Skip to main content


Warmer weather is rolling in, lawn maintenance is on your mind, and it’s time for a new-to-you lawn mower. Frustratingly, there’s a myriad of options for you to consider, including fuel-injected, carbureted, and even all-electric mowers. So, is electronic fuel injection (EFI) better for your lawn, or should you stick with the old-school simplicity of a carburetor? 

Is EFI better than a carburetor on a lawn mower?

Electronic fuel injection is a newer, more advanced technology than carb-equipped vehicles and appliances. As a result, mowers with EFI will typically get better fuel economy. Moreover, fuel-injected models are usually more turn-key reliable.

A series of fuel-injected EFI John Deere riding lawn mowers show off their green paintwork.
John Deere mowers | Daniel Acker via Bloomberg via Getty Images

Does EFI get better gas mileage?

EFI-equipped lawn mowers are more fuel-efficient than carbureted models. According to Total Landscape Care, an EFI system could improve fuel economy by up to 25% compared to a carb-equipped lawn mower. 

Electronic fuel injection works by precisely calculating how much fuel and air to introduce to a cylinder for the internal combustion process. As a result, fuel injection optimizes efficiency as well as power output. 

A lawn mower with a carburetor instead of EFI mows a lawn.
Duane Braley | Star Tribune via Getty Images

Which is more reliable, EFI or a carb?

Fuel injection requires no choke, manual adjustment, or frequent cleaning. As a result, starting and running an injected mower is typically more hassle-free than a comparable carbureted model. 

Better yet, EFI lawn mower models will typically handle temperature and altitude extremes more effectively than carbureted models. For instance, while few owners will operate a mower in below-40-degree weather, some carbureted models will require using a choke to get them started and might not idle well in the cold. Moreover, machines with a carburetor may require adjustment to run well at changing elevations.  

What are the benefits of a carbureted mower?

A carbureted lawn mower might be less reliable and efficient than a more modern EFI or electric model, but it has a few benefits. 

  • Carburetors and carbureted mowers are cheaper to purchase
  • Easier to fix
  • Cheaper to replace

A push mower with a carb will typically be cheaper to purchase. Moreover, rebuilding or cleaning a carb is an easier process than working with fuel injectors. Better yet, owners who opt to replace a carb can find replacement small-engine carbs for less than $15.00 online.  


Top 5 Riding Lawn Mowers for 2023 To Gain the Advantage Over Your Grass

What is the best fuel for lawn mowers?

The best fuel for lawn mower models with EFI or carburetors is ethanol-free gasoline. For instance, Briggs & Stratton recommends a fuel with a minimum octane rating of 87 with up to 10% ethanol for use in its mowers. Moreover, reduced octane levels, like 85, are better for operation at altitudes of 5,000 feet or higher.