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Small Motors for Boats: A Complete Buying Guide

Updated: Nov 13


Searching for small motors for boats to give you a better range and security in mind than paddling?

Look no further than an electric motor for your small boat, considering the power and range it could provide, its quiet nature, portability, and other unbeatable advantages (see part 1).


And the higher upfront cost of the electric motor for small boats can be easily compensated by longer runtime and less maintenance cost, making it a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Today we are going to talk about how to select the best small motors for boats that are portable, easy to start, and with a satisfying battery life and speed to get the best out of your small boats.

Also we will introduce the best small motors for boats ranging from 3 hp to 10 hp to satisfy your needs for inflatable boats, jon boats, and dinghies, etc.

Table of Content:

  • Why Electric Motor for Small Boat

  • Top 3 Small Motors for Boats in 2020

  • Small Engines for Boats Buying Guide

Why Electric Motors for Small Boats


Some of you might be considering between the more affordable trolling motors, small gas engines for boat, and the all-electric motor for small boats.

If you’ve done the research, you’ll find that the electric motors for small boats have a lot of unbeatable advantages compared to the trolling motor and small gas motors for boats, making it the most popular choice today for small boat owners.

And anglers choose the electric motor for small boats mainly for the following reasons:

One of the most obvious benefits of the electric motor for small boats is that it is so quiet (usually 55 db max) that you can hardly hear the engine noise at all, making the whole journey a lot more enjoyable and successful – no noise will spook the fish.

You can compare the noise difference between small gas motors for boats vs electric in this video:

Small motor models for boats in comparison: 3 hp ePropulsion electric motor vs 3 hp Mercury gas engine

The electric motors for small boats are a game changer for boating experience. If you are looking for a prime experience with your small boats, electric motors are the best choice.

With small electric motors for boats, you will gain more power than trolling motors and have comparable long trolling range as small gas motors for boats, but in a much more efficient way:


#1. Electric motor for small boats usually provides at least 3 hp power to get you to the fishing spot quietly and quickly. It is a huge power boost compared with the trolling motor that provides 112 lbs at best.


#2. Compared to small gas motors for boats, electric small outboards are much more efficient and environment friendly especially when trolling at slow speed


These two factors combined make small electric outboards for boats the best choice if you are looking for a little bit more power as an outboard and long battery life in general use.

Besides, a big winning point of small electric motors for boats is that it is highly integrated and portable with a light weight. For example, the 3 hp small motor for boat only weighs about 10 kg.

Unlike the gas small motors for boats, the electric types can fold its tiller and some small motors for boats (usually the models under 3 hp) even come with an integrated and light-weighted battery pack.


So the electric motor for small boat is just as convenient and you don’t need to worry about the heavy batteries issues as the higher horsepower motors.

We all know the pain of getting the small diesel motor for boats started. It’s loud and the manual starting cord is not friendly to the female and children when you are going on a family trip.

The electric small engine for boat is designed to save your headache with super easy electric start. Just turn on the electric throttle, you are ready to go.

You might have heard about the electric starting gas outboard, but the tricky thing is that it is usually only available for the large horsepower gas outboards (20 hp and above).

So if you are looking for a small motor for boat with electric starting, you will need an all-electric small motor for your boat.

Other than all the benefits mentioned above, the electric outboard motor for small boats have also inherited some big advantages from its “electric” nature:

  • Minimum maintenance

  • Clean, no petrol leak or stain

  • Exhaust-free

  • Solar charging capability

  • Helm Steering Compatibility

  • Neutral & Reverse Gear

Learn more details on this post: When You Need Small Motors for Boats, Do You Choose Electric or Petrol


Top 3 Small Motors for Boats in 2020


If you are in a hurry and want a quick answer on the best small motors for boats, check out the three small engines for boats that are proven to be a solid choice for users worldwide (with a distribution network covering over 40 countries over the world).

This 3 hp outboard is the most popular choice for people looking for a small motor for boats including the jon boats, dinghies, RIBs, tender boats, sailboats, and etc.

Thanks to the advanced direct-drive technology, the small motor for boat is totally maintenance-free for the lifetime, saving you a lot of trouble and money over time.

Ranked as a small motor for boat, it can still reach 9 km/h max speed to drive a 12 ft boat with 150 kg load and provide more than sufficient propulsion for a 10 ft tender or work as auxiliary power for daysailers of up to 1.5 tons.

Check out how this 3 hp small motor for boats work in the water:

Want a little more juice for your small boat like tenders, RIBs, small sailboats, and fishing boats?

This 6 hp small motor for boat would be your best option.

It works excellently with our exclusive Navy battery, so you don’t need to go through the trouble searching for the right battery type and brand. The Navy battery delivers the best performance for this small motor for boat.

The small motor for boat can get to 20 km/h at fast acceleration on a 12 ft boat with 150 kg load and can easily motorize a 3-ton boat, just as powerful as a 6 hp petrol outboard.

Check out how this 3 hp small motor for boats work in the water:

Some of you might look for a small motor for boats like bass boats, RIBs and workboats up to 6 tons, and want to level up the speed on the water.

In that case, this 9.9 hp small motor for boat will suit you better.

The best point for this small motor for boat is its advanced cooling system. With the closed-loop liquid cooling technology, the motor can handle much faster speed and acceleration.

The 9.9 hp small motor for boat delivers 27 km/h max speed when driving a 12 ft boat with 150 kg load and remain the top speed for hours.

Check out how this 9.9 hp small motor for boats work in the water:

Small Engines for Boats Buying Guide


It’s not that easy to decide a suitable small motor for boat given considerations to the numerous options available on the market:

Will the more affordable trolling motors do the job as a small engine for boat with decent battery life and speed? Or should you go electric or gas in terms of the small motors for boats?

  • Usually we will recommend anyone that want a superior boating experience (easy start without any noise and terrible smell) to go with electric motor for small boats.

  • Trolling motors are good tool for fishing and slow speed trolling, but if you want higher power than 112 lbs (the power rate of the most powerful trolling motor by far, equivalent to 1.87 hp), they are not a good choice.

So how to select motors for small boats? There are mainly two things to consider:

There is typically a metal tag inside the boat that tells you the maximum horsepower you can legally put on your boat.

But within that range, the ideal size of small motors for boats is actually decided on your boat type, boat load/weight, and your speed and range requirement.

Just to give you an easy reference, an ePropulsion 3 hp small engine for boat can power a 14-feet dinghy boat at 6.2 mph max speed, and also keep a 20-feet sailboat running at similar speed.

You can check how the small motors for boats perform in this performance bulletins first to find the closest reference model, or you may schedule a test ride to test the speed by yourself.

If you are not sure which brand to turn to, it’s always advised to check the small outboard motor reviews before actually getting one. Learning how the outboard motors work in the real life can help you understand what you’re going to deal with.

Also remember to check out the warranty of the small motors for boats and communicate with the dealers beforehand, which will be helpful in case there is anything that needs to be fixed during use in the future.

And that’s especially important if you are purchasing a used small motor for boats or one on sale.

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