Monday, October 17, 2016

question about small engines

why are some pull started, some are kick started, ans some are electric started?

We've all found that kick starting is a pain in the ass, and pulling gets tiring real fast... so why aren't more simply connected to a cheap little adapter for some generic electric start?  


  1. There are many reasons, like added cost, complexity, weight, etc., but perhaps the biggest reason is reliability. In the '80's, I worked for a John Deere dealership, and we sold a top of the line walk behind mower with electric start with a small on board battery. It was a huge source of customer complaints because it was nearly impossible to keep battery charged. Customers would have to pull the battery a day in advance of each mowing and charge it, every time in order to use the electric start feature. If they forgot to do so, mowing would be delayed for 24 hours. Not very convenient if you have just one day per week set aside for mowing.

    I think one of the best electric start systems for small engines is like the ones they have on many snow blowers, where you plug into a 110 volt outlet. No need to worry about a battery, but this also has its obvious limitations.

    The best solution is to keep your small engines properly maintained so they start on the first or second pull.

    On any larger piece of equipment, (riding mower, large commercial walk behind mower, etc.) electric start with an on board lead-acid battery is definitely the way to go.

    On my equipment, whenever possible, I employ both electric and rope start systems on the same machine, so I am not at the mercy of a dead battery or a broken starter rope when out in the field.

  2. Briggs & Stratton is advertising a new Lithium Ion battery start for their push mower engines, but it doesn't have a pull start for a back up. At least the old Craftsman mower I had still had a pull start, so I could keep using it after the battery died.

    1. Wow, taking away the pull start completely is a stupid idea. Damn. I suppose if a person is really far south they would need to mow 9 months or mayb e 10 a year, and that battery wouldn't die from neglect, but everywhere else, I think ma only have 6 months of mowing.... and 6 months to die of neglect.

    2. I'm glad to say I haven't had to mow a yard in over 20 years. I may never need to mow a yard ever again, time will tell, but they will sure have better mowers than the crap I had to use as a kid, as my parents weren't rich, and the pull mower was easily 15 to 20 years old, heavy as hell, tough to get started, and the few times I ever used a newish self propelled, handle mounted remote throttle and pull rope handle equipped mower, I was amazed at how damn nice the new stuff was