Do you think a zero turning radius mower would make mowing your lawn easier, but it would be too expensive? Then the Cub Cadet Ultima Series ZT is for you. This line of mowers costs about the same as equivalent lawn and garden tractors without cutting corners on components. This makes them a great choice for larger lawns filled with landscape features. If you’re new to ZTRs, the model choices can be confusing. This breakdown will help you pick the features you need to take care of your lawn.

Decks

A mower’s top speed is only important during transport. To get a good cut, you’ll go the same speed on any mower. As a result, deck width is the most important factor in determining mowing speed. However, wider isn’t automatically better. A smaller deck can get into tight spaces, and it tilts less from left to right, getting a cleaner cut with less scalping on uneven terrain.

Cub Cadet offers the ZT series with 42, 46, 50, 54 and 60-inch width decks. A 42 or 46-inch deck is a good choice for up to two acres, while a 50 or 54-inch deck is a good choice for properties up to four acres. A 60-inch deck can cover up to 5 acres.

All but one ZT model comes with an 11 gauge fabricated steel deck. These decks are built by welding together pieces of flat steel sheet, creating a deck that can withstand hard impacts. Cub Cadet backs these decks with a lifetime warranty.

The ZT1’s 42-inch deck is made from 13 gauge stamped steel. This deck won’t take the abuse of the fabricated decks. However, by forming the deck using a single piece of metal, the sides curve around the blades. This increases the mowing chamber vacuum, resulting in a cleaner cut.

Engines

The ZT1 46 uses Cub Cadet’s own 679cc V-Twin. Like the company’s single-cylinder engines, this twin was developed in-house specifically for their equipment. That means you can expect the same easy starting and maintenance their walk-behind mowers are known for.

The Kawasaki FS Series is built for use in a variety of mower applications, including ZTRs and wide-area walk-behinds. Kawasaki focused on low weight and emissions requirements when designing these engines. However, you still get cast-iron liners, a full pressure lubrication system and integrated clean out ports. It’s only offered with a 60-inch deck.

The Kawasaki FR Series is basically a low cost, consumer-oriented version of their professional FX Series. It may not have the FX’s advanced air filtration system, but it comes with features like cast iron cylinder liners and a grass chopping screen to ensure a long service life. This engine is offered with 50 and 54-inch decks.

The Kohler 7000 is a consumer version of their professional grade Command Pro. Kohler’s Consistent-Cut governor helps the engine react quickly to load changes. This maintains blade speed for an even finish. The 7000 is offered with 42 and 52-inch decks.

Hydrostatic Drive

By using valves to control the flow of fluid, a hydrostatic drive unit can change speed independently of the engine. This keeps blade speed up no matter how fast or slow you’re moving. A ZTR uses two drive units, one for each drive wheel. Wheel speed is controlled independently by the lap bars. Move one wheel faster than the other, and the mower will turn. With one wheel spinning in reverse, and the other forward, the mower will spin in place, hence “zero turning radius.”

Cub Cadet uses Hydro-Gear integrated transaxles in the ZT Series. These units have a built-in pump and motor, making them compact and eliminates hoses that can leak. The ZT 2200 EZT is designed to be basically maintenance free. It has a top speed of 7 MPH. Cub Cadet uses this transaxle on 42, 50 and 54 inch ZT1 mowers.

The ZT 2800 is the company’s largest residential transaxle. It has an external oil filter, and needs occasional fluid changes. This unit has a top speed of 7.5 MPH. Cub Cadet uses this transaxle on 50, 54 and 60 inch ZT2 mowers.

Big or Small, We Have Mowers to Fit Your Needs

When you need a lawn mower, talk to the experts at Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We carry all types of mowers, including walk-behinds, tractors and ZTRs for both homeowners and commercial users. We’re also a dealer for most major brands, including Cub Cadet, Exmark, and Wright. Need parts or repairs for your mower? We have a massive parts warehouse and a service department that is certified to repair everything we sell. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. We also ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada. To order, or to see the equipment we currently have in stock, go to www.shankslawn.com.