We pit six of the best 5hp outboard engines against each other in a head-to-head group test on the Solent to find out which is best
- Price: £1,150
- Top speed: 4.5 knots
- 0-top speed: 6.3 seconds
- Noise (idle/cruise/top): 74/85/89dB(A)
- Weight: 21.9kg
- Warranty: 3 years
- Contact: www.lehruk.com
The propane-powered Lehr is the curve ball of the group. LPG became popular in the car market when petrol prices rocketed.
Here the appeal is the ease and cleanliness of storing sealed gas canisters instead of leaky petrol cans and the near odourless exhaust emissions.
Build quality – 3/5
Because Lehr is a young brand we’re unsure of reliability, although it does have a three-year warranty. The feel of many of the parts, such as the gas connector, are impressive although the cowling clips are a bit flimsy.
The block itself looks similar to a previous Yamaha but without evidence of longevity or dealer back-up, we can’t be more generous with the marks here. No alternator option is available.
Performance – 2/5
The Lehr was the slowest engine on test. On two runs it failed to reach an average of more than 4.5 knots, well shy of the 5-knot target. Acceleration was also mediocre, taking 6.3 seconds to reach its top speed.
Refinement – 2/5
This was the loudest engine at idle and escalated as we piled on the revs. At its top speed it’s the same volume as the Tohatsu and Mariner (89dB(A)) although it sounded slightly rougher.
Ease of use – 4/5
Carrying the engine is easy thanks to a large handle on the back. The side-mounted gear lever is smaller than average making it slightly awkward to change gear quickly and it required a hefty tug to start but at just 22kg it’s the lightest engine here.
Tank size – 4/5
With no petrol to leak from an in-built tank nor fumes to gather in a tender garage, it’s easy to see the appeal of sealed propane canisters.
A 6kg domestic bottle – the same stuff that powers on-board cookers – should last a full season, while the smaller camping style refills are easy to store but cost around £7 and last from 40mins to 2hrs depending on how hard you work the engine.
Verdict – 3/5
While it wasn’t the best engine on test, it is a fantastic alternative to petrol. With only a sparse UK dealer network it may not be the easiest engine to get parts or service support for but with time this will improve.