Both Cub Cadet and Craftsman use similar engines. Cub Cadet has better accessories while Craftsman is generally more affordable. Cub Cadet and Craftsman riding lawn mowers can also be used to clear snow.
Cub Cadet is sold through local dealers while Craftsman is easily available at Lowes. You can get an extended warranty Cub Cadet mower (up to 5 years) for worry-free long-term use while Craftsman has a limited warranty (up to 3 years at Lowes).
There are no major differences between Craftsman and Cub Cadet. Both are assembled in Tennessee with third-party riding lawn mower parts such as Kohler engines. These riding lawn mowers only differ in small aspects such as turn radius, seat design, and accessories compatibility.
Cub Cadet vs Craftsman – 11 Key Differences
The following differences are small and there aren’t sufficient to steer buyers in one direction or another. They might only impact a purchasing decision when assessed together.
- Cub Cadet has a slightly faster Kohler engine
Similar lawn tractors such as the Cub Cadet XT1 LT50 and Craftsman T260 use the same Kohler engine (see how the engine performs in our Briggs and Stratton vs Kohler comparison). However, Cub Cadet is slightly faster by 1 horsepower. This is still a small difference which is only seen on paper as both are equally powerful.
- 5-year frame warranty on Cub Cadet
The standard Cub Cadet warranty can be extended up to 5 years. You might even get a lifetime warranty on the chassis with some dealers. On the other hand, Craftsman (sold by Lowes) is generally available with either a 2-year and 3-year warranty. Neither of these riding lawn tractors is covered by a commercial warranty, especially on the entry-level products (up to $3.000).
- Cub Cadet works with a hauler
There are tens of accessories to consider for Cub Cadet and Craftsman. The first accessory you should think about purchasing (not included in the starter pack) is a bagger. However, Cub Cadet also has better accessories as you can even get a hauler for your riding tractor. This is why you can also use a Cub Cadet for other tasks around the yard apart from mowing the lawn as the hauler is great for gardening and landscaping.
- Craftsman is cheaper for the same engine
You can pay up to $100 less on a Craftsman that uses the same engine as a Cub Cadet. The price difference increases with high-end models from each brand but Craftsman is generally seen as the budget brand compared to Cub Cadet, even if both are quite similar.
- Full lumbar support seat on Craftsman
The seats used on the riding lawn mowers are different in design. Craftsman has the better seating solution for those with low back pain with full lumbar support. Cub Cadet uses multiple cutout seats which are still comfortable, but maybe not for aging users.
- Craftsman offers better visibility due to the angled hood
Cub Cadet is known to look like a real tractor. It uses a straight front hood that looks like the hood of a truck. This might look good but it also diminishes visibility near the riding lawn mower. Craftsman uses angled hood designs that offer those extra inches of visibility, ideal when mowing close to fences or other objects.
- Cub Cadet is compatible with an armrest kit (sold separately)
Armrests are crucial if you need to tackle a large lawn. The more hours you spend on the zero-turn riding lawn mower the more you’ll realize how much more comfortable it is compared to a push lawn mower. This being said, some riding lawn mowers are more comfortable than others. Cub Cadet offers simple armrests which can be purchased separately for your comfort and reduced shoulder and back pain. This is not an option for entry-level Craftsman mowers.
- Cub Cadet is lighter and better on snow
Cub Cadet XT1 LT50 weighs 500lbs. Craftsman T260 weighs 630lbs. This means you’ll have an easier time on slopes with a Cub Cadet. You’ll also find a lighter machine that can perform better on snow. However, the wheels are similar on both of these and there should be no visible difference on flat grounds.
- Craftsman has a tighter turn radius
With a 5-degree turn, radius Craftsman has the better solution for tight spaces. If you don’t like mowing on the same spot multiple times you need the best tight turn radius riding mower and this can be Craftsman if the other choice is a Cub Cadet.
- Craftsman makes more lawnmowers
Craftsman might be a budget brand but it now makes 38 riding mowers. It only loses ground when compared to Cub Cadet’s electric riding lawn mower which seems a bit more modern and a bit more future-orientated.
- Cub Cadet now makes electric riding lawn mowers
Cub Cadet has the edge for innovation. While there are other electric lawn mowers out there (ie Ryobi), you might be tempted to ditch the classic gas-powered riding tractor in favor of an electric alternative.
Is Cub Cadet the same as Craftsman?
Both Cub Cadet and Craftsman are made by MTD. They often share engines (ie Kohler engines) as well as other parts such as wheels, fuel tanks, and dash controls. Craftsman is now increasingly popular as its mowers are available at Lowes.
Is Cub Cadet made by MTD?
Yes, Cub Cadet is owned by MTD. Founded in Cleveland, Cub Cadet is assembled in Tennessee and it’s characterized by a distinct yellow-and-black visual identity as well as a shared platform with other power equipment brands such as Craftsman.