Cub Cadet Walk Behind Lawn Mower SC 900 Emerges as Smooth Running Shootout Winner
We brought in 24 lawn mowers on gas and battery platforms to see what's going on. The Cub Cadet SC 900 is a high-end model in the residential class with an impressive feature set. This Cub Cadet walk behind mower has a lot to offer with a 23" blade and MySpeed self-propelled drive.
- 23" blade cuts more grass per pass than most mowers
- Adjustable pace self-drive that works with you
- Excellent fuel efficiency (3.02 acre/gallon)
- Excellent cutting ability in the harshest conditions
- One tank of gasoline reduces 1.13 acres of land
- No Fuel Shutoff Valve
We use a variety of tests to reach our conclusions and welcome your comments. However, we know that many of you are looking for quality test data to verify what we say. You can find these details in our lawn mower shootout.
The faster the tip speed, the easier it is for the mower to mow. When the grass gets thicker and taller, the engine's ability to maintain tip speed determines how well it handles.
The SC 900 Cub Cadet walk behind lawn mower achieved a tip of 195.3 MPH under a light load simulating a normal weekly mowing. That's a few MPH less than the leader, but still within acceptable cuts.
Under heavy load, the Cub Cadet's 196cc engine loses less speed than its competitors, averaging 191.2 MPH. Maintaining this speed ensures that you can cut through thicker grass than most without slowing down to a crawl or cutting half the width to make it work.
We also did a real world torture cut test. We let a section of grass grow for 5 weeks, set the mower to 2.5 inches and 2.5 MPH, and ran until the blades stopped. At 54.5', the Cub Cadet SC 900 beats every other gas mower except the Honda. That's pretty impressive work considering it has an extra 2 inches of blade width.
When cutting the cord is your top priority when it comes to home gas lawn mowers, the Cub Cadet is our pick.
While refueling doesn't take as long as charging a cordless lawn mower's battery, it does take time. When you're mowing in a large yard, it can be a long walk back to the garage for fuel. Do you push the mower back or let the gas out and push it back before restarting?
Ideally, you don't have to make that choice.
Thanks to its 23-inch blade and 48-ounce fuel tank, this Cub Cadet walk-behind mower cuts a much larger area on the fuel tank than its competitors. With your self-propelled drive set at 2.5 MPH, you can mow about 1.13 acres with one tank of gasoline. Other home mowers we tested have smaller tanks, reaching only 0.83 acres.
When you're looking for a mower that can do a lot of cutting on a tank, the Cub Cadet is the clear winner.
The larger the lawn, the more gas it takes to cut it. If you're a professional, your lawn mower uses fuel every day. Just like a car, the more fuel efficient you are, the less money you'll spend on gas.
The Cub Cadet SC 900 can run for 5 hours and 15 minutes on a gallon of gasoline. Since its tank capacity is only 48 ounces, you'll have to refill it a few times, but that's about the runtime per gallon. Only the Husqvarna (5 hrs 30 mpg) was more efficient in the residential group.
Remember that blade sizes are not all the same. Thanks to the Cub Cadet walk-behind mower's larger blades, it was able to mow 3.02 acres per gallon of gas, ahead of the Husqvarna's 2.91 acres.
In this group of mowers, the Cub Cadet doesn't seem to do anything wrong, and if fuel efficiency is important to you, it's an easy recommendation.
MySpeed Self-Propelled Drives
There are multiple gas mowers with instant adjustable drive speeds to try, and the Cub Cadet has our favorite system by far. To use it, push the entire ram forward to accelerate. The way the drive works, you can easily slow down and accelerate naturally when cornering. While there are other effective adjustable drives, this is the smoothest we've used.
Typically, gas mowers stick to steel decks, and the Cub Cadet is no exception. It's heavier but more durable than plastic, and the self-propelled drive system eliminates the problem of pushing more weight.
Height Adjustment and Range
This Cub Cadet walk-behind mower is the only gas mower we've tested with true one-point height adjustment. While it's much easier than adjusting each wheel individually, some mowers with it feel flimsier. The steel deck keeps the frame nice and strong, so the one-point system is a win here.
Based on our measurements, you can adjust the mower to 6 different heights, ranging from 1.5 inches to 4.25 inches (the Cub Cadet says 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches). This range is large enough to cover almost any grass species you may have. Shortcut Bermuda lawns are the only lawns that may need to be cut short in Florida and all of our grasses can handle lawns down to 4 inches.
The Cub Cadet SC 900 sticks to the pretty standard 3 handle positions, locked to the deck by a spring loaded pin detent. The middle setting is best for most adults, and the other two settings are more comfortable for tall or short people.
Like most home gas lawn mowers, this Cub Cadet comes with everything you need to bale, side discharge, or mulch your lawn.
- Deck washing via hose connection
- SureStart recoil start
The only feature that seems to be missing is the fuel shutoff valve. When the mowing season starts to slow down, I prefer to have the gas pumped out of the fuel line because my lawn doesn't need a full tank to mow. I keep Sta-bil in my rig fuel so I don't worry about what's in the tank, but I don't want to leave anything in the carburetor if I can.
Depending on where you shop, the Cub Cadet SC 900 will run you around $449. While you can find great lawn mowers under $400 on the residential side, the Cub Cadet's performance and feature set still offer solid value at this price. They also back it with a 4-year warranty—the best of any gas lawn mower we've tested.
the bottom line
The Cub Cadet SC 900 performed well in our shootout, beating quality competitors from Craftsman, Husqvarna and Troy-Bilt by a solid margin. Its armor really doesn't have any weaknesses, and it earns our top recommendation for a home gas lawn mower.
Cub Cadet Walk Behind Mower Manufacturer Specifications
- Model: Cub Cadet SC 900
- Engine: 196cc Cub Cadet OHV
- Engine Start: Recoil with SureStart Guarantee
- Mulch Plug: Included
- Handle/Handle: Foldable adjustable loop with indent and overmolded handle
- Approximate Weight: 100 lbs
- Bagging: 3.1 bushels. rear, dust bag
- Cutting system: Cub Cadet Signature Cut
- Cutting Height: 1.25″ – 3.75″
- Deck Cleaning: Patented SmartJet High Pressure Deck Cleaning System
- Height adjustment: single lever, 6 positions
- Cutting options: 3-in-1 bag, overlay, side discharge
- Deck: 23" steel
- Front/Rear Wheels: 9″/9″ Newly Treaded Wheels
- Warranty: 4-year limited warranty
- MSRP: $449
For more information on the Cub Cadet SC 900, visit www.cubcadet.com.