What to Consider When Choosing the Best Outboard Motor for Your Boat

April 7th, 2019 by


About 9.4 million Canadians enjoy recreational boating. They own 4.3 million boats. All of those boasts need a motor to get them moving across the water. 


This typically means that as a boat owner, you’ll be needing to buy an outboard motor. For some, it means buying more than one motor. 


To help you find and buy the best outboard motor we’ve put together this guide. So let’s get started!  



Understanding Torque 


When you compare an in-line four-cylinder motor with a six-cylinder that has the same horsepower, the six-cylinder has a greater displacement. Because of this, a six-cylinder motor is going to outperform the four-cylinder. 


A six-cylinder motor is going to produce more torque faster. It’s also going to do this over a broader range of revolutions per minute, or RPMs.


If speed and getting up on plane as fast as possible is your priority, then a six-cylinder motor is the way to go. 



Your Boat’s Weight 


It isn’t all about torque and power though. The most critical factor when deciding between a four or six-cylinder is the weight of your boat. 


Lighter boats do well with a four-cylinder motor. So if you have a center console or bay boat that is under 22 feet, consider a four-cylinder. A lightweight center console with twin engines can get away with four-cylinders too. 


If your boat is larger though, you’ll want that broader arc for the torque curve. That way the engines don’t get overtaxed while working to get your boat up on plane. 



Fuel Injection 


You’ll find that outboard motors use three types of fuel injection. The primary difference between direct fuel injection, electronic fuel injection, and a carbureted system is how they operate. 





A direct fuel injection system deposits the fuel directly into the engine’s cylinders. This gives you efficient and reliable performance. 





As the name implies, an electronic fuel injection system uses an electronic system to control the flow of fuel and air into the system. 





This is the oldest type of system. They tend to be last in line when it comes to fuel efficiency. Instead of technology controlling the air and fuel mixture, there is a mechanical gadget with a tube that controls the flow into the cylinders. 


A carbureted system is the least expensive to buy. However, in the long run, it isn’t the smartest choice. 



Get the Right Horsepower 


There are a few questions you should ask yourself when determining how much horsepower you need. 


  1. How fast do you want to cruise?
  2. How much of a concern is fuel cost for you?
  3. How many passengers are you planning on carrying?


Once you answer these questions, you need to factor in your boat size. 



Small Boats 


If you have a small boat such as a sailboat, canoe, or dinghy, then you have a small boat. Also if you are on a lake or small body of water, then 10 horsepower is plenty. 



Long and Light Boats


Boats that are around 10 to 15 feet and made of aluminum or fiberglass don’t need a ton of horsepower to get up and go. You’ll only need 15 to 20 horsepower for a decent amount of power. 



Boats from 15 Feet to 25 Feet  


Most recreational boats fall into this range. Coastal vessels used for activities like fishing or going to the beach fall into this category. 


Owners of these boats will be happy with a horsepower range of 75 to 90 horsepower. This is enough power to do recreational activities along the shore. 


However, you are looking to travel further away, or at high rates of speed then you’ll want more horsepower. Aim to be in the range of 300 horsepower.  



Boats over 25 Feet


Boats of this size run best when you have two motors that are in the 200 to 300 horsepower range. This extra power will help you get up and go quickly. It will also come in handy when you want to travel great distances. 



Hull Capacity


You can’t go out and get crazy by buying the biggest motors you can find. You need to make sure that your boat’s hull can handle the weight. 


This is especially true if you have an older boat. If your boat was originally designed for old school two-stroke motors, then you’ll need to be careful. Today’s motors are much bigger and heavier. 


Make it your goal to stay within twenty to forty pounds of your original motor’s weight. This is when choosing a four-stroke motor would be a smart choice. 


Another thing to keep in mind is that having a lighter motor is going to create less draft. If you plan on fishing in shallow water, then this point will be important to you. You’ll be able to get into shallower water and catch more fish. 



Fuel Efficiency  


When all of the factors are the same, a four-cylinder motor is going to use less fuel than a six-cylinder engine. This should make sense to you since there are 33% fewer cylinders. 


There is also less weight for the motors to move around. This can also contribute to your fuel efficiency. 


However, consider this, the fuel savings you get with that four-cylinder will quickly go away when you put it on a boat that is too big for it. Your smaller motor will now have to work extra hard which requires more fuel. This is when buying the six-cylinder will be the smarter choice. 



Buy the Best Outboard Motor


When it is time to buy a new outboard motor for your boat, you can’t just buy the biggest and baddest motor out there. Well, you could, but you won’t get optimal performance out of your boat or motor. 


Instead, you need to buy the best outboard motor for your boat. Consider the size, weight, and age of your boat. That way you know what size motor and how much power you need. 


Browse our inventory of outboard motors today!