability and recognition contribute to its solid resale value.

Final Thoughts

In the debate between Craftsman and Troy Bilt riding mowers, it’s clear that both brands offer compelling features tailored to meet the diverse needs of homeowners. While Craftsman shines with its slightly higher durability and resale value, Troy Bilt stands out for its affordability and solid performance. The choice between these two stalwarts of the lawn care industry ultimately boils down to individual preferences, lawn size, and specific gardening requirements.

As you stand on the brink of this decision, consider not just the immediate cost or the features, but the long-term relationship you’re about to embark on with your chosen mower. A riding mower isn’t just a tool; it’s a partner in the ongoing creation and maintenance of your personal outdoor sanctuary. Whether you lean towards Craftsman’s robustness or Troy Bilt’s value, remember that the best choice is the one that aligns with your vision of a perfect lawn and a beautiful, thriving outdoor space.

Troy Bilt vs Craftsman Riding Mower (FAQs)

Are Craftsman and Troy-Bilt riding mowers the same?

Craftsman and Troy-Bilt riding mowers are not the same. They are produced by different companies and offer unique features, designs, and performance characteristics tailored to various lawn care needs.

Does Troy-Bilt make good riding mowers?

Troy-Bilt is known for manufacturing reliable and efficient riding mowers. Their products are well-regarded for durability, ease of use, and performance in a variety of lawn sizes and conditions.

Is Craftsman a good brand of riding lawn mower?

Craftsman is considered a reputable brand for riding lawn mowers, offering a range of models known for their robust construction, innovative features, and overall reliability in maintaining lawns.

Why is Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP Lawn Tractor better than Craftsman Kohler Powered 54 22HP?

The Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP Lawn Tractor is often favored over the Craftsman Kohler Powered 54 22HP for its superior transmission system, ease of maneuverability, and efficient handling of diverse terrain and conditions.

Which is better, a Craftsman or a John Deere riding mower?

When comparing Craftsman to John Deere riding mowers, the choice often comes down to specific needs and preferences. John Deere is typically recognized for its superior build quality and longevity, while Craftsman offers competitive pricing and a wide range of features.

Which is better craftsman or Husqvarna riding mower?

Between Craftsman and Husqvarna riding mowers, the decision hinges on individual requirements. Husqvarna mowers are praised for their cutting-edge technology and performance, whereas Craftsman mowers are valued for their durability and user-friendly design.

Where can I find the serial number on my Craftsman riding mower?

The serial number is typically located on the model plate label, which can be found under the seat or on the bottom of the seat pan of your Craftsman riding mower.

What should I do if my Troy-Bilt mower needs a replacement drive belt?

For a replacement drive belt, your best bet is to visit a local repair shop that specializes in Troy-Bilt products or check with large retailers like Home Depot. Ensure you have your mower’s model and serial number handy for the correct part.

How can I ensure reliable performance from my riding lawn mower?

Regular maintenance, including checking the fuel tank, replacing the drive belt when worn, and keeping the mower clean, will ensure reliable performance. Also, make sure to use the brake pedal to bring the mower to a complete stop before making any adjustments.

Can I get my riding mower delivered from Home Depot?

Yes, Home Depot offers delivery services for lawn mowers. When purchasing, you can arrange for the delivery of the lawn mower directly to your home, making it a convenient option for large items like riding mowers.

What’s the first step in troubleshooting a mower that won’t start?

A good starting point is to check the fuel tank to ensure there’s enough gas. Then, verify that the mower is in “park” and that the brake pedal is engaged. Also, inspect the model plate label for the correct model number and refer to your manual for specific troubleshooting tips.

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