Regardless of what type of boat you have, it is not going to be much fun without the right outboard motor attached to it. Unless you want to row your boat around on days without wind, an outboard engine is something you must have. Because these types of engines are very expensive, it’s important to pick the right one for your boat, and to do that you need to take into consideration several things.

Size of Engine and Horsepower

The outboard motor size is one of the things you need to consider when you look at the options. Depending on what the capacity plate on your boat says about the right horsepower and weight limit of your boat, you can pick a larger motor or a smaller one. You can locate the capacity plate somewhere near the stern. The horsepower limit is the most important factor you need to consider here because going over the appropriate limit might cause your boat to tip over and sink, going down motor first. The boat motor can be lower horsepower than the maximum horsepower written on the plate. If you are looking to relax and maneuver safely to a nice spot you don’t need an engine that will have a huge amount of power. 

The rule of thumb is that you will not need more than 20 hp to efficiently maneuver and propel most boats. Another great bonus when going for an 8-20 hp power engine is that the fuel consumption is much lower and it increases fuel efficiency by a significant amount. 

Additionally, you will also enjoy a quieter ride if you go for a lower hp gas engine and it will also cost less. If at any time you feel like you need higher horsepower you can replace your engine with a more powerful one. 

Shaft Length

The main thing to note here is the size of the transom on your boat. If your transom height is higher, you will have to pick a higher shaft length for your outboard motor. This is important to consider because if you get a longer shaft than the transom of the boat, you will face some serious issues with stabilization when you drive. 

You can easily figure out what is the correct shaft length by measuring the height of the back of your boat. Take a measuring tape and measure the height of the back of the boat in the middle. The result you get is how long your shaft length should be to get an optimal drive. Although it is not a huge deal if the length of your shaft is longer by an inch, it is best if you can get an exact match. 

Fuel Injection System

Electronic Fuel Injection EFI

EFI engines are very fuel efficient and they don’t need fuel priming. The EFI uses a fuel mixture that gets injected inside the cylinder where it’s mixed with air before it gets to the intake valve. Once it reaches the intake valve it cools it down which increases the vaporization and once that reaches the combustion chamber, the mixture is ignited by a spark plug. This type of engine has low emissions which makes it more environmentally friendly.

Fuel Injection DFI

The direct fuel injection engines are also a great choice. Starting the DFI engine is quick and easy. It also has a very low fuel consumption. Compared to other types of engines, you get an increased power with this option. They come in two stroke and four stroke engines which broaden your options. The DFI engine has low emissions as well and it’s very cost-effective. Unlike the EFI, the DFI works differently. It feeds the fuel in the cylinder while the exhaust valve is covered by the piston which increases fuel efficiency. 

Two-stroke or Four-stroke?

When choosing an outboard motor you have to consider both two-stroke and four-stroke motors. The two-stroke engines are lighter while providing the same horsepower which will mean that your boat will go faster but they are much louder and have more emissions than the four-stroke engines. Your fuel tanks won’t get depleted too fast because the fuel economy of four-stroke engines is superior when compared to the two-stroke engines. The reason is that the oil is not added to the fuel as is the case with two-stroke engines. When considering these two options, you will have to be aware of the maximum emissions you are allowed to create because many two-stroke engines do not meet emission standards. 


Looking into some other features that can make your boating experience much more enjoyable and carefree is always great. Some features that you can opt into when buying an outboard motor are:

Electric Start

An excellent feature to have because it can quickly get you out of unpleasant situations. It’s especially useful in scenarios where your boat starts drifting because of strong wind. In this case, you need to start your engine quickly to regain control of the boat. 

Power Tilt

Another great feature that helps you control small boats in shallow waters. Having to tilt your engines manually every time you navigate shallow waters is not an easy task and it becomes a nuisance extremely quickly. Having power tilt makes this task as easy as pushing a button and you will no longer need to worry about becoming exhausted because you had to tilt your engine manually. 

Power Thrust

Power thrust is a feature that will help you combat strong currents and heavy winds. It increases the power of your thrust by 60% in reverse and 15% when moving forward. It also improves steering and maneuverability while helping you reach your desired speed much faster.

Making the right choice on your outboard motor is one of the most important decisions that come along with purchasing a boat because it will ensure that you fully enjoy your time on the water. When your motor has the right features you will maximize your safety and decrease the amount of time you need to get everything ready and start steering.