Boating anglers are facing a hard time choosing the best outboard motors for their powerboat. Today the outboard motor is more efficient, reliable, quite, powerful and smooth to operate.
But not all are the same, some are too good for the price, others are just fine but there are always a few that will give you trouble.
No body wants his / her outboard motor to stop working in the middle of the sail or right after a glorious launch.
This is why one should make an informed decision when buying an outboard motor. You should not just buy anything based on your gut feeling or a word of mouth but be confident about the product selection before buying.
That is why I have created this helpful buyer guide addressing 7 important things to consider before buying an outboard motor for your needs.
7 Helpful Considerations For Selecting The Best Outboard Motors
You have seen I have not mentioned the price anywhere in the list of things to consider; knowing most buying decisions are made based on whether it fits within the budget or not.
An outboard motor is not something to buy on a regular basis; so a little more expenditure on quality is worth the investment.
1 ) Hull Capacity
You should always consider the hull capacity of your boat when choosing between the best outboard motors. Your hull capacity needs to be enough to handle the weight of the motor when mounted on the transom.
It is the reason other than motor power which decides the maximum motor size allowed by the manufacturer to install.
So don’t forget to ask for it the next time you go to buy a boat. Otherwise you will always find it mentioned somewhere in the user manual.
A large number of older boats are made for two stroke outboard engines; that are both lightweight and small. But you can always replace them with a more powerful 4-stroke engine as long as you do not overload it.
Loading your boat more than its hull capacity can be counterproductive in terms of speed, safety, maneuverability in bad weather and efficiency.
2 ) Your Boat’s Size
One of the worst things you can do when choosing the best outboard motors is to under-power a boat. A small boat has different needs than that of a larger boat which requires more power.
Thus referring your boat size is a good thing to do when choosing an outboard motor. Unfortunately, there is no fixed formula to come to a conclusion.
Thus it is better advised to follow the maximum limit of the motor on your capacity plate. Not just it helps avoid under power your boat but also limits common issues such as any irregularity between the size of the motor or the boat.
For example if the size of the motor is too small for a boat; not only be it hard to install at the transom but also wears away fast and can potentially cause problems with the boat plane.
Further, there could be issues of overheating, poor performance, and burnt spark plugs. You might make it work but when it fails there will be a string of problems.
3 ) Long Vs Short Shafts
Having a short or a longer shaft affects the ability of your outward motor to perform in the water. A shorter shaft length is preferred for an inflatable boat or dinghies with a lower transom. Similarly, large boats ( 20″-21 ) generally require a longer shaft.
There’s no doubt boat’s operational safety and efficiency is directly related to having the right length of the shaft.
If it’s too short it might not be fully submerged to operate properly. Similarly, if it’s too long it might get off-balanced making your boat go unbalanced or even flip.
This can be quite dangerous in open waters and in areas of low visibility. Thus you should always measure your boat before getting the outward motor. Take the measurement from the bottom of the hull to the top of the transom.
4 ) Types of Outboard Motors
Outboard motors can be classified into two main types; a four-stroke engine and a two-stroke engine and they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
So it comes to just one question; whether you should get a 2 stroke or a 4 stroke? A 2 stroke outboard motor is simple in construction, is light, can be easily repaired, easy to handle, cheap, provide faster acceleration, and has good power to weight ratio.
On the down side, they are loud, less fuel efficiency, and takes quite some work ( regular maintenance ) to keep them meet emissions standards.
However, if you are going for greater distances with powerful performance, need a quieter, more efficient motor that meets emission standards then you should prefer a 4 stroke outboard motor for your boat.
5 ) Fuel Efficiency
Just because you have bought a higher horsepower does not mean you will burn more fuel.
Yes, the amount of horsepower will impact your fuel efficiency but there are other factors too like the fuel injection method, engine type, and speed.
One of the major drawbacks of having a two-stroke engine is low fuel efficiency. Because both exhaust and suction ports are open at one time in the two-stroke cycle; a part of the oil fuel mixture leaves the engine un-burnt.
Similarly, old carbureted outboards are less efficient than DFI and EFI systems of fuel injection. Then at last your engine speed affects the fuel economy; running it on the full-throttle will produce more power and burn more fuel.
So it is better to have a higher horsepower with less throttle than a low horsepower motor and running it on full throttle.
6 ) The Horsepower
Although horsepower is predetermined mostly by the type and size of your boat; it’s always your boat weight that determines your boat power. Horsepower-to-weight ratio is a simple method to calculate the correct horse power needed for your boat.
Let’s say, for example, your boat weights around 4000 pounds and has a 200-horsepower engine. Now here by dividing 4000 by 200 we get 20 pounds per horsepower or 0.05 horsepower per pound dividing 200 by 4000.
The lower your horsepower per pound number the faster your boat will go. But speed should not the only thing one should look at determining the perfect motor.
So ask yourself what are you using the boat for? How much are you willing to pay for fuel? The number of passengers you carry on the trip?
Once you are quite certain about this its time to know average horsepower recommended for different boat sizes. Small boats such as canoe, inflatables, sailboats, and dinghies have 2.5 to 12 horsepower outboards.
Large but light boats have anything in between 18 to 25 hp while average boats ranging in between 15 to 25 foot in length generally have 300 to 400 hp motor.
Boats that are above 25 feet in length generally have two or three outboard motors of 200 to 300 hp each.
7 ) Boat Use
There are a lot many things that depend on our decision related to our boat. For example, what are we going to use our boat for decides the horsepower, dangers, insurance policy and operational costing?
A boat for general cursing with friends and family has different needs than one used for watersports or speed boating.
The amount of horsepower your boat has will affect how much you pay for your boat insurance. Adding additional motor can lead you to pay a premium or even switch to a higher ( expensive ) boat insurance policy.
So you should always consider the pro’s and con’s of having a higher horsepower motor.
You should definitely add them when you need more speed or do water sports but not for anglers who just like to fish after a little cruising.
The 5 Best Outboard Motors For Larger Boats
In the past decade, the outboard motor has seen great improvement in terms of power, boating experience, fuel efficiency, and price.
Today’s outboard motor is better than ever and has advanced by leaps and bounds in comparison with that in the 2000’s. Now they are not just limited to small boats but are the fastest-growing segment in marine propulsion.
We created a list of top 5 outboard motors to buy for a larger boat; considering all the important things one needs to see selecting a new motor.
1. Mercury Racing 450R
Mercury is a brand known for over 75 years providing innovative and powerful solutions for marine propulsion. With the 450R mercury had upped the horsepower to a new limit with 2.4-liter twin-screw superchargers.
The Mercury Racing 450R lightweight by design offers great speed and is available in 20 and 25-inch shaft sizes. Burning 89-octane fuel it produces 40% more torque than Mercury 400R; the second most powerful consumer outboard produced by Mercury.
2. Yamaha F25
This is my favorite outboard motor when it comes to mid to large-sized boats with varying needs; more power, better efficiency, less maintenance, quiet operation, etc. Operating for over 30 years Yamaha Outboard has become the name of innovation and reliability.
This 25 horsepower engine offers peak performance at top speed. The fuel economy is quite good burning 1.8 gallons per hour at 3500 rpm to get a cruising speed of 12.1 mph. It’s quite good considering that there’s no real loss of efficiency as you crank it up.
3. Honda BF 250
This four-stroke V6 outboard engine offer better speed, new look, easier maintenance, and better fuel efficiency. Inspired by Honda automobile engines it uses Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC).
This not just optimize engine performance but produce more power on demand. Equipped with drive-by-wire and push button-start mechanism its a precise equipment with boosted torque and more power at high revs.
4. Suzuki DF350A
Suzuki is known as a main stream outboard motor brand since 1965; when they created their first outboard motor. Suzuki’s DF350A is a high-horsepower 4.4-litre V6 four-stroke motor designed to run on cheap 91 octane fuel.
Suzuki has tweaked its offset driveshaft to improve balance and reduce vibration. This large outboard is equipped with counter-rotating propellers offering better directional stability and maneuverability at low speed.
5 ) Evinrude E-TEC G2 300
This is a great outboard motor that gives you more torque ( about 30% more than normal ), greater speed, and quieter operation. Available in 200, 225, 250, and 300 hp models it includes a built-in power hydraulic helix steering system.
In this era of a gradual shift towards the four-stroke engines; Evinrude has chosen to develop and refine the already best two-stroke engines. So you get twice the power output per revolution for a similar four-stroke alternative.
Best 4 Outboards For The Price – Smaller Boats
1 ) HANGKAI 6.5HP Outboard Boat Motor
This four-stroke engine with the all-new cooling system is an upgrade to its two-stroke 6 Hp sister motor. It has 6.5 hp which is more than enough for your fishing trips.
You can use them with any small craft such as inflatable boats, fishing boats, dingies, and small sailing vessels where you can mount it on the transom of that boat.
Built for performance it is quite and starts right up. The engine needs to be started manually, includes a twist-grip throttle for easy 360 steering rotation.
In addition these are perfect for both fresh and salt water conditions. This makes this outboard engine a great choice for anglers who need a good motor for a reasonable price for their fishing boats, kayaks or canoe.
HANGKAI 6.5HP Outboard Boat Motor: Check Its Price On Amazon!
2 ) SEA DOG Water Sports 2 Stroke Outboard Motor
The two stroke version of the above mentioned product from SEA DOG. The two stroke design makes it produce more torque for the same revolution.
Being reliant on the trusted 2 strokes design its light, water-cooled, cheap, and powerful without direct fuel injection.
On the down side its quite loud, requires seasonal maintenance and is not fuel efficient. It comes with a 2.5L fuel tank with a 6hp motor.
Its twist-grip throttle allows for a 360-degree seamless movement offering superior maneuverability in shallow waters.
SEA DOG Water Sports 2 Stroke Outboard Motor: Check Price On Amazon!
3 ) Sky Superior Water Cooled 2 Stroke Outboard Motor
If you are looking for a lightweight outboard motor for your johnboat, inflatable pontoons, canoe or any other smaller boat its significantly great and came at a reasonable price.
The motor itself is easy to start, has 360-degree steering rotation for better control, is compact, and doesn’t make much noise.
It’s easy to grease, maintain, and took it out on the boat. It packs a 3.5 horsepower marine outward motor that offers great speed and power.
On the downside you will need to give it a jerk to start and requires good care to last long; which could be a bad experience for some but you get what you pay for.
Superior Water Cooled 2 Stroke Outboard Motor: Check Its Price On Amazon!
4 ) Coleman Powersports Outboard Motor 2.6 HP
The Coleman Powersports is lightweight ( less than 50 pounds! ), flexible, and easy to maintain. This 4 stroke engine is well built and offers a 2.6 hp.
That makes is great for trolling motor or easy cruising with TCI ignition. Made from aluminum it does not break or rust’s and is built to last long.
Like many other outboard motors mentioned above, it features a twist-grip throttle with 360-degree rotation for better maneuverability and control.
It’s easy to start and can take the weight of 3 adults with their luggage. You won’t win any race but it is quite well to move around and fish.
Coleman Powersports 2.6 hp Outboard Motor: Check Price On Amazon!
Finding a reasonable outboard motor is tough especially when you need a reliable outboard motor at an attractive price that really lasts long.
Remember every boat and every person has its own need and one should always introspect what his or her needs are and choose an outboard accordingly.
Ask yourself whether you want an outboard motor that is quiet, gives you more speed, is cheap, is easy to operate and maintain, etc.
Whether you want to use it for cruising, fishing, water sports, or all. Once understood align them to with the search for an outboard motor that best serves that need.
Once done the entire process of choosing the best outboard will become much easier!
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