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Lawnmower Features

What is electric start on a lawnmower?

Electric start (also known as key start or push button start) is a lawnmower feature found on petrol lawnmowers, which allows you to start the engine at the push of a button or the turn of a key instead of pulling a recoil starter rope. It shouldn't be confused with an electric lawnmower, which has an electric motor rather than a petrol engine.

Electric start is a feature only found on lawnmowers with combustion engines, as it isn't required for lawnmowers with electric motors, such as mains electric or cordless (battery) lawnmowers.

Model features very but, in principle, once the engine is running there is no difference between an equivalent lawnmower with an electric start feature and one without. The lawnmower can still include other features such as:

  • Self-Propelled Drive: the lawnmower will drive itself forward using the power from the engine
  • Blade Brake Clutch (BBC): allowing you to release the operator levers and disengage the cutting blade, whilst the engine continues to run. This is particularly useful for moving the mower without the blade turning, and means fewer stop starts

How does electric start work?

Within the electric start system there is a small rechargeable battery. For electric start to work the battery must have charge. When the electric start button is pressed, or a key is turned, the battery drives a small electric motor to turn over and start the engine. Just like starting a car.

On older models the battery is kept charged by the engine when running, and on newer models a separate charger is supplied to charge the battery periodically.

What are the different types of electric start?

There are two different types of electric start:

  • Key start: starting the engine with a key
  • Push button start: starting the engine by pushing a button

Key start is mainly found on older machines, and the battery is charged by the engine when it runs. Newer systems use push button start, and the battery is usually charged by a stand alone charger.

Example Electric Start on Hayter

Why is electric start used?

The common method of starting a petrol engine is by pulling a recoil starter cord to turn over the engine, which can be physical work, especially after a period without usage.

Electric start removes the need to pull a recoil start cord, making starting your engine effortless and simple.

Which lawnmowers feature electric start?

There are many petrol lawnmowers available with electric start, including models from Hayter and Honda. Petrol lawnmowers with electric start include

In the event of your electric start system sustaining damage, spare parts can be ordered and fitted. We supply a huge range of electric starter parts in stock, simply find the parts needed for your lawnmower through our parts diagrams to order directly. Or view our range of electric starter parts for Briggs & Stratton engines.

All modern lawn tractors use a key start system, very similar to starting a car.

Westwood Key Start

Posted: 14 June 2022

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