As a sailing enthusiast, you’re bound to be interested in the most popular boat engines of 2021. You’ve seen the rise and shift in boat engine technology over the years, and 2021 has certainly seen its fair share of standout models. From remarkably silent electric outboards to high-powered inboards, the article offers a round-up of this year’s most impressive and sought-after boat engines. Are you on the lookout for an upgrade or just keeping up with the latest trends? Either way, the information in store for you will no doubt float your boat.

The Most Popular Boat Engines Of 2021

Understanding Boat Engines: Basics

Hey there, have you found yourself lost in the sea of boat engine options and don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Let’s start by explaining the basics so you can navigate your way to the best boat engine for you.

Boat engine categories

Boat engines can be categorized into several types primarily based on their location and structure, including outboard, inboard, sterndrive, electric, diesel, and jet engines. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses, which are essential in determining the perfect fit for your needs.

Comparing outboard, inboard and sterndrive

Outboard engines are versatile and simple to service. They are bolting to the transom of the boat. In contrast, inboard engines are located inside the boat and are known for power and smooth, quiet operation. Sterndrive, often considered a fusion of the outboard and inboard, gives optimal power without sacrificing space.

Types of boat fuel

Depending on your boat engine, you might need different types of fuel. The most common types are gasoline (used by many outboard and sterndrives engines), diesel (popular with large inboards), and electricity (used by electric engines).

Four-Stroke Outboard Engines

With the basics covered, let’s dive in deeper. First up, the four-stroke outboard engines.


Your four-stroke outboard engines are easy to handle due to their quiet operation, smooth power delivery, and excellent fuel economy. Not to mention their eco-friendliness, with lower emissions compared to their two-stroke counterparts.

Performance characteristics

Four-strokes deliver power every four movements of the piston (intake, compression, power, exhaust), meaning less noise, more stability, and overall a smoother ride. However, these engines tend to be heavier and less powerful compared to two-strokes.

Popular models of 2021

The Yamaha F115 and the Mercury Pro XS were hot favorites in 2021 due to their unrivaled reliability and performance.

Two-Stroke Outboard Engines

Next, we have the two-stroke outboard engines.


Two-stroke outboard engines are light and punchy, delivering power every other stroke. They’re relatively simpler, which makes them cheaper to maintain and repair.

Performance characteristics

Though noisy and less efficient in terms of fuel consumption, they excel in power-to-weight performance, making them perfect for speed lovers.

Popular models of 2021

The 2021 favorites included the Evinrude E-TEC G2 and the Yamaha VMAX SHO, praised for their performance and innovation.

Inboard Engines

Coming up next are the inboard engines.

Types of inboard engines

Inboard engines, often seen on larger boats, are installed within the hull. They are categorized into two types; direct drive and V-drive, named based on the drive shaft orientation.

Features and advantages

Inboards are loved for their power, fuel efficiency, and durability. Plus, being inside the hull reduces noise and vibration.

Popular inboard engine models of 2021

Top dogs in 2021 for inboard engines had to be the Volvo Penta D11-725 and the MAN V12-1900, winning fans with their impressive power and reliability.

The Most Popular Boat Engines Of 2021

Sterndrive Engines

Let’s now detail the sterndrive engines.

Distinctive characteristics

Think of sterndrives as the middle ground between inboards and outboards. They possess the maneuverability of outboards and the power of inboards.

Advantages and drawbacks

Sterndrives excel in their propulsion efficiency and power management but can be complicated and costly to maintain due to their intricate design.

Popular sterndrive engine models of 2021

In 2021, the MerCruiser 6.2L was a standout, drawing praise for its remarkable power and fuel efficiency.

Electric Boat Engines

Moving to more sustainable waters, we encounter electric boat engines.

Benefits of electric engines

Apart from being eco-friendly, electric engines are eerily quiet, have a lower running cost, and substantially reduce maintenance due to fewer moving parts.

Performance of electric engines

While they lack in power compared to their gas counterparts, they shine in the peaceful, emission-free sailing experience they provide.

Leading electric boat engines in 2021

Torqeedo Cruise and Minn Kota were popular models in 2021, both excelling in performance and innovation for electric propulsion technology.

Diesel Marine Engines

Next up, the beloved diesel marine engines.

Efficiency and economy of diesel engines

Diesel engines are both fuel-efficient and highly durable, making them suitable for long trips, heavy-duty purposes, and commercial usage.

Popular diesel engine models of 2021

2021 loved the Cummins QSB6 and Yanmar 6LY for their outstanding fuel efficiency and powerful yet smooth performance.

Jet Engines

Finally, let’s talk about jet engines.


Jet engines propel your boat by sucking water into the hull and shooting it out the stern, much like how a jet ski operates. They are renowned for their high-speed capabilities.

Optimal uses for jet engines

Jet engines are great for shallow waters since propellers are not exposed, reducing the risk of damage. However, they consume more fuel and are especially popular in personal watercraft.

Trending jet engine models of 2021

The Rotax 1630 ACE was a popular choice in the jet family due to its remarkable power and performance.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Boat Engine

So, what should you look into when searching for your perfect boat engine?

Fuel efficiency

Look at the engine’s fuel consumption to operate. More efficient engines could save you a bundle in running costs.

Power and speed

The power and speed capabilities should match your needs, whether it requires raw power for towing, high speed for racing, or moderate speed for leisure cruising.


How long your engine will last is crucial in determining the total cost of ownership.


Consider costs beyond the initial purchase, like fuel, maintenance, and potential repairs.

Ease of maintenance

Some engines may have more straightforward designs making maintenance easier and generally less expensive.

Maintaining Your Boat Engine

Finally, once you have your perfect engine, you’ll want to ensure it keeps purring like a kitten.

Routine maintenance guidelines

Regular oil changes, checking and replacing spark plugs, inspecting and cleaning fuel filters, and winterizing for cold seasons are among the basic maintenance tasks.

Common issues and solutions

Look out for overheating, high fuel consumption, low power, and unusual noises. These can point to more serious engine problems requiring attention.

And there you go, now you’re geared up with the knowledge to make an informed choice. Dive in, explore your options, and relish the waters with your dream boat engine. Happy boating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *