The Cub Cadet xt1 is a popular ride-on lawnmower that is easy to use for keeping large lawns trimmed and looking fantastic and completing other yard maintenance tasks in residential settings.

Cub Cadet Xt1 Review

This review takes a deep look at all of the features, advantages and disadvantages of this machine without leaving out anything positive or negative that we found out.

Buying a ride-on mower like this Cub Cadet xt1 Enduro Series is a significant investment, and you want to be sure you get a mower that works best for you and your landscape.

By reading this review, you’ll come away with a clear idea of whether this model is what you need for your yard or if you should keep looking. 

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Easy to operate Reported engine problems
Low maintenance Not good on steep slopes
Tight turn radius  
Comfortable and adjustable seat  


Product Highlights

This ride-on mower has plenty of power to maintain large landscapes without any extra and expensive features you might not need to get the job done. It’s designed and built for cutting large lawns on residential properties and for use by regular people who love to keep their home environment looking great. 

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  • 18 HP Kohler OHV engine
  • 42 inch cutting width 
  • 16 inch turn radius 
  • Adjustable seat
  • Hydrostatic transmission 

Cub Cadet xt1 Review

Cub Cadet xt1 Key Criteria
Easy to Start
Maintenance Requirements
Ergonomics Rough Terrain
Easy to operate
Low maintenance
Tight turn radius
Comfortable and adjustable seat
Reported engine problems
Not good on steep slopes

The Cub Cadet XT1 is a gas-powered, ride-on lawnmower for people with large residential lawns and plenty of mowing to do. It’s designed for cutting grass and discharging it out of the side or mulching it under the deck to keep down the cost for lawn fertilizer, and you can also use it with a collection bag system, but you’ll have to buy that separately.

Two of the most impressive features of this mower are the remarkable degree of maneuverability it offers and how easy it is to operate. 

In addition, you’ll find a wide variety of accessories you can buy to add to this lawn tractor, including snowplow blades, softcover snow cabs, rear cargo carriers, and debris collection bins and vacuums.

With these accessories, you can turn this ride-on mower into a multi-purpose tool for getting all kinds of work done around your property, along with mowing and mulching the lawn. 

– Tight Turn Radius for Easy Maneuvering 

When using a lawn tractor in a residential setting, you often need to maneuver around objects in the landscape. For example, you might have a gazebo on your lawn, children’s play equipment, or a toolshed and you want to mow the grass as close as possible to these structures without bumping into them or needing to come back later with a weed trimmer to tidy up.

To do this work efficiently, you need a lawn tractor that can make tight turns, and not all ride-on mowers have that capacity.

Need to Maneuver Around Objects in The Landscape

However, this mower has a turning radius of only 16 inches, letting you easily navigate around structures and obstacles. In addition, the tight turn radius on this mower is extremely helpful when mowing a lawn because it reduces how much space you need to turn the machine around when you get to the end of a row.

With a tight turn radius, the blades miss fewer spots when turning around, resulting in a shorter time for finishing the job and having it look terrific. 

– Operator-Friendly Controls

Another outstanding feature of this mower is how easy it is to use for the average person. The controls are ultra-simple, and most people can learn to drive this machine with a few minutes of practice.

Practicing on a driveway or other hard surface away from vehicles, pets, and people is an excellent way to quickly get comfortable with handling a ride-on tractor in a short time if this skill is new to you. 

Starting up the machine is straightforward and involves turning the ignition key on the dash after setting the choke lever. The automotive type battery sends power to the engine to get it going, and then you set the throttle lever to the engine speed you want.

Next, you’ll find two foot-operated pedals on the floor. One of them makes the machine go forward, and the other one makes it go in reverse. 

The hydrostatic transmission does not require you to change gears manually as you speed up or slow down. Instead, gear shifting happens automatically inside the gearbox using the forward and reverse foot pedals and sealed automatic transmission. 

To engage the cutting blades, there is a button on the dash that you pull out to start them spinning. To shut the blades off, push the button back in. As you can see, the operator controls on this model are incredibly straightforward, making this lawnmower an ideal choice for the average homeowner and anyone new to owning a ride-on mower like this one. 

– Robust Engine for Mostly Even Terrain 

The Kohler OHV engine on this mower is a design with mid-range power, which is perfect for large yards with mostly flat or gently sloped terrain. However, if you have challenging ground to cover with lots of ups and down or severely problematic weeds, this engine might be a bit underpowered for the task.

Robust Engine for Mostly Even Terrain

In that case, you might want to consider a Cub Cadet model with a larger horse-power engine. Nonetheless, for mowing large expanses of grass on mostly flat ground, the fuel-efficient smaller-sized engine in this mower has plenty of power to get the job done without running up fuel costs excessively. 

– Low Maintenance 

Many people with lawns over a one-half acre are looking for a ride-on mower that does not require a lot of complicated maintenance, and this model matches that need. For example, the transmission is sealed, so you do not need to change or check the transmission fluid level.

In addition, the engine is an OHV design that reduces the need for repairs and maintenance compared to other engine models. 

However, a few maintenance tasks are essential for keeping this mower running correctly. These include:

  • Checking the oil level regularly and topping it off as needed
  • Changing the engine oil seasonally or more often in dusty conditions
  • Cleaning and replacing the air filter as needed
  • Replacing the fuel filter and spark plugs on schedule
  • Checking the tire pressure routinely 
  • Sharpening or replacing the cutting blades as needed
  • Occasional servicing of the battery

These regular maintenance tasks are discussed in detail in the owner’s manual, and it’s essential to read and follow these guidelines to keep this mower working at a top level of performance. These tasks are not hard to do, but they require a few basic mechanical tools and an ability to perform simple mechanical tasks on schedule. 

– Mows in Reverse

With this mower, you can mow in reverse if necessary. Unfortunately, cutting in reverse is riskier than mowing while moving forward. Many ride-on mowers have this capacity blocked out with an automatic switch that does not let you do it. However, there are times when mowing while backing up can save time or even prevent the machine from getting stuck. 


With this mower, you have the option of mowing in reverse by setting a switch in the correct position before engaging the blades and stepping on the reverse pedal. However, the manufacturer only recommends using this option for safety reasons in limited situations. 

Details of Main Features

– Engine

The 18 HP Kohler engine in this mower is a four-cycle gasoline-powered engine with overhead valves. It runs best on ethanol-free gas, and using gas with too much ethanol can quickly damage engine components, leading to hard starting and poor engine performance.

Details of Cub Cadet Main Features

Nonetheless, the engine in this model is reliable and low-maintenance as long as you give it the correct type of gas, oil, air filter maintenance and closely follow the upkeep schedule in the owner’s manual.  

– Cutting Deck

This mower’s 42 inches wide cutting capacity vastly reduces how long it takes to mow the lawn compared to using a walk-behind mower, even a sizeable self-propelled model.

Each pass over the lawn trims a swath of grass almost four feet wide, which is twice the width of most walk-behinds, so that you can get the job finished in record time while you sit back and enjoy the ride on the comfortable seat. 

There are two cutting blades under the deck, and the deck is made from rugged steel that resists denting and flexing when you go over bumps and low spots. In addition, a washout port on top of the deck makes it easy to clean the blades and underside.

To clean under the deck, hook a garden hose to the port, turn on the water, start the engine and engage the blades while the tractor is stationary. After a few minutes, all of the dirt and debris are washed out by the powerful blast of water, keeping the cutting deck and blades in good condition and free from rust. 

The height of the cutting deck is readily adjustable from 1 to 4 inches using a lever on the right-hand side of the operator’s seat. You can choose from six height settings and quickly change them for different parts of your yard.

Cutting the lawn to the optimum height for the grass species and growing conditions is vital for keeping a lawn green, healthy, and lush. 

– 3-in-1 Function Mows, Mulches and Bags

You can use this mower for mulching and bagging and side discharging the trimmed grass. In mulching mode, the two blades under the deck finely chop the grass and leave it evenly distributed on the lawn surface, where it breaks down and returns nutrients to the soil.

Mulching saves you time and money for buying and spreading lawn fertilizer. Mulched grass is also an organic nutrient that can replace harsh chemicals like the ones in many commercial lawn fertilizer products. 

However, it’s crucial to understand that if you want to use this mower for mulching, you must install special mulching blades and block off the side-discharge chute with a mulching plug, and you have to buy these items separately.

In addition, installing the blades is not a task for everyone because you must get under the mower or take the deck off to access them and then use a large wrench to remove the retention bolt and make the switch. 

– Changing Blades

For changing the blades, you can buy a tractor lift that raises the front of the machine and holds it safely for accessing the blades and making the job easier. The blades on this mower need regular inspection for cracks and breaks and replacement or sharpening when necessary. However, not everyone is up to this type of maintenance task with their ride-on lawnmower. 

Another option is collecting the trimmed grass from the lawn for a flawless look, and this mower has the fittings for installing a collection bin on the machine’s rear with a hose that vacuums the clippings up and deposits them into the box.

A lever on the container lets you quickly dump the clippings into a compost pile, an area of the yard where you want to use it as mulch, or into a debris can for disposal. Using this feature can save hours for clearing up the lawn for people who do not want to mulch the clippings or leave them in a pile on the ground. 

– Body and Frame

The hood on this model is made from rugged plastic, and this lighter material helps keep the mower’s weight low compared to models with metal hoods. However, the rest of the frame is a durable metal that won’t easily bend, crack or flex when going over bumps and dips in the ground.

Unfortunately, the mower does not come equipped with a front bumper, but it has bolt holes, so you can add one if you need it. 

– Ergonomics

The operator-friendly ergonomics on this mower include:

  • An adjustable seat that moves back and forth to match the operator’s leg length
  • Open-backed seat for better air circulation and ventilation
  • A comfort-grip steering wheel to prevent hand fatigue
  • A cup holder and a storage bin for holding small items
  • Headlights for visibility in low-light conditions
  • Easy access to the seat from both sides

This tractor does not skimp on operator comfort features that make mowing the lawn more enjoyable, comfortable, and safer. 

– Cub Cadet xt1 Weight and Dimensions

This ride-on mower weighs 580 pounds, a mid-range weight for a machine like this. The relatively low weight makes it easier to transport the device on a trailer or raise it on a lift. Still, it also results in slightly less traction on the uneven and soft ground than a heavier lawnmower. 

The overall dimensions of the mower are 67 inches long, 52 inches wide at the outside of the tires and deck, and 42 inches high at the highest point.


This compact size makes this mower fit comfortably into a garage or other storage building when it’s not in use. However, you can also buy a fabric cover to protect it when storing it outside. 

– Warranty

This model comes with a limited three-year warranty from the manufacturer. Reading the warranty information carefully and registering the product online within 30 days of purchase is the best way of avoiding warranty problems and getting fast service if you need it.


A few buyers have reported some problems with this model that warrant mentioning. One problem is an electrical short draining the battery in storage.

The manufacturer might have addressed this issue by now, but it is one area that could present problems for starting the machine. In addition, to help with this problem, you can purchase a trickle battery charger to charge up a battery if it gets low in storage. 

Other buyers report that the blades get jammed by sticks they encounter on the lawn. Keep in mind that this is a mower with mid-range power, and you might need to pick up larger-sized branches on the property before mowing to avoid this issue. 

Some other buyers note that the side discharge feature on this ride-on lawnmower shoots the trimmed grass a long distance that can leave debris on sidewalks, neighboring properties, and the street.

However, installing a collection system or using the mulching feature won’t have this problem. 


How many hours should a Cub Cadet xt1 mower last?

It should last for around 500-700 hours on average.

How often do you change the oil in a Cub Cadet xt1 mower?

Cub Cadet recommends changing the oil in their XT1 mower after the first five hours of use and then every 50 hours thereafter. However, if you frequently use the mower in dusty or dirty conditions, you may need to change the oil more frequently.

What is the maximum slope for Cub Cadet xt1?

The maximum recommended slope for a Cub Cadet XT1 is 15 degrees. However, it’s important to note that mowing on steep slopes can be dangerous and may damage the mower. Always use caution and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.


In this Cub Cadet xt1 review, you learned about the main product features of this ride-on mower and how it works. As you can see, this mower is easy to use, capable of using a wide range of accessories and can mow, mulch or pick up cut grass debris.

In addition, many buyers report being very pleased with how this mower works for them, and only a few have complaints about its operation. 

In particular, this machine is not suitable for working on steep grades or severely uneven ground, and it needs some regular mechanical care to stay in excellent working condition.

Nonetheless, this mower has many positive attributes for keeping an expansive yard looking its best, and people who have never owned a ride-on mower before are likely to be impressed with how easy-to-use and versatile this model is. 

5/5 - (18 votes)
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