Which Cub Cadet is right for you? With models built for users ranging from homeowners with small lawns to landscaping professionals, there are a lot of options to consider. Here’s what you need to know to find the right mower for your needs.
Walk Behind vs. Riding
While deck width gets the most attention, speed is key when determining how much turf you can mow. Walk-behind mowers are limited by the speed you can walk, which means they cover a lot less ground than a riding mower, even if they have the same deck size.
Cub Cadet makes wide walk-behind mowers with riding-mower sized decks. While they can’t move as fast as a riding mower, they provide an inexpensive alternative for mid-sized lawns. While regular walk-behinds are only good for ¼-1/2 acres lawns, these can handle up to two acres. If you have anything bigger, you’ll need a riding mower to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.
Stamped vs. Constructed Decks
A stamped deck is formed from a single piece of metal. Its curved shape provides steady vacuum across the mowing chamber to get a smooth cut and excellent mulching performance. A constructed deck is made from several flat, thick steel plates. This creates stagnant areas inside the mowing chamber that reduce performance, but the heavier construction can withstand heavy wear and impacts.
Lawn Mower vs. Garden Tractor
A lawn mower is just built to mow and pull a small trailer. A garden tractor has a stronger frame and can handle heavier loads as well as attachments including snow blades. When choosing between the two, take into consideration which accessories you may want to use.
Riding Mower vs. Zero Turning Radius Mower
A standard riding mower is built like a small tractor with a steering rack and solid rear axle for the drive system. These are easy to learn since they drive like a car, but the limited turning circle makes it difficult to maneuver around obstacles. A ZTR uses a tank-like steering system, using a pair of hydraulic transmissions to vary the speeds of the drive wheels independently, letting it take sharp turns and even spin in place. Learning to steer using lap bars can take a while, but Cub Cadet also offers steering wheel-based systems that are easy to learn and provide even greater accuracy.
Riding mowers are much better at handling steep inclines, and they work great for wide open areas. ZTRs are more expensive, but the added maneuverability makes them excellent at tackling yards with trees and landscaping.
When sizing a mower, this formula can be used to calculate the acres it can cover per hour: (Deck width in inches x MPH x 0.8)/100. This assumes 80% efficiency to account for overlap and turning. How fast does a mower go? Assume 3 mph for push mowers, 4 mph for self-propelled walk-behind mowers, and the maximum speed stated for riding and ZTR mowers. For example, let’s say you’re looking at a Pro Z 148S EFI. It can go up to 9.5 mph and has a 48-inch deck. Using the formula, we get (48×9.5×0.8)/100 = 3.65 acres per hour. Of course, your experience may vary: you may need to slow down to improve cut quality or deal with difficult terrain, while features like Synchro-Steer can increase your efficiency, letting you cut more without increasing the size of the mower.
When choosing a deck, make sure it will go through the gates on your property. The quoted deck size is for the area the blades cut, while the full width of the deck will be a little larger. Keep in mind that while the mulching plug won’t extend past the deck and the chute can be lifted up, bagging systems are difficult to remove and will need to be accounted for when measuring the mower’s total width.
Cub Cadet extensively tests engines to find the right model and size for their mowers and even builds their own engines to fit their needs, which makes this the least important factor when choosing a mower. Unless you’re a professional who wants to stick with the same engine manufacturer across your fleet, you should concentrate more on the mower’s cutting abilities.
Whether you end up with a small push mower or a commercial ZTR with a 72-inch deck, you can get everything you need to maintain your Cub Cadet from www.cubparts.com. We’re a certified dealer for Cub Cadet as well as the companies they work with to build their equipment including Honda, Kawasaki, Briggs & Stratton, Kohler and Hydro Gear. Our site can help you find the right part by letting you see factory parts diagrams and descriptions when you search, and we can ship what you need anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.