Cut quality is a primary consideration when purchasing a lawn mower, and the ability to cut a consistent, even surface with fewer clumps and finer clippings is an important reason to make a new mower purchase. But how do you objectively measure cut quality to accurately compare different mowers and claim to have a “best-in-class” cut?
While Cub Cadet® maintains a focus on cut quality in its lineup of mowers and lawn tractors, we wanted to scientifically prove that our latest line of mowers, the all-new Ultima Series™ of residential zero-turn lawn mowers, truly provides a best-in-class cut. It’s a bold claim, but an important one to make. And to ensure we could back up our claim, we commissioned a comparative test for cut quality of our ZT1 54 against five top-selling competitive zero-turn models and had a third-party, The Ohio State University, conduct the exercise.
Because the test evaluated cutting performance, each mower was graded on side discharge, mulching and bagging capabilities on dry, commonly cut grass consisting of a mix of Kentucky bluegrass, annual ryegrass, and fescue.
To measure side discharge and mulching, testers ran the machines at 4 miles per hour and made multiple 90-foot passes. They then measured characteristics like overall cut appearance, evenness of the grass, visible ridges, uncut blades, visible surface clippings and next-day appearance.
For bagging, each mower covered a 110-foot section until the bags were full or the collection tubes became clogged. Here, the width of the cut was measured along with the weight of the grass in each collection bag.
But the testing didn’t stop at machine capabilities. Testers also weighed the installation complexity for mulching and bagging kits, understanding that if some models had a complex installation process, then improper installation would affect the quality of the cut.
Once testing was complete and scores were tabulated, Cub Cadet’s Ultima Series was the highest-scoring zero-turn lawn mower in its class.
From a side discharge standpoint, testers noted the Ultima’s impressive cut appearance and the broad, even clipping distribution. Mulching-wise, the Ultima Series had a slightly better cut surface appearance and a lower number of uncut pieces than the competition. And when it came to bagging, the Ultima left the bagger completely full.
At the end of the day, an independent study allows us to claim best-in-class cut quality for the Ultima Series and stand apart from the competition. Equipped with an AeroForce™ deck that results in finer clippings, fewer clumps, reduced stragglers and increased evenness, these machines are built for performance and precision. And with third-party validation, you can be assured that the cut you get is truly best in class*.
* Based on testing and evaluation conducted with The Ohio State University of cut appearance in side discharge, mulch and bagging modes of current model Cub Cadet ZT1 54, John Deere Z355 E, Toro TimeCutter SS 5000, Hustler RAPTOR 52, Ariens ICON X 52 and Husqvarna Z 254 conducted on June 5-7, 2018. The Ohio State University does not endorse or promote Cub Cadet or any of its products and services.