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Husqvarna vs Cub Cadet (2021): Which Riding Mower Should You Buy?

Husqvarna and Cub Cadet are two of the best brands when it comes to riding mowers. To help you decide which entry-level lawn tractor to go for, we’ve compared two of the most popular models from each brand: the Husqvarna YTA24V48 and the Cub Cadet XT1 LT42. Both are designed to help you trim yards bigger than a half-acre and they’re excellent at moving over hilly terrain. Read on to find out how well these two stack against each other.

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Husqvarna YTA24V48

The Husqvarna YTA24V48 24V tractor mower features fast auto transmission, choke-less start, and air induction mowing technology to ensure consistent lawn cutting every time.

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Husqvarna YTA24V48 vs Cub Cadet XT1 LT42 Comparison Chart

ModelHusqvarna YTA24V48Cub Cadet XT1 LT42
Husqvarna YTA24V48 Riding MowerCub Cadet XT1 LT42 Riding Mower
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Engine BrandBriggs & Stratton IntekKohler
Engine Power24 HP, 724 CCs18 HP, 541 CCs
Engine Cylinders21
Fuel Tank Size3 gallons3 gallons
Cutting Options3-in-1 (Side-Discharge/Bag/Mulch)3-in-1 (Side-Discharge/Bag/Mulch)
Cutting Width48 inches42 inches
Cutting Height1.5 – 4.0 inches1.0 – 4.0 inches
Deck ConstructionReinforced StampedStamped
Deck Positions612
Blades32
Max Forward Speed7.4 mph5.5 mph
Max Reverse Speed2.9 mph3.1 mph
Transmission TypeCVT – AutomaticHydrostatic
Drive SystemElement V AutomaticTuff Torq K46
Seat TypeHigh back with seat springsHigh back
Arm RestsIncludedSold separately
Warranty3 years3 years

Engine

The Husqvarna YTA24V48 has a more powerful engine than the Cub Cadet XT1 LT42.

Husqvarna YTA24V48 Engine
Finish mowing faster with the YTA24V48’s 24 horsepower engine.

A brief look at the engine numbers above will be enough to tell you that Husqvarna’s tractor is easily the more powerful machine. Its 724 CC Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engine can pump out up to 24 horsepower from two cylinders and features a full-pressure lubrication system with spin-on oil filter. In contrast, Cub Cadet’s XT1 only has a 541 CC single-cylinder Kohler engine capable of 18 horsepower. It does have an inverted oil filter that makes oil changes less frequent and messy.

Both 4-cycle engines use a 12-volt key start that draws from a 3-gallon fuel tank, so expect them to start on the first try and require fewer top-ups for gas. However, Cub Cadet’s Kohler uses electronic fuel injection (EFI) technology over the standard carburetor based engine, making it roughly 25% more fuel efficient.

Speed and Maneuverability

The Cub Cadet XT1 LT42 is easier to handle than the Husqvarna YTA24V48.

Cub Cadet XT1 LT42 Speed
The XT1 from Cub Cadet feels smoother and easier to operate.

The 24 HP engine on the Husqvarna YTA24V48 translates to a higher maximum speed when mowing. It can merrily go up to 7.4 miles per hour compared to the conventional 5.5 mph that the 18 HP Kohler can muster. However, the Tuff Torq K46 hydrostatic transmission on the Cub Cadet XT1 combined with its optimized steering system makes it feel more responsive and easy to handle.

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Cub Cadet XT1

The Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series riding mower features a 42-inch cutting deck, 16-inch turning radius, 18 HP Kohler OHV engine and hydrostatic transmission for smooth operation.

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Both can do sharp 16-inch turns to help you deftly navigate around flower beds and trees. Going uphill shouldn’t pose too much trouble with either model as long as it’s not too steep, as they’re both designed for sloping terrains. Their transmissions are all automatic, so there’s no need to shift gears. You simply step on the pedal to go. They both have cruise control, too, though the Husqvarna automatically adjusts its speed depending on the acceleration you’re demanding, resulting in smoother rides overall.

Cutting Efficiency

The Husqvarna YTA24V48 is better for larger yards than the Cub Cadet XT1 LT42.

Husqvarna YTA24V48 Cutting Efficiency
The YTA24V48’s 48-inch cutting deck is reinforced with heavy steel for added strength.

With a reinforced stamped steel deck 48 inches wide plus a higher maximum forward speed, the Husqvarna YTA24V48 is without a doubt more efficient at cutting grass. You can expect a fully trimmed lawn much faster with it than the Cub Cadet, which only has a 42-inch stamped steel deck. It also makes the Husqvarna unit the better choice for those with yards exceeding an acre.

The YTA24V48’s 13-gauge deck sports 3 mower blades with mandrels you can grease for smoother cuts. It also uses air induction technology to improve grass lift and ensure more even and consistent cutting. On the other hand, the XT1 only has 2 blades though it has double the number of positions, 12 compared to the Husqvarna’s 6.

Safety, Comfort, and Ease of Use

The Husqvarna YTA24V48 has a slight edge in comfort over the Cub Cadet XT1 LT42.

Husqvarna YTA24V48 Safety
Armrests and an adjustable seat can go a long way to making mowing comfy.

Both zero turn tractors have seats with high backs, but the Husqvarna YTA24V48 features springs underneath to make rides feel less bumpy as well as armrests for when you’re on cruise control. These small comforts can be huge if you have a lot of ground to cover.

All of the common safety features for lawn mower tractors can be found on both units. They both have a safety switch underneath the seat, which uses a weight sensor to determine if the driver is seated or not. It will automatically stop the engine and the cutting deck if you suddenly leave the seat, which is very important in case you fall off while the mower is running. The same principle applies to driving in reverse: the blades get disengaged whenever you switch to reverse mode since it’s inherently more risky. Both features can be turned off if you’re already very capable of handling a riding mower safely.

Verdict

The Husqvarna YTA24V48 has better specs, but the Cub Cadet XT1 LT42 offers better value.

Deal Finder
Husqvarna YTA24V48

The Husqvarna YTA24V48 24V tractor mower features fast auto transmission, choke-less start, and air induction mowing technology to ensure consistent lawn cutting every time.

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Cub Cadet XT1

The Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series riding mower features a 42-inch cutting deck, 16-inch turning radius, 18 HP Kohler OHV engine and hydrostatic transmission for smooth operation.

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Overall, the Husqvarna YTA24V48 posts some pretty strong numbers thanks to its powerful Briggs & Stratton engine and wider cutting deck. You can definitely utilize its full potential if you have a huge swath of land that you want to trim regularly. With a faster motor and larger coverage, you can finish mowing sooner while enjoying the aroma of freshly trimmed grass.

Nevertheless, we’d still recommend the Cub Cadet XT1 LT42 if your lawn is less than an acre in size, since the cost savings are considerable while the performance is comparable. It’s a sturdy workhorse that you can rely on to evenly chew through grass as tall as your knees, and its better mobility allows you to safely traverse uneven yards or even patches with roots sticking out. At its price range it’s definitely one of the top riding mowers you can get.

FAQs

📌 Which is better: Husqvarna or Cub Cadet?

For midrange riding lawn mowers, Husqvarna simply has the more powerful engine and wider cutting deck. However, Cub Cadet makes more sense if your lawn is smaller since the savings are substantial.

📌 Is Cub Cadet a good brand?

Yes, Cub Cadet is widely recognized for its outstanding selection of outdoor power equipment and have been in business since 1960.

📌 What should I look for when buying a riding lawn mower?

Generally, the most important consideration when buying a riding lawn mower is your lawn’s size. Larger mowers with wider cutting widths are better for big and fairly open lawns, while compact mowers work better for properties that are smaller or have a lot of obstructions.

📌 How long do Husqvarna mowers last?

With proper maintenance and care, Husqvarna mowers can last around 8 to 10 years.

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.