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6 Best Small Outboard Motors – (Reviews & Buying Guide 2021)

Having a boat is a pretty good way to relax and spend your free time without being bound with people you do not know, their time and their willingness to do something else. One of the most important things about the boat is the motor. Having the best small outboard motor is just a thing that helps you with the best experience you can have.

Having a reliable motor is essential as it is not only a matter of good performance but is often a matter of safety and convenience as well.

What types of outboard motors can you find? What are the benefits of using one? What else should you know about the engines and their use? Our team has done some research, collected new facts, relevant information and has compiled some small outboard motor reviews. All this can help you choose the right small motor for your boat.

Best Small Outboard Motors Comparison Chart

Sea Dog Water Sports Outbound Motor 2 Stroke

Sea Dog Water Sports Outbound Motor 2 Stroke

  • Price: $$$$$
  • Engine: 2 Stroke
  • Max speed: 4500~5500 r/min
  • Power: 6 HP
  • Ignition system: CDI 
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Enshey Boat Engine

Enshey Boat Engine

  • Price: $$
  • Engine: 4 stroke
  • Max speed: 5000-6000 r/min
  • Power: 3.6 HP
  • Ignition system: CDI 
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  • Price: $$$
  • Engine: 4 stroke
  • Max speed: 5000-6000 r/min
  • Power: 4 HP
  • Ignition system: CDI 
View On Amazon
Sea Dog Outboard Motor 2 Stroke 2.5 HP

Sea Dog Outboard Motor 2 Stroke 2.5 HP

  • Price: $
  • Engine: 2 Stroke
  • Max speed: 3000rpm 
  • Power: 2.5 HP
  • Ignition system: CDI 
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Leadallway 4Stroke 4HP Air Cooling Outboard Motor

Leadallway 4 Stroke 4HP Air Cooling Outboard Motor

  • Price: $$$
  • Engine: 4 Stroke
  • Max speed: 4000-5000 r/min
  • Power: 4HP
  • Ignition system: CDI 
View On Amazon

Best Small Outboard Motor for Boats (New List)

Let’s begin by highlighting the most excellent products of that class. Here you will see a list of 6 outboard motors and their write-ups. Nothing is arranged in any specific order because we understand that whatever suits you, might not suit someone else.

1. Sea Dog Water Sports Outbound Motor 2 Stroke

Sea Dog Water Sports Outbound Motor 2 StrokeIf you are looking for a traditional type of engine with 2 strokes, Sea Dog Water Sports is offering a good option that is compact and lightweight. Despite being a 2-stroke engine, it has 6hp which is quite durable and ideal for inflatable boats, fishing boats or small yachts. The motor has a fuel tank capacity of 2.5L. This is perhaps the largest fuel tank among all small outboard motor allowing you to plan a longer trip. The manufacturer recommends 92 Lead-free gasoline as a fuel option for better performance as well as longevity.

The engine is started manually, and it comes with a safe twist grip throttle control for easier maneuverability. Moreover, it has the 360 steering rotation which allows you to reverse without changing the gear.

The shaft is rather long-26 inches, and it is needless to say that you need to measure your boat to check if it fits or not. The motor is cooled by water and maintenance is quite simple. It is suitable for freshwater and saltwater.


  • 1-year warranty
  • Large fuel tank
  • Suitable for freshwater and saltwater


  • Difficult to start in cold weather.
  • Too expensive for a 2-stroke engine
  • 26 inches might be too long a shaft to fit some boats

2. Enshey Boat Engine

Enshey Boat EngineThis is a 55CC 3.6HP a light outboard boat engine, suitable for all kinds of vessels up to 1000 kg. Its durable cast aluminum construction is strong and stable, and it is equipped with an air cooling system. The twist-grip throttle handle is very comfortable and easy to start, and it features a 360-degree steering rotation. It weighs a mere 9.7 kg and runs at 5000-6000 rpm at full throttle. The warranty on this item is one year.

The 4-stroke engine is powered on 93 Lead-free gasoline, and we also recommend you add a special 4-stroke lubricant. The oil tank has a capacity of 1.8L. All necessary parts are included in the shipment, and a user manual included for easy installation.


  • Low noise
  • Comfortable throttle handle


  • May emit initial smoke and gas smell
  • Will not provide powerful thrust
  • The instruction manual can be misguiding.

3. SEA DOG WATER SPORTS Outboard Motor

SEA DOG WATER SPORTS Outboard MotorA 4-stroke 4HP outboard engine, this model is light and easy to carry, weighing just under 30 lbs. It can be mounted to an inflatable kayak, a fishing boat, a sailboat, or canoe. This single-cylinder motor can operate at a range of 5000-6000 rpm, equipped with an air cooling system and a manual choke valve starting mechanism. It can rotate 360 degrees but does not have a reverse gear. A versatile model, suitable both for freshwater or saltwater, this engine consumes less gas than some others in its category.

We recommend that you add special 4-stroke oil and clean the air filter each time after more than 5 hours of use for optimal use. In some cases, we found that the motor can overheat after continuous use, in which case we recommend you switch it off for about 20 minutes. The product comes with a 1-year warranty and an installation manual.


  • Energy efficient
  • Light and easy to carry
  • Suitable for freshwater or saltwater


  • No reverse gear
  • Oil may leak
  • Instruction manual not clear

4. Sea Dog Outboard Motor 2 Stroke 2.5 HP

Sea Dog Outboard Motor 2 Stroke 2.5 HPSuitable for both freshwater and saltwater, this outboard motor by Sea Dog Water Sports will give you more versatility. It happens to be among the lightest small outboard motor weighing only 21 pounds. For this reason, they are a popular choice for small boats.

This outboard motor is a 2-stroke traditional engine that will produce 2.5hp. It is fair to say that it doesn’t have the robust horsepower, but the motor is reliable. The engine can start without any problem under any weather condition. It is also well-built and will resist corrosion making it more durable.

The fuel tank capacity is 1.2L, and on a full tank, it will run for a couple of hours. The motor has an air cooling system. The throttle handle has a safe twist grip feature so that you can maneuver with ease. It has a CDI ignition system, and the engine needs to be started manually.


  • Compact and lightweight
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Competitive price


  • Only forward and neutral gear

5. Leadallway 4 Stroke 4HP Air Cooling Outboard Motor

Leadallway 4Stroke 4HP Air Cooling Outboard MotorThe best part of choosing a Leadallway outboard motor is that they consume less fuel as they use the latest fuel-saving technology. For this particular model, the maximum fuel consumption is 1.4L per hour.

The outboard motor features a start-in-gear protection clutch which prevents the propeller rotation while it is idle. Such a feature will be beneficial while fishing at your favorite spot. On top of that, it will make the motor run less often which will ultimately boost its durability.

It is a 4 stroke engine and has 4 Hp with an air cooling system. The unit weighs 23.8 pounds which are considered to be lightweight for an outboard motor. Thus, ideal for a small boat. The recommended fuel is No.93 gasoline

Another advantageous feature of this motor is the 360-degree steering rotation. This makes maneuvering easier as the boat can be reversed without shifting gear. It has a 17 inches shaft and will fit most boats. The motor is started manually by pulling the starter handle.


  • The 360-degree steering rotation feature
  • Low fuel consumption
  • start-in-gear protection


  • The instruction manual is not in English

6. Hafiy 2/4 Stroke Heavy Duty Outboard Motor

Hafiy 2/4 Stroke Heavy Duty   Outboard MotorHafiy displays both 2-stroke and 4-stroke outboard motors. The 2-stroke model produces 3.6 hp and comes with a cooling water system. The  4-stroke produces 4hp and has air cooling system. So evidently, both models do not lack the horsepower to give you significant speed. The rest of the features are similar for both models. They are reasonably priced and come with a fuel tank capacity of 1.2L. The recommended fuel is 93 Lead-free gasoline.

The unit is durable as it is made from cast aluminum. The motor has a start-in-gear protection feature which stops the propeller from rotating while it is idle. This will enhance the durability of the engine. It weighs only 21.6 pounds and can be easily mounted in any small boats such as kayak or canoe.

The engine is manually started by pulling the starter handle. Like most outboard motors, the unit also has a 360-degree steering rotation. This is very helpful in maneuvering as you can reverse without changing gear.


  • Sturdy as they are built with cast aluminum
  • start-in-gear protection
  • Affordable


  • The engine is hard to start in cold weather
  • A larger fuel tank capacity would have been more appropriate for such horsepower

What is the Outboard Motor?

The engine is one of the main marine elements when you prepare your boat for the water. In our case, we will focus on what an outboard motor is and how it works. The small outboard motor is an engine system for small watercraft. It consists of an engine (the powerhead), exhaust housing and gearbox. This motor provides propulsion, but you can also control the direction.

Types Of Outboard Motors

best small outboard motor

The first and most significant thing about choosing the right engine for your watercraft is the size, the weight and the power to be matched with the performance characteristic of the motor. Now you can take a quick look at the types of small outboard motors. We collected the most essential information to make the right choice easier.

  • Small two-stroke outboard motor

A two-stroke engine produces the consumption and compression strokes of the plunger in a single action. The expansion and exhaust strokes occur. The expansion stroke is the point, which generates the power that put the engine in motion. The exhaust, expansion, suction, and compression appear in ”two strokes”  of the piston. The Two-stroke outboards are cheap, light, they have simple construction, and they are sturdy enough.

  • Small four-stroke outboard motor

Four-stroke outboards have the same principle of work as the two-stroke motors. The four stages are shared in four strokes, making it a four-stroke engine. This type of motors runs smooth and silent. They do not need any oil which makes them ‘green’.

Both types of small outboards have their disadvantages:

  • Four-Stroke motors need extra maintenance and regular checkups. They are also more massive than the two-stroke.
  • Two-strokes motors are less fuel-efficient than the other engine. If you are living in the ‘green’ era, it is pretty essential to think about the pollution, so a significant disadvantage of the two-stroke motor is the addition of oil to fuel. It is not only harmful to nature, but it is also more expensive.

All engines, even the high-end trolling motors can be divided into two other categories – air-cooled outboards and water-cooled cooling outboards.

Air-cooled systems work be decreasing heat via a fan. They are currently produced only by a few manufacturers, but they are also small and not too convincing.

Water-cooled systems are a great alternative when the air is not an option. They use water to cool the engine. This system can be divided into two other categories – open loop cooling and closed-loop cooling. Small Outboard motors use in most cases closed-loop cooling.

Closed-loop cooling uses the surrounding water to cool the engine, but the water never enters the boat. Hot antifreeze goes around the inside of a ride plate, which disperses the heat into the surrounding water. Most waterways are much colder than the motor, the ride plate can transfer the heat out of the engine and into the water.

Benefits Of Small Outboard Motors

small outboard motor reviewsWhen you want to buy something, it is essential to know the main benefits of having the item. Here you can take a look and collect information about the advantage of using a small outboard engine.

  • Size and Space

We all know that free space is essential – in our bag, in our car, in our home and of course, on our boat. This group of outboards is called “small” not only because they are used for small watercraft, but also because they are compact. They give you enough free space on your boat, which you can use for something else.

  • Low speed

The small outboards are designed not only as an engine, but you can also control the direction of your watercraft. They are good with and without power, so docking and low-speed maneuvering are easy.

  • Cost

This type of engine is the cheapest one. The price is not the most relevant thing about the choice of a motor, but yes – it is a big advantage of the outboards.

  • Portability and Maintenance

The small outboard motors can be easily lifted out the water when they are not in use. The engine can be reached from the inside so it can be repaired faster. It can also be moved from the boat to be put in storage – if you do not need it – just grab it, put it in your garage or house, it will be safe, and you can do some checkups, only to be sure everything is okay with the engine.


All items that we buy have some advantages, but also some disadvantages. Here we have summed some information about the small outboards.

  • Theft

As you already read, the small outboard engines can be easily removed from the boat, which makes them easy to steal.

Our tip: If you decide to choose this type of motor, just keep them safe. Store them properly when they aren’t in use.

  • Dangerous Situations

If you plan to go sailing into a sea, you may experience some rough-sea-situation. In this case, outboards are not the right decision. It depends on where or when you are planning to sail. Be careful! Safety is the most important thing!

Features to Pay Attention to

small outboard motor featuresWhen you are buying the top outboard motor for your needs, it is good to consider the most important features of the motors. Our team has reviewed some of them:

  • Size

Yes, size matters. It is important about the balance and speed of the boat. If the engine is too big for the ship, it can lose its balance. This is a dangerous situation, so make the right choice about the size of the motor.

  • Weight

Be aware of the weight. If the motor is too heavy for your boat, it will not work right. Not only the size matters because the engine can be small, but heavy enough to make your vessel lose balance. The front side of the boat will go higher, and the rear end will be almost in the water. The watercraft will lose its speed and power, you will not be able to enjoy your outing.

  • Two-strokes vs Four-strokes

Our team already mentioned the differences between the two types of motors. If the environmental friendliness and the economy of fuel are essential for you – look for a four-stroke engine. If the power, simpler construction and the price matter more for you – choose the two-strokes one.

  • Electric Start

This feature lets you start the engine only pushing one button. The older recoil-start motors are more difficult to use sometimes – when you are in a hurry and need to start the motor fast. With the electric start button, you can start the outboard engine easily and quickly, and in some particular situations, this is very important.

  • High-Power Thrust

Some outboards have this feature for better performance with heavy watercraft – it is designed to produce more thrust for better maneuverability with heavier boats. If you have one of these beautiful, but really heave boat – you must mandatorily insist on this feature.

  • Horse-power

The horse-power is an essential feature for the vessel. Check it before buying the motor – if it is too powerful or not powerful enough – it will be problematic for smooth usage. The bigger the boat is, the more powerful the engine you will need.

Maintenance of Lightweight Motors

Some good news for you is that if you decided to take this type of engine, you wouldn’t need a marine battery charger because outboards motors don’t need such suppliers.  As you already saw, the maintenance of the engines is not something complicated, but now we will introduce you to some important details about it.

First of all, the maintenance depends on what type of engine you have. The best you can start with is the manual from the manufacturer. The most important information can be found there.

The oil change is crucial for all engines, and the outboards are no exception. In most cases, you should drain the waste oil through a drain hole instead of pumping it out. You should always check the oil level – using the dipstick, it is similar to the car.

Spark plugs must be changed once a year, but it is not a bad idea to have one, so you can replace the old one if needed.

Last but not least, always check the fuel level. It is bad for the fuel to be stored, even with the stabilizers added, modern fuels do not last very long when stored. The best thing you can do – every summer put some fresh fuel to your engine.

Supporting is essential for the life of the motor. Take proper care for it, and it will be reliable for a long time.


You have bought your engine, and now you need to install in on the boat. If you think that the installed motor will bother you, you can always consider buying a tray that will cover it. Reading the manual from the manufacturer, you will find information about the installation of a particular motor. Here are some more tips for it:

  • Be sure that you had to choose the right engine for the boat!

Yes, this is important, and you have already read it. But for your safety – keep the watercraft balanced.

  • Make sure that the engine is in the center if the after-deck.
  • Tighten the motor.
  • Make use you can move the middle part of the outboard up and down.
  • Follow the instruction from the manufacturer.
  • If the motor does not look right installed, call technicians – they will make sure if the engine is well installed or not. Safety first!
  • Use a safety cable in case of the motor bumps into a submerged object and is knocked from the transom. This cable will keep the motor from falling and sinking in this case.

Safety tips

  • Choose the engine about your boat! It is essential for the boat to have a suitable motor. The power, the size, even the weigh is significant. If you do not attend this rule, you may experience some dangerous situations and lose the balance of the watercraft.
  • Find the right place for the engine. It must always be in the center of the after-deck. When you find this particular spot for the motor, you will be able to keep the balance, to navigate your boat quickly and to be sure that you will not have any problems, while boating.
  • Check the possibility of the outboard to move! It must smoothly run left and right. If you have any problems with navigating, check the surrounding area. Maybe something is in the way of the propeller and impedes the motor from turning around. In this case, you may experience some troubles. Remove the obstacle and check again. If you have any other difficulties, remove the motor from the boat and put it back. If it does not help, call a technician – they will help you resolve the problem.
  • Check the connection on the motor. Listen carefully for strange sounds.
  • Start the motor and let the water pump do all the rest.
  • While using the motor, always check the water pump – just to be sure it works fine. Put your finger into the water carefully – it can be warm, but if it is hot – you have a problem. Stop the engine to prevent overheating.
  • Always use only fresh fuel. At the end of the season, drain the fuel. In spring – buy a new one, do not use stored fuel, it is bad for the motor.
  • Do not forget the maintenance of the outboard. It is essential for life. If you have some problems, do not try to fix it yourself, unless you are absolutely sure what you do. Take it off the boat and find a technician, qualified to repair engines.
  • Clean the motor properly. You can find information about the right kind of care in the manual from the manufacturer.
  • With trouble-free small outboard motor, you can enjoy sailing and spending your time in the water.

Wrap Up

Well done guys, you have successfully finished our article on finding the best small outboard motor. Having read our reviews of the best small outboard motor and our additional information and tips, you now realize that finding a reliable product can be a bit hard.

If you think our guide was helpful and it could be useful for other boat lovers as well, don’t forget to share it with them. Also, if there is anything you would like to add or you want to tell us, write a comment or send to our team an email- we love feedback from you.

We hope you like what you just read. Make sure you will find some free time to check out the other articles devoted to choosing the marine supplies for you. Thanks for reading, and stay put!

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