Best Marine Lightweight Small Outboard Motors (Boat Engines) for Freshwater/Saltwater

Posted by Author David Lee
2-Stroke Outboard Motors

2-stroke outboard motors are iconic powerhouses in the boating world, renowned for their simplicity, lightweight, and high power-to-weight ratio. These engines operate on a two-stroke cycle, delivering impressive acceleration and speed, making them popular choices for smaller boats, fishing vessels, and water sports. Key points include their compact design, making them easy to handle and ideal for portable applications. 2-stroke outboards are known for their lower initial cost and easier maintenance compared to 4-stroke counterparts. However, they tend to be less fuel-efficient and may produce more emissions. Despite these drawbacks, their simplicity and robust performance continue to attract boaters looking for a reliable and dynamic engine, particularly in scenarios where weight and size are critical considerations.

Types of Boat Engines

There are always some problems related to fishing trips or family vacations on a boat. Paddling is one of them. However, the boat can be fitted with a motor to fully replace manual efforts to simplify this job. It’s essential to realize that many factors must be considered when selecting a motor boat. The most important factors are outlined below.

Boat mount type for a motor

Each engine is attached to a boat by its own method. There are actually a lot of fasteners out there. most popular, however, are outboard motors attached to the transom (a special strip on the boat’s stern). There are also some nuances here, though. Motor mount is important to be the same as the size of the transom. Therefore, the technique of attachment and suggested transom sizes should be given unique attention when selecting. Otherwise, the motor may not reach the water or sink too deeply. Considering the transom thickness is also essential. High-power engines can simply break the attachment point. We have chosen for you a couple of separate gasoline motors with distinct dimensions and power. To make the correct, balanced decision, take a closer look at the suggested models.

Engine power

When selecting a boat’s engine, the second most important parameter is power. Many other motor parameters depend on power, such as size, maximum travel speed, maximum load, noise level during operation, etc. As a rule, outboard low-speed engines have a small power and because of that they differ in small size and low noise level. However, the maximum speed and load they gain are quite low. maximum size of a boat on which the motor can be mounted depends on power too. larger and heavier the boat, the higher the power required to move a boat by a engine. It is also important to realize that the more powerful the engine is, the more fuel it consumes. Here it is important to pin down a priority: economy, low speed and compactness, or power and speed. Several different gasoline motor models with different power are selected for you. You can easily choose the best option out of this range.

There are two motor types: 2-stroke and 4-stroke.

Two-stroke boat motor

Two-stroke engines have a simpler design, compact size and light weight. With their advantages and disadvantages, these are quite reliable motors. disadvantages include:

  • High fuel consumption.
  • Low power.
  • Low efficiency.
  • Gasoline must be mixed with oil before refueling.

Despite the disadvantages, there are still some pluses for two-stroke motors:
They’re quiet.

  • Low weight.
  • Compact size.
  • Operation and maintenance-friendly.
  • Low cost.

They’re also cheaper than their four-stroke competitors. These are, in fact, compact, reliable, low-minority, but operation-friendly engines. And maintaining and repairing them is much easier. We picked up for you a couple of different two-stroke motors. Look at the array and choose the right product.

Four-stroke boat engine

Four-stroke motors are more advanced engines with a greater efficiency compared to two-stoke. They have many benefits:

  • Higher efficiency.
  • High power.
  • Superb reliability.
  • Affordable.

There is also a reverse side of the coin, though:

  • A higher noise level that requires an improved silencing system that increases size and weight.
  • Heavier.
  • More demanding of timely service.

However, despite these drawbacks, four-stroke engines are still considered more reliable. Higher efficiency is the most important parameter, followed by all manufacturers. Therefore, four-stroke engines are in great demand than two-stroke ones. However, it all depends on personal requirements. After all, four-stroke engines are more expensive than two-stroke. Familiarize yourself with the range and choose the most optimal engine model for your needs.

Fuel consumption

Fuel consumption is one of the most important parameters. This indicator shows how far per liter of fuel you can travel. There’s such a relationship here: the more powerful the motor is, the shorter the distance it can travel from 1 liter of gasoline. boat’s weight and load also affects consumption. The heavier the engine must push, the more it consumes fuel. To calculate correctly how much fuel is needed to cover the required distance, it is important to know the flow rate. You might even have to bring a spare canister with you. Note that four-stroke motors are more cost-effective than two-stroke motors. Electric engines also have their own consumption of charge, calculated in terms of the traveled distance per 1 kW of energy. The rule is that the more weight a motor needs to push, the more energy it consumes; and this rule applies to all engines types. We picked up for you a couple of different engine models. Look at the assortment and choose the right motor.

Fuel tank size (battery capacity)

fuel tank size gives you an understanding of how much fuel you can add to the motor and how far you can travel. Finding the best option in this regard is also important. The more powerful and faster the engine is, the larger fuel tank you need, the higher the fuel consumption. But at the same time, an excessively large tank is oversized and overweight. Manufacturers therefore always try to offer the optimum tank volume. The same rules apply to electric motor batteries. The greater the battery’s capacity, the greater the battery’s size and weight. We made some reviews and picked for you some of the best boat motors. Check the range, study the engines’ technical features carefully, and make the best choice.

Air motor cooling system

Since the motor is running on liquid fuel, you should understand that it is heated heavily and needs to be cooled. Air motor cooling is the best option when compactness and light weight are the first priority for medium-to low-power engines. air cooling system is not as effective as the liquid cooling system, but it does not require additional elements (such as a pump, a separate fan, nozzles, etc.). The engine itself is made up of a special heat conducting alloy and is equipped with special fans to this extent. In cool weather, this kind of cooling is quite effective. And understanding that the higher the speed, the better the cooling is important here. This is a cheaper option, but the motor will need to be stopped and cooled down from time to time with prolonged loads. This is ideal, though, with less prolonged moderate loads, as such cooling does not increase the engine’s size or weight. We’ve selected some of the best air-cooled boat motor models for you. Check out the options available to purchase your boat’s best and finest motor.

Liquid motor cooling system

In all weather conditions, the liquid cooling system is more advanced and efficient. Its disadvantages, however, include increased weight and dimensions as well as several additional components that require maintenance as well. In return, you get an efficient cooling system that maintain the best temperature mode even for the most powerful engines. If you use a large boat that needs a large and powerful engine, buying a motor with such a cooling system makes sense. In addition, the liquid cooling system with constant loads is highly efficient. This system enables you to sail lengthy distances without stopping the motor for cooling. We reviewed and selected some of the best liquid-cooled boat engine models for you. Look at the models proposed and choose accurately.

Fresh and salt water motors

When selecting a boat’s motor, it is important to select a motor suitable for the type of water it will be used in. fact is that fresh water is not as aggressive as salty. Therefore, fresh water-designed motors have lower corrosion protection levels. And in salty water these models are not permitted. Choosing a motor that is designed for any type of water is important. They are produced of unique materials with the highest resistance to corrosion and aggressive environs. In both fresh and salt water, such motors can be used. They have a slightly higher cost at the same time, which is explained by more durable and corrosion-resistant materials. We’ve chosen some of the finest engine models for you, appropriate for various water kinds, both fresh and salty. Look at the varieties and make your decision.

Control Type

All outboard motors essentially have the same working principle, consisting of a particular handle called a tiller. There are, however, various kinds of tillers:

  • A rigid tiller that cannot be tilted or removed. It is always in the same position.
  • An adjustable angle tiller that enables to set the most convenient angle in the manufacturer’s prescribed interval.
  • A folding tiller that not only allows you to adjust the tilt angle, but also, if necessary, to fold it fully.

These options simplify the operation of the boat. Check out the product range, which includes various types of tillers, and select the most appropriate.

Manual motor start

first thing you need to do before you take off is to start the engine. And motors have a unique manual start system for this purpose. To rotate the engine flywheel, you need to pull the appropriate handle, setting the starting push. This motor start technique has its benefits. First, the design is lighter and more compact than the automatic start. Second, it’s cheaper. Third, there is no need for the engine to automatically start a starter and battery, which considerably decreases the engine weight. It is worth noting that the manual motor starting system is commonly installed on weaker engines. When starting, the more powerful models require a lot of effort, so it is extremely difficult to manually start these engines. It’s better to buy a manual motor if you prefer compactness and portability. We have selected several manually started motor models from the best manufacturers for you. Easy start, reliability and economy define them. Study the models proposed and make the right choice.

Automatic start

If you don’t have enough strength to manually start the engine, if you prefer comfort, while compactness is not so essential to you, we have chosen specially for you several boat motor designs with automatic engine start. It is a reliable and time-tested system that does not fail from top manufacturers. These motors are of the highest quality, high power and reliability. Just press a special button or turn the key in the ignition switch (depending on the model) to start the engine. A battery-powered starter will do all the work for you.

Maximum tiller angle of rotation

motor is equipped with a special rotating mechanism to control the boat, which turns the whole engine. Knowing that the maximum angle of rotation depends on the type of motor and manufacturer is important. We have chosen a few boat motors from worldwide brands that provide you with different rotation angles. Many models have a rotation angle of 360 degrees. This solution eliminates the need for reversal, making the engine lighter and more efficient. Check the range of products, study the technical features of the models carefully and make the right choice.

Depending on the fuel they run, outboard engines can be grouped into several kinds:

  • Gasoline.
  • Gas.
  • Diesel.
  • Electric (electricity is used as a fuel and a battery is the power source).

Diesel boat engines

most common types are gasoline and diesel engines. Diesel motors have a higher efficiency than gasoline motors, but they are also more cost-effective. Nevertheless, they also have drawbacks:

  • Heavy weight.
  • A more sophisticated fuel system.
  • A fuel injection pump (high pressure pump) is additionally installed.

All these shortcomings overlap the advantages of engines such as:

  • Ease of use.
  • High power.
  • Reliability.
  • Durability.

Because of these DCI motor features, they are usually mounted on heavier and bigger boats that require high power. Such engines are four-stroke at all times.

Boat gasoline motors

There are also advantages for gasoline engines , all of which relate to the ease of use. They’re not as long-lasting as diesel, but they’re lighter and more compact, they can be two or four-stroke. You can always choose the most suitable version for your boat thanks to this variability. We invite you to choose a motor from among the best gasoline and diesel motors that we offer. Look at the assortment and choose the proper one. Two and four-stroke gasoline and four-stroke diesel models are included in the range.

Maximum travel speed

Each boat engine has a maximum speed limit. This limitation is due to engine power. A pattern for this is: the greater the power, the greater the maximum velocity. If speed is important to you, choosing four-stroke (diesel) high-power engines is better. These models, however, make a lot of noise. It is necessary to give preference to high-power models if speed is important to you and silence is not so important. Pay attention to lightweight two-stroke models if you respect silence and disregard speed. Several engine models have been selected for you, including high-power four-stroke motors and small two-stroke versions. Check the range of products, read the specifications and make your choice.

Outboards Types

Large Outboard Motors

Large outboards affixed to the transom using clamps and are either tiller steer up to approx 100hp. Propellers have full body corrosion resistant finish. Thus providing an efficient glide through the water. Including, fast starts in fresh or saltwater.

Small Portable Outboard Engines

Small outboard motors, up to 15 horsepower or so are easily portable. They are affixed to the boat via clamps, and thus easily moved from boat to boat. This type of motor is typically used to power small craft such as jon boats, dinghies, canoes, etc. Built to provide auxiliary power for sailboats. These can be also used for trolling aboard larger craft, as small outboards are typically more efficient at trolling speeds.

Electric-powered Outboards

Electric outboard motors are self contained propulsory units for jon boats, dinghies, canoes, sailboats, ect. They are powered with an alternating current (AC) or DC electric motor in the power head like a conventional gas engine.

Pump-jet propulsion

Pump-jet propulsion is available as an option on most outboard motors. Although less efficient than an open propeller, they are particularly useful in applications where the ability to operate in very shallow water is important.

How to Choose the Right Outboard Motor for Your Boat

There are some main criteria for the best outboard motors: weight and size, build quality, refinement, the right shaft, motor power.

Buying an outbord power boat requires making a lot of decisions, and one of the most important decisions that you’ll have to make is what size outbord to get on the boat. How are you going to make that choice? Well, here are three tips that will help you figure out the best size power plan for you.

1. Real Speed

Number one, when you sea trial a boat, remember that the cruising speed that you see is probably 10 to 15% higher than that boat’s real world cruising speed. Why? Well dealer boats aren’t loaded down with gear, passengers, full fuel tanks, full water tanks. You put all this extra weight on the boat after you take delivery and then what happens? Cruising speed drops.

2. Price

Number two, price is probably front and center in your mind, but don’t be fooled by the lower price point of a smaller outbord, because when you get the bigger outbord, that money usually comes back to you in the longterm. thing is a lot of people like a lot of power, and so when you go to resell your boat down the line, boats that have bigger power plants tend to sell faster and tend to bring a little more money.

3. Control Systems

Third, consider the control systems. In some cases when you’re looking at an outbord, if you get a slightly larger outbord, that will also come with digital throttle and shift. Believe me, it’s a much better system than the old shifter and cables. It’s more reliable, it’s smoother to operate, in all ways it’s superior. So if you’re looking at, say, a 150 that doesn’t come with digital shift and throttle, and you’re looking at a 200 that does, it may be worth paying that extra price just to get that nicer control system. Well, I hope you find the right boat and I hope these three tips help you pick the right outbord.


Compact Quiet 2.6-HP Outboard Marine Motor (Side Mount Engine) by Coleman is reliable lightweight aluminum alloy model with corrosion protection. TCI ignition for easy starting, fan shifting with 360-degree steering.

7-HP 4-Stroke Small Powerful Outboard Motor/Engine for Inflatable Boat, Fishing Boat, Small Yacht by Hangkai is corrosion-resistant model and it has easy tiller control.

2.5-HP 2-Stroke Freshwater/Saltwater Outboard Motor (Inflatable Fishing Boat Engine) for Inflatable Boat, Fishing Boat, Sailboats, Small Yacht by SeaGog has professional standards performanc and engine air cooling system. It’s durable, lightweight and anti-corrosive construction. It has economical and compact structure and works with little noise.

4hp Small Marine Boat Side Mount Outboard Engine for Small Fishing Boat by Leadallway has advanced fuel saving technology, air cooling technology and environmental friendly working.

Compact Lightweight Quiet 3.5hp Heavy-Duty Outboard Marine Engine/Motor for Inflatable or Fishing Boat by Sky Company has engine water cooling system. The construction is durable, lightweight and anti-corrosive, the structure is economical and compact. It fits inflatable boat, fishing boat, sailboat, small yacht.

3.5-7hp Outboard Motor (Boat Engine) with Cooling System for Sailboat, Small Yacht by Wupui is corrosion resistant and eco-friendly model. It perfect fits freshwater and saltwater and it most fits inflatable boats, rubber boats or fishing boats.

4hp Marine Small Outboard Marine Engine/Motor for Inflatable Fishing Boat by Dominty is 360 degree steering rotation model for reverse without gear shifting. Fuel saving, strong horsepower, easy pull off engine cover.

Compact Lightweight 18-HP 2-Stroke Outboard Motor/Engine for Inflatable Fishing Boat SeaDog has engine water cooling system; durable, steering friction adjustment. Short axis, professional standards performance, lightweight and anti-corrosive construction.

See Also Best Inflatable Boats Review is a source where the post 2-Stroke Outboard Motors appeared first.

Comments to Review

  1. I have gone through three different boats with the Sea Water Sports engine. All of them were unfortunate incidences and punctures and leaks. However, the propeller worked great on all three which really helped me with some finances to keep fishing as I do!

  2. I am really happy with my new Hangkai motor. It seems to have a really smooth tiller and I haven’t had any problems or complaints yet. The ease of installation was great and I am hoping that it lasts me quite a while. My last one wasn’t great and quit out on me in the middle of the lake last time.

  3. Garry White says:

    The HANGKAI 2-4Stroke Outboard Boat Motor is More Reliable and Corrosion Resistant. This Beautiful Durable model has an Energy-Efficient mode to be Environmentally Friendly. It’s an Easy Maintenance model and Very Conviniet For Daily Use.

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