Which Engine Is Better: Kohler vs Kawasaki

kohler vs kawasaki

If you are on the market for a lawnmower and are looking at Kohler vs Kawasaki engines 2020, chances are you are not sure which engine is the better option. The Kohler vs Kawasaki mower engine 2020 is a battle between machines that are the top in terms of quality. Each is arguably one of the best lawn mower engines ever created and brings a lot to the table.

Below is an assessment and summary of the Kohler 7000 vs Kawasaki FR debate. It covers what each engine offers, as well as any drawbacks, plus a head-to-head comparison of a Kawasaki vs Kohler engine.

Kohler Lawn Mower Engine

A Kohler lawnmower engine is one of the best on the market. It is designed for residential and commercial work and is a favorite of landscape contractors. The Kohler engine is known for its reliability, durability, and longevity.

kohler vs kawasaki engine

Benefits of the Kohler Engine

Kohler engines possess a lot of HP, especially considering the work they are doing. The range is 3 to 38 HP, and the diesel engine provides even more. The two most popular models, the 7000 series and the Command series, feature hydraulic lifters, closed-loop fuel input systems, horizontal and vertical shafts, and a smart-choke, which allows the machine to function smoothly in all sorts of weather.

A Kohler engine will run about 2,000 hours. Some customers have reported getting through 4,000 without any issues. The key to longevity for a Kohler engine is maintaining it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Price-wise, Kohler is an option that sees a quick return on investment. While still on the expensive side, the Kohler engine has many more bells and whistles than the Kawasaki. A Kohler engine has a five-year warranty for residential products and a commercial option that covers up to three years. 

There are also engine-specific warranties, so make sure you ask if one is applicable. Also, if you are considering purchasing a Kohler mower, verify that any engine-specific warranty is in addition to any warranty from Kohler.

Drawbacks of the Kohler Engine

Reading reviews from several websites about Kohler engines reveal a pointed lack of complaints. The predominant theme is that a Kohler mower engine experiences normal wear and tear but rarely suffers from a malfunction or parts failure.

The only consistent complaints pertained to using the Kohler engine commercially, which is not surprising, given the engine is not engineered for commercial use. It has cast iron parts, which makes it durable, but the daily stress of commercial use can take its toll.

Another complaint, although it is rare, pertains to price. You certainly get the quality you expect from this brand, but it is expensive. Interestingly, despite the perception, Kohler engines are on par price-wise with other competing engines.

Given the performance and durability of the Kohler engine, though, the additional expense is worth the investment.

Kawasaki Lawn Mower Engine

Kawasaki engines adhere to the SAE J2723 Critical Power Standard, which means they will deliver at least 98% of the mower engine rated HP. These engines are both liquid and air-cooled, and most models come in single and double cylinders.

Kawasaki lawn mower engines have Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI,) which means they are more efficient than mowers with carburetors, work faster and with more precision.


Benefits of Kawasaki

The principal benefit of the Kawasaki lawn mower engine is dependability. They are tested regularly and improved upon by Kawasaki testing employees. Additionally, independent parties test the product to ensure internal testing results are accurate. Because Kawasaki adheres to SAE J2723, the engines they produce are also some of the safest and most durable mower engines on the market. 

Another benefit of the Kawasaki engine is its lifespan, which Kawasaki says is approximately 3,000 hours if the engine is well maintained. For most people, that means their Kawasaki lawn mower engine will last them for years. They are also known for having fewer repair issues than other lawnmower engines.

Kawasaki engines have a 36-month warranty, which covers all repairs or the replacement of engine parts. The machine must be brought to a Kawasaki mechanic, though.

Drawbacks of the Kawasaki Engine

Drawbacks to a Kawasaki engine are almost entirely related to maintenance and when something breaks. Parts are higher priced and usually must be ordered. There is no market for aftermarket Kawasaki parts to speak of, mainly because Kawasaki engines require so little repair work.

That means to bring a malfunctioning or broken Kawasaki lawn mower engine back to working order will usually cost more and take more time than most lawnmower engine competitors.

Like Kohler, however, a Kawasaki is known for wearing out versus breaking down. That means it is unlikely it will need repairs but will need routine maintenance. The return on the investment pays off with years of dependable service.

Engine Comparison

A head-to-head comparison of Kohler vs Kawasaki engines reveals several similarities. They also have some differences, and those differences are the tinder in the Kawasaki engine vs Kohler engine argument.

kohler engine


The key difference in a Kohler engine vs Kawasaki engine comparison is cost. The Kohler lawnmower engine is less expensive. Most customers view the Kawasaki engine as “very expensive.” 

Additionally, if the engine does break down, Kohler parts are easy to find, while Kawasaki parts will take some time, are expensive, and frequently must be ordered. 

Each engine is suitable for residential and commercial purposes, but the Kawasaki a day-in-day-out commercial workhorse. Countering that is the fact that the Kohler gets much better fuel efficiency. The Kohler is also less expensive overall, although both get a significant return on investment.


Like the key difference, the Kohler vs Kawasaki engine contest is defined by one reality: Both engines are the best on the market. Diehards can debate Kohler vs Kawasaki lawn mower engines all they want, but the fact remains that they are arguing about which of the two best is top dog.

Both deliver significant power, particularly for their intended purposes. Both are exceptionally dependable and do not require much more than routine engine maintenance to remain in good working order. Additionally, both have a reputation for delivering very close to their advertised HP levels.

Technically, in regards to HP, Kohler vs Kawasaki mower engines is a wash. So are the questions of Kohler EFI vs Kawasaki and the maintenance cost of a Kohler vs Kawasaki motor. 

Both deliver about the same amount of HP. Both are rugged enough to be used commercially, but Kawasaki engines are designed for commercial applications. In a debate of Kohler engines vs Kawasaki in a commercial setting, Kawasaki is a better choice. 

Kohler engines can be run in a commercial setting but will not usually hold up as well as a Kawasaki.

Surprisingly, a review of Kawasaki vs Kohler mower engine costs, the difference is not as pronounced as some think. The Kohler starts at the low end, costing a couple of hundred dollars, and tops out at a couple of thousand. The Kawasaki basic model is also a couple of hundred dollars, but the high-end Kawasaki is significantly more expensive.

kawasaki engine

Performance of a Kohler Engine

Kohler engines are one of the best options available for lawnmowers because of their durability and fuel efficiency. In terms of performance, a Kohler engine runs on par with the Kawasaki.


Kohler engines are known for reliability. They start right up in reasonably cold weather, and the new Courage model will run for up to 100 hours without needing service. Kohler mower engines have cast iron in them, making them strong and resilient regardless of the workload.

The only durability question a Kohler engine has is if you are using it solely for commercial use and use it constantly. Kohler engines can tackle most commercial work, but they are made primarily for occasional, residential use. Be prepared to have more maintenance requirements if you are using your Kohler engine strictly for commercial purposes. 

Commercial use will also downgrade the overall performance of the mower over time. In addition, achieving the threshold for total hours will impact the state of the engine. While it is impossible to predict, it is reasonable to assume that a commercially used Kohler engine will wear out quicker than a residentially used model.

Fuel Efficiency

Lawnmower engines that run on gasoline are not very economical. That said, the Kohler is known to be more economical than the Kawasaki. Kohler also offers both gasoline and propane-run engines. Propane run engines are very fuel-efficient.

Performance of the Kawasaki Engine

The Kawasaki lawn mower engine is also a standout in the areas of durability and fuel efficiency. The durability is unquestioned. It does, however, gulp fuel.


Kawasaki complies with SAE J2723, which means its engines meet the industry standard for durability at a minimum. Generally, Kawasaki engines exceed the standard as a rule, and it is also known for being exceptionally safe. Kawasaki engines are mostly made of metal, which increases their ability to take a beating and their lifespan.

Part of durability, however, is also reliability. Kawasaki’s is excellent unless you are working in cold conditions. Kawasaki engines tend to start slower and harder when it is cold out. That can mean a delay in getting started if you are using them for commercial purposes. To address the difficulty a Kawasaki engine can have with cold weather, small engine cold maintenance is required once the temperature drops below 45 or so.

Fuel Efficiency

Kawasaki engines are known to use a good bit of gasoline. The engines that have moved to an EFI system are somewhat better, but overall, Kawasaki is not producing engines with fuel efficiency in mind so much as producing engines that can tackle any workload you throw at it.


So which is better in the Kawasaki vs Kohler debate? That depends on what you are looking for in a mower engine and the workload you are using the mower on.

If you are looking for a great residential mower that can handle a commercial load, Kohler is tough to beat. If you are looking for a mower that is a commercial behemoth and very good for residential use, Kawasaki is where you want to look.

Regardless, in Kohler motor vs Kawasaki, if you buy one or the other, you are the winner.

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