Best Boat Outboard Motor Reviews

8 Best Outboard Motors (Reviews Updated 2020)

An excellent outboard motor will improve your expeditions in more ways than one. Whether it’s the need for extra power or simply replacing your old one, most motors these days offer extra efficiency at a lower cost.

Here are some of the best models we’ve reviewed so far this year.

Best Outboard Motors

Here are the 10 best outboard motors for your boat.

1. Sea Dog 2 HP Water Sports 6 Outboard Motor Stroke

Best Overall

Sea Dog 2 Hp Water Sports 6 Outboard Motor Stroke

Review

This Sea Dog model is more than your traditional engine, featuring a combination of 2-stroke design without a direct form of fuel injection. Its 6hp can sufficiently power most smaller boat models, from inflatables to sailing or fishing vessels. It features a fuel tank capacity of 2.5L, with 92 octane gasoline as the recommended fuel.

The engine has a manual startup, and it has a cooling system that uses water. With its twist grip-type throttle and 360º steering location, you can reverse without having to change the gears. You only have three gears to work with – reverse, forward, and neutral. And you’ll be getting a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty to boot.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • 2-stroke type motor
  • High fuel capacity
  • Useable in saltwater and freshwater
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2. Leadallway 4 HP Air-Cooled Four Stroke Outboard Motor

Editor’s Choice

Leadallway 4 Hp Air Cooled Four Stroke Outboard Motor

Review

If you’re looking for an outboard engine for your fishing boat, this Leadallway model makes for an excellent option. It’s also suitable for smaller boats like canoes or kayaks. Despite have a 4-stroke type motor, it’s a very light product (20lbs.) But don’t mistake this for lack of power, because it can produce 4hp for significant speed. This manual start motor starts in all weather conditions, and its 360º steering rotation helps with maneuverability.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy-access
  • Affordable
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3. Sky 1.4HP 4-stroke Superior Engine Outboard Motor

Best Value

Sky 1.4hp 4 Stroke Superior Engine Outboard Motor

Review

This might not necessarily be the most powerful engine, but this reliable motor still has plenty of good qualities. For a very affordable price, you’re getting a 4-stroke type engine that can produce 1.4hp. This motor features a very compact frame, able to hold 0.65L of fuel and 90mL of oil.

One full tank will run you for a little over an hour, which is more than enough time for most boating excursions. However, it’s still a good idea to plan your route accordingly. Or better yet, bring some extra fuel in case of emergencies. You can use this engine for both saltwater and freshwater, and it can run smaller vessels at 5mph, a good enough speed for most boat owners.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Compact frame
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Low noise
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4. Coleman Powersports 5HP Easy Start Outboard Motor

Coleman Powersports 5hp Easy Start Outboard Motor

Review

This high-quality Coleman unit features a frame made with aluminum alloy, and a propeller made from the same material, giving better durability compared to plastic units. Because of its 5hp motor type, this unit is lightweight at only 54lbs, making it easy to move, lift, and mount on your own. It features a 4-stroke type motor using TCI ignition that can reliably start in most weather conditions.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • TCI ignition
  • Aluminum frame
  • Tilt operation
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5. Leadallway T4.0HP Four Stroke Outboard Motor

Leadallway T4.0hp Four Stroke Outboard Motor

Review

This 4-stroke motor makes for a light and compact build, but it can still produce 4hp. We recommend this unit for boat owners with vessels of less than 12ft in length. Depending on your boat’s weight, it can run at a maximum speed ranging from 6 to 9mph. This manual start motor comes with its own twist throttle and steering handle. It also features a decent fuel capacity of 1.9L.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Sufficient power for smaller vessels
  • Energy efficient
  • High tank capacity
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6. Sky Superior Engine 3.5 Hp Outboard Motor

Sky Superior Engine 3.5 Hp Outboard Motor

Review

If you’re looking for a motor that offers the right balance of power and affordability, this Sky model is an excellent choice. Granted, it only uses a 2-stroke type engine; it still packs 3.5hp. We recommend that you use 93 fuel and use professional-level oil to give you optimum performance. This motor uses both manual steering and start, but both functions are pretty straightforward.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Water cooling
  • Budget-friendly
  • 2-stroke type
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7. Feiuruhf 4-Stroke 7HP Outboard Motor

Feiuruhf 4 Stroke 7hp Outboard Motor

Review

Despite its pretty compact size, this Feiuruhf motor still packs a punch with 7hp. This 4-stroke type unit features a manual starting and operation, with three gears to use and a throttle to control the boat’s speed. The handle’s design makes it easy to turn and control the tiller. The motor also features a cooling system that uses air to prevent overheating.

Because of its 19.7 inch shaft, this unit is more suitable for smaller vessels that have shorter transoms. It has a tank capacity of 1.4L, and its recommended that you use 93 octane-type petrol as your fuel.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Great tiller control
  • 7hp
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8. HAFIY 4 Stroke/2 HP/ Heavy Duty 3.6 Outboard Motor

Hafiy Heavy Duty 3.6 Outboard Motor

Review

With this HAFIY motor, you can choose between 2- and 4-stroke, but we’ll focus on the former for our review. It features 3.6hp and a fuel capacity of 1.3L.  It can produce 3.6hp with a tank capacity of 1.3L. It’s affordable too, making it a decent choice if you don’t want to go overboard on the specs to save a bit of money. This motor is assembled with cast aluminum so that it will last you a long time. Finally, it has a unique feature called Start-in-Gear security that protects your motor by preventing the propeller from moving when idle.

Notable Features You Need To Know About:

  • Sturdy cast aluminum
  • Water cooling
  • Start-In-Gear security
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If you’re still having some trouble looking for the outboard motors that you want, you can write a checklist of all the motor aspects that are your top priority. Reading our buyer’s guide below can be an excellent place to start.

Buyer’s Guide – Finding The Right Outboard Motor For Your Boat

Best Boat Outboard Motor ReviewsOur review list mostly features small motors, but we’ve included some beefier ones for those who one larger vessel. But size doesn’t necessarily equate to a motor’s performance. Here are some other components you need to consider:

Stroke Type

You’ve noticed from our reviews that all of the motors feature a four- or two-stroke engine. This will tell you the strokes it takes for a piston to finish a whole cycle. The latter is seen as the more dated type, and its slowly being entirely replaced by four-stroke units. A four-stroke unit is much more reliable, more durable, and it’s a lot more eco-friendly as well. However, you’ll still find some good 2-stroke models that have enhanced features to improve their performance and are often cost less.

Torque Performance

A 4-stroke unit produces higher torque, and this equates to better efficiency and smoother riding experience. Consider getting this type of unit because it might have a slightly higher price, but you’ll be getting better performance. However, the speed difference between the two-stroke types isn’t that big.

Boat Weight

The motor size you need to get depends mainly on the weight of your vessel. As you might have guessed, heavier boats need stronger motors to make it move. Generally, 5hp is required for every tonne. If you’re looking for a bit more speed, then you should get a motor that can provide above the minimum requirement. Your boat’s propeller also needs to be considered.

Hull Capacity

Your vessels need to carry the weight of a motor as you install it on the transom’s surface. This is why most boat manufacturers give a maximum allowed motor size for every model that they sell. If you’ve already forgotten this, you can check your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website.

Fuel Efficiency

This might be one of the more significant downsides if you choose to go for a 2-stroke because you’ll be taking a hit in fuel efficiency. During every cycle, there will come the point where the exhaust ports and the intake will both be open, so a mixture of oil, gasoline, and air will leave the engine unused. This increases overall gas consumption and the hydrocarbon emissions of your boat.

2-stroke DFI and 4-stroke, on the other hand, will have a closed exhaust valve as it burns the petrol, letting the system use up all the fuel to decrease waste. Another con when going for 2-stroke is that you have to combine the oil and fuel into one tank, while newer systems will have separate containers for both.

Shaft Type

The length of the shaft will influence your motor’s ability to move your vessel. A shorter shaft (15in below) are better suited for boats that have lower transoms, such as inflatables. Longer ones (more than 20in) have a more extensive range of suitability.

Before anything else, you have to measure the dimensions of your boat before you get a motor. Check the height from the point where your motor will be placed and go down until you reach the bottom of the hull. This level is the part where the shaft’s plate needs to be.

A short shaft will mean that it might not get submerged into the water or even touch the surface, so it won’t work correctly. A shaft that’s too long, on the other hand, will have less balance and might lift your vessel’s bow. This is particularly dangerous if you have a strong motor because there’s a high chance that the whole boat will get flipped.

Perhaps some of your queries have still been left unanswered? We’ve taken the most regularly asked questions regarding outboard motors and answered them in our FAQ’s:

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the frequently asked questions about the best outboard motors.

Will four-stroke units will always be better compared to two-strokes?

This depends on your needs, but four-strokes are often the safer bet. While these units are bulkier and heavier (with the latest models featuring lighter and more compact frames), they give you a better power curve and speed control. This is especially useful if you like cruising and fishing. Another plus is that they also feature much more quiet operation.

However, you shouldn’t write out two-strokes just yet, because they still have a few benefits. For one, they’re often lighter with faster throttle response. And they’re usually the affordable option. However, it creates more noise, pollution, and vibration, so they don’t make for good investments.

Is there a benefit to having multiple motors?

We’ve mentioned previously, there’s a limit on the strength of the motor you can install for your boat. The combined power of two motors equal to the power of one motor will function more or less the same, with a few disadvantages to the former. For one, getting two motors can be more costly, and installation can be harder. However, the benefit of having more than one motor is that it can act as an added safety measure. In case one of your motors fail, at least you’ll have a backup. This is why some owners will have two units for their boat, each with separate power sources.

Does high-octane trump all other fuel types?

Not necessarily. Fuel mixtures shouldn’t explode or ignite too early, and doing so will lead to less efficiency, or worse, engine damage. Petrol gases that have high octane ratings will offer higher compression resistance. Always check with your owner’s manual because it often tells you the best kind of fuel to use for your boat.

Is rigging my boat with the largest allowed motor a good choice?

While not entirely needed, getting one can still offer plenty of benefits. It lets you move at higher speeds while improving the overall maneuverability. Consider the load your boat is going to handle as well as the state of the waters you typically travel through. A smaller motor can satisfy the needs of most users who don’t require high-performance. And they are also easier on your budget.

How can you determine the average speed of your motor?

This will depend on the weight of your boat and your motor’s power. Smaller outboards can deliver anywhere between 5 to 10mph. A large motor gives more speed because it elevates above the plane, which reduces the drag.

Outboard Motor Review Conclusion

If you equip your vessel with the best motor, it can make for a good investment. You’re essentially getting a durable product that will last you a long time while giving reliable performance. We’ve chosen different types of motors to fit the needs of a wider audience. By equipping yourself with the right knowledge, picking the best unit for your boat will be a walk in the park.