The Best Outboard Motor for a Sailboat


Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

The technology of sailing has remained mostly unchanged for centuries. Since learning to harness the power of wind, sailors have been transiting the world’s oceans, expanding trade routes and exploring new cultures. Although nothing more than a renewable natural resource and a single sail is needed to move a sailboat along the water, there are times when it’s important (and in our modern age, convenient) to leverage off a motor to get you where you need to go.

Like any unique piece of equipment in the world of sailing, outboard motors come in a variety of sizes with features and options to fit any owner’s needs. But of course, one size doesn’t fit all. Every boat is different – even those that come off the production line at the same time – and every owner is looking for something specific when it comes to their sailboat. From the purpose of owning the boat (blue water sailing vs. racing) to the location and impact on maintenance (cold weather vs. tropical weather), an outboard motor is just one of the many elements that will define a sailboat’s function and performance.

Whether you’re a new owner, or a veteran sailor, it’s important to know the basic components of any outboard motor . You should also have an idea of what you want your outboard motor to do for your size and model sailboat.

Table of contents

Outboard Motor Size

A larger boat doesn’t necessarily mean a larger motor. Although there are different ratings for different classes of boats, a small power plant can be more effective than a larger one. Conversely, an outboard motor can easily overpower a small boat and create unsafe conditions at high speeds. Guidelines and requirements differ between motorboats and sailboats. And while there is some overlap, these considerations apply directly to sailboats.

Engine power has to do with how much water a boat displaces. For sailboats, smaller is better. If you’re a bit of a math geek, the exact formula is 4 horsepower for every 2200lb of weight. Coupled with a propeller size, which can be determined using a propeller calculator , you’ll get a rough estimate to use as a guideline to start shopping. This is a good first step, since size is essentially a fixed variable. Though it’s worth noting for those who are buying a sailboat directly from the manufacturer, that actual weight will increase after delivery – once all other rigging and outfitting has been completed.

Physical size of your outboard motor is an important consideration and is directly related to the design of your sailboat. An outboard motor is made up of three parts from top to bottom:

  • The Powerhead – Houses the engine. The bulbous part of the motor.
  • The Midsection – Houses the exhaust system. Varies in length and design.
  • The Lower Unit – Propellers attach to the gearbox. Submerged when operational.

Shaft length is an important design element and should be considered when purchasing a motor. A shaft that is too short will obviously prevent the propeller from being submerged in water, while a shaft that is too long will extend the propellers too far. Not only will it decrease the efficiency of your engine, it will create unnecessary drag. Know your transom length when looking at different models.

When an outboard motor is not being used, it should be stowed in its upright position. Some of the larger motors have an automated switch that will raise it out of the water, but some must be secured manually. Make sure everyone who sails with you is capable of lifting and securing the motor out of the water in case of an emergency.

Outboard Motor Power

Any kind of motor installed on a sailboat (inboard or outboard) should be viewed as a tool to help with maneuvering. Although there are some very skilled sailors out there who can sail into their slip without the aid of a motor, many harbors have restrictions that either don’t allow for the use of full sails, or there simply isn’t enough room to maneuver. A motor with both forward and reverse gears helps tremendously with docking.

While there is no exact correlation between boat length and total weight, the following is a rough guideline:

  • 1-4 HP for boats up to 20’ (approximately 1000-2000lbs)
  • 4-18 HP for boats between 20-30’ (approximately 2,000-10,000lbs)
  • 18-34 HP for boats between 30-40’ (10,000lbs or more)

There are some things to consider when deciding how much horsepower you need or want. Location and the type of conditions you expect you’ll be sailing in is one of the biggest factors. Heavy seas and high winds typically associated with open ocean sailing will put more strain on your engine, and in some cases overpower it, whereas an engine that is heavier than needed will add unnecessary weight when racing. If you plan on motoring for long distances, consider purchasing an engine that will stand up to a lot of use.

Less HP is required for:

  • Boat Design – Single hull boats made out of fiberglass require less power.
  • 2-Stroke Engines – This is due to an overall lighter weight engine and higher torque.
  • Diesel Engines – Diesel delivers more torque because the rate of compression is greater.
  • Bigger Propellers – More surface area means more water displacement.
  • Location – Motoring on lakes and rivers requires less power than open ocean.
  • Distance – A smaller engine is suitable for shorter distances.

More HP is required for:

  • Boat Design – Catamarans and heavier boats (regardless of size) require more power.
  • 4-Stroke Engine – Engine weight and an extra step of compression yields less power.
  • Gas Engines – The rate of compression for gas engines is much lower than diesel.
  • Smaller Propeller – A smaller propeller displaces less water.
  • Location – Open ocean, with tides and currents, will strain a smaller engine.
  • Distance – Cover more distance when wind conditions are poor requires a larger engine.

Outboard Motor Cost

There is no way to quantify how much you will pay for any given motor. But there are several costs associated with owning an outboard motor that are definitely worth considering when making your purchase.

Certainly, a lager, more-powerful engine is going to be costlier than a smaller engine with lower horsepower. But as mentioned earlier, size is not necessarily a guarantee of performance and efficiency. At the same time, there’s only so much you can get out of an engine before you exceed its capability. Larger engines tend to help with resale value should you choose to sell your boat at some point, but a boat outfitted with right motor to begin with will always perform better than a motor that’s large just for the sake of it.

Factor in maintenance costs and fuel when looking at models. You want to run your engine at around 90% of its max RPMs to balance proper fuel usage and with wear and tear. Making a few calls to marine mechanics to inquire about an engine you’re interested in will give you a lot of information a sales person won’t be able to give you. The good news about outboard motors is that most of them are portable, which means you won’t have the added cost of either paying a mechanic to come to you, or having to get your boat to the yard, which usually requires help from a very good friend willing to spend all day driving and sailing back and forth.

Owning a boat requires constant care and maintenance, so a little knowledge goes a long way. While an outboard motor is not required for sailing, it’s a convenient addition that can greatly increase your enjoyment out on the water. Being patient and spending time researching engines will not only help you make the correct purchase but will help you take advantage of a great deal when it presents itself. Whether you sail the Caribbean, or race off the coast of California in a catamaran, there is an outboard motor that’s just right for you.

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I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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How to Calculate Outboard Motor Size for Sailboats

It seems so complex to pick the right engine size for your sailboat. I was done with complex calculations and tried to make it easier here.

How to pick the right outboard motor size for your sailboat? To get the right amount of horsepower needed to efficiently propel a sailboat, divide the displacement of the boat (in lb) by 550. You need approximately 1 HP per 550 lb of displacement or 4 HP per 2200 lb. Most sailboats don't need a motor with more than 30 HP.

In this article, I'm talking about small outboard engines for sailboats. We're talking about displacement hulls here, so in other words: keel boats. They need more power than flat bottoms.

But they're not powerboats - so it's not our mission to go fast. It's our mission to get decent speed, good control over the boat, and the best possible fuel efficiency. Without breaking the bank of course.

Sunset in calm waters from a boat with small outboard motor

On this page:

How to pick the right motor size, other factors that are important for size, why is the right motor size important, is there a max hp for sailboats, in conclusion, related questions.

Sailboats need way smaller engines than powerboats. That's great news (unless your ultimate goal is speed), because it's cheaper to buy, cheaper to drive, and cheaper to maintain.

The amount of power you need is related to the hull displacement of your boat.

I like to use the simple formula:

HP = displacement (lb) / 550

So 1 HP for every 550 lb displacement, and 4 hp per 2200 lb.

Here, HP is the amount of horsepower you need to reach the maximum hull speed. This is in optimal conditions. So you have smooth water, no windage, a clean and polished hull, and so on.

If you want to get it absolutely right, you also need to correct for propellor size. And of course, a lot of other factors come into play (more on that later). But generally, these engine sizes will work with the following weights:

That sounds about right to me. But remember that these are all rough estimates: I just try to give you a ballpark figure. There is no one formula to get an exact number. The hull design, sailing conditions, and your personal preference are all very important.

If you're serious about getting a new engine, I definitely recommend to get advice from an expert . But you know, salespeople always recommend the Turbo version. Remember that you don't have to overpower a sailboat. Usually you don't need anything over 30 HP. So at least you now know what will work on average.

What is hull displacement?

  • Hull displacement is the weight of the boat, or the amount of water the boat displaces.
  • Maximum hull displacement is the weight of the boat when it's fully loaded, including crew.

The weight of the boat is the same as its displacement, because the weight of any object is exactly equal to the weight of the water it displaces (aka: pushes aside). This is called Archimedes Principle.

The weight slightly differs in saltwater from freshwater, because saltwater is heavier. In saltwater, the boat gets a bit lighter. So in theory you can use a smaller engine for a bluewater boat, but in practice this is offset by the stronger current and wind.

How to find the displacement of your boat?

Most manufacturers simply give you the displacement of your boat. If you can't find any data, because, for example, you own an old boat, you can weigh your boat on a truck scale. You can also haul it out and measure it (which is painstaking work).**

Tip: if you're gonna weigh your boat, simply drive it onto a truck scale, and retract the weight of the trailer from the total weight.

Of course, it's not so simple. This formula gives a rough estimate. But for me this was way clearer than all that black magic that I get when I ask people what size engine I should get.

Let's look at the things this formula doesn't take into account.

2-strokes are more powerful than 4-strokes. Two-stroke engines fire once every revolution and four-strokes fire once every other revolution. This makes the 2-stroke twice as powerful. They provide more torque at a higher RPM. But they also wear more quickly. The 4-stroke will last you a lot longer, and its also more fuel efficient.

The right propellor size is just as important as having enough horsepower. With a smaller prop diameter, it has to work harder to generate the same propulsion as a larger diameter. But you can't just go larger always. The prop affects the RPM of your engine, and you have to get in the right range (more on this later). You also have to check the maximum diameter that fits your boat.

Diesels have more torque, because the compression rate is higher than that of gasoline engines. So if you consider a diesel, you can do with less HPs.

High windage hulls (multihulls) need a bit more. A multihull (or larger hull in general) suffers from more friction because of the larger surface. So the engine needs to work a little harder.

If you sail longer distances under power , or against the wind it's a good idea to get a larger engine (but not too large). This helps you to save on fuel since you have lower RPM. Especially if you sail offshore or on open sea. The engine needs to work harder due to stronger wind and current.

If you're just sailing in and out of the marina under power, you may need less HP.

Smooth hull designs need less HPs than bulky hull designs, like the classic wooden clippers and crabbers for example.

It matters to get the right size outboard motor for a couple of reasons.

First of all: smaller engines are cheaper, so you save money on buying the engine.

Secondly: smaller engines use a lot less fuel, so you save money on using the engine.

Thirdly: smaller engines are cheaper to maintain: so you save money on maintenance.

So why not get the smallest engine and get the best fuel economy? There are a couple of advantages to getting a (slightly) bigger engine:

  • More power means more control (easier to stop the boat, in case you need to)
  • Finding the sweet spot might actually reduce fuel consumption

The sweet spot

To perform optimally, an engine should get up to speed. The problem with an overpowered boat is that the engine won't rev up to 80 - 90% of the RPM. This kills fuel efficiency and also the cooling system won't operate optimally.

  • The optimal cruising RPM of the engine is about 85-95% of the maximal RPM
  • You should reach cruising RPM at hull speed, so your engine should be at about 90% RPM

The propeller size is very important for the RPM. If your prop diameter is too wide, the engine can't get up to speed and struggles to build power. Bad for fuel economy, bad for the engine, and bad for performance.

On the other hand, if your prop is too small, you don't make use of the engine's full power.

If you struggle to get to high RPM, your prop is too large. If your engine is constantly in the red, you're underpropped.

So don't go too big on the prop, but also don't go too small. The easiest way to get it right is to check the engines manual and see what the manufacturer recommends.

You can definitely go too big on a sailboats engine. An overpowered yacht doesn't make any sense. True, it can look cool, but it can't feel cool. Every displacement hull has a maximum hull speed. That means that it cannot go any faster than the max speed. So if your engine can cruise at that speed, it's not getting any better.

The problem with displacement hulls is that they displace the water, or in other words: they push the water in front of them. They cannot move any faster than they can push away the water. And because the resistance increases as speed increases, there's an absolute, physical speed limit for each keelboat.

That's why powerboats have to get out of the water to reach top speed.

Fun fact: the longer your boat, the higher the hull speed. Want to know the maximum hull speed for your boat? You can find it in this article .

So, you can't go faster than your maximum hull speed, so a 50+HP engine is kind of ridiculous. Bear in mind that a large engine also has the following disadvantages:

First of all: larger engines are more expensive, so you spend more money when buying the engine.

Secondly: larger engines use a lot more fuel, so you spend more money when using the engine.

Thirdly: larger engines are more expensive to maintain: so you spend more money on maintenance.

Also, if your engine is too big, it doesn't reach the optimal cruising RPM, so your fuel economy also gets really bad FAST.

I suggest getting the smallest possible engine that gets you to maximum hull speed while it's at roughly 90% of the RPM. As long as it gives you enough control and good handling, it will get you there. If you give up on going fast, you can actually get really good fuel economy and your engine will last you probably 20 years.

If you want to go fast, a sailboat is not the right one for you. You should instead get a powerboat.

I'm just kidding. Read my 13 Reasons Why Sailing is Better Than Powerboating here .

Do sailboats have motors? Most sailboats are power assisted boats, which means they have a small auxiliary engine to cruise in light air. When a sailboat is sailing under engine power, it is considered a motorboat and it doesn't have right of way.

Thanks for answering my questions.

Taylor Bishop

Thanks for explaining how you can figure out what size you need for an outboard motor. You mentioned that you should find the displacement by weigh a boat on a truck scale. I’m interesting to learn if you need to regularly weigh it in case the hull displacement could change or if it will always be consistent.

Shawn Buckles

Hi MitI, you’re welcome, my pleasure.

Hi Taylor, my pleasure.

You don’t need to weigh your boat regularly, as the hull displacement will stay consistent. You could literally see the hull displacement as the amount of space your hull takes up in the water. So as long as you don’t make any major changes to the hull shape or ballast of your boat, you should see no differences in displacement.

Roger S Johnson

How do you measure for shaft size, most outboard motors are for flat bottom and say measure to the bottom of the boat, most sailboats tapper to the aft. Where do you measure for a tapered bottom sail boat?

Will a 5 horse Honda 4 stroke be ok for a 25 foot Pearson Commander sail boat. Thanks for your time Luke

I think it would be Luke.

Great post, thanks for the info. A naive question from a soon-to-be sailor: I’m considering buying a 28 ft sailboat, with 2500 kg (ca. 5500 lbs) displacement. The engine is in pretty good condition, but is old and the original one (from 1977!), so I am also thinking of an alternative scenario in which it fails. I know that in my area replacing an inboard engine will cost double the price I’m putting down for the boat, and since I’m on a budget, that simply won’t be an option and outboards seem to be cheaper. So the question is: is it possible to put an outboard engine on all boats? Is there some factor that would make it impossible to mount an outboard engine on the boat? Thanks!

Garth Powelson

What is minimum length that a sailboat can go without an outboard. Does a 29’ “require by law” to have engine?

Hello Mr. Buckles, Thanks for the informative article. I’m looking to get the smallest possible outboard for my 1.5 ton displacement fiberglass monohull Hood 23’ sloop. Can I get away with a 4HP?!? What size prop would I need?!? (I’m only going to use it when there is NO wind, and, if I can stay 4HP or below, I am not required to register my vessel—which is pretty cool, so here’s hoping!)

Thanks again, Ship

Hi, I’ve got a older Pearson 39’ . I’m looking to remove the old 40 ho westerbeke and go electric. Unsure of what hp is going to be needed?

emilio h javier

i am purchasing a catalina 22 ft. i have in mind a 4 HP motor. what would be the length of the shaft.

I am considering buying a 25 ft sailboat with a 7200 lb displacement. The boats top speed is listed at 7knots per hour but the diesel motor does not work. The owner has a 9.9hp outboard that can be purchased with the boat. Is 9.9hp enough to power the boat to at least 5 to 6 knots per hour? Thanks. Rick

What weight outboard would be too much for a 20’ Santana, displacement 1,350 lbs? I don’t want too much weight at the back. I want the boat to be seaworthy.

I have not seen this amount of BS in years :) I’m not a marine engineer, yet physicist & avation engineer. You even can’t tell the difference between mass of the vessel and diplacement :D Fcking genius.

Leave a comment

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Lightweight and Small Outboard Motors for Sailboats

  • By Ed Sherman
  • Updated: April 22, 2019

When you’re facing strong winds and you need to get somewhere fast, it’s time to break out a small outboard such as an aluminum genny. A dependable outboard that has enough horsepower to get you to the racecourse and back, yet is light enough not to be a drag on your race results, is invaluable. Most racing sailors don’t need as much horsepower as they might think.

An eight-horsepower outboard, for example, will push a 30-foot, 6,000-pound boat along at 6.5 knots. Anything bigger will weigh more than 90 pounds and isn’t suitable for lifting on and off the stern. Here’s our roundup of some of the best outboard motors for sailboats, and some help in deciphering what’s right for your boat.

Dependable Outboard

We focus our attention on engines available under nine different brand names. Two of the best-known names, Johnson and Evinrude, have dropped out of the small-engine end of the market as part of parent company Bombardier Corporation’s restructuring of these two companies. Currently they’re advertising the availability of six- and eight-horsepower four-stroke models in 2003. Another dropout in the mini-engine market is Suzuki. Their smallest two-stroke is a five-horsepower unit and in the four-stroke configuration, a 9.9 horsepower. Brand and corporate shuffling aside, of particular interest is whether the companies that are building nine horsepower- and-below engines have incorporated four-stroke technology into the lower horsepower range, since it’s now beginning to dominate the mid-sized and larger outboard engine market. The answer to that is yes, to a point.

Two or Four Stroke Outboards for Sailboats

Outboards are either two or four-stroke engines, and the four-strokes have definitely gained favor in recent years for several reasons: they’re quiet, they use much less fuel, and they run more cleanly. Since no oil is mixed with the fuel, the classic two-cycle smokescreen isn’t a factor. In a four-stroke, the piston reciprocates inside the cylinder four times for each power stroke (that is, each time fuel combusts). Rather than opening ports cut into the sides of the cylinder, intake and exhaust valves controlled by a camshaft allow a fuel/air mix to enter the combustion chamber with the suction created by the piston as it moves inward in its cylinder. Exhaust gases are forced out of the cylinder as the piston moves outward.

By carefully designing the camshaft, engineers minimize the amount of time that the intake and exhaust valves are both open, considerably reducing the amount of unburned fuel that exits with the exhaust stream. The end result? Fewer emissions and greater economy.

But they do have at least one distinct disadvantage for the racing sailor, and that’s weight. For example, four-stroke engines in the five-horsepower category are about 20 percent heavier than comparable two-stroke engines of the same horsepower. The good news, however, is that only amounts to between 10 and 15 pounds, depending upon the engine. Four-stroke engines cost more, also, but the improved technology may be well worth it.

If you’re totally weight and price conscious, you’ll want a two-stroke engine. But, if you think you can lose the weight elsewhere, a clean, quiet four-stroke without the hassle of mixing fuel could be the answer. In fact, Mercury/ Mariner’s newest six-horse four-stroke engines are actually 18 pounds lighter than their older two-stroke equivalents–a testament to the benefits of improved design and technology.

Environmental regulations are pushing manufacturers towards four-strokes as well. Four-strokes meet emission control standards, and US Environmental Protection Agency regulations mandate that new outboard and personal watercraft engines reduce engine hydrocarbon emissions by 75 percent by 2006. Environmentally conscious sailors should look for either a C.A.R.B. (California Air Resources Board) “very-low” or “ultra-low” designator, or a specification indicating 2006 EPA compliance.

How Much Horsepower Do You Need?

The amount of power you’ll need depends on several key factors. The first consideration is the weight of your boat. The second is the boat’s wetted surface. Full-keel boats not only weigh more but also have more surface area to push through the water. My rule of thumb here is to start with a two-horsepower engine for small centerboard and keelboats less than 1,000 pounds, and add one horsepower for every 1,000 pounds of displacement. For more exact, albeit complex formulae, I suggest The Propeller Handbook by Dave Gerr (McGraw-Hill 2001).

Compare your boat’s dimensions against what existing classes have found to work; for example, a Melges 24 at 1,650 pounds is typically rigged with a three-horsepower short-shaft engine, while a J/80 at 2,900 pounds can still squeak by with a long-shaft, three-horsepower engine. A 1,790 pound J/22, on the other hand, typically uses a four-horsepower long-shaft engine. On the larger end of boats using outboards, you’ll find the outboard version of the J/29, at 6,000 pounds, requires a 7.5-horsepower long-shaft engine.

If you are intending to do some cruising, or even long deliveries to regattas, an option that’s available on some engines is a high-thrust propeller. On larger boats, this option can save weight over a bigger engine and really make a difference when trying to punch through a strong tide or headwind. High-thrust props cost more and are less fuel efficient–but they can save weight and give you more power.

Once you’ve determined how big an engine you’ll need, the next step is to begin comparing features in the given horsepower range you’ve selected. There are nine manufacturers included in our roundup, but some of their brands are identical products with different labeling. In the smaller sizes, the Mercury and Mariner brands are identical. As for the Nissan and Tohatsu engines, Tohatsu builds them all. Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda all offer competitive products as well, but they’re all independent brands.

What to Look For in Lightweight Outboard Motors

In the small engine sizes, specific features to look for can be reduced to several key items. For some, having an integral fuel tank will be important. The smallest engines have integral tanks that hold only a quart or two of fuel–good enough for an hour or two of operation. No manufacturer lists fuel consumption because the size boat the engine is pushing and the wind and wave conditions vary widely. Compare the size of the tanks, and whether you can attach a remote tank for longer trips. The extra weight and space of a separate fuel tank will be a burden on smaller ultra-light boats.

The availability of long- and short-shaft versions in the horsepower size you need is also important. Honda for example offers 20 and 25-inch transom height (long or short shaft) right down to their smallest BF2 (two-horsepower) model. Mercury and Mariner only offer a 15-inch short-shaft version on their 3.3- and 2.5-horsepower engines. Shaft length is measured from the top of the bracket to the tip of the shaft–make sure your shaft is long enough to position the propeller and cooling water intake deep enough below the waterline to avoid cavitation when the boat pitches through waves.

Other specifications that are worth comparing are whether the engine is equipped with a simple forward and neutral gearshift or if the unit has a full functioning forward-neutral-reverse gear unit. If you’re going to be doing long deliveries to regattas, or in the larger sizes for a racer/cruiser configuration, consider whether or not a charging system is part of the engine package, and if so, it’s output. Will it be adequate to keep your battery recharged and power things like a tiller pilot and running lights? Also, on the larger engines check to see if electric starting is available, or offered as a standard feature. Having it can be the difference between pain and pleasure.

If you are racing in a strict one-design group, check any class rules that apply to outboard engines. Issues related to brackets, storage of the engine and/or alternative weight might be issues, so be sure to check with your class before making any final decision.

Ed Sherman is the author of Outboard Engines, Maintenance, Troubleshooting and Repair, International Marine/McGraw Hill and a contributing editor to Sailing World.

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Choosing an Inboard or Outboard Engine

Tips for Buying a Sailboat

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You should consider many different questions when deciding what kind of sailboat is best for you.

If you are looking for a large daysailer or a small cruising sailboat, you may be choosing between sailboats that have an inboard engine and those having an outboard motor. Each offers certain advantages.

Inboard vs Outboard Engine

Many aspects of inboards and outboards are similar. Fuel consumption does not vary hugely, and parts and mechanics are equally available for both when a problem occurs. Standard maintenance can easily be done by owners of both. Operating controls are similar. Many sailboat outboards, like inboards, are battery started and use alternators to return power to the batteries and supply the boat's needs.

Yet there are many other important differences.

What Engine Was the Boat Built For?

The huge majority of sailboats large enough to have a motor were built for either an inboard or an outboard, so you'll usually be choosing between boats that already have one or the other installed. Yet you may still need to decide between Boat A with one type and similar Boat B with the other. The two catboats shown in these photos, for example, are of roughly the same size, and one has an outboard while the other has an inboard.

As boats age, however, engines sometimes need to be replaced, and sometimes an owner replaces the original inboard engine with an outboard. (This virtually never happens in the reverse, however, as boats built for outboards do not have the room or structural support for an inboard engine to be later added.)

If you're looking at a sailboat converted from an inboard engine to an outboard, be observant when you take the boat for its sea trials. With a very large outboard motor, for example, the boat may be imbalanced by having that weight far astern and may "squat" in the water and not sail as well. Also ensure that the fuel tank was properly installed so that leaks or fumes cannot collect belowdecks and create an explosion risk.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Inboards and Outboards

Tom Lochhaas 

Inboard engines and outboard motors each have their own benefits but also disadvantages. If choosing between comparable boats with different engine types, be sure you have considered these differences:

Advantages of an Inboard Engine

  • Most inboards are diesels, which are generally more reliable, cost less to run and maintain, and eliminate the hazards of gasoline
  • A marine diesel engine that has been well maintained can last most of a lifetime (lots of 30+-year-old ​diesels still running well on sailboats)
  • The engine's weight is low in the hull, contributing positively as ballast for increased stability
  • An inborn engine is out of sight and out of mind – and does not disturb the beauty of the boat's appearance
  • As only a very general rule, most sailboats with inborn engines have more electrical power and more extensive systems and equipment installed for cruising
  • The prop is lower in the water and less likely to cavitate in steep waves

Disadvantages of an Inboard Engine

  • Inboards are heavier and make the boat a little slower
  • Inboards are typically mounted in tight spaces and are often difficult to work on
  • It is very difficult and expensive to remove an inboard engine for overhaul or replacement, and sometimes impossible without cutting through fiberglass
  • Replacing an inboard with a new inboard is more expensive than with an outboard of comparable size
  • Inboards take up a lot of space below
  • Inboard engines require shaft packing where the prop shaft exits the hull, increasing the risk of water leaking into the boat (even - rarely - fatally)

Advantages of an Outboard Motor

  • Accessibility makes it easy to service the motor
  • An outboard can be removed much more easily for repair or replacement
  • In most cases the motor can be raised or tilted to get the prop out of the water, producing less drag when sailing – and reducing the risk of entangling lines or debris in the water
  • Depending on the mounting, it may be possible to turn the motor for increased steering capability in tight places
  • Newer four-stroke engines are quiet and vibration-free
  • Outboard motors are cheaper than inboard engines

Need a new outboard motor for your small sailboat? Check out the great new propane-powered outboards from Lehr.

Disadvantages of an Outboard Motor

  • To many eyes, an outboard makes sailboats look ugly
  • Because the prop is not deep in the water, it may cavitate (spin without power) when the stern rises up in steep waves
  • Unless the boat was well designed to prevent this, the gasoline fuel tank may be positioned awkwardly or even dangerously
  • Older two-stroke motors can be noisy and smoky
  • An oversized outboard can make the sailboat unbalanced

As in other decisions when shopping for a sailboat , the best type of motor depends mostly on your preferred uses of the boat. The same is true when comparing fixed keel and centerboard sailboats or sloops and ketches.

Outboard Motor Bracket

 Tom Lochhaas

Outboard motors are typically mounted on sailboats via separate bracket, not clamped on the transom as on most powerboats. Check the bracket carefully in any boat you are considering. It needs to be sturdy and mounted securely, and it should be rated for the outboard motor's weight. Newer four-strokes are heavier than older two-strokes, so if you (or the previous owner) replace the outboard, you need to make sure the bracket is still appropriate.

Many outboard brackets, like the one shown here, can be moved up and down to raise and lower the motor. This is a beneficial function because the mounting does not always provide enough room for all outboards to be tilted forward on their own mounts. Measure this carefully if you're buying a sailboat with an installed bracket but no motor until you buy your own.

A final word: some sailboat builders have resolved the debate between inboards and outboards by designing the cockpit and hull with a well in which an outboard is mounted. In this case the outboard functions like an inboard with many of the advantages of both. While this design is a compromise in some respects, it works well on many boats. The biggest disadvantage is usually that because the well has fixed dimensions, it is impossible to install a larger outboard. Since newer four-strokes are larger than two-strokes of similar horsepower, it can be impossible in some cases to upgrade from an older two-stroke outboard to a four-stroke with greater or even comparable horsepower.

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inboard vs outboard motor

Inboard vs. Outboard Motors

outboard motor on a sailboat

Table of Contents

Last Updated on November 3, 2023 by Boatsetter Team

Inboard vs outboard motors, which is better? Although a divisive one, this discussion is as important as it is overdue. Boat owners, be they rough and ready fishermen or pleasure sailing dandies, usually fall into two camps: those who sing the praises of inboard motors and those dedicated to all things outboard. 

The first thing to notice is that over the last decade (or two), there has been a growing trend of new boats coming equipped with outboard motors. According to survey data by the NADA , the boating industry sold more outboard motor-powered crafts over the last few years than ever before. In fact, more than 165,500 outboard motors were sold in 2016. Some pundits have argued that this is due to consumer preferences, while others have said it is more cost-effective to install for manufacturers. 

However, does this mean that this variety of motor trumps the inboard? After all, why would outboard motors become the standard for boating power if they were not the best?

Not so fast.

Every experienced owner of a boat has a preference. This is even more true of manufacturers. Ask anyone in the boating game what type of motor they prefer, and you will get a different answer. You are likely to start up a fierce debate – be warned! Whatever you might have heard at the port , it is vital that before you attempt to choose your ideal style of motor, you must set aside any preconceived notions you may have.

The truth is: neither motor wins outright in the perennial inboard vs. outboard debate. Like your own kids or car collection, each one has its own merits and quirks. Nevertheless, the motors do outclass one another in specific categories and areas. As such, must depends on what you plan to do with your boat and your personal preferences. Freshwater or saltwater? Manoeuvrability or stability? Speed or stamina? All of these questions, alongside a million more, ought to be considered.

Inboard Motors

inboard boat motor

True to its namesake, an inboard motor is fixed inside the boat, typically at the hull . Petrol and gas versions have combustion engines with firing cylinders, whereas electric models differ. Inboard motors are often housed in a large box in the middle of the vessel. This center of gravity is a huge benefit to a drifting experience.

You can spot an inboard at the port by the distinct rudder used to steer the ship. Fishing trawlers on the high seas rely on these of their lower center of gravity. At the same time, slalom skiers enjoy their smaller wake . Larger vessels, like yachts, also use inboard motors but require bigger models, which cannot be placed on the rear of the hull.

Making a judgment on the merits and drawbacks of the inboard is tricky as those who prefer them have their own set of valid reasons. While they need a large box in the middle of the ship to hold the engine – something that can reduce much-needed deck space – they are quieter than their outboard counterparts. This renders them more suitable to the socialites out there who love entertaining. And let us not forget those fishing folks. A quieter boat is less likely to disturb your prey, ensuring a bigger and better catch is had by all.

Albeit ever so slightly more expensive than their outboard counterparts, inboard motors have a penchant for fuel-efficiency. This is because they are modeled on car engines. Moreover, this means that they boast better torque and horsepower for some hair-raising water antics.

A major – and potentially dangerous – downside to the inboard is that it can be a fire hazard. Unfortunately, countless vessels have been damaged and destroyed by fires that began in the inboard motor. Yet fear not. Running a bilge blower can solve that issue.

Check out this post for more tips on  how to look after your pride and joy .

Outboard Motors

outboard motor

With sales figures as high as those quoted earlier, it is little wonder that the market for outboard motors is huge. No, gigantic. What this means for consumers is that there is ample choice out there. There is an outboard motor to suit any and every function for fishing, recreational boating, or small commercial outfits. 

The engine of an outboard is rear mounted on the boat and is commanded by a handle for steering and titling. The propellers can be lifted out of the water completely, which means that transporting and storing them when not in use is a breeze. More so, this feature means that the propellers avoid sitting in the water for prolonged periods, protecting them from erosion and the growth of organic matter. This maximizes durability, of course.  

Another notable advantage of the outboard is that its position on the boat makes replacing the motor a simpler process than the inboard. Indeed, replacing an inboard is often an expensive and time-consuming task. This capability means that you can easily upgrade to a new, more powerful motor should you wish to – all without the need for specialist tools or professional expertise. This same simplicity also carries over to repairing and maintaining an outboard. That is if you need to do so. Outboard motors are famous for their dependability.

Yet, outboards are not impervious to faults. A significant drawback of this style of motor is that its power can often leave much to be desired. The bottom line is: outboard motors are insufficient for large vessels. Well, unless you want to spend your life savings on fuel. Finally, outboards take up space. And lots of it. If you wish to entertain on your boat, which is your primary purpose, you might want to consider the inboard. Again, much depends on your needs.

But before we move on to cost, maintenance, and power comparisons, let us talk hybrids. Oh yes, that is right, here it is, the curveball: the happy medium, the center-ground. Although the hybrid resembles more the outboard with the motor mounted at the rear of the hull, the propeller shaft passes through the boat’s hull. Sharing most of the pros and cons of the outboard, the hybrid also comes with the challenges of the inboard’s positioning.

Want to read more about all things hybrid? Check out this  2020 Guide to hybrid and electric boats .

Cost Comparisons

Of course, the larger the engine, the more expensive it will be to purchase. But you may want to also consider maintenance and replacement costs, along with the life expectancy of the motor design. 

For instance, inboard motors typically have a longer life expectancy than outboards. Meanwhile, maintenance requirements, based on hours of use, tend to favor the inboards. To be clear, inboards, on average, can run for near two thousand hours before they might require attention, whereas outboards usually run for around 750 hours before a service is needed.

Yet pay attention : purchasing an inboard motor will be heavier on the purse strings and can entail insurance coverage with more expensive premiums.

Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? Never fear. This  boat payment calculator  can assist you with the difficulties of working out finances by working out the running costs of your chosen engine. It is where boating veterans of all stripes get their knowledge.

Maintenance Costs

It can be a boring topic. However, you ignore it at your peril: maintenance. As touched upon earlier, outboard motors are used praised for their low, no-nonsense maintenance requirements. Situated at the rear of the hull, their housing protects the inner workings of the motor from the environment.

Hybrids and inboard alike share the same issue: positioning. At the boat’s bilge, steam, damp, and good old H20 can wreak havoc inside the motor when you need to open it for maintenance, potentially causing you a pain in the behind (and wallet). Compounding matters, accessing them is also tricky. This is primarily caused by the petite hatch in their housing, giving you less wriggle room than an outboard.

When you wish to place your boat on land, outboard motors also do not have a drain due to their placement on the boat. This means that excess water can sit around, again creating trouble if you decide to take your boat out of the water. Conversely, inboard varieties avoid this design, which protects them from possible damages caused by moisture.

Power Comparison

POWER. It is a topic you cannot avoid considering. The directional thrust and integral skeg of the outboard mean that a boat equipped with one of these bad boys is nimble on the water, especially at low power and speed. The benefits of this are countless. However, an outboard motor mostly enables you to navigate shallower waters better and park your boat up neatly.

Although there is one thing to bear in mind: despite having a superior power to weight ratio than inboards, outboards lack the total torque to drive big, beefy vessels. However, enthusiasts generally circumvent this issue by adding a second motor. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see three or four motors adorning their transoms.

Moving on to the inboard, describing them is easy: they are the complete opposite of the outboard in this regard. The fixed position of the propellers under the middle of the boat reduces maneuverability, particularly at lower speeds. This is not to imply the inboard is a slug, however. They are adored by water sports enthusiasts worldwide as they have better wake control, major towing power, and a clear transom for tow ropes. If you are into wakeboarding and water skiing, then an inboard is for you. Besides, a lower center of gravity also helps cut through heavy ocean waves.

So, Which One is Best?

There you have it: a complete guide to outboard vs. inboard motors.

To recap, the advantages of an inboard motor are that they have brilliant fuel efficiency, superior torque and power, and increased life expectancy, and quiet operation. Whereas its downsides are that there is reduced interior space, higher purchasing costs, labor-intensive maintenance, more complex repairs, and full boat winterization is required.

Outboard motors, on the other hand, have a myriad of sought-after traits. Their full portability, easy maintenance, space-saving storage, and simple winterizing procedures, significantly lower price tag, extra interior space, and higher potential top speed. Still, do not forget the challenges. Some of them might break your choice. Most notable of which include low power and torque, which limits their suitability for vessels of certain sizes.

While there are many pros and cons to inboard and outboard motors, it is important to bear in mind that making the right choice is completely up to you and your needs. You may find a better outboard, despite setting out to buy an inboard and vice-versa. The size of your boat, desired maneuverability, boating frequency, local climate, and favorite water activity are essential factors to consider.

Good luck, and remember to do your research. The right decision will enrich your boating experiences to no end and might even prove gentler on the bank balance.

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Electric outboard motor: we test 13 options

  • Theo Stocker
  • July 25, 2023

An electric outboard motor is now a viable option for dinghy propulsion. Emrhys Barrell puts the latest outboards and trolling motors to the test

outboard motor on a sailboat

The electric outboard motor has been around for many years, but they have either been too low powered or their lead acid batteries have made them too heavy to lift in and out of a small tender, so petrol outboards have remained the engine of choice.

The development of lightweight lithium batteries has changed all this, making an electric outboard motor a practical alternative to petrol – and making all electric yachts a real possibility too.

With this in mind, we tested 12 models whose all-up weight, or the weight of their individual components, did not exceed the 14-17kg of a 2.5hp petrol outboard.

See how we tested the electric outboards at the end of this article.

Best electric outboard motor

outboard motor on a sailboat

Specifications Outboard weight:   12kg Overall weight with outboard and bracket: 14.5kg Battery capacity: 1085Wh Top speed: 5kts Thrust: 30kg / 66lbs

Designed along the lines of a dinghy rudder, this Remigo outboard is incredibly easy and intuitive to use. No external cables or anything to be snagged, it clips onto a bracket pre-mounted to your tender or dinghy, in a similar way that you’d attach a  dinghy rudder.

Flip down the handle, attach the magnetic kill cord and you’re good to go.

On test this outboard gave as much thrust as the ePropulsion below but out performed it in terms of maneuverability. The Remigo can be switched from forward to reverse thrust at the touch of a button.

We like the Remigo for it’s sleek simplicity. If you want a clean smart easy to carry outboard to take you from your mooring to shore or quietly meander from your anchorage to shore then this is definitely worth considering.

We especially liked the rudder effect of this outboard giving us steerage even we had turn the power completely off to coast in alongside our pontoon.

Read Fox Morgan’s review of this outboard – Remigo One Electric Outboard review

Reasons to buy

very easy to stow, innovative rudder design, lightweight, built in battery, easy to mount and dismount

Reasons to avoid

No multiple battery swap options like more conventional electric outboards

Find a dealer at Silent Yachting

outboard motor on a sailboat

Photo: Paul Wyeth

ePropolsion Spirit 1.0 EVO

Yachting Monthly’s best buy

Specifications Motor weight:   10.5kg Battery weight: 9kg Battery capacity: 1276Wh Top speed RIB: 4.5mph Top speed skiff: 6.0mph Thrust: 31kg/68lbs

The Chinese firm ePropulsion has been developing its electric outboard motor range and lithium batteries for some time. We tested the Spirit 1.0 Plus and Evo, both 1kW motors with integral batteries.

Clearly ePropulsion was influenced by Torqeedo, but there are some important differences. From the outset ePropulsion went for a direct drive motor, being quieter and avoiding gearbox problems.

The battery has a greater capacity than the original Torqeedo, and is still 30% higher than the latest version. It also floats – useful if you should drop it overboard.

Fitting the battery is a two-handed job, with the carrying handle being at the back, and latch lock at the front, which requires leaning over the transom to install it. You also cannot see the locating slots underneath, which isn’t quite so easy in a bobbing inflatable. The power cable socket is protected by a rubber cap.

You have a display, but it only shows power being consumed, voltage, and remaining runtime, which means it has larger figures, easier to read on a sunny day, but it lacks GPS speed or range.

It has the same trim settings as the Torqeedo, with a similar fiddly retaining split ring. It also has a magnetic kill cord. Three shaft lengths are available, catering for transom heights up to 61cm. The shaft is streamlined but rotates through 360º for maximum manoeuvrability and reverse.

High battery capacity Quiet 360º rotation

Limited display options

Buy it now from epropulsion

outboard motor on a sailboat

Yachting Monthly’s best in class

Specifications Motor weight:   10.5kg Battery weight: 9kg Battery capacity: 1276Wh Top speed RIB: 4.5mph Top speed skiff: 6.0mph Thrust: 68lbs Regeneration: 4 knots – 40W / 10 knots – 300W

The 1.0 EVO has the same dimensions and performance as the Spirit, but it has the options of a removable tiller, plus remote controls and steering, but the real innovation is that it offers regenerative charging while you are sailing, putting 40W at 4 knots, and 300W at 10 knots back into the battery.

You can even have a wristband remote for steering and throttle.

The ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 EVO is undeniably more expensive than it’s little sister without the regenerative charging and the cost difference is significant. If you are likely to be doing a lot of sailing and using your electric motor from ship-to-shore in relatively remote locations then the regeneration will probably be worth it. For most, though the price differential is probably a little too steep.

Regenerative charging Removable tille Remote controls

Relatively expensive

outboard motor on a sailboat

Torqeedo 1103 and Torqeedo 603

Torqeedo 603 specifications Motor weight:  11kg Battery weight:  4.2kg (floats) Battery capacity: 500Wh Top speed RIB: 4.0 mph Top speed skiff: Not tested Thrust: 44lbs

Torqeedo 1103 specifications Motor weight:  11kg Battery weight:  6kg Battery capacity: 915Wh Top speed RIB: 4.4mph Top speed skiff: 6.0mph Thrust: 68lbs

Torqeedo was the first company to commercially produce an outboard with an integral lithium battery in 2005. The earliest motors used a high-revving geared motor, which produced a characteristic whine. Following the launch of its new larger battery, Torqeedo changed to direct drive at about the same time that ePropulsion arrived on the scene.

The 1103 is 1.1kW and has a removable battery and tiller/throttle. The battery locates in slots in the powerhead and can be dropped in one-handed, with the slots clearly visible from above, which is helpful in a rocking dinghy. It then hinges back and locks in place with a separate plastic pin. The tiller locates in similar slots.

The two are then connected to the motor by a power cable and a data cable, but the latter has an 8mm plug, with five tiny pins that have to be carefully lined up, then secured with a threaded plastic collar. Neither of the sockets have caps to prevent debris or water getting into them when the cables are not connected.

The display on the tiller shows four lines of data at the same time, which makes them small to read (a phone app can be used for a large display). They include volts, battery capacity, range at a given speed, speed in kts, mph or km/h, and power consumption in watts. A magnetic kill-cord cuts the power circuits if you fall overboard.

The motor has four trim positions to allow for angled transoms, but the split ring securing the locking pin is very stiff and fiddly, especially when you have to adjust it hanging over the transom. A side-mounted lever allows the motor to be tilted horizontally. In normal use a catch prevents the motor kicking up in reverse, but this can be released with another side-mounted lever if you are in shallow water.

Long and short shaft versions are available, with the height of the transom to the top of the prop on the long shaft being 62cm. Clamps screws and fittings are stainless steel, making it suitable for salt water use, but an anode is an extra. It has forward and reverse but not 360º rotation.

Established brand with relatively long history Removable battery and tiller Lots of display options

Display hard to read

Buy the Torqeedo 603 now from Torqeedo Buy the Torqeedo 1103 now from Torqeedo

Best Trolling motors

outboard motor on a sailboat

Haswing Ultima 3

Specifications Motor weight: 11kg Battery weight: 5kg Battery capacity: 600Wh Top speed: RIB 4.0mph Top speed skiff: Not tested Thrust: 51lbs

Haswing is a new name to us, but this Chinese manufacturer now has an extensive range of motors, several of which we were able to bring along to our test.

The Ultima 3 has an integral Lithium battery and an output of 1,000W, with the ‘3’ in its name indicating the 3hp petrol outboard its makers claim it is equivalent to. The battery is 600Wh.

The battery was the easiest of all in our test to fit and remove, just sliding down a set of grooves, with contacts in the bottom removing the need for any linking cables or wires, and an easy one-handed operation.

The unit is well engineered, with stainless steel used throughout plus an anode as standard, making this suitable for use in salt water, and a spare anode and shear pin. The tiller/throttle hinges up and down for easy operation and storage. It has a streamlined aluminium leg, but rotates 360º.

A magnetic kill cord is a useful safety feature, and there are 5 LEDs showing battery capacity remaining, but this is the only instrumentation, so there is no way of gauging how much power you are using. It also meant that with no exposed power cables, we could not measure intermediate power settings.

Easy to fit battery Anode as standard for salt water usage High end materials

Limited instrumentation

Buy it now from Amazon

outboard motor on a sailboat

Motorguide Varimax 40

Specifications Motor weight:  9.1kg Battery (Sterling 60Ah) – 8kg Battery capacity: 780Wh Top speed RIB: 3.2mph Top speed skiff: 4.0mph Thrust: 28lbs

Another trolling motor, this has a claimed 40lb thrust and a variable speed electronic control. The throttle pulls forward for ahead, and pushes back for reverse then twists in the same direction for speed. A clever feature once you get used to it. Ten LEDs show the battery state.

The sliding shaft gives transom heights up to 65cm transom to prop, and 360º rotation. It also quickly tilts through 90º, with 5 positions, for shallow or weedy water.

Clamp screws and fittings are mild steel, meaning you should wash it off with freshwater after using it in the sea.

Clever throttle control Variable transom heights accomodated

Quite basic in functionality

outboard motor on a sailboat

Haswing Osapian 55

Yachting Monthly’s best budget buy

Specifications Motor weight:  9kg Battery weight:  (Sterling 60Ah) 8kg Battery capacity: 780Wh Top speed RIB: 3.3mph Top speed skiff: 4.4mph Thrust: 35lbs

This is another trolling motor with a claimed 55lb thrust, but with five forward speeds and three reverse on a twist-grip throttle. Again, it is a well-engineered motor, with all fittings and clamp screws made of stainless steel, an anode behind the prop and a spare in the box.

Five LEDs show the battery state. The sliding shaft gives transom heights up to 62cm, and 10 tilt positions.

As with all click-speed throttles you have double the power at Setting 5 compared to Setting 4, and very poor range figures at intermediate speeds compared to motors with electronic throttles.

However it is an excellent value-for- money option for sailors looking for ways to power their tender for short trip

Well engineered Value for money

Poor range at medium speeds

outboard motor on a sailboat

Motorguide SW82

Specifications Motor weight: 13kg Battery weight: 16kg Battery capacity: 1,560Wh Top speed RIB: 4.0mph Top speed skiff: 5.5mph

Motorguide is a well-established US company that is part of the Mercury/Mariner group. The most powerful of the transom mount range, the 82 has a claimed thrust of 82lbs, and is a 24V unit requiring two 12V batteries in series.

It is also designed for saltwater use, with stainless steel clamp screws and fittings, and a large anode on the shaft. It has an extra long shaft, giving up to 93cm transom height to the prop, 360º rotation, and seven tilt positions There are no battery LEDs. An on/off switch under the control head is the nearest it gets to a kill switch.

Well known company Powerful Anode for salt water

No battery LEDs

outboard motor on a sailboat

Haswing Protruar 1

Specifications Motor weight: 9kg Battery weight: 8kg Battery capacity: 780Wh Top speed RIB: 3.4mph Top speed skiff: 4.5mph Thrust: 40lbs

Another Haswing requiring a separate 12V battery, this has a variable speed electronic throttle, and similar features to the Protruar 5, except no kill cord. It claims to be equivalent to a 1hp petrol motor, but in practice delivered 600W.

The sliding shaft only allows transom heights up to 40cm, but a longer shaft version is available. It has 10 tilt positions and 360º rotation.

Another well engineered unit, with stainless steel used throughout plus an anode as standard, and a spare anode and shear pin. The tiller/throttle hinges up and down for easy operation and storage.

Anode for salt water use 360º rotation

No kill chord Limited transom height range

Haswing Protruar 5

Specifications Motor weight: 14kg Battery weight: 16kg Battery capacity: 1,560Wh Top speed RIB: Not tested Top speed skiff: 6.1mph Thrust: 108lbs

Another Haswing, the Protruar 5 is the most powerful model we tested. The unit is extremely well engineered, with stainless steel used throughout for the clamp screws and fittings, plus an anode as standard, making this suitable for use in salt water. A nice touch is the spare anode and shear pin in the kit. The tiller/throttle hinges up and down for easy operation and storage.

Its 5 designation indicates its makers think it is equivalent to a 5hp petrol motor, but in reality it delivers around 2.5kW at 24V so requires two separate batteries. It has a variable electronic throttle, three battery state LEDS and a magnetic kill cord.

The shaft slides up and down, giving a maximum transom height of 62cm and 360º rotation. Ten tilt positions are quickly engaged by a squeeze lever.

The thrust was the highest of the test, making it suitable for heavy boats, but the fine pitch prop significantly reduced its efficiency at speed.

Powerful model Anode for salt water use Battery LEDs and kill chord

Needs two batteries for full power

outboard motor on a sailboat

Motorguide R3 45

Specifications Motor weight:   9.5kg Battery weight: (Sterling 60Ah) 8kg Battery capacity: 780Wh Top speed RIB: not tested Top speed skiff: 4.1mph

This trolling motor has a claimed thrust of 45lbs and five forward speeds. The sliding shaft gives transom heights up to 65cm and 360º rotation, with seven tilt positions. Clamp screws and fittings are mild steel, so should be washed after saltwater use.

The click-speed throttle gives non-linear power gaps, with Speed Setting 5 being double the power of Setting 4. This throttle arrangement results in poor range figures at medium speeds compared to motors with electronic throttles, but it keeps the price down.

360º rotation Plenty of transom height range

Minn Kota Endura Max 55

Specifications Motor weight: 9.5kg Battery weight: (Sterling 60Ah) 8kg Battery capacity: 780Wh Top speed skiff: 4.6mph

Minn Kota is one of the oldest makers of trolling motors. The Max 55 has a claimed 55lb thrust, with a variable speed electronic twist-grip throttle.

Clamp screws and fittings are mild steel, making it best suited for freshwater, though you can use it in the sea if you wash it off afterwards.

It has a fine pitch prop like all trolling motors, which gives a good static thrust, but efficiency, and hence range, falls off at higher speeds, though the electronic Maximiser throttle helps to offset this.

Electronic maximiser throttle helps offset range issues

Big range drop off at high speeds Needs washing after salt water usage

Buy it now from MinnKota

How we tested the electric outboard motors

We took a selection of electric outboard motor units available on the market, and tested them in two situations, firstly on a Frib 275 folding RIB on the Lymington River to reproduce the situation of getting out to your boat in the tender. We then put them on a 4m skiff on the Thames, to see how they perform at higher speeds on a boat with a smoother underwater form and longer waterline on sheltered waters.

Speed: We measured speed using a handheld GPS, and electricity consumed using a clamp ammeter or the motor’s inbuilt power display. We converted these to the range you would achieve, either for a given power, or the full power of the motor’s battery.

Thrust: We measured static thrust using a spring balance. This is a somewhat crude test, as it measures the pulling power of a motor in a static boat, and therefore doesn’t allow the propeller pitch to work at its designed speed.

Function: We checked the stated weights of each of the motors and made a qualitative survey of their main features when used as a dinghy outboard.

We tested the trolling motors with a 60Ah lithium battery from Sterling Power, which cost £360, though you can use a heavier lead acid battery costing around £120 for a good quality AGM or gel. Don’t bother with leisure batteries, which will fail after 4 to 5 trips. You will need a good quality Lithium charger, which will add on £100 or more.

We haven’t included charging in this test, as this is dependent on the charger you are using, whether you are charging from 240V or 12V on board, and whether the power source is mains, a generator, alternator or solar. It’s worth noting that you will rarely be recharging from flat, and will rather be aiming to top up batteries after each use.

Trolling motor or electric outboard motor?

The options today are trolling motors with separate batteries – so called because they were mainly used as auxiliary slow-speed power for anglers, and integral-battery motors built for dinghy propulsion. These are the options a sailor will be looking at when thinking about changing to an electric outboard.

Trolling motors are still popular for low-speed applications, as they are simple and cheap, but they do need a separate 12V battery.

The integral battery motors are sophisticated units designed to give you more speed and greater range for a given power in a small boat, though for any 3-4m boat, the hull speed will limit how fast you can realistically go with any motor unless you start planing.

An electric outboard motor with an integral battery will often include displays showing speed, range at a given speed, and percentage of battery capacity remaining, but these features come with a higher price tag.

The trolling motors and integral battery models in our test were similar in weight and both come in at around the same total weight as a 2.5hp petrol engine.

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Best Outboard Motors

  • By Jim Hendricks
  • Updated: June 4, 2021

Learn more about some of the best outboards and outboard brands

Outboard motors dominate today’s boating market. And with good reason. Today’s outboards are powerful, quiet, reliable, easy to service, and offer excellent power-to-weight ratios, as well as outstanding corrosion resistance. American boaters can choose from more than 180 models (not counting shaft length variants), all four strokes, from manufacturers such as Honda Marine, Mercury Marine, Suzuki Marine, Yamaha Outboards, and others, many in a choice of colors.

Horsepower ratings range from 2.3 to a whopping 600 ponies. Advanced technology abounds, with many models featuring electronic throttle and shift, electric steering, digital integration with your marine electronics , wireless connections to apps that let you view key functions, and more. While many boaters might narrow their search to the best outboard motor for the money, we instead built this list to showcase the best outboards available.

If you own an outboard motor, then you probably already know what you like in terms of brand and horsepower. But, on the other hand, you might be interested to learn about other great outboard motors, in case you buy a second boat or want to repower with the latest outboard technology. With this in mind, we looked at three outboard categories—portables, midsize and big outboards—and highlighted models from the major outboard brands that reflect some of the most notable and innovative engineering and features in each class.

Choosing an outboard motor for your boat is an important decision. Here, then, are 15 of today’s best outboard motors, ordered by horsepower from low to high, defaulting to alphabetical order for like power ratings.

Portable Outboard Motors

The Honda Marine BF5 is easily portable

Honda Marine BF5

Portability, performance and reliability are the hallmarks of the Honda Marine BF5 tiller-steer outboard model, a motor that’s ideal for small boats and dinghies. The BF5 is equipped with a 0.4-gallon internal fuel tank, the largest in its class. This single cylinder outboard is also easy to pull-start, thanks to a decompression system that bleeds off cylinder pressure to reduce the pulling force. Weighing about 60 pounds, the BF5 is equipped with a 127cc overhead-cam engine that features an Oil Alert system that indicates any drop in oil pressure, automatically limiting the engine speed to 2,300 rpm. The Honda BF5 is available with an optional charging system with a capacity of 6 amps at 12 volts to power electronic devices on board.

The Suzuki Marine DF9.9B is packed with features

Suzuki Marine DF9.9B

This portable outboard is the only motor in its class with electronic fuel injection for easy starting, strong acceleration and smooth operation at all engine speeds. Even more impressive is that Suzuki DF9.9B’s EFI system does not require a battery. The two-cylinder 327cc overhead-cam engine also features Suzuki’s proven Lean Burn Control System for outstanding fuel efficiency from low idle speeds well up into the cruising range. Weighing 108 pounds (20-inch model), this motor is available with electric or manual start with a decompression system for easy pull-starts. Suzuki’s class-leading 327cc displacement delivers plenty of torque for pushing inflatables, small fishing boats and more. Power tilt and trim is optional.

Yamaha Outboards High-Thrust T9.9

The Yamaha T9.9 is light and portable

The Yamaha T9.9 is one of today’s smallest and lightest high-thrust 9.9 hp outboard motors and serves a perfect kicker outboard for a variety of boats. Weighing 102 pounds (20-inch model), the T9.9′s 212cc, two-cylinder, overhead-cam engine provides smooth, reliable power and torque with outstanding fuel efficiency. Yamaha’s patented dual-thrust propeller offers robust forward and reverse thrust. Shallow Water Drive System or Power Tilt allows the operator to raise the outboard during low-speed operation or fully tilt the outboard up. A freshwater flushing device at the front of the outboard allows for easy maintenance and increased longevity. Resting pads enhance storage capability.

The Mercury Marine 20 EFI FourStroke is easy to operate

Mercury Marine 20 EFI FourStroke

Designed for anglers, recreational boaters and commercial operators, the Mercury 20 hp FourStroke features battery-free electronic fuel injection for reliable starting, instant throttle response, strong performance and superb fuel efficiency. Weighing in at 99 pounds, this outboard model is among the lightest in its class. Available with electric start, this engine is designed with ease of maintenance, featuring a clean, no-drip, no-spill oil-drain system. The 20 hp EFI FourStroke features an award-winning multi-function tiller handle, offering ambidextrous operation. Its vertical down-stop is adjustable to accommodate specific boat layouts and transoms.

Midsize Outboard Motors

Mercury Racing 60R for smaller high-performance boats

Mercury Racing 60R

The only outboard motor in its class available as a 15-inch model, the Mercury Racing 60R fits perfectly on the transom of flats skiffs and other small high-performance boats. Featuring a high-thrust gearcase, this outboard motor is geared to deliver strong hole-shot for jumping on plane in shallow water. The smallest outboard motor in the Mercury Racing line, it features a four-cylinder, 1.0-liter long-stroke powerhead tuned for torque. Wide-open throttle range is extended to 6,300 rpm to maximize acceleration and enable more propping options. Weighing in at 268 pounds, it can accommodate a lower poling platform while eliminating the need for a jack plate

Suzuki’s DF70A mixes efficiency with reliability

Suzuki DF70A

Known for delivering strong fuel efficiency and long-run reliability, Suzuki’s DF70A pushed a 17-foot Hell’s Bay flats skiff to victory in the 2021 Florida Skiff Challenge, a non-stop, 1,300-mile race around the entire Florida coastline. This four-cylinder engine features dual overhead cams, four-valves-per-cylinder and electronic fuel injection with Suzuki’s Lean Burn Control. Weighing 343 pounds and boasting 9.17 liters of displacement, it’s the only motor in the class with an offset driveshaft for better weight distribution and balance on the transom. Suzuki’s two-stage gear reduction and 2.59:1 gear ratio delivers snappy acceleration and top-end performance. This motor also features a self-adjusting and self-lubricating timing chain and powerful 27-amp alternator for tech-laden boats.

Yamaha's F70 mixes efficiency with performance

Yamaha Outboards F70

Yamaha’s F70 outboard motor is perfect for family fishing and fun. Weighing 253 pounds, it’s the lightest in class and delivers quick starts, high performance and efficiency for aluminum fishing boats, pontoons and fiberglass boats. This 1.0-liter engine also boasts the best horsepower-per-liter ratio in its class. It offers four-valve-per-cylinder and single cam design with electronic fuel injection. A high gear-ratio and 6,300 rpm wide-open throttle rating combine with a compact single-throttle valve and long-track induction system for maximum power and thrust. The F70 integrates with Yamaha’s CL5 and CL7 touchscreen displays.Yamaha’s Multi-Function tiller handle is also an option for the F70.

The BF90 is built to last

Honda Marine BF90

Inspired by the engine of the Honda Fit car, the BF90′s 1.5-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder features multi-port electronic fuel injection. Weighing 359 pound (20-inch model), it comes with a multi-function display and an optional tiller handle that includes a larger shift lever, a power trim and tilt switch, handle height adjustment and trolling-speed control. The patented Blast system advances ignition timing during hard acceleration for powerful hole shots, while a Lean Burn Control system adjusts the air/fuel mixture to maximize fuel efficiency at cruise. A three-way cooling system promotes long-term durability. Honda’s Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) improves torque and power at higher rpm.

Mercury Marine 115 hp Pro XS can get you fishing fast

Mercury Marine 115 hp Pro XS

The 115 hp Pro XS has been powering bass boaters and other performance enthusiasts since its launch in 2016. Built on the proven 2.1-liter four-cylinder platform, this outboard motor lives up to the Pro XS reputation for hole shot, top-end speed, and durability. It delivers outstanding zero-to-20 mph heavy-load acceleration and a blistering top speed. At 359 pounds, it’s the lightest weight high-output engine in its class. In addition, the 115 hp Pro XS features the Idle-Charge Battery Management system, ensuring peace of mind for a full day on the water. Available with the standard or larger Command Thrust gearcase, this outboard motor is perfect for boaters looking to maximize performance on their bass boats, multi-species boats, bay boats and pontoons.

Big Outboard Motors

The Honda BF250 looks good and runs great

Honda Marine BF250

The flagship of the Honda outboard line, the BF250 outboard motor integrates an innovative design, a sleek progressive V-form style, improved corrosion resistance, streamlined maintenance, and an expanded number of rigging options. Weighing 622 pounds (25-inch model), the 3.58-liter V-6 is available with either Intelligent Shift and Throttle (iST) or electronic controls or mechanical controls. Technological innovations include Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC), Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) to delivers precise amounts of fuel and air to each cylinder, Boosted Low Speed Torque (BLAST) to increase performance and acceleration; and Lean Burn Control to maximize fuel efficiency in cruise mode. The motor also features digital line redundancy for added protection against connection failure.

The Yamaha Outboards F300 Offshore is built to withstand the rigors of going offshore

Yamaha Outboards F300 Offshore

Yamaha’s updated F300 Offshore Digital Electronic Control (DEC) model features Digital Electric Steering (DES) and Thrust Enhancing Reverse Exhaust (TERE) and other XTO Offshore-inspired features. Fast and precise Digital Electric Steering (DES) draws battery amperage only when active. The 4.2-liter EFI V-6 incorporates Thrust Enhancing Reverse Exhaust (TERE) that allows the propeller to bite clean water for strong reverse thrust. Yamaha’s TotalTilt function allows complete tilt up from any position with a double push of the “UP” button, or full tilt down with a double push of the “down” button. Weighing 562 pounds (25-inch model), F300 has a color-matched lower unit, an upgraded one-piece top cowling with water-draining air duct molding and a new bottom cowling.

The DF350 is built for top-end speed and low-speed maneuvering

Suzuki Marine DF350A

Suzuki’s flagship DF350A was the first outboard to feature dual contra-rotating propellers for superior hole shot and strong acceleration for today’s larger and heavier boats. It also improves top-end speed and enhances low-speed maneuvering. Weighing 727 pounds (25-inch model), this 4.4-liter V-6 features dual fuel injectors for better power output and fuel efficiency, a self-adjusting oil-bathed timing chain with Variable Valve Timing for performance and durability, a dual-louver direct air intake to provide cooler, denser air for more powerful combustion, and Suzuki’s Lean Burn Control technology for optimum efficiency. The drive-by-wire Suzuki Precision Control system delivers silky smooth shifting and instant throttle response, along with a wide range of advanced features for anglers and boaters.

Yamaha Outboards XTO Offshore is packed full of amazing features

Yamaha Outboards XTO Offshore

The 425 hp XTO Offshore 5.6-liter V-8 outboard motor combines power, reliability, system integration, control and convenience. The first four-stroke outboard to use direct fuel injection, the XTO Offshore sprays fuel at high pressure directly into the combustion chamber, rather than the intake track, improving atomization and increasing fuel burn effectiveness to maximize power and efficiency. Weighing 952 pounds (25-inch model), this outboard motor also features integrated electric steering, eliminating hydraulic lines, fluid and linkages. It allows for clean rigging and an orderly bilge. The XTO provides up to 96 amps (net) at idle and reaches peak output around 1,500 rpm. It is compatible with Yamaha’s Helm Master joystick control system.

Mercury Racing's 450R is built for performance

Mercury Racing 450R

The hand-craft 450R has elevated the definition of outboard motor performance. Boosted by an exclusive supercharger, the 4.6-liter V-8 FourStroke powerhead delivers 450 peak horsepower—40 percent more torque than the powerful 400R. Weighing 689 pounds, it is 300 pounds lighter than the nearest competitor. The exclusive Mercury Racing Advanced Mid Section (AMS) features heavy-duty stainless-steel guide plates and stiffened engine mounts that stabilize the outboard and enhance high-speed handling. An optional rear tie-bar bracket integral to the AMS provides a strong, ultra-light mounting point and uncluttered installation for catamaran and other high-speed applications. The 450R outboard is backed by a three-year limited factory warranty and a three-year limited corrosion warranty, the same as Mercury mainline outboards.

The Mercury V12 Verado is a revolutionary outboard

Mercury Marine V12 Verado

The new V12 Verado is in a class of its own, providing the ultimate boating experience for customers. Incorporating industry-first innovations, the 600 hp Verado includes a two-speed transmission, steerable gearcase, and 7.6-liter V-12 powerhead that differentiate it from any other outboard motor. Weighing 1,260 pounds, the V12 is Mercury’s quietest high horsepower engine ever built. Contra-rotating propellers maximize thrust and ease low-speed maneuvering. Maintenance has also been simplified—service intervals have been extended and all regular maintenance points are accessible via the top cowl service hood, meaning the top cowl does not need to be removed for 1,000 hours or five years. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Mercury V12 Verado establishes a new benchmark for marine propulsion.

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Outboard vs. Inboard: Which Motor is Right for You?

outboard vs inboard

Many family boats, including bowriders , deck boats and cabin cruisers , are offered with a choice of outboard or inboard power. When both options are available, is there a better choice between the two? Let’s take a look at inboard vs. outboard boat motors , and dig deeper into the advantages and disadvantages of each type of power.

inboard vs outboard

Explore All Boat Motor Types & Brands

What are the Key Differences Between Inboard and Outboard Motors?

Family boats with inboard power are almost always equipped with a sterndrive (sometimes called an inboard/outboard or I/O) powertrain, which combines an automotive-type engine mounted inside the boat with a steerable and trimable drive unit mounted on the stern (the back) of the boat. The exception would be for a dedicated watersports tow boat , which has an inboard engine turning a propeller under the boat, with steering control provided by a rudder.

Sterndrives are currently offered from 200 horsepower to 430 horsepower, but many compact runabouts on the pre-owned market may be powered by a 130-horsepower sterndrive that is no longer in production. An outboard motor is a dedicated marine engine that is attached directly to the stern of a boat.

Outboards are available from tiny 2-horsepower kickers to 600 horsepower, but for family boating the range is typically 90 to 300 horsepower. As outboard motors have become more powerful, they are gaining popularity on larger cabin cruiser and day boats that once were always equipped with inboard engines. These may be rigged with three or four outboards that combined make more power than the biggest pair of sterndrive engines available, resulting in performance that was once unimaginable.

inboard vs outboard pros and cons

Initial Cost Comparison

It seems natural to make a cost comparison based on horsepower—a 250-horsepower outboard to a 250-horsepower sterndrive in the same boat—but it’s smarter to make that comparison based on performance.

In this example, a 200-horsepower outboard will usually match the performance of a 250-horsepower sterndrive, simply because the outboard weighs less, and because that weight is more efficiently positioned behind, rather than inside, the boat. This rule of thumb holds true as you move up and down the horsepower scale. However, even with less horsepower the outboard-powered boat will often cost a little more—2 to 4 percent—than a similar boat with a sterndrive.

Inboard vs. Outboard Maintenance Costs & Ownership

Because it will usually weigh less and be a more-efficient design, an outboard motor will typically deliver better fuel economy than a sterndrive. Both will require similar annual maintenance, except that in cold climates the cooling system of most sterndrive engines needs to be flushed with antifreeze solution, usually by a marine service center.

  • An outboard is self-draining and many owners can accomplish their own off-season service.
  • Sterndrives once had a reputation for being more prone to corrosion-related issues in salt water, but corrosion resistance is much improved on modern engines and outdrives, and many can be equipped with a closed cooling system that keeps most saltwater out of the engine.
  • However, most sterndrives can not be tilted completely out of the water, while most outboards can clear the water when tilted all the way up. This is an advantage for the outboard if the boat is docked or moored full time in saltwater, as it prevents marine growth and corrosion from occurring on the drive.

outboard vs inboard maintenance costs


Because the entire engine is outside the boat, an outboard is easier to service than an inboard. With the boat on a trailer you can simply stand next to the outboard.

Servicing the inboard requires working under an engine hatch, often in pretty cramped confines. When an outboard is damaged or simply worn out, it is relatively easy to re-power the boat with a new outboard. Repowering an inboard boat is also an option, but a more-challenging project.

  • Boat Motor Maintenance & Engine Care Guide

Additional Pros & Cons

An outboard has many advantages over a sterndrive:

  • It’s lighter, faster, more efficient, and easier to service;
  • Because the entire engine is located outside the boat, there’s more room in the boat for seating or gear storage;
  • A new outboard is cleaner, quieter and more powerful and feature-laden than the motors offered just a few years ago, all reasons they have become more popular on more types of boat.

A sterndrive does have some advantages, however:

  • The drive unit is low on the transom, which permits a full-width boarding or swim platform that’s not cluttered by an outboard motor. This can really improve the lounging experience, and many people find this uncluttered look much more attractive.
  • The sterndrive engine may also be covered by a padded sun lounge, another feature many owners appreciate.
  • When equipped with a drive with forward-facing propellers ( Volvo Penta Forward Drive or MerCruiser Bravo Four ), the boat can be used for wakesurfing , an activity that’s not safe—or even legal on most waters—behind a boat with a traditional sterndrive or an outboard because of the proximity of the spinning propeller to the surfer. For many boating families, the ability to wake surf is reason alone to select an inboard with forward-facing props.

Read Next: Comparing Jet Boats vs. Sterndrive (Prop) Boats

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Outboard Motor Mount recommendation?

  • Thread starter bmccormick
  • Start date Feb 5, 2020
  • Oday Owner Forums
  • Day Sailers

Hi, am replacing my older, flimsy aluminum motor mount and 5 hp pull start Honda outboard with a new mount and a larger / heavier 8 hp electric start outboard. I have looked hard for a suitable mount for this heavier motor and found a Catalina Direct 3 spring or a Panther Marine tech mount that look adequate. Any advice? Long or extra long shaft motor? Thanks!  

Get the longest shaft available. Mount a sturdy backing plate to the new motor mount and make sure it is rated in excess for the weight of the engine.  

Thanks, Benny, I appreciate it. Long shaft and a robust installation. I am interested in specific brands of mounts, manual versus electrical lift mechanisms (not trim), needed setback from the transom, etc. Thanks!  


Find out how much your new engine weights and get a mount that can handle 150% of this weight Also find out the height of travel if it will lift it out of water. Always remove the engine when trailering. Haro  

sail sfbay

bmccormick said: I have looked hard for a suitable mount for this heavier motor ..............Any advice? Click to expand

Stern Rail Outboard Motor Mount for 1

bmccormick said: Hi, am replacing my older, flimsy aluminum motor mount and 5 hp pull start Honda outboard with a new mount and a larger / heavier 8 hp electric start outboard. I have looked hard for a suitable mount for this heavier motor and found a Catalina Direct 3 spring or a Panther Marine tech mount that look adequate. Any advice? Long or extra long shaft motor? Thanks! Click to expand

Hi Mike, this is very helpful, thanks. Last current transom mounted motor bracket is attached to a plastic "slanting box?" which tilts the mount away from the top of the transom for more setback for the motor tiller. It is about 4" thick / deep at the top, tapering to zero at the bottom, and 5 1/4" wide. The CD mount is 1 " wider so I may need a new one. Do you know if these are commercially available and if so, where? Thanks.  

bmccormick said: Hi Mike, this is very helpful, thanks. Last current transom mounted motor bracket is attached to a plastic "slanting box?" which tilts the mount away from the top of the transom for more setback for the motor tiller. It is about 4" thick / deep at the top, tapering to zero at the bottom, and 5 1/4" wide. The CD mount is 1 " wider so I may need a new one. Do you know if these are commercially available and if so, where? Thanks. Click to expand


The mounting bracket from CD is manufactured by . They sell them Directly to the public, although they are not listed on their website. You can call them for more information.  

Brian S

Sage Marine uses only the Garhauer Marine (Catalina Direct) mounts. Although Garelick, the original supplier of "2 stroke" mounts for O'day has since updated and made new mounts for 4 strokes, from what I've seen and discussed with the former production manager of Sage Marine, if I decided to replace my mount, I would only go for the Garhauer mount. It is very well built and smooth working. Because it is available with different spring configurations, it can hold the weight of almost any small outboard for a sailboat. I'll also second the notion that you should go for the longest shaft motor you can get, which is usually a 25" shaft, often found on "Sail Pro" model motors. The other usual sizes are 15", and so called "long shaft" at 20", but for a sailboat where you want to keep the prop in the water and driving at all times in steep, rough seas, the 25" shaft is recommended.  

Thank you! I went with a 25" Honda 8 HP4 stroke and a Catalina Direct 3 spring with backing rails.  

I was wondering how this combination of motor and mount worked out. I have a catalina 22 and I am considering the same set-up. Not sure if I need 3 spring or 2 spring mount. Thanks  

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Electric Sailboat Motor: Range, Cost, Best Kits for Conversion

Today, owning a completely green sailboat has been made possible with electric sailboat motors.

Imagine cruising with the silence of an electric sailboat motor and the ease of use with a simple press on the start button. What’s better is there are no exhaust fumes at all with significantly less maintenance.

It’s so appealing that a lot of sailing liveaboards have made their electric sailboat motor conversion.

However, some sailors are still on the fence, worrying about the range and price of the electric sailboat motor.

If you are one of them, you are in the right place!

This post will guide you through every aspect you need to know about electric sailboat motors to help you make an informed decision.

Besides, you will get professional insights on how to make the electric sailboat motor conversion for your own boat and learn the best electric sailboat motors (with honest reviews).

Table of contents:

  • Electric Sailboat Motors: Confusion Explained

Electric Sailboat Motor or Combustion Motor

  • Electric Yacht Motor Conversion: Two Solutions
  • How to Size an Electric Sailboat Motor

Best Electric Sailboat Motors (with Reviews)

Electric Sailboat Motor

Electric Sailboat Motor: Confusion Explained

Can you go cruising with an electric sailboat motor? Can you put an electric motor on a sailboat? Are there any limitations?

Whether electric sailboat motors are a good fit for your boat is not a YES or NO question. Here we will explain your top worries with statistics and facts. That way, you can make a wise decision according to your situation.

You may hear some complaints about the batteries and range of the electric propulsion.

However, their experience may not suit electric sailboat motors.

In fact, even small electric engines work pretty well in many sailboats. That’s because most of the time, the wind can power the boat, and the motor is just used for docking or in rare times when there is no wind.

Therefore, it makes more sense to learn electric sailboat motor performance in real-world applications.

Here is a test report of a 3 HP electric sailboat motor on an RS21 racing sailboat:

As you can see, the small electric sailboat motor can run at 5.5 mph top speed for one hour continuously.

And there is a big difference in terms of range vs speed for electric sailboat motors:

If you lower the speed, the range and runtime can be greatly extended. The slower you go, the further you’ll get. For example, if you cut your speed in half, the electric sailboat motor can last 7 hours and go 20 miles within one charge.

That’s pretty sufficient if you use the electric yacht motor mostly for docking or as an auxiliary engine.

Faster top speed (and more range) is available with higher power electric sailboat motors depending on your specific requirements. Contact a specialist to design your electric sailboat motor solutions.

Also, don’t forget to get the electric sailboat motor with regeneration (See recommendations below).

That’s to say, when there is a lot of wind and you’re moving rapidly via your sails, they regenerate and store electric power on the batteries to keep you moving at other times. Solar recharging is also a plus.

Essentially, the range depends on how many batteries you have, so it’s not a limitation of electric sailboat motors but energy and batteries.

If you are still worried, you can offset this by getting a diesel generator, which is more efficient than a diesel engine. And it is a range extender when you need it, but for 90% of your motoring that you don’t need the range, you can rely on the electric sailboat motor.

Some of you might be concerned about the extra weight of the batteries.

In fact, an electric sailboat motor with lithium batteries weighs less than a diesel engine, particularly if you include the fuel weight.

If you want a lightweight electric sailboat motor solution, make sure you get one with LiFePO4 batteries . Compared with other marine batteries, they are more compact in design with much less weight and higher energy density.

Some more advanced electric motors for small sailboats (such as Spirit 1.0 Evo) feature an integrated lightweight battery. So you don’t need to worry about the complex wiring to hook it up or extra space to store the battery.

This is a huge plus if you want to use the electric sailboat motor on a tender or dinghy.

Electric Sailboat Tender Motor

Here is also a chart that collects the weight of some popular electric sailboat motors for your reference:

For many people, another big problem with electric sailboat motors is the cost.

It’s true that a gasoline outboard with similar power is a lot cheaper to buy. However, the electric sailboat motor eventually wins in long-term operating cost. That’s especially the case if you are going to do a lot of motoring.

Electric sailboat motors save on fuel and maintenance costs, which can build up to a large amount over time.

Here is a chart that compares the cost of a 3HP electric sailboat motor (coming with a built-in battery) with its combustion counterpart:

Electric Sailboat Motor Cost Comparison

That’s to say, you will cover the price difference for electric yacht motors eventually as long as you use it long enough. Click to check the details of the calculation .

What makes the electric sailboat motor even more worthwhile is it saves you a lot of hassles, especially for sailors who only use the engine in and out of the harbor. Dealing with the maintenance of the gas outboard for a 10 minute motor out of and into the harbor is disproportionate and painful.

*The higher horsepower electric sailboat motor may be different in terms of the cost calculation. Check out the outboard motor pricelist by HP for more information.

As you may have already noticed, electric propulsion has already been widely used in the marine industry:

It’s quiet while motoring, clean to handle, environmentally friendly, with less maintenance and operation costs.

The electric sailboat motors are easier to use with dramatically fewer moving parts to break and no worries about being a diesel mechanic to deal with the hard pulling start. You can have it always on, so it is ready whenever you need it.

And it makes even more sense in sailing applications:

You don’t really need to motor much if your plan is to actually sail. If you are completely becalmed, you will probably just need to motor at 2 knots to keep making way, which is easy for electric sailboat motors.

If you mostly use the motor to get into and out of the harbor, the electric sailboat motor also works great for you.

You can always charge up at the dock, motor out of the marina (or even motor to your sailing area or race start), then hoist the sails and when you’re through, the batteries are charged again.

The electric sailboat motor is also useful as a backup (kicker) motor in case your system goes down. That’s why you can see people pushing a lot of big boats with small electric motors. (Click to learn more information about kicker motors .)

Personally, it’s really nice to have an electric auxiliary in the boat – no smelly, messy diesel and motor oil to deal with, a much simpler system with less maintenance, and much, much quieter operation.

However, powerboats tend to have much higher requirements in terms of both power output and runtime. In that case, an electric sailboat motor can be hard to satisfy your needs.

ePropulsion electric Sailboat Motors

How Do You Size an Electric Motor for a Sailboat?

As a rule of thumb, you will need approximately 1 HP per 550 lb of the displacement of your boat.

Generally speaking, a 3 HP electric sailboat motor can push a sailboat up to 25 ft and a 9.9 HP motor is sufficient for a 30 ft sailboat to motor at a satisfying speed.

However, bear in mind the horsepower you need always depends on your needs and applications.

It’s better to check the data from real-world tests to decide whether the electric sailboat motor is suitable for your specific needs.

For example, the 9.9 HP electric sailboat motor Navy 6.0 allows you to go at 6.9 mph (11.1 kph) on a 30 ft sailboat, and the range can be extended to 46.4 miles if you decrease your speed to 2.9 mph (4.6 kph).

9.9 HP Electric Sailboat Motor Performance

Click to see more test reports with other electric motor and sailboat combinations, and find the electric sailboat motor that suits you best.

If you are still not sure about the size of the electric sailboat motor for you, feel free to leave us a comment and we will get back to you ASAP with professional suggestions.

Electric Sailboat Motor Conversion

Basically, there are two ways for you to convert your sailboat to a clean and quiet electric drive system:

You can either convert your current vessel to electric or buy an engineless yacht and install an electric sailboat motor on your own.

#1. Repower Your Sailboat with Electric Motor

If you decide to replace the diesel engine with an electric motor, you will need to do a lot of preparations:

The DIY approach requires an electric sailboat motor kit (including motor and controller), batteries, a good level of mechanical ability and basic electrical knowledge, as well as some common tools such as a voltmeter.

You will need to take the old engine out for the new electric sailboat motor installation. It’s not an easy task that involves removing the engine mounts and the drive shaft (dealing with the numerous hoses and cables), taking out the engine, exhaust system, fuel tank, and its attendant tubes, etc.

Remember to balance the boat to avoid listing during the electric sailboat motor conversion.

Then in with the new electric sailboat motor. The installation process can be straightforward if you choose the electric sailboat motor kit wisely (See steps below). Furthermore, you can set up solar charging for your electric sailboat motor with solar panels and charger.

Many sailors have recorded their electric sailboat motor conversion process and experience. Be sure to check them out to get some inspiration. For example, Ed Phillips has documented everything which can serve as a guide for newbies to get started.

Mind you there can be a whole heap that can go wrong in designing and maintaining the electric sailboat motor systems. You really need to be totally on top of it if you want decent performance or reliability.

If you are not that technically inclined, it’s better to talk to a specialist first to discuss your plan for a smooth electric sailboat motor conversion.

#2. Install an Electric Motor in a Sailboat

If you own an enginless sailboat, the electric sailboat motor conversion is much easier for you.

All you need to do is to find a reliable electric sailboat motor and install it in simple steps. The whole process can be easily done, even for beginners. Here we take the popular 6 HP electric sailboat motor Navy 3.0 as an example to show you the installation process:

  • Step 1 : Rotate the clamps or use the screws to fix the outboard onto the sailboat.
  • Step 2: Mount the steering system in the proper position.
  • Step 3: Install the tiller on the electric sailboat motor.
  • Step 4: Connect the batteries to the electric sailboat motor system.

Click to check the video tutorial that guides you through each step of the installation.

If you are worried about aesthetic issues and want higher horsepower options, an electric inboard motor can be a better suit for your sailboat. If you prefer an inboard motor for your sailboat, contact our OEM team to get an electric propulsion solution tailored to your needs.

Note : You might find some electric trolling motors rated by #s of thrust on the market. Actually, those electric trolling motors for sailboats can only provide limited speed and range. If you are heading into the wind, the trolling motors for sailboats are definitely not an ideal solution.

Once you’ve evaluated if electric sailboat motors are right for you, there are a lot of options for electric systems.

Here are some popular electric sailboat motors with positive reviews from customers worldwide. Fast charger is available for all the models recommended to reduce your charging stress.

#1. 3 HP Spirit 1.0 Evo

If you are looking for an electric motor for a small sailboat, be sure to check out the ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 Evo. It’s suitable for large daysailers or small cruising sailboats under 25 ft.

Electric Sailboat Motor Spirit 1.0 Evo

With the Spirit 1.0 Evo electric sailboat motor, you can go 5.5 mph (8.8 kph) at top speed on the 21 ft RS21 sailing boat, or troll for 20 hours continuously at 2.2 mph (3.5 kph) according to our test .

This electric sailboat motor with regeneration allows you to recover energy from the prop while under sail. It will start to generate power automatically when the sailing speed reaches 2 knots.

Electric Sailboat Motor Regeneration Efficiency

As an electric auxiliary sailboat motor, it can also be easily installed on your tender boats or yacht dinghies since it’s portable and easy to transport (with a lightweight integrated battery).

Features You Will Love:

  • Come with the industry-first hydrogeneration capability
  • Direct-drive technology makes it maintenance-free
  • Portable with a 1276Wh large integrated lithium battery for long range
  • Safety wristband keeps you safe in case of MOB
  • Digital operation keeps you informed of the battery status

Spirit 1.0 Evo Electric Sailboat Motor Reviews:

“Great weekend with my 17′ sailboat powered by the Spirit Evo. This is great. Quiet and reliable. Went at 3/4 throttle for about 1.5hrs when taking it back to boat ramp.” – Robert Taylor

“Very happy with our Spirit Plus. Pushing our Kolibri 560 a 750 Kg sailboat, with ease. Doing about 5.8 km/h at 500W.” – Frank van Asten

#2. 6HP/9.9 HP Navy Evo Series

If you want a little more juice on the electric sailboat motor, check out the ePropulsion Navy Series. It offers 6 HP and 9.9 HP models for your selection and it provides sufficient power for sailboats up to 30 ft.

Electric Sailboat Motor Navy Series

According to our test , the 6 HP electric motor Navy 3.0 can push the Catalina 25 sailboat (25 ft) at 6 mph (9.6 kph) top speed, while the Olga 33 sailboat (33 ft) can go at 7.5 mph (12 kph) with the 9.9 HP Navy 6.0 motor.

The Navy series electric sailboat motor also comes with regeneration features which can be recharged with hydrogeneration, wind turbine, and solar panel.

  • Four controls to fit your sailboat installation and your boating style
  • Accompany LiFePO4 batteries (need separate purchase) are more energy efficient
  • Digital display offers real-time monitoring of the power and battery
  • Magnetic kill switch and safety wristband keep you safe on the boat
  • Electric start saves you trouble pulling the cord to start

Navy Series Electric Sailboat Motor Reviews:

“I have a Navy 3.0 with E80 on a Catalina 25 sailboat. It is working well. Currently I am using about 4% battery to go in/out of the marina by boat.” – Aaron Young

“Just finished my 8 weeks sailing journey in the Baltic Sea. The two Navy 3 outboards provide enough power for my 33ft catamaran. The 400W solar panels provided enough energy for engines and all other energy consumed on board with 2-6 persons. The two Navy Batteries provide power for engines and all other on-board electric devices. I never had to use shore power, so totally self-sufficient electric system.” – Martin Hildebrand

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Best electric outboard motors: 11 top options for zero-emissions propulsion

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Electric outboard motors seem to be springing up all over the place right now. We round up 11 of the best electric outboards on the market…

Electric outboard motors are nothing new, after all the humble electric trolling motor has been around for decades, but in the past couple of years a new breed of more powerful units has emerged.

Capable of powering everything from a tender to a 50-knot sportsboat, this new generation of electric outboard motors will surely play a big role in the growing trend towards all- electric boats .

We’ve rounded up 11 of the best options available on the market right now to help you track down the right one for cutting down your boat’s carbon footprint.

Compact electric outboard motors for your tender


Torqeedo 603 Travel

Weight: 15.5kg Power: 600W / 0.8hp Battery: 500Wh Range: 11nm Price: £1,499

Torqeedo has been making electric outboard motors for quite a while now, and their latest offering slots into the travel range of electric outboards between the 503 (1.5hp) and the 1103C (3hp).

All the usual Torqeedo refinements are present and correct. IP67 rated as totally waterproof, the 603 Travel has a magnetic kill cord and an onboard computer providing instant readouts of operating range at current RPM and battery-charge status displayed on the tiller arm.

You can link it to an Apple or Android app and gain even more information including a map-based range indicator.

Read more about the Torqeedo 603 Travel

best-electric-outboards-Screenshot 2023-04-18 at 11.53.48

Mercury Avator 7.5e

Weight: 27.1kg Power: 750W / 1hp Battery: 1kWh Range: 34nm Price: $1,500

Announced in early 2022 and launched less than a year later, the Mercury Avator 7.5e is the first electric unit from the world’s biggest builder of outboard engines .

The whole top plate hinges up to reveal the battery, which can be quickly removed from your electric boat or replaced for convenient charging.

It’s by no means the lightest electric outboard motor on the market, but its claimed range at 25% throttle is very impressive – we look forward to putting one to the test.

Not resting on its laurels, Mercury launched the Avator 20e and 35e this summer as well. These units are no bigger than the 7.5e, but need wiring in to an on-board battery bank.

Read more about the Mercury Avator 7.5e

Read more about the Mercury Avator 20e and 35e


Weight: 14.5kg (inc. bracket) Power: 1kW / 3hp Battery: 1,085 Wh Range: 14nm Price: £2,185

The idea behind the Remigo One electric outboard makes perfect sense; rather than mounting the battery on top of the shaft, like the engine on an old-school petrol outboard, the Slovenian company has integrated it into the shaft and shaped it like a rudder to minimise drag and maximise steering effect.

It is backed by a 2-year warranty and has a magnetic key/kill cord. There are some other neat ideas too. The rudder casing is waterproof to IP67 above the water and IP69 below the water so it will survive a dunking, and it’s held in place by a clamp mechanism that allows you to adjust the shaft length to suit your boat with the aid of an allen key.

The transom bracket is separate to the motor so you can leave the bracket attached to the boat and simply slot the motor on and off. The tiller also folds and locks parallel to the blade so you can use it as a perfectly balanced carry handle.

Watch our test drive video of the Remigo One electric outboard


The Kicker is exceptionally light and surprisingly powerful

Thrustme Kicker

Weight: 4.4kg Power: 1kW / 3hp Battery: 259kWh Range: 5nm Price: £1,250

If it’s light weight and value that you prioritise over cruising range, then this Norwegian option is hard to beat.

Launched in 2021, the Kicker boasts enough range and grunt to get one person from ship to shore and back again in calm conditions, as editor Hugo proved in a week-long test.

The only downside is that the battery isn’t removable, which can make charging a little more difficult.

Read more about the Thrustme Kicker


Weight: 15kg Power: 1kW / 3hp Battery: 740Wh Range: Up to 1hr Price: €2,850

A brand new option from France, the TEMO-1000 doesn’t look anything like a traditional outboard motor.

The design doesn’t have any rectangular box on top, just a rudder-shaped shaft with an electric motor at the bottom and a long slim battery that simply slides down into it, connecting automatically to your electric boat without having to plug wires into it.

The tiller arm does the same, meaning it disappears completely when not in use and yet it is never detached and therefore never mislaid.

Read more about the TEMO-1000


Haswing Ultima 3

Weight: 16kg Power: 1kW / 3hp Battery: 1.03kWh Range: 18nm Price: £1,570

A top-of-the-range option from trolling motor stalwarts Haswing, the Ultimate 3 is suitable for boats up to 7m long.

The brushless DC motor produces 3hp (claimed to be equivalent to a 4hp petrol outboard motor), and it’s available in short and long shaft versions as well as the standard length.

Not only is the detachable battery unusually light at 5kg (lightest in class, according to the manufacturer), it also connects to the engine in a single simple operation without the need for connecting cables or other fiddly parts – no bad thing when you’re bobbing about in a tender!

Read more about the Haswing Ultima 3

outboard motor on a sailboat

ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 Plus

Weight: 19.3kg Power: 1kW / 3hp Battery: 1,276Wh Range: 22nm Price: £1,600

The original Spirit 1.0 has actually been in production for six years with over 10,000 units built. Featuring a 1,000W brushless motor, this electric outboard motor is claimed to be equivalent to a 3hp petrol engine, ideal for tender duties or small to medium sized dinghies.

This Plus version, launched in 2020, is the same weight, size and power – the big gain is where it’s needed most, run time. It has been achieved by upgrading the battery from 1,018Wh to 1,276Wh.

At the same time, the power cord has been upgraded for durability and reliability, and the voltage has been changed from 40.7V to 48V, making it compatible with an external 48V battery. The battery will even float if dropped overboard!

Read more about the ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 Plus

Most powerful electric outboard motors for day boats


Yamaha Harmo

Weight: 55kg Power: 3.7kW / 9.9hp Battery: Sold  separately Range: Depends on battery Price: £TBC

Announced in 2022 and tested on a 12m Venmar water taxi, the Yamaha Harmo electric boat drivetrain may be a rather modestly powered 3.7kW motor, equivalent to a 9.9hp petrol engine, but it is being seen as a major statement of intent from the Japanese brand synonymous with big, powerful four-stroke outboards.

Intriguingly, the Harmo is neither an outboard engine nor a sterndrive but a new propulsion package that borrows ideas from both camps.

It is mounted on the transom just above the waterline much like a sterndrive leg, but in keeping with the outboard engine ethos it’s an entirely self-contained unit that includes the motor and steering mechanism.

Read more about the Yamaha Harmo electric rim drive


RAD Propulsion RAD40

Weight: 100kg Power: 40kW / 55hp Battery: 20-60kWh Range: 100nm Price: £28,000 (ex. battery)

The RAD40 drive from British start-up RAD Propulsion appears to be far more than just a conventional outboard leg with an electric motor bolted on top.

Every single element of it has been designed from the ground up to maximise the benefits of electric power. The result is a brand new drive system that is not only much cleaner, quieter and more efficient than a petrol outboard engine but also smaller, lighter, cheaper to maintain and even more manoeuvrable.

In its current 40kW guise (equivalent to around 55hp) it’s powerful enough to propel everything from a 25-knot planing RIB to a 10-knot displacement craft but with a larger 160hp RAD120 as well as a portable tiller steered RAD2 already in development, it’s clear that RAD Propulsion has its eyes set on a much wider market.

Read more about the RAD Propulsion RAD40 electric outboard

outboard motor on a sailboat

E-Motion 180E

Weight: 580kg Power: 110kW / 180hp Battery: 70kWh Range: 70nm Price: $78,990

Launched in 2021 by Canadian firm Vision Marine Technologies, the E-Motion 180E looks like a genuine alternative to the 150-200hp petrol outboard motors that power the vast majority of 18-25ft sportsboats and RIBs.

The outboard engine itself weighs around 180kg, compared to 216kg for a 200hp V6 Mercury Verado, but that relatively modest saving pales into comparison next to the 400kg weight of the 70kWh battery pack.

Admittedly, a fair chunk of that will be offset by the lack of fuel tank and starter batteries, but unlike a petrol boat, the battery pack’s weight stays constant whether full or close to empty.

Read more about the E-Motion 180E


The Evoy Storm looks, feels and goes like a well-matched petrol outboard engine

Weight: 350kg Power: 222kW / 300hp Battery: 2x 63kWh Range: 25nm Price: €144,700

Although currently still in development, the Evoy Storm is a working prototype that has already been fitted to a number of partner brands’ boats, including an Iguana amphibious craft and an Axopar 25 that we tested at last year’s Cannes Yachting Festival .

Despite a 450kg weight penalty over a fully fuelled petrol boat, and five passengers, we still recorded a top speed of over 50 knots – vastly quicker than any other electric boat we’ve tested and not far off the world speed record for a production electric boat of 57.7 knots (held by a Goldfish X9 powered by a 400hp Evoy inboard).

The anticipated price for this electric Axopar 25 is €185,000 (ex tax), which looks pretty good value given that the price of the motor alone is €74,900 plus another €69,800 for the batteries. Whether Axopar can maintain, or even reduce, that price once the Evoy Storm enters production in 2024 remains to be seen.

Read more about the Evoy Storm

Tip of the iceberg

If this seems like a lot of choice, there are even more options coming down the pipeline in 2024. MBY understands that several major outboard manufacturers are planning on entering the electric outboard market, so watch this space…

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  1. Outboard Motor Of A Sailboat Stock Photo

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  2. Outboard Motor On Sailboat Stock Photo 1196147809

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  3. The Best Outboard Motor for a Sailboat

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  1. The Best Outboard Motor for a Sailboat

    Outboard Motor Size. A larger boat doesn't necessarily mean a larger motor. Although there are different ratings for different classes of boats, a small power plant can be more effective than a larger one. Conversely, an outboard motor can easily overpower a small boat and create unsafe conditions at high speeds. Guidelines and requirements ...

  2. How to Calculate Outboard Motor Size for Sailboats

    To get the right amount of horsepower needed to efficiently propel a sailboat, divide the displacement of the boat (in lb) by 550. You need approximately 1 HP per 550 lb of displacement or 4 HP per 2200 lb. Most sailboats don't need a motor with more than 30 HP. In this article, I'm talking about small outboard engines for sailboats.

  3. Putting an outboard on a sailboat: I'm clueless!

    Posts: 9. Re: Putting an outboard on a sailboat: I'm clueless! I would look into a 4 stroke, long shaft, (25 in) 6 - 9.9hp, high thrust outboard. If you can access the bracket easily from the cockpit you may think about simply using the tiller controls as that is much simpler then setting up remote controls on that size boat.

  4. Best Small Outboard Motors for Sailboats

    Honda for example offers 20 and 25-inch transom height (long or short shaft) right down to their smallest BF2 (two-horsepower) model. Mercury and Mariner only offer a 15-inch short-shaft version ...

  5. Choosing an Inboard or Outboard Engine

    Tom Lochhaas. The huge majority of sailboats large enough to have a motor were built for either an inboard or an outboard, so you'll usually be choosing between boats that already have one or the other installed. Yet you may still need to decide between Boat A with one type and similar Boat B with the other. The two catboats shown in these photos, for example, are of roughly the same size, and ...

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    The outboard engine is the most common propulsion system for smaller watercraft up to 40-feet. The outboard sits outside of the boat, hanging from the transom, which is the cross-section at the vessel's stern. Outboard motors are available for leading manufacturing brands like Honda, Yamaha, and others.

  7. How to Choose an Outboard Motor

    Sounds good. But the truth is high-octane fuel — usually 92 or 93 octane — is a waste of money for the majority of outboards. Most are built to run happily on 87 octane. Some manufacturers — such as Tohatsu — do recommend midrange fuel, usually 89 octane. Check your owner's manual, and fuel up with what it prescribes.

  8. Inboard vs. Outboard Motors: Which Motor is Best For You?

    The first thing to notice is that over the last decade (or two), there has been a growing trend of new boats coming equipped with outboard motors. According to survey data by the NADA, the boating industry sold more outboard motor-powered crafts over the last few years than ever before. In fact, more than 165,500 outboard motors were sold in 2016.

  9. Sailing Advantage Sailboat Electric Outboard Motors

    35 feet 7.9 knots (9.1mph) With an electric outboard motor, or any kind of auxiliary motor, boat speed depends on the hull type, waterline length, and total displacement weight (including passengers, food, and baggage), as well as the motor thrust. Speed factors also include the waves, current, and wind, relative to your heading.

  10. Electric outboard motor: we test 13 options

    Motor weight: 10.5kg. Battery weight: 9kg. Battery capacity: 1276Wh. Top speed RIB: 4.5mph. Top speed skiff: 6.0mph. Thrust: 31kg/68lbs. The Chinese firm ePropulsion has been developing its electric outboard motor range and lithium batteries for some time. We tested the Spirit 1.0 Plus and Evo, both 1kW motors with integral batteries.

  11. Best Outboard Motors and Brands

    Yamaha's F70 outboard motor is perfect for family fishing and fun. Weighing 253 pounds, it's the lightest in class and delivers quick starts, high performance and efficiency for aluminum fishing boats, pontoons and fiberglass boats. This 1.0-liter engine also boasts the best horsepower-per-liter ratio in its class.

  12. Best Outboard Motors 2023: The Ultimate Guide

    Newest 2023 Outboard Motors. In 2023, the big news is still Mercury's introduction of the V-10 350- and 400-hp Verados. Filling the gap between their existing V-8 ad the big V-12, the V-10s are naturally aspirated, and replace the supercharged V-6 Verados in this horsepower range.

  13. Outboard vs. Inboard: Choosing the Right Boat Motor

    This is an advantage for the outboard if the boat is docked or moored full time in saltwater, as it prevents marine growth and corrosion from occurring on the drive. Serviceability. Because the entire engine is outside the boat, an outboard is easier to service than an inboard. With the boat on a trailer you can simply stand next to the outboard.

  14. Verado® 600hp Outboard Motor

    20% Better Fuel Economy at Cruise. V12 600hp Verado. Competitor 425hp. Test boat: 43-foot, 22,000-pound day boat. The result is 20% better fuel economy at identical cruise speed and 24% better fuel economy at top speed with two 600hp Verado outboards versus triple 425hp outboards from the leading competitor. Cruise Longer.

  15. Outboard Motor Mount recommendation?

    Feb 5, 2020. #1. Hi, am replacing my older, flimsy aluminum motor mount and 5 hp pull start Honda outboard with a new mount and a larger / heavier 8 hp electric start outboard. I have looked hard for a suitable mount for this heavier motor and found a Catalina Direct 3 spring or a Panther Marine tech mount that look adequate.

  16. Honda Marine Models

    Honda Marine offers a full line of dependable 4-stroke outboard motors. Find the right boat engine for you. Portable, Mid-range, and Large Motors from 2 to 250 hp. Menu. Outboards. Portable; Mid Range; High Power; Jet Drive ... Outboard Motors Outboard Motors. 2 - 20 hp — Portable; 25 - 100 hp — Mid Range; 115 - 350 hp — High Power; Jet ...

  17. Sailboat Outboards

    2024 Mercury 3.5 HP 3.5MH. Choosing a lightweight, 10 hp or under outboard motor is a dependable choice for your sailboat. Consider weight and decide between a two or four-stroke engine motor. Purchase your new outboard from, an authorized dealer of the world's top four-stroke outboard motor brands.

  18. Electric Sailboat Motor: Range, Cost, Best Kits for Conversion

    With the Spirit 1.0 Evo electric sailboat motor, you can go 5.5 mph (8.8 kph) at top speed on the 21 ft RS21 sailing boat, or troll for 20 hours continuously at 2.2 mph (3.5 kph) according to our test. This electric sailboat motor with regeneration allows you to recover energy from the prop while under sail.

  19. Mercury Outboard Motors

    No other outboard goes from zero to wide-open throttle as fast as a Mercury Pro XS® engine. Learn More SeaPro™ Commercial Outboards ... Compare All Outboard Motors. 1 - 12 of 20 results in Outboard. Verado 600hp. 7.6L V12. Verado 350-400hp. 5.7L V10. Verado 250-300hp. 4.6L V8. SeaPro 500hp. 7.6L V12. SeaPro 75-150hp. Inline 4.

  20. Outboard Motor Brackets & Carriers

    Wheeled outboard motor carriers make transporting larger outboards easy. Here is a list of the different types of outboard motor mounts we offer: Adjustable Outboard Motor Bracket: Typically mounted to the transom or swim step of a boat, these brackets enable you to easily lower your outboard into the water for use or raise it out of the water ...

  21. Best electric outboard motors: 11 top options ...

    Specs. Weight: 15.5kg. Power: 600W / 0.8hp. Battery: 500Wh. Range: 11nm. Price: £1,499. Torqeedo has been making electric outboard motors for quite a while now, and their latest offering slots into the travel range of electric outboards between the 503 (1.5hp) and the 1103C (3hp). All the usual Torqeedo refinements are present and correct.

  22. Fourstroke 40-60hp Outboard Motor

    Active Trim makes boating easier and more enjoyable by automatically trimming your outboard. It simplifies boat operation while improving engine performance and decreasing fuel costs. Active Trim is compatible with all current SmartCraft-capable Mercury outboards (2004 and newer, 40hp and above; 2022 and newer, 25hp and above).

  23. Boat Motors

    Unndysrt Outboard Boat Motor Cart, Heavy Duty Engine Carrier Transport Dolly, Portable Foldable Outboard Boat Motor Stand, Fits Long/Short Shaft Motor Motor Repair Maintenance Storage Transport 5.0 out of 5 stars 2. Quick look. $22.99 $ 22. 99. $25.99 40A Trolling Motor Plug,Trolling Motor Plug&Receptacle for Minn Kota Marine Boat 12-48V ...

  24. FourStroke Recreational Outboard Motors

    Compare Outboard Motors. 1 - 7 of 7 results in FourStroke. FourStroke Propane 5hp. FourStroke 75-150 hp. Inline 4. FourStroke 40-60 hp. FourStroke 25-30hp. FourStroke 2.5-20hp. ... SC100 and SC1000 gauges provide precise insights into boat and motor functions such as speed, rpm, depth, trim and fuel flow, while also enabling SmartCraft ...