Cub Cadet ZT1, ZT2, ZT3 Residential Zero-Turn Mowers – Which One Is Best For You
With over 400 different zero-turn mowers available in the U.S. deciding which mower is best for you can be an impossible task.
Many mower brands focus on commercial zero-turns. (That’s where the money is) They just make a residential model or two so you can “buy the brand” for your home. Cub Cadet, on the other hand, built its reputation on building the best homeowner mowers first. They have the experience in residential, so the quality is what you expect. They have over twenty-seven different residential zero-turn mower models available ranging from economical models for your small suburban yard to heavy-duty models for your acreages and farm lawns. In addition, they have steering wheel models that will handle slopes and berms better than any other residential zero-turn on the market.
The Cub Cadet Ultima Series is among the best value residential zero-turn mowers available.
The Cub Cadet Ultima Series has the largest selection of affordably priced, best value residential zero-turn mowers. (One of the models is the most searched for ZTR on Google*) This article will cover the Ultima ZT1, ZT2, ZT3 series mowers most of us will buy.
Let’s discuss which Cub Cadet zero-turn mower is the best choice for you.
I rate products differently than most sites. I not only look at the price, the craftsmanship, and the quality of cut but also the dealer network, ease of warranty service, and parts networks that support the product. That is what sets Cub Cadet apart from the rest.
This article will discuss:
- Models starting at $2699 up to $4999. A separate article will cover the mowers priced up to $8199
- Features that make Cub Cadet Ultima ZT the best value.
- What Does It Mean to Have the Best-in-Class Cut?
- Where To Buy
- How to pick the best zero-turn mower for you
- The Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers
Features that make Cub Cadet Residential the best value.
Engines: When it comes to zero-turn mowers Cub Cadet is leading the way in engine tech.
- Cub Cadet EFI: Offered on select models EFI provides reliable starting, better fuel economy, and IntelliPower™ Technology* which adds more power when you need it most. Intellipower delivers up to 20% more available power to the engine, resulting in less bogging down, higher blade tip speed and a consistent cut when mowing in heavy, wet grass
- Kohler Professional 7000 series: The 7000 series has quickly gained the reputation as one of the best residential lawnmower engines on the market. Reliable, fuel-efficient, and will last you many years.
- Kawasaki FR: The Kawasaki FR is arguably the most popular residential zero turn mower engine. It’s smooth, reliable and long-lasting.
- Kawasaki FX: The FX series is Kawasaki’s commercial series and Cub Cadet offers it on the high-end residential ZTRs.
Transmissions. Transmissions define what you can pull and how well the mower will last over the years mowing slopes. There are seven hydrostatic transmissions commonly used in residential zero-turns by all the mower brands. Cub Cadet uses five of these transmissions and they are matched correctly to the ZTR and what you expect the mower to do. Cub Cadet sizes the transmissions in the different series for the weight of the mower, the rider, a bagger and how rough your lawn is.
- (Not Used by Cub Cadet) Hydro-Gear ZT 1800 up to 100 lb-ft, up to 6 mph, Total Weight 667 LBS, Axle Shaft Diameter .75 in (Lighter duty than the TL-200 transmission found in your cheap lawn tractors)
- (Not Used by Cub Cadet) Hydro-Gear ZT 2100 up to 210 lb-ft, up to 7 mph, Total Weight 800 LBS, Axle Shaft Diameter .75 in (Comparable to the K46 in your lawn tractor)
- (Ultima ZT1 Series) Hydro-Gear EZT 2200 (EXT) up to 215 lb-ft, up to 7 mph, Total Weight 900 LBS, Axle Shaft Diameter 1.00 in. Residential mowers, flat/gently sloping, 2-bin baggers, 3-5 acres at a time. (Comparable to the K46 in your lawn tractor but with stronger axles)
- (Ultima ZT2 Series) Hydro-Gear ZT 2800 up to 300 lb-ft, up to 8 mph, Total Weight 1000 LBS, Axle Shaft Diameter 1.00 in. Residential mowers, slopes/hills, 3-bin baggers, 5-7 acres at a time. (Comparable to the K58 in your garden tractor)
- (Ultima ZT3, ZTX4 Series) Hydro-Gear ZT 3100 up to 350 lb-ft, up to 9 mph, Total Weight 1200 LBS, Axle Shaft Diameter 1.125 in. Entry-Level Commercial, multiple lawns up to 10 acres a day. (Comparable to the K66 in your garden tractor)
- (Ultima ZTX5 Series) Hydro-Gear ZT 3200 up to 470 lb-ft, up to 9 mph, Total Weight 1500 LBS, Axle Shaft Diameter 1.125 in. Standard-Duty commercial, multiple lawns up to 10 hours a day.
- (Ultima ZTX6 Series) Hydro-Gear ZT 3400 up to 500 lb-ft, up to 10 mph, Total Weight 1600 LBS, Axle Shaft Diameter 1.125 in. Heavy-Duty commercial, You won’t be able to wear it out mowing residential lawns. Most commercial mowers in the $7000-$12,000 price range use this transmission.
Frame. Cub Cadet redesigned their entire line last year and upgraded the chassis to continuous, welded tubular steel. This gives you a frame that won’t flex or crack and gives you the best strength and durability.
- ZT1, ZT2, ZT3: High-strength, continuous square 2” x 2” tubular steel frame with fully E-Coat lower frame and Triple Guard Corrosion Defense System™ protects against wear and tear.
- ZTX4, ZTX5, ZTX6: 1.5″ x 3″ tubular steel frame with fully E-Coat lower frame and Triple Guard Corrosion Defense System™ protects against wear and tear.
- Stamped: Cub Cadet’s stamped decks are among the best cutting decks. They are the best for bagging and mulching. Found on a few 42 and 46-inch models. 13 ga steel.
- Fabricated: ZT2, ZT3. Most zero-turn mowers have switched to fabricated decks because most ZTRs mow faster than lawn tractors and fabricated decks are stronger and will take more punishment when hitting trees, posts, and foundations. Cub Cadet AeroForce 11 ga fabricated decks cut well and owners can’t see the difference between these decks and a stamped deck’s cut quality.
- Heavy-Duty Fabricated: ZTX4, ZTX5, ZTX6. 10-gauge AeroForce Max™ fabricated steel / double plate reinforced spindle mounts / 7-gauge side wraps /skid plate.
Accessories: Cub Cadet has the largest selection of accessories and attachments for your lawn and garden tractor. In addition, they will pull the thousands of attachments from Agri-Fab, Ohio Steel and others.
Ultima ZT or Ultima ZTX?
Ultima Series ZT. Home Owner (Ultima ZT1, Ultima ZT2, Ultima ZT3)
The Ultima ZT series is what most of you will buy. You get great performance and a reasonable price. It’s a great value!
- ZT 2200 (ZT1), ZT 2800 (ZT2) and ZT3100 (ZT3) transmissions give you smooth control
- The ultimate mowing experience: The Ultima Series ZT gives you enhanced strength and durability, redefined comfort, uncompromised performance and the best cut in its class. Ideal for yard sizes up to 5 acres.
- The Ultima Series ZT’s continuous square tubular frame is designed for enhanced strength and durability.
- Settle into a fully adjustable command center and experience next-level comfort. High-back cushioned seats with armrests give best-in-class comfort.
- The Aeroforce™ deck has been independently tested against top competitors and proven to deliver the best cut in its class.
- 3-year / unlimited-hour warranty. Plus, limited lifetime warranty on frame
Ultima Series ZTX. High-end Homeowner (Ultima ZTX4, Ultima ZTX5, Ultima ZTX6)
Cub Cadet has expanded the Ultima line this year to include heavy-duty, top of the line residential zero-turns built like commercial machines: great engines, reinforced decks, top-of-the-line bagging capabilities and speeds up to 9 MPH. Ideal for yard sizes up to 12 acres.
- Commercial-grade decks for enhanced strength and durability over time while delivering a consistent, quality cut in challenging conditions.
- Fully adjustable command center and a smoother ride.
- 4 year / 500-hour limited warranty backed by a nationwide dealer support network for the ultimate peace-of-mind.
The Ultima Series ZTX mowers are not covered in this article – the Ultima ZTX series is available at your local dealer and online through cubcadet.com. Online shopping made easy. Buy online at cubcadet.com and schedule your product to be delivered right to you, ready to work. If you need it sooner, you can pick-up your order from your dealer the next day.
Where to buy
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The Ultima ZT series is available at The Home Depot., Select models will also be available from Tractor Supply, Farm & Fleet, and at your local Cub Cadet dealer. All models are available online through cubcadet.com. Online shopping made easy. Buy online through the stores above or at cubcadet.com and schedule your product to be delivered right to you, ready to work. If you need it sooner, you can pick-up your order from your selected dealer the next day.
The Ultima ZTX series is available at your local dealer and online through cubcadet.com. Online shopping made easy. Buy online at cubcadet.com and schedule your product to be delivered right to you, ready to work. If you need it sooner, you can pick-up your order from your selected dealer the next day.
How to pick the best zero-turn mower for you
- How big is your lawn? How much do you mow each week?
- Do you have slopes?
- Is your lawn rough?
- I have a complete article on choosing the best zero-turn mower for you here. How to choose the right zero turn mower.
The Ultima Series ZT Zero-Turns
ZT1 42 Ultima Series ZT
The ZT1 42 was the most popular zero-turn mower on the market last year and that popularity continues this year. (Google Trends*)
$2,699.00 List Price. Check Price and Buy Here: It is available at The Home Depot., Select models will also be available from Tractor Supply, Farm & Fleet, and at your local Cub Cadet dealer. All models are available online through cubcadet.com. Online shopping made easy. Buy online through the stores above or at cubcadet.com and schedule your product to be delivered right to you, ready to work. If you need it sooner, you can pick-up your order from your selected dealer the next day.