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.  

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.


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