Electronic fuel injection (EFI) has been a standard feature in cars since the last millennium, but if you want it standard in residential outdoor power equipment, you’ll have to wait a bit longer—which might be worth it. The carburetors in most gas-powered products are prone to fuel-related problems that EFI avoids. Better still, EFI is claimed to save up to 30 percent in fuel, and it extends the life of engines because it maintains the precise air/fuel ratio the engine needs. But outdoor gear’s commercial market can’t have all the fun, as some recent announcements demonstrate.
Kohler made news this month with two EFI engines intended for residential lawn tractors, in 25- and 27-horsepower versions. We should see it in riders next season. In the meantime, though, it’s already in two lawn tractors from MTD Products: the 42-inch Cub Cadet XT2 LX42″ EFI (photo above), $1,800 at Cub Cadet independent dealers, and the 46-inch Troy-Bilt XP 46-Inch FAB 13A9A1KN066, $1,900 at farm-supply and hardware chains. Both use the same 547cc engine and have hydrostatic transmissions.
Snowblowers are getting EFI, too. Ariens’ winter lineup, announced last week, includes two models with EFI engines: the $2,029 Ariens Platinum 24 SHO EFI, Model 921053 (with a 24-inch clearing width), and the $1,929 Ariens Deluxe 30 EFI, Model 921049 (30-inch). The Deluxe 30 EFI will sell at Home Depot and Ariens dealers; the Platinum 24 SHO EFI, dealers only. The company claims these models, owing to their Ariens AX EZ-Launch EFI engines, start more easily in extreme weather without variation in high or low altitudes.
Among generators, a pricey but solid choice is the Honda 7000iS, a 7,000-watt portable generator that, besides its EFI engine, uses inverter technology to vary engine speed according to the electrical load and also—best for the neighbors—run much more quietly than the usual portable. It costs about $4,500 at Home Depot and Honda dealers.
It’s too soon to know what else is in the lineup for EFI as manufacturers prepare announcements for the Green Industry and Equipment Expo, the industry’s trade show, held in Louisville every October. But with every new development, the premium in price for this important new feature can only come down.