Cub Cadet Lawnmower SC 500 E+ Electric Start – COSTCO

This is our first Cub Cadet lawnmower we have tried out on Tools in Action.  I have always heard good things about them, but it’s nice to finally try one out first hand and see it for myself.  While this really seems like a quality lawnmower, there are two things that stand out.

The first item is the way this lawnmower starts.  Instead of using a pull string to start the engine, you just have to push a button.  Yes this lawnmower is an electric start.  Cub Cadet has a small slide on battery that powers this unit to get it started.  With one full charged battery, you get 75 starts which is more than enough for a full season of mowing.  If not, it only takes an hour to charge the battery.  The second cool thing about this unit is the drive control system.  Basically the faster you walk, the faster the unit will move forward.  So as you walk, you are actually pushing forward more on the handle bar which in turn makes the unit go quicker.  If you slow your walking speed down, you will naturally not be pushing on the handle bar and the unit will slow down.  This is a very cool feature.

You can learn more by going to Costco and checking it out for yourself.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Just got this out of the box and running and wanted to describe what I believe are two significant improvements. Gas powered lawnmowers haven’t changed much in my 50+ years of mowing, at least not functionally. Automatic choke vs. manual was a significant improvement. It’s questionable, however, whether the fixed throttle of today’s mowers was an improvement, but it’s not particularly bothersome as long as the mower is functioning nominally. The brainless implementation of self-propelled functionality has been a two-edged sword. When you need to make a turn, stopping the drive and then re-engaging has typically been awkward.

    This mower implements two technology upgrades that are real improvements. 1) The big one is an electric starter. It is powered by a removable, rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that claims to have 75 starts per charge … probably enough for an entire mowing season. And at least for me, it works like a charm. This is the kind of technology that makes you never want to go back to the old pull-start method. However, there is no pull-cord backup should either the starter or battery fail. And all batteries, including rechargeables, eventually wear out. But making the battery removable was a clever implementation idea that is key to overcoming that issue. It is also more convenient to take the battery off the mower and plug it into a charger than to run an extension cord out to the mower. The longevity of the starter itself, of course, is unknown at this point.

    2) The second improvement is an upgrade to self-propelled functionality. Your hands hold on to a drive bar. As you walk forward, your forward motion causes the drive bar to be pushed forward, which then automatically engages the self-propelled drive. When you stop, the drive bar moves back as the lawnmower moves away from you, stopping the mower. I don’t know how you could implement that functionality in more natural and useable manner.

    I suspect that other mower manufacturer’s will be copying the electric start feature of this mower, as well as the extremely good implementation of the self-propelled feature, assuming they’re not already doing so.

    The only draw back I would point to at this point is the drive wheels. I do not know why manufacturers use wheels that slip and spin out when you’re attempting to go up an incline. Fixing this would be as simple as using a more “knobby” tire, rather than the very smooth tires typically found on self-propelled mowers. This draw-back seems to apply universally to self-propelled walk-behind mowers, and was not fixed in this particular model/implementation.

  2. I own one of these. Starts easy, great power and clean cutting and bagging even in wet, high grass. Side-discharge chute attachment is very handy (lift a spring-loaded door at the side and hook it on… no tools, no fuss).
    Height adjustment levers are smooth and easy to use.

    BUT…
    75 starts on one battery charge? No way. More like 5 to 10. Recharge it after you mow your yard, or you’ll have a dead battery and hard or no starting next weekend, or in 2 weekends for sure. The other thing that bothers me about this “E+” model is that it seems to be a Costco special model (although I didn’t buy my e+ there). And the Cub Cadet website has no mention or listing of the E+ version, on the E. There is no listing for a replacement battery for this thing.

    No pull-start. Be warned. Mine is only 1 season old, so it starts easy and runs fine. But sooner or later, that electric start is going to fail, I fear. I dread that day. There is no pull or other mechanical way to start the mower.

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