3 HP Outboard Motors: Best Solutions for the Price, Speed & Weight
Updated: Nov 13
3 hp outboard motors are a perfect fit for dinghies, tender boats, canoe, and daysailers (usually up to 1.5 tons).
I bet many of you are still looking for a gas-powered 3 hp outboard engine and struggling between the 3 hp 4 stroke outboard motor and the 2 stroke counterparts.
And the market is flooded with all kinds of 3 hp gas outboard motors from different manufacturers with mixed reviews. The seemingly endless options can get you lost.
Actually there is a better solution that can save your from these endless options with a lot of appealing benefits:
3 hp electric outboard motor that offers runtime, range & speed superior to a gas outboard.
This post will try to offer an option that satisfies all your requirements for the 3 hp outboard engine including decent speed, range and light weight, at an affordable price.
We will later explain why the 3 hp electric outboard motors outwin the gas engine in almost every way in part 3. Or you may skip to the 3hp gas outboard motor vs electric directly.
Editor’s Note: If you are using the 3 hp outboard motor to go from point A to point B like the campsite or fishing spot which is probably several miles away, trolling motor is definitely not the answer as it will take forever to get to a distant place.
Further Reading: 3hp Outboard vs Trolling Motor
Table of Content:
Best 3 HP Outboard Motor in 2020
3 HP Outboard Motors: Top 3 Things to Consider
3 HP Electric Outboard Motor vs Gas Motor
Final Thoughts About 3 HP Outboards
Best 3 HP Outboard Motor in 2020
If you have no idea where to start and need some genuine recommendations for a reliable 3 hp outboard, check out the ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 Plus outboard first.
Trusted by hundreds of thousands of users worldwide, the Spirit 1.0 Plus is proven to be a solid 3 hp outboard motor for the price, functionality, and user experience.
This 3 hp outboard motor weighs only 19.8 kg （43.7 lbs） including the battery. It uses lithium batteries that’s lightweight and can float. So no worries about losing it in the water.
It allows a cruising speed of 5 knots and can reach 9 km/h (5.6 mph) speed when driving a 12 ft boat with 150 kg (331 lbs) load. If you slow down to trolling speed, a single battery can last 10-15 hours.
If you prefer remote operation, check out the Spirit 1.0R, the world’s first and only 3 hp outboard boat motor with helm steering and wireless control compatibility.
3 HP Outboards: Top 3 Things to Consider Before Purchase
To find the perfect fit for your boat, there are top 3 things you need to consider:
How fast is a 3hp outboard motor?
As we have discussed in our previous post, the speed depends on a variety of factors including the boat type, boating environment, weather, boat load, and etc.
To give you a simple reference, a 3 hp electric outboard can push a 12 ft boat with 150 kg (331 lbs) load at a max speed of 9 km/h (5.6 mph).
That’s to say the 3 hp outboard motor can provide more than sufficient propulsion for a 10 ft tender or work as an auxiliary power for a daysailer of up to 1.5 tonnes (3307 lbs).
You can schedule a test ride to check out the 3 hp outboard motor speed by yourself by filling out the form in one minute. Our partners will get in touch shortly to set it up for you.
The weight can be a big concern especially for small outboards like the 3 hp outboard motors.
You probably have already noticed that the boat usually has a rating like 20kg (44 lbs)/3HP on the transom plate, meaning the 3 HP outboard motors should not exceed the 20 kg (44 lbs) weight limit.
The motor weight is also important if you want to uninstall it anytime for storage, so it’s advised to get a compact and portable 3 hp outboard boat motor to save space and trouble.
A good option is the 3 hp electric outboard motor with integrated battery. Instead of the heavy lead-acid battery, it uses lithium batteries (same as the one used on your smart phones) that’s lightweight with higher efficiency.
Generally speaking, a quality 3 hp gas outboard motor costs $1050 (3 hp Mercury 4-stroke outboard), and an electric motor could start from $1999 (3 hp ePropulsion outboard motor).
You might be astonished by the 3 hp electric outboard motor price if you are new to electric boating. It’s indeed a huge upfront cost.
However for a more comprehensive view of the 3 hp outboard price, you need to include not only the motor price itself, but also the gas/electricity cost, and the maintenance fees during its whole service life.
And here is the total price of the 3 hp outboard motors as the service hour increases:
So it’s cost wise to invest in a 3 hp electric outboard motor if you are going to use the motor often for a long time. Also think about the bonus advantages of going electric!
And you can always get a cheap 3 hp outboard motor by looking for some old or used 3 hp motors for sale on the deal website. Remember to check its warranty to get the best deal.
But if you only use it occasionally, the 3 hp gas outboard motor could be a much more affordable option.
3 HP Electric Outboard Motors vs Gas Motors
Still hesitating about whether to go with an electric or gas 3 hp outboard motor? Or you just need more information about the trendy electric option?
Actually beside the cost which is a bit tricky with the 3 hp outboard motor, the electric motors are a clear winner in almost every way:
One of the most obvious advantages of the 3 hp electric outboard motor is that it is quiet without internal combustion. And it is not just for the pleasure of your boating but also the success of your fishing trips: It is so quiet that you will not spook the fish.
Here is a comparison between 3 hp gas outboard motors and electric ones:
If you are looking for the quietest small outboard motor for your boat, it’s better to get one with direct drive and FOC technology (like Spirit 1.0 Plus) which further reduces its internal moving parts and physical vibration, making the 3 hp outboard motor a lot more quieter.
Nobody will like the exhaust and terrible smell from the 3 hp gas outboard motor. Imagine that you are going on a family leisure trip, the exhaust would definitely be annoying.
By contract, the 3 hp electric outboard motor will not produce any exhaust, and therefore it protects the health of your family members as well as the environment.
The 3 hp electric outboard motor has no petrol and engine oil to stain your clothes, hands, and car trunk during the transportation, installation, and use. And that’s a big reason why electric motors are getting more and more popular these days.
Generally speaking, a 3 hp gas outboard requires maintenance about every 100 hours or 1 year. Again thanks to the brushless direct drive technology, the 3 hp electric outboard motor doesn’t need a gearbox, saving your time and money for regular maintenance.
Solar charging capability is especially beneficial for small outboards like the 3 hp outboard motors.
Taking ePropulsion Spirit 3 hp outboard motor for example, it can normally drive a 4-meter boat at a speed of 6 km/h (3.7 mph) with a runtime of 4 hours. And if there is 100W of solar power supplement, it can run for an entire day without recharge or battery swap even at high speed.
Some 3 hp gas outboard motors don't have F/N/R gearbox so you will need to take the trouble leaning over the transom to rotate the engine for reverse thrust.
And most 3 hp 2 stroke outboard motors don’t even have a neutral gear.
Things are much easier with 3 hp electric outboard motors. You can switch between the forward and reverse gear easily in seconds by rotating the tiller handle.
And some 3 hp outboard motors, including the ePropulsion Spirit, offer remote operation so you can intuitively drive and control your boat with a helm.
Further Reading: Explore more benefits of 3 hp electric outboard motors on this post.
Final Thoughts About 3 HP Outboard Motors
3 hp electric outboard motors are a clear winner in the market of small outboards with the unbeatable advantages as discussed above. And the higher upfront cost could be justified and remedied by cheaper electricity cost and maintenance fee over time.
That being said, if you are not willing to pay the high upfront cost and only plan to use the outboard occasionally, the 3 hp gas outboard motor could also be a choice, but be prepared for some inconveniences, whether you are going for 3 hp 2 stroke or 4 stroke outboard motors.