Honda GCV160 or Briggs 725exi

Messages
652
Location
GA
Both 21 inch push mowers. I believe the Briggs model is a snapper that's self propelled. 7.25 EXI OHV engine. The other mower is a Troy built with the Honda GCV. The Troy Built is not self propelled. Both mowers are the same price. I don't need it to be self propelled but is the Honda that much better of an engine to command the price premium?
 
Messages
35,731
Location
ME
GCV is the pretty cheezy "residential" line, but still has OHC. OHV on the briggs is night and day better than the old flatheads. Breathes better and runs quieter on less gas. Theoretically worse than OHC but I don't think a lawnmower can reach the revs where the difference is notable. You can't go wrong with either. I would not get self propelled as I find myself fighting it with as much energy as I would expend just pushing a lightweight deck across my yard. Yours could be different, I guess. And it's more stuff to break.
 
Messages
2,151
Location
Flaherty, KY
I have the exact Troy Bilt mower you're considering-- I chose the Troy Bilt because I wanted a nice engine (I was buying into Honda reputation) and didn't really want self-propelled (no need for it, less to break, more power going to blade not having to drive wheels). I really like the GCV160, it's smooth quiet engine with good power. Noticeably quieter than other push mowers I've owned. Always starts in a pull or two. Mine has the "auto choke" lever that once you set, it pulls the choke off automatically. There's been a few times that hasn't worked quite right and I had to pull the choke off myself, or it pulled choke off too soon... Wish it had a manual choke, that might be my only complaint. I've owned the mower since 2010. They still make them, I see the same mower on store shelves to this day, I bought mine for $269. I've since moved to a house where it's not practical to use a push mower (riding mower is a necessity.) So the Troy Bilt has been shelved and only gets used when I need to clear fields or do heavy duty stuff I can't take my rider into. I rigged the governor so that I can set engine speed above and below the preset speed (mower has no throttle control out of the box)-- I've used it at engine speeds well above what it was set/designed for, and you just can't kill the thing. I would buy another Honda GCV in a fast second. It is their residential stuff, but it's certainly not garbage. All these small mower engines (unless you spend big bucks) have aluminum bores, standard bearings, all the attributes that make them a "residential" engine.
 
Messages
6,645
Location
South Florida
That Briggs engine is very good. I'd get the self propelled Snapper over a push Troy Bilt every single day. But my honest best advice as a person that had a small engine shop, that has owned hundreds of mowers, and sold just as many, is to buy a gently used Toro Super Recycler on Craigslist. Brand new they are $650. Used on Craigslist I found them all day long for $50-$150. A $150 used Super Recycler is better than any new $300 big box store mower and will last twice as long.
 
Messages
6,850
Location
The Midwest
The Honda will probably be quieter and more pleasant to mow with. The engine has been perfected a long time ago. Briggs & Stratton is like a German auto maker. B&S feels they need to keep the engineers busy and offer a bunch of different engines in the same category and come out with new ones every few years while making the old ones obsolete. I recently got my sister a new push mower with a Honda engine and it performs good.
 
Messages
12,721
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Originally Posted by Char Baby
I too have the Troy Built with the Honda and love it. I think 10 yrs now.
However, I have used friends/family/neighbors new(er) B&S equipped push mowers to help with their lawn care while they're on vacation etc. And I have to say that the B&S are very, very nice today and feeling quite a step up from where they were in the past. Possibly even surpassing the Honda's in smoothness and other areas. But, IDK 'cause I haven't owned the new B&S long term.
 
Messages
1,680
Location
Michigan
I'd take a Honda over a Briggs any day of the week... twice on Sunday. We're not talking about just an engine though. It's a propelled mower vs. a non-propelled mower. That changes the dynamic. Being a Snapper, it's probably a front drive. I hate front drive mowers with a passion. I'd rather push. If you asked me to describe the worst mower I could, it'd be a front propelled mower with a Briggs.
 
Messages
12,721
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
~14 yrs ago, I was given a true Honda Mower w/Honda engine and it was a rear drive. I ended up selling the mower as I could get a lot of money for it and I already had mowers that ran well. Nice mower but, I didn't particularly like the Honda rear drive as every time I lifted the front to turn, the rear wheels keep moving and causing me to either disengage the drive wheels or over shoot the turn/not pivot properly the way I am used to for row to row cutting. A nice touch is that the Honda rear drive was quite fast/faster than many other drive systems so, I liked that. But, having to choose between F or R drive, I'd take front. My preference is no drive at all, I'll push for myself.
 
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Messages
9,735
Location
Jupiter, Florida
I have 2 mowers with Honda engines. The 160 and 190. If you have a choice, get the 190, as I find the 160 struggles in thick or wet grass. The 190 has enough additional power to make it drama free.
 
Messages
6,594
Location
SE British Columbia, Canada
Once you have self propelled you'll never go back. I have a Craftsman rear drive with a Honda GCV 160 that I bought in 2003. That engine model was still pretty new back then. Fast forward 16 years. I just replaced the belt on it. I like rear wheel drive because if you bog while use the recycling feature you can tip the mower back and still move forward under power. Try that with a front drive mower. If you want the 190 version you'll no longer be at the low price point. 2cents
 
Messages
480
Location
Vermont
Originally Posted by 92saturnsl2
I have the exact Troy Bilt mower you're considering-- I chose the Troy Bilt because I wanted a nice engine (I was buying into Honda reputation) and didn't really want self-propelled (no need for it, less to break, more power going to blade not having to drive wheels). I really like the GCV160, it's smooth quiet engine with good power. Noticeably quieter than other push mowers I've owned. Always starts in a pull or two. Mine has the "auto choke" lever that once you set, it pulls the choke off automatically. There's been a few times that hasn't worked quite right and I had to pull the choke off myself, or it pulled choke off too soon... Wish it had a manual choke, that might be my only complaint.
I grabbed one of these a few weeks ago at Lowe's on clearance, OP may want to check nearby stores. Item number 806387 (I took a photo of the tag so my wife could return and pick it up as I had to work later that day), priced at $155.40. The Briggs version, sitting next to it, was on clearance for $119.40, Lowe's item number 421854. Either would be a good deal for a small yard in my opinion. I was lucky that my wife got back in time to grab the Honda-powered one. They only had that one in stock whereas the Briggs had perhaps a dozen on hand. Salesgirl said they were being replaced by Craftman (!) branded mowers.
 
Messages
5,918
Location
Storrs, Connecticut
Originally Posted by bubbatime
That Briggs engine is very good. I'd get the self propelled Snapper over a push Troy Bilt every single day. But my honest best advice as a person that had a small engine shop, that has owned hundreds of mowers, and sold just as many, is to buy a gently used Toro Super Recycler on Craigslist. Brand new they are $650. Used on Craigslist I found them all day long for $50-$150. A $150 used Super Recycler is better than any new $300 big box store mower and will last twice as long.
This.
 
Messages
1,333
Location
Washington for now
Originally Posted by bubbatime
That Briggs engine is very good. I'd get the self propelled Snapper over a push Troy Bilt every single day. But my honest best advice as a person that had a small engine shop, that has owned hundreds of mowers, and sold just as many, is to buy a gently used Toro Super Recycler on Craigslist. Brand new they are $650. Used on Craigslist I found them all day long for $50-$150. A $150 used Super Recycler is better than any new $300 big box store mower and will last twice as long.
this. i bought a used super recycler that according to the serial was made in 2002. got it for $60. it is the best mower i have ever used. the aluminum deck is great. no worrues about rust. the blade system chops the grass up. the personal pace system is fantastic. everything on it seems heavy duty. even has grease nipples for the rear gears. mine has a briggs engine. when it goes dead i can find another one for cheap.
 

RAR

Messages
38
Location
Minnesota
Back in 2014 I had racked up a ton of Marriott Rewards points. Back then you could trade them for merchandise so I used a chunk for a new mower for my now-sold house. Got a Honda mower... it has been, and remains, the favorite push mower that my nephew uses to cut grass where my Cub Cadet tractor can't go. We kept a second Craftsman mower with the same Honda GCV160 engine and sold off two B&S powered mowers at auction last year. I'll likely replace them with Honda powered mowers when these ones die off...
 
Messages
253
Location
New York
Originally Posted by bubbatime
That Briggs engine is very good. I'd get the self propelled Snapper over a push Troy Bilt every single day. But my honest best advice as a person that had a small engine shop, that has owned hundreds of mowers, and sold just as many, is to buy a gently used Toro Super Recycler on Craigslist. Brand new they are $650. Used on Craigslist I found them all day long for $50-$150. A $150 used Super Recycler is better than any new $300 big box store mower and will last twice as long.
Couldn't agree more. 7 years with a Toro super recycler that I paid $80.00 and have done nothing.
 
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