The ultimate 5hp outboard engine group test

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

Yamaha 5hp outboard engineYamaha F5 outboard

  • Price: £1,139
  • Top speed: 6.45 knots
  • 0-top speed: 5.2 seconds
  • Noise (idle/cruise/top): 66/77/84dB(A)
  • Weight: 27kg
  • Warranty: 3 year
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Yamaha always seems to achieve a good balance between weight, value and performance. This often comes at a cost, although on this occasion it isn’t the most expensive on test.

Yamaha 5hp outboard engine - tillerBuild quality – 5/5
Yamaha arguably has the best name in small outboard engines. Neat features make the Yamaha stand out, such as the fuel filler canted to 45º to reduce spillage from the jerry can.

Performance – 5/5
It took just 5.2 seconds to reach the top speed of 6.4 knots, almost a knot faster than the others.

The 139cc cylinder capacity is 10% larger than all engines except the Suzuki. This larger displacement provides more power through the revs and it shows.

Yamaha 5hp outboard engine - cowling offRefinement – 5/5
Easily the smoothest and quietest engine of the group. At idle revs it was 66dB(A), matching the Suzuki, but as it reached the top revs it was a staggering 3dB(A) lower than the next quietest.

Ease of use – 3/5
One of the heavier engines on test but the plastic handle on the rear of the engine makes carrying and lowering it relatively easy.

The trim/tilt lever isn’t the easiest to find, nor is the internal to external fuel change over, however once familiar they aren’t a problem to use.

Yamaha’s design allows the engine to be laid on any of three sides without damage (most 4-strokes have to be laid just on one side to prevent oil spilling into the combustion chamber), which is ideal for storage on the mother ship.

Yamaha 5hp outboard engine - lying downTank size – 2/5
The in-built tank is the smallest here at just 1.1 litres. Using the engine playfully will only allow for around 45 minutes of usage. There is an attachment to allow for an external fuel tank.

Verdict – 5/5 MBY BEST BUY
The Yamaha was the smoothest and fastest by far. Usually the brand demands a substantial premium over its rivals, however while second highest in price, it’s close enough to justify the extra spend.

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