Kohler vs. Kawasaki Engines (Which Is Better Engine)

If you’re in the market for a new tractor or mower engine, you’ve probably come across Kawasaki and Kohler during your search for the best option. Each brand offers several products that are great for residential and commercial applications. But which one is better between the two? 

In this article, we will provide an in-depth answer to the debate of Kohler vs Kawasaki engines. Stick around for a comparison between these popular brands based on their most important features, costs, and other considerations. 

Kawasaki engines are the best overall, beating Kohler in multiple categories from performance and durability to lifespan and maintenance. Although both options are energy-efficient with a similar price point, Kawasaki engines are more reliable than Kohler, and the brand provides a promising 3-year warranty that’s guaranteed for all of their products. 

Kohler vs. Kawasaki Engines differences in features

There are several differences in features between Kohler and Kawasaki engines. Before making a purchase, it’s important to weigh your options and consider what’s most important to you. When it comes to buying an engine, there are some basic categories you should analyze to ensure your final decision is an informed one. 

In this section, we will highlight the following key areas: performance, durability, lifespan, reliability, maintenance, fuel efficiency, price, and warranty. Continue reading for an accurate comparison of Kohler vs Kawasaki based on these indicators. 


One of the most important aspects of any engine you purchase is the performance. This is how well the product holds up while you are operating it, which is especially important for those who plan to get a lot of use out of their new purchase. In other words, how well does each engine work? 

Horsepower ratings play a large role in determining how each engine performs. Horsepower (hp) is a measure of power that translates to exactly 550 pounds per foot per second. In other words, a single unit of horsepower is enough to move a mass of 550 across 1 foot (12 inches) in a single second. 

Kawasaki engines follow SAE J2723 standards, a strict set of rules that require the engines to use a minimum of 98% of their listed horsepower at any given time. This means that you can expect accurate ratings on the engine products you buy from them. 

To further validate this point, Kawasaki works with third-party companies outside of the brand to come up with these ratings. The products are thoroughly tested off-site, and the horsepower levels are determined afterward. This results in the most honest ratings and leaves room for constant product improvement. 

Kawasaki engines hold an average of 15-38 horsepower, depending on the chosen model. Kohler products have much lower ratings, with the average model peaking at 15 horsepower. 

Some products on the low end only display a horsepower rating of 3. Additionally, Kohler’s testing process is unknown, making their rating accuracy much less reliable than Kawasaki’s. 


The durability of an engine is a key indicator of how long it will last and any additional expenses that may be required. For engines in particular, stress and cracking are major concerns. Since your engine will likely endure intense conditions, it’s important to choose a durable product that will stand up to these circumstances. 

Most of Kohler’s engine models combine metal with plastic for the exterior materials. This makes them more prone to breakage, especially with consistent use. 

Kawasaki engines provide the strongest power levels, with sturdy and durable materials. They have the longest lifespan, and are able to withstand consecutive hours of use in both residential and commercial settings. 

Although Kohler presents some models with cast iron materials, the vast majority of their products are not as durable. Therefore, Kawasaki engines take first place when it comes to durability. 


The lifespan of your new engine is the amount of time you can expect it to last before it’s necessary to buy a new one. While lifespan varies between brands and models, the final number has a lot to do with how well you take care of your engine. 

The exact lifespan estimate between Kawasaki and Kohler engines is highly debated between current users and previous customers. In general, Kawasaki engines are reported to last for about 3,000 hours in total. This can be spread out across 15 years, depending on how well the engine is maintained. 

Kohler engines have a much broader lifespan range, reported between 2,000 and 4,000 hours in some cases. However, the average lifespan of most Kohler models leans toward 2,000 hours, or somewhere between 10 and 15 years. 

Again, this will depend on maintenance habits and how frequently the engine is used. All in all, Kawasaki engines tend to last longer than Kohler engines. 


When you purchase any product, you need to know it will work for your intended use case and hold up for a long time. Customer reviews are a great measure of how reliable any product is. To determine where Kohler vs Kawasaki engines stand, we sifted through thousands of comments online from others who have used their products. 

The Kawasaki brand name is highly regarded for its reliability. Based on reviews from previous customers, not many users have reported dissatisfaction after purchasing their products. 

Additionally, there are few complaints about the need for repairs or replacements. Kawasaki engines tend to last longer than alternative products from Kohler, which contributes to less frequent problems during use. 

Kohler is the least reliable of these two options for many reasons. First, there are several known issues with a lot of their engine products. For instance, certain Kohler engines experience cranking without starting. There have also been mass reports of oil leakages. 

The shorter lifespans of Kohler engines present more problems. Certain engine products from this brand may last as little as 50 hours before failure. Therefore, Kawasaki is the better engine when faced with challenging conditions. 


In general, any engine you purchase will require some level of maintenance and upkeep. When you maintain your product, you can extend its lifespan and minimize unnecessary expenses for repairs or an eventual replacement. 

Kohler and Kawasaki engines both require frequent maintenance for the best long-term performance. The process is similar for each brand, and consists of a few key focus areas: the oil filters, air filters, and cooling system. 

However, there is one major difference between the two that affects their maintenance requirements. Kawasaki engines run on an open-loop control, meaning there are fewer components. This translates to less maintenance for you as the owner. 

Kohler engines, on the other hand, operate on a closed-loop control. This requires more frequent cleaning, checks, and repairs due to a more complex system. 

closed-loop control

Fuel efficiency 

Both Kawasaki and Kohler engines run on EFI technology. EFI stands for “electronic fuel injection,” and the definition is similar to the name. With a series of electronic controls, fuel is injected directly into the cylinder or manifold of the engine. 

Other systems use a carburetor to combine fuel with air instead, which is not present in EFI applications. The benefits of electronic fuel injection begin with fewer emissions and higher accuracy. Engines that use this method don’t have to work as hard to produce results, and therefore require less fuel. 

Kohler engines, especially, are known to save hundreds of dollars yearly on fuel when using propane models. On the other hand, users of Kawasaki engines report that more fuel is needed for use, making Kohler the most energy-efficient option. 


Along with the overall performance of your engine, price is a key deciding factor for most buyers. Your budget will likely outweigh some of your desired features in the consideration process. 

The general price range of Kawasaki and Kohler engines begin around $300 for their most basic models. Depending on the size and model between both brands, they can each go as high as $3,000-$4,000. 

Kohler provides the most cost-effective options, with their lowest-priced model starting in the $200 range. Kawasaki models do not provide buyers with as much pricing flexibility, as their simplest option is over $300. 


Each brand offers various warranty options for their engines. It’s important to be aware of each manufacturer’s policies to make an informed decision before your final purchase. A warranty will give you peace of mind and help you get your money back in the event of a defective product. 

Kohler warranties vary depending on how the engine is used and the product type. They are very particular about the terms they offer for residential and commercial customers. Residential warranties average between 1 and 5 years. 

Since commercial customers are more likely to use their engines daily or in more severe conditions, warranty options range from a few months to a few years. Kohler warranties cover engine failure, but it’s important to note that repairs and replacements are only free when completed by an official dealer. 

Kawasaki’s warranties on their engines are far less complex. Instead of specifying certain conditions like Kohler, all Kawasaki engines come with a 3 year warranty out of the box. Although you can take a gamble with a possibly longer warranty on a Kohler engine, we consider Kawasaki’s guaranteed 3-year period to be the safest option. 

Kawasaki vs Kohler: Which is the better engine?

Considering all of the factors we discussed above, Kawasaki is the best engine overall. The most compelling reason for this choice is the power and performance these engines provide. They meet a strict set of guidelines regarding power percentage, starting at 30 horsepower ratings. 

Not only are Kawasaki engines extremely powerful, but the products are tested extensively to ensure accuracy. When you purchase a Kawasaki engine, you can count on it to last for approximately 15 years with minimal maintenance and repairs along the way. 

Another significant factor to consider before you make a purchase is the product’s warranty. Kawasaki offers a flat warranty of 3 years that is guaranteed across all models and use cases. Regardless of whether you plan to use your engine for residential or commercial purposes, you can have peace of mind that failure and manufacturing defects will be covered by their generous warranty policy. 

Although Kawasaki seems to hit the mark in all of the key areas we discussed, a Kohler engine may be the best option in some instances. The low price is one of the shining features that make Kohler engines stand out. 

Additionally, you may be able to secure a longer warranty of up to 5 years if you plan to use your Kohler engine for residential purposes only. When it comes to energy efficiency, Kohler and Kawasaki engines are not much different. This means you can take advantage of similar benefits with a Kohler engine, including much lower fuel costs. 

Kawasaki engines are not the only option when it comes to durability. Although most of Kohler’s products are made with plastic, select models feature a more sturdy cast iron that provides increased durability. 

If any of these additional benefits interest you, a Kohler engine may be the best product for your situation. Overall, though, Kawasaki engines check almost all of the boxes for the average consumer. If you’re conflicted in your decision between these two options, going with the Kawasaki is the safest bet for the majority of intended use cases. 


In conclusion, making the decision of Kohler vs Kawasaki for your new engine can be a daunting task. Both brands offer a variety of features and benefits you may not want to pass up. The engine you choose to purchase will probably be around for at least 10 years, so it’s critical to choose wisely before you spend any money. 

While Kawasaki engines are slightly ahead of Kohler products in most of the categories we discussed, the final decision is up to you. Consider the most important features you want to take advantage of to determine which option will give you the most value for your investment. We hope you find this information helpful in making an informed decision for your upcoming purchase. 

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