6 Best Outboard Motors for Saltwater of 2024

By Bryan ListorLast update: 2024-01-27

Choosing an outboard motor for your boat is a topic that requires certain technical knowledge and understanding of boats and motor. Is there any difference between an outboard for freshwater and one for saltwater?

What criteria should be taken into account when you shop for the best outboard motor for saltwater?

Here are the best outboard motors for saltwater (Apr 2024 Update):

  • Best Overall (2-Stroke Outboard Motors): Anbull 2 Stroke Boat Motor
  • Best For Small Yachts (2-Stroke Outboard Motors): SEA DOG WATER SPORTS Outboard Motor 2.5 Hp 2 Stroke
  • Best For Shallow Water (2-Stroke Outboard Motors): HANGKAI Outboard Motor, 3.6HP 2-Stroke
  • Best For Inflatable Boats (4-Stroke Outboard Motors): Sky 4-Stroke 1.4HP Superior Engine Outboard Motor
  • Fuel Efficient (4-Stroke Outboard Motors): SEA DOG WATER SPORTS 4 Stroke 4.0HP
  • Best For Fishing Boats (4-Stroke Outboard Motors): Enshey 3.6HP Outboard Motor
6 Best Outboard Motors For Saltwater
Best Overall
Anbull 2 Stroke Boat Motor
  • 2-Stroke Outboard Motors
Best For Small Yachts
SEA DOG WATER SPORTS Outboard Motor 2.5 Hp 2 Stroke
  • 2-Stroke Outboard Motors
Best For Shallow Water
HANGKAI Outboard Motor, 3.6HP 2-Stroke
  • 2-Stroke Outboard Motors
Best For Inflatable Boats
Sky 4-Stroke 1.4HP Superior Engine Outboard Motor
  • 4-Stroke Outboard Motors
Fuel Efficient
SEA DOG WATER SPORTS 4 Stroke 4.0HP
  • 4-Stroke Outboard Motors
Best For Fishing Boats
Enshey 3.6HP Outboard Motor
  • 4-Stroke Outboard Motors

Best Overall (2-Stroke Outboard Motors): Anbull 2 Stroke Boat Motor

Anbull 2 Stroke Boat Motor
Anbull 2 Stroke Boat Motor
Pros
  • Dependable - under a one-year warranty and 24/7 customer service
  • Energy-efficient, safe to use, and durable - 3.6HP motor with Air Cooling Technology, streamline corrosion-resistant propeller, and reinforced clamp and bracket
  • User-friendly - quickly start it from different angles
Cons
  • Not come with gear oil in the prop housing
  • Helpless directions

For sailboats, fishing boats, and inflatable boats, the Anbull 2 Stroke Boat Motor is our favorite choice.

Compared to the previous Anbull models, it’s been upgraded a lot to be eco-friendlier, easier to use, lower maintenance as well as more energy-efficient and more durable. Plus, it’s under a one-year warranty and 24/7 customer service.

That is a big thank you to the enhanced 3.6HP motor with Air Cooling Technology, the streamline corrosion-resistant propeller, and the reinforced clamp and bracket.

To ensure it won’t be broken during the shipping, Anbull also leverages its Styrofoam, key carton as well as the starter and rope construction.

You can quickly start it from different angles.

Anbull 2 Stroke Boat Motor Specifications

Horsepower

3.6 HP

Full Throttle Operating Range

4000-5000r/min

Fuel Consumption Per Hour

1.5L

Highlight Features

under a one-year warranty and 24/7 customer service

3.6HP motor with Air Cooling Technology, streamline corrosion-resistant propeller and reinforced clamp and bracket

quickly start it from different angles

Built for folks who want an indestructible, reliable, and easy-to-use outboard motor for saltwater, the Anbull is our best overall performer.

Best For Small Yachts (2-Stroke Outboard Motors): SEA DOG WATER SPORTS Outboard Motor 2.5 Hp 2 Stroke

SEA DOG WATER SPORTS Outboard Motor 2.5 Hp 2 Stroke
SEA DOG WATER SPORTS Outboard Motor 2.5 Hp 2 Stroke
Pros
  • Ideal for small yachts - a 2.5HP motor with 7500 RPM
  • Durable and energy-efficient - Air Cooling System
  • Easy maneuverability & storage – lightweight and compact design
Cons
  • The shear pin easily breaks
  • It does leak if you tilt the motor too far

The SEA DOG WATER SPORTS, featuring a 2.5HP motor with 7500 RPM of full throttle operating range, is our choice for small yachts.

Like the Anbull, it is designed with Air Cooling System for enhanced durability and energy efficiency. The design is robust and anti-corrosion yet compact and lightweight for simple storage when not in need.

A notable feature is its ultra-quiet operation. Great value for the money.

SEA DOG WATER SPORTS Outboard Motor 2.5 Hp 2 Stroke Specifications

Horsepower

2.5 HP

Full Throttle Operating Range

1.9kw/7500rpm

Fuel Consumption Per Hour

1.2L

Highlight Features

a 2.5HP motor with 7500 RPM

Air Cooling System

lightweight and compact design

We like this option for its quiet operation, anti-corrosion construction, lightness for easy maneuverability while the power is enough for small yachts.

Best For Shallow Water (2-Stroke Outboard Motors): HANGKAI Outboard Motor, 3.6HP 2-Stroke

HANGKAI Outboard Motor, 3.6HP 2-Stroke
HANGKAI Outboard Motor, 3.6HP 2-Stroke
Pros
  • Offer superior durability, performance, and power - vertical mount motor design
  • Better response and efficiency - engine stop button, twist grip throttle handle, and primer bulb with a high-grade carbonation system
  • Perfect for shallow water operation - tilt/lift features
  • Easy to start - a standard CDI ignition system
Cons
  • Overpriced

Our testers particularly love this model for its vertical mount motor design which offers superior durability, performance, and power to other competitors.

It’s built to give you better response and efficiency, with an emphasis on the engine stop button, twist grip throttle handle, and primer bulb with a high-grade carbonation system. For easy starting, there also comes a standard CDI ignition system.

But the real star is its tilt/lift features for shallow water operation.

Besides, while idling, it prohibits pro rotation excellently, all thanks to the start-in-gear protection/clutch. And with the 360-degree steering rotation, you can reverse it with no need to shift the gear. So convenient!

HANGKAI Outboard Motor, 3.6HP 2-Stroke Specifications

Horsepower

3.6HP

Highlight Features

vertical mount motor design

an engine stop button, twist grip throttle handle, and primer bulb with a high-grade carbonation system

tilt/lift features

a standard CDI ignition system

If you’re looking to improve the shallow water operation and convenience, we highly recommend the HANGKAI Outboard Motor.

Best For Inflatable Boats (4-Stroke Outboard Motors): Sky 4-Stroke 1.4HP Superior Engine Outboard Motor

Sky 4-Stroke 1.4HP Superior Engine Outboard Motor
Sky 4-Stroke 1.4HP Superior Engine Outboard Motor
Pros
  • Lightweight and compact yet durable – corrosion-resistant design
  • Reliable - CE-certified engine & backed by a one-year warranty
Cons
  • It’s loud

The 1.4HP 4-stroke engine of this outboard motor is powerful enough to push a four-person inflatable perfectly. The boat, hauling an adult and his gear that weighs around 250 pounds, is easy to reach 5MPH.

The construction is quite durable regardless of its compact silhouette. It’s resistant to corrosion while the additional twist-grip throttle offers safe control.

Buy it with ease in mind because aside from the CE-certified engine, your purchase is backed by a one-year warranty covering the motor and parts.

Sky 4-Stroke 1.4HP Superior Engine Outboard Motor Specifications

Horsepower

1.4HP

Full Throttle Operating Range

1.0kW/6500rpm

Fuel Consumption Per Hour

90ml

Highlight Features

corrosion-resistant design

CE-certified engine & backed by a one-year warranty

This 1.4HP 4-stroke outboard motor by Sky is powerful and functional enough to work flawlessly on any inflatables.

Fuel Efficient (4-Stroke Outboard Motors): SEA DOG WATER SPORTS 4 Stroke 4.0HP

SEA DOG WATER SPORTS 4 Stroke 4.0HP
SEA DOG WATER SPORTS 4 Stroke 4.0HP
Pros
  • Superior fuel efficiency - 4-stroke engine design applied the most advanced combustion chamber and the latest fuel-saving technology
  • Powerful - operation ranges of throttle opening: 5000 to 6000 RPM
  • User-friendly - a 360-degree rotary handle and a self-lock feature
Cons
  • Manual is confusing
  • Expensive

This 4HP saltwater outboard motor by SEA DOG WATER SPORTS is our pick for those people who want something more fuel-efficient.

Aside from the 4-stroke engine design, it highlights the most advanced combustion chamber and the latest fuel-saving technology. Its operation ranges of throttle opening are within 5000 to 6000 RPM while the maximum power output is 2.8 kilowatts.

Perfect for canoes, sailboats, fishing boats, and inflatable kayaks.

A huge plus for its CE-certified engine with a 360-degree rotary handle and a self-lock feature.

SEA DOG WATER SPORTS 4 Stroke 4.0HP Specifications

Horsepower

4.0HP

Full Throttle Operating Range

5000-6000RPM

Highlight Features

4-stroke engine design applied the most advanced combustion chamber and the latest fuel-saving technology

operation ranges of throttle opening: 5000 to 6000 RPM

a 360-degree rotary handle and a self-lock feature

Are you searching for the most fuel-efficient outboard motor for saltwater? Look no further!

Best For Fishing Boats (4-Stroke Outboard Motors): Enshey 3.6HP Outboard Motor

Enshey 3.6HP Outboard Motor
Enshey 3.6HP Outboard Motor
Pros
  • Powerful, easy to start, and durable yet lightweight - anti-corrosion cast aluminum construction and CDI ignition system
  • Superior performance - water cooling system
  • Quieter and eco-friendlier - the prop exhaust outlet
Cons
  • Pricey
  • The little plastic nuts could be stronger

If you’re a fisherman and looking to enhance your fishing boat speeds, try this outboard motor.

It is powerful, easy to start, and durable without adding much weight to your boat, all thanks to the anti-corrosion cast aluminum construction and CDI ignition system. The water cooling system makes its performance a lot better.

A big bonus is that it doesn’t emit as loud noise as other models due to the prop exhaust outlet.

This feature also helps release fewer pollutants to the environment.

Enshey 3.6HP Outboard Motor Specifications

Horsepower

3.6HP

Full Throttle Operating Range

5000-6000 RPM

Fuel Consumption Per Hour

1.8L

Highlight Features

anti-corrosion cast aluminum construction and CDI ignition system

water cooling system

the prop exhaust outlet

The Enshey 3.6HP Outboard Motor highlights an ultra-powerful yet quiet performance while emitting fewer pollutants, making it the best pick for fishing boats.

How To Choose The Best Outboard Motor For Saltwater?

Boat’s Size

The very first and most important factor to consider when choosing an outboard motor is the size of your boat.

The size of the motor should be in relation to the boat’s size or you end up facing several problems due to a size mismatch.

If the motor is too small for the boat, it will likely overwork itself, wear away quickly, and pose safety issues. On the other hand, if the motor is too big, it can cause overheating.

Outboard Motor Type

There are two types for you to choose from, four-stroke and two-stroke motors and the choice depends on your boating lifestyle and expectations.

Four-stroke motor run on gas only, they are reliable, clean, and smooth-running.

Meanwhile, two-stroke motors run on a mix of oil and gas, they are noisier and less smooth than four-stroke ones. But they are more fuel-efficient.

Mechanics and Parts Availability

This factor determines how easy it is to fix your motor when it breaks down, especially if you want to repair the motor yourself.

As a rule of thumb, an outboard motor with the newest, fanciest technology comes with parts that are the hardest to find. You should buy a motor whose parts are easy to find or sold online so you can get them when you need them.

Warranty

First of all, most companies offer a five-year warranty, so you should look for this or a longer time for a warranty.

Secondly, you should look into the policies of different companies for comparison.

Answer questions like whether the warranty allows for transferring shall you sell the boat, whether the warranty covers mechanic’s labor if you have it repaired, and what types of protection are included for corrosion issues.

Which Brands Make The Best Outboard Motor For Saltwater?

SEA DOG

Founded in 2016, this brand specializes in making products for outdoor water sports. Manufacturing with the highest standards in the industry, it promises quality and safety for you.

HANGKAI

Since its foundation in the 1990s, this brand has been offering products made with professional engineering and technicality. It has various motors for you to choose freely.

FAQs

Is saltwater bad for an outboard motor?

Yes, it is. But you can still use an outboard motor in saltwater with regular, preventative maintenance.

How fast will a 15hp boat motor go?

A 14-foot boat with a 15ph motor can move at 20-32 miles per hour depending on the number of people on the boat. The fewer people the faster it goes.

Do you need a special outboard motor for saltwater?

No, you don’t. What you need is proper maintenance for the outboard motor after using it in saltwater. Essentially, you need to run fresh water through its cooling system after each use to get rid of remaining salt deposits to prevent corrosion.

Can an outboard motor be used in saltwater?

Yes, you can definitely use an outboard motor in salt water as long as you take care of it properly.

What's better for saltwater: 2-stroke or 4-stroke outboards?

There seems to be no better choice between two-stroke and four-stroke motor in terms of speed. But they are different in certain aspects, the former weighs less and accelerates faster but the latter is quieter and offers more torque.

Conclusion

We hope that through this guide, you have figured out what to look for in the best outboard motor for saltwater. Every factor listed in this post is crucial and cannot be left out, so make sure you have considered them all before making a decision.


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