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Feb 5, 2023  •  7 min

Types of Outboard Motor Controls

Outboard motor controls are crucial accessories to steer your outboard, adjust the power of the outboard, and unlock the exciting trip on the water.

Learning the types of outboard motors can help you understand what options you have when choosing your next outboard motor which will greatly affect the pricing and installation process.

In this post, I will introduce the major types of outboard controls with tips on your installation and top recommendations of the most popular outboard motor with controls so you can discover the best option for your boat.

Table of content:

Editor’s Note: If you are looking for brand-specific outboard motor controls, such as the Mercury outboard motor controls or Yamaha outboard remote controls, you can download and read their product user manuals for detailed information. 

Major Types of Outboard Motor Controls

How do you control an outboard motor?

This is a common question you will be asked before your outboard motor order is confirmed. Generally, you will have two options in terms of the outboard motor controls and steering.

#1. Tiller Control

The tiller control allows you to steer your outboard motors through its built-in handles. With the tiller outboard motor control, you can easily adjust the speed by twisting the throttle and control the direction by pulling or pushing the handle.

Remote Outboard Motor Control

Reverse gear is available on the tiller outboard motor control by twisting the throttle backward.

Tiller Control Reverse Gear

The installation of the tiller outboard motor control is rather intuitive and can be finished within a few minutes. Taking the most popular tiller outboard motor ePropulsion Navy Series as an example, you only need to install the tiller holder plate (included in the package) and push the tiller to fix it into place.

Here is a video tutorial to show you how to install the tiller outboard motor control easily.

The tiller outboard motor control system is most popular among small outboards due to its simplicity and affordability with space saving as a big bonus. If you prefer the back-of-the-boat steering, the tiller outboard motor control would be the best option for you.

Tip: The tiller outboard motor control may not be as intuitive as its installation. Always remember that the bow of your boat will go the opposite way as you pull or push the tiller. Check our comprehensive guide for the tiller outboards to learn more about it.

#2. Remote Control

Compared with the tiller outboard motor control, the remote control is realized through the top or side mount controller (for adjusting the speed) and wheel steering (for changing the direction).

The remote outboard motor control works in a similar way to the cars. The control box is usually installed on the right or left side of the consoles which allows you to control the outboards intuitively and remotely. The remote control is commonly seen on larger boats that provide extra space to accommodate the whole setup.

Tiller Outboard Motor Control

The dual remote control is also available if you are running twin motors, which is a plus if you prefer the outboard motor solution and want more power for your boat.

The installation of remote outboard motor control is a bit complicated compared with the tiller types. The remote control usually requires a wired setup for better reliability. You will need to drill holes in your boat to fix the throttle to the desired place, and then use the communication cable to connect it to the outboard.

Here is a video to show you how to install the remote outboard motor control properly in steps.

Tip: If you wish to have a wireless outboard motor remote control, you may also connect the side or top mount wirelessly with selected outboards such as the ePropulsion Spirit and Navy Series. Just remember to have your remote properly charged to make sure there is no downtime for your motor.

Outboard Motor with Controls

Outboard motors with controls are the easiest solution to go if you want a quick outboard motor setup for your boat since it avoids compatibility issues and saves your time for searching all the accessories required. 

Making it even more convenient, the electric outboards are now available and affordable with various control options and advanced features.

Check out the top outboard motor with controls to see the amazing features you can enjoy now.

#1. Spirit 1.0 Plus

Although the tiller outboard motor control is a common practice for both combustion and electric outboards, the electric one goes a long way in terms of its convenience and ease of use.

Spirit Outboard Tiller Control

Just press the button on the tiller and turn the electric throttle, and you are ready to go. There will be no more hassle of pull-start, noise, and vibration. Instead, you will enjoy a quiet, clean, easy, and exhaust-free journey.

Besides that, the digital display on the tiller control keeps you informed of all the necessary information about your boat all the time, including the real-time power, remaining runtime, battery level, operating voltage, etc.

The bonus point for this outboard motor is that you can also connect it with remote control easily (either wired or wirelessly). This is the only motor in the market that provides remote outboard motor control at its power range.

Spirit 1.0 Remote Control

Check out its quick tutorial for remote outboard motor control:

#2. Navy Series Outboards

The Navy series outboards have all the control options the Spirit model provides plus side mount control and dual remote control, which offers more power and higher flexibility in installation.

Navy Outboard Motor

Available in two different power ranges and four different outboard motor control systems, the Navy series outboards can suit your needs for a variety of boating and installation applications.

Navy Outboard Motor Control Options

It’s worth mentioning that both outboard motor remote controls support solar charging, so you will have fewer worries about running out of battery very soon even if it’s connected to the outboard wirelessly. Always remember to keep the solar panel facing toward the sunlight to get a better charging effect.

Outboard Remote Control Solar Panel

FAQs About Outboard Motor Control

The outboard motor control can be easy if you select the outboard motors wisely. Here are some common questions regarding the outboard motor controls that I’ve been asked for the past few years. If you have any other confusion about the outboard throttle control and steering, leave it in the comment below and I will get back to you asap.

1. How do you control an outboard motor?

The outboard motor can be controlled via a connected tiller or remote, depending on your boat setup and installation requirements. Although the remote can be connected to the outboard wirelessly, it needs to be fixed on your boat and a handheld wireless remote control unit is still not available currently.

2. How do outboard controls work?

You can control the steering and power of the tiller outboard motor by twisting the throttle, and pulling or pushing the handle. For the remote control, the steering wheel and the remote work in a similar way as the car operation.

3. Do outboard motors come with controls?

Most outboard motors are sold with controls and it’s suggested to purchase outboard motors with controls to avoid possible compatibility issues.

Tadd Bartley
May 6, 2023

Hi, I am looking at the Evo 6.0. I want to be able to control it remotely. I see there is a wireless controller offered. Its seems this controller can control speed, but can it also be used for steering? If not, what are my options for remote steering?

May 8, 2023

Hi Tadd,
The remote controller can control speed, but not the direction. A steering wheel and link arm needs to be installed.

July 31, 2023

I remove the tiller handle and installed linkage from another Mercury, do I have to have specific type of controls for outboard? How do I know what type of controls or model to use? 1989 Mercury 2 stroke 25 hp

August 4, 2023

Hello Deb! The 25HP motor recommends that you use the steering wheel with the remote throttle.
ePropulsion’s controllers only support ePropulsion motor for communication and use. You can contact the dealer nearby for consultation on the control.

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