The Cub Cadet sc500z is a walk-behind, self-propelled lawn mower that lets you make zero-point turnarounds with ease and mow in a circle around landscape plants and other objects on the lawn.
This review details how well this wheel system and lawnmower work and gives you all the relevant specs and features of this product.
When you finish reading this review, you’ll have a good idea of whether or not this mower is the one you want to buy. So read on and find out everything you need to know about this Cub Cadet self propelled mower with caster wheels before buying one.
Pros and Cons
|3-in-1 features bag, mulch and side discharge clippings||Not good on steep slopes or wet ground|
|Zero-turn swivel front wheels for maximum maneuverability||Inconvenient oil drain plug location|
|Smart Jet washout port for easy cleaning under the deck|
|Sure Start guarantee on engine|
If your yard includes trees, poles, bushes, circular planting boxes or other structures, you might be interested in knowing more about this Cub Cadet 3-in-1 lawn mower.
The swivel wheels on the front of this machine are designed for easily mowing in circles and making tight, zero-point turns, and it also does a superior job mowing in straight lines.
- 159cc Cub Cadet OHV 4-stroke gas engine
- 21-inch cutting width
- Rear-wheel drive
- My Speed™ variable-speed control system
- High dome deck for exceptional mulching
If you’re not familiar with a walk behind mower with caster wheels, the advantage of this design is superior maneuverability for making tight turns and mowing around objects on a lawn.
This Cub Cadet Model sc500z looks different from other mowers because of its unusual front wheels, which swivel a full 360 degrees, letting you turn around efficiently at the end of a pass or mow in a circle around trees, electric poles and gazebos.
This mower’s power comes from a small gas engine with OHV made by Cub Cadet. Auto-choke and the manufacturer’s guaranteed start promise assure you that this engine will fire upon the first or second pull of the starting cord.
In addition, this mower comes with a roomy collection bag, a mulching plug, and a side discharge chute for 3-in-1 functions, so you can trim your lawn and handle the clippings in a variety of ways to suit your preference.
The most outstanding feature of this mower is the swiveling front wheels that let you turn the machine around without needing to move back and forth or cut over a large arc of space to reverse directions.
The zero-turn feature speeds up mowing because it saves time on each pass you make over the lawn. In addition, due to this feature, the lawn gets completely mowed without you needing to go back over it to catch missed spots left from a multi-point turnaround.
For example, with most mowers, when you reach the end of a pass on the lawn, you’re forced by the fixed front wheels to make a wide turn and then go back and mow the areas you missed, or you have to muscle the machine around to make a tight turn.
Both ways, this action takes time and energy that you avoid with swivel front wheels like those on this Cub Cadet lawnmower.
However, suppose you don’t want to use the swiveling front wheels for zero-point turns. In that case, you can readily lock the front wheels into a straight position for regular mowing using a U-shaped pin on the top of each front wheel that lets you rapidly fix the wheels in the forward position.
This feature can be a significant advantage if you encounter soft ground, go up a slope, or mow near a ditch where swiveling wheels can make things difficult.
– Rear-Wheel Drive and Variable-Speed
The engine on this mower powers the rear wheels using a drive belt system. Rear-wheel drive gives you more traction for going up slopes and over soft ground than front-wheel drive mowers.
However, this mower does best on primarily flat and moderately sloped terrain because of the relatively small wheels and smaller engine size. But it’s still got plenty of power to take on modest slopes and get through limited areas of soft soil.
Another plus on this mower is the easy-to-use My Drive™ speed control mechanism that lets you effortlessly control the rate of travel to match your personal preference and the nature of the terrain. For example, if you want to move along at a snail’s pace, ease off the drive bar and the machine slows down to match your speed.
On the other hand, if you want to get through your mowing job in a hurry, the variable-speed system allows you to speed up to a fast clip, zooming along at a maximum speed of over three mph. With this drive system, you might be able to cut your lawn mowing work time in half.
– Superior Mulching and Cutting
This mower’s 3-in-1 design comes with a large, dust-blocking collection bag for picking up the cut grass, but many buyers say they never use the bag because the mower does so well at finely mulching the trimmings. In addition, the Cub Cadet Signature Cut design assures a finely manicured cut that will leave your lawn looking like a freshly trimmed golf course.
The superior mulching and cutting are due to the blade design and the high-domed deck that catches and triple cuts the grass as you move along. By mulching the grass instead of bagging it, you save time by not needing to empty the catchment container, and you also add valuable nutrients back into the soil to keep your lawn lush and green.
This mower has a couple of downsides that include not working well on steep slopes due to the small front wheels. Instead, it does best on modest slopes and flat ground.
In addition, the gas-powered engine needs regular oil changes for smooth operation and extended life, and the oil drain plug is located over the deck in a spot that makes it hard to catch the old oil without spilling it on the deck.
– Bottom Line
This mower excels for mowing mostly flat lawns with average cutting conditions, but the engine size is not up to hacking down challenging tall weeds or severely overgrown grass.
Nonetheless, it is elementary to maneuver this mower, making it a superb choice for yards with multiple landscape plants or structures to mow around on the lawn area.
– Engine and Drive System
The Cub Cadet 159cc 4-stroke engine in this mower has an overhead valve system for quiet, cool operation and an extended lifespan, and you’ll find this mower significantly quieter than many other lawnmower models.
In addition, the engine is equipped with a thermally controlled auto-choke for rapid start-up on the first or second pull of the recoil cord. It does not have an electric ignition, but the manufacturer guarantees it will start with one or two rope pulls for the first two years.
The MySpeed™ Premium Drive Control operates the variable-speed function. This feature is intuitive and easy to use, quickly matching your pace for a smooth speed transition from slow to fast. In addition, you can rapidly and effortlessly change the machine’s travel speed using this system.
However, the power is delivered to the rear wheels using a drive belt, and this belt tends to get stretched out after about one season of use, causing it to jump off of the belt pulley.
You’ll find an adjustment mechanism for tightening the belt at the top of the drive cable. Unfortunately, it only has one setting, and many buyers report needing to replace the belt after about 100 hours of operation.
– Cutting Deck and Wheels
This mower’s sturdy and high-domed 21-inch cutting deck offers the advantage of creating lots of airflow under the deck, resulting in a finely manicured cut. In addition, the blade speed is extremely fast, and this makes a triple cut for each blade of grass, producing fine mulch that you can barely see on the lawn and saving space in the collection bag if you use it.
In addition, the SmartJet™ deck washout port allows you to clean the blade rapidly and under the deck by attaching a garden hose to the port using a quick-release adapter.
All four wheels have industrial-grade, extra-deep tread, and they spin on full ball bearings for smooth operation. The swiveling front wheels are 7 inches in diameter, and the back wheels are 8 inches, which is smaller than on many mowers and gives you a bit less traction.
However, the balance of the wheels is optimum for cutting on mostly flat ground. Additionally, you can rapidly lock the front wheels into a forward-facing position if you don’t need the zero-turn capacity.
The cutting height adjusts in six positions from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches using a single lever for raising and lowering the deck, which is an advantage for making adjustments in minimal time.
However, the wheels are attached using a plastic wingnut, and the nuts are prone to cracking or stripping out more easily than metal hardware on the wheels of many other mowers.
– 3-in-1 Functions
As mentioned above, this mower can mulch, bag and side discharge cut grass. To use the mulching feature, you remove the bag and install a mulching plug into the discharge chute. The plug forces the cut grass to stay under the machine, where the blade rips it into minuscule pieces that are hardly visible when you finish.
If you prefer bagging up the cut grass, a large capacity collection bag comes with the unit. The bag is made from a tightly woven fabric that blocks annoying dust from blowing out on the operator.
On the other hand, if you are content with discharging the clippings from the side of the mower, all you need to do is remove the mulch plug and bag, and the cut grass shoots out into a pile on the right side of the machine as you mow.
– Operator Comfort and Safety
For operator comfort, the handlebar on this mower can be adjusted to three height settings, so you can get them into the perfect position to match your height and body type. In addition, the handlebar grip area is covered with a soft material to reduce strain on your hands and arms.
Engaging the blade is made simple by using a bar on the handle. Squeeze the bar toward the handle, and the blades start spinning. As soon as you release the bar, the blades stop, and so does the engine as a safety feature.
You can readily purchase the following accessories from Cub Cadet for making the best use of this mower and for maintaining it in perfect operating condition:
- Blade sharpening kit
- Replacement starter cord and handle
- Dethatching blade
- Blade removal kit
- Replacement wheels
- Spark plug extension tool
– Size and Weight
This mower is an average size for a lawnmower. However, it is slightly heavier than many other models with a similar engine, with a dry weight of 95 pounds.
This lawnmower comes with a three-year limited warranty and Cub Cadet’s Sure Start guarantee that the engine will start on the first or second pull of the cord. If the engine fails to start, the manufacturer will repair the problem for free, provided you adequately maintain the mower according to the instructions in the owner’s manual.
The Cub Cadet sc500z has a unique design for a walk-behind mower with front wheels that swivel 360 degrees, making it exceptionally easy to maneuver around obstacles and make zero-point turns.
The small and efficient engine has plenty of power for average mowing conditions on a lawn, but it is not exceptionally powerful for challenging work.
Buyers who need a mower that is easy to turn around or mow in circles that are also self-propelled and simple to operate on primarily flat ground are likely to be pleased with this lawnmower’s high quality and functionality.
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