Kohler Engines Review: Are They Any Good?

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When the time comes to replace the engine in your lawnmower or other equipment, you may wonder if Kohler engines are right for your machine. I’ve encountered many who are unsure about their quality, despite their popularity.

Drawing from my expertise in lawn care, I’ve put together this review on Kohler engines to see how they truly compare to the competition.

What is Kohler Co.: A Quick History

Kohler Co. is a Wisconsin-based company that manufactures engines for various purposes. It has been in business since 1873 and has a long history of producing high-quality engines. 

kohler engine

Kohler engines are used in everything from riding mowers to log splitters, and the company has a reputation for making durable products. 

Kohler Engines and Technology

Throughout the years, I’ve consistently seen Kohler engines shine in terms of durability and performance. These engines have several distinct advantages that set them apart.

HD Series

The HD Series™ is Kohler’s line of heavy-duty engines. It is designed for demanding applications and is built for residential and commercial walk-behind mowers, pressure washers, and utility equipment. It has a 2x-longer useful engine life certified by Kohler.

XT Series

The lightweight KOHLER® XT Series™ is built tough to the core, boasting professional-grade features for tackling tough jobs. It has Smart-Choke™ technology that prevents choking, priming, and flooded engine.

kohler engine XT Series

XTX Series

Kohler’s XTX Series™ has cast-iron cylinder liners for added durability and engine protection, professional-grade power, and never needs an oil change.

Other Notable Series

Kohler also offers a variety of other engine types, including the 7500 Series™ EFI, 7000 Series™, RH Series™, and SH Series™ engines. Each of these engine types has its unique features and benefits.

Which Kohler Engine is Best?

The best Kohler engine for you depends on your specific needs. 

If you need a heavy-duty engine, the HD Series™ is a good choice. If you are looking for a lightweight and easy-to-use engine, the XT Series™ is a good option. 

And for someone like me who prefers a low-maintenance engine without the hassle of oil changes, the XTX Series™ seems the perfect choice.

Where are Kohler Engines Made?

Engines produced by Kohler have come from Chongqing, China, since May 2007 in a joint venture with YinXiang Ltd. They team up with their Chinese allies to develop, manufacture, market, sell and distribute most of Kohler’s general-purpose gasoline engines. 

kohler assembly line

Therefore, Kohler engine parts come from China, while their plants are in Wisconsin, Saukville, and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Technically, they are “made in the USA.”

Riding Mowers with Kohler Engines

Kohler engines are used in different riding mowers. 

Some of the most popular brands that use Kohler engines include Dixon, Toro, Ariens, Cub Cadet, Gravely, Craftsman, Dixie Chopper, Westinghouse, and Simpson. These mowers are known for their durability and performance.

(But, given the highest-quality standards, why does a lawn mower backfire? Find out here!)

Kohler Engine Complaints

Some common complaints I’ve heard about Kohler engines include engines that are difficult to start, stop suddenly, operate erratically, backfire, and overheat. Possible causes of these problems include improper fuel, dirt in the fuel line, engine overload, and faulty spark plug.

Kohler vs. Briggs and Stratton Lawn Mower Engine

When it comes to lawnmower engines, Kohler and Briggs & Stratton are the two main competitors. Both companies make high-quality products, but there are some key differences between the two. 

Kohler engine of Husqvarna Z254

For example, Kohler engines slightly outperform Briggs & Stratton when it comes to longevity and durability. 

Additionally, Kohler engines are more suited for various conditions and have more options for cooling mechanisms and advanced filtration.

Kohler engines are the best choice for residential choice, while Briggs & Stratton engines are for personal use. The latter is often a lot more affordable with excellent performance for the price.

However, many users have observed a decline in the quality of Briggs & Stratton engines since the peak of COVID-19 [1]. 

FAQ

Does Kohler make good engines?

Yes, Kohler makes good engines and is known for durability and performance. They are known as easy to operate, with various features depending on your needs. 

Kohler makes mower engines for extensive personal and professional uses. Essentially, Kohler offers a wide variety of choices based on conditions.

How many hours will a Kohler engine last?

A Kohler engine will last 500-700 hours. Kohler’s Courage engine can run up to 1,000 hours as long as you are careful with the oil and synthetic oil used and as long as you take good care with how infrequently your motor has been run and how hard you run it.

Conclusion

Based on my experience and insights from fellow lawn care specialists, I can confidently say that Kohler engines stand out as one of the most dependable manufacturers available today. Using them is a breeze, and they come packed with different features tailored to what you require.

Whether you’re looking for a heavy-duty engine for commercial tasks or a lighter one for your riding mower, Kohler doesn’t disappoint. They’re relatively low-maintenance and boast a range of cooling mechanisms and advanced filtration options.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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