The Cub Cadet and Ariens zero-turn mower trademarks have been in the market long enough to be fully recognized by residential and commercial landscapers worldwide. So much so that in a list of the most reliable mowing machines for the long run, there’s no doubt that you’d find both brands bold and sure.

If there’s one thing I can applaud for both the Cub Cadet and Ariens zero-turn corporation, is that they manufacture superb residential purpose ZTRs; infusing their entry-level machinery with commercial benefits to purposefully improve your mowing experience.

However, the Ariens is a much better zero-turn brand in comparison to the Cub Cadets for the money’s worth. They are more comfortable, more maneuverable, cut much better, and all for a cheaper price. Although the Cub Cadets are quite a competitive brand, the Ariens company is just a lot more experienced in providing you, the user, with a much better ordeal.

Using your requirements, I’ll be critically comparing the strengths and weaknesses of the Cub Cadet and Ariens zero-turn mowers to see which brand will serve you a satisfying mow job. Now, let’s choose your winning z-turn brand!

ariens or cub cadet zero turn mower

A Critical Comparison: Cub Cadet Vs Ariens ZTR

The best way to compare is to get a hang of the essential characteristics of both brands of zero-turns to understand how they correlate to each other. Read on!

A Combat Of Power

Power easily determines how productive your mower will be as it is responsible for surging energy through every mobile part of the machine to carry out the grass-cutting task. What is worse than slapping a fortune for a machine that would groan and faint at the slightest obstacle?

The Cub Cadets are equipped with either the Kawasaki, Kohler or Briggs & Stratton engines that offer a horsepower ranging from 22 to 35 respectively, starting from the entry-level residential models up the line to the high-end commercial grade. It is safe to say the machines are sufficiently qualified to tackle the adequate work labor in alignment with the model you select.

On the other hand, the Ariens zero-turn mowers are powered by the same brand of engines as the Cub Cadet –Kawasaki, Kohler, and Briggs & Stratton– that power the machines with capacity ranging from 19 hp to 23.5 hp from the entry-level to the commercial grade models.

The verdict is clear as day; in combat for power, the Cub Cadets will defeat the Ariens with a breeze. It simply states that for every equivalent model of both brands, the Cub Cadets will be 2-3 hp more substantial in comparison to the Ariens ZTR.

Seeing which zero-turn brand is more powerful, I will highly recommend you get a Cub Cadet z-turn mower if your lawn or field is highly flavored with power-thirsty features like hills, ditches, tough aggressive grass, and wet terrain. It’s much better to be properly equipped for the long run.

Cut Quality And Overall Deck Function

Cut quality for zero-turn mowers is majorly determined and is just as crucial as the power of the machine itself. What good is a mowing machine that cuts like grazing cattle?

Hitting the nail on the head, the Ariens have a much, much better cut quality in comparison to the Cub Cadet ZTRs. If you put both brands side by side and run a few lanes with them on an open field, the first difference you would notice is the severely floating (mostly wiggling) deck of the Cub Cadet. Some people might argue that it’s the “floating deck” effect to ward off scalping, but the cut quality it delivers is absolutely unwelcome so much so that they made it to the worst zero-turn brands list.

Stragglers and uneven cuts are significant for decks that shake around as you mow, and the decks are also prone to wreckage since the bolts are constantly disturbed. Even worse, any attempt to step on the Cub Cadet zero-turn deck will lead to serious consequences. To paint the picture, you couldn’t stand on the deck with both legs on– it floats around like a skateboard!

Fortunately, the Ariens zero-turn mowers have a significantly sturdier deck with much better cut quality. No wonkiness or excessive floating that will disturb the striping and function of your machine. If you are mostly seeking a mower that cuts well, I support the Ariens for this cause immensely.

A Test For Speed

Speed is necessary if you’d rather not spend the whole of your day mowing under the sun. In almost every case, speed is directly associated with the power of the zero-turns. For the Cub Cadet ZTRs, you run at 7.5 to 14 miles per hour based on the capacity of the engines the model is paired with. This means that the velocity of the machine is proportional to the grade of the model. The higher up the series of the model you go, the faster it gets. All the same, the speed is highly satisfactory for each Cub Cadet zero-turn model.

For the Ariens ZTRs, they go from 6 to 8.5 miles per hour starting from the entry-level models to the commercial grades, which isn’t quite impressive, especially when you compare them to the Cub Cadets.

Speed is highly essential for lawn tenders and landscapers because not only will the job be completed faster, you save more time from being registered on the hour meter and in turn increase the lifespan of your mower.

Considering this speed analysis, the Cub Cadets are much, much faster in comparison to the Ariens Zero-turn mowers.

Maneuverability & Smooth Riding

Maneuverability is highly associated with the transmission system as power is to the engines of the zero-turn mower. Unlike speed, the ability to swiftly juggle the movement of your mower is termed maneuverability. It is quite functional for people with highly-obstacled lawns where you have flower beds, rocks, and trees lying around the field.

Both the Cub Cadet and Ariens ZTRs are equipped with dual hydrostatic transmissions for premium maneuverability, and they deliver this purpose superbly. However, in terms of which mower steers smoothly, you’d find the Ariens to be much more sensitive to steering in comparison to the Cub Cadet. There couldn’t be a definite reason for this; it could be anything from dampeners, to the steering levers, or even the weight of the machine. This doesn’t mean the Cub Cadets don’t steer smoothly at all, it simply means you’d have better fun handling the Ariens instead.

If steering through your lawn or field with ease is a great standpoint for your decision-making, I will suggest the Ariens zero-turns– you’d be in and out of loops in no time.

Traction And Stability

Traction and stamina are highly beneficial if you mow through hills, bumpy terrain, and slippery wet slopes. You’d be pleased to find out that one of the significant aspects of the Cub Cadet ZTRs is handling slopes quite easily. The machines were built and engineered to tackle elevated terrain that would be a problem for other zero-turn brands including the Ariens. Although the Ariens do a fair job on wavy or angled terrain, you simply couldn’t compare the performance to the Cub Cadets.
For this reason, I recommend you purchase a Cub Cadet if your lawn is rather hilly, sloped at intervals, and if you prioritize your safety as much as you should.

User Comfort

Comfort is vital when dealing with zero-turn mowers, and often one of the most neglected features that newbies consider. For a machine that costs quite a fortune, dreading a ride is the last thing you’d want to deal with especially when your lawn or yard is rather bumpy, filled with ditches, or if you truly value your waist.

The Cub Cadet ZTRs are equipped with comfortable seats, but you’d only find them on high-grade residential and commercial-grade models. The entry-level residential models do have seats that may be manageable if your lawn is not heavily featured, but not at all comfortable if you’d attempt to defeat ditches and swells. Also, they are not precisely great quality and are a tad too small for individuals on the big side. It’s evident that while most of the attention was thrown into other aspects of the machine, a lot less was applied to the comfortability and usability of the machine itself, which is quite a bummer.

For the Ariens, there is a little more room in the entry-level model seats which I consider a win, also the seats are certainly more luscious and well-padded in comparison to the Cub Cadets. For the commercial grade Ariens ZTRs, I consider the comfort to be likewise to the Cub Cadets as they are both well-padded with fully functional suspension seats which will help a great deal if your lawn throws highs and lows at you.

Considering this deliberation, I suggest you choose the Ariens zero-turn mowers instead if comfort is one of the key features you’re looking for. Although, this only applies to entry-level machines, especially if you plan to work on a farm with them.
If you’re seeking a commercial grade or a residential-commercial grade model, you can select from any brand to suit your comfort.

Price Tags

In terms of pricing, both brands are fair and similar. For the Ariens ZTR, you start at $3,500 for the entry-level models and go well up to the commercial-grade model at $8,500 progressively.

The Cub Cadet, likewise, starts at $3,500 but goes well towards $20,000 from entry-level to high-grade commercial models.

In terms of value for money, you’d be getting much more quality with the Ariens for the same-priced models. The only major difference is that Cub Cadets offer more variety of zero-turns with different significant functions that the Ariens brand hasn’t modeled yet. However, for each equivalent model of both brands, the Ariens will serve you better for the price.

Should I Get The Cub Cadet Or Ariens Zero-Turn Mower?

If the Cub Cadet ZTR is appealing to you, chances are you would prefer a mower that is thoroughly efficient in speed and power, which are very understandable standpoints. Perhaps you are a professional landscaper that tackles the roughest, most aggressive turf most of the time and would rather be fully prepared for such a scenario. In that case, I highly suggest the Cub Cadet over the Ariens as they’d be more equipped for that kind of duty.

If on the other hand, you’d rather be able to achieve an aesthetically pleasing cut quality with better comfort and maneuverability, the Ariens is your machine for that purpose. They also come to be a lot cheaper in comparison to Cub Cadets for better value. If I was placed with the same question, I would rather my zero-turn mowing machine present me with the best cut I can get for the money’s worth.

Closing The Curtains…

It’s easy to tag the winning brand when there’s competition, but at the end of the day, you only can decide which brand is best for you. The finest way to select which one suits you best is by thoroughly considering the features of your yard. That way, you can use the strengths and weaknesses of each zero-turn brand to decide which type will deliver the job well for you. Good luck with your adventure!

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