Canoe Motor - Help!

-- Last Updated: Dec-12-05 1:21 PM EST --

I convinced my wife to get me a canoe motor for Christmas.

Here's the dilemma, do I get a gas or electric powered motor? I figure the gas motor creates more noise, but the electric motor requires a very heavy battery. Plus, if we go on three day trips, the electric motor wouldn't last long at all.

Finally, even if I decided on a gas motor, for the life of me I can't find one.


You are asking here about a motor?
Isn’t there an

If you must…
They’re noisy and smell bad but 2 hp 4 stroke honda should do.

Why not paddle?

lots of places to get motors
try boat trader or do a web search. Lots of new and used outboards available.

One thing about gas motors: They need gas. That has to be factored into your trip planning.

electric vs gas
Paddles are cheaper, never run out of juice or gas, are nice to the environment. And they are good exercise.

Is cost no object?

– Last Updated: Dec-12-05 3:45 PM EST –

Most people opt for electric just due to initial cost. As far as the need to "factor in the need for fuel" if you use gas, that's really not a problem, because you can travel much much farther on just a few pounds of gas than you can travel with a 60- or 70-pound battery before it needs recharging. As far as four-cycle hondas being "noisy", I can't agree. At slow speeds, no one will hear you coming until you are right on top of them, and at full throttle it'll still be infinitely quieter than two or three river dorks in a rented canoe carrying a cooler full of beer (remember, we're talking four-stroke engines here,. not old-fashioned two-strokes, which can be pretty noisy).

If price is an object and your trips are within the cruising range of a battery, go electric. If not, go four-cycle gas. Since you are comparing electric and gas as equal contenders, I suspect you don't need a gas engine any bigger than 2 or 3 H.P. If you want to go faster than that, electrics are out of the question anyway, and you also should have a square-stern canoe (side-mounting a 4- or 5-horse motor isn't a good idea). Personally, I've noticed that used *small* outboard motors are pretty scarce on market, but it sure doesn't hurt to do some looking through classified ads anyway (most people who use such motors aren't the type who need to "trade up" to something "better", so they just buy them and keep them forever).

I’ve meant to experiment,…
…but haven’t gotten around to using a small battery like those used in golf carts, whelchairs, etc., with an electric boat motor. I suspect the charge on one would last for 4-6 hours, especially with the light load of a canoe, and it would be substantially easier to carry to and from the boat. And don’t listen to the Real Paddlers who insist you shouldn’t use a motor. They have a right to their fun, but this is an equal opportunity activity. Some of us may have physical limitations which a motor would help with, or maybe we just want to do it.

Seems to me a REAL paddler would just straddle a log and paddle with his/her hands.

what do you mean

– Last Updated: Dec-12-05 5:40 PM EST –

you can't find one? Are you looking for used? If you're looking for new, you can check out to compare several brands.There's a price list on their site as well. I have an old 3.5 nissan that had served me quite well on my dinghy. Weighs 22 pounds, 1/3 gallon integral tank would run over an hour. Needs a carb, motors yours for $50 but you have to come to CT. to get it.

thank you, thank you, thank you
Very good information that will be put to good use.

I’m an addicted paddler that frequently goes on trips. The specific reason I wanted a canoe motor is for Lake Okechobee here in Florida. Because it’s so large, and often very very windy, it’s hard for us to go very far. In addition, we’ve never been able to peak out of the mangroves in the keys into the ocean due to waves and winds. I figure a motor will give me some additional opportunities that a paddle won’t.

A little out of my reach! I wonder what shipping would cost…


– Last Updated: Dec-12-05 7:06 PM EST –

Honda makes a nice outboard, but the two hp. four stroke is a bit noisy. I believe it's aircooled and has no water jacket quieting things down. As a sailor, I have seen thousands of small outboards powering dinghies. In my opinion, yamaha is probably the best quality, nissan far and away the most popular. My little 3.5 served me well for 10 seasons, then the float for the carb bounced out of whack, probably due to the 130 mile round trip weekly to my sailboat in the back of a one ton pickup. I bought a new dinghy and a 6 hp nissan and have been reasonably happy with the 6. I'd recommend the 2.5 or 3.5 nissan for your canoe. Being 2 strokes, they are very light, and if you're just putting along, are reasonably quiet as well. Fuel consumption is not an issue. A gallon will last roughly 4 hours.Whatever you do keep me informed; I love little outboard motors. Though you're not paddling, you're still being fairly unobtrusive and they really do open up more options with small boats.

Remarks from a tinkerer
Thanks for explaining why a 2-HP Honda is loud. I guess the only small 4-stroke motors I’ve heard must have been water-cooled models. On that subject, all the small air-cooled motors I’ve seen have plain pipe threads connecting the muffler to the cylinder head, and I’ve seen more than a few such motors “cobble-rigged” with a bigger muffler (sometimes home-built) which really cuts down on noise. I bet a person could do that with an air-cooled outboard motor, too.

Briggs and Stratton
was my first muffler modification, back when I was about 9. Had a 2.5 h.p. lawnmower, needed more power. Took the spring to the governor off and replaced it with a piece of coat hanger. Unscrewed the muffler and got a piece of downspout to fit somehow. Had a big upswing to the pipe, looked just like Big Daddies dragster. Fired that mother up, man it was mean. Probably went 2 grand past redline, the bolts holding the motor to the frame shook loose, the motor twisted, fuel leaked, we were ON FIRE. Mom must have heard my 2.5 horse top fueler, 'cuz the fire department was already there. Dad came home from work, said “guess we’ll get you the 3.5 horsepower lawnmower.” Figured I could get that bad boy up to 5 horse easy…