What are Lawn Mower Engines?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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There are many varieties of lawn mowers and consequently, there are many kinds of lawn mower engines. Each one performs a special duty – some are great for residential lawns, others are better for commercial properties, and some are perfect for golf courses. Some are powered by gas and others are powered by electricity. Some are pushed and pulled and others are ridden upon.

Lawn mower engines are most commonly found in rotary push mowers and they, as a general rule, have internal combustion engines. Specifically, they usually are two-stroke cycle or four-stroke cycle engines. In addition, they typically are powered by gasoline and range from two horsepower (1.5 kW) to seven horsepower (5.25 kW). In general, they have a manual crank that starts their engines and a carburetor. Although, there are some models that have an electric start button. Some newer models even have a regulatory mechanism that stops the engine from being over-revved – great to elongate the life of the engine.

Riding lawn mowers are very popular. They have a seat and a wheel or other hand controls. Because the equipment is so heavy, it takes a high horsepower (kW) engine to propel it. Depending on whether it is going to be used for home or commercial use, riding lawn mower engines can range from 13 horsepower (9.7 kW) to 30 horsepower (22.4 kW).


Although most people assume that reel or cylindrical lawn mowers will not have an engine at all, it is not always the case. Both gasoline and electric lawn mower engines can be attached to reel lawn mowers to power the reels and blades. If an engine is attached to a reel mower, the engine or motor spins the reel and the person pushes the mower. Another form of a reel mower is one that is used to cut the greens on golf courses. Because they are large in size, a powerful engine is needed to move the mower properly.

Caring for a lawn mower engine is relatively easy. After the mower is used, wait for the engine to cool. Then, use a garden hose to clean the undercarriage of the mower of any grass, debris, and clippings. When the season is over, it is best to store the mower in a dry place. Doing so will lengthen the life of the engine. Then, drain the fuel and run the mower until the engine stops. By draining the fuel, it prevents it from aging and ruining the engine.

Other routine maintenance of lawn mower engines includes changing the oil at least once a year, replacing the spark plug once a year, and replacing the fuel filter and the air filter when necessary. For those individuals that are handy, the maintenance is rather simple; however, there are skilled persons who can do it for a small fee. Keeping the engine clean and well-maintained is an important part of owning any kind of lawn mower.

Although the kinds of engines in the various lawn mowers are many, most can be broken into two main categories: gas or electric. Electric engines are more expensive and usually have lower horsepower (kW). Gas-powered engines are more powerful and less expensive. Electric engines do not require the hassle of purchasing gas or disposing of the old gas at the end of the season. In addition, they do not pose any environmental concerns like their gas-powered counterparts. Gas-powered lawn mower engines emit high amounts of pollution without any regulatory concerns.



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