2014 Cub Cadet 3X™ 26 & 28 inch Three-Stage 357cc Snow Blower Review

Is the Cub Cadet 26 in Three-Stage 357cc Model 3X 26 snow blower right for you?

Hello, Thank you for recommending the cub cadet 3 stage snow blower.  We live in nj.  It has been our snowiest season in 20 years!  This machine gets through the slush and ice in no time!
It takes my husband and I 3 hours to clear our property by hand with just a few inches of snow,  the cub cadet brought it down to 30 minutes for powder and an hour for slush and ice.
It is our best purchase last year!

Thank you for the advice, Stacey

I have been watching snow blower technology for a long time and in the last few years there have been a few attempts at a high speed snow blower.  The Kahlbacher KFS 170M2 is one example that will blow snow while traveling at speeds up to 35 mph. One of the innovative changes that made this snow blower (called a cutter/blower in Europe) was a center auger. The center auger rotates at the same speed as the blower and pulls the snow into the blower at a consistent rate.

Kahlbacher KFS 170M2

1x1.trans 2014 Cub Cadet 3X™ 26 & 28 inch Three Stage 357cc Snow Blower Review

The market moves slowly… I was wondering when this idea would carry over to walk behinds and it looks like Cub Cadet has figured it out. The 3X snow blower is the biggest single change since the Toro SnoHound started using the front intake auger back in 1960.

Is this new snow blower for you?

1x1.trans 2014 Cub Cadet 3X™ 26 & 28 inch Three Stage 357cc Snow Blower Review

Cub Cadet 3X

This snow blower is not for everyone and I won’t recommend it for everyone who wants a 26 or 28 inch snow blower. But…If it takes you hours to clear your sidewalks and driveways with a 26 or 28 inch snow blower the 3X will shorten that time by 20 % or more.  The ability to cut through deep snow up to 50% faster means you can walk faster behind the unit. Typical 4 to 6 inch snows you won’t notice much time savings, it is the 10 inch and larger snows where you will see the real time savings.  This snow blower is about $300 more their similar two-stage unit. Is it worth and extra $300 to walk faster when blowing your drive? That’s up to you to decide.

I have a video on YouTube using a competitor’s snow blower to move 14 inches of snow. The snow blower has plenty of power to handle that much snow. The snow blower has plenty of traction to push through that much snow. But the snow blower can only take so much snow into the impeller at one time and it actually starts pushing snow out in front of it like a snowplow. Even though I had plenty of power and traction I ended up slowing the snow blower down so it could eat and throw the snow. The new Cub Cadet 3X promises to eliminate this bottle neck. The new 3X induction accelerator (center auger) will move snow into the impeller 50% faster than a two-stage unit. (Search “Biggest Snow Blower in Wisconsin!” at YouTube) 

How It Works:1x1.trans 2014 Cub Cadet 3X™ 26 & 28 inch Three Stage 357cc Snow Blower Review

1. The auger on your two-stage snow blower takes the snow and chews it into manageable chunks for the high speed impeller to throw it out of the machine. The auger on the new 3X works the same way.  The issue with this the auger is it only throws the snow to the center. The forward motion of you walking with the snow blower causes the snow to move into the impeller.

2. With the 3X the new center auger (called an Induction Accelerator) pulls the snow into the impeller. No forward motion of the snowblower is required to get snow into the impeller. The Induction Accelerator is rotating at the same speed as the high speed impeller so the snow is literally thrown into the impeller. This new action gets snow into the impeller faster resulting in what Cub Cadet claims as 50% more capacity.

3. The impeller then throws the snow out of the machine and the 4-way chute puts it where you want it to go.

Click on this link and you can view the new snow blower in action:

SnowDays Ahead!   The 3X starts around 1:30

Do you spend hours walking behind a snow blower?  The Cub Cadet Three Stage promises to let you move snow faster.

New Machine, New Problems?

Cub Cadet has a solid history of doing the prove-design before they bring a new item to market. They claim the 3X will handle snow 50% faster than their two-stage units and I feel the snow blower will live up to those claims. I’m sure they threw a boot and other items you will find out in your driveway into this machine to see how it responds. There are shear pins in the right places. I don’t expect any issues or recalls on this snow blower. For you gearheads here is the parts manual: 3X Parts List

Click This link to read more, buy online, pickup at your local Home Depot or have it delivered to your home. 

26 inch: Cub Cadet 26 in. Three-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Headlight 31AH55TA7561x1.trans 2014 Cub Cadet 3X™ 26 & 28 inch Three Stage 357cc Snow Blower Review

28 inch: Cub Cadet 28 in. Three-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Thrower 31AH55TB7091x1.trans 2014 Cub Cadet 3X™ 26 & 28 inch Three Stage 357cc Snow Blower Review

The Cub Cadet Three-Stage 357cc Model 3X 26 & 28 is the easy to use. The 3 features that make it the easiest are the height of the controls, the power steering and the 4-way chute control. These features plus the standard premium features you find on a Cub Cadet make it one of the best snowblowers for anyone who has difficulty using a snow blower. Yes, you can buy one of these for your spouse and she will be able to use it.  And anyone who is tired of “manhandling” a snowblower will really like how easy this one is to use.

What makes this snow blower the best snow thrower?

  • Clear snow faster: new 3X induction accelerator moves snow up to 50% faster than 2X snow throwers
  • The Posi-Steer makes this snowblower the easiest to use.  When moving just pull the small trigger under the handle in the direction you want to go and the snow blower go that way. Unlike most 24 inch snowblowers with solid axles the power steering makes turning the 524 SWE effortless.
  • 357cc Electric start Cub Cadet 4-Cycle OHV engine. The motor has plenty of power. You will be able to move snow faster than you ever could before. The motor has a throttle control so you can idle the snow blower down if you want to before turning it off and a safety key. (Other brands do not have a throttle and you can only shut off the motor by removing the safety key.)  It also has a stepped choke so you can control the fuel mixture for all temperatures.  This engine has an excellent reputation and I know that as long as you use good fresh fuel and change the oil as recommended this engine will last you many, many years.
  • Cool Blue skid shoes. These rust-resistant, non-marking, reversible skid shoes are the strongest skid shoe on the market. These shoes are exclusive to the Cub Cadet line and last longer than steel shoes. They don’t scratch your driveway or patio and glide effortlessly along surfaces for better maneuverability
  • 6 Forward 2 reverse speeds. 6 Forward 2 reverse speeds for easy snow clearing at your pace. Yes, most snow blowers have these but the speeds on the 3X are matched well to the size of the snow blower.
  • Push button electric start makes it incredibly easy to start in the tough winter conditions
  • 4-way pitch control and chute rotation. I call this chute control a “forearm control” To use it you take your left hand, reach over the top of the handle and grab it like you are picking up a baseball bat by the end. Pull the red button with you middle fingers and use your forearm to move the chute from side-to-side.  Pushing or pulling on the handle raises and lowers the deflector at the top of the chute. The tension that holds the deflector in place is controlled by a wing nut.  If you use the 4-way chute this way it is one of the easiest to use on the market.  It quickly rotates,  is very easy to operate and is designed to last longer than the old bottom crank designs. The “hanging chute” design eliminates the chute binding up from heavy wet snow. The hanging chute stays in place when you let go of the red button. The extra long chute controls the snow better than your old short chute and you don’t get as much snow blowing back in your face. The chute is made of a durable polymer chute and has proven just about indestructible. Snow never sticks to it. I also like the chute control a lot.
  • In-dash headlight allows you to clear your driveway any time of the day or night
  • 15 in. x 5 in. X-trac tires are sized well for this machine. The tires have a lot more traction than the ones found on the cheaper 24 inch snow blowers. You will have plenty of traction to go out in the backyard and clear a spot of lawn for your dog.
  • Use with 5W-30 oil for best results, unit comes pre-filled with oil
  • Warranty is 3-year residential/1-year commercial
  • MFG Model # : 524 SWE
  • MFG Part # : 31AM53TR756

Where To Get One

Home Depot is the best place to get your Cub Cadet.  They always have the best price and a great reputation for getting the purchase to you quickly. They also have good customer service. 

Click This link to read more, buy online, pickup at your local Home Depot or have it delivered to your home. 

26 inch: Cub Cadet 26 in. Three-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Headlight 31AH55TA7561x1.trans 2014 Cub Cadet 3X™ 26 & 28 inch Three Stage 357cc Snow Blower Review

28 inch: Cub Cadet 28 in. Three-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Thrower 31AH55TB7091x1.trans 2014 Cub Cadet 3X™ 26 & 28 inch Three Stage 357cc Snow Blower Review

 All Snow Blowers need maintenance. When you get your new snow blower home be sure to read the manual, check all the fluid levels and bolts. Learn how to change the shear pins and inspect the drive belts. (The belts are easy to change if you tear one up) ALWAYS have extra shear pins on hand. Learn how to start it and operate it. Snow blower engines run differently than your lawn mower engine. Most of the time you will have the choke on to some degree. (That’s why there are 4 positions on the choke) Practice using it on you driveway. (Don’t run the engine more than 10 minutes if the temperature is over 45 degrees) If you have any questions leave a comment below and we (other readers and myself) will gladly answer your questions.  Above all PLEASE use a fuel stabilizer like Sea Foam or blue Stabil in your gas. 

Value: This snow blower is about $300 more their similar two-stage unit. Is it worth and extra $300 to walk faster when blowing your drive? That’s up to you to decide.

Service & Parts Availability: Service and parts are readily available through Cub Cadet authorized repair centers. Home Depot is easy to work with if you have a problem.

Parts You Will Need:

All MTD manufactured snow throwers use the same shear pin. Here are some from Sears.  Shear Pins: Craftsman Snowblower Shear Pins1x1.trans 2014 Cub Cadet 3X™ 26 & 28 inch Three Stage 357cc Snow Blower Review or Craftsman Snowblower Shear Pins1x1.trans 2014 Cub Cadet 3X™ 26 & 28 inch Three Stage 357cc Snow Blower Review Same pin, just a different clip.

Got a Question or Comment? Here's Your Chance!

  1. Would you buy this model or the 28 inch ariens? I know it is subjective. Ariens zero turn sounds good, but I’m not sure how hard the cub cadet is to maneuver. The three stage of the cadet and the ease of chute manipulation are appealing features. Thanks!

    • @Nick, Yes, this is a tough one. I really like the new auto-turn on the Ariens but I also like the 357cc motor on the Cub Cadet 3 stage.

      So… If you get lots of snow, 12 to 20 inches 5 or 6 times a year get the Cub Cadet. If you need to maneuver a lot, say you want to blow across a 3 car driveway instead of up and down it, or if you have lots of sidewalks I would go with the Auto-Turn.

  2. Looking for a snowblower that can handle a flat 1500 ft paved driveway and 1000 ft sidewalk. We ysually get 2-3 storms a year of 10-12 inches of snow. I need to beable to manuver it myself. We were looking at the cub cadet 3 stage and the ariens with the auto turn. What would you recommend for effeciency and easy to use.

    Thank you.

    Stacey

  3. I just bought a cub cadet 3X 26″ and we had a 4″ snowstorm of wet snow and my cub cadet would only blow the snow about five feet. Why would this happen?

    • @Tom, I am going to assume that the snow blower is working ok. That the impeller drive belt is not slipping, you had the throttle at rabbit and the shear pins are all in place.

      4 inches of heavy, wet snow will not blow very well. A lot of times it just “sputters” out of the chute. If you want to test it, tomorrow morning make a pile 12 to 18 inches high a run your snow blower through that. It should throw that a lot better.

      Two stage snow blowers like a lot of snow and your new 3X is designed to handle deep snows very well. None of them work really well on 2 to 4 inches of wet snow. Let me know how it goes.

  4. Hello,
    We are in -27 degree weather
    Unfortunately we do not own a garage so our 2013 3x 32″ snow blower sits out side on its matt covered up
    Started great this morning, but the augers will not move
    What should I do? How can I tell if they are broken or just frozen?
    Thank You
    Roseanna

    • @Roseanna, I’ll bet that they are frozen. I use a infrared heat lamp to thaw mine out. Here is a picture of one with a 250 w red heat bulb. Heat Lamp You can get one at any farm supply store or most WalMart’s. WalMart calls the fixture “Prime Reflector Clamp Lamp With 6-Feet 18/2 SPT-2 Cord”

      These lamps are pretty safe so you can build a tent out of a tarp over your snow blower and then shine the light into the auger housing.

      Whenever you finish up always let the auger run for 30 seconds or so to clean out all the snow. Then it won’t freeze up on you.

      To free it up. With the snow blower turned off and the safety key removed tip it back on the handles. Use a small hammer or bar to reach into the front and tap the blower. Tap it lightly a few times and you should break it loose from the frozen snow. Don’t get too rough with the hammer, the impeller and auger blades are not that tough.

  5. Paul, I am looking for a recommendation on models of snow removal equipment that can do the following: clear snowfalls of 2 inches – 10 inches of snow of any kind (dry, wet, powdery, whatever) from a paved one-lane alley bordered by parking space areas. This would be in the Chicago area, if that helps. Equipment would be handled/used by a janitor. Equipment might also be used to clean the sidewalks around our condo building. We need something bigger than what we have now, but I find all the ‘specifications’ and caveats about which models do better (or worse) with specific types of snow very confusing. Can you help?

    • @Carol, I lived in Chicago for over 30 years so I know your winter well (including a year in Alsip where it can snow 24 inches over night:)

      I suggest the largest motor for the size you can get. With it getting driven on the snow will get wet, packed down and heavy. Plus, you’ll most likely want to throw it where you want so a large motor will allow you tho get it there. I have a feeling you will also want a snow blower that is tougher than the residential models simply because you never know what may be hiding in the snow.

      Now, I don’t know how long your alley is so I am going to give you 3 choices. All of these have 14 inch impellers and the largest motor so they will put the snow where you need it to go (up to 50 feet away)

      1. If the alley is less than 100 feet I suggest the Ariens Platinum 24
      2. Up to 150 feet: Ariens Pro 28
      3. Any size: Ariens Platinum 30

      Yes, these snow blowers are expensive but worth every penny. They will do the job and do it for many years.
      If you have problems cleaning down to the pavement these models have optional front weights to make them clean the best.