42-inch Electric Zero Turn Mowers – Ryobi, EGO, or Cub Cadet? Which One Is Best For You?

This article covers the EGO POWER+ 42” Z6, Ryobi Ryobi RY48ZTR100 / RY48ZTR75, and the Cub Cadet ZT1 42E electric ZTRs

Affordable electric-powered zero-turn mowers are a relatively new product, but the market is maturing quickly and there are now three worthy competitors for your lawn. The three mowers in this article are priced about the same as mid-range gas-powered zero-turn mowers. These electric ZTR’s have a comparable power output and cut quality to a residential gas zero turn mower.

One major benefit of having an electric zero turn mower is that you never need to pay for gas, oil changes, spark plugs, belts, and pulleys; just keep your batteries charged to get the job done. No fuel can, no trips to the gas station, and no gas stored in your garage that can go bad. These factors can easily save you $200 a year in operating expenses.

In this article, I am going to compare the three mowers and help you decide which one is best for you. I’ll rate each mower as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a number of key points.

When you are done with this article – check out my YouTube Channel! That’s were all the hands-on reviews are done!

ego_zt4204l electric ztr

Who Are These Electric Zero Turn Mowers For?

1st. Cub Cadet – For the homeowner who wants the best cut first, the best ZTR second, and is excited it comes in a battery version. Cub Cadet ZT1 42E zero-turn mower will mow up to two and a half acres on one charge and the lithium-ion battery can be quickly charged to any amount if you have “just a little more” lawn than that. It is straightforward and simple to use. This mower also comes with the best dealer service network and support of the three mowers in this article.

2nd. Ryobi – For the homeowner that wants a good cutting electric ZTR and doesn’t want to spend a lot of money upfront. The Ryobi RY48ZTR100 and RY48ZTR75 will mow up to 3 acres and two acres respectively using cost-efficient AGM lead-acid batteries. The repair network and support is currently poor.

3rd. EGO – For someone who likes all the latest tech. Three different mowing modes and a control panel that looks like it just came out of the SpaceX rocket. Wrap around lights cradle you in illumination for those night trips around the yard. Will mow up to 2 acres on a charge – more with the optional batteries. The EGO’s biggest claim to fame is swappable batteries. Since this is EGO’s first riding mower we have no idea what the repair network and support will look like.

Who Has The Most Experience With Electric Zero-Turn Mowers?

1st. Cub Cadet – Cub Cadet has had an electric zero-turn mower now for over 8 years. They have learned a lot in that time. In addition. the new Cub Cadet ZT1 42E mower is based on the proven Ultima series gas-powered ZTRs.

2nd. Ryobi – Ryobi introduced the 38-inch rider in 2017 and the 42-inch ZTR introduced last year is based off that experience.

3rd. EGO – While EGO has had cordless walk-behind mowers for a few years now this is their first entry into riding mowers.

42-inch Electric Zero Turn Mowers - Ryobi, EGO, or Cub Cadet? Which One Is Best For You? 1

Let’s Talk About The Batteries For Electric Zero-Turn Mowers First.

In my opinion, the quality of the mower and how well it cuts is first but having good batteries that will handle the loads and last a long time are almost as important.

The three Electric ZTRs in this article use two different types of batteries – AGM Lead-Acid and Lithium-ion. Charge times to mow 2 acres plus range from 2 hours to over 10 hours. I’ll go into the differences below the chart.

BATTERY Ryobi EGO Cub Cadet
Battery Type AGM Lithium-ion Lithium-ion
Battery Voltage 48 volts 56 volts 56 volts
Battery Amps 100 Ah 40 Ah* 60 Ah
Battery Watt-Hours 4000 Wh* 2000 Wh 3000 Wh
Battery Warranty 1 Year 3 years 4 years
Life Expectancy 4-6 Years 5-7 Years 10+ Years
Mow On One Charge 3 Acres 2 Acres 2.5 Acres
Charge Time 10 Hours 2 Hours* 4 Hours*
Charger Type AGM Fast Fast
Battery Gauge Digital Digital Digital
*Ryobi – Because of discharge restrictions on AGM batteries, 4000 Wh is available power. *EGO – You can add two optional 10 Ah batteries for 60 Ah. *EGO – Charging time is for (40 Ah) four 10 Ah batteries. *Cub Cadet – Charging time is for a fully discharged 60 Ah battery.

Safety First: Do not charge Electric ZTR mower batteries in rain, or in wet locations.
◾ Do not use a battery-operated ride-on mower in rain.
◾ Do not wash the ride-on mower with a hose; avoid getting water in the motor and electrical connections.
◾ Store electric ride-on mowers indoors – When not in use, the ride-on mower should be stored in an indoor dry, and locked-up place – out of reach of children.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ryobi, EGO, and Cub Cadet Electric ZTR Batteries

Each brand uses a different approach to what type of batteries are used and how they are constructed.

  • 1st. Cub Cadet – Uses two 56-volt, 30 Ah proprietary cell packs. The packs are also used in the 30-inch rider and the 42-inch lawn tractor. These packs have been used now for over three years and they are working well. They are .
  • No pricing yet for replacements. Individual cell packs can be replaced as they fail. The packs are easily replaced if one ever goes bad.
  • Lithium-ion batteries do not develop a memory and need not be fully discharged before recharging.
  • This lithium-ion technology allows for full speed and consistent, high-powered performance until the moment the battery hits 0% charge.
  • Fully charge the batteries in four hours and you can partially charge them if you need to without damaging them.
  • The Cub Cadet mower can be left with the charger plugged in and will not damage the batteries.

Things to know about Lithium-ion: When charging high current battery packs like the Cub Cadet and using the charging port on the EGO the proper way to connect the charger is to plug the charger into the mower first and then plug the charger into the wall outlet. When you disconnect the charger always unplug it from the wall outlet first. If you plug/unplug the charger from the mower with the charger plugged into the wall you may create a large spark at the charging plug and damage the plug.

  • 2nd. EGO – Uses standard EGO 56-volt batteries. Four 10 Ah batteries are included with the mower. (EGO batteries totaling at least 15 amps required for operation)
  • Replacements: The current price is $450 per 10 Ah battery. Individual batteries can be replaced as they fail.
  • EGO Lithium-ion batteries do not develop a memory and need not be fully discharged before recharging.
  • Every six months of storage, fully charge the EGO Lithium-Ion battery pack for the longest possible battery life.
  • When charging with the standard chargers, be sure that the EGO charger cooling fan inlet and outlet are not blocked. If you have been mowing in very dusty conditions check the battery compartment and vacuum the battery slots out before charging.
  • The new 10Ah batteries are designed for the higher charge rates from the optional CHV1600/CHV1600-FC charger. I highly recommend that you do not charge older EGO batteries in the mower – Especially the older batteries without the fuel gauge.
  • EGO parent company – Chervon is a worldwide cordless tool manufacture and I’m going to guess that they insisted that the batteries have been tested for the extreme vibration, bumps, and jolts of a zero-turn mower.
  • 3rd. Ryobi – Uses four 12-volt, 75 Ah, or 100 Ah AGM lead-acid batteries wired in series for 48 volts.
  • Replacements: They are relatively low-cost, currently about $180 each. I strongly recommended all four be replaced as a set.
  • The leading advantages of AGM over regular lead-acid deep cycle batteries is you can charge them up to five times faster than the regular batteries. AGM offers a depth-of-discharge of 80 percent compared to only 50 percent for regular deep cycle batteries. This allows you to mow up to 3 acres on one charge compared to 2 acres with conventional lead-acid batteries.
  • There are NO advantages to using AGM/lead-acid over Lithium-ion other than the initial cost.
  • Long charge time. 10 hours from full discharge – overnight is best. Should be regularly charged. Preferably once a month if in storage. Individual Lead-Acid batteries in packs like this do not charge at the same rate so even if the battery gauge says “full” I recommend leaving the charger connected for the full 10 hours so the individual batteries can equalize.
  • For longest life should be regularly discharged fully. (80% – Use them until the battery warning comes on)
  • Should be fully charged before use.

Price

  Ryobi EGO Cub Cadet
Price $4199.99* $4,999.99* $4,499.00
Where To Buy? The Home Depot Dealer
Locator
CubCadet.com
The Home Depot
Local Dealer
*Ryobi 100 Ah $4199 Ryobi 75Ah $3999.
*EGO Four 10 Ah batteries Included. Additional 10 Ah batteries $449 each.

1st. Ryobi – The Ryobi Ryobi RY48ZTR100 / RY48ZTR75 is the least expensive.

2nd. Cub CadetCub Cadet ZT1 42E is the least expensive Lithium-ion model

3rd. EGOEGO POWER+ 42” Z6 is the most expensive at $4999.99. An additional $900 is needed to equip the mower with the batteries for the two extra slots.

Where To Buy Electric Electric Zero-Turn Mowers

Please Note: If you click on a link in this article and buy anything from The Home Depot or cubcadet.com I will make a small commission from the sale.

Note: The Cub Cadet and EGO should be available to purchase in the next few weeks.

1st. Cub Cadet: Cub Cadet has the most options to buy. First, and the one I like the best, is to purchase your new mower through CubCadet.com. When you purchase there an authorized Cub Cadet dealer will assemble your new mower and make sure it is ready to mow your yard. You can pick your new mower up there, usually, the next day or you can have it delivered to your home for a reasonable fee. They will show you how to use it. CubCadet.com also offers financing at great rates (currently 0% for 24 months) Second, you can also purchase your new mower through The Home Depot. You can pick the mower up at your local store or have it delivered free to your home. Be aware, you will have to uncrate it and assemble it yourself. It’s not a difficult job and you can do it with a few hand tools. Third, you will be able to purchase it at most Cub Cadet dealers. Since this is a new item, not all dealers will have one in stock and will have to order it. Use the dealer locator to find your local Cub Cadet Dealer. Local Dealer

2nd. EGO The Z6 will be available through Lowes and other retailers. Dealer Locator. It is listed on the Lowes site but there are no details as to when it will be available, what it will cost, and if it will be available at all locations.

3rd Ryobi Both the 75 Ah and 100 Ah versions are available through The Home Depot online and you can order them in your local store. Purchases online will include free delivery to your home. (You will have to uncrate it and assemble it yourself with a few hand tools) Your local store may also have a few assembled to take home. (If you buy a store model be sure you get the box with the charger, manual, and mulch cover!) The Home Depot also offers six months financing options at this time.

Ryobi RY48ztr100 zero turn
Ryobi RY48ztr100

Getting Service and Parts For Electric Electric Zero-Turn Mowers

In my opinion getting service and parts is one of the most important details of helping you decide which electric zero-turn mower is the best for you. Be sure to register your mower and keep a copy of the receipt. (I take a picture of the receipt and keep the picture on Google photos. Google photos stores your pictures permanently so you’ll always be able to find the copy of your receipt.)

1st. Cub Cadet – If you purchased your mower through Cubcadet.com all you have to do is contact the dealer who delivered the mower to you for any questions you have or service it may need. If you buy this through The Home Depot and have questions or issues refer to the dealer locator at Cubcadet.com. Cub Cadet has the largest service network by far of the three mowers and even if you move you will be able to easily find parts and service for your Cub Cadet mower.

If you have issues with your mower I highly recommend that you talk to the dealer who delivered it to you first. If you purchased it through The Home Depot ask your store manager what local dealer to go through. All U.S. brands – not just Cub Cadet, rely on the local dealers to give you fast, efficient help. The online, social media, and phone call centers today are used for general questions and NOT for warranty/service issues.

2nd. Ryobi – If you have any questions or problems with your Ryobi mower you have to call 1-800-860-4050 to locate your nearest Authorized Ryobi Service Center. Ryobi has had a tough time in the last 12 months. Hold times for getting parts and service have been excruciatingly long and call-backs don’t happen on time. I blame some of the problems on the pandemic but I hope their 800 number service center gets it’s act together soon.

3rd. EGO – EGO is brand new to riding mowers so we really don’t know what the level of service will be. If you have any questions or problems with your EGO mower you have to call EGO Customer Service Toll-Free at 800-346-9876 to locate your nearest Authorized EGO Service Center. Like Ryobi, their customer service tanked in 2020. Hold times are in the hours and callbacks rarely happen. Personally, I had a battery fail – I called multiple times and never got through – even waiting on hold for over an hour each time. I also used their contact form and never got a response back. Again, I blame some of the problems on the pandemic but I hope their 800 number service center gets its act together soon.

Electric Electric Zero-Turn Mower Specs

Speed Ryobi EGO Cub Cadet
Mowing Speed 0-7 MPH 4 speeds 3-5 MPH
Top Transport Speed 7 MPH 8 MPH 7 MPH
High/Low Speed NA 3/5/6/7 MPH 7/4 MPH
Reverse Speed 3.5 MPH 3.5 MPH 3.5 MPH
Transmission Motors 2 Brushless 2 Brushless 2 Brushless
Cutting Deck Ryobi EGO Cub Cadet
Deck Series NA NA AeroForce
Deck Cutting Width 42 inch 42 inch 42 inch
Deck Motors 2 Brushless 2 Brushless 2 Brushless
Cutting Modes Side Discharge
Mulching
Bagging
Side Discharge
Mulching
Bagging
Side Discharge
Mulching
Bagging
Deck Wash No Yes No
Deck Material 12 ga. Stamped Steel 13 ga Steel
Deck Engagement Electric Electric Electric
Deck Construction Stamped Stamped Stamped
Spindle Construction Brushless Motor Brushless Motor Brushless Motor
Blades (s) Twin Twin The same
Cub Cadet
blades used
on gas powered decks
Cutting Height Range 1-4.5″ 1-4.5″ 1-4.5″
Anti-Scalping 2 front deck 2 front deck 2 front deck
Deck Lift Lever Lever Foot Spring Assist
Cutting Positions 12 10 15 (Dial)

In general, these decks are residential decks. They will cut your lawn well and last many years but they are not designed for commercial work. For example, the Cub Cadet is designed to cut best around 4-5 mph. Yes, the mowers will go faster and if you don’t want the “perfect” cut, you can mow faster with them.

1st. Cub Cadet – This is their good Premium Cut Ultima AeroForce deck – the same 42-inch deck that mows so well on the gas-powered Ultima series. They just replaced the spindles with electric drive motors. Each blade is powered by a brushless motor delivering optimal airflow and efficiency, along with side-discharge, bagging, and mulching capabilities.

One of the biggest advantages for the Cub Cadet is that it uses the same blades, mulch kits and bagger as the gas powered models. It will be easy to find parts from Cub Cadet and aftermarket parts for many years to come/

2nd. Ryobi – Ryobi does not specify the thickness of the deck. After reading over 200 reviews and watching all the video reviews NO ONE complains about the cut of this deck. The deck cuts well and has plenty of power for weekly mowing.

3rd. EGO – EGO does not specify the thickness of the deck but Lowes lists it as 12 ga. The EGO unit has an IPX4 weather rating meaning it is safe to splash water on it. DO NOT use a pressure washer to clean this unit. Note: EGO gets the IPX4 rating because they have a grease cup under the deck motors. The blades have to be removed and that cup needs to be filled with grease every 50 hours of operation.

Warranty Ryobi EGO Cub Cadet
Warranty 3-year 5-year Limited 3-year Unlimited Hours
Frame Warranty 3-year 3-year Lifetime Limited
Battery Warranty 1-year 3-year* 4-year limited
*EGO – Additional 2 years on 10 Ah battery packs if registered with mower within 90 days.
Chassis Ryobi EGO Cub Cadet
Frame Rugged Steel   2″X2″ Tubular Steel
Front Axle ? ? Offset 2″X2.5″ Tubular Steel
Turning Radius Zero Degrees Zero Degrees Zero Degrees
Protection     2″X2″ Rear Tubular Steel
Rear Tow Hitch Yes Yes Standard
Towing Capacity 500 lbs 250 lbs 250 lbs
Corrosion Protection ? ? Triple Guard Coating
  • 1st. Cub Cadet – The front axle is offset to the right so trimming is easier. Cub Cadet uses the same frame as the gas-powered ZTR’s. It’s rugged and built to last. Fully welded 2″x2″ tubular steel. e-coated so it won’t rust. Lifetime warranty on the frame. The floor panel where you rest your feet is removable for cleaning the deck and makes removing the deck easy. The rear of the Cub Cadet is fully protected with a high and low rear bumper. This mower can take a lot of abuse. Since this is a “ZTR first – electric mower second” design the mower is balanced well to give you great traction for slopes and turning in soft soils.
  • 2nd. Ryobi – Ryobi states they use a “rugged steel frame” It is gusseted in all the right places but they don’t state the frame’s size or thickness. The Ryobi has no rear sticking out. The batteries are tucked up under the seat. This may be a problem if your lawn is sandy because there may be too much weight on the front making the front of the mower want to dig into soft soils.
  • 3rd. EGO – EGO makes no mention of the frame’s strength or quality. From the pictures, the EGO’s rear end sticks out much farther than other ZTR’s. If you have a lot of areas with inside corners you may have to get used to the rear sticking out so far so you can mow without damaging your fences, shrubs, landscaping, and the mower itself. With all the battery weight sticking out the back I will be listening to hear if anyone complains about the front end is too light and the mower won’t handle slopes well. I also don’t know if the rear is all plastic. Plastic is not a good choice for the rear of a ZTR because they do get a lot of abuse back there.
  • I’m sorry but when I saw the rear of this mower the first thing that came to my mind was this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PCkvCPvDXk

My Opinion on the EGO: There is a lot more to building a zero-turn mower than just making it look good and then letting the marketing department sell it using fancy words. I’ve been at this since 1993 and buying a first-year mower has always had it’s challenges. I’ve bought mowers from “name-brand” companies that looked good but suffered major flaws in their first year. For example, I purchased two brand new zero-turn mowers and my crews knocked the decks off both of them in less than an hour. I purchased four standon mowers and the frames cracked within 50 hours. I’ve had engines vibrate loose, decks crack, plastic fenders fall off, electrical connections constantly vibrate loose and/or corrode. In all those cases it wasn’t wear and tear, but poor design.

So because of that experience, I’m a little concerned with the battery compartment and batteries on the EGO zero-turn mower. Will that huge poly tray hold up to the stresses of the six, 10 lb batteries and all the vibration that a zero-turn mower has flying around a yard at 6-7 mph? Will the locking mechanisms hold up or will the batteries start bouncing loose? Will all that poly crack from the stresses of mowing a lawn at 6 mph? Is the top cover cushioned in the right places so the hinges and latch don’t break? I’m worried that having all those batteries in separate compartments is like having six 10 lb bricks bouncing around inside a Sterilite tote.

Other companies like Cub Cadet put their mowers through rigorous testing. Shake tables, frame twist contraptions, corrosion baths, and hundreds of hours of outdoor, all-weather hills, bumps, water hazards, and load tests. At this point in time EGO has shown us none of those needed tests to give me the confidence of recommending a first-year product.

Controls Ryobi EGO Cub Cadet
Handle Grips Basic Adjustable Fully Adjustable Ergonomic Fully Adjustable
Brakes Foot Pedal Foot Pedal Foot Pedal
Steering Control Lap Bar Lap Bar Lap Bar
Control Panel Basic Complicated Basic
Comfort Ryobi EGO Cub Cadet
Seat Type ? High Back 20″ High Back
Seat Suspension ? Dial Adjustable Polymer suspension
Seat adjustment Yes ? Lever 4 ” Travel
Floor Mats NA NA Rubber Pad
Wheels Ryobi EGO Cub Cadet
Tread Pattern ? ? Turf Master
Front Wheels ? 11×4 – 5 in 11×6 – 5 in
Rear Wheels 18 in 18×8.5 – 8 in 20×8 – 8 in
Dimensions Ryobi EGO Cub Cadet
L/W/H 66″x49″x42″ 76″x44″ 80″X54″X47″
Weight (approx) 597 lbs.* 440 lbs.* 500 lbs.
* Ryobi – shipping weight 700lbs *Ego – with four batteries
Additional Specs Ryobi EGO Cub Cadet
Head-Lights Yes 360 LED Lighting Dual-LED
Discharge Chute Included Included Included
Mulch Kit Combo Included AMP4200* 19A30046100
Bagger ACRM005 ABK4200 19B70054100
Striping Kit NA NA 19A70060OEM
Steel Fender Kit NA NA 19A70062100
Armrest Kit NA Included 759-04252
Utility Trailer NA 250 lbs MAX 19B40026100
Model Number RY48ZTR100 RY48ZTR75 ZT4204L 34ABA2CS710
Buy From Cub Cadet NA NA 34ABA2CS710
Buy From The Home Depot The Home Depot NA Ultima ZT1-42E
*Ego – Mulching Plug Only

Summary. Which is the best Electric Electric Zero-Turn Mower?

1st. Cub Cadet: To put it plainly – the Cub Cadet ZT1 42E is simply a great mower that just happens to be battery-powered. It mows, drives, and operates just like the ZTR you now have – and it’s a LOT quieter. It is simple to operate and easy to use. It’s a zero-turn that is a mower first and it just happens to be powered by electricity…

2nd. EGO: If you are still sporting a flip-phone and don’t want one of those “new” touch screen phones because they are just too complicated the EGO is not for you. If you have bought into the EGO infrastructure or want the “latest” tech the EGO may be a good choice. The EGO has a wide range of settings so you can mow anyway you want, but it is over-complicated for just mowing your lawn. With EGO’s large fan base and marketing savvy, they will sell a lot of these mowers.

3rd. RYOBI: I have a soft spot for Ryobi mowers, They introduced the first electric mowers that mowed well and people love to use them – until the batteries start to fail. The mower itself is a great mower. I just hope Ryobi switches to Lithium-ion batteries soon.

To see all the available electric riding mowers for 2021 go here: http://Going green – The Best 2020 Electric Riding Mowers, Lawn Tractors and ZTRs

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