Cub Cadet XT1 Lawn Tractor Review
Article by Mark Trotta
Powered by either a single-cylinder gas engine, twin cylinder gas engine, or electric motor, the Cub Cadet XT1 can be had in a choice of 42-, 46-, 50-, or 54-inch deck sizes.
Cub Cadet History
Established in 1960 as part of International Harvester, the Cub Cadet division targeted homeowners with large lawns and private gardens. In the fall of 1965, Cub Cadet introduced the world's first hydrostatic drive lawn tractor. International Harvester sold the Cub Cadet division to MTD corporation in 1981. Since then, they have continued to offer top-quality lawn and garden equipment.
The XT1 and XT2 Enduro Series tractors began in 2015. The XT1 models are geared for the homeowner/consumer, while the XT2 models are of a more heavy-duty commercial grade.
Cub Cadet XT1 Features
- 3-gallon rust-proof (plastic) gas tank
- 12 deck-height settings
- Can mow grass in reverse
- LED high-illumination headlights
- Cup holder and two small bins for storage
Cub Cadet XT1 LT42
The base XT1 model is the LT42 which has a 42" mower deck, which is suitable for a lawn that is a 1/2-acre or less. It is also suited for larger lawns that have several landscape features to mow around.
The XT1 LT42 is powered by a Kohler 541cc single-cylinder engine.
42" vs 46" Mower Deck
If your lawn is an acre or more, a riding mower with a 46" deck will save you time on the overall cutting. Because of the wider strip of grass cut in one pass, you spend less time mowing.
In 2022, Cub Cadet introduced the XT1 LT50 FAB, which features a 50" deck and powered by a 24-horsepower Kohler 7000 twin cylinder engine.
Cub Cadet Electric Lawn Tractor
The XT1-LTE (lithium ion) electric series began in 2019. Physical differences between the gas-powered and electric-powered XT1's include black wheels vs white wheels, and blue accent striping on the hood and steering wheel. As of 2022, the LTE is still available with a 42" deck only.
Cub Cadet states that a fully charged LTE can mow up to two acres, or 1.5 hours, with a recharge taking about four hours. The sole reason I did not consider the electric-powered version was the price--it was twice the price of a similar gas-powered model.
Cub Cadet XT1 LT46
We purchased our XT1 LT46 Cub Cadet in 2021, which replaced our old John Deere L-series tractor. Powering the tractor is a 22-horsepower Kohler twin-cylinder engine with a carburetor. A fuel-injected version is also available.
The twin-blade 46" deck is made from stamped 12-gauge steel, which is treated to automotive-grade corrosion protection. This extra step offers superior resistance to rust and aging.
Riding The Cub
On first impression, I couldn't believe how easy the steering was, just like what people were saying in reviews. Even after the first year of lawn cuts, I still find myself thinking how effortless the steering is. And with a tight 16-inch turn radius, I forfeited nothing by going from a 42" to a 46" deck.
The seat is comfortable and adjusts easily.
Here in North Carolina, lawns need to be cut every week from March to November, so the Cub gets put into use about 30-35 times a year.
Weighing in at 580-pounds, XT1 dimensions are 68" length x 50" height x 42.5" width. The 46" deck models are a little wider (46.5"). The hood is plastic, which saves a few pounds of weight.
The XT1 transmission is a sealed unit and does not require any maintenance. The fluid cannot be checked nor can it be added.
Cub Cadet XT1 vs John Deere S120
These two models come out in a tie for both reliability and cost in nearly every lawn tractor review I have seen. After previously owning a John Deere tractor, I considered another one, but in my opinion the Cub XT1 is better looking.
Perhaps the most useful lawn tractor attachment is a leaf and mulching bagger attachment.
Read: Install Bagger on Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor
Many other accessories are available as well, such as an armrest kit, front bumper, pull-behind trailer, sun shade, snow plow, snow cab, and others.
Cub Cadet Tractor Cover
When I purchased the new tractor, I also bought a genuine Cub Cadet cover #49917. Like all quality tractor covers, it's water repellent and doesn't shrink or stretch.
A nice feature on the Cub Cadet cover is the reinforced flap on the back, which covers a row of small air vents. These allow air circulation, which helps prevent ballooning in strong winds.
Will The Cover Fit With The Bagger Unit On?
With the bagger installed, the cover will still fit the mower, but it does not fit over the bagger.
Maintenance and Care
Cub Cadet XT series mowers have a hose attachment on the deck called the 'Smart Jet' deck washing system. It allows fast, easy, under-deck cleaning.
There is a water port on the left side of the deck. A garden hose gets screwed onto a nozzle adapter, the other side of the adapter has a quick connect for the deck port. Turn on the water supply, start the tractor, and engage the PTO. Not only does this rinse out grass clippings, it also removes any unwanted corrosive chemicals. The owners manual recommends doing this after after lawn cutting.
Overall Build and Quality
The Cub Cadet is a U.S. made lawn tractor that's built to last (some individual parts are sourced from other countries). It is not an economy tractor, nor is it intended to be such. A three-year unlimited-hours warranty includes the powertrain, but does not include wear items (filters, tires, deck blades, etc.)
I have found the XT1 to be a high quality, easy to operate lawn tractor. Aside from fresh gasoline, this machine will ask very little from you. For homeowner use, regular maintenance includes a yearly tune-up (air filter and spark plugs), oil changes, and occasional blade sharpening. In today's suburbia, the Cub Cadet XT1 continues to be a very popular lawn tractor.
The tractor only comes with one, so I bought an extra lawn tractor key in yellow for two reasons. First, it matches the tractor. Second, if I drop it on the lawn, I can find it easily!