Ending the Inboard Vs. Outboard Engine Debate: The Complete Comparison Guide

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One of the top decisions you will have to make when buying a boat is choosing the engine. In most cases, your decision will come down to two options: an inboard engine or an outboard engine. As the names imply, outboard engines are usually mounted outside the boat and vice versa. Each option comes with its pros and cons. What's more, each option works best on different types of boats. Therefore, knowing what sets the two apart is crucial and will help you figure out what suits you the most. Here is an in-depth look into four essential elements that separate the engine styles.


Cost is among the top considerations you will make when choosing between an inboard and an outboard engine for your boat. While the price will often vary depending on the engine size, inboard engines tend to be costlier up-front. However, this usually pays off in operating and maintenance costs. Inboard engines' design is such that they are hidden from the outside elements, unlike their outboard counterparts. Therefore, they are less likely to become damaged.


Inboard engines may be longer-lasting and less susceptible to external damage than their outboard equivalents. However, your inboard engine may pick up a few problems down the line as with many engines. When this happens, it is usually more complex to perform the necessary repairs. Since your inboard engine will typically be hidden in an engine room on your boat, it will not be as straightforward to access or remove it to make the required repairs as it would with an outboard engine.


Your boat's draught refers to the distance between the vessel's lowest point and the waterline's top level. It determines how deep your boat can go below the water surface, which is essential in many ways. For instance, it will come in handy if you dock in shallow waters or when navigating shallow waters. Your outboard motor's tilt can be adjusted or trimmed up to give your boat some extra draught, which is critically necessary when anchoring in shallow tidal waters.

Noise and Aesthetics

If you are concerned about your engine's noise levels and your boat's aesthetics, go for an inboard engine. It is hidden away in an engine room, ideal if you want to enjoy some quiet on your boat. Inboard engines also make it more practical to add recreational amenities like a swimming pool at the back of your boat.

For more information, contact a marine engineer company.