Gas-powered lawnmowers often use Kohler or Kawasaki engines. In fact, some of the most popular models available on the market right now use a Kawasaki engine or a Kohler engine.
With so many models available and different mowers using these engines, it can be hard to figure out which brand is better.
We’ve looked at both brands and different lawnmowers using these engines to help figure out once and for all in the debate of Kohler vs Kawasaki which brand is better.
Here’s a quick look at what we found and an in-depth summary of the pros and cons of each brand.
Main Differences Between Kawasaki And Kohler Engines
The three main differences between Kawasaki and Kohler Engines are their power, fuel efficiency, and reliability. Here’s how we felt each brand compared to each other in the following categories.
Kawasaki Critical Power Engines are SAE certified and adhere to SAE J2723. This standard designates that the engine has adhered to strict standards and that Kawasaki engines deliver at least 98% of their rated horsepower.
Kohler motors, on the other hand, are compliant with SAE J1940. This standard is for small engine types that power lawn, general utility equipment, and other small engine applications.
SAE J1940 states that the engine has a maximum of 1L of swept volume displacement, but holds no guarantees about horsepower ranges.
For that reason, we feel more comfortable with Kawasaki engines being more reliable regarding their advertised power.
While both brands focus on fuel efficiency, Kohler offers engines with alternative fuel sources.
You can purchase a Kohler engine that runs on either propane or natural gas to save on your fuel bill.
With the rising costs of gasoline and diesel, many are beginning to consider alternative sources of fuel, but only Kohler has engines that can burn alternative fuel sources currently.
While both brands are known for their reliability, the Kohler Courage engine is known to have fairly common problems.
Many people have reported that their Courage model engine has suffered from leaky gaskets or cracking after just 100 hours of operation.
Kawasaki engines are typically more reliable machines than a Kohler engine like the Courage model.
Kawasaki lawnmower engines are known to be long-lasting and are some of the most reliable engines on the market.
With that said, Kohler lawn mower engines are also known to be long-lasting. There’s no clear winner here when it comes to the lifespan of these engines.
Each brand can easily manufacture an engine that lasts for a thousand hours. Kawasaki lawnmower engines have been reported to last easily over a decade if taken care of.
Kohler Engine Pros
A Kohler engine is often way cheaper than a Kawasaki engine without sacrificing much. Cheaper engines will, in turn, make the lawn mower cheaper as well.
Kohler is also well known for its exceptional customer service. If you do have a problem, they’re there to help.
In a day and age where getting a good customer service rep is rare, this is definitely appreciated.
Kohler engines are also more common on the market when it comes to lawn care equipment and even other tools like powerwashers or tillers.
This means that mechanics will be more familiar with Kohler lawnmower engines, and there may be wider availability of spare parts on the market.
Kohler Engine Cons
While Kohler is reliable, we would’ve liked to have seen more from a well-known brand. Kawasaki engines have that SAE rating that shows they have the horsepower they advertise.
It would have been nice for Kohler to advertise the same rating on their engines.
We also wish they wouldn’t have had so many issues with their recent Courage model engine. That Kohler engine doesn’t have the best reputation among the lawn mowing community.
Regarding warranties in the Kohler vs Kawasaki debate, Kohler isn’t looking as good as Kawasaki. Kohler offers a lesser warranty on its products compared to Kawasaki.
Kawasaki Engine Pros
Kawasaki engines are famous for their reliability and power. With that SAE rating we previously mentioned above, Kawasaki has proven to consumers that they are trying to lead the way in the small engine market.
Lawnmowers with a Kawasaki engine are sure to perform better than other models on the market, thanks to Kawasaki’s innovation and tech.
Kawasaki engines also come with great warranties. You should get a general three-year warranty when you purchase a Kawasaki engine but check with the dealer or Kawasaki themselves before purchasing to make sure.
Kawasaki Engine Cons
Depending on the Kawasaki engine, it may be more expensive than other comparable engines on the market. If price is a factor, you may want to look at alternatives before making your final purchase.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, Kawasaki isn’t exactly leading the pack. While their Kawasaki mower engines are powerful, other motors from Kohler have better fuel efficiency.
Top Mowers Using Kohler Engines
When it comes to Kohler and Kawasaki engines, there are more lawnmowers available on the market using a Kohler engine.
There are a number of great lawnmowers on the market that have a Kohler motor in them. Brans like Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, and Craftsman all have popular models using Kohler motors.
You can find push mowers, riding mowers, and even zero-turn mowers with a Kohler mower engine.
The Husqvarna Z254F features a Kohler motor with 26 horsepower and is a fan favorite for larger residential properties.
Since it has a Kohler motor in it, you can pick up this zero-turn for a great price compared to other models.
Top Mowers Using Kawasaki Engines
Just like Kohler, there are several mowers using Kawasaki lawnmower engines.
The incredibly popular brand Gravely uses Kawasaki engines on many of their models, from zero-turn to walk-behind mowers.
The Gravely Pro-Turn 600 is a fantastic zero-turn that is used by homeowners and for commercial use.
Main Problems Reported With Each Engine
While most Kohler lawnmower engines are reliable, the new Courage model has several issues that customers have reported.
There have been reports of the engine case cracking, oil leaking, and more. Kohler has yet to address this issue fully, and while you’re not guaranteed a problem if you purchase a Courage Kohler lawn mower engine, you should reconsider if there are other options available.
Kawasaki gasoline engines aren’t exactly problem free, but the problems they do have are more in line with age and normal wear and tear.
Lawn mower engines will eventually need repair, it’s a fact of life. The idea behind whether or not an engine is reliable is how long it will take before it needs a major repair.
Luckily, a Kawasaki mower engine can last longer than most before it has a leaky gasket, fuel filter leak, and other problems.
There’s a checklist you should follow to perform less maintenance in the long run and keep your lawn mower engine running longer.
Like a car, you should regularly change the engine oil and oil filter if applicable. You should also use a fuel stabilizer and remove the fuel if you’re not going to be using the lawn mower for long periods of time.
Many owners overlook simple things like checking and replacing the spark plug or air filter. Most lawnmowers have air-cooled engines, and keeping the air filter clean will keep your engine from overheating.
Lastly, you should take care of the blades on the mower. Make sure they stay sharp and aren’t bent. Sharp, straight blades will give your lawn a better cut and keep your deck from getting clogged with clippings.
Other Things To Consider
If you’re looking at Kawasaki and Kohler’s gasoline engines, you should also consider the lawn mower they’re installed on.
While the engine itself is a great reason to buy a lawn mower, you should make sure that the lawn mower itself is a great fit for your needs.
Kohler and Kawasaki both make excellent engines, with some subtle differences between the two.
While we personally would prefer a Kawasaki engine, if we found a great zero-turn mower that checked all of our boxes, we wouldn’t pass on it just because it had a Kohler.
All-in-all, both brands have manufactured some great engines, and there’s a reason the top brands on the market use their engines in their products.
The Winner Between Kohler VS Kawasaki
It was hard to pick a clear winner, we do feel that Kawasaki is better all around when compared to Kohler.
While Kohler does have better customer service and is less expensive than Kawasaki mower engines, they simply don’t beat Kawasaki’s power and reliability.
Both brands are reliable, but Kawasaki definitely has a better track record – especially after Kohler’s Courage engine.
Kawasaki Critical Power Engines also meet that SAE J2723 standard showing that they stick by the horsepower ratings that they advertise. It’s important to know that when you purchase a 23-horsepower engine, that it will put out 23 horsepower.
While we wouldn’t pass up on a Kohler just because it’s a Kohler, if there were a lawnmower with a choice of a Kawasaki or Kohler motor, we would take the Kawasaki.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Are Kohler engines reliable?
Kohler engines are as reliable as other engine brands on the market today. Lots of customers enjoy their Kohler motors and have no issues with them.
Kohler engines are known for their durability, reliability, and performance.
Are Kohler engines made in China?
Kohler parts are manufactured in China, but Kohler engines are manufactured at a plant in Hattiesburg, Wisconsin.
Are Kawasaki engines made in China?
Kawasaki engine parts might be manufactured in China, but every Kawasaki engine is assembled in Maryville, Missouri in the United States of America.