New 21": 850 Briggs or GXV160

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by jkilov, Mar 23, 2013.


Which engine is better suited for a 21" push mower?

  1. Briggs and Stratton 850

    5 vote(s)
  2. Honda GXV160

    24 vote(s)
  1. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Posts: 1,415

    After some time I have decided to once again add a proper 21" to my rig. Pretty much decided for the Snapper but not sure which engine to get it comes with either a Honda GXV160 or Briggs 850.

    Since I owned the GXV160 in the past I'm sure in it's reliability but for the must part hated it because it's low on power when mulching and surprisingly heavy for a small motor.

    Also have the older style Briggs intek which hasn't been that bad considering I put more than 1000 hours on it (almost junk now).

    My question is has anyone tried the new 850 Briggs yet? Dealer has a demo 21" unit with the briggs and said it comes with an iron cylinder, PTO bearing, dual seal filter and metal cam. The demo unit also appears to have a tea spoon sized oil filter on it, wonder if that does any good?

    Not a big deal but would like some opinions before dropping the money, btw briggs is over 100$ cheaper.
  2. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,144

    The Briggs is cheaper because the Honda is better, and I know which one I would buy, but it's not my money.
  3. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,977

    I had the GXV160 on the Toro commercial. It started first pull every time. Smooth and pretty easy on fuel. But anything that was slightly overgrown was a bit of a struggle and you had to slow way down with it. While it would work great on a lot of lawns, I decided to sell it. I found myself rarely using it anyway.

    A year and a half later I found myself needing a 21" again. A local dealer was kind enough to give me a Snapper commercial with the Honda to use for a day to try out. I didn't care for it. It seemed to be a little lacking in power like the Toro was. And I just happen to like the Toro better. I had a dealer order me a 22197 with the FJ180v Kawasaki. Much better on power. At least 20% more. And for the past 7 months it's started on the first pull too.

    Bottom line, reliability is a big deal. But being underpowered will drive you crazy on those lawns where you need it. Sometimes I think if manufacturers would be better off offering the "lesser" GSV190 on machines that are going to see a wide range of use.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  4. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Posts: 1,415

    This is exactly my point. I had a Toro commercial GXV160 with a 3-speed but was basically using only 1st gear as it was underpowered for 2nd and 3rd was way too fast. Sold the unit as I wasn't using it, instead the homeowner Husqvarna with 190 Briggs was being used all the time.

    So now I'm in the market for a new 21", above all it has to be light and with tons of power for mulching. Sadly snapper doesn't offer Kawi any more so I'm looking at the briggs. Spec wise it has about 20% more power than the honda.

    Yes the GX is super reliable but low productivity can drive you nuts.
  5. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,977

  6. exmarkking

    exmarkking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    We use the exmark 21" xseries and couldn't be happier. It has the kawi Kai motor which is plenty of power. Just thought I'd give u another option that is tried and true
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Posts: 1,415

    I know this may sound silly but yes, those 20 lbs and 20% power are deal breakers.

    More than any other machine, the 21" is all about productivity. If I buy something with 160 cc or 140 lbs it's going to be sitting on the trailer.

    Sadly there's no real 21" on the market that offers both commercial build quality and productivity. Having owned many machines in the past, the commercial units were left on the trailer whilst the homeowner junkies were used constantly because they were that much faster and more maneuverable.

    Yes I'm open to suggestions, currently looking at snapper, honda HRX, haven't looked at exmark yet.
  8. crazyflyboy30

    crazyflyboy30 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 372

    The Professional series 850 is offered on Snappers 21" Professional Mower with an Oil Filter is there an oil pump in this engine or is it a splash lubrication?

    Dura-Lube Splash Lubrication how can it use a oil filter ?
  9. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Posts: 1,415

    There's a mini oil pump just to pressurize the filter. It's all splash-lube otherwise.

    Probably more a marketing tool than a real feature.
  10. jod78

    jod78 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    Hey Keith - I got the 22195 - same mower as yours, but with the Honda. Love the Honda engine, but then again I never really mow anything that's too overgrown. Toros are new to me and so is the drive system. How do you handle pulling yours back? I know with the handle all the way up and drive fully engaged it will lock the drive wheels from going backwards. Releasing the bar about halfway will slow the mower down for turns and I guess free the rear wheels up for pulling back, but it seems a little tricky getting used to. I'm almost killing the motor at times trying to find that sweet spot of freeing the wheels up and slowing the drive down without killing the motor.

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