Are Cub Cadet mowers worth buying? Consumer Reports certainly thinks so. After extensive testing,
6 Cub Cadet models made their recommendation list, noting their ease of use and superior cutting performance.
How Consumer Reports Tests Mowers
Consumer Reports is an independent, non-profit organization that does not accept any form of advertising or payment from advertisers. That even includes test models, which they buy themselves at stores just like regular owners to avoid any outside influence. Their tests are developed to simulate real world use, going beyond the testing manufacturers are able to conduct on individual pieces of equipment to judge how they’ll work in the hands of regular buyers.
Every winter, Consumer Reports’ staff spend 6 weeks in Ft. Meyers, FL at a testing site with 6 acres of grass. During this period, they test a wide range of residential mowers ranging from reel models to lawn tractors, using them in every cutting mode including side discharge, mulching, and bagging. This lets them observe performance in a controlled environment while being able to compare similar models back-to-back. While they can’t test every mower on the market, they aim to create a selection that covers a broad spectrum from basic models like the SC 100 push mower to state-of-the-art equipment like the fuel injection-equipped XT1 LT42.
Each mower is rated on mowing performance in each mode as well as handling and ease of use on a 5 point scale going from “poor” to “fair,” “good” “very good” and “excellent.” Testing notes are included, letting buyers see which features reviewers did and didn’t like so they can find the best fit for their particular needs.
SC 700h Self Propelled Mower
This mower was rated “Very Good” in all categories including mulching, bagging, side discharge, handling and ease of use. The testers were impressed by the clump-free mulching performance and ability to fill the mulching bag, as well as the inclusion of a washout port for cleaning the deck, a feature normally seen only on riding mowers.
The only flaw Consumer Reports found was some difficulty turning the mower with the engine off. However, they found this was more than an acceptable trade off for its four wheel drive and independent front and rear drive controls, making it a breeze to handle when mowing.
SC 100 Push Mower
Although rated merely “good” in bagging and ease of use, this is more a matter of features lacking in this category than problems with the mower. In fact, the SC 100 got the highest score in the push mower category.
While it can’t quite fill a bag like the SC 700h, testers were impressed with this mower’s mulching ability and the inclusion of a washout port. They were particularly fond of the SC 100’s easy handling and the priming-free starting of the Cub Cadet engine.
XT1 LT45 and LT 42 Lawn Tractors
Like the SC 100, the XT1 was a top scorer in its category, receiving an “Excellent” rating in mulching and bagging and “Very Good” ratings in all other categories. The testers would have preferred an electric PTO, but they liked seeing a model with a hydrostatic transmission and cruise control in this category. The reviewers also liked the high backed seat and superior cutting performance in every discharge mode.
In a recent shootout, the LT42 faced off against John Deere’s D130. Both mowers were tied in every category, despite the Cub Cadet costing hundreds less.
XT1 LT42 EFI Lawn Tractor
Despite a much smaller engine, this version of the XT1 scored just behind the standard LT42 with testers noting the bagging performance fell just short of the Kohler-powered version due to a slightly different chute design. They liked the reliable starting provided by the recent addition of electronic fuel injection and recommend it for anyone who needs to mow in lower temperatures.
CC30 H Lawn Tractor
While CR wished this model had an electric PTO and high backed seat, they found these minor flaws were easy to overlook thanks to the CC30’s inclusion of a hydrostatic transmission, making it much easier to control in tight spaces than geared rear engine riders. Like Cub Cadet’s other mowers, its overall score was near the top of the segment.
Maintaining Your Cub Cadet’s Mowing Performance
When you need parts for your Cub Cadet, visit Cubparts.com. As a certified dealer for Cub Cadet, we’re able to ship OEM parts for everything from classic tractors to their new fuel injected engines. Our site makes finding the right part simple by integrating factory parts diagrams and descriptions into the search engine so you can see exactly what you’re buying. We can ship parts and accessories to any address in the U.S. and Canada.