One-Cylinder vs Two Cylinder Ride-On Mower Engines: 4 Important Factors to Consider

Even after you've decided to buy a ride-on mower instead of a traditional push-mower, there are still plenty of things to consider. One of the most important decisions you'll need to make is whether to opt for a one-cylinder or two-cylinder engine.

Here are three important factors to consider.

1. Performance vs Efficiency

The most compelling reason to buy a ride-on mower with a two-cylinder engine is that you'll almost always end up with more horsepower at your command. Since two-cylinder models will be appreciably more powerful, you should be able to mow at higher speeds and cope with uneven or otherwise challenging terrain with greater confidence. In contrast, a mower that uses a one-cylinder engine is going to be in danger of losing power when faced with a slope, though you should keep in mind that they will be perfectly fine for most terrain.

Of course, the downside that comes with more power is greater fuel consumption rates. With fuel needed to power two cylinders instead of just one, two-cylinder mowers are almost always going to eat up more fuel. Some two-cylinder engines seek to mitigate this issue by using advanced engine technologies, such as ignition timing, but you'll generally be looking at worse efficiency than a comparable single-cylinder mower.

2. Longevity vs Maintenance

Anything that has an engine is going to need routine maintenance in order to remain in prime condition, and mowers are no exception to that rule. However, things can get a little tricky when you're tasked with deciding between a one-cylinder or two-cylinder model. The one-cylinder holds an advantage in that there are far fewer moving parts involved without that second cylinder to worry about. On the other hand, two cylinders working together tend to cancel out each other's vibrations, which can reduce wear and tear.

With this in mind, it's generally better to go for a one-cylinder engine if you don't use your mower over extended periods. If you're going to be regularly mowing large areas, the fact that more things can go wrong with two cylinders will be off-set by the fact that prolonged mowing isn't as likely to cause vibrational damage.

3. Initial Price vs Investment

The initial price of a two-cylinder ride-on mower is almost always going to be higher than that associated with a one-cylinder version. Even disregarding the added workmanship and materials involved in a two-cylinder model, these mowers are usually meant for more extensive use, so they typically employ more advanced features.

However, given the points listed above, a two-cylinder can be seen more as an investment. If you're going to be doing a lot of mowing, the greater power will let you get done faster and the lack of vibration will make the machine last longer.