View Full Version : So how is the Briggs ELS for home use?

10-12-2008, 12:29 AM
In another thread I posted I'm looking at a Exmark Quest with Briggs 22HP ELS engine. Doing searches I've read that some people say to avoid this engine and others say it's fine. Are there widespread issues with this engine and if so, what are they? Are the people that don't like it ones that use it commercially putting a lot of hours on it? I would use it to mow my 1-2 acres and that's it.

I did test drive the Quest today on pavement and really like how it handles. It has the ZT2800 drive system. I drove my buddies 2004 Hustler Fastrak yesterday and it didn't handle as smoothly. I don't think his has the ZT2800 drive but the new Fastraks do now.

I'm sure either the Exmark Quest or Hustler Fastrak would give me many years of service. I'm just wonder how the Briggs ELS engine would be for residential use?

10-12-2008, 01:54 AM
We have had a homeowner mower with briggs in the past that we used every 5 days on 3 acres and it lasted over 10 years.

10-12-2008, 07:03 PM
Any other opinions?

10-12-2008, 08:56 PM
Just thought I might add, It lasted 10 years until we sold it..... So well over 10 years im sure.

10-12-2008, 09:54 PM
I guess since I was one of the briggs critics I should give you my 2 cents,
When I set out to buy a zero turn I demoed alot of mowers, two of them a scag tiger cub and everide hornet had the ELS engine and both seemed very under powered compared to a kawasaki or honda, when comparing the hornet els to the hornet 23 kaw it seemed like the els was running at half throttle, and the els is supposed to be 26hp? also I should mention that the mowers that have the els are priced less for good reason, you just cant compare the briggs to the kaw or honda, you get what you pay for in this arena, on the other hand if performance is not that big of a deal and your trying to save some money the els might be for you, my dealor still has the new 2007 tiger cub with the els for $5,700.00 because he cant sell it. as for the Exmark I think they are great mowers but think you should demo a New hustler, I know dealors in my area are giving out some great deals right now, either way you go I wish you the best of luck! :)

Hawg City Lawns
10-12-2008, 11:54 PM
well i have a husqvarna tractor i use as a backup that has a 21 hp els and i think its a great little engine, doesnt take any oil hardly but it does drink gas when its mowing something above 4 inches tall but what doesnt i demoed a quest and they are not to shabby at all i dont think they should be considered a homeowner mower at all its about like the hustler homeowner mowers just a smaller commercial mower with a homeowner engine

10-13-2008, 07:38 PM
I would use it to mow my 1-2 acres and that's it.

You're looking at putting maybe 30 hrs a year on that engine. Anything should last you 20 years if properly maintained. You could get away with a push mower or a small walk behind like a 36" for less money.

when comparing the hornet els to the hornet 23 kaw it seemed like the els was running at half throttle, and the els is supposed to be 26hp?

Briggs is notorious for over rating power. That engine probably has a true 20 hp or less.

J&R Landscaping
10-13-2008, 11:45 PM
The ELS is a decent engine. For what your going to be using it for, it should serve you fine. A full service job once a year to keep it in good shape and some grease on the mower chasis and you'll be fine!

Kennedy Landscaping
10-13-2008, 11:52 PM
If you can afford it commercial is the way to go. I have been using home owner equipment since I started and recently purcased a Gravely Pro 1336 and love it. Commercials will give you a better quality cut and last you ten times longer. Just remember if you treat it right it will treat you right. I won't go back to homeowner

10-14-2008, 12:00 AM
if you are a homeowner than it's built for YOU!

Kennedy Landscaping
10-14-2008, 12:02 AM
if you are a homeowner than it's built for YOU!

I was just saying that if this guy wants a pretty nice cut and wants it to last a long time commercial is the way to go. Just not sure how H/O equipment will hold up mowing those acres thats all.

10-14-2008, 07:52 PM
Thanks for all the advice. I keep up on the maintenance on everything I own, and since it's only for my lawn, I won't put many hours on it a year. I'm sure either the Exmark Quest or Hustler Fastrak would give me many years of mowing.

10-15-2008, 12:33 PM
Just bought a Quest from a gentleman who bought it and then decided it was too much mower for his small quarter acre property. It's virtually new and the original dealer helped transfer the remaining 34 months of warranty over to me. I cut 2 acres with lots of trees and flower beds. So far I love this thing. It's built like a tank and very smooth drive controls. I'm anal about maintenance and so i don't think the ELS will be an issue. No it's not a Kawi or a Honda but then it's $1500 less. When the engine goes in 10-15yrs, I'll upgrade the motor. They retail for 4K and their is NOTHING out there with this quality at that price. I've looked at every ZTR. Hustler and Scag come the closest but are still more $.

10-15-2008, 01:50 PM
I have put over 800 hours on an els without any problems. This was 20hp on a 41" deck and you couldn't bog the engine, very strong.

10-15-2008, 03:11 PM
I will not own another one. I am a homeowner. I had a one acre property and an old Snapper 30" cut. I "upgraded" to the Sears lawn tractor with 48" cut and the 26hp ELS. My thought was that I could cut down on my mowing time and never overwork the mower. Should last forever. I'm a maintenance fanatic.

18 months after purchase the engine seized up. Sears replaced it under warranty. 18 months later engine is burning 3/4 qt of oil at every mowing session (about one hour), and is difficult to start. Same symptoms as last time. Pulled the plug on the left side and it's been terribly hot.

Looking at this site and others has convinced me that the air cleaner is not well designed and is letting in dirty air. I'm still working with Briggs to rectify the problem. I will not purchase another ELS. I'm in the mode where I will not purchase another Briggs, although I hear good things about the Vanguard series.

My advice is to do a search on the ELS. If you have dirty dusty conditions pass on it. I have seen some discussion that indicated that Briggs had gotten away from the accordian style air filter and gone to cartridge. If that is so then I might reconsider.