Are Two-Stroke Engines Better than Four-Stroke Engines?

Four-stroke and two-stroke are also called four-cycle and two-cycle, respectively. Most of dirt bike, motorcycle or RC enthusiasts are confused about which one has a better performance.

The two types of engine are found in virtually all heavy duty applications such as trucks, ships, locomotives, power generation, and stationary power. But most small engines are two-stroke as they care compact, no need for radiator as they are air cooled, have no sump for oil which can operate upside down or on an angle.

The 4-stroke engine uses a system of valves to control gasoline combustion within the engine block. These valves help lower the heat within the engine block by allowing hot air to escape and keeping engine shafts well lubricated.

The four-stroke has more moving parts so it’s more difficult to reach high rpm without engine failure. 6000 rpm would be the upper limit. For example, a motorcycle with a two stroke engine has a higher acceleration but the 4 one will win after a couple of miles.

Then which one is better for hobby use.

Have a look at what they say.
Paul, “2 strokes are a lot of fun!! They create wacky crazy high horsepower for a small displacement engine, and when they get into the high RPM”

Revitup, “2 stroke…yeah, definitely 2 stroke. More power = more fun! Cc to cc 4 strokes can’t touch a 2 stroke. It is that plain and simple!”

Brandon, “2-strokes are better in speed and acceleration, but 4-strokes you have more control when riding with other riders 2-strokes are for the track when practicing or something.4-strokes are really considered better to be rode in motocross a 2-stroke is out of control and not the kind of handling you want for a bike my opinion 4-strokes are better.”

GW26i Gasoline Engine 2 stroke engine

Michael, “4 stroke engines do tend to ‘waste fire’ the spark plug at the end of the exhaust stroke but this would not cause an explosion, but again here the idea of ‘waste firing’ has nothing to do with the 4 stroke cycle, rather it is a result of the simple design of a motor.”

However, shalem said, the winner is obviously the engine which has been given more time and technology in its development. But nobody knows when the honest “internal combustion” engine is going to get replaced by the next new breakthrough in “Automobile Engineering”.

Should you buy a two-stroke or four-stroke engine? Do you have a favorite one? Feel free to share in the comment.

Two Stroke Engine Advantages and Disadvantages

Lighter, better, more efficient and cost less, that are the reasons why two-stroke engine is attracted by people. A two-stroke engine is also called two-cycle engine, it completes a power cycle in only one crankshaft revolution and with two strokes, or up and down movements.

The basic components of a two-stroke engine include combustion chamber, spark plug, pistons, reed valve, crank case, exhaust outlet and cylinder block, some come with cooling fins, but most two-stroke engines are air cooled. Some two-stroke engines have a more elaborate ignition system, featuring a distributor and ignition coil. A water-cooled two-stroke engine will also have a water pump and radiator too.

In a “two stroke” engine, every second stroke is a “power stroke” (where the piston is burning gas and making power) and the other stroke is an “exhaust stroke” where the burned up gasses are cleaned from the cylinder.

2 Stroke Gasoline Engine
GF26i 26cc Gasoline Engine

So, what are the advantages?
Compact, lighter, cost less
Two-stroke engines do not have valves, simplifying their construction. Compared to 4-stroke engines, they have a greatly reduced number of moving parts, are more compact and significantly lighter. Additional, two-stroke engines are cost less to manufacture.

High power to weight ratio
Two-stroke engines often provide high power-to-weight ratio, usually in a narrow range of rotational speeds called the “power band”. Fire once every revolution which gives two-stroke engines a significant power boost. Thus, they have the potential for about twice the power in the same size because there are twice as many power strokes per revolution.

Problems of the two-stroke engine (Read more Are Two-Stroke Engines Better than Four-Stroke Engines?)
This is the big disadvantage of two-stroke engine, each time a new mix of air/fuel is loaded into the combustion chamber, part of it leaks out through the exhaust port. And the oil makes all two-stroke engines smoky to some extent, and a badly worn two-stroke engine can emit more oily smoke.

Shorter life than four-stroke engine
They can’t live as long as four-stroke engines. The lack of a dedicated lubrication system means that the parts of a two-stroke engine wear-out faster.
Higher Consumption
Fresh mixture is escaping with exhaust gases during exhaust stroke.

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What are the Differences of Two-stroke and Four-stroke Engine?

In this post, we will share two internal combustion engines; they are the most common in the market.

A two stroke engine also called two-cycle engine means one stroke in each direction. It can complete a power cycle in only one crankshaft revolution and with two strokes. On the return stroke new fuel mixture is inserted into the cylinder. Here, “Stroke” refers to the movement of the piston in the engine.

Compared to two-stroke engines, the four-cycle engine has one compression stroke and one exhaust stoke. It uses the piston completes four separate strokes—intake, compression, power, and exhaust. The compression stroke compresses the fuel air mixture prior to the gas explosion. The exhaust stroke simply pushes the burnt gases out the exhaust.

How they work?
Two- stroke engine is simple as it has no valve, fuel and air in the cylinder have been compressed, and when the spark plug fires the mixture ignites. The resulting explosion drives the piston downward.

For four-stroke engines, piston travels down the cylinder while the intake valve is opened to allow a mixture of fuel and air to enter the combustion chamber. This process is called intake. Then the piston travels back up the cylinder thereby compressing the gasses after intake valve closed. After compressing, the spark plug ignites, and forces the piston down. The last cycle is the exhaust valve is opened, and then the piston will clear the chamber to start the process over.

Each time the piston rises and falls it turns the crankshaft that is responsible for turning the wheels. This is how fuel is converted into forward motion.

Main Differences (Are Two-Stroke Engines Better than Four-Stroke Engines?)
1. The two stroke engine only fires 1 time in each revolution whereas four stroke fires 1 time in 2 revolutions.
2. Two stroke comes with a light-weight body and simple design (has no valve, the piston act like a valve to control the flow of fuel), thus, it is less expensive to manufacture. But the four stoke is more versatile.
3. Four-stroke engine has a much higher efficiency than the two-stroke
4. Four-stroke engine is lower fuel consumption
5. Application
Two stroke engines are used for lower-power applications (dirt bikes, mopeds, jet skis, small outboard motors, as well as radio-controlled model planes) while four strokes are using in heavy duty, like automotive industrial, cars, trucks, and generators.
6. Two-stroke engines often provide high power-to-weight ratio and have a greatly reduced number of moving parts.
7. Two-stroke engines can work in any orientation, which can be important in something like a chainsaw.

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