How To Start a Lawn Mower: Guide for 3 Starting Systems

At Briggs & Stratton we’re talking to lawn mower owners all the time about what they’re looking for in a mower. Year after year, the top answers are pretty consistent and what we hear is that people want a lawnmower that is easy to start and will start consistently when they want it to.

How to Start a Lawn Mower EngineThese days there are a variety of starting mechanisms to choose from. Read on to learn more and, figure out which small engine is right for you. Keep in mind that regardless of starting system, for operator safety, the Consumer Product Safety Commission requires there is a two-step starting process that requires the operator to engage a blade brake or rail.

Recoil/Pull Start Mower

This is the traditional, pull-rope starting mechanism seen on most gas-powered push lawn mowers. You pull a cord, which manually turns the engine over to start the mower. In order for this mechanism to work properly, you’ll need to prime the engine by pushing a prime button and opening the throttle.

Check out this article that describes what happens once you pull the rope.

Electric Start Lawn Mower

This type of mower uses an electric start mechanism rather than a manual pull cord to turn the engine. Electric start mowers are not the same as an electric mower, which uses a full electric motor. Electric start systems are becoming the preferred choice of many homeowners because they allow you to start your mower literally at the flip of a switch, making them more simple and convenient to use. Another benefit of this design is that is allows for self-propelled mowers or push mowers without the push. There are two popular types of electric start mowers, turn-key and push button. As the names suggest, one uses a key ignition to start the mower and the other, a button.:

Despite their convenience, electric start mowers are more complex and require more parts than traditional pull start mowers, which could be more costly should the mower need repairs. In addition, if you don’t keep the starting mechanism charged then you’re back to the standard rope-pull.

The ReadyStart® Lawn Mower Engine

Briggs & Stratton’s ReadyStart starting system offers the latest innovation in engine starting mechanisms. ReadyStart is designed for superior pull-start with reduced operator effort, eliminating the need to prime or choke the engine. The system automatically senses engine temperature to deliver the appropriate amount of air and fuel under all starting conditions. It’s been available on walk-behind mowers for several years, but it was just this year that Briggs & Stratton introduced ReadyStart for Rides on select Husqvarna tractors and ZTRs, so riding lawnmower owners can now enjoy the ease of a no-choke start.

Regardless of the starting mechanism you have, refer to your operator’s manual for proper use and safety guidelines along with checking out these lawn mower safety tips. Remember, regular tune-ups and maintenance is key to keeping your mower in top running condition.

NOTICE: Customer service questions are not monitored via the blog. If you need assistance with your Briggs & Stratton engine or power equipment, please contact our Answer Center or post your question to our User Community.