And Thank you for joining the club! You'll come to a point when comparing these two machines that it's personal preference. You won't be able to make a final decision, IMO, unless you sit on both and even take them for a test run.
You may even know more about these machines than we do after you do your research.
I can only speak from personal experience with Cub Cadet. I too have look at the X300 series models of JD and compared them with Cub Cadet. A couple of reasons why I chose Cub over JD was:
-Cub dealer was known to me and reviews from local people had nothing but good things to say about Service after the sale! (That's important in my book)
-When out of warranty the parts are more readily available for my Cub since it's owned by MTD. They have a lot of aftermarket parts priced affordably. (JD is normally parts only through dealer and can be quite expensive)
-I liked where the fuel tank was located under the hood with a nice fuel gauge on the side (I never had to lift the hood to fill tank) VS the under seat tank with JD and the not so good guage. (personal preference)
-The Cub has a sharper turning radius with allows for less backing up time and more forward driving
-Cub ignition switch has a backup feature that when activated you can go forward and reverse VS JD you have to push the white backup button every time before backing up (Again not a biggie but can save a lot of time)
I could keep going on but as you can see I'm partial to the Cub. They both feature the same transmission K46 by Tuff Torq. No difference there. Depending on the size deck the X350 comes with either 42" or 48" sizes. Whereas the Cub comes with a 46". Size may be important to you.
Here's where they split:
-JD features there 18.5 iTorque Power System which is really an 18.5 HP Kawasaki V-Twin. Between using Kohler, Briggs, and Kawasaki. I preferred the Kawa with the XT2 LX46 I owned a couple of years ago. That particular model featured an actual 21.5 HP Kawa. I regret getting rid of it... The current LX46 comes with a respectable
-24HP Kohler V-twin on the Cub. Again a good engine. It mainly depends on the care of the machine that determines longevity IMO.
-The Cub comes with arm rests whereas the JD does not.
-I have seen how JD discharges and how Cub discharges. Cub takes pride on the cut and that shows when you use it. Each pass seems to really throw, more like broadcast the grass from the chute with Cub. My father-in-law has a D130 and the grass just clumps out of the chute. It doesn't produce the same results to me.
Narrowing it down
... The JD comes with a 4yr/300 hr limited warranty.
The Cub comes with a 3yr/Unlimited hr warranty.
The JD costs $3199 retail
The Cub costs $1999 retail
For the money you get a really good value with the Cub. It depends on what you were thinking of spending. You won't be disappointed with the Cub. I've heard you may get a little more use and years out of the JD. I think it's probably built a little beefier and obviously they believe in the machine to give it a longer warranty.
But I return to my original statement and say go try both out. The Cub just may WOW! you. You may not like the service or sale from the JD dealer? You have to think of Service after the sale.
If you have any other questions please feel free to ask... And Good Luck!
P.S. Please keep us updated on your decision!