Engine, Maintenance

How to choose a good Outboard Motor?

To answer this question we must first try to look at some of the different outboard engines out there and their specificities. To choose an outboard motor we will need to answer some questions.

  • which is better, two strokes or four?
  •  What’s the right propeller?
  • Is the bigger motor the better motor?

Four-stroke or two-stroke engines?


When it comes to outboard motors, the question is four-stroke vs. two-stroke. If you believe what you hear, the answer is etched across the stone board — four-strokes rule. But dig deeper and you find the answer isn’t so clear.

1. technical distinction and difference between two-stroke and four-stroke engines.

Four-stroke outboards, like the engine in the car in your driveway, burn straight gasoline within cylinders, circulating lubricating oil through a separate system. Oil and gas don’t mix, unless there’s a breakdown. Two-stroke engines, in contrast, burn a blend of gas and oil.

Traditional two-strokes were fed their oil-gas mix fuel by carburetor or injector into the cylinder through an intake valve. During part of this feeding, the exhaust valve was also open, and up to 30 percent of the fuel escaped unburned.

Jump ahead to two-stroke direct-fuel-injection (DFI) engines. The fuel is sprayed into the cylinder with precision timing while the piston covers the exhaust valve. There’s no loss of fuel. (In four-stroke engines, thanks to their four piston strokes per cycle, intake and exhaust take place at separate times.) DFI two-strokes and four-strokes both deliver much better fuel economy than traditional two-strokes, since they’re directed by computer and burn virtually all of the fuel.

On the other side, four-stroke motors are also erasing what was a clear division just two years ago, the one that said two-strokes are inherently more powerful. The industry once envisioned a 100-horsepower limit for four-strokes because of their extra weight. But the limit has vanished. Witness Suzuki’s 300-horsepower four-stroke at just 604 pounds.
Two versus four is now more a matter of boater preferences than ground-shaking practical distinctions. Through it all, both modern four-strokes and DFI two-strokes are mechanical marvels.

2. Differences in Performance Between Two-Stroke and Four-Stroke Engines

• Two-stroke DFIs are lighter than four-strokes with the same power, but the difference is shrinking.
• Four-strokes are quieter than two-strokes, but the difference is shrinking.
• Two-strokes generally provide a stronger hole shot, but the difference is shrinking.

What’s the right propeller?

What to Know About Boat Engine Propellers

• Prop condition can be more important than type. A damaged prop can destroy the engine spinning it.
• Stainless-steel props run truest and are five times as strong, but aluminum is cheaper and sacrifices itself to protect the lower unit.
• A four-blade prop beats a three-blade in time to plane, midrange speed and low-speed handling.

What Size of an Outboard Motor do I Need?


One of the worst things you can do is under-power a boat. You’ll never savor the performance built into the hull. You won’t be as prepared to scoot from an approaching storm. Potential buyers of your boat down the road will cast a jaundiced eye.

Going with the boat maker’s maximum rating, found on the inspection plate, is a pretty safe bet. If you’re on the fence, you can check with boat manufacturers, who generally have available test data on the boat of your choice powered with various makes and models of engines.

Why does a Larger Outboard Engine Makes Sense

• Take sea trials with boats that have less-than-max motors. We’ve noted in tests that some smaller motors power boats — particularly pontoons — beautifully.
• For the biggest seas and the heaviest loads, you want the biggest boy on the back of the boat.
• When was the last time you heard someone say they bought a boat with too large a motor?

One thought on “How to choose a good Outboard Motor?

  1. Thanks for the tip that I should also consider the compatibility with the propeller when choosing outboard motors. I’d like to look for one soon because a friend of mine would like to go boating with me soon. I think that getting some upgrades would be a good idea before doing that.

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