A boat steering system can make a huge difference in the way your boat is working. So, it’s important to look for the best small boat steering systems out there. Without such a unit, you risk being left in the middle of nowhere when you least expect it.
How do you choose the best system, though? Looking for a great one can be tricky, especially with how cluttered the market is with similar products. Not to mention that it’s just difficult to figure out how one product is better than the other in this regard.
But this buying guide is meant to make things easier for you. Here, you are going to find useful details about small boat steering systems, and maybe one of the products we reviewed will be what you need.
Best Small Boat Steering Systems Comparison Chart
Uflex ROTECH12 Rotech Rotary Steering System
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SeaStar Solutions Back Mount Rack Steering System
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Mophorn 150HP Hydraulic Outboard Steering Kit Boat Marine System
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Seastar Safe-T Quick Connect Rotary Steering System
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Baystar Kit Hydraulic Steering Kit with Compact Cylinder
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Best Small Boat Steering Systems Reviews (Updated List)
1. Uflex ROTECH12 Rotech Rotary Steering System
This Uflex small boat steering system is amazing, mostly because it’s able to offer you a wider area that reduces lost motion and improves durability. This is great because it means you will not experience any issues when it comes to the durability of the product. On the contrary, it will last long enough for you to make great use of it, which is essential for any steering system.
What’s also great about this particular product is that Rotech reduces the steering effort, thus delivering more balanced loads on the steering wheel. The kit comes with a steering cable, helm, and a 90-degree bezel.
Additionally, the helm doesn’t need as much room behind the dash, as it’s centered on the main drive shaft. As a result, this needs no new holes in order to be installed, as it’s just a direct “drop-in” replacement for a competing system. It comes for a convenient price too, so you’ll experience the amazing benefits for less money.
- Isn’t too pricey
- Will be able to give you more balanced loads on the steering wheel
- It’s quite durable and you won’t deal with any issues in this regard
- Has a helm, steering cable, and 90-degree bezel
- Can be installed very easily as it needs no new holes
- The cable may be too big to use
2. SeaStar Solutions Back Mount Rack Steering System
Easy installation is a true benefit, so if you really want to make sure you don’t struggle to install your boat steering system, SeaStar has the solution for you. It comes with a back-mount design, which features a very simple installation. That being said, not a lot of effort will have to go into installing your system. The cool thing is that it can be installed easily even in a tighter space.
It’s also quite durable. Even after a few months of being used, it’s meant to last – that’s why it’s such a good feature to take into consideration. It is heavy-duty and corrosion-resistant. This is great since you are going to expose it to water. It can also be a good fit for old boats and will offer very smooth steering as well.
The kit will come with a helm, 90° bezel and hardware, and cable. Not to mention that it also meets the NMMA requirements and ABYC safety standards.
- Safe to use
- Comes with cable, 90° bezel and hardware, and a helm
- Can be installed very easily
- Sometimes, the helm will not fit with the console for the rack assembly
3. Mophorn 150HP Hydraulic Outboard Steering Kit Boat Marine System
With a quality build, this Mophorn boat steering system can be of great use. It has a nylon hose that will immediately fit a ¼ pipe. This makes the installation easy and smooth. What’s even better about this is that it can be reused. The pump also has a shaft seal that can be replaced very easily. Overall, having replaceable and reusable parts make this boat steering system very user-friendly.
There is a built-in two-way lock that will not allow any rebound torque during torsion – this offers much better performance. Not to mention that there is a hydraulic pump with a compact internal structure, as well as a very nice looking exterior. The performance will be amazing, and if you buy it, you can use it with boats rated to a 150 HP maximum.
For added durability, this unit has an aluminum alloy casing. Therefore, wear resistance, as well as corrosion resistance, is ensured. This is a necessity since you’ll be dealing with seawater.
- Durable product
- No rebound torque during torsion
- 150 HP
- Wear and corrosion resistant
- Easy to install
- Doesn’t fit all 150 HP outboards
4. Seastar Safe-T Quick Connect Rotary Steering System
Something is very impressive about this boat steering system: it has a quick-response of 3 turn lock-to-lock, as well as steel cable ends, which makes the operation smoother and the cables more durable. But aside from that, the unit is also amazing because it doesn’t need any tools to be connected to the helm. It features easy installation.
It could really allow your boat to steer much easier, which is what you’re looking for if you want a good experience while on the water. Moreover, we loved how much quality is packed with this unit. It comes with high-quality parts and with pretty much everything that you need, such as steering hub, hub cover, steering cable, and all bolts and brackets.
You can rest assured that this product will last you a good amount of time. If you are looking for something that you will not have to replace anytime soon, then it may be a good fit.
- Very durable boat steering system
- Comes with every part that you need
- Easy to install
- Has a quick-response of 3 turn lock-to-lock
- May not fit every boat
- Might not come with a 9-foot cable
5. Baystar Kit Hydraulic Steering Kit with Compact Cylinder
With steering systems, even small ones, you need something powerful enough so that your boat doesn’t fail in the middle of anywhere. Baystar Kit didn’t overlook this aspect, which is why this system has 150 horsepower. To make sure it’s effective, this kit comes with multiple things, such as a filler kit, a BayStar help pump, BayStar cylinder, and Hydraulic steering fluid.
We really liked how affordable this unit was, compared to other small steering systems. But for the price, it can offer you a wonderful performance. Of course, it’s important to mention that this steering system isn’t intended for high performance and high-speed type boats. It’s for a single station, single-engine use only.
Furthermore, the system is very durable, which means you will not have to worry about potentially having to replace it too soon. It will last you long enough. It is pretty easy to install, and you will not experience any difficulties in doing so.
- Can be installed very easily and quickly
- Durable construction
- It’s not as expensive as other similar products
- Has 150 horsepower
- The instructions are well-written and easy to understand
- The hoses are not too flexible
The Boat Steering System – What Exactly Is It?
Before you get a boat steering system, it’s important to understand what this type of boat equipment is. Every kind of boat accessory has a certain role in helping you live life on a boat. For example, a marine solar panel is of great help when your boat battery dies.
On the other hand, a boat steering system is made of various cables and parts. These will connect the steering wheel to the boat’s helm. All in all, they help you drive the boat in a specific direction, as they work in a push-pull method. Since the helm is connected to the motor of the boat, it can easily do this.
Therefore, if you want to properly drive your boat, a boat steering system is a must. It is a very good and useful system and together with a GPS boat speedometer, it will get you in the right direction. You will just have to provide it with a lot of maintenance, as these systems risk malfunctioning if wear and tear affect them. The more frequently you use the boat steering system, the more you will have to provide maintenance to it.
Types of Boat Steering Systems to Choose From
Even boat steering systems will come in different types, and it’s your responsibility to get informed and end up choosing the best one. Picking the best type of boat steering system is the only way to make sure you will get the performance you are looking for.
So, there are three main types of steering systems, respectively:
Rotary Steering System
A rotary steering system will use either gear pieces or wheels that the steering cables are feed through the helms, being very good and durable. It’s a great steering system for people who want to ensure durability and want to feel in control at all times. It will basically allow you more control of your vessel whenever you need, which is what makes it such a good system.
Hydraulic Steering System
Do you have a larger boat or one that is generally fast? If that’s the case, a hydraulic steering system is what you should be looking for. Hydraulic steering systems are very commonly found on the market, and they are suitable for larger, faster boats. But you should be aware that this is also the most expensive type of steering system that you are going to find, so you have to prepare your budget.
Rack Steering System
Out of these types of steering systems that you are going to find, the rack steering system is the cheapest one. But that’s not all – it’s also the easiest one to install into boats, which is another advantage.
A rack steering system will work to make sure the steering wheel’s rotational motion will be converted into linear motion. As a result, you will find it much easier to turn the steering wheel, offering you a smoother experience while you’re on your boat.
Buying Guide – What Should You Look for in a Boat Steering System?
Before you even think of purchasing a new boat steering system, you should know what to look for in such a product. There are specific traits that a good steering system will possess, and you must be aware of them. With that being said, here’s what you should take into account first.
You will definitely need to provide a lot of maintenance to your boat steering system, so it’s really not something to overlook. More often than not, the one area that requires more maintenance than the others will be the cables.
But to help yourself when it comes to maintenance, you need to make sure there aren’t too many obstructions between the cable, wheel, and helm. You need to ensure you take the most direct route when installing the cables. Furthermore, do not make too many cable bends.
Nowadays, most cables will not require a lot of maintenance – not unless you use them a lot. Thus, it’s important to pick a boat steering system that will resist and isn’t prone to wear and tear that easily.
If you need a steering system to replace the old one, then you should know that you need to pick the same type of steering system that the boat had before. That being said, if you were using a hydraulic boat steering system before, you will need a new hydraulic steering system when you eventually have to replace it. So, think about what type of steering system you were using before, and make sure to get the same one.
But there are a few situations when you can replace the old system, though. If you want to switch from a mechanical one to a hydraulic one, then a change of system will be worth it. In general, hydraulic systems are better. Just keep in mind that they are pricier, and you may have to make additional changes within your boat if you want this.
Cables may be the most important part of the steering system, so you cannot afford to spend cash on the wrong items. You must get the exact length that you need for your cables before purchasing a new boat steering system. So, you should check how many feet the cable of the wanted steer system has. Don’t overlook the fact that it will affect the price, though.
Boat steering systems are not that expensive. In general, you can find these systems for a little over $100, which is not such a bad price. You just need to make sure you don’t solely rely on the price when buying the boat steering system. Take a look at whether the price versus quality value is worth it. You can do so by checking the specifications and the reviews of the product.
How many turns does it take for a boat steering wheel to go from lock to lock? Well, the more turns there are, the less helm pressure you will have to deal with. That being said, it’s ideal to pick something with more turns, as having fewer turns will add more pressure and make things harder.
Searching for small boat steering systems can be a true struggle if you don’t know what to look for. We hope our buying guide was detailed enough to help you pick a worthy product. Now, you know how to make the difference between different types of steering systems and search for the right features.