Electric Outboard Vs Petrol: Making the Right Choice

Electric Outboard Vs Petrol: Making the Right Choice

An electric outboard motor is a perfect propulsion solution for a variety of small vessels. These include dinghies, tenders, canoes, kayaks, skiffs, and jon boats. These motors provide a variety of advantages to their user, such as ease of use, dynamic horsepower and superior battery life. When shopping around for an outboard motor, sometimes people get confused between these and trolling motors. However, it’s crucial to remember that trolling motors are different and designed to provide less power and range.

(Check out our previous post: Outboard Motors vs Trolling Motors).

A reliable small outboard motor should be lightweight and quiet yet powerful enough to effortlessly get you from point A to point B, even when dealing with tides or choppy waters. When shopping around, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed by nearly endless options, and this feeling can be worsened with more affordable choices becoming available daily.

To help drown out the noise and assist you in making the right choice, ePropulsion has put together this comparison between portable electric boat motors and small petrol outboards, highlighting some of the advantages of going electric to help you make a quick decision.

Small Outboard Motor: Electric vs Petrol

Here we list the top 5 reasons and occasions you should consider an electric outboard vs a small petrol engine. 

#1. Quiet 

For those who partake in fishing, whether recreationally or not, a quiet boat motor may be a valuable piece of technology that can prevent you from scaring the fish away. One of the benefits of an electric outboard motor is that it is just that; quiet.

An electric outboard may be your best solution if you want to cruise silently up and down the river. Small electric outboards are surprisingly quiet because they don’t rely on the internal combustion which causes the loud noise and vibration emitted from a petrol motor. 

Thanks to industry-leading direct drive technology, the number of internal moving parts in small outboard motors has been reduced, which means they generate next-level quietness. The sound emitted from an engine depends wholly on its size and structure. Electric outboards without gears, for example, will emit 30 - 60 decibels, whereas motors with gears will likely emit nearer 70 decibels, making them slightly louder. 

That being said, both are significantly quieter than combustion engines, allowing you to enjoy the sound of nature. 

Here is a video comparison between small petrol boat motors and their electric counterparts: 

Key takeaway: If quietness is your top priority, small electric outboards will be your best choice. You will feel the difference immediately once you switch over to electric motors. 

#2. Lightweight  

Portability is another crucial factor when choosing a small boat engine. Usually, small portable outboards can be lifted by hand, making them easy to transport, attach and remove from your boat. The weight of petrol and small electric outboards is neck and neck, generally ranging from 9 kg – 10 kg for a 3 HP outboard motor. However, the buyer should bear in mind the weight of fuel required for small petrol outboards and the battery pack for electric motors. Small electric motors usually come with built-in batteries for easy installation and transportation, making them a more portable solution.

#3. Power & Range

Horsepower can be a big drawback for lighter or cheaper small outboard motors. With smaller boat motors, such as trolling motors rated by thrust, users might have difficulty moving forward when caught in a gale or strong tide, even at max speed.

If you need more power to help you feel safer on the water, you should consider some higher-powered small outboards, and 2.5 or 3 hp small outboards can be a good starting point when dealing with hazardous elements.

For instance, a 3 HP small outboard may give you around 4.5 mph speed, 5 hours runtime, and 22 miles range with a single charge of its battery.


#4. Easy to Use & Maintain 

You can forget about having to pull a cord every time you want to fire up the engine. With electric outboard motors, you only need to press one button and are ready to go. It’s simple to use for everyone, from experienced users to those just starting out.

The electric outboard motor is constructed for a premium experience. It’s easy to operate with a built-in tiller handle, and with its convenient digital display, you can stay informed of the real-time battery status. Some small boat motors featuring direct drive technology are maintenance-free, saving you time and money.

It’s also good to remember that electric outboards are far more eco-friendly, meaning you get to do your bit for the environment.


#5. Price 

The price might be a significant factor putting you off buying a small electric outboard motor. When making a big purchase, it can be tempting to look for the cheapest option and save yourself a quick buck.

While it’s true that the initial cost of an electric outboard is higher than its petrol counterpart, it’s crucial to bear in mind that a purchase like this is an investment. By investing in an electric motor, you are receiving a superior user experience in return, and you’ll be compensated by saving on petrol costs and maintenance fees. It’s also good to remember that by shopping around and doing a little research, you can invest in a piece of equipment that doesn’t break the bank.


Small outboard motors have the ability to provide a lot of conveniences and a premium experience for your boating activities. Electric outboard motors offer a range of benefits compared to their petrol-powered counterparts, and it's important to consider whether or not these advantages will benefit you. Electric outboards don’t rely on the internal combustion which causes the loud noise and vibration emitted from a petrol motor, so If quietness is your top priority, a small electric outboard will be your best choice.

Small electric motors also usually come with built-in batteries for easy installation and transportation, making them a more portable solution while providing you with adequate horsepower. Electric outboards also offer direct drive technology and a digital display. While they may carry a slightly heftier price tag when compared to internal combustion engines, they will deliver you a greater return on investment.

Whether you plan to use your boat to roam around the shallow river near your home or you want to travel against a current, the benefits of a small outboard motor truly outweigh the costs.

How We Can Help

ePropulsion is the one-stop shop for all your small outboard motor needs. We pride ourselves on our range of products and our knowledge and expertise.

Check out our selection of small outboard motors here, or get in touch on 1300 590 951. Alternatively, follow the chat link to speak with us online.