This review provides important information about Cub Cadet lawnmower models that you might be interested in buying. By reading this review, you’ll find out all the pros and cons of a Cub Cadet zero-turn walk-behind model compared to a Cub Cadet riding mower. Figuring out which lawn mower to buy can be a challenge.

Cub Cadet Lawnmower Review

Reading this review will clear the confusion about these two popular lawn mower models, helping you make a better buying decision that matches your personal preferences and landscape conditions. 

Spec Comparison Chart

Product Drive Type Engine size Special Features
Cub Cadet SC500Z

51WV5b1qHOL. SL75

Walk-behind self-propelled 159cc Zero-turn front wheels and 3-in-1 function
Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series

41LqnXCN8tL. SL75

Ride-on lawn tractor 18 HP Mulching capability and tight turn radius

Cub Cadet Mower Review

  • Swiveling front wheels for maximum maneuverability 
  • 159cc engine for powerful cutting and mulching
  • Smart Jet™ deck washout port for easy cleaning 
  • Sure Start™ guarantee on engine ensures reliable startup
  • 21-inch cutting width 
  • Rear-wheel drive

Cub Cadet zero-turn mowers are self-propelled, walk-behind models with innovative front wheels on casters that let you turn around in minimal space. The zero-turn capacity of this machine is a unique feature in a walk-behind mower, making it possible to mow in a circular pattern with minimal effort or turn the device around without needing to move back and forth to negotiate the switch of direction.

If you have a yard with bushes, trees, circular planter boxes or other obstacles to mow around, you might know how hard it can be to do this mowing efficiently with a regular lawnmower.

However, this zero-turn Cub Cadet model is designed to make turning in a circle as easy as possible, giving you a manicured lawn in the most challenging mowing conditions.

– Easy to Start and Use

Cub cadet walk behind mowers have an excellent reputation for easy starting and reliable operation, and this mower is no exception.

Cub Cadet Walk Behind Mowers

In addition, Cub cadet self propelled mowers with the auto walk feature like this model has allowed the operator to choose a speed of travel to match their personal preference and the nature of the landscape they are mowing. 

– My Speed™ Variable-Speed Drive System 

Many buyers appreciate another feature of this mower is the My Speed™ control system. The mower has a speed control bar at the top of the handlebar that effortlessly adjusts the rate of travel as you push the bar forward. 

The more you push the bar, the faster the machine moves. With this system, you have precision control over how fast you mow, going anywhere from a snail’s pace to jogging speed. 

The My Speed™ feature is a significant benefit for yards with varying terrain and operators who want a machine that matches their energy level on any given day. 

– Engine

This mower is equipped with a 4-stroke 159cc engine with an auto-choke for easy startup on the first or second cord pull. It is guaranteed to start quickly as long as you follow the owner’s manual instructions regarding engine maintenance. This engine is ideal for average mowing conditions and operators who want a no-hassle gas-powered mowing experience. 

– 3-in-1 Features

This mower also offers three ways to handle grass clippings. First, the machine can collect the cut grass in a large, rugged, rear-mounted collection bag that easily snaps on and off. You also have the option of side discharging the clippings by removing the bag and letting the cut grass shoot onto the lawn on the side of the mower. 

The other option is mulching the grass as you mow. In this case, remove the bag and install a mulching plug, and the grass is cut into minuscule pieces under the machine, leaving it to fertilize the lawn and reduce the need for spreading lawn fertilizers at another time. Moreover, many buyers of this mower model rave about how well the mulching feature works.

This mower is so good at mulching because the deck has a high dome that allows the clippings to pass through the blades multiple times before they fall to the ground. This design results in wonderful cut blades of grass that are barely visible on the lawn when you finish the work. 

– Downsides

This machine is not perfect, and one of its downsides is that the swiveling front wheels don’t do well on soft ground or when mowing on steep slopes.

You can easily lock the front wheels using a sturdy metal pin to keep them facing in a forward direction, and this handy feature makes it possible to mow next to a slope or at the side of a ditch. Nonetheless, negotiating steep terrain can be challenging even with the front wheels locked. 

Another problem noted by some buyers is that the engine is not robust enough for mowing severely tall weeds and grass. At 159cc, this engine is best suited for average lawn mowing conditions.

However, if you have rugged terrain, thorny weeds, or extra tall grass, the engine in this mower is probably not powerful enough to get the job done efficiently, and you might want to consider the ride-on Cub Cadet reviewed below. 

– Bottom Line

This mower is superb at mowing on primarily flat ground with a few shallow ups and downs and average lawn growth. The swiveling front wheels let you rapidly turn around at the end of a row or mow in circles around electric poles, trees, gazebos, and other structures.


The engine is guaranteed to start on the first or second cord pull for the warranty period, but it is not a robust engine for handling the most challenging mowing conditions. 

Cub Cadet Riding Mower

  • 18 horsepower Kohler gas engine
  • 42 inches wide cutting width 
  • Hydrostatic variable-speed transmission 
  • 16-inch turn radius 
  • 580 pounds 
  • Comfortable seat and steering wheel 

If you have a big yard of an acre or more, a ride-on mower like this Cub Cadet riding mower can save enormous amounts of time getting the job done. The 18 HP 4-stroke gas engine has the robust power to hack down tall grass and trim a lawn for a manicured finished cut.

In addition, the broad, 42-inch cutting deck reduces the number of passes you need to make over the lawn by half compared to the 21-inch cutting deck on the Cub Cadet SC500Z reviewed above. 

– Operator Comfort 

This mower has a high-backed, breathable operator seat for maximum comfort when mowing for long periods, and the seat is adjustable to fit your body size. The steering wheel has extra padding to keep your hands from feeling exhausted from gripping it for extended times.

In addition, you can set your favorite beverage in the convenient cup holder on the side panel to keep you cool and hydrated as you tackle your mowing chores. 

– Mowing and Mulching

This mower can mow and eject the clippings from the side, and it can also mulch the trimmed grass into tiny bits and leave them in place for adding nutrients back into the soil. However, the mulching feature requires changing the blades under the deck.

Mulching with Cub Cadet Riding Mower

Changing the blades is not a job everyone is comfortable doing because you either have to raise the tractor on a sturdy jacking system or remove the deck to get to the blades then use a large wrench to replace them. 

 Tight Turn Radius

This ride-on mower has a tight turn radius of only 16 inches, letting you reverse directions with a minimal amount of movement. Turning around a ride-on mower with a big turn radius forces you to go back and mow over areas that you missed when turning around, but this mower does a much more efficient job of turning without creating this problem. 

– Hydrostatic Transmission with Variable-Speed

A foot pedal controls the forward and reverse motion of the machine on the floor of the operator seating area. The tractor advances by pushing the pedal forward, and the further you push the pedal, the faster the speed.

To move in reverse, press the pedal in the opposite direction. The transmission design is low maintenance and intuitive to use after a few minutes of practice. 

One beneficial feature of this mower is setting it to mow in reverse. To do this, you need to push a button on the dash to activate reverse mowing because the feature is designed to shut off the blades in reverse for safety unless the operator decides to start the reverse mowing feature.

However, in some situations, being able to keep the blades spinning while you back up is a significant time-saver and something you might appreciate on this machine. 

– Downsides

Many buyers note that this mower does not have excellent traction on steep slopes. The mower is designed to maintain lawns and not severely challenging work on steeply sloped ground. Nonetheless, the powerful engine does a great job at hacking down tall weeds and overgrown grass as long as the terrain is not too steep. 

In addition, there are buyer reports of problems with the engine on this mower. However, at this time, not enough information is available on whether these problems arise from operator misuse, improper maintenance, or using the incorrect fuel, or if they are due to design flaws in the machine. 

Another downside reported by some buyers is that the blades do not handle twigs and tend to get stuck when encountering debris of this type. For this reason, this mower is probably most suitable for mowing grass in average conditions and not for heavy-duty workloads. 

– Bottom Line

If you are looking for a ride-on lawnmower that is easy to use, comfortable to sit on, and capable of mowing and finely mulching the grass, this mower is worth considering.


However, it appears best for average mowing conditions and is unsuitable for steep terrain or cutting up anything more than blades of grass. 

Lawn Mower Product Comparison

The main difference between the XT 1 Cub Cadet riding mower and the Cub cadet zero turn mowers is that the ride-on is a large mower for expansive areas and the zero-turns are self-propelled walk-behind models for small to medium-sized yards.

Comparison of Cub Cadet Lawnmowers

Here’s how these two machines stack up side-by-side on three crucial features:

– Engine Power

Winner: Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series

If you have a vast expanse of lawn to mow and need maximum power, the ride-on Cub Cadet XT1 has a significant advantage over the walk-behind mower. With an 18 HP engine, this model definitely can cut through taller, tougher weeds and grass than the CUB CADET SC500Z and do it in a fraction of the time.

– Cutting Deck:

Winner: Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series

When it comes to cutting deck width, the XT 1 is the winner. The XT 1 has a cutting width of 42 inches compared to 21 inches for the walk-behind. As a result, this large deck can carve away huge expanses of overgrown lawn in a fraction of the time compared to the other model.

– Maneuverability

Winner: CUB CADET SC500Z 

If you need a lawnmower for precision cutting in tight spaces, the Cub Cadet SC500Z walk-behind has two distinct advantages over the XT 1. One advantage is the swiveling front wheels that allow for zero-turn radius, making it possible to spin the machine around on the spot.

The other is the narrow 21-inch cutting deck that lets you easily slip in between a wall and a pathway, between planter boxes, or in other tight spots to mow thin strips of grass. 


Is the Cub Cadet XT1 mower fuel injected?

No, the Cub Cadet XT1 mower does not have fuel injection.

Is the Cub Cadet SC500Z mower best for pulling?

No, the Cub Cadet SC500Z mower is not specifically designed or optimized for pulling tasks. It is primarily designed for efficient and effective mowing operations.

How many hours will the Cub Cadet XT1 mower last?

The lifespan of a Cub Cadet XT1 mower can vary based on various factors such as maintenance, usage, and operating conditions. However, on average, a Cub Cadet XT1 mower can last several hundred hours before major repairs or replacements may be required.


In this Cub Cadet lawnmower review, you read about the specs, features, and capabilities of two Cub Cadet lawn mower models.

These two very different machines both have advantages and disadvantages depending mainly on what type of lawn you are mowing. 

The SC500Z is a superior machine if you have a small to medium-sized lawn and need to turn around on the spot or mow in tight spaces. On the other hand, if your yard is large, the XT 1 has a wide cutting deck that will significantly reduce how long it takes you to mow the lawn compared to the walk-behind model. 

5/5 - (18 votes)