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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls — gather ’round for the fight of the century. In this corner, weighing in at anywhere from 120cc to 190cc, depending on the situation, is the burly brawler, the buff bender, the big boss from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin: Briggs & Stratton! In this corner, weighing in at anywhere from 160cc to a monstrous 690cc is the heavy hitter, the hot hater, the hypnotic hustler from Alpharetta, Georgia: Honda! These two will duke it out to see which small engine reigns supreme…right after this commercial break.

Most anyone who’s ever used a lawn mower, generator, pressure washer, or other gasoline-powered yard product has had experience with one or both of these motors. Briggs & Stratton and Honda are the leading manufacturers of small engines in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world. Their engines find their way into just about any brand found at the big box retailer as well as the mom-and-pop shops down the street. But which one really stands out as the better choice?

Briggs & Stratton certainly wins when it comes to market share. I would conservatively estimate that 80% (if not more) of the engines in all lawn mowers, pressure washers, generators, and tractors currently on the open market are manufactured by Briggs. Their air intake systems are second to none, incorporating an advanced cooling and filtration system that allows the engine to operate at a lower temperature, thereby likely extending its operating life. However, with so many different engine models and spec designs, their offerings can range from a really solid engine to a piece of junk and anywhere in between.

Honda has a more specified offering on the market. They really only make three main engines that go in almost all of their equipment — the GCV 160 and GCV 190 in homeowner equipment and the GXV 690 in more commercial equipment. Both are solid engines and incorporate an overhead cam design that makes them easier to start and quieter. However, you do pay the price for the Honda; it often averages $100 or more markup from a comparable Briggs.

So which titanic template of technical torque wins out in this battle royale? Let us know in comments.

Briggs & Stratton Engines
Honda Engines

 

144 Responses to Showdown: Briggs & Stratton Vs. Honda

  1. Joel Spangler says:

    I’ve never owned a small honda engine, so I can’t make an educated statement here, however I can’t really see how you can get much more reliable than the briggs engines…. although the “easier to start and quieter” statement has me thinking that I’d LIKE to play with a Honda engine… someday

  2. John E. says:

    I’ve never had to pull starting cord more than once on any of my Honda engines (Pressure Washer, Mower).

  3. HammerDrill says:

    In my arsernal:

    1 – 10 Year old Sears Mower with a B&S
    2 – Brand new Honda Mower
    3 – 5 Year old Honda Power Pressure washer
    4 – 3 Year old B&S Powered Portable Generator
    5 – 5 year old Torro Powered Snowblower

    With minimal maintenance ( I don’t ever empty the gas tank during the winter) on all of the above equipment, I never had an engine related problems. I don’t think you could go wrong with a Honda or B&S.

  4. BadBob says:

    Not even a contest. Honda

    • Dirk says:

      Exactly! We race GX200′s in karts, there is also a Briggs class locally as well. My engine builder laughs at the Briggs tolerance specs compared to Honda. As you said, no contest!

  5. Kevin says:

    Briggs for me, oil change every season, starts on a dime, lasts longer then the mower body they are put on top of. I also like how I dont have to go more then a mile or 2 down the street to get a plug or filter for it.

  6. Jim K. says:

    Had good luck with both in my kit. Honda generator, never once given me even a hiccup. B&S mower and (ahem) go kart engine, also never given a wink of trouble. Couldn’t actually say one is better than the other, though the generator is pretty quiet.

  7. Gary says:

    Honda – personal preference. Bullet proof performance in my lawn tractor and pressure washer.

  8. Jim says:

    Honda. As a second income, my father has been rebuilding gas power equipment for years. Alot is higher end consumer or industrial equipment. He will often rebuild salvaged equipment for his own use. Whenever possible, he will replace the B&S with a Honda (rototiller, go kart, aerator). In his opinion, Honda engines are more reliable and have a simpler more effective design. For example, the B&S have a more complicated governor and linkage design. Honda carburetors are preset and very simple; they only have an idle adjustment. My father will often build a complete Honda engine from an inventory of used parts. On rare occasion is more than one pull required to start it (two actually). Initially, they smoke like crazy, but start never-the-less. For sitting seized up engines, he will change the gas, put Kroil in the cylinder and let it sit, then hand turn the crank to free anything up. The Hondas usually fire right up.

    Jim

  9. Rembreto says:

    I love how no one has mentioned Tecumseh… heheh

  10. fred says:

    Never had a real problem with tools powered by either one – can’t say that for Tecumseh

  11. Brice says:

    Tecumseh had a bunch of problems last year with their AC Compressor department. I wouldn’t buy one for several more years to make sure they are back on their feet.

  12. Matt says:

    I finally replaced the B&S on my 19 year old snapper this year. The old motor still ran, and cranked up on the first or second try. I guess years of being used by me and all my friends just wore it out. I could have put a set of rings in it, but Northern Tool had a deal, and I got a new one for around 200$.
    Honda may be better, but enough to justify the cost difference? I doubt it.

  13. Keith says:

    I’ll have to disagree with some on B&S.

    My last lawnmower had a B&S engine on it; I bought it partially on the
    advice of others who said, “buy a Briggs & Straton, you can buy parts
    for them everywhere.”.

    While I owned it, I learned why B&S parts are everywhere; they’re big
    sellers…if you own a B&S engine, you have to buy repair parts often.

    Sure, they’re easy to work on, but I like using my lawn equipment, not
    repairing it constantly.

    Also, the mini-workout (and sometimes starter fluid) to get it to start
    (particularly after it’s not been run since the previous Fall) made
    me look at the Hondas.

    I’ve had a Honda lawnmower for about 8 or 9 years now; as others have
    mentioned, it very often starts on the first or second pull, the
    throttle/choke cable stays in adjustment, it doesn’t use nearly as
    much oil as the B&S, and it’s never made that screeching noise that lets
    you know that your B&S needs a new starter clutch.

    For my 2 cents, I’ll take Honda over B&S if given the choice.

    P.S. A nearby mini-golf place with go-karts runs nothing but Honda powered
    carts, and those carts are used and abused and yet continue to run day in,
    day out…food for thought.

  14. Greg says:

    None of those Honda engines created manufacturing and engineering jobs in Wisconsin that pay taxes and helps put our kids through school. Even one small engine at a time, buy a USA product. It does make a difference.

    • Tim Bambrough says:

      I guess you didn’t read the entire article. The small Honda engines that they are talking about are made in Georgia. Last time I checked Georgia is in the United States so I guess if you buy either engine you are helping the economy of The United States.

    • otis says:

      You are I very ignorant talker. Honda has a very large plant in Georgia while many US companies manufacture in another country to save labor cost. Ex; Most pc companies, Ford etc. Confucius has a saying. “It’s better to shut your mouth and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt”

  15. Gerard says:

    Having worked at a power equipment shop for 3 years that services both honda and B&S I can say… it depends. 1st off any engine thats properly maintained will start on the 1st pull. That means dumping and/or using the gas within a month (yes it goes bad that quickly) and tuning it up/changing the oil every season. That being said Honda has gotten the filtering system down a lot better than B&S. Every honda gas tank has a filter on the inlet tube and it seems to stop nearly everything, I’ve never yet found a horrendously dirty honda carb. The problem is honda carb parts are much more expensive than B&S counter parts but need them less frequently.

    B&S engines will tolerate being run low on oil a lot better than a Honda, (not that you should try.) Honda’s can be a pain though if the cam craps out or the valves loosen up. Its not too difficult to fix but may put some off.

  16. Anonymous says:

    From working as a small engine mechanic i saw many Honda and BS engines, although they were all broke by the time they got to me. So i guess i dont have a whole lot to add but GO BS because your American, i think.

  17. Kevin Pace says:

    @HammerDrill

    Not that it’s important, but Toro’s almost all have B&S engines. They pay a huge fee each season to have their mowers use the B&S engine but not have Briggs’ name on it so it seems like their engine.

    Guess it evens out though, Honda doesn’t make their own mowers anyway, just the engines.

    • Tony says:

      only recently though. Toro used to be big on using Tecumseh like Craftsman did for years. once Tecumseh went though, they both went to Briggs.

    • Tony says:

      yeah, Briggs has never been a good winter engine. my boss has a log splitter with a b&s 8 hp. if its below 40°, i have to bring it in the heated shop for a couple of hours, then bring it out, otherwise, it won’t even try to run, and its only 4 years old. Starts on the first pull when its warm though. if only Tecumseh was still around. the Honda generator runs good in the cold though.

  18. Kevin says:

    I hate to say it but my 12 year old Honda mower started and ran so well that I never thought about it until it seized from lack of oil, Doh!!!

    Briggs have always worn me out on the starting, but thats what ether is for. I am back to a Briggs on my used Craftsman because I can’t afford the Honda right now.

    • Jim says:

      My 13 year old Craftsman with a 6Hp Briggs is still running strong. It has a bit of blow-by and some minor power loss in heavy grass. But otherwise starts and runs like a champ. And for th diy/cheapskate crowd out there; you can buy Briggs shortblocks for 40 bucks online. Which basically gives you a brand new motor.

  19. olderty says:

    B&S for me. As Gerard mentioned they will run great without oil. I burnt the rings out of one mower and put the thick ring-seal [snake] oil in it and it kept going. Finally bought a new Craftsman with a B&S and it’ll start up with half the pull cord on the first try. I will say Hondas do run a bit smoother, w/o so much vibration.

  20. JB says:

    I was a small equipment mechanic for 6 years at a company with a lot of gas powered equipment old (40s) and new (present). All I can say is I haven’t seen any 20+ year old Honda’s still doing their job day after day. And if that Honda is much over 5 years don’t expect to find parts either. Briggs has my vote but the Honda’s are nice while they last.

    • Jim says:

      I’ve seen Hondas die after only a few years of use. Paricularly the govenor gear gets stripped inside the motor which requires complete dissassembly. You cant beat Briggs for reliabilty and longevity.

    • Angelo says:

      wrong! honda mowers last a lot longer then just 5 years! if they are well taken care they will last 20-25 years or longer!

    • Larry Rivers says:

      For the record, I have used B&S and Honda for many years. I have Hondas that take terrible abuse year after year. A couple generators that were purchased in the late 1980′s and they still start first pull, or second if they have been left to sit more than a year. The big difference is that they start in the cold (I live in Alaska and we start them at -20F and colder during the winter) when you cant force the Briggs to start. We use Briggs on most of the snow blowers, but they are always hard to start. Summer equipment not so bad, but they are rougher and louder. Parts on Honda may be more difficult to obtain, I dont know, never once had to fix one. I dont sell either of them, I just use them, so dont have a dog in this fight.

  21. Baron says:

    I personally use a 15+ year old John Deer (at least I think it is that old, got it third hand from my parents via a garage sale). I’m not sure what engine it has, but it still runs, takes a few pulls, but it works. The Craftsman that came with my house was DOA and would never start (B&S engine, only about 5 years old). But, stories like that are a dime a dozen, I’m sure as far as reliability goes, if you keep everything maintained, aside from just a fluke, both are gonna last you a really long time. What I want to know, since I would like to replace my JD with something that can mulch and bag (it can at least bag, but to get the attachment it is around 80 bucks) while being more quite and fuel efficient, is… Which one does a better job in the yard? I realize there is a lot more to cutting grass than the engine, but it goes a long way. Right now, you can get the 160cc Honda on a Troy-Built at Lowe’s for approx 250 or, essentially the same mower, but with a B&S (650 series) for the same price.

    • Jim says:

      Hondas are smoother and quieter and easier starting. But the Briggs have them beat for long term reliabilty and rugidness. You can’t run a Honda low on oil and expect it to last. A Briggs will run as long as there is a tablespoon of oil in the sump.

  22. Peter W says:

    My mower is a 20 year old Lawnboy Gold Series 2-stroke. Although routine maintenance is dead simple, replacing the drive belt is a pain (have to remove the engine). Last time I replaced the drive belt, I looked into the exhaust port and was shocked at how badly galled the piston is. The engine shouldn’t run, but does. And it usually starts on the third pull. The top gear has given up, so I’m now mowing at a slower pace. Replacement engines are quite expensive, since Lawnboy no longer manufactures engines. I anticipate that this will be its last summer, and will probably replace it with a Honda.

  23. Jim says:

    Honda all the way. I have a Civic, scooter, mower and used to have a Honda motorcycle. Wide range of engines, and no problems from any of them. Two slow cranks on the mower and fired up (one to prime it, and one pull to start). All others crank on the first try. If I need a tool and Honda offers one for my need, I don’t even look around. Quiet, reliable, and well thought. In all honesty though, since Honda meets my needs every time, I haven’t had a chance to try out a BS. You get what you pay for a lot of the time, Honda is no different.

  24. Slow Joe Crow says:

    I’ve been out the power equipment biz for awhile, but at the time we considered the Hondas better than the B&S, however a lot of our stuff was actually powered by Wisconsins, both the old cast iron monsters with the Fairbanks magnetos and the newer Robin (Fuji) engines and we actually preferred the Robins to Hondas because they were cheaper and simpler.
    More recently, my mower is a Craftsman with a B&S and while it may not start first pull, it is on its 7th season and the only part I have replaced besides spark plugs and air filters is the gas tank.

  25. Aaron says:

    Just got a very used Craftsman riding mower that is 16 years old and has had one oil change (now two) that has a BS 12.5hp that still runs great. My push mower is 33 years old with a BS in it that is now starting to run a little rough but starts first pull usually. My snowblower is only a few years old with a BS and can be a pig to start on a cold day (-15C)…

    • fmfmedic says:

      I’ve only owned one Honda mower, and it had issues with the recoil starter. I couldn’t get the part here either. I am currently mowing my yards with a 1971 Rugg rider with the original B&S engine on it. I Rebuilt the Carb when I got it. It starts immediately and runs great. Carb air adjustment keeps moving out of position, but that was always a problem with the older carbs. I’ve been running B&S engines for 40 years, and found that if you do maintenance; change the oil and air filter, and clean the carb regularly, they never wear out.

  26. Kevin Pace says:

    @Aaron

    Dude, I’m impressed with any engine that can even start period at -15C!

  27. Adam R says:

    My dad had a craftsman with a B&S that lasted 20 years until the deck completely fell apart. Mine has 5 years under its belt with nothing but oil changes. Same spark plug and filter, never opened the carb to clean it up and have never had to pull more than 2 times to start the season. Every other start is first pull.

    • Jim says:

      People can brag about Honda mowers all they want…give me an old Craftsman Briggs powered mower anyday. You will be cutting for years to come without any problems. Mine is 13 years old and I may keep it for another 13 years.

  28. kif says:

    @ Greg

    I don’t know what you’re driving at with your comment about jobs. Granted, maybe Honda hasn’t created any jobs in Wisconsin yet, but they certainly have in several other states, and hasn’t sent an executive via luxury private jet to ask for a bailout on Capitol Hill.

    I think it is a good idea to support American companies, but I get a little confused when people imply that the patriotic thing to do is support businesses that do un-American things.

    I am not saying Briggs and Stratton does any of these things. What I am saying is that US firms have no problem with moving production to Mexico or sourcing parts from overseas. Only when you fully consider a manufacturer’s practices can you say with any certainty that your patronage benefits America.

    Furthermore, companies like GM and Chrysler are suffering from good old white collar mismanagement. I know that folks on this forum like to spew about unions but it isn’t the fault of the line worker or his or her representation. People who frequently visit this blog know that folks often lament what happened to Home Depot. Well, after the wonderful Bob Nardelli was convinced to leave HD, he went to Chrysler.

    The fact of the matter is that Honda makes great internal combustion engines, and their knowledge and experience on the subject is exemplified in all sorts of fine products.

    I’m not saying Briggs and Stratton doesn’t make a decent, and domestic, product. Prefacing every comparison with “buy American” gets old after a while. I’ll go out on a limb and say Honda is better, and wait for the Briggs and Stratton Indy car to hit the Brickyard.

    • LanceMH says:

      KIF –

      I was thinking the same thing as I was reading all of these “anti-Honda”, buy American tirades.

      I read a story years ago about the CEO’s of the American car manufacturers appearing before Congress in the early 1970′s when the CAFE emissions control legislation was being proposed. Of course the Big Four (remember American Motors was still alive and kicking) exec’s said “we cannot meet these standards in the future – you are going to bankrupt the American car industry.”

      Then a little Japanese man strides up to the table in front of this huge Congressional hearing and announces that he already has an engine design in development that will meet and beat all of the proposed regulations – with no loss in horsepower. Guess who?

      Soichiro Honda. The engine? The VTEC. Which is now found in some form in virtually every American made vehicle. Reliability? Outstanding. Performance and efficiency? Unrivaled.

      There is a reason Indy Racing League created the rules ten+ years ago that all teams had to use Honda engines and transmissions. They did not want cars breaking down. People came to see them race – not be towed back to the pits. You can drive whatever chassis design you like. But you have to buy sealed engines from Honda Racing Division in California.

      One last thought: Honda has been in and out of Formula One Racing over the past sixty years. Where they have dominated the sport was when they simply built racing engines. From 1986-1991, McLaren, Williams and several other teams were crawling over each other to keep Honda supplying them with F-1 engines. Honda-powered F-1 cars won 72 races during that time period.

      When Honda enters into any engine competition there is no comparison. More expensive? Yes . . . but worth every penny!

  29. Dr Bob says:

    Never had anything with a Honda engine, but have a lot of tired iron that has Briggs and Stratton, a Kohler and a “who the heck knows what it is” on an old Sears tiller, so I can’t speak for relative quality/durability.

    One good thing about Briggs is there are so many of them around that you can find used engines in reasonably good shape for not a whole lot of money. Technicians for B&S are rather common too.

    But about the parts, if you’re looking for parts other than air filters, spark plugs and oil filters, you may have to resort to mail order from Briggs or have your local shop order them.

    A few years ago, I took an 18.5 HP Vanguard twin apart for an exploratory after finding a lot of aluminum shavings in the oil and a rather ominous knock. My local tech basically priced the teardown and rebuild as more than the 14 year old garden tractor was worth. The engine itself looked fine except the engine base which had the bottom main bearing was chewed up. The top main had a slight wear problem and everything else checked within spec. The noise had come from the bottom of the flywheel hitting the top of the engine block because the engine base was worn enough so the crankshaft dropped about a 1/4 inch.

    After replacing the base with the bearing/seal, the top main bushing and the rings even though they were ok, the engine has run fine since, and I learned one heck of a lot.

  30. Ian Random says:

    I have a Yard Machines mower with a B&S motor for the last 10 years or so. It finally had a problem with the pull cord fraying, turns out it ran through an large aluminum drilled out rivet that eventually wore through and rubbed on the steel shroud. I finally figured out that screwing a brass plumbing nipple in and grinding it down solved the problem. Other than that it’s worked great for me. I have no problem buying anything with a B&S engine in it.

  31. Dana says:

    @ Greg: on the “buy American” issue – just for the record, Honda manufactures all GC/GCV engines here in the U.S. at a factory in Swepsonville, North Carolina. 1.5 million engines a year. We also have a pretty hefty investment throughout the U.S. (nearly 30,000 associates, $12.1 billion in captiol investment).

    @ Kevin Pace: All Honda mowers are designed and made by Honda. Actually U.S. mowers are built at our factory in North Carolina, too.

    Disclaimer: I’m not speaking officially for the company, but I’m a Honda associate. : )

    Thanks for the kind words, Honda owners! We take a lot of pride in our products and it’s nice to know they are serving you well.

  32. ambush says:

    Tecumseh was once the best. With probably the first metal camshaft and pressure lubrication. They still use float carbs though. The only experience I have had with a honda is my grandma’s mower. That thing was reasonably reliable, but it consumed way too much oil and the crankshaft bent instead of the key shearing or the clutch slipping. Stupid POS. Briggs aren’t bad, except they use nylon gears on many models and the governor that relies on air blowing across it in kinda dumb. So, in short, buy a Perkins diesel.

  33. Zathrus says:

    My Toro has a B&S motor, but it’s also only a few years old so no real opinion yet. My previous mower was about 20 years old, given to me by my parents, and was a really crappy Craftsman — the engine was solid (even with no maintenance at all); the overall mower design stunk.

    As for the jobs bit — guys, exactly where do you think Alpharetta, GA is? I know where the small motors division HQ is — it’s less than 10 miles from my house. There’s a rather large number of Americans employed there, and based on what Dana says, I’d guess there’s a lot more employed in North Carolina.

  34. J. Briley says:

    Last B&S I had was on a Toybilt mower and it was horrid (the mower and the engine. I switched to a Cub with a Kohler. Much better. Never had a Honda.

  35. Jody P. says:

    Thanks for all the good info on both engines. I was hoping to find some opinions on the generac generators with not much luck on the net. If you have comments yea or nea regarding this brand will you email them to me at brneyes1969@email.com so not to junk up this blog which is about Hondas and Briggs. Thanks for your help. Will be making a final decision 7/10/09.

  36. Briggs guy says:

    Our engines are far more reliable and longer lasting than any other make on the market. We engineer these engines so well, which is the reason they last so long. We take pride in them and thank our fans out there.

    Disclaimer: I am a mechanical engineer for Briggs & Stratton, and I have the knowledge and ability to explain why our engines are better. I work with them every day all day long.

    • And besides that, Briggs & Stratton engines offer the owner a chance for EXERCISE !!! Because trying to start one of those engines is a GUARANTEED WORKOUT !!!

    • cr500ridr says:

      The O.H.V. engines that BRIGGS & STRATTON manufactures in modern day could never equate to the quality ,reliability,longevity,all around ruggedness that they displayed when I was a young kid and teen.Bring back the flatheads of the 50′s,60′s& 70′s. You sold out to foreign investors.Cheap ass plastic parts-(camshafts),kool bore engine block castings are a mere shadow of the castings of the 60′s & 70′s.plastic fuel caps ,plastic air cleaner housings,plastic intake manifolds,cowlings are sub standard crap,carbs are non adjustable again with crappy plastic parts It’s a shame what has happened in the United States of America thanks to corporate greed ,big brother,and regulatory agencies.Bring back the flatheads,cast iron blocks like the 16 horsepower single cylinder horizontal crankshaft that ran forever! What a brute and workhorse that was!When BRIGGS & STRATTON had pride was quality and made in AMERICA! U.S.A. The only easy day was yesterday.

    • cr500ridr says:

      Have you heard of the term -planned obsolescence?

  37. David says:

    I pulled a 20+ year old tiller from a shed where it sat for at least 15 years. Cleaned the carb and fuel filter. Pulled it three times and it ran like a top.
    Yep, B&S engine. I had nothing but problems with my not so old honda power washer. Best thing that happened is it got stolen and I got a new one(insurance), same model, but not a honda engine. This one runs so much better.

  38. Randy says:

    re: Jim and Kif

    Jim: Also had multiple Honda machines. ’75 CB T360 motorcycle, Self-propelled mower, Civic, Bush Hog ES2052 ZTR Mower, and most recently Acura TL. All were/are rock solid. Honda was winning F1 world championships (always without a Turbo) 11 years before the B&G two cylinder was introduced (1977)! ALL IRL Indycars run Honda. Honda gets my vote every time.

    And Kif, I’ll join you at the Brickyard to watch for that B&G Indycar… If they can get Sponsorship…

    • chris says:

      F1 Honda’s always break down (Jacques Villneuve) or any team Honda never won first grand prix. Just saying!

    • With “Briggs & Stratton” you get “Go Karts”. With “Honda” you get “Indy Cars”, plus a lawn mower that you don’ t have to spend most of your time trying to start !!!

  39. John - MST says:

    I pesonally Like Briggs because I have Been tinkering with then since I was 8 yrs old but each has its problems such as:

    Briggs classic mower engine with the plastic carb that warps or if the installer is not carefull the diaphram gets pinched (luckily a new carb will cost around $20-30 and take 5 mins to install with the updated gasket/diaphram thats harder to pinch).

    Honda GX/V*** especially the larger ones can cause serious injury to whomever is trying to start them if the exhaust valve becomes loose (this prevents decompression on starting and causes kickback which can dislocate joints and also can cause the recoil handle to explode when it gets sucked back in, this doesnt seem to be as much of a problem on OHV briggs engines), the valves are easy to adjust and i usually replace the recoil handle with a rubber briggs one because they tend not to explode like the honda ones.

    Honda GC/V*** OHC with a single Lobe plastic camshaft that is prone to failure (i see a lot of failure on pressure washers), yes one lobe for both intake and exhaust, initial and regular oil changes are the key to keeping these engines going (the cam is not expensive but the labor to put it in can be), on the plus side they are light weight and seem to be quite torquey.

    Both have thier goods and bads.

  40. Company Exec. says:

    One word says it all “HONDA”. Briggs and Stratton epitomize the poor quality of, and lack workmanship of American workers and Engineering in engine manufacturing in the United States. We purchased a Briggs powered Toro and a Honda powered Lawn Boy at the same time to mow the company lawn, both did the same amount of work, and were serviced by the same company mechanic, at the same time. After 5 years the Briggs was junk, and after 8 years the Honda still runs fine. Needless to say I bought another Honda powered Lawn Boy! If it says Briggs and Stratton on the motor, walk by it until you see something with HONDA on it! It’s worth the price! American made JUNK, PERIOD!

    • cr500ridr says:

      Sad but true ,corporate greed,big brother,regulatory agencies,politicians,restructuring,de-industrialization,is sadly destroying the U.S.A. 1 day at a time!

  41. john m says:

    hondas are tough engines. expecially on atvs. but i do believe i’d rather have a 3.5 hp briggs CLASSIC engine on any lawnmower. i have 7 or 8 of these and they run until the machine is completely gone that their on. one motor has went through 3 decks. i have a tecumseh that has a tillotson racing carb on it for a pushmow (actually works good) im superised that the tecumseh runs as good as it does whatwith all the junk stories i’ve heard of them. and everybody saying briggs dont start good i have a 1977 briggs on a tiller that starts in 2 pulls, a 1983 on a mower that starts in 2 pulls, and a newer one with a pump style carb that starts usually.. in 3 or 4 pulls. if you want your engines to start good, run ALL small engines you have 10-15 minutes a month. hondas can not start too. once gas gums up the carb, briggs or honda, you usually cant fix it. briggs have plastic carbs, hondas have tecumseh style carbs (i think) although i dont like the new briggs. i have one on a pressurewasher already giving problems (motor races up and down until load is put on it?)

  42. Rotary Mower repairs says:

    I repair rotary lawn mowers and an equal number of briggs and hondas come in. i personally prefer briggs as hondas have a lot of trouble with blocking carbs and are over complicated and a pain to work on.
    With a briggs its always a cheap and easy fix.

    Ive also noticed more people get hondas serviced and tend to leave briggs untill they need repairs, giving them a hard life which they cope with very well.
    especially the b&s quantum engine. brilliant.

  43. Hawaiian Bob says:

    Don’t know much about Honda mowers except a friend of mine owned one and did have a problem with the intake valve getting stuck open after few years of use. Concerning Briggs, Though, I have to say to Company Exec that if Briggs motors represent the epitome of American design and workmanship than LETS HAVE MORE OF IT!!.
    The motors just flat out run, period! Back in the ’90′s I bought a used lawnmower with a Briggs motor that dated back to 1964, all I had to do was clean the carb and gas tank and the thing practically ran like it was knew. I sold it when I moved several years later and for all I know, it’s probably still in regular use.

  44. ron e says:

    I agree 20 years ago Briggs & Straton was a great motor. To me B&S means bait & switch. If you tried to give me a B&Sengine after 2001 i would immediately try to trade it in for a honda. Here why – Srtike 1 – I bought a murray 20 hp twin cam 42″ lawn mower with a B&S engine in May 2001. I sent it to authorized B&S dealer for a tune up at the end of August 2001. They did the tune up on Sept 8, 2001. On 9/11 the WTC was attacked and my receipt (at my office on the 102nd floor of Tower 2) for the mower went literally up in smoke. On 9/13/2001 the briggs dealer returned my mower and I went to use it , and within 5 minutes bothcylinder walls cracked and overhead cam blew up. I contacted both Home depot ( beforewarned they only keep sales records 90 days) and B&S for warranty on a almost new mower that was still under warranty. Briggs refused to honor their warranty because(1) Murray owed them money ( Briggs later took over Murray in bankruptcy), (2) allegdedly B&S had just disengaged from the B&S dealer on 9/1/2001(lol) and (3) I did not have the original reciept ( I did have a credit card statement to evidence the purchase). Even though the engine showed it was manufactured in February 2001 they still refused to even look at it and told me I would have to buy another engine for $1100.

    Strike 2- I also had a 6hp B&S self propelled lawn mower (5 month old) which would not start and another B&S authorized dealer told me that they had problems with that model of engine, B&S would prorate the cost of a new engine (50%) with me even thought it was relatively new.

    Strike 3 – I bought a troy-bilt 3in1 lawn vacuum chipper (which had a “troy-Bilt” engine that turns out to be a B&S 650 series 190 cc engine model 124T02-0510-b1. The only way to change the oil is to turn the machine upside down (which we all know is not good for an engine with oil in it) ,remove the bottom of the machine and the impleller ( 30 minutes work) in order to drain the oil. How stupid can their engineers be unless you want to keep a machine in the shop for repairs caused by this defective design. B&S is so embarrassed by this that they won’t even put how to change the oil in their owner manual, but they put this engine on half of their small lawn care machines.

    Honda , and for that matter Tecumseh 20 HP OVH, 5HP and 8 HP, motors on the other hand have never failed me in the last 10 years.

    My vote -go with Honda any day of the week – but avoid B&S like the plague.

  45. Craig says:

    My wife usually mows the lawn. We have a Honda lawnmower and an ancient second hand murray with a B&S engine. She uses the old mower every time.

  46. Gary R, says:

    I agree Honda makes good engines, also Kawasaki makes great engines. In my 75 years have owned everything from B&S to Tecumseh and they have all served me well.
    Have a John Deere riding mower with a Kawasaki water cooled twin over 15 years old and still running great. A 12 year old $98 B&S Murray push mower that still starts first pull, never tuned up, just regular oil changes. However, in recent years I have noticed a decline in quality on many manufactures products. I just purchased a high wheeled push mower with B&S engine that has no Crankcase drain plug. Owners manual showed different drain plugs but no mention of requiring the engine be turned upside down to drain oil from the filler tube. If this is necessary for B&S to be competitive cost wise then they are in bad shape. Even Chinese engines (which supply many components for other manufactures) can put drain plugs in. Other than the difficulty of changing oil the motor runs fine but I am disappointed with B&S cost cutting methods.

  47. Creg says:

    Honda GCV 160 : In high school I mowed 9 lawns week.
    3 yrs. Just put FULL synthetic oil in it, Oil eventually got dark, never ever had sludge deposit.
    I Modified the REV LIMITER Spring, long story short I can now Bag customers lawn 10″ high without Stall.
    Ear Plugs Required!!
    The Engine will be running when i’m dead.

  48. B Smith says:

    I have to go with Honda. I have had the same Honda mover for about 10 years now and it starts on the first pull every time. It burns a bit of oil, but that is ok. Just need to add some more after about every fifth use. The really amazing thing about this mover is that it is the same mover that I used when I was in high school. My dad passed it down to me when they moved last time. This makes the thing at least 20 years old. My dad has offered to buy it back off of me twice now.

    One other thing that really surprised me was that even seized the engine once. Forgot to add the oil. I was in a panic, but all I had to do was let it cool off and add more oil. Started on the first pull.

  49. Joe says:

    I’ve owned both over the years, Honda is more dependible and gets better fuel economy, the briggs I get wore out trying to start them. Hondas cost more but the 5 I have I got real good deals on and never paid retail for them.

  50. Jim Balooshy says:

    I’ve never had a starting problem with my B&S. Many become dissapointed and switch due to lack of maintenence or leaving stale fuel that cloggs the carb. These things will bog down any engine, cheap or expensive. With more expensive engines, users are more likely to maintain them, so it’s no wonder they have “better luck.” Honda’s making thier engines in CHINA. Personally, if I was looking at a Honda, I would go to Harbor Freight and pick up thier “Preditor” engines. They are IDENTICAL to Honda’s (some call them clones) at a fraction of the cost. I wouldn’t be supprised if they are comming out of the same factory as the Honda engines.

  51. Dude says:

    Briggs makes the push mowers for John Deere (or at least through this season). They of course put their engine on the deck, and they do the same for Snapper (whom they own). I believe Honda will grab more & more market share from Briggs- Stratton over the next decade…

  52. Joe says:

    Honda will win all day every day. They make fantastic engines. I’ve struggled with poor quality junk briggs and scrap iron (and tehjunksy) engines for the last 27 years since I was eight years old. Since I was introduced to hondas I’ve never had any issues that weren’t obvious. I’ve had numerous honda 5.5′s sit for 4 years with fuel in the bowl and these engines would start and run on the junk fuel. For the last 12 years i’ve been selling used equipment, I learned quickly to steer clear of anything briggs power due to the poor resale value. I respect the japanese for developing such a fantastic product. The engines are so good that the chinese copied them, they never copied any briggs motors. I even prefer honda copies over a briggs any day.

  53. Jason says:

    As a former lawn care professional I can tell you That B&S have so many engines its crazy and like the article says some are solid as a rock and others junk,for instance a 17HP B&S on a Murray lawn tractor is made cheap and is junk while John Deere has them make the engine to John Deere’s specs and you get a solid good engine that can compete with any mid-range small engine.John Deere does go with Kawasaki small engines in their higher end lawn mowers and so does Kubota.My experience with Honda has not been as good with the over head cam engines,but the older plain OHV engines Honda used to make were the best small engines ever made imo.I do not know what happened,but they are making them a lot cheaper than they used too.If you buy a Briggs you better find out the specs of the engine to avoid junk and I advise the same with Honda with their consumer grade stuff.

  54. Lawn mowing fool says:

    I have had little experience with Honda although people I know who own them swear by them. I have owned and used B&S powered lawn equipment since I was a teenager and found them to be rugged and virtually trouble free. Over time I have also owned a couple of “Tehjunksys” (Thank you, Joe) and have found them to be just that-Junk, hard starting and the carbs needed constant attention.
    So my vote goes to Briggs and Stratton go USA!

  55. James Oates says:

    I have been a small engine tech for forty years and we call them Bugs and Shakey engines (briggs and straton).Honda definately the better of the two!

  56. Watson says:

    never ever again a Brigs they are no better than cheap Chinese engines, i owner 5 of them between pressure washer lawn mower and generator and small tractor with 18.5 HP and its the only engine i can start without panting because of the electric starter, i will buy anything els but Briggs, sorry brigs you suck.

  57. All_PR says:

    In Puerto Rico 15-20 years ago finding Honda powered lawnmowers was very uncommon most of them were imported by owners or ordered by either mail or online and shipping of course was extravagant.Our choices were B&S and Tecumseh,Craftsman and Eager 1 also available on Craftsman.The ones we had at home and other family members outlasted the decks they came with, 8-10 years was the average lifespan with B&S lasting up to 20 years.

    Maintenance was rarely if ever performed and usually consist of adding oil(whatever you could find for $1 or $2)if needed , maybe replace the spark plug with whatever spark plug they had on local store or supermarket no name brand and of course sharpening the blade like if you would going to slice a tomato with it.

    Back then starting a old machine required some extra patience,started fluid and a healthy strong hand.And after 20 attempts they fired up and probably looks like a mosquito fogging system they used back in the days.

    But again that was 20 years ago ,now the problem is many if not all these companies started to cut corners to make some extra profit but at same time hurting the quality in the meantime we got used to trowing them away like if they were disposable.Companies find no need to improve on their quality since people are willing to dig in their pockets everytime their 2-3 years old mower cough or don’t start on the first 5 pulls.We have become lazy and the try to fix everything by buying a new one.So at the end is our fault this manufacturers make poor quality products.

  58. All_PR says:

    One more thing I tried Honda engine as a matter of fact I own a Homelite 3100psi pressure washer with a GCV160 engine.All i can say they seem to be well built but only have it for about 6 months so time will tell.I think the way we use them and proper maintenance are the 2 key factors in longevity of the product.I would no hesitate to buy a mower with a B&S platinum of even gold series as long price is right.So fa i have seen mowers with B&S for about the same price of one with Honda engine so I guess i pay the few extra bucks for Honda.But if I find a skimilar mower with B&S for $75+ less you bet I will go for it.Noise difference is not enough reason to consider it a deciding factor when buying a mower.Quality,Price Power and Features in that same order that is what’s important to me.

  59. Barry says:

    Have owned 3 Cox mowers – two with Honda motors that performed well except used excessive oil from approx 350 hr mark .

    Other mower has a 16 hp Vangaurd /Briggs that has 600 hrs on clock & oil consumption is now of concern – needs rings replaced.

    All mowers oil changed 25 vhourly by fastidious owner.

    Happy otherwise but suspect an oil cooler would extend life as would larger oil resevoir in sump.

  60. Raymond Mills says:

    The quality Of the B&S engines has declined over the years. For example my 6 year old SEARS Lawn Tractor has already needed a new magnito and Cam. all toll about $700 worth of work. If my lawn was a touch smaller you could hand mow it.

    When I talk to the Sears repair people who come out to fix it they say buy a honda or kalaski…B&S is using inferior metals better to buy anything I say anything the B&S.

    They got me this time but they will never get me again!

  61. Robert says:

    I have had briggs powered equipment all my life. Some of it has engines that are 30+ years old and run perfectly. I bought a Pressure washer with a Honda engine because I was in a pinch and figured I’d be fine. I am impressed with the power, but that’s it. This 5hp engine is louder than my 8hp briggs I/C engine on my air compressor and while it sips fuel, it’s a pain to start. Never on the first pull. Usually the 4-5 one. Carb parts are expensive, etc… And everything on it is metric. Minor problems, but in my business time is money. Reliability is everything. Our generators and water pumps MUST run no matter what and they do.

    I won’t replace this Honda engine with a briggs, but so far they are not any better than my briggs engines. I’ll trade the fuel savings for ease of starting in this case.

  62. george says:

    Bought new Craftsman rider with Briggs Intek 24. By hour 200 the right cylinder had pushed the exhaust guide so that the cam lobe was ground into a circle. I am told this is common. After installing an oil temp gage in the sump I saw pan temp of 300F while bagging in summer. The engine then threw and ate (cam drive gear in sump) the pushrod. The engine was apart twice. After installation of an oil cooler things are better. I do not abuse equipment and over-maintain them. Neither the owners manual nor any other official publication presents warnings and detailed maintenance sufficient to keep these surprisingly fragile things together. No problem with anything but the engine. Harley could not compete in MOTO GP, and you expect Briggs to….??

  63. Matthew says:

    B&S for me and all I will ever use. My push mower is now almost 35 years old, has always started on the first pull. It is a 3.5 HP vertical pull start push mower engine. All it has ever needed in it’s life is 2 oil changes a year, a set of points twice and 2 spark plugs in it’s life. A cooling fin cleaning every several years, the original carb diaphragm worked flawlessly for 30 seasons! now I took the engine apart on it’s 33rd season and man did this engine look like new, we had estimated that from mowing our lawn for at the time 30 years it has over 1000 running hours on it. Everything inside was like new! no wear at all! and sometimes this engine got the guts ran out of it, gas sat in it all winter and many years in a row it was first pull with the old gas. I’ve got a 12 HP B&S riding mower with a lot of hours on it too, very reliable. 5 HP B&S rototiller, only gets used 1-2 times a year and always starts with the same gas within 5 pulls. I will NEVER buy a Honduh. Over priced Jap crap if you ask me. The new B&S engines however, I don’t like. Oh yeah that 3.5 HP B&S doesn’t really burn any oil either! smokes a tiny bit on cold starts but it’s done that since it was new, the oil level never really drops any between oil changes. A RARE top off of 1-2 ounces is rarely ever needed. Take that Honduh.

  64. Matthew says:

    My mower is now almost 36 years old* it will be 36 on march 2,2013. I’d love to see a Honduh last that long with that little trouble! ever wonder why you never see any 30 + year old Honduh’s around? because they are JUNK.

  65. Tones says:

    Interesting reads! I reside in Australia and can offer an experience with a B&S 6HP Quantum. From new this engine blew some smoke. Being short of time I figured it just needs some time to seat the rings. I didn’t use it much and before I knew it the 12 month warrantee was long gone. Only issue was plug fouling, and rings that never seemed to seat. I suspected perhaps a scratched bore. Maintenance was regular oil changes and air filter cleaning etc. I found the point to where the mower stopped blowing smoke to be when oil level was just at tip of dip stick. I only have a small yard and use infrequently so is always a job for “next time”. Anyhow I suspected when mower was run up at the shop I bought it from they maybe used wrong dip stick so maintained engine at this oil level. Fuel tank leak started in second year which was from a split in the plastic. Was rectified by swaping for another tank, no further fuel tank issues. 12 years later whilst mowing, I head a change in pitch in engine noise followed immediately by a bang. Con rod out side of block. I stripped motor down to investigate as engine is uneconomical to repair anyway. And find original issue as being the engine never had oil control rings, only compression rings. That explains the oil burning, and the dipstick would be correct. It annoys me I didn’t get it looked at under warrantee, and that I sent pictures to B&S for their own information (and of course didn’t get a response or even acknowledgement of them receiving the email). And it amazes me that this engine went 14 years with very little oil!!

  66. Cody says:

    Like everyone else I have had several BS engines. It seemed as if the more simple engines would run forever. I have had trouble with the upper end BS engines. Three years ago I bought a John Deere JS46 at Lowes for $499.00 It had a BS engine that was supposed to be top of the line. It’s the only push mower I ever owned with an oil filter. I mow a flat 1/2 acre yard. Easy mowing. I thought this mower would last me a long, long time. It lasted three years. It still looks brand new. The local JD dealer said the engine is made in China and has some plastic internal pieces. He stated that the repair parts are steel. The estimate was $300. I brought the mower home unrepaired and will replace it with a Honda. The Honda owners I have personally spoken to swear by them. I guess I’ll find out. I had a Wizard riding mower with a BS Vanguard engine that I believe was the best mower engine I ever owned. As for the comments reguarding BS and buying American I whole heartedly agree that whenever posible we should do just that as long as the American product is up to par. But you should know that even though BS builds the vast majority of its engines in the USA it does not build all of them here. It builds some in China and one of its most popular engines, the Vanguard series, is made in Japan. The Honda engines that you buy in the USA, while Japanese owned, are made in Georgia.

  67. Jason says:

    I own both. Six year old Pressure Washer with a Honda, twelve year old Lawn mower with a B&S. Honda engine never been serviced oil never been changed, used 8-10 hours Max per year. B&S serviced once, oil changed once at six year mark, used every week for six to seven months per year. Pressure washer with Honda is definitely NOT an easy start. B&S lawnmower is rough first of season but usually starts pretty easily after I prime it. I’m giving my mower to my in-laws and buying a new one this year. It will definitely be a Briggs & Stratton.
    Honda is simply over priced. It is not a better engine that Briggs.

  68. Bill says:

    With all the hype of the headline of this article, you’d think they would offer some actual FACT, not just a collection of a thousand different opinions that all sound about the same.

  69. Shemp says:

    I have had Briggs many years and am comfortable working on them and have with basic maintenance ( oil, plugs, gaskets, cleanings) kept some going for many years.
    I just returned TWO new Toro 30″ dual blade wide formats to HD in 3 days for failed BS 190 engines. First had bad auto choke that caused hot stalling and tough restarts. Second never started ( timing). It just kicked, backfired,and smoked out the intake. Bought a high end Honda.

  70. Joe D says:

    Had a Honda walk behind bought new in 1990,constantly abused it mowing in sand and dust I was bad with oil changes and maintainence. It was still running 4 yrs later, when I replaced it with a new one,I take care of this one and still have had to replace the carb. 3 times in 9 yrs,cleaning it did no good. I am not happy with Honda. Many others have had the same problem. I always use a stabilizer in the fuel, even use non ethenhol fuel sometimes and keep the filter clean.

  71. Anonymous says:

    Honda small engines and mowers are made in Swepsonville, North Carolina.

    Briggs & Stratton small engines used to be made in Auburn, Alabama, but since last year are now all made in China.

    Apr 30, 2012: http://americanmachinist.com/shop-operations/more-cutting-briggs-stratton

    Briggs & Stratton is making a strategic retreat from the U.S. retail market and will reassign production of small-equipment engines to a Chinese operation, two moves that continue a restructuring program announced in January. Also, the Milwaukee-based manufacturer of outdoor power equipment engines will cut its salaried workforce by approximately 10% during fiscal 2012.

    The changes will result in job losses for about 250 workers at Briggs & Stratton’s Auburn, AL, plant, and the salaried workforce reduction will affect about 210 employees worldwide.

    The company’s Auburn, AL, plant will cease production of horizontal shaft engines, which will be produced at Briggs & Stratton’s plant in Chongqing, China, or sourced from third-party manufacturers in Southeast Asia, it said. The Auburn plant will continue producing portable generators through calendar year 2012, but the company said it is evaluating alternatives to manufacturing, assembling, or sourcing cost-effective portable generators beyond this fiscal year.

    The Auburn plant will continue to produce V-Twin engines used in riding mowers and other outdoor power applications, according to a statement.

  72. Geoff says:

    I’ve noticed that many of the B&S supporters are swearing by performance of older built motors (20+ yrs). Manufacturing and marketing have changed a lot in 2 decades with some companies relying on old reliable performance and name recognition to sell their product while cutting corners in the manufacturing process itself. So sadly, an old B&S isn’t built the same or with the same specs as a new one. Nor is a “consumer” model Honda built the same as a “commercial” engine.

    The small engine repair guy here (actually a saw shop) says to avoid the GC motors from Honda but the GX’s are fine. He, and others, swear that using ethanol-free fuel is THE ONLY way to avoid early problems with any small engine. In fact, the Stihl company has refused to cover warranties on equipment that was run with gas/ethanol blends.

    I’m looking at some firepumps that use either a 13 HP Honda GX390 or a 13 HP B&S Vanguard motor. Fuel consumption is much lower for the Honda but GPM and PSI is higher for the Briggs. Neither is worth squat though if the thing won’t start or breaks down when I need it!

  73. Austin says:

    Honda is great our lawn mower carb got bad and we got a brand new one for $18. Now our Briggs and Stratton edgers carb makes it surge and a new carburetor is $100. Crazy!!!

    • Anthony says:

      where did you find a carb for $18 for a honda? I priced a new carb for my honda push mower with a gcv160 and they wanted $160! wherever you got a honda carb for $18, i would like to know. mine gives me a lot of problems and i cant afford to pay $160 for a new one. i can buy a new mower for that!

      i heard somwhere that the parts for the Chinese honda clones are bolt-on and much cheaper, does anyone know if those parts will work on a
      gcv 160? (i can’t afford what honda wants for their parts!, and the mower works good when its running right)

  74. Ugly John says:

    Both are good engines..I have a honda mower because it’s plastic deck wont rust away here on the gulf coast and when my wife mows she never has had to yank it more than once.
    I have a standby generator that ran (nat gas) for 11 solid days(stopping to change oil/filter) during hurricane ike.
    Never missed a beat. new plug/changed oil/ set valves ready for the next one. (briggs intek).
    I have had a portable generator with a briggs vangard engine (nat gas or gasoline) that has seen a lot of use-
    starts easy, uses no oil never any problem.
    I think the vangard is the equal of about anything. That includes robin..
    One point: I maintain my equipment—the motor dosent know who made it- I had a sears roebuck (techumsah) motor that ran for about 10 years until it put a rod through the side !

  75. Ugly John says:

    PS every motor needs an hour-meter…makes maintance idiot proof..

  76. Lee says:

    I have been using Briggs and Stratton engines for about 60 years and really don’t remember any of them being “junk.” I currently have a riding lawnmower (Snapper) with a 12 hp INTEK and been using it for 8 seasons (this is the ninth season) and changed the spark plug once or twice and the air filter a couple of times and it is doing fine. I have an old snapper push mower I bought about 9 years ago and it starts on the second pull every time–even after I leave the gas in it from one season to another. (It can’t be more than a 2 and one half HP but does a fine job even when I use the rear self propelled system which is most of the time. I am a little concerned with the new Briggs and Stratton engines–especially the ones that say “power built” as that must be a new lower quality engine. But who knows–like I said, I have just used them for 60 years–not inspect them.

  77. Timothy Gallaway says:

    I have not had a problem with Briggs & Stratton engines … until last year. I purchased a Husqvarna self propelled 21inch lawn mower. The engine quit and would not restart after 1 years use. After a problem getting Husqvarna to honor their “3 year 2 pull start” warranty (a problem for another forum), I bought a 21 inch self propelled Troy-built (also with Briggs & Stratton). Took it home, it wouldn’t start. Exchanged it for another one. Used it 6 times … again it quit and wouldn’t start. There is something REALLY wrong with the new auto choke, quick start Briggs & Stratton. Right now I’m 0 for 3. The old manual adjust Briggs engines? My last one lasted 10 years without a bit of trouble.

  78. bobik says:

    I’ve had a briggs and stratton, $300,(murray from home depot) lawn mower and my neighbor had a husqvarna lawn mower for $600. Both had exact same engine, ha ha. My lawn mower is 16 years old and still running, no oil change, stored in winter with no maintenance. Starts with 2 or 3 cranks with hot weather, 6 or 7 cranks when cold.

  79. mossyoak landscaping says:

    My go-to mower for my lawn business is a 23 year old Toro with a B&S 190cc engine. I know nothing about it except that it starts on 1/2 a pull, runs smoother and quieter than any other mower I’ve used, and you can still find air filters and spark plugs on the shelf at HD for it. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the new chinese made B&S motors were complete crap. Honda can’t build a bad engine. There might be a few with quirks, but all their engines are top quality. I’d use either brand in a heartbeat as long as they fire up first pull.

  80. Tom Mulligan says:

    Used to think B&S was built proof, not any more! I’ve broken TWO crank cases on two different lawn mowers, with two different B&S engines, this summer. Both striking tree roots. The old B&S could take a blade impact and keep going, now they’re THROW AWAY engines!

    • cr500ridr says:

      Sad but true they are a far cry from the rugged ,dependable,long lasting,durable cast iron flatheads and kool bore flatheads of the 50′s,60′s,& 70′s!Could not beat or kill their 16 horsepower cast iron horizontal crankshaft single !Had one on a GRAVELY garden tractor! It was a brute of a BRIGGS & STRATTON 4 stroke cycle not this watered down slanted cylinder O.H.V. Intek junk they sell now a days !

  81. Dennis says:

    I hate that engine manufacturers now have PLASTIC camshafts and inferior parts. I miss the days when I was a teenager; my dad loved getting an old junker-push mower out of the scrap and making it run another season. He chuckled at the fog of smoke they would blow. Shortened the rotted out governor spring and the engine would scream, throwing a smoke screen tree high. You couldn’t choke ‘em down. Engines now? nah, they’re disposable like coke cans and can’t take the pressure, now matter the brand.

    • Brad says:

      Dennis I sell thousands of Briggs & Stratton & Kohler engines every year so I know them well. The “inferior” plastic parts are actually very durable and the only reason they are used is to meet noise and emission regulations set down by your government. Engine manufacturers have had to evolve their products to meet legislation rules and if you knew what they had to do, you would appreciate just how good the engines have become :) .

      • cr500ridr says:

        Well if that’s the case then manufacturers need to draw the line and take a stand against the piss poor legislation that is being rammed down their throats by the regulatory agencies involved which is affecting the quality of the end product they are manufacturing for the American consumers in a negative way.

    • cr500ridr says:

      Planned obsolescence….. ,build it cheap ,build it disposable,oh and by the way did I forget have it built in a foreign country for less so we can sell it to the American consumer for a good profit and so what if it grenades they should at least know better next time they buy our product and if they don’t too bad!

    • cr500ridr says:

      Give us back our cast iron block flatheads!Give us back our kool bore block flatheads of the 50′s ,60′s & 70′s! Give us back reliable long lasting steel valve train components and noisy camshafts !So what if their noisy yet rugged and durable and reliable and long lasting under the most severe conditions!they are supposed to be noisy!Thats the beauty of it that’s what quiet tone mufflers are for ! Who gives a hoot about a little cacophony of valve train components and steel meshing timing gears I sure as heck love it !But when you sacrifice quality of manufacturing and durability with crappy ass plastic parts!Well that surely spells the beginning of the end .

  82. Steve says:

    Honda mowers never die after 20 years the morph
    Into Briggs and Stratons.

  83. Dennis says:

    After seeing my son dog his Honda four-wheeler for several years I’m sold that Honda is a good engine. the four wheeler was ragged out but the engine was tight and still did not smoke. Compression was still excellent too. I have a thirteen year old generator with a Briggs that’s still running great, except it seeps oil around the gaskets and turns into a greasy dirt ball that has to be scrubbed every six months. I’ve had good luck out of both brands.

  84. jake says:

    i have hada briggs mower for almost 10 years now. i only change the oil once ever few years because the few times a year that i check it, the oil still looks new. to this day it starts on the first pull. i do own a honda that i used as a go kart it is much younger at about 4 years old. it usually starts on the first pull but is not quieter. it reqires abit more matinates. and being someone of a mechanic, i can tell you that briggs and stratton are definately simpler to work on. american machinery is still the top of my list.

  85. Louise Peacock says:

    Honda. Our current Honda lawmower is 35 years old and starts on the first pull. I take it in for a tune up every other year, and the only part I’ve had to replace is a nut on the handle.

    My snowblower – sadly – is 5.5hp Toro. Piece of junk compared to my lovely Honda. Sadly, after particularly deep and nasty snowfall, we found that the Honda couldn’t handle the load, so we sold it to a friend and replaced it with the Toro.I admit that the throw distance is excellent, and it is able to handle all by the most slushy of snow – BUT – maintenance is one problem. It always needs something fixed. It sounds as if it’s dying a lot of the time. It rattles, it squeaks, it doesn’t like to start. I despise it. Unfortunately the next size up in a Honda has tracks not wheels and would be impossible for me to use. It’s true that Hondas are pricey, but I think they are well made and worth it.

  86. awhiteguy says:

    I personally like b&s and tecumsehs. I have a 30 something year old bolens self propelled push mower that I found in an alley by some trash cans with a b&s flathead. I just put a new rope on it then added some fresh gas and oil then it started on the 2nd pull. It runs excellent.
    When I was a kid, my dad had a honda mower that worked good (only when it wanted to), but that was before we knew shit about small engines.
    I also have a rupp hustler mini bike with a 6hp b&s vanguard, which when I bought the motor off craigslist, the guy wanted $60 (the dummy didn’t even bother to pull the rope to see if the engine turned over). The engine was never started and it looked brand new, however it was stuck because it was sitting in his basement for at least 10-15 years which i guess has flooded quite a few times. When I dumped out the oil, it was full of water and goopy factory oil. I filled the oil resevoir with diesel fuel and freed it with a monkey wrench, then let the diesel soak in for a few hours, drained it, put fresh oil in it, took off the ohv cover and freed up those 2 valves. pulled it 3 times, running like a champ. When I first start it up, there’s a little valve chatter, but it normally starts on the 1st or 2nd pull while barely pulling the rope and runs very smoothly after warm up. I can tell it’s going to last a long time.
    On one of my other minibikes, it has a 3.5hp b&s flathead from the 60′s, 70′s or 80′s that starts up with no effort.
    And i have this other minibike with a 4hp tecumseh from the 60′s or 70′s that can make it through anything. Even though I get a workout trying to start it, and it has so much compression that it nearly dislocates my shoulder, and I constantly have to adjust the carb, and it burns oil, it’s one tough ass motor. It’ll probably still be running long after I’m dead.
    Nobody makes anything like they used to, which is why I like old stuff better. I even heard that b&s parts are mostly made in china now. And b&s vanguards are made in japan by tohatsu or mitsubishi and they do kinda look like hondas. But, if you take good care of your engines no matter what kind they are, they should take care of you.
    Bottom line, anything’s better than those chinese harbor freight engines.

  87. briggs dude says:

    hey chuck! why don’t ya move over to japan?

  88. David S says:

    Well why not join the fray!!

    First off, I am mechanical nitwit. NO problem understanding the concept of engines, horrible time making them work. So my chief ally is a quality engine that doesn’t require tinkering all of the time.

    Second, I love motorized tools and toys. I have two riding mowers (Honda), ATV (Arctic Cat/Suzuki)one hand mower (Honda), a log splitter (b&S), a Toyota 4 runner, an Acura TL, Ford F250, Boat with Mercury engines, Yamaha outboard, Two Husqvarna chainsaws, a Stihl chainsaw (my favorite), Pressure washer (Honda) and a leafblower (stihl).

    My reason for recounting all of this is not to impress you (as most homeowners with a little land end up with most of these items)but to make the point that the engine that runs is the best engine! I love my Honda riding mower that is 17 years old and I paid a ridiculous amount for it, but I have also asked it to do ridiculous amounts of work. Yes it had to got to the shop a couple of times (mechanic said he had never seen blades beat up that badly!), but I just cut 12″ high wet grass with it in southern Oregon in January. It purred like a kitten and I would buy another in a heartbeat if they were still built.

    My log splitter with a 5hp briggs and Stratton is about ten years old and I have lent it to friends to do many chords of wood splitting as well as my own 3-4 chords per year. It starts after three pulls with non ethanol gas even after sitting for an extended period. I love that!!

    Now to a political point. I sincerely doubt there is a single responder on this forum who wants to see an American worker lose their job to a foreign country. We all depend on all of us developing our incomes here and spending our money on these tools and toys. What the American public has done is migrate their belief that the foreign companies products were better and thus we lost our manufacturing edge. It wasn’t because the Japanese built a cheap inferior product, initially they built a cheap and better product. Now they foreign companies can charge MORE for their product and we happily pay it believing we have purchased a superior product.Our manufacturers did not pay attention to these small movements creeping up behind them and instead continued to lose the confidence of the the public. We have paid the price now and our manufacturers for the past 20 years are still trying to figure out what happened. When I hear the name Honda or Toyota I immediately have a positive sense of quality based on my positive experience with those products. The USA manufacturers can do the same!!

    I am considering buying a new riding mower and am wrestling with the Briggs and Stratton vs Kawasaki. My gut tells me to go with the Kawi to save grief and yet I want to believe the newer high end B&S will be fine. I guess in the end you make a decision and live with the consequences……

  89. Leroy says:

    The American worker argument should include the
    cars Americans get to keep problem free for maybe 3 years.
    The unions have destroyed manufacturing in the USA.
    Toyota and Honda build a product for the endv user,
    not for the betterment of unions. I have 10 garden tractors
    all but one has a briggs the other a Koehler one Koehler destroyed it self while dueling. I have one Honda engine ths t has not let me down they do not have unions. Maybe that’s the difference.

  90. PowerMan says:

    Honda is worth the money if you are going to go with the commercial grade GX engines. They are built with a number of durability-enhancing features, including: cast iron cylinder liners, dual ball bearing supported full crankshafts, metal camshafts and more.

    The cheaper GC engines are missing many of these features, and because of this, you might as well just go with a Briggs or even better a Predator engine from Harbor Freight.

    I have re-powered my weed trimmer with a Honda GX35 and the engine has been both extremely powerful and reliable. The one drawback is that you have to order any replacement parts online.

  91. Flake says:

    Just go take a look at the forums with problems on the Honda engines if you want to know what they’re like! The GCV160 has issues with sticking valves and the carb has holes in the main jet so tiny that they block at least once a year. They even sell a kit of needle like cleaning pins to make it work again.
    After 10 years light use mine smokes like crazy on start up though this disappears when warm. It does burn oil.
    The mower itself which is a Honda is of such poor quality steel that after just 5 years the cutting deck had rotted through and the second developed a hole last year. The drive system and the wheels have also been replaced.
    The repair shop tells me that Honda used to produce good engines but for the past decade at least they are not what they once were.

  92. LR Valle says:

    My experience is as a consumer, taking care of our residential lawn for about 42 years. In that time most of the lawnmowers I have had/used were B&S & Tecumseh power the one exception a 1980′s 2 stroke Lawn-Boy with the awesome obset wheels cast deck but sometime a PITA to start do to foul plugs = bad 50:1 mixes. The small displacement B&S engines 3.5 to 4.5 HP were very reliable and easy and cheap readily available parts to repair. Now the larger newer 6-9.5 HP, I’ve had varying degrees of satisfaction and ownership. I am in the process of replacing a Sears Craftsman Eager One, high wheel push 3 in 1, with a 6.5 HP Tecumseh that I purchase New in 1997(17 years ago)it only required anual oil changes, air filters, spark plugs, several sharpenings and 1 blade replacement, 2012 a full carb rebuilt needle, spring, float, seats and bowl seal (thanks to youtube videos $20 and about 1 hour time) cleaning and tightening but late last year I did not secure the oil cap and it ALL came out, I may have ruin the engine as it has become difficult to start. My ideally size (I have a 1/2 acres with trees, bushes and flower beds) 2005 MTD, not so well regarded Yard-Bug with a B&S 9HP has being solid so far,the only none schedule component wear was the engine muffler, it disintegrated a couple years back. The 4 years old Troy-Bilt pressure washer with a B&S 6.75hp 675 series 190cc engine is being trouble free. A 2009 Bollen with a B&S 4.5HP(a neighbors gifts) not so good, it was surging so I replace the carb diaphragm, the bulb primer and the Spark plug, it started on the 1st. pull and running smooth but I think he used it too long wile surging or low on oil, and most have over heated as now I found out the shaft seal is bad, that may be out of my league. I may buy a Honda power trim mower. In doing some research, I think they are all susceptible to hard starting because the EPA CARB and California compliant regs. and the Automatic NO choke junk ready start and the use of 10% or higher ethanol fuel(don’t do it) even with good fuel & stabilizers, turn the fuel OFF (add a cheap fuel cut off to the line if none existent) run it dry it if is going to seat longer then a month. I believe the commercial Honda GXV 160cc has a steel cylinder liner it weight 32 lbs. I dont know if the cheaper GCV 160cc does it weights 22 lbs.. Not sure if is the same story with the larger GCV 190cc and commercial GSV 190cc as the weight difference is much less 27.6lbs. and 28.7lbs. In case of a mayor meltdown, it may be cheaper to replace it as You can buy Honda chinese made copycats at Harbour Freight for about $225. Some Kohler engines are also made in China, A friend that had work at a Honda motor sports dealer told me that they were not allowed to work on the Harbour Freight or replace Honda parts for the faximile, but that ALL the parts he has seen are direct bolt-ON and reminded me that Hoda also makes engines in China. Both the GCV and GSV(commercial) 190cc Honda engines are available at Norther Tools for $325>, complete New Honda carbs on ebay for $20-$25. I just found at Tractor Supply a COUNTYLINE(?) 3in 1 high wheel push, Honda OHC power mower for $249 or FWD for $299 with a 2 years warranty. My personal concern with the least expensive small Honda 160cc is the rubber toothed timing gear chain and the plastic cam, cheap parts to buy but looks like a PITA to replace if they fail. Any advise on that deal? Thanks.

    • LR Valle says:

      Got a good deal on a 2014 Husqvarna 7021P, with a Honda GVC160cc engine. MSRP $289 paid $249.99, with 2 or 3 years warranty… the Husqvarna manual said 3 years limited warranty, the Honda engine manual said 2 years the web sites said 3 years. 21″, 3 in 1 deck, high rear wheels and ball bearings and what appears to be a Gator blade. Out of the box, I check the oil, the spark plug cable connection, made sure the air filter was properly install, added fresh 93octane fuel with stabilizer as now ALL the fuel grades in my area have 10% ethanol. Any how, I engage the Automatic Return Choke, pull the coil start and…repeat 12x (?) to get it going, ones started it idle fine and smooth, it cut fine after a few minutes I shut it OFF and when I tried to start a couple minutes later this time with out the choke 3X as it was already warm, it would not start, then I engage the manual choke and after 6X of this routine it finally restarted. I Call the dealer were I purchase it, a certified Husqvarna dealer with a nice repair shop, shout off the fuel petcock and went back, ones there we open the fuel and it started first go at it. They check it over any way, and could no find any cause for my starting problem earlier. Since then I had problem 1 out of 3 uses and less then 3 hrs. Not sure what to think of it.

  93. Coloradude says:

    I have a 1992 troybilt mower with a 5 horse engine. Fires on the first pull. Keep the oil changed, clean the carbon deposits out of the cylinder head when recommended.

  94. Coloradude says:

    It’s a Briggs and Stratton 5 horse.

  95. Lawrance says:

    Well my 14 year old Scotts (made by Murray) mower with a 6.5 HP Tecumseh motor still runs like a champ. The rest of the mower is falling apart but the engine is great!

  96. Bill says:

    I have had many Briggs engines and for the most part they were ok but I have a Briggs 12.5 I/C OHV engine. When it starts it runs well, but it is by far the worst starting engine I have ever owned. I have a torn rotator cuff because of this engine and the kickback it provides, I could not recommend this engine because of this problem. This engine is on an OEM wood splitter. I have heard from others that they have the same problem with this engine on the same type of wood splitter that I have. I can’t believe BS hasn’t come up with a fix for this, it completely destroys several parts on the starting mechanism for this engine when these kick backs occur, even worse it can destroy certain parts of your body if you are the one trying to start this problematic engine.

  97. david says:

    Briggs and stratton have the new auto choke or ready start system. THIS THING IS GARBAGE. It is a thermostatically controlled choke. I replaced the t-stat after one year and it still does the same thing. It starts fine on the first pull, but you can’t restart it until it has cooled down enough. I will not ever buy B&S ever again. Stupid chinese crap.

  98. ralph says:

    moderate this you jack asses.

  99. Army Vet says:

    Made in the USA. HONDA and BRIGGS. True.
    Jobs in USA. HONDA and BRIGGS. True
    Butttt….where do the profits go???

    Also, Wisconsin never did a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.
    Yeah, old news I know. Just dont forget what Memorial Day is all about.

    Given a choice, I will buy USA made and owned.
    Never owned a foreign car, never will.

    Your choice to buy and bitch brought to you by your Military.

    Duty, Honor, Country
    The USA does not give because its great.
    The USA is great because it gives.

  100. Carlton Loomis says:

    I have never had a Briggs ans Stratton engine last less than 15 years. The record was 21 and that mower was stolen so who know. I just bought my first Honda so I will have to see how it holds up.

  101. Joe says:

    These day’s there is great activity of Briggs & Stratton parts from China/Japan and Briggs & Stratton engine blocks being cast in Mexico….

  102. Scott says:

    I have 4 year old mower with a B&S Series 550 engine. It started having problems after about a year and a half. Turns out the way the fuel tank and carb are designed, if you refuel when the engine is hot, the plastic in the carb will warp and it makes the engine run rich. So I have to replace the plug twice a year.

    Oh, and last week the muffler rotted out and fell off.

    The current plan is to run it until it dies, then get something without a B&S (fool me once…..)

  103. Anthony says:

    over the years, me and my family have had experience with all sorts of small engines, (Briggs, Honda, Tecumseh, Wisconsin, Kohler, and even a Clinton!) obviously had the most Briggs and stratton items and the results: all over the board. we had a brand new (in 1998) husqvarna tiller with a 5 hp Briggs than ran till about 3 years ago when it locked up completely. we also had a 1980 push mower than ran for several years 3 years with the rod knock before we replaced it (and still ran after).

    on the other hand, we had bad Briggs too. bought a 15 hp to replace a locked up kohler command that never ran right and started smoking almost immediately! my brothers friend got us another kohler for it and used the Briggs for target practice! (he really hates them!) and a go kart with a 5 hp fun power (about ’97). it was only a few years old, but in a year it completely lost compression! we got a short block and got it going again and it started smoking within another 2 years. still ran though. and a 5 hp i bought for a mini bike (80s) that started on the first pull (and immediately locked up!)
    so, mixed results with Briggs.

    the Hondas, have a honda mower (gcv160) and a pressure washer (same engine). both ran smooth and quiet, don’t smoke,and have more power than the Briggs. (when they ran) unfortunately, they had some rather finiky carburators on them. always having to clean and adjust them, had the mowers apart 3 times last season! wouldn’t stay running longer than an hour, and when it dies, it won’t start back up till it cools.

    the tecumsehs gave us less trouble with carburators than the hondas!

    i guess I’m gonna have to get a new carb for the hondas.
    but its a great mower when its running right!

    the kohers gave us the least trouble, but when they do fail, they’re more expensive than the Hondas to fix. only had one koher fail on us ever though. (the mowers would fall apart around them.)

    so, Briggs is a crapshoot, Honda works until the carb screws up, tecumseh isnt too bad, but carb is hard to work with and sometimes needs valves, and the Kohlers work forever, but are too expensive when they finally need a rebuild.

    So, id go Kohler if u can afford it.

  104. Anthony says:

    also, i forgot to mention the coil gives me trouble a lot on the honda too. have cleaned and replaced it more than once.

  105. Anthony says:

    oh, and where i can get the clone parts if they will work on my honda?

  106. Carmen Alexander says:

    I’ve owned them all, Briggs & Stratton, Honda, Tecumseh, Wisconsin, Robin [Subaru]. When it comes to mowers I was buying whatever was on sale. The Briggs and the Tecumseh was giving me 3- 5 years. then in 1995, I bought a brand new Lawn Boy. That mower gave me 16 years! If I can find a mower that can do as well, I would buy it in a second!

  107. joe says:

    I’m a small engine repair man and have had lawn care service I have used and worked on all types as far as Honda vs b&s the Honda has my vote because its smoother and a lot stronger than the Briggs most of the b&s motors a very good because of big businesses like Walmart and Lowes demanding lower prices from manufacturers I have seen alot of mowers with b&s have blown engines but the ones with the I/c motors will last 15-20 years easy now the mowers or other equipment with Honda clone (made in China) that I see on Troy built and others are garbage

  108. Joe Happ says:

    In Australia there is not a great deal of difference in the price of the engines. Having said that even if the Briggs was $200 cheaper I’d still buy the Honda.we had changed every small engine on the farm to honda by the late 80′s early 90′s. There was no comparison then, Honda by a mile. Briggs have closed the gap somewhat but in my opinion Honda still has the edge.
    The greatest relief was getting Hondas on the augers and pumps, ease of starting and they are just so smooth, never stop unless they run out of fuel or you switch them off. Quite and efficient, strong and reliable. Thanks for making my life easier Honda.

  109. Tony says:

    i have had a lot of experience with Briggs, and its a real crapshoot. you either get a damn good engine or the biggest chunk of shit. its the luck of the draw. had em last for years without trouble, and had them lock up or fall apart shortly after getting them.
    I’ve had a push mower with a Briggs that ran forever (30 year old engine) and another that lost all power in 3 years. (2008 motor) the troy bilt tractor (2012 model) has a b&s powerbuilt 17.5, nearly three years, and still running great, not a problem yet. (knock on wood)

    Current push mower is a Honda, runs great, cuts grass without bogging at all, the pressure washer is too. and the generator i use at work hasn’t given me a lick of trouble, and its an 2001. the only real problem I’ve had is with the carburetors on the mower and washer. (worse than tecumseh) I’m constantly cleaning it on both of them. runs fine for a while, then it will sputter and pop. New filter on it. runs great until the carb gives me trouble. neither are that old. and yes, i run the gas out of the carb before winter.

  110. BubbaTFusspuckett says:

    I have an MTD Yard Machine mower with a 140cc B&S motor. I use it for my yard business for now. I didn’t buy it for that purpose but it’s worked out. I run 89 octane gas with Seafoam and use synthetic 30w oil and keep the air filter clean. So far after a years use it’s been a great unit. Starts on first pull. I think B&S motors are fine, as well as Honda.

    My next small mower will be a Honda driven unit because I’ve heard of the reliability and you see that in their cars. But my B&S unit will be my backup push.

  111. Matthew says:

    My family has been exclusively b&s for a long time. We still have a briggs my grandfather bought new in 1957 that’s received no major repairs and runs weekly. My dad has a couple for use in various rental properties, and with the exception of one, have all been found on the side of the road, rebuilt, and put into service. I just bought one last night that’s as old as I am (30), and fired it up for a mow after an oil change. It’ll need the carb rebuilt, but the guy said he used it only once a year or so. Bet that maintenance was AWESOME! Not sure about the repeated pulls…adjust the carb correctly and that problem goes away.

  112. [...] a metal tag or decal that’s attached or affixed to the flywheel shroud, on the. Source: #, #, #, None [...]

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