Do you need a 190cc engine for your lawn mower or will 160cc cut it? Or what about 140cc or even 200cc (like Honda’s new range). Power options for your lawn mower are many, but which one suits your lawn?

In this article we’ll go through all the options and help you decide. We’re going to look at the different features of a mower that will decide your cutting power, point out the things you’ll need to consider for your lawn, and explain which of these features are important.

If you’ve been wondering what the difference between a 160cc and 190cc lawn mower engine will mean for your lawn, You’re in the right place.

Let’s get started!

Engine power and cc’s

First, let’s talk about power. For an engine, we often use the volume of the cylinders as a measure of the engine’s power. For a car engine you will hear a ‘3 liter v6 or a 2.5l’. The ‘liters’ refers to cubic liters and is the measurement of volume inside all the cylinders in the engine when the pistons are in the retracted position. On a smaller engine, like in your lawn mower, the measurement isn’t in liters but in cubic centimeters, or cc’s.

lawn mower engine
Bigger volume in your engine cylinder (cc’s) means bigger ignition and bigger power.

So, for a lawn mower, 160cc or 190cc means that your engine volume is 160 cubic centimeters or 190 cubic centimeters. When the engine is running, a fuel-air mixture is injected into the cylinder and ignited. A bigger volume in the cylinder means a bigger ignition. And therefore, more power.

But let’s be honest, 30cc’s isn’t the biggest difference in the world. It’s less than 20%, so while it will make a difference, don’t expect huge increases in performance.

At least not from just the volume difference in the engine. There are lots of different things on a mower that will affect performance including cc’s, compression ratio, drive type, blade diameter and a lot of others. And you need to take all these things into account when choosing your mower. Not just the cc numbers.

Lawn Mower Torque

The reason a lawn mower’s power is important is torque. Torque is the rotational force the engine exerts. In the case of a mower, it’s the force that turns the blades. The greater the torque, the greater the blade speed and power. Now, torque is affected by more than just the CC numbers, but they are very important. Basically, the bigger the CC’s on your mower, the greater the torque it will have. But since there are other factors that affect torque, it’s best to check the torque figures on the different mowers you are considering.

How much power do you need for a normal lawn?

140cc

How much power you need is dependent on your mowing conditions. If you have a smallish, regular lawn, then in all honesty a 140cc mower will be enough. A bi-weekly cut on an easy lawn is not a problem for 140cc’s.

In fact, on a slightly larger lawn, as long as the grass is easy and there are no obstacles, 140cc will still do the job. It will just take longer than with a larger mower, because a larger mower will get the job done faster.

160 – 190+cc

A 160cc will do for most lawns. A regular sized yard with normal grass will not suffer with a 160cc mower.

Where a high-powered mower comes into its own is if you want to do something other than mow over regular grass.

If you’re cutting a large lawn, a 190+cc will do the job quicker than a 160. If your lawn has weeds, or you’re cutting longer grass, then a high-powered mower will handle that better, too. The extra power will get through tougher weeds and grass in one go, whereas you might need to go over areas more than once with a lower-powered model.

Lawn with big rock and trees
190cc is great if you want to do something other than mow over regular grass.

If you’re cutting wet grass regularly, this is another area where the higher power will help. You’ll get less clogging, and the job will be easier and quicker with a 190+cc mower. Also, if you’re bagging, and in particular, mulching, then a mower with more cc’s will perform the job better. The extra torque will make mulching more effective.

Other differences between 160 and 190+cc

Aside from the obvious difference in cc’s there are a couple of other points you should bear in mind when deciding between the different models.

Fuel efficiency

Because the engine volume on a high-powered mower is larger, this means that the fuel consumption is larger as well. For every rotation of the piston, a larger volume of fuel-air mix is injected into the 190+cc cylinder than into the 160cc (or even more so, the 140cc).

But the cylinder volume is not the only measure of a mower’s fuel efficiency. So, you must carefully examine each model’s performance and decide on what is best for your lawn.

For example, a larger mower will, in all likelihood, cut the same lawn faster than a smaller cc one. This might mean that even though it is using more fuel, the time saved negates the extra and it still might be more efficient to use the larger mower. And some models are just more fuel efficient than others.

Make sure you check out the specs on the different models to try and get an idea of each model’s performance. It’s also a good idea to visit some of the gardening or DIY forums and see what people are writing about different lawn mower models. Just remember, some people swear blind by a particular manufacturer or model that might not fit for your use at all.

Cost

Cost is always something that needs to be examined. Cost against what you are going to use your mower for. A large mower for a small lawn is probably overkill, but if the lawn is more weed and off-road track than regular grass, it might still be worth it.

Generally, the larger the cc, the higher the cost of the mower. It’s simply that a bigger engine uses more material and costs more to make. However, a lot of other factors come into play, such as other features of the mower, drive, speed control, and manufacturer. So, you can easily find a well-spec’d low-powered mower that costs more than a high-powered one. But as a rule of thumb, you can expect to pay more for a higher cc mower than a lower one.

Weight

If you need to manually lift and pull your mower around a lot, then weight will be a consideration. A larger engine will weigh more. So, a 190+cc weighs more than a 160cc.

Under normal circumstances the weight shouldn’t make much difference, but it’s worth keeping in mind for your particular circumstances.

Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, the cc’s won’t really make much difference. The level and regularity of maintenance for your mower depends more on other factors. Things like the manufacturer’s parts quality, the type of mower, other features of the mower and how you use it.

Other considerations before you buy your mower

While cc’s are an important consideration, they are not the only one, and you should definitely consider a bigger picture before you make your mower purchase. Sometimes it can be the things you never thought of that decide whether your mower purchase is a success.

Here’s my quick list for purchasing your mower (see our other articles on lawn mower’s if you want more details on each of the points):

  • Budget
  • Power source – electric, gas, manual
  • Drive – Non, front, rear, all
  • Engine size – 140-190+cc
  • Manufacturer – Reputation, availability of spares, reliability
  • Practicality and functionality – Deck heights, handle heights, starting method, bagging and mulching, Does holding a handle get uncomfortable over time, Stop blades function, etc.

The last word

With this rundown on 160 and 190+cc mower’s, we’ve given you everything you need to make an informed decision about what size is right for you.

We’ve looked at what cc’s mean, what the power difference has to say for your lawn, what other things you need to consider with the different power levels and even a general list of mower buying considerations. I hope you’ve found our 160 and 190cc lawn mower article useful.

Now you can start evaluating your lawn and deciding on what type of mower is right for you. Then it’s down to the hardware store (physical or virtual) and time to have a look at some lawn mowers. Just know that whatever engine size you choose, as long as you choose a reputable manufacturer, you’ll have a mower that will last you for years to come. Happy mowing!