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Mowers – 2 stroke vs 4 stroke

Honda 4-Stroke Mower

If you are thinking of buying a mower, be it new or second-hand, there are certain things you must consider before buying. One of the more important decisions is the choice of engine type. Two-stroke engines require the fuel and oil to be mixed together (usually in a ratio of 25:1 or 40:1), and the oil is burnt with the fuel. Four-stroke engines have a separate oil reservoir, so the oil is not burnt or consumed but must be periodically changed. 2-stroke engines can operate upside-down, making them ideal for small hand-held tools like brush cutters. 4-stroke engines must remain level for the oil to properly lubricate the engine. Normally this is not a problem for lawnmowers, but if your yard is on a steep slope, you may be better off with a 2-stroke mower.

Other things you should also consider when buying a mower are expense, hassle, pollution and simplicity. The question isn’t what type of mower is better, the question is what type of mower is better for you.

Many people nowadays use 4 stroke mowers as they last longer, have a longer engine life, are quieter, more fuel efficient, don’t require fuel and oil to be mixed, put out less pollution, are less smelly and are more suitable for mowing wet grass then 2 stroke.

However, 4 stroke mowers require more maintenance, are usually much heavier, are more expensive, and may have difficulty operating on steep slopes due to internal lubrication problems, unlike 2 stroke mowers.

So what type of mower is better for you?

Choose 2-Stroke if you:

  • Are on a limited budget.  2-Stroke mowers are generally cheaper than 4-stroke equivalents.
  • Prefer low-maintenance.  2-Stroke engines require a oil-fuel mixture, but otherwise don’t require oil levels to be checked.
  • Have very sloping ground.  2-Stroke engines can actually operate upside-down.
  • Prefer a light-weight mower.

Choose 4-stroke if you:

  • Desire best fuel efficiency.  Generally, 4-stroke engines are twice as efficient as a 2-stroke engine.
  • Want less pollution and smell.
  • Prefer less noise and quieter operation.
  • Want the more reliable and longer lasting mower (assuming regular maintenance – particularly regular oil changes).
  • Have a very large lawn.  Most professional-grade mowers are 4-stroke.

So what is your experience with the relative advantages of 2 vs 4 stroke mowers?