Who makes best lawnmower engine?


Old 08-31-07, 05:35 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 9
Talking Who makes best lawnmower engine?

In the market for a riding lawnmower. Who makes the best engine? Briggs? Kolher, Honda, Kawasaki? I had a briggs and the engine block wore out. My general opinion is that Kolher is better and Honda and Kawaaki are in a different class altogether - much better. Techumseh is the worst from what I hear. Your opinion?
Sponsored Links
Old 08-31-07, 06:55 AM
duigoose's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 306
This all might be a can of worms but might make for a good thread. Here is my OPINION. I would say an engine is only as good as you maintain it. The cheapest engine can run a long time if it is taken care of whereas the most expensive will not if it is mistreated. Your question is also kinda vague as to what price range your looking at which might limit you as well. In my mind I would think a pressure lubricated engine is better protected. No I didn't name any engine makers because I don't know, don't have a shop and don't see them every day but there is my $.01. As a side note, Briggs engines are everywhere and parts are usually easy to come by.
Old 08-31-07, 08:31 AM
jeff194307's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Monmouth
Posts: 29
In my mind, for various reasons Kohler and Briggs are the two best. While some Briggs do wear out in time, those are ususally the cheaper engines with aluminum bores. The briggs I/C line have iron cylinders pressed into the aluminum block and will last many years if properly cared for. Kohler also is a very good engine and have a great reputation, but they too will fail early if not cared for. I personally don't think much of the Kawasaki and Honda Engines and would definately stay away from Tecumseh.
Old 08-31-07, 08:40 AM
bontai Joe's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 592
You want the BEST? The very BEST in longevity and reliability? A water cooled diesel will out power in low end torque and out live any air cooled gas motor, but you will pay more up front.
Old 08-31-07, 01:51 PM
30yearTech's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 1,176
Ford vs Chevy !

Man, thats like the Ford vs Chevy question. Ask 10 different people and you will likely get 10 different reasons why one is better then the other.

I like them all, and like the first reply suggested, if you take good care of them they will provide good service. I even like Tecumseh engines and most of the older mowers I see and I mean older (25 + years) have Tecumseh engine on them. I think Tecumseh gets a bad reputation mainly from mechanics that don't understand how to repair them, and therefore the engine gets blamed for the technicians short comings. You likely will not find many riding mowers with Tecumseh engines on them any longer.

I think Briggs and Stratton engines provide some of the best "Bang for the Buck" and have been impressed with the Intek line that I have serviced on many riding mowers. Kohler and Kawasaki are very popular on commercial equipment and I have found them to be very comparable. I have about as many customers who will swear by one and swear at the other. I think the Kohler may be a little more forgiving if you don't follow good maintenance habits (my opinion). I am slightly more impressed with the performance of the Kawasaki engines (again my opinion).

Bottom line, I would recommend that you look at riding mowers that have the features you are most interested in, and make your purchase from a local servicing dealer that can provide parts and service support for your purchase.

Best of Luck...
Old 08-31-07, 08:06 PM
cheese's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 17,117
Upvotes Received: 14
I generally tend to agree that the better care you give it, the better service you'll recieve. That doesn't apply all the time anymore with snap-down plastic air filter covers that warp and leak unfiltered air into the engine, and carburetors made of plastic, and various other parts made of plastic. Now, if you clean or change the air filter every day, it might not be doing much any good at all if it's not sealing in the unsealable compartment. I've seen more than a few engine failures due to this one problem alone. Not naming any engine names here, lol.

The reason I say this is that since the whole small engine thing has become so rediculous with the giant EPA thumb pressing down on the industry, along with the box store pricing that has forced quality down in order to stay competitive, it's hard to commit to one brand across the board at all.

I like the old Kohler commands...especially the single cylinder engines. However I like some Briggs like the Japanese Vanguards over the kohlers. I like some tecumsehs over some Briggs, like the old cast iron cylinder 6hp engine commonly found on tillers. Honda's red engines are extraordinary. It would be a challenge to tear one of those up. Most every Kawasaki I have used has been in a class of it's own, along with only other japanese engines. In my experience, the domestic engines are to par. The Japanese engines, even better. I'm a Red-Blooded American through and through, but the truth is the truth, lol.

That's my experience/opinion/two cents.
Old 09-01-07, 04:37 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 2,407
Upvotes Received: 1
What is a Honda "red" engine, I have gotten so lazy I don't use my push mower any longer and was going to buy a ZRT to replace my old Snapper rear engine. At 65+ I get enough exercise just walking to the mower, well not really and I have a small yard. I used my sister's Simplistic ZTR and if you're going to mow, WOW. Have a good one. Geo
Old 09-01-07, 10:29 PM
cheese's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 17,117
Upvotes Received: 14
The red engines are just that..red. Like the GX series engines, the HRT series, etc... Basically all of them with red shrouds. The black ones are consumer grade.
Old 09-02-07, 05:58 AM
puey61's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 3,224
Here's my opinion on engines: Push mowers, I like Briggs 12ci OHV; Rear engine riders, I like Briggs I/C; Lawn tractors, I like Kohler Command; Garden tractors, I like Briggs Vanguard; Commercial mowers, either Briggs Vanguard or Kohler Command; Snow throwers, I like Tecumseh Snow King; Rear tine tillers, I like Briggs Intek I/C; Front tine tillers, I like Tecumseh; Generators, I like Honda GX-series; Pumps, I like Briggs Vanguard; Power washers, I like Briggs Intek I/C; Chipper/shredder/vacs, I like Briggs Intek I/C.
Old 12-04-07, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 44
The best engine is the engine you know best
Old 12-04-07, 05:41 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Southern Wisconsin
Posts: 354
From my shop, the best to the worst is as follows for the larger types of riding mowers. #1- Kawasaki, fewest warranty claims filed. #2 - Honda, the red is better than those painted black on the air housings. The overhead cam units, generally painted black, have more claims than the push rod units, ususally painted red. #3- Kohler, they had a period of problems but appear to have overcome them with the new designs, but warranty on several failures due to oil seals. #4- Briggs OHV had some block problems but redesigned away from it. and #5 Tecumseh. Tecumseh has the best 4 cycle engine for snow blowers except for the 8 horse which I feel is lacking in power. Briggs is making the better two cycle snowblower engine which was the orginal Toro/Lawnboy design. It can run circles around the Tecumseh 2 cycle. Honda makes the best for generators and also the quieter muffler. Can go on for other equipment but you asked about a rider mower.
Old 12-04-07, 08:44 PM
LouBazooka's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 553
Hands Down

if you want to hear it from someone on the field, Im a landscaper and use Honda commercial lawn mowers, fuggetaboudit man there's no comparison Hondas are the best and yes those black Honda engines are just for homeowner application but they're pretty good too, the only thing I didnt like about Kawasakis is that they're too noisy IMO, stay away from domestic stuff such as B&S or Tecumseh. Im sorry to say it but it is true.
Old 12-05-07, 10:13 AM
bontai Joe's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 592
Originally Posted by KarlK View Post
The best engine is the engine you know best
For me that's the Kohler cast iron block "K" series no longer in production, but found on almost every garden tractor built in the 1970's thru the mid 1980's. I'm not a big fan of Kawasaki engines from the days when they used plastic cam gears (what were they thinking??!!), but haven't worked on many either.
Old 12-05-07, 05:22 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 44
Originally Posted by LouBazooka View Post
if you want to hear it from someone on the field, Im a landscaper and use Honda commercial lawn mowers, fuggetaboudit man there's no comparison Hondas are the best
And easy to maintain once you're familiar with them which to me makes them worth their comparatively high price. I use tracked Honda snowblowers commercially but also have a Honda mower at home and a powerful yet quiet 150hp Honda Marine outboard motor for water ski. I maintain these myself so in the end it doesn't cost me more, but I admit that the outboard is challenging to figure out at times. Never had any serious issues with it though. I also still have a vintage 1970's CT70 Mini-Trail that my dad gave me in 1974, still works like a charm and my kids love it. Probably the toughest bike ever built by Honda. I'm currently restoring it to brand-new condition but the engine only needs cosmetic work. Original parts are amazingly easy to come by.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes