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2015 Craftsman GT5500 Review

30506 Views 19 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Excalibur1962
For those looking at garden tractors, the Craftsman line is worth consideration. I purchased a Craftsman 2015 GT5500 after looking at Husqvarna, John Deere, and Cub Cadet. It's hard to ignore the GT5500's price point and features. For the price of one John Deere X360 I could almost buy two GT5500s (plus the on paper the GT5500 has better specs than the X360 such as a stronger transmission, more hp, tighter radius, larger tires, and a bigger deck).

Here is my review of the GT5500.

A little about me. My garden tractor experiences include a Cub Cadet 2000, a John Deere G100, and an IH Cub Cadet 1000. I use my tractors for mowing, snow removal, and light ground engagement. I also recently purchased a Johnny Bucket Jr.

In 2014 Craftsman retooled their garden tractor line. The GT6000 model 28861 was redesigned as the GT5500 and the model number was changed to 28861x. As in year's past, the GT5500 is based on the Husqvarna and is assembled in the same plant.

After a few days leaving the assembly plant, my GT5500 arrived at my house with 0.1 hours.

The tractor looked and ran great. Cosmetically it had no imperfections and looked well lubricated.

I paid $2607 for my tractor (I had a 10% off coupon plus saved another 5% with my Sears card) and I earned nearly $170 in points that I used to buy weights that will help with my Johnny Bucket.

The GT5500 has been pretty impressive so far. There is a lot of pick up and go and it mows pretty well.

It's a little loud with the deck going, but it's not too bad.

I would strongly recommend anyone who buys a Craftsman mower to inspect the tractor. While on the surface it looks great, I was concerned to see so many loose bolts. I found bolts were surprisingly loose on the battery terminal and the brush guard.

When removing the deck, I found some stray packing from the factory. There was a loose rubber band on the deck and there was paper on the transmission pulley. The tires were also grossly over inflated. The back tires should only be inflated to 10 psi, but were filled to 30 psi. I'm guessing a tractor from a dealer would have a more proper inspection.

I'm not too keen on the Sure Start feature. Probably more of a gimmick. But it works and I've grown accustom to it. Honestly it's easier to just turn over a key than to have to press a series of buttons in sequence.

Deck removal isn't too bad, but does require removing about half a dozen pins. My 30 year old IH Cub Cadet has less complicated deck removal system. Overall the decks comes off in just a few minutes. Just make sure you keep track of the pins and bars that keep the deck in place when removed.

Now that the tires are properly inflated, the GT5500 rides pretty well. The seat has just enough bounce to accommodate any bumps. I find getting on and off is a little tight, especially if the deck lever is lowered.

The frame seems sturdy, but it's definitely not comparable to my 30 year old IH Cub. The body is also pretty firm. The hood is metal and the back is heavy gauge. If you're like me, sometimes I have to lift the back of the tractor and scoot it around the garage. I often worried I may bend the metal on my previous tractors.

Overall the GT5500 seems to be a good buy. Just be sure to take some time and inspect it.
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Congrats on your new tractor. Years ago, I worked at Sears for awhile. The tractors usually came out of a warehouse. The folks that prepped the tractors didn't always check them thoroughly. It's always a good idea to check the bolts no matter where you buy it. The tires are overfilled at the factory to facilitate pushing the tractors around. They used to put a sticker somewhere to advise the buyer. Good luck with it and thanks for the review. :fing32:
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Thanks APinNY. Knowing that you worked with Sears, do you recommend the warranty?
Sears sells a lot of extended warranties. In fact, a good portion of their profit comes from those warranties, not just for tractors but for many things they sell. Whether or not to buy it is a crap shoot. Some folks asked for it without prompting, while others wanted nothing to do with it. It's just another insurance policy. You pay the premium hoping you will never need it. Sears tractors are no worse than any other brand. In my time there I found that very few tractors required warranty work compared to the number of tractors sold. Personally, I don't buy them, except for my Jeep GC, which is loaded with tech, so I thought it would be a good idea. So far after three years, I haven't used the extended warranty because the manufacturer's warranty was still in effect. We'll see what happens over the next four years. :dunno:
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Glad the tractor is still running well. That bucket does add considerable weight on those bearings. Thanks for the update.
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