Kohler vs Kawasaki Mower Engines: Which is better?

kawasaki manufacturing plant

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Admit it or not, most lawn mowers equipped with Kohler and Kawasaki engines are highly sought-after. However, with tons of reliable machines out there, how can you distinguish which engine brands are worth buying? 

If you don’t want to waste money on a second-rate lawn mower, check our team’s insights as we compare Kawasaki and Kohler engines side by side.

About Kohler

You may not know, but Kohler started manufacturing small engines as early as 1948. Thanks to their continued innovation, Kohler’s gasoline engines are still one of the frontrunners in the lawn care and landscaping industry up to this day. 

kohler engine

And did you know that the idea of electronic fuel injection (EFI) engines used in lawnmower machines originated from this brand? Upon our team’s checking, these engine types only existed in cars before Kohler introduced the technology to the lawn mower industry. 

About Kawasaki

Like Kohler, Kawasaki engines have been in the market for a long time. From manufacturing general-purpose engines in 1957, the brand specifically started a product line for lawn mowing in 1984. Since then, Kawasaki engines expanded its global recognition. 

kawasaki engine

If you surveyed the market today as we did, you’d discover that this mower engine is regarded as one of the most durable and safest options out there. 

Kawasaki or Kohler: A Quick Overview

Point of Comparison
Engine Types
Kohler Engine
EFI & KDI Engine
Kawasaki Engine
V-Twin & commercial-grade carbureted
Fuel Efficiency
Better fuel efficiency than Kawasaki engines
Fuel efficient but not as good as Kohler engine
Best Model Series
7000 & Command series
FS and FX series
Recommended Usage
Residential Use
Residential/Commercial Use
Motor Performance
Better performance if used in mowers with bigger deck
Average engine performance
Product Pricing
More budget-friendly
More expensive than Kohler engines
Materials Used
Includes plastic parts
Mostly metallic parts
Maintenance Difficulty
Kohler parts are highly available
Kawasaki parts are challenging to find
Average Engine Life
1,000 hours for the Courage Model
Lasts around 3,500 operating hours
Horsepower
3HP to 38HP / 100 HP for diesel-powered engines
Up to 38.5 HP
Point of Comparison
Engine Types
Fuel Efficiency
Best Model Series
Recommended Usage
Motor Performance
Product Pricing
Materials Used
Maintenance Difficulty
Average Engine Life
Horsepower
Kohler Engine
EFI & KDI Engine
Better fuel efficiency than Kawasaki engines
7000 & Command series
Residential Use
Better performance if used in mowers with bigger deck
More budget-friendly
Includes plastic parts
Kohler parts are highly available
1,000 hours for the Courage Model
3HP to 38HP / 100 HP for diesel-powered engines
Kawasaki Engine
V-Twin & commercial-grade carbureted
Fuel efficient but not as good as Kohler engine
FS and FX series
Residential/Commercial Use
Average engine performance
More expensive than Kohler engines
Mostly metallic parts
Kawasaki parts are challenging to find
Lasts around 3,500 operating hours
Up to 38.5 HP

Comparing the Features of Kawasaki and Kohler

Power

In this Kawasaki vs Kohler engine review, our mower engine experts decided to take a closer look on each brand’s Horsepower ratings. During our evaluation, we immediately noticed that Kawasaki offers both liquid-cooled and air-cooled engines. 

kohler diesel engine

As we tested them out, some of its FX series reached up to 38.5 Horse Power while operating at a speed of 3600 RPM. On the other hand, its critical power gain maintains up to t 57.8 ft-lbs maximum torque at 3200 RPM. The FD series from Kawasaki engines also come with a Digital Fuel Injected technology that allows 31 Horsepower ratings.

For the Kohler engines, most of their available selections range from gasoline, natural gas, to propane fuel types. Because of this, we already expected that its rated horsepower could reach between 3HP to 38HP. 

However, the reason why many people prefer Kohler is its diesel-powered engines that can handle up to a 100 HP rating. So, overall, Kohler engine options win by a small margin in this part of the roundup. 

Reliability and Efficiency

Kohler and Kawasaki engines are regarded as the best options for zero-turn mowers due to their excellent cutting capabilities and fuel efficiency. And with Kawasaki engine models mainly equipped with V-twin technology, lawn mowing with this engine choice results in low emissions. 

kawasaki engine on a lawn mower

You may not know, but Kawasaki hires a third-party testing group to ensure the reliability of its Critical Power engines before they hit the market.

But if you want maximum fuel efficiency, Command models from Kohler are the best engine to consider. Thanks to its Smart Choke Technology, any lawnmower with this engine will run as smooth as butter. Given the reliability of its hydraulic lifters, our testers conclude that Kohler is more efficient than most Kawasaki engine options. 

Maintenance

Regular maintenance prevents excellent engines from breaking down [1] and increases the life of a lawnmower. However, it’s not a secret that most lawnmower machines require less maintenance than other garden equipment. Typically, all you need to do for these engines is keep the air filter clean and replace the oil filter. 

But if we compare Kohler vs. other models, this brand requires less maintenance as its parts are widely available. On the other hand, Kawasaki parts are premium and harder to find in the aftermarket parts suppliers. 

Lifespan and Durability

If maintained properly, the Kawasaki engine can stand the test of time. In fact, its John Deere model alone can run around 1200 hours. It complies with  SAE J2723 standards, so rest assured that this engine will perform at its utmost durability. 

kawasaki manufacturing plant

Kawasaki enthusiasts may argue that Kohler engines are inferior for their plastic and metallic parts combination. However, some of Kohler’s offerings, like its new Courage model, have a cast iron interior that allows it to handle long hours of mowing. Kohler’s air-cooled engine also has an approximate lifespan of 2000 hours. 

Pricing

Parts of the Kawasaki engine are often produced in a lower volume, so our resident lawn experts weren’t surprised to discover that they have much higher prices than Kohler’s good engines. 

Despite being not budget-friendly, we wouldn’t discourage you from buying a Kawasaki engine as they have fewer problems than standard engines and saves you money in the long run. And as the Kawasaki parts prices consistently go up, aftermarket suppliers are doing their best to keep its costs down. 

On the other hand, Kohler engines are definitely more affordable than Kawasaki. However, if you compare it to Briggs’ prices, this engine may appear more expensive. 

Warranty

Both Kohler and Kawasaki engine options offer competitive warranty policies. These engines are often used in exposed environments, so our resident lawn care experts urge you to buy a machine with a corresponding engine warranty. 

kohler assembly line

For Kohler, its residential engines are protected with a one to five-year warranty. While commercial or rental policies may range up to three years. However, keep in mind that these warranty durations depend on the engine type.

For Kawasaki, your new mower will be protected within 36 months from the day of its purchase. It covers any engine failure, but free repairs will only apply if a legitimate Kawasaki technician or dealer fixes it. 

Customer Support

Like any other manufacturer, Kawasaki and Kohler provide technical support to their customers via phone and email. If you really want to get answers to your queries faster, our team advises you to send inquiries during office hours as both brands are only available Mondays to Fridays from eight in the morning to five in the afternoon. 

The downside of the Kawasaki technical assistance team is only answering email concerns about warranties and repairs, while Kohler has a much friendlier approach to every query. 

FAQ

How many hours does a Kohler engine last?

A Kohler engine can last up to 1000 hours of cutting operations. The lifespan of its air-cooled models is also reported to handle at least 2000 hours. Kohler unsurprisingly has a longer lifespan due to its larger engine design than other brands. However, this engine is more suitable for residential zero-turn lawn mowers.

How many hours will a Kawasaki engine last?

A Kawasaki engine can last from 1000 to 3000 hours in a commercial application. However, this lifespan metric may change according to several factors. Generally, its durability and efficiency may vary depending on its model, maintenance, workload, and usage. You must maintain the unit well to maximize its use.

Are Kohler engines made in China?

Yes, new Kohler engines are made in China. However, some of its flagship models, like KOHLER® 7000 Series, are specifically engineered and assembled in the United States. Its manufacturing started in Hattiesburg in 1998, and they also have a sprawling factory, but it’s more known for bathroom fixtures. 

Where are Kawasaki mower engines made?

Kawasaki mower engines are made in the Maryville, Missouri plant in the United States. Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp started engine production here in June 1989. Before this, their general purpose engine was sold in 1957. But it wasn’t until 1984 that they decided to manufacture engines for lawnmowers. 

Conclusion

In conclusion to our Kohler vs Kawasaki engine comparison, our testers deemed that both brands offer competitive perks for the lawn mowing industry in different applications. If you intend to use it for residential use, Kohler is a more sensible choice to consider. And as for commercial use, Kawasaki’s premium materials have the durability for extensive operations.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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