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.