Mercury vs. Yamaha Outboards: It All Comes To Down To Preference

Looking for a new outboard engine for your boat? There are several choices available, and it can sometimes be hard to decide which brand is right for you. Two of the biggest competitors are Mercury and Yamaha. The problem is picking which one is the best. Thankfully, Westshore Marine and Leisure has done a review on both brands to see which one rises above the rest.

Mercury Marine

Mercury had a rather interesting start. In 1939, Carl Kiekhaefer purchased an outboard motor company. It was his dream to build magnetic separators that would be used in the dairy industry.

The problem was that the outboard motor company had 300 motors in inventory. Rather than simply scrapping them, Kiekhaefer had his employees repair the motors, and sold them to a company called Montgomery Ward. They were so impressed, they ordered more.

Now Mercury Marine makes outdoor motors that have a horsepower range from 2.5 hp to 400 hp. The latter is more than most people need, but it’s still nice to have options.

UPDATE: Mercury debuted a new 450-hp engine in 2019.

Yamaha Outboard

Yamaha started out as a musical company. In 1958, it decided to enter the marine arena, but it wasn’t an easy transition. Unlike Mercury Marine, Yamaha didn’t just walk into several outboard engines. They had to design them. Two engineers worked for two years on the outboard motor until it was ready to reach production.

Because Yamaha was known for its instruments and not its maritime equipment, many joked that was why Yamaha’s outboard motors were so loud. Rather than just going with the tried and true, Yamaha listened and began to build motors that aren’t quite so noisy. That being said, Yamaha motors still have the reputation of being heavier and heftier.

Yamaha currently makes outboard motors that can get anywhere from 2.5 hp to 425 hp. This gives it plenty of zip, no matter what your needs are.

The choice for your boat is yours


This Boating Company Owns a Few of the Biggest Brands in the Industry

The two are so close, it’s really impossible to give a recommendation. Both Yamaha and Mercury make excellent outboards. 

Westshore did state, “When it comes to buying a new outboard motor for your boat, why not choose the motor that US Customs trust? Today US Customs agents in south Florida use four supercharged Mercury Verado outboard motors. That’s 1,400 horsepower!”

The review then went on to say that 1,400 hp is a lot of power for a typical boat, and is probably out of the budget for most consumers. With that said, the choice really comes down to what your personal preferences are. 

If you are interested in going green, then the Yamaha is a great choice. It offers two electric outboard motors, while Mercury currently offers none.

If you are interested in a long-lasting warranty, Mercury might be the better choice because you can get an extended warranty for up to eight years. When you buy a Yamaha, you’ll have to wait for the dealer to fill everything out online. Checking the warranty is as easy as writing down the PID number located portside, however.

Yamaha also has more horsepower. The only problem is, does your boat actually need 450 hp? Probably not, especially if you have a small boat that you only take out on special weekends.

According to Westshore Marine, small fishing boats require anywhere from 10-18 hp. Medium size fishing boats require 20-35 hp. This will help boat owners reach speeds of 5-30 mph. 

If you’re looking for some serious get up and go, then offshore, bass, or cabin boats are more your speed. You’ll require an outboard that can get up to 150 to 300 hp. Equip that, and you’ll be able to move about 60 mph.

Both Yamaha and Mercury have a lot of accessories for their outboard motors. You can buy fuel care, lubricants, rigging accessories, paint products, LCD displays, switch panels, controls, and gauges.

Whichever choice you make, it’s probably not going to be a bad one. Both Mercury and Yamaha build stellar products that come with a great reputation. So, whichever you choose, it’s definitely not the wrong one.