Best Outboard Engines In 2021

A roundup of some of the best new outboard engines in 2021

By Ryan McVinney – May 11, 2021

Every year we round up some of the best outboard engines on the market and review the latest innovations and technological advancements for our readers. Of course, the best outboard for your boat depends entirely what type of boat you own, from the class to the make and model, and how you intend to use the vessel.

  • Suzuki DF25A – Most Reliable Small Outboard
  • Suzuki DF90A – Best All-Around Mid-Size Outboard
  • Suzuki DF350A – Most Efficient Design

Industry Overview
2021 has been a busy year in the world of outboard engines already, with great changes afoot not only due to COVID-19 and certain manufacturing challenges, but also in part to great leaps made with dramatic new features in the industry. This is all combining to make big waves in the future of outboard propulsion in the boating industry.
As we noted in our 2020 best outboard engines round up, the past decade or so has seen outboard engines grow dramatically in size, popularity, and reliability, with technological advancements so important that the once-settled two-stroke versus four-stroke debate has been re-opened, alternative fuel outboards have become more than just a viable option, while significant benefits like joystick steering and Skyhook anchoring are now a consideration. So, how will you know which outboard to choose? Truth be told there aren’t many “bad” options on the market these days, but there certainly are some stand-outs that warrant some added attention. So before you make any moves, be sure to check out these best-of-the-best outboard engines.

Suzuki DF25A – Most Reliable Small Outboard
In 2014 when the new Suzuki DF25 hit the market, it was the very first outboard of its size to incorporate battery-less EFI. This enables reliable one- to two-tug starting—for real.
We tested one for three entire seasons and rarely had to pull the starter cord more than once. EFI also improves fuel efficiency.
But perhaps the biggest advantage to eliminating the carburetor is that the closed pressurized system doesn’t leave any fuel exposed to the air, which eliminates most of the ethanol issues that plague small carbureted engines.
The DF25A is a smooth running “Next Generation” four stroke which delivers quick starts, great acceleration, excellent performance and remarkable fuel economy.
The 2021 DF25A also has a unique air intake system which improves performance; check out a video by our Outboard Expert of the Suzuki 25 and 30 outboards to learn more. Overall this is one of the lightest outboards in the 18.4kW (25PS)/22.1kW (30PS) four-stroke outboard class, plus the advanced fuel injection system and modern electronics combine to deliver class-leading fuel-efficiency.

Suzuki DF90A – Best All-Around Mid-Size Outboard
Long term testing has proven the Suzuki DF90 to be an incredibly reliable engine.
The original DF90 was a home-run hit for Suzuki, but after being produced for over a decade, the motor was redesigned in mid-2018. Net result? A smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient home-run hit.
Twelve years after starting the four stroke revolution with its award winning DF70 and DF60 outboards, Suzuki reinvented the category again with the DF90A. The first of Suzuki’s new generation four-strokes, the DF90A is a showcase of advancements and achievements – such as digital sequential electronic fuel injection, a powerful 2.59:1final drive ratio, zero-maintenance self-adjusting time chain and don’t forget the Suzuki Lean Burn Control System. New DF90A models also sport the optional Suzuki Troll Mode System.
The next-gen 90 has a 91.7 cid four-cylinder DOHC powerhead, an offset driveshaft, and a two-stage gear reduction. That makes for a package three inches shorter and 75 pounds lighter than the old version.
While we’re looking at Suzuki outboards in 2021, we should also mention that the outboard manufacturer’s new DF115BG and DF140BG four stroke outboards are great engines that are poised to make some serious ripples in the world of competitive outboards for mid-size boats with their simplified rigging, improved fuel efficiency and easier maintenance.

Suzuki DF350A – Most Efficient Design
Suzuki shocked the marine world when it rolled out the DF350A, a 4.4-liter V6 which is not only the most powerful Suzuki has ever offered, but also has contra-rotating propellers. These are counter-rotating props spinning on a single shaft, and they give the lower unit gobs of bite to harness every bit of torque and get large, heavy boats on plane quickly. The arrangement is so effective that engine trim has little impact on hole-shot.
When Suzuki set out to build this engine, their aim was to construct the ultimate outboard engine, mainly by improving the hydrodynamics of the lower unit and converting any wasted rotational energy back into productive power to improve propeller efficiency. Not to mention that the DF350A also has the highest compression ratio ever for a production outboard engine, made possible by an advanced air-fuel cooling system.

Note: Above data received from:

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