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Cub Cadet SC 500Z self propelled mower


This Cub Cadet 21-inch, self-propelled mower has multiple speeds and is rear-wheel drive. It has an overhead valve engine and caster wheels.

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The Cub Cadet SC 500Z is part of the Lawn mower & tractor test program at Consumer Reports. In our lab tests, Self propelled mower models like the SC 500Z are rated on multiple criteria, such as those listed below.

Mulching: Reflects a combination of evenness, which is how close the mowers came to even, carpet-like mowing, and how completely the mower distributed its clippings over the lawn's surface.

Bagging: Denotes a combination of evenness, which is how close the mowers came to even, carpet-like mowing, and how much clippings the bag held before it filled or the chute clogged.

Side discharging: A combination of evenness, which is how close the mowers came to even, carpet-like mowing, and how evenly clippings were dispersed from the side-discharge chute.


Electric start Electric start Starts a gasoline-powered engine with the turn of a key by the operator. An electric start is powered by an on-board battery that requires periodic charging.
Blade brake clutch Blade brake clutch Allows the gasoline engine to continue to run when the operator leaves the area behind the handlebar to empty the grass-clipping collection bag or to move an object in the path of the mower. It saves wear on the engine by reducing stopping/restarting cycles.
Deck height adjustment Deck height adjustment Most convenient is a single lever that moves the entire deck up and down. Some models have one lever for the front axle and another for the rear. Least convenient is a lever at each wheel.
Single rear/individual front
Washout port Washout port Accepts a hose for cleaning the underside of the deck more easily than from above. Be sure to allow the underside to air-dry before stowing the machine.
Optional discharge chute Optional discharge chute The rear-mounted side-discharge chute does not come standard with the product and must be obtained separately if you want the side-discharge cutting mode. Some will be provided free when you return the product's warranty card, while others range in price from $15 to $30.


Forward speeds Forward speeds Some self-propelled mowers have one speed, usually about 2 1/2 mph; others have several. Still others have a continuous range, typically from 1 to 3 mph. Two or more speeds let you adjust to the terrain and grass.
Drive wheels Drive wheels Front-wheel drive lets you make U-turns by pushing down on the handlebar and swinging the mower around without disengaging the drive. The downside is less traction than you get from mowers with rear-wheel drive.
Deck size (in.) Deck size Most models have a deck size, or cutting swath, of 20 to 22 inches. There is no significant advantage from one size to another. A larger deck can cut more grass in a single pass, but in this size range the difference is negligible.
Engine size Engine size For gas-powered mowers, engine size in cubic centimeters (cc) provides a rough indication of the engine's power; electric models are rated in volts (for cordless) or amperes (corded). A larger number for either a gas or electric model, however, does not necessarily result in better cutting performance.
Engine manufacturer Engine manufacturer Stated manufacturer of a gasoline engine. For some mowers the engine manufacturer is not documented and is listed as "unknown."
self branded
Can mulch Can mulch Indicates whether the mower can cut in the mulching mode. In this mode, the discharge port is closed off and the mower re-cuts clippings until they're small enough to settle and decompose in the lawn. Cutting in this mode reduces the need to fertilize the lawn because some of the nutrients from the clippings are returned to the soil. It is also more convenient because there is no need to empty a catcher, or dispose of any clippings. Certain conditions are required for successful mulching, and if these conditions are not met, many visible clippings can be left behind on the lawn. For successful mulching, one should avoid cutting more than one third of the grass's length, cutting wet grass, or cutting at too fast a pace.
Can bag Can bag Indicates whether the mower can cut in the bagging mode. In this mode, the clippings are gathered in a removable catcher. Lawns tend to have the best appearance after cutting in this mode because the mower essentially vacuums the lawn clean and leaves very little debris behind. This advantage is offset by the need to periodically empty the catcher and dispose of the grass clippings.
Can side discharge Can side discharge Indicates whether the mower can cut in the side-discharge mode. In this mode, the mower simply discharges the clippings off to the side of the mower. Depending on the length of the grass cut, this method tends to leave many visible clippings behind. This mode is preferable when cutting tall grass because the mower is less likely to clog, since the clippings are quickly removed from the deck.
Mower warranty Mower warranty The length of time the lawn mower is covered by its manufacturer for defects or repairs.
3 years

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