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I have both.
52" Snapper Pro w/21 hp kawaski has a vertical shaft
52" Exmark Lazer w/27 hp kohler has a horizontal shaft.
all i can say is that the engine case gasket has been changed 2 times on the kawi but it has over 2,600 original hours and still runs strong. The kohler has had no oil leaks but has been in the shop for a lot of engine related issues and it only has a little over 800 hrs... So i don't really know if one has more advantage then the other but they both cut good and cut at the same speed, i really don't feal any difference in power but i feel it in my wallet because the kohler eats almost a 3/8 to 1/2 more fuel per hr then the kawi...Also i feel it it easier to change belts on a vert shaft
 
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