Cub Cadet vs John Deere vs Husqvarna Lawn Tractor Stand-Off 2021


If you live on a property with vast tracts of lawn, mowing the grass can be a formidable task. However, no one is expecting you to do this manually. Not with the excellent lawn mowing equipment on the market today.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Cub Cadet vs John Deere vs Husqvarna, some of the leading brands in riding lawnmowers. We will then compare the pros and cons of each brand.

Don’t worry, I have put together a few FAQs to make things even more transparent, hopefully.

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Best Models of Cub Cadet vs John Deere vs Husqvarna

I have taken 3 models of each of the 3 brands, which, after a lot of research, I consider to be the best on the market. So, without much further ado, let’s get into the finer details of these brands:

Husqvarna YTH24V48 Riding Lawn Mower

Size does matter when you are looking at acres of grass, begging to be mowed! This lawn tractor from Husqvarna shows its capability with an ample 48-inch cutting deck.

The 24 hp engine generates powerful torque thanks to the hydrostatic transmission. It also results in smoother operation and better fuel efficiency.

Despite its large engine and wide cutting deck, the mower itself is adequately compact, which ensures easy maneuverability.

It’s a powerful machine at a surprisingly reasonable price, striking a balance between performance and affordability.

A cruise control option allows you to use to maintain a constant speed, which is useful for tackling rough terrain and combating fatigue, and it offers a 16-inch turning circle for negotiating obstacles and tight spaces

It’s also an absolute joy to drive, and it’s well worth checking out for that reason alone.

Cub Cadet CC30H Riding Lawn Mower

Cub Cadet CC30H Gas Powered Riding Lawn Mower

If you have space constraints, then this riding lawn mower could possibly be what you’re looking for. The mower has a rear engine.

It offers an in-between solution when your lawn is too large to use the walking model but too small for the larger, riding versions.

It has a powerful 382-cc engine with auto choke, with mow-in-reverse technology, so you can get the job done in no time. And the hydrostatic transmission offers a silky-smooth ride, with adjustable seating for all-day comfort.

But don’t expect to ride up steep hills on this one. With a cutting deck of just 30 inches, it doesn’t promise to cover vast tracts of lawn very fast.

Nevertheless, this lawn tractor offers significant maneuverability. You can mow up to one acre of lawn, comfortably. And you can do so even when the light starts to fade, with the inclusion of an LED headlamp, which is handy in all weather conditions.

The deck has a built-in high-pressure washing system, so you can be sure no material or debris remains, and the CC30H is ready to be taken on its next spin.

John Deere S140 Gas Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor

John Deere S140 Gas Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor

Offering a 48-inch cutting deck with a 22 HP V-Twin engine, this John Deere lawn tractor is ideal for larger yards and gardens.

Powerful enough to tackle the toughest bagging and mulching tasks, it features a hydrostatic transmission for a smooth drive, as well as side-by-side foot pedals to control speed and direction of travel.

Three blades are in operation, with an edge cutting system that’s capable of lifting the grass for a superior cut. And the fully welded steel frame and cast iron front axle provides the strength to do it.

John Deere has left no stone unturned by way of comfort and convenience, with an ergonomic operation station that’s fully adjustable, with easy-to-use controls, and a 15-inch, heat-resistant open back seat.

The super-powerful battery is capable of first-time starts even after a period of no use, there’s even an app you can download to get fuel levels, engine hours and other performance-related data.

And with 13 different cutting heights, you can be sure to get the exact look you want for your yard. Check out this article for tips on how to achieve a professional striped lawn which should be no problem for this machine from such an iconic land maintenance company.

Husqvarna Z242F Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

When you have a big lawn but have to deal with tight corners, there’s nothing like a zero-turn riding lawnmower to get the job done.

If you have been using a regular riding mower and are considering an upgrade, this would make a good choice.

The Kawasaki gasoline engine delivers a respectable 21.5 hp, and the cutting deck has a width of 42 inches. It has a hydrostatic transmission to provide consistent torque and fuel-efficient operation.

High performance blades provide razor-sharp cut, aided by a superior air-flow system and deep deck that significantly improves bagging. And there’s a choice of three options when it comes to how you dispose of cut grass.

Capable of handling tricky terrain, the castors and wheels are tough and durable, and you can enjoy speeds of up to 6.5 MPH as you make short work of your unruly lawn.

In the driving position, you’ll find an ergonomic control panel, adjustable seating, and an anti-slip foot area for improved comfort and safety.

This particular model has been designed for residential use. Take a look at this article on the best commercial zero-turn mowers for more options in this class.

John Deere Z345R Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

John Deere Z345R Zero-Turn Gas Riding Lawn Mower

If you are looking for an alternative zero-turn riding mower within the same price bracket, you could go in for this one from John Deere.

The Z345R zero-turn mower has a powerful V-twin engine and is easy to control. The adjustable seat and armrests make for a comfortable drive, and there are even a couple of cup holders provided.

Zero turn mowers normally have a bad rep when it comes to handling hills and slopes, but this model offers enough power to tackle such terrain, with mowing speeds of up to seven miles per hour if you need it.

The floating deck also helps, as well as providing an improved cut quality when traveling at higher speeds, with dual EZT transmissions and large wheels to help achieve maximum performance.

And this zero-turn machine has certainly been designed for that, offering the fastest possible cut without sacrificing the finished aesthetic; while the three-gallon fuel tank lets you play all day.

An 18-inch seat back has thick foam padding for comfort, and the armrests provide additional support. A rubber floor mat offers a non-slip grip, while ensuring the foot deck remains clean and scratch-free.

Cub Cadet XT1 LT42 Lawn Tractor

Cub Cadet XT1 LT42 Lawn Tractor

Again, this model by Cub Cadet uses hydrostatic transmission with an adjustable seat, so you can look forward to a comfortable ride. To add to the comfort is a cup holder, and you get a soft-grip steering wheel, as well.

There are some other optional multi-seasonal attachments, which let you use this versatile lawn tractor all year round.

This lawn tractor is suitable for any lawn space under two acres with its 18 hp gas front engine and the 42-inch mowing deck.

Boasting a 547 CC engine, the XT1 features intelligent technology that provides you with up to 20% more power when and where you need it. And you won’t even notice it happening.

When you’re attempting to negotiate tough and challenging conditions, the throttle will automatically adjust to suit the terrain, freeing the engine up, so it can tackle even wet grass.

Mowing the lawn while wet isn’t recommended, but if you’re going to do it, you might as well have the best machine to do it with. And check out this article for some tips on how to cut wet grass safely.

With built-in LED headlights, you can keep working into the dusk, and the three-liter gas tank certainly lets you stay out there for as long as you need.

John Deere S180 Gas Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor

John Deere S180 ELS Gas Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor

Backed with a 24 HP engine, the S180 from John Deere is a serious lawn tractor for serious lawn maintenance.

This is the premium model in the S-series range, with a whopping 54-inch deck to make short work of larger lawns and gardens, featuring an advanced air-filtration system for prolonged engine life.

Powerfully built and super strong, it handles mowing and hauling with ease, while the ergonomic seating area is designed for comfort, with straightforward controls that are simple to grasp.

Flexible forward and rear facing travel is available, with no less than 10 different driving positions, so you can find the one that’s right for you.

It has an easy-change oil system capable of a 30-second oil change, with an easy-to-read fuel gauge, ensuring you always know exactly how much is left in the tank.

As far as lawn tractors go, in the battle between these leading brands, the S180 makes a strong case for being the best.

Husqvarna MZ61 Briggs & Stratton Zero Turn Mower

If you’re looking for a next-level lawnmower, then you’ve come to the right place. This is an absolute beast of a machine, capable of a huge 54-inch cut, backed by a Briggs & Stratton engine that boasts 27 HP.

Along with the hydrostatic transmission, this monster can offer some seriously peppy ground speeds, ensuring that commercial-sized lawn cutting job isn’t as daunting as you first thought.

Especially considering its five gallon fuel tank – which should be enough for your football field of a backyard.

The fabricated 11-gauge steel deck has an ergonomically designed lifting system, so you can adjust the height from the comfort of the operating seat.

And the seat itself offers a high back, with foam-padded armrests and built-in vibration dampeners, so you won’t get the shakes when driving this for hours on end.

The only downside seems to be the enormous price tag – which is fair enough when you consider the size and specs of this professional-grade machine.

And it even has an hour meter with service reminder – so you know exactly when it needs a tune up.

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT2 60 Zero Turn Mower

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT2 60 Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower

Cub Cadet’s take on the commercial-grade zero turn mower is this beast, with a 24 HP V-twin Kawasaki engine under the hood.

While it won’t quite make the MotoGP, it still offers some seriously impressive speeds, with the 726 CC engine housed in a continuous tubular steel frame that offers unbeatable strength.

Designed for use on properties over five acres, it’s capable of tackling gentle slopes and multiple obstacles.

The AeroForce cutting system is purported to be best-in-class, while the operator cab is decked with features to make lawnmowing a joy.

That includes a foot-operated deck lift, a vibration-dampening rubber floor, an adjustable comfort seat, and plenty of legroom for you to stretch out and enjoy the mowing experience.

Dual LED headlights keep things illuminated in lower light conditions and bad weather, and there’s a hinged, removable floor hatch, so you can access the inner workings for easy maintenance.

There’s no wonder this is an award-winning zero turn mower from Cub Cadet.

The Stand-Off: Cub Cadet vs John Deere vs Husqvarna

Now, having covered the various models of these three brands, it’s time to compare each of them with each other.

I have highlighted the models of these particular brands based on their popularity in the riding lawn mower market. Each one is a good product, but then in different ways, one will always be better than the other.

lawn with a yellow zero-turn lawn mower

Let’s Meet the Players

Cub Cadet

Founded in 1960 and headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Cub Cadet manufactures quality outdoor power equipment, including utility vehicles, lawn tractors, and snowblowers.

The baby of the group might not have quite the history of its peers, but they’ve certainly managed a lot within that time, and are a household name in their own right.

They are credited with inventing several “world firsts” including the hydrostatic transmission lawn tractor, three-stage snowblower, and robotic golf green mower.

And it was these guys who brought in the first mobile maintenance app – a technology that has been quickly replicated by other brands.

It’s fair to say that Cub Cadet has been at the forefront of innovation in the industry for over six decades.

John Deere

For farmers and forestry workers, seeing the iconic green and yellow livery of John Deere is like the equivalent of a comforting hug.

The US company was established in 1837, and they’ve grown to become the go-to choice for agriculture and construction professionals across the country.

“Nothing runs like a Deere” is their clever company slogan, and they’re not far wrong. Their tractors are built to last a lifetime.

Headquartered in Illinois, their legendary status has even made it into popular culture, including films and country songs.

They’re also a committed sustainability and climate leader in the industry, dedicated to producing more while using less.

Husqvarna

The world-famous Swedish brand is one of the oldest companies in the world, with roots back in 1689 as a rifle manufacturer.

In the years since, Husqvarna has made just about everything at one time or another.

Today, they’re more synonymous with their chainsaws, designing and building some of the best foresting machines in the world. You can take a look at some excellent examples in this review.

They’re the go-to choice for many foresters and arborists in the 43 countries they currently operate in.

They also cover every other garden power tool you can think of, and they have an extensive and wide-reaching dedicated fan base across the globe.

Husqvarna lawnmower tractor with lawn sweeper

Power

The first concern you may have about a riding lawn mower is power.

The Cub Cadet models featured in this list are not as powerful as the other two brands. However, these are smaller versions, meant for smaller lawn space.

Hence, if you are looking for a bigger and more powerful machine, you need to go for a Husqvarna or John Deere lawn tractor. This is especially applicable if your surrounding terrain is hilly.

Don’t worry, if the above models didn’t interest you, we’ve put together a separate article on the best lawn mowers for hills.

Price Tag

An essential aspect of any product is its cost.

However, excellent a product may be, we are always interested in how much we need to spend on it. However big your property may be, you will always have budget considerations.

From the budget point of view, I find the Cub Cadet models the most cost-effective. But if money isn’t a constraint, then either of the other brands, Husqvarna or John Deere, fall within a similar price range.

gardener mows the lawn with trimmer near to lawn mower tractor

Ease of Use

I feel that this is a tricky issue. The winner here, of course, goes to the Cub Cadet models with their small, compact machines.

The bigger and heavier machines from Husqvarna and John Deere are relatively more challenging to handle.

I must say here, that the John Deere Z345R Zero-Turn lawn tractor is easy to handle due to its lightweight controls and easy maneuverability. Hence if you are looking for a lighter vehicle, either of the Cub Cadet models is easy to use.

However, if you are to get a heavier model, then you would be looking at the John Deere models in terms of ease of use.

Overall Efficiency

Having sifted through the information regarding the performance of the models of these three brands, I chose the John Deere Z345R zero-turn gas riding lawn mower as the clear overall winner.

When you are looking for efficiency, it means that you want the maximum output from the minimum effort you put in. And that is what you get from this model by John Deere.

When you want a machine that gets your work done effortlessly, no matter what volume of work is involved, you don’t look at things like price or size. You need to get the job done fast and efficiently.

Hence, with all its useful features, and a top speed of seven miles per hour, you’ve got a clear winner! This puts the Husqvarna and Cub Cadet models in the second and third place, respectively.

man mowing grass with zero turn mower at the large garden

FAQs

I have tried to cover as many features as possible with these riding lawn mower models. However, after reading all this, you might still have a few questions in light of the information I have provided.

So, here are answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) should you have them.

Is Husqvarna better than John Deere?

John Deere has its fair share of complaints. But it has been pointed out that none of these have been consistent and most complaints tend to be minor.

On the other hand, Husqvarna has received a dose of bad publicity about expensive repairs and misleading warranty information. Further, consider the long-term performance of John Deer Vs Husqvarna, after about say, four years.

The percentage of John Deere lawn tractors breaking down is relatively less than that of the Husqvarna machines of the same category.

Is Cub Cadet better than John Deere?

When it comes to consistent quality, John Deere always wins hands down.

The Cub Cadet riding lawn mowers are quite versatile in their operation, and even slightly cheaper than the John Deere ones in the same class. And, you get a relatively equal cutting performance.

However, if you put both brands side-by-side, John Deere has a lower failure rate.

Does John Deere make their own engines?

Here, the answer is yes, and no. John Deere makes their own engines of higher-power capacity, like 100 hp and above. They have a diesel engine manufacturing plant in Waterloo, Iowa.

However, for smaller engines of less than 100 hp, the company uses other brands like Kawasaki, Briggs & Stratton, and Yanmar Diesels.

How many hours does a John Deere lawn tractor last?

The durability of any lawn tractor has a lot to do with how you handle the preventive maintenance schedules. If you follow the guidelines provided in the service manual, you can get the most extended life out of your lawn tractor.

However, there is a consensus among users that you can get about 500 hours to 1,000 hours out of the smaller models, and the bigger models will give you from 1,500 hours to 2,000 hours.

But, as long as the spare parts of your lawn tractor are available, it can last almost forever!

How to deal with a lawn tractor that won’t start?

There are several reasons for the engine not starting. To begin with, check if there is sufficient fuel in the tank. Now turn the blades manually to check if they are free or if they’ve jammed for any reason.

The most common reason for a lawn tractor to have starting problems is a faulty spark plug. Check to see if the spark plug is fitted tightly enough and that the cables are in place and not damaged.

You can clean the plug or change it if it seems to be damaged. You could also check the choke/cable to see everything is functioning correctly.

If you’ve left your lawn tractor outside and idle in the winter months, then you probably need to replace the fuel.

Why does a lawn tractor stop working on wet grass?

Wet grass is sticky because it tends to get pulled up by the mower blades along with a considerable quantity of mud. This clogs up the blades and the internal parts.

Also, the soil becomes soft, and the tractor’s wheels start to sink into the dirt, which can cause the cutting deck almost to touch the surface.

Ultimately, the blades get jammed with mud and the engine stalls. This is extremely dangerous for electric-powered machines because unless equipped with an overload protector, the motor could quickly burn out.

How can you make a lawnmower engine be less noisy?

Since these engines are mostly rather basic, two-stroke engines, they are inherently noisier than their more refined counterparts.

Also, they are air-cooled and not water-cooled. Air-cooled engines are louder. The mufflers of water-cooled engines are covered by a water jacket, which cuts down the noise considerably.

However, you can modify the muffler, but the more you stifle the exhaust, the more chance is there to compromise on the power of the engine.

But, be aware that a poorly-maintained engine is likely to be noisier. So, ensure to maintain your engine regularly and see that it is properly tuned.

What is the speed of the blades of a riding lawn mower?

Many factors decide the speed of a riding lawnmower. For example, the engine tends to slow down a bit while the mower is climbing a hill.

However, the average speed of riding lawn mower blades is usually between 2,800 RPM to 3,200 RPM. The rotational speed of the blades at the tips can be between 200 MPH to 250 MPH.

How can I sharpen my lawnmower blade?

Dismantle the blade carefully noting the location. Hold the blade in a vise and use a file to sharpen the dull edges at a 45-degree angle. Take care not to sharpen excessively.

Once done, replace the blade and repeat with all the other blades.

If you don’t have a file, not to worry, check out this article on the best lawn mower blade sharpeners. Yes, there are other options out there!

Conclusion

I hope that you found this article useful. By now, you should have a better idea about the pros and cons of these three models of riding lawnmowers.

The one thing I think we can take away after looking at these three brands is that there really isn’t a best or worst in these products. Each person has a unique user experience, with their individual requirements.

Hence, if you are looking for a suitable riding lawn mower, you need to be aware of what your needs are and your circumstances. The information in this comparative review of Cub Cadet vs John Deere vs Husqvarna should help you make a suitable choice for yourself.

Happy mowing!

Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.

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