2017 Cub Cadet Snow Blower Review – What’s New – Which One Is Best For You?

What’s New For 2017 Cub Cadet Snow Blowers?

Cub Cadet has made a few important changes for 2017. First and foremost they have changed the dash so that the light(s) now shine on either side of the discharge chute on the latest models. Second, they have added to the lines so that this year they have 31 different offerings!

  1. All snow blowers added this year now have a metal chute and power steering: I was once told by an MTD executive that the Yard Machines line was aimed at the economy minded buyer, Troy-Bilt was aimed at the residential/suburban buyer and Cub Cadet was aimed at farmers and owners who wanted the best. In fact, Cub Cadet was known for many years as one of the best lawn and garden equipment lines. But, over the last 7 years, I watched the entire MTD snow thrower fleet melt into one homogeneous mass.  Thankfully, it appears that is changing. I can see that Cub Cadet has now reached back into their great history, listened closely to their customers and refocused on offering you the features you really want in a Cub Cadet. (disclaimer: My uncle was one of the young engineers who developed the first Cub Cadet lawn tractor for International Harvester so I am a little biased on what makes Cub Cadet great.)
  2. The 2017 models all have a new locking deflector control. I have no idea why that old friction wing nut is still out on the deflector!  The new deflector control has notches on the dash so it stays in place and doesn’t “creep” like the old models. The 4-way chute control is also gone on all but one model.
  3. All two and threes stage snowblowers have power steering: Cub Cadet no longer has any models listed with solid axle propulsion.
  4. Some models have new, taller tires. This raises the handlebars a little and gives the snow blower better traction.
  5. All snow blowers added this year now have two LED headlights: Cub Cadet’s new dash is pretty “cool.” All the controls are robust and easy to reach. You’ll really like the dual LED headlights that shine around the discharge chute. The 4-way pistol grip chute control is gone in favor of a new dual control that is strong and very easy to use.
  6. Commercial Warranty is available for all models in the line: I don’t know if this is new or I just haven’t been paying attention but every snow thrower in the line has at minimum a 3-year residential/1 year commercial warranty (5 years on the front gearbox). To me, that states, “Cub Cadet is very confident in the quality of their snow throwers.” Their exclusive non-marking, cool-blue skids shoes continue to be the most long-lasting poly shoes on the market.
  7. The Heavy-Duty 30 and 34 Pro Models are also available with Hydrostatic Transmissions: Toro Power Max HD snow blowers have been the machine of choice for institutions and large businesses for many years but these new models will give the Power Max HD a run for its money. These new models come with a FIVE YEAR commercial warranty.

At GIE-EXPO this year I was talking to an engineer from another brand. I made a comment about the controls on their machine being awkward to use and his reaction was. “You’ll get used to it.”  I didn’t tell him but I said, to myself, “No. I won’t, because based on your attitude I’ll never buy a thing from your company.” In other words, they weren’t interested in listening to what the consumer wanted – they just wanted to sell. Cub Cadet is one of the few snow blower manufactures that actually listens to you and makes changes to their products based on what we want. 

By The Way – All Opinions are Mine.

Keeping up with snow blowers is almost a full-time job. The U.S. manufactures currently sell about 140 different models made here in the U.S. alone. In addition, there are always another dozen or so foreign manufactures trying to wedge their way into your pocketbook. By the way – a quality $500 two-stage snow blower no longer exists. The base regular price is now $649-$699.

I normally spend most of July and August talking to the different snow blower manufactures about the new models they have coming for the fall. Usually, in September the manufacturers are shipping the new models to the dealers and I spend the time I need to inspect the new models as local dealers put them out on the sales floor. Sometimes that also involves traveling to the manufactures assembly plants or corporate offices to look at, demo and talk to the snow product managers. In October, I travel to the GIE-EXPO in Louisville, KY. GIE-EXPO is the largest lawn and garden equipment dealer show. There I get a chance to demo machines plus talk to the engineers and company management about all the features, fixes and new rumors. In addition, I keep 12-15 of the current snow blowers at my home for testing and answering your questions. I use these snow blowers when it snows and post those videos on YouTube.

I also spend a lot of time reading reviews from owners, reading and watching video YouTube reviews from other websites and of course keeping up with Consumer Reports latest test and reviews. Over the last ten years, I’ve become pretty good at sorting out honest reviews from the otherwise biased, paid, only here to make money, and only here to complain ones.

I want to caution you about one type of review website in particular. There are dozens if not hundreds of websites and youtube videos that are only interested in making money through Amazon. If you read an article or watch on YouTube about a “Top 10” review or a “2017 Best” review and the ONLY place they send you is Amazon assume they did no research and are only trying to get you to buy something on Amazon through their affiliate link. Don’t get me wrong, Amazon is actually a great place to buy certain snow blowers but don’t believe the sites that only send you to Amazon. 

Is 3-Stage Better Than 2-Stage?

I’m going to skip the section in this article on how to read reviews and instead talk about my viewpoint on the 3-stage snow blowers.

    1. 3-stage is not better than competing 2-stage snow blowers – it’s just different. Every U.S. manufacture tries to make the best snow blower for the price and or the best snow blower for certain buyers. Because of that, there have been many different designs over the years. Cub Cadet advertises the 3-stage to be better than a 2-stage but when you read the fine print the claim is against their own 2-stage snow blowers – not other brands. They offer 2-stage, 3-stage and 3-stage heavy duty snow blowers. So, feel free to ask in the comments below if the Cub Cadet 3-stage or another option from another brand is the best choice for you.
    2. Consumer Reports and their love affair with 3-stage snow blowers. If I decided to design a snow blower that would beat Consumer Reports test, the Cub Cadet 3 stage is a very good design. Consumer Reports uses a very specific method to test snow blowers. Their testing method is very consistent, meaning every snow blower is tested the exact same way. But the tests don’t use actual snow so their tests may not be that practical for determining the best snow blower for you. To give CR credit where credit is due, they now have a 3-stage list and a 2-stage list so there are now 2-stage machines that rank almost as well in their test as the 3-stage models. One other item to note about CR reviews – Their ratings are based on the models they have tested – not all of the snow blowers on the market. In particular, there are high capacity and commercial snow blowers that have never been tested by them. (For example the Toro Power Max HD 1028 EXLT and Ariens Commercial Series)
    3. Is the 3X snow blower durable? Yes, When sized properly for the amount of snow you have to clear and the size of your property a Cub Cadet snow blower will last many years. All Cub Cadet snow blowers are designed to break shear pins if it hits something that may damage the machine so make sure you have extra on hand. You may break a few until you get used to your machine and the obstructions you have. One positive feature is when it does break a pin most of the time it throws the entire broken pin out of the hole. (Some other brands leave a piece in the hole that you have to tap out with a drift punch) I just tape a ziplock bag of them right on the handle. The hard one to replace is the shear pin on the back auger flite. (The yellow propeller behind the gearbox.) Before you go out and clear snow the first time please figure out how that hole lines up with the front shear pin so you can easily find it if you break the pin.
    4. I’m over 6 feet tall. Is it possible to raise the grips/handlebar on the two-stage machines? No. Cub Cadet uses drive cables and shift rods instead of sheathed cables like the Husqvarna 200 series so you can’t make the handles longer or drill another hole in the frame to tip them up. If you are under 6 ft the handles are just the right height. Many of the new models have taller wheels this year so the handles will be taller.
    5. Will a 3-stage snow blower handle my needs or should I stick with a 2-stage machine? Yes, in general, 3-stage heavy-duty models will handle any snow or blizzard you get. My only real beef with it is the front “propeller” on the 24-inch models throws snow out the front when you are clearing only 2-4 inches. To compensate figure out what side it throws the snow too, then start in the middle of your driveway and go back and forth so the snow throwing out the front is always going to the area you have not cleared yet. On 6-10 inch snows, it actually throws snow very well.

Be sure you read this article on fuel, fuel stabilizer and storing fuel. Before/when I buy a new gas snow blower what else do I need? Or, “my engine won’t start,” “my engine won’t stay running.”

2017 Cub Cadet – How this review is laid out.

This is a very comprehensive article so it will take you a while to read through it. Because Cub Cadet offers so many models this year the only logical way to go through the units is by size. Note: It appears that Cub Cadet still has a lot of inventory left from previous years. (Trust me, they are not the only one) I’m only going to cover the latest models in this article. In my viewpoint, the ONLY differences between the NEW 2017 models and the older stock are the metal chute, the new easy engine controls, and the new dash with dual LED headlights.

  • 21″ single stage
  • 24″ 

Canadian Snow Blower Buyers:

Cub Cadet snow blowers in Canada are similar but not always exactly like the models offered in the U. S. You can see the models offered at Lowes.ca and HomeDepot.ca here:

LINK: Snow blowers at Lowes Canada

 LINK: Snow Blowers at The Home Depot Canada

2107 Cub Cadet 21″ single stage

31AS2M5E710_1X™ 21

31AS2M5E710_1X™ 21

31AS2M5E710_1X™ 21 – It’s lightweight and easy to move. Auger-propelled so the rubber auger touches the surface and cleans right down to the pavement. With a 123cc electric start engine, a 13” intake height and 9” paddles, the 1X 21″ clears up to 9” of snow all the way to the pavement. Blows snow 15-25 feet and features a clearing width of 21”.

This is a small, lightweight snow thrower good for hard, smooth surfaces like decks, patios, and short sidewalks. It makes a great compliment to your larger 2 or 3 stage snow blower for getting into areas you can’t get with the larger machine.

Buy at The Home Depot: Cub Cadet Single Stage Snow Throwers

31AS2S5C710_1X™ 21 HP

31AS2S5C710_1X™ 21 HP

31AS2S5C710_1X™ 21 HP – If you average 20-30 inches of snow a year this is one of the standards for single stage snow throwers. Auger-propelled so the rubber auger touches the surface and cleans right down to the pavement. With a 179cc electric start engine, a 13” intake height and 9” paddles, the 1X 21″ HP clears up to 9” of snow all the way to the pavement. Blows snow 15-35 feet and features a clearing width of 21”.

This is a lightweight snow thrower good for hard, smooth surfaces like decks, patios, small paved driveways and sidewalks that don’t get snow thrown on them from the city snow plow.

Buy at The Home Depot: Cub Cadet Single Stage Snow Throwers

31AM2T6D710_1X™ 21 LHP

31AM2T6D710_1X™ 21 LHP

31AM2T6D710_1X™ 21 LHP – If you’ve owned a single stage snow thrower and liked it but always felt you could use a little more power this is a good choice. It’s also one of the few snow singles stage snow throwers with a remote chute deflector and a headlight. Auger-propelled so the rubber auger touches the surface and cleans right down to the pavement. With a 208cc electric start engine, a 13” intake height and 9” paddles, the 1X 21″ LHP clears up to 9” of snow all the way to the pavement. Blows snow up to 35 feet and features a clearing width of 21”.

This is a deluxe single stage snow thrower with plenty of power for hard, smooth surfaces like decks, patios, small paved driveways and sidewalks that don’t get snow thrown on them from the city snow plow. It’s fast and very easy to use.

Buy at The Home Depot: Cub Cadet Single Stage Snow Throwers

2107 Cub Cadet 24″ two and three stage

31AM5BTR710_2X 24

31AM5BTR710_2X 24

 2X-24.  This 2-stage snow blower with power steering is one of the best values on the market. It’s a great price at $799. It’s been around for a long time and it’s always my first choice for people who average about 60 inches a year with a 2 car 60-foot driveway and want an easy to use snow blower. It works well for gravel, hard surface and turf. It’s balanced well and the handlebars are lower than most other snow blowers so it works well for shorter people. In fact, if you are under 6 Feet, can walk and use both hands you can use this machine. It comes with long-wearing poly skid shoes that won’t scratch your delicate pavers or leave brown rust stains on your concrete. It has all the features of the more expensive machines except hand warmers but they can be installed by your local Cub Cadet dealer.

Buy at The Home Depot: Cub Cadet Model # 2X 24 24 in. 208cc 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering

There is another version available at homedepot.com with the metal chute and crank chute rotation and pitch control for $899.

Buy at The Home Depot: Cub Cadet 2X 24 in. 208cc Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering and Steel Chute

31AH54VC710_NEW 3X™ 24

31AH54VC710_NEW 3X™ 24

3X-24. This is the same snow blower as the Troy-Bilt Vortex™ 2490 Snow Thrower but with the new metal chute, new chute controls, new dash with LED headlights, longer warranty and new quieter, easy to use engine – all for the same price. This is not one of my favorite snow blowers only for the fact that it tends to be a little “dirty” when cleaning 2-6 inches of snow. What that means is the front auger spins at the same speed as the impeller so it will throw snow out the front of the machine to one side when cleaning smaller amounts. The design of the 3X also always leaves a little snow when you clear into a corner. If you can live with those two small issues it is actually a pretty good machine. I have the Vortex version here and it’s fun to stick it into 12 inches of heavy snow and watch it throw the snow 40 feet. It looks like a fire hose when it’s in deeper snow.

Buy at The Home Depot: Home Depot does not have this model listed yet, but they should after they sell through the 2016 models with the old-style dash. You can use this link to check if they have it available: Cub Cadet Snow Blowers at The Home Depot.

31AH54VK710_NEW 3X™ 24 HD

31AH54VK710_NEW 3X™ 24 HD

3X™ 24 HD. New High Capacity? I can’t find any difference between this snow blower and the 3X-24 except for the taller housing and front LED headlight – and no one at the Cub Cadet booth of GIE-EXPO could either.  It does not have the larger 14-inch impeller the Pro series have.

Buy at The Home Depot: Home Depot does not have this model listed yet, but they should after they sell through the 2016 models with the old-style dash. You can use this link to check if they have it available: Cub Cadet Snow Blowers at The Home Depot.

2107 Cub Cadet 26″  two and three stage

31AM5CVS710_NEW 2X 26 HP

31AM5CVS710_NEW 2X 26 HP

2X 26 HP. There is a lot to like about this new Cub Cadet and it is a great choice for people who average up to 80 inches a year and have about a 100-foot 2-car driveway. I really like the new chute controls and the dash with 2 headlights. One feature most people miss is it now has taller tires so it will have better traction and the handles will be just a little taller than the older models (like the Craftsman). Power steering, metal chute, long lasting skid shoes make this a great snow blower for the price.

Buy at The Home Depot: 2X 26 in. 243cc 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Power Steering and Steel Chute

Home Depot has some older models with the poly dash.  You can use this link to check what they have it available: Cub Cadet Snow Blowers at The Home Depot.

31AH5DVA710_NEW 3X™ 26

31AH5DVA710_NEW 3X™ 26

3X 26. This snow blower has the new metal chute, new chute controls, new dash with LED headlights, longer warranty and new quieter, easy to use engine – all for the same price. This is not one of my favorite snow blowers only for the fact that it tends to be a little “dirty” when cleaning 2-6 inches of snow. What that means is the front auger spins at the same speed as the impeller (very fast) so it will throw snow out the front of the machine to one side when cleaning smaller amounts. It’s not as bad as the 24 inch models but if you are type who wants everything perfect – look at a different 2-stage machine. The design of the 3X also always leaves a little snow when you clear into a corner. If you can live with those two small issues it is actually a pretty good machine. I have the Vortex version here and it’s fun to stick it into 12 inches of heavy snow and watch it throw the snow 40 feet. It looks like a fire hose when it’s in deeper snow.

Buy at The Home Depot: 3X 26 in. 357cc 3-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Steel Chute, Power Steering, and Heated Grips

Home Depot has some older models with the poly dash.  You can use this link to check what they have it available: Cub Cadet Snow Blowers at The Home Depot.

31AH5DVX710_NEW 3X™ 26 HD

31AH5DVX710_NEW 3X™ 26 HD

3X 26 HD. As far as I can tell, the only differences between this and the 3X 26 are the taller, 23 inch auger housing, a heavy duty scraper bar and the front LED light. 

 

31AH7DVX710_NEW 3X™ 26 TRAC

31AH7DVX710_NEW 3X™ 26 TRAC

3X 26 TRAC. This is the 3X 26 HD with tracks! If you get a lot of snow, have a steep driveway or need to clear a lot of “off-road” areas this is one of the least expensive tracked snow blowers on the market. It has plenty of power to handle all the snow you can shove into that 23-inch tall impeller housing. Do you have to clear snow in the middle of the night? This snow blower has plenty of light to see in front of and around the machine.

2107 Cub Cadet 28″ two and three stage

31AH54VT710_NEW 2X™ 28 HP

31AH54VT710_NEW 2X™ 28 HP

2X 28 HP. This will be one of the more popular snow blowers in the Cub Cadet line. It’s competitively priced and has all the creature features you could want including power steering, hand warmers, LED lights, 16X5 tires and easy to use chute and deflector controls. In my opinion, this is a great snow blower for 2-3 car driveways up to 150 feet long that get an average of 60-80 inches per year. The 277 engine has plenty of power for that type of snow clearing.

31AH5DVB710_NEW 3X™ 28

31AH5DVB710_NEW 3X™ 28

3X 28. This snow blower and the larger 30-inch versions do not throw the snow out the front and leave it where you just cleaned like the smaller 26 and 24-inch 3X versions.

31AH5DVY710_NEW 3X™ 28 HD

31AH5DVY710_NEW 3X™ 28 HD

3X 28 HD. This version of the 3X 28 includes the taller, heavy-duty auger housing and the front LED headlight. If you have a lot of drifts to battle and/or you need to work in the dark a lot this is a good choice. It will work on all surfaces and the Cool Blue skids shoes are very long lasting and non-marring.

2107 Cub Cadet 30″ three stage

31AH5EVW710_NEW 3X™ 30 HD

31AH5EVW710_NEW 3X™ 30 HD

3X 30 HD. The 3X 30 HD utilizes the taller, heavy duty housing, new dash and front LED light but it still uses the 12-inch impeller/auger housing. So, it’s a heavy-duty snow blower like the Husqvarna ST 330P but not a high capacity snow blower like the Ariens Platinum 30 SHO. It’s just a reasonably priced, large areas snow blower and will work for most areas of the country that get 80-100 inches of snow a year.

31AH7EVZ710_NEW 3X™ 30 TRAC

31AH7EVZ710_NEW 3X™ 30 TRAC

3X 30 TRAC. The 3X 30 Track is a great choice if you have a steep driveway or need to do a lot of clearing of rougher, non-pavement areas. It utilizes the taller, heavy duty housing, new dash and front LED light but it still uses the 12-inch impeller/auger housing. It has power steering and easy to use chute controls. So, it’s a heavy-duty snow blower like the Husqvarna ST 330T but not a high capacity snow blower like the Ariens Professional 28 RapidTrak. I haven’t had the chance to test it compared to the Honda 28 and 32-inch track drives but I have a feeling at $1999 it will outperform the Honda’s in many areas besides the price. It’s a reasonably priced track drive snow blower and will work for most areas of the country that get 80-100 inches of snow a year.

Buy at The Home Depot: 3X 30 in. 420cc Track Drive Three-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower with Steel Chute Power Steering and Heated Grips

Home Depot has some older models with the poly dash.  You can use this link to check what they have it available: Cub Cadet Snow Blowers at The Home Depot.

31AH8E2U710_3X™ 30 PRO

31AH8E2U710_3X™ 30 PRO

3X 30 PRO. Cub Cadet has two carry-overs from last year and I wanted to point out these are heavy duty, high capacity snow blowers. The 3X 30 Pro uses the larger 14-inch impeller for increased capacity. With the large impeller and engine, this snow blower should handle most snow without a whimper. 

31AH8E2U710_3X™ 30 PRO H

31AH8E2U710_3X™ 30 PRO H

3X 30 PRO H. This is the other heavy-duty carry over. It features a hydrostatic transmission!

2107 Cub Cadet 33″ two stage

31BH95SV710_2X™ 933 SWE

31BH95SV710_2X™ 933 SWE

2X 933 SWE. Don’t Buy! I wanted to pont out this snow blower that’s still on the site. This is a very old design and used to also come in a 45-inch version. I’m not sure why Cub Cadet still sells this 33-inch version.  It has had quite a few issues over the years including eating belts, flimsy chute, and chute controls. It was just awkward to use. Please look at the 34 inch Troy-Bilt Arctic-Storm if you want a made by MTD 2-stage large area heavy duty snow blower or Craftsman 88978 instead. The Arctic Storm and 88978 have been completely redesigned are great snow blowers from MTD.

2107 Cub Cadet 34″ three stage

31AH8ESV710_3X™ 34 PRO

31AH8ESV710_3X™ 34 PRO

3X 34 PRO. This snow blower is very similar in features to the Troy-Bilt Arctic Storm 34 I tested and wrote about last year. It will have more capacity than the Storm and also comes with the front headlight.

31AH8E2V710_3X™ 34 PRO H

31AH8E2V710_3X™ 34 PRO H

3X™ 34 PRO H. Same, but with a heavy duty hydro transmission.

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. Robert November 9, 2017
    • Paul November 9, 2017
      • Robert November 11, 2017
        • Paul November 11, 2017
  2. Justin Terry November 7, 2017
    • Paul November 9, 2017
  3. Scott November 5, 2017
    • Paul November 9, 2017
      • Scott November 10, 2017
        • Paul November 10, 2017
  4. David November 2, 2017
    • Paul November 3, 2017
      • David November 3, 2017

I'll be glad you help you find the best snow blower. Please tell me the city, state and how large an area you want to clear.

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