Inboard vs. Outboard Motors: Which is Better?

Recently, the new boat models tend to come with outboard motors. Do you think it’s a sign that the outboards are better than the inboard types? Which of these machines would be best for your boat?

Well, you are about to find out. Here, we’ll touch on inboard vs. outboard motors.

Yes, it’s safe to choose what you deem as the best engine. It’s because motors are the heart of your boat as you move to the waters.

At some point, most boat owners love to update their engines. But before you pick between an outboard and an inboard motor, you should know the details of each machine. If you are ready, let’s first see the meaning of these motors.

What’s an Inboard Motor?

What’s an Inboard Motor

As the name sounds, an inboard motor is the one that’s inside the boat and at the hull.  This machine comes in two parts.

One is the powerhead that looks like a car’s engine. Also, the other one is the drive shaft found on the propeller. These two parts work together to ensure your boat moves.

You can see an inboard motor when you look at the rudder that steers the boat or ship. People use them on fishing boats to provide a lower balance as they move.

Also, larger boats and ships can use inboard motors. But here, you’ll need the big size inboards which you can’t place on the rear hull.

What’s an Outboard Motor?

What’s an Outboard Motor

With this motor, you’ll see that the whole machine is on the outer part of the boat’s transom. You can easily reach it from the rear mounting point. It also comes with a handle grip to steer and tilt the ship.

Different from the inboard motors, the motor is in three parts. Its upper part has the powerhead, and the middle area connects it to the lower part.

This middle area is firm because of 4 to 6 nuts. Lastly, there is the lower section that’s close to the propeller. So, together, these three areas push the boat forward.

Many fishing, fun, or small business boat owners love to use the outboard motors. It’s because the machine is easy to handle. You can also remove them from sitting in the waters at the dock.

inboard vs outboard – The difference in the Specs

Besides knowing what these motors look like, some features will help you pick between the two. So, keep reading as we look at aspects like speed, how the motors draft, fuel costs, servicing, and the prices.

1. Speed

1. Speed

If you love to see boats moving fast, this might be the point you choose between the two motors. Both of them are fast, but here is the difference in the speeds of these machines.

Inboard Motor

Yes, the inboard motors will move your boat fast but not like when you use an outboard machine. Expect them to drag your boat in the water. Also, the horsepower of these machines doesn’t allow you to move to higher speeds, unlike the outboard devices.

Besides the power, these machines need much thrust to move your boat. This aspect means that the motor needs more energy to get speed. Remember, it won’t be best if you want your small boat to move fast.

Outboard Motor

Today, one of the reasons people get outboard motors is that it moves boats fast. As technology grows, outboard motors also become better.

So, most firms now make outboard machines that make you enjoy the speeds. When you have outdoor motors like Yamaha 425, Seven Marine 627, or Mercury 450R, be ready to move faster on water.

You can place much horsepower on your boat with this machine. Expect it to trim the motor as it takes the hull from the water. This move prevents the ship from dragging in the water.

2. Fuel Usage

2. Fuel Usage

Sometimes, when the budget isn’t a problem for you, fuel consumption won’t be a problem. But still, it’s good to know how much your machine needs to move.

Remember, the type of fuel can affect how much your motor uses. You might use REC 90 fuel for speed or the normal ethanol-blended one. So, let’s see how these motors differ from this feature.

Inboard Motor

Though inboards aren’t as fast as the outboard motors, they’ll use lesser fuel. You’ll spend less on your trips.

Though, in the past, these engines used to consume more fuel. But today, thanks to technology, the issue is long gone.

You’ll have more time to cruise around the waters. Once the fuel tank is complete, you can move for over 300 miles.

Outboard Motor

These motors use more fuel to make your boat move faster on the waters. When the tank is full, this machine can allow you to cruise lesser miles than when you’d use an inboard motor. So, that’s why you’ll get them on small speed boats or the ones people use for fun.

Yes, it’s possible to increase the fuel capacity of this boat. Things will be fine, but the machine will, later on, have issues.

3. How long do they last?

3. How long do they last

When buying any machine, the issue of longevity is very vital. So, which one of the two motors can last longer?

Inboard Motor

Inboard motors tend to last for around 6000 hours as you move. It can be because most people use these machines for long-distance cruising and even watersports. But they can even last for many years if you look after them well.

Outboard Motor

Some years back, outboard motors didn’t last for a long time. But technology has made the machines even last for 8000 to 1000 cruising hours.

This period will depend on the number of motors you have. Also, the engine will last longer if you maintain it well.

4. Service

4. Service

You’ll have an easier time when you have a machine that won’t be tough to maintain. Remember, this option also applies to the engineers. But between the inboard and outboard motors, which should you choose regarding service?

Inboard Motor

Most inboard motors can give a bit of a hard time when servicing them. The main reason is that it’s hard to access the parts.

Saltwater and vapor can damage the motors when you open them to maintain them. So, you’ll have to take the bard away from the waters. But these machines don’t need many services.

You’ll also pay less to service these motors. However, it will cost you more dollars to replace an inboard motor because of replacing the parts.

Outboard Motor

When it comes to service and maintenance, many people prefer outboard motors. Well, mainly it’s because you can access parts easily. So, you can remove the cowling and the whole engine to see that all is okay.

Besides reaching the parts, the motors are in a simple shape. Also, these three parts have a case that protects them from some harsh waters.

After using your boat, you can remove the motor from the boat. It doesn’t matter where you’ll be or the weather.

But while cruising, it’s easy for moisture to damage these motors. It’s because outdoor engines lack a drain to remove the water when you place the boat off the waters. Also, expect to pay more to maintain them.

5. Price

Before you buy any motor, the price will always be a key determinant. So, below are what each engine will cost you in today’s market.

Inboard Motor

These machines will cost you less money than buying the outboard ones. Well, the price of the parts ranges from 200 to 500 dollars. Remember, there are two parts.

The brand of the motor and size of your boat will also determine if the price will be higher or not. Also, placing the engine inside the hull might make the costs slightly the same as an outboard motor. But you know how to install the motor through the DIY way; it will save your money.

Outboard Motor

Expect these machines to cost you more dollars. Well, the high prices come in because of the sizes of boats. The greater the feet, the more outboard motors you’ll need.

It will cost you around $300 to $1000 to get a 4-stroke outboard motor for your boat. So, the prices may even go up depending on the size of your boat. Also, the brand of the machine you choose can increase the costs.

6. Noise

6. Noise

Sometimes, you may love a motor because it has less noise. But there is a slight noise difference between outboard and an inboard motor. Please read one to find out.

Inboard Motor

Yes, there won’t be too much noise but be sure that inboard machines will be a bit noisy. Well, it’s because these motors are inside the hull.

So, the noise will come in as the boat will be rattling the hull. Remember, since it also uses diesel that makes the motor to have less noise and smell.

Outboard Motor

Expect the outboard motors to make lesser noise for you when moving. These machines sound like supercar motors.

Also, since they are diesel motors, expect them to have a smooth sound that will be easy to love. You can even forget that you have the device on your boat.


Today, the debate between the inboard and outboard motors is among the best. Many people give different views regarding their usage.

But, picking the best between the two will depend on many things. It can be your budget, type and size of the boat, and the purpose of your boat.

It will be cheaper if you know how to install an inboard motor. Otherwise, inboard engines have almost the same price as the outboard ones.

The outboards move faster than inboards. Also, the outboard motors tend to give out a slightly better sound as you move.

So, between the two machines, which one has won your heart? Please let us know what you think.

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