For those who are looking at getting into boating you may have come across the debate between inboard vs outboard motors. Although there are pros and cons for each, there is no clear-cut winner. It really boils down to personal preference and lifestyle. Let’s take a look at some of these key differences and the benefits of each.
Inboard motors are installed underneath the boat. These have historically been used in heavier and higher-quality boats. They typically provide more torque and control than outboard options.
Pros of Inboard Motors
- Better Fuel Efficiency
- Better Aesthetics
- Stability when Drifting
Cons of Inboard Motors
- Lower Top Speed
- Difficult Maintenance/Replacement
- Sits Deep in Water
- Loss of Cockpit Space
Outboard motors are the ones you see on the back of boats. They install easily and can rotate up out of the water when not in use. Although these typically have not been as strong, they are gaining in popularity and are becoming more comparable to inboard motors.
Pros of Outboard Motors
- Easier Maintenance/Replacement
- Sits High in Water
- Higher Top Speed
- Easy Storage
- More Cockpit Space
Cons of Outboard Motors
- Lower Fuel Efficiency
- May Need two Motors
- Less Stable when Drifting
What is the Difference
One of the main factors when making the decision between inboard vs outboard motors comes down to cost. Overall outboard motors are the most cost effective. These cost less not only to purchase but to replace when needed. Because they are not attached to the bottom of the boat, any repairs can be made easily without removing the boat from the water.
Although it would seem that outboard motors have lower maintenance costs this isn’t necessarily the case. They are easier to access for repair work, but parts for outboard motors are more expensive. On the other hand, repairs done for inboard motors require that the entire boat be removed from the water. This obviously is a more substantial labor cost then you would see for an outboard motor.
Salt water is another factor to consider when choosing between an inboard and outboard motor. Salt water is extremely corrosive and will cause problems for any motor type. However, outboard motors can be lifted out of the water or stored away completely when not in use, minimizing the amount of corrosion. Inboard motors on the other hand, will always be submerged in saltwater and subject to its corrosive effects. The only way to avoid this is to completely remove the boat from the water when not in use.
Space is another important factor when considering the type of motor you use for your boat. With already limited space this can make a huge difference in your daily comfort. Inboard motors take up substantially more space inside the cockpit. This means you have less storage and less room to maneuver about the boat. Outboard motors are attached to the back of the boat meaning that they take up no space inside of the cockpit leaving you more room for storage and relaxing.
Depending on what type of boating you’re planning on doing, speed may be a big factor. Although inboard motors have higher torque power and are typically more fuel efficient, they also have a lower top speed. This is because the boat sits lower in the water and creates drag. Inboard motors are less fuel efficient and have a lower torque power. However, outboard motors typically provide a higher top speed. This is because the boat sits higher in the water, has less drag, and the motor can be lifted for cruising.
There are so many factors to consider when choosing a boat, and making a decision between inboard vs outboard motors is just one of them. This is why turning to the professionals can make a big difference in your satisfaction with such an important purchase. Let us help you weigh the pros and cons so you can make the right decision for your boating needs.