The Difference Between Sterndrive and Inboard

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Do you know the difference between a stern drive and an inboard engine? If not, don’t worry – you’re not alone! In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between these two types of engines. Stay tuned to learn more!

For years there have been debates about whether sterndrives or inboards are better. In this post, we’ll present the facts and let you decide on the rest. Both have pros and cons and are two completely different machines.

Sterndrive and Inboard Motors Explained

First of all, let’s start by explaining what exactly sterndrives and inboards are.

A sterndrive is a marine propulsion system that is attached to a sterndrive, also known as an outdrive. The drive unit is both the transmission and propulsion. When the captain turns the steering wheel, the entire drive turns. No rudder is needed.

An inboard is a marine propulsion system that is enclosed within the hull of the boat — it is usually connected to a propulsion screw by a driveshaft. The driveshaft goes from the transmission to a propeller outside of the boat. The boat is steered with a rudder when the steering wheel is turned by the captain. The propeller then pushes the water past the turned rudder and turns the boat.

Pros and Cons When Comparing Sterndrive and Inboard

When comparing these two systems, it is important to look at the pros and cons of each.

Trim Range

Sterndrives provide the boater with a versatile range of trim. This allows you to raise the sterndrive when loading/unloading or when in shallow water. It also allows smoother rides when trimmed up. Trimming down allows quicker acceleration. However, inboards draw less than a sterndrive does if the sterndrive is down (inboards need less water to float). Sterndrives draw less when slightly tilted up.

Horsepower and Fuel Efficiency

Sterndrives will go faster than an inboard with the same horsepower and even use less fuel. On the other hand, inboards will hold a speed more easily than a sterndrive.

Sterndrive and Inboard Wakes

Sterndrives put out great wakes for wakeboarding; inboards create flat wakes for water skiing.

Directional Reverse

Inboard boats go in one direction in reverse no matter what the position of the wheel. With a sterndrive boat, reverse thrust is directional.

Maintenance Requirements Between Sterndrive and Inboard

Sterndrives can, at times, have higher maintenance requirements than inboards. However, sterndrive motors are easier to get to.

Propellor Safety

Inboard propellers are tucked up underneath the boat, which can be much safer than a sterndrive tilted up; but without a tilt-up mechanism, an inboard engine has a larger draft.

On-Board Space

Since a sterndrive boat has the equipment on the back of the boat, it allows more room onboard than an inboard boat.

Sterndrive and Inboard Stability

While sterndrive boats allow a smooth ride when trimmed up, larger boats with inboard engines can have a smooth and stable ride as well. Since the motor is deep in the hull of the boat, it improves stability because it lowers the boat’s center of gravity.

Other Propulsion Systems

Sterndrive and Inboard are not the only types of propulsion systems available for boats. Other systems include outboard motors, jet drives, and electric drives, but sterndrive and inboard are very common.

Outboard Motors

Outboard Motors are external and attached to the back of the boat. These are a popular choice for smaller vessels and fishing boats because they are easier to access, service, and maintain than other systems.

Jet Drives

Jet drives use an underwater jet propulsion system that pushes the water out of the back of the boat instead of using propellers. This is an ideal option for shallow water vessels or those with limited space.

Electric Drives

Electric drives are becoming increasingly popular because they are very efficient, quiet, and require minimal maintenance. They’re great for small boats but can also be used on larger ones.

Making The Final Decision

Now that you know the difference between a sterndrive and an inboard, it’s time to make your decision. It all comes down to the type of boat you are looking for and the purposes you need it for. Whether you choose a sterndrive or an inboard engine, both can provide great performance on the water.

These are just a few examples, and as you can tell, there are plenty of pros and cons to each propulsion system. Depending on your budget and how you’re going to use your boat, either of these will get the job done and give you an enjoyable time on the water. Still, have questions? Contact our sales team and we’ll get you going in the right direction.