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How to Compare Outboard Motors for Boats


The first decision new outboard owners have to make is whether to buy new or used motors. Used motors offer considerable savings, but as with any used item, you are inheriting potential problems from the previous owner. The second choice owners must make is whether to buy a two-stroke or four-stroke motor. In general, two-stroke motors are faster, lighter and less expensive. Four-stroke motors are better on gas, quieter and generally run more smoothly.


Compare motors offering similar horsepower (HP). Horsepower can range from as little as 2.5 HP to as much as 350 HP. If you are planning to steer the motor via a steering wheel mounted on the transom, be sure that the motor you're buying is compatible. Other features to look out for include fuel injection, electric start, power tilt and power trim.

Expert Insight

If you're buying a used motor, be sure to inspect both the mechanical elements inside the casing as well as the propeller itself. Dings and other damage to the propeller can significantly affect the performance of the motor. Propellers can be replaced, but they aren't cheap. Also make sure that the stern of your boat is rated for the weight of the motor. A motor that is too heavy can cause structural damage to the vessel.