Cub Cadet ZT1 vs ZT2: Which is the best in 2024?

Looking for a mower that can handle your lawn’s demands? You might have heard of the Cub Cadet Zero Turn (ZT) series, which comprises two mower models – the ZT1 and the ZT2.

The Cub Cadet line of zero-turn mowers has become increasingly popular among professional and residential landscapers. As the demand for these powerful machines has grown, so has the number of models available.

One of the most popular series is the ZT1. What’s the difference between that model and its bigger brother, the ZT2? These two models vary slightly in key features and performance, so let’s take a closer look at what sets them apart. 

Let’s explore this question in more detail. 

Cub Cadet ZT1 vs. ZT2: Quick Overview

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Regarding zero-turn riding mowers, the Cub Cadet ZT1 and ZT2 series are two of the most popular models available.

Both offer a wide range of features, including powerful enginescomfortable seating, and ergonomic design. But they also have some key differences that set them apart.

Cub Cadet ZT1 Overview

The ZT1 model is a compact yet powerful mower designed for small yards or large residential areas.

The Cub Cadet ultima ZT1 series is a top-of-the-line riding lawn mower with a hydrostatic transmission system. Its powerful 23-horsepower engine runs on gasoline and provides plenty of power to easily get through thick grass or weeds.

The cutting deck is 42 inches in width, making it easy to maneuver around tight corners or narrow spaces. It can cut up to 7 MPH forward and 3 MPH in reverse, making it great for people who want to get their lawn care projects done quickly.

With an adjustable cutting height from 1 to 4 inches, you can tailor your mowing to fit any task. Additionally, its zero turn radius makes navigating tight spaces and obstacles easy. 

With this model, you will also receive a 3-year limited warranty having peace of mind when making your purchase.

Cub Cadet ZT2 Overview

The larger version of the two models is the Cub Cadet ZT2 zero-turn mower.

The Cub Cadet ultima ZT2 series takes everything we love about the ZT1 and cranks it up a notch.

It featured a larger frame with greater maneuverability. It improved cutting performance thanks to its 6-inch adjustable cutting height range and 25-horsepower engine that provides more power than its smaller counterpart and can reach an optimized speed of up to 8 mph forward and 4 mph in reverse.

The cutting deck size is 46 inches wide, making it perfect for larger residential lots or commercial properties. As a bonus, this model comes with an adjustable suspension seat that helps you stay comfortable while riding for long periods.

It also has an optional mulching kit which allows you to recycle grass clippings into nutrient-rich fertilizer as you mow your lawn!  

Cub Cadet ZT1 vs. ZT2: The Comparison

Anyone looking to tackle lawn care projects with a zero-turn mower may come across the Cub Cadet brand. Under this brand, there are two models of mowers, the Cub Cadet ZT1 and Cub Cadet ZT2.

While they both have much to offer, several elements set them apart. Let’s take a look at what sets these two mowers apart.  


The Cub Cadet ZT1 and ZT2 are powerful, zero-turn residential lawnmowers that provide excellent performanceresponsiveness, and comfort

The ZT1 and ZT2 feature a heavy-duty welded steel frame reinforced with a robust front axle and powered by reliable engines. 

A gas-powered V-Twin engine drives each mower, ensuring smooth operation on all terrains. 

Additionally, the cutting decks come equipped with high airlift blades that deliver an outstanding cutting experience, while the adjustable ergonomic control panel puts added comfort in the operator’s hands. 

There’s also an automated kinetic transmission on both models for quick acceleration and deceleration without affecting engine speed or power output, so you can be sure your mowing experience is fast, efficient, and comfortable every time.

Additionally, both models come equipped with an adjustable seat slider so that users of any size can find their optimal driving position before getting behind the wheel. 


While the Cub Cadet ZT1 and ZT2 have many attractive features, they have some cons

The decks are just 42 inches wide on the ZT1 and 46 inches wide on the ZT2, meaning they may not be suitable for yards with an abundance of large trees and foliage or tricky terrain. 

On a related note, while these two mowers boast superior maneuverability, hills can still present a challenge thanks to the lack of an all-wheel drive. 

Keep all this in mind when deciding between the two models – though even with their drawbacks, both remain terrific options for home lawn care.

Differences between Cub Cadet ZT1 and Cub Cadet ZT2

1. Engine Power 

The most noticeable difference between the two mowers is their engine power.

The cub cadet ultima ZT1 features a 23 HP engine from Kohler, while the ZT2 has a 25 HP KOHLER 7000 Series engine. This makes the Cub Cadet ZT2 more powerful and better suited for larger yards or tougher terrains than its counterpart. 

Both engines are V-twin designs and offer plenty of power for tough jobs, but the larger engine on the ZT2 will give you more raw power when needed. 

2. Deck Size 

The next key difference between these mowers is their respective deck sizes.

The Cub Cadet ZT1 has a 42-inch cutting deck, while the Cub Cadet ultima ZT2 lawn tractor has a 46-inch cutting deck. This gives homeowners more area coverage with fewer passes when using the larger cutting deck on a larger property.

3. Cutting Options 

The next element that sets these two models apart is their cutting options.

The Cub Cadet ZT1 offers side discharge cutting and mulching capabilities (with an optional kit), while the ZT2 offers all three options—side dischargemulching, and collection (with an optional bagger).

This gives homeowners more flexibility in how they would like to cut their lawns without purchasing additional parts or accessories. 

4. Cutting Height Range 

In terms of cutting height range, both models offer 1″ to 4″ increments for adjusting your cutting height.

However, if you want to cut your grass even lower than 1″, you should consider getting the ZT2 – it offers a minimum cutting height of 0″ from its standard zero-turn technology.

This makes it ideal for those who want an incredibly close cut on their lawns.

5. Turning Radius 

The turning radius is also different between the two models.

The Cub Cadet ZT1 lawn tractor has an 18-inch turning radius. In contrast, the Cub Cadet ZT2 has an even tighter 15-inch turning radius, allowing users to maneuver around obstacles more easily and quickly with less effort than its counterpart model.   

6. Cruise Control & Speed Settings 

Both mowers feature ground speed settings and cruise control capabilities, but there are some differences in this area.

Though both feature foot pedals for controlling forward/reverse movement, only the ZT2 has an ergonomic steering wheel control with fingertip control levers – this gives you greater control over speed and direction when maneuvering tight corners or around obstacles in your yard.

7. Fuel efficiency

Another difference between the two mowers is fuel efficiencyThe ZT2 offers better fuel economy due to its larger engine.

The ZT1 has a 12-gallon tank capacity, while the ZT2 has a 15-gallon tank capacity. This means you can go longer without refueling with the ZT2.

The ZT2 also has a larger fuel filter, allowing it to go longer between filter changes than the ZT1. This means that you can save time and money on maintenance costs with the ZT2.

The Cub Cadet ZT2 offers better fuel efficiency than the ZT1 due to its larger engine and tank capacity. This makes it a better option for those looking to save money on fuel costs over the long run.

8. Towing capacity

The towing capacity is also different between the two models. The ZT1 has a maximum towing capacity of 360 lbs, while the ZT2 can haul up to 451 lbs behind it. 

So, if you need to haul heavier loads or large objects around your property, the ZT2 is the model for you. 

9. Weight and size differences

The ZT1 is lighter than the ZT2, weighing in at 500 lbs, while the larger ZT2 comes in at 625 lbs.

The length of both mowers is identical (78 inches), but the width of the ZT2 is 7 inches wider than its counterpart.

10. Price difference:

As expected, the ZT2 is the more expensive model of the two and can be found at a price of around $4000. The ZT1, on the other hand, is more affordable and retails for an average of $3000.

Cub Cadet ZT1 vs Cub Cadet ZT2: Which one is the best?

When shopping for a zero-turn mower, it’s important to consider both the size of your yard and your budget when deciding between the Cub Cadet ZT1 and ZT2 models. 

While both offer reliable engines and cutting decks ideal for tackling any lawn care project at home or commercially, they have some key differences. This ranges from engine power, deck size, cutting options, and turning radius down to cruise control and speed settings.

These main things will help you decide which one best suits your needs so you can be certain that you get what you need!

When it comes to choosing between the Cub Cadet ZT1 and ZT2, it depends on your needs as a homeowner or landscaper

Both models are excellent choices; however, if you have a large yard or are planning on using your mower commercially, then the increased power and maneuverability offered by the ZT2 may be worth the extra cost. 

On the other hand, if you only need a basic riding mower for home use then either model should serve you well! Ultimately, both options will help provide a fastefficient way to keep your lawn looking pristine all year round!

5/5 - (6 votes)
( Farming Equipment Expert )

Marvin is an expert in farming equipment with a strong background in agricultural engineering. He graduated from Kansas State College of Agriculture, where he received a degree in Agricultural Engineering and specialized in farm equipment design and maintenance.