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Are Kohler Engines Good? An In-depth Discussion of the Kohler Engine

by Jack Grover
Reading time: 20 min Prefer to listen?

Are Kohler engines good? The answer is a resounding yes. Kohler engines are known for their outstanding performance and reliability, making them a popular choice for many lawnmowers and tractors.

However, like any product, they come with their own set of pros and cons.

Most lawnmowers or tractors on the market today are commonly equipped with a Kohler engine. These engines are praised for their efficiency and power, but they also have a few minor drawbacks that users should be aware of. 

In this article, we delve into the merits and demerits of the Kohler engine. By answering some essential questions, we will provide a comprehensive understanding of the quality of these engines for those considering them for their outdoor equipment needs.

Now, let’s dive in and explore the world of Kohler engines!

Kohler Engines: An Overview

Since its inception in 1873, Kohler Engines has been dedicated to producing top-quality engines for various applications. With a long-standing history of excellence, the company has consistently delivered reliable and efficient power solutions to suit a wide range of purposes.

Throughout the years, Kohler has developed numerous engine models tailored to meet specific requirements. From small engines powering lawnmowers and garden equipment to larger engines designed for commercial and industrial use, Kohler has made a name for itself as a trusted manufacturer in the market.

Types of Kohler Engines

Kohler offers a diverse range of engine types, catering to various needs and applications. From the widely popular Kohler Courage series to the powerful Kohler Diesel engines, each type boasts unique features that make them best in class.

Kohler’s engine division can be broadly categorized into three main parts: lightweight engines, professional engine technology, and heavyweight high-power performance engines.

EngineTypeKey Features
HD SeriesHeavy-Duty Engines2x longer engine life, certified by Kohler
XT SeriesLight-Weight EnginesSmart Choke™ technology
XTX SeriesProfessional-GradeCast-iron cylinder liners for added durability and engine protection; never needs an oil change.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each type:

Heavy-Duty Engines (HD Series)

Heavy-duty engines are designed for industrial equipment, agricultural machinery, and commercial vehicles — commercial walk-behind mowers, pressure washers, and utility equipment — that require immense power to perform demanding tasks.

Companies investing in these engines prioritize exceptional reliability due to the higher price difference compared to smaller residential equipment.

Kohler’s HD Series offers 2x longer engine life, with this guarantee certified by the company itself.

Light-Weight Engines (XT Series)

For landscaping services and garden equipment, lightweight engines are often sufficient. These small engines should be affordable, reliable, and fuel-efficient for optimal performance in grounds maintenance tasks. Some models may also use alternative fuels for added efficiency. 

Kohler’s XT Series is an excellent choice for general-purpose gasoline engines found in various smaller yard tools, featuring Smart Choke technology that prevents choking, priming, and flooding engine.

Professional-Grade Engines (XTX Series)

In the outdoor power equipment industry, machines like log splitters, heavy tractors, and other large tools need engines capable of running for extended periods. Fuel-efficient systems and high-mix, low-volume engines are essential for these heavy-duty machines.

The XTX Series from Kohler is a top-performing family of professional-grade engines boasting cast-iron cylinder liners for added durability and engine protection.

Other Notable Series: A Quick Breakdown

Kohler offers a variety of other engine types, each with its unique features and benefits. Some of the notable series include but are not limited to the 7500 Series EFI, 7000 Series, RH Series, and SH Series engines — let’s explore some of these in more detail.

  • Kohler Courage is a high-quality engine, but its reliability depends on proper maintenance. New users might face issues if they don’t adequately care for their Courage engines. The most common problem with this series is the engine case cracking due to neglect. However, with proper upkeep, these engines can last for years.
  • Kohler 7000 Series is an upgraded version of the Courage engine. It surpasses standard residential engines and is comparable to the powerful Kawasaki FR series. These engines can run for extended periods with minimal issues as long as they are well-maintained and checked for overheating.
  • Known for their reliability, Kohler Diesel Engines are liquid-cooled to prevent overheating and offer efficient fuel consumption. They have high-quality fuel injection systems and require less frequent maintenance than other engines. Additionally, they operate smoothly and quietly while being incredibly durable, lasting up to seven years or more with proper care.
  • Kohler Lawnmower Engines. Kohler engines are an excellent choice for lawnmowers due to their durability, fuel efficiency, and performance capabilities. Mowers equipped with these engines tend to last longer and consume less fuel compared to other brands.
  • Kohler Confidant is a powerful twin-engine that delivers superior performance but comes at a higher price point. With proper maintenance, it can last for years and provide impressive power for mowing large gardens quickly.
  • Considered the best in the series, Kohler Command engines are highly efficient, featuring a hydraulic system that eliminates the need for valve adjustments. They also have a closed-loop fuel injection system, which saves up to 25% on fuel consumption in the long run.
  • Kohler’s small engines stand out for their exceptional reliability and overall quality. Though engine models may vary, users can expect excellent performance from these smaller engines.

As you can see, Kohler offers a comprehensive lineup of engine types to suit different needs and applications. Choosing the right engine depends on the nature of the work you need to complete.

With proper maintenance and care, these engines provide outstanding performance, durability, and fuel efficiency, making them an excellent choice for both residential and commercial use.

Which Kohler Engine Is the Best?

Selecting the best Kohler engine depends on your specific needs and requirements.

To make an informed decision, determine the size of the engine you need and consider the type of work it will be used for.

Large engines may be more suitable for heavy-duty tasks, while lightweight engines can efficiently handle smaller yard tasks.

For those requiring a powerful and robust engine, the Kohler Diesel series is an excellent choice. These liquid-cooled engines are designed to withstand long hours of operation without overheating, making them ideal for heavy machinery working in harsh conditions. They are fuel-efficient, less noisy compared to other diesel engines and built with a highly durable cast-iron structure to withstand demanding workloads.

On the other hand, the Kohler Confidant is a high-performing double-gas engine mower that provides impressive power for large garden tractor jobs. Though expensive, its durability ensures it lasts for several years, even with regular use. If you need an engine that can effortlessly tackle extensive garden work, the Confidant series is worth considering.

Kohler Command engines are known for their efficiency, featuring a closed-loop fuel injection system that saves up to 25% on fuel consumption. Additionally, their hydraulic feature eliminates the need for valve adjustments, allowing for optimal motor use. These engines cater to various tasks and can be found in several different machines.

Each series offers unique features tailored to different tasks and applications. Whether you require a heavy-duty diesel engine or a more efficient option — there’s a Kohler engine designed to meet your requirements while delivering exceptional performance and reliability.

Pros & Cons of Kohler Engines

Kohler engines have long been recognized for their exceptional performance and reliability. However, like any product, they come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

In this pros and cons section, we explore the various aspects of Kohler engines to help you decide if they are the right choice for your specific needs and applications.


  • Long-life and steady performance. Kohler engines have a reputation for being some of the best in the world, outperforming other leading brands in longevity and consistent performance.
  • Reliability and economy. These engines are particularly reliable and economical, especially the lawn mower engine models.
  • Wide availability. Many brands of mowers use Kohler engines, making it easier to find replacement parts and get repairs.
  • Easy operation. Kohler engines are user-friendly and come with various features to help complete most home and commercial tasks.
  • Quality manufacturing. Although some parts are produced in China, Kohler engines are assembled in the USA, ensuring high-quality manufacturing standards.


  • Difficulty starting. Some users report that certain engines can be challenging to start due to low RPMs and specific choke/start protocols.
  • Sudden stopping. Kohler engines may occasionally stop suddenly due to various factors, which could indicate maintenance issues or faulty machinery.
  • Backfiring and overheating. These problems can occur but are usually resolved with proper maintenance. Erratic operation is also possible but not common in well-maintained equipment.
  • Sensitivity to fuel and maintenance issues. Faulty spark plugs, dirty fuel lines, or incorrect fuel and oil ratios can lead to engine problems. If these factors are ruled out, consulting a technician may be necessary to determine if the engine is fixable or needs replacement.

Here is a video that will provide you with even more nuanced information:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does Kohler make good engines?

u003cstrongu003eYesu003c/strongu003e, Kohler is well-known for producing high-quality engines that boast durability and exceptional performance. These engines are easy to operate and come with various features tailored to meet your specific needs.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eWhether you require a mower engine for personal or professional use, Kohler has a diverse range of options to cater to different conditions and applications.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eToday, Kohler continues to be a trusted choice for those seeking reliable and efficient engines.u003cbru003e

Are Kohler engines better than Briggs u0026amp; Stratton?

In terms of lawnmower engines, Kohler and u003ca href=u0022 u0026amp; Strattonu003c/au003e are the two main competitors. Both companies produce high-quality products, but there are some key differences between them.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003cstrongu003eKohler engines tend to have a slight edge over Briggs u0026amp; Strattonu003c/strongu003e in terms of u003cemu003elongevityu003c/emu003e and u003cemu003edurabilityu003c/emu003e. They are also u003cemu003emore adaptableu003c/emu003e to various conditions, offering better cooling mechanisms and advanced filtration systems.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eWhile Kohler engines are an excellent choice for residential use, Briggs u0026amp; Stratton engines cater more to personal use. They often come at a lower price point while still delivering solid performance.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eHowever, it’s worth noting that some users have observed a decline in the quality of Briggs u0026amp; Stratton engines since the peak of COVID-19. In addition, it can be challenging to get maintenance parts for Briggs u0026amp; Stratton, while it’s easier for Kohler. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eAs such, the u003cstrongu003eKohler engine is better than Briggs u0026amp; Stratton in some areasu003c/strongu003e, whereas your final choice will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

Which is better, Kohler or Honda engines?

When comparing Kohler and Honda engines, it’s essential to consider the specific features and performance aspects relevant to your needs.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003ca href=u0022 engines are known for their u003cemu003efuel efficiencyu003c/emu003e, which is a significant factor for many users. This advantage makes Honda engines an attractive option for those looking to save on fuel costs and reduce their environmental impact.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eOn the other hand, Kohler engines excel in other areas, such as u003cemu003edurabilityu003c/emu003e, u003cemu003eadaptability to various conditionsu003c/emu003e, and u003cemu003eavailability of replacement partsu003c/emu003e. These factors make Kohler engines a popular choice for both residential and commercial purposes.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eCarefully assess your needs to make an informed decision between these two reputable brands.u003cbru003e

Are Kohler engines made in China?

Kohler engines have components that are produced in various locations.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eSince May 2007, Kohler has partnered with YinXiang Ltd. in a joint venture to develop, manufacture, market, sell, and distribute most of Kohler’s general-purpose gasoline engines. These engine parts are produced in Chongqing, China.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eHowever, Kohler maintains manufacturing plants in Wisconsin, Saukville, and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where the final assembly of their engines takes place.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eAs a result, Kohler engines can be considered u0022made in the USAu0022 despite having some components manufactured in China.u003cbru003e

Who makes Kohler engines?

The Kohler Power Group makes the Kohler engines. So, the Kohler engines are actually a division under that group.


Throughout this discussion, we have explored various Kohler engine models and their respective features. In general, Kohler engines are highly regarded for their performance and durability — the only exception is the Courage series, which requires more regular maintenance to ensure optimal functioning.

If you’re still wondering, “Are Kohler engines good?” don’t hesitate to revise the FAQ section above for quick answers. By considering user reviews and addressing potential drawbacks, we have aimed to present a well-rounded perspective on Kohler engines and a comprehensive overview of the brand’s strengths and weaknesses.

While no product is without its flaws, Kohler engines stand out as reliable and high-quality options in the market. Whether you require an engine for residential or commercial purposes, Kohler offers a diverse range of models designed to meet your needs and deliver exceptional performance.

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