Specializing in used 4 stroke outboards and 2 stroke outboard boat motors.

Outboard Motor Comparisons, Reviews, and Brand Loyalty.
Does it really matter?

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Sears Gamefisher

The following article is of the opinions and statements of AFA Marine www.smalloutboards.com. We do not take any responsibility for the content on this page. The content found on this page is a perspective of our views on "Brand Loyalty". We are merely stating how we feel about this topic. We encourage and endorse all consumers and readers of this page to formulate their own purchasing decisions based on due diligence, research, and various perspectives related. This Article is Primarily based on motors under 40hp. We feel that larger motors represent a whole different scenario and brands play a more significant role.

Menu: When you should not choose a brand --- When you should choose a brand --- Generic Brands --- Summary

For many people the decision to purchase an outboard engine is based on brand loyalty or past experience with a particular brand. For others it is from what they have heard by word of mouth, forum talk, or some opinionated article they have read. The question posed is "does it really matter which brand you go with? Is there one brand better than the other?" The answer YES and NO.

First we will explain the "No" part: ( Is there one brand better than the other?)

So you have heard bad things about Mercury and only good things about Johnson OMC? People have told you that Chrysler engines were junk and Yamaha motors are the only motors that hold up in saltwater? You are too scared to purchase a Tohatsu or Nissan because you are not familiar with the engine? All of these propositions are typical opinions and sentiments that individual boaters have preached. None of these are concrete facts that all boaters can agree on. Lets check out the most common scenarios related to brand loyalty that we at AFA Marine come across:

In all honesty we don't really see any outboard motor brand has having serious flaws or should be shunned when making a purchasing decision. We often get phone calls from people who swear that they will never touch a Mercury(example) followed by a phone call from a client that will only trust Mercury. We get customers who are reluctant to purchase a Tohatsu thinking that they are a lower end motor when in actuality they are one of the best motors we have ever tested. Some people even go as far as to claim that they will never buy an Evinrude but will be happy to own a Johnson. We are often startled by this because the two motors are identical except for paint and decals*.

Lets Explain the "Yes" Part: ( Is there one brand better than the other?)

Well for certain situations one brand actually is better than the other...........for you. This does not apply to everyone since not everyone has the same needs and applications for these motors. Some motors provide features and benefits better than others but in a comparison of all motors each have their subtle differentiation. In order to alleviate a homogenous market, brands have utilize a small degree of product differentiation. The functionality and mechanics of different brands all have one thing in common....performance.

Here are a few scenarios that we feel make sense to choose one brand over the other:

You want to find the right outboard for you by researching the features that each brand offers. It is foolish to exclude brands because of what you heard, you should do it based on concrete facts such as features.

Reputed "Off Brands"

This is probably the most important section of this article. THERE ARE VERY FEW IF ANY OFF BRAND OR GENERIC OUTBOARD MOTOR PRODUCERS IN THE USA TODAY. As of now there are only a handful of outboard motors that can be considered generic. Since the EPA has mandated emission regulations on outboard motors most of these companies have decided to get out of the motor business.

We do not regard Tohatsu, Nissan, Suzuki, Gamefisher, Mariner, Force or Chrysler as "off brands". Each of these brands have produced some of the best running outboard motors. Just because you do not see dealerships on every street corner does not mean that these motors are not quality products. In fact, we have found that Tohatsu/Nissan and Suzuki to have excellent engineering and innovative technology. We find that almost every used Nissan, Tohatsu, and Suzuki that we come across, regardless of appearance, have been strong runners. Many lodges and resorts world wide love these motors because of their durability and pricing. As far as Gamefisher, Chrysler and Force go these are great motors as well. They are economy motors that are targeted for a price conscious consumer. This does not mean that they have a shorter life span this basically means that they are less refined and may have less features(such as F-N-R clutch) than high priced motors. You should never disregard these motors as an purchase option just because of perceived notions.


We at AFA Marine feel very confident that all manufacturers today and of years past have all been pretty consistent in putting out a great product. Outboard motors are some of the most sophisticated engineering that man has ever created. The thought and intuition that went into creating and designing outboard motors is very fascinating. In order to produce an engine that functions as a propulsion device for a water craft it must be able to handle the elements. Almost all engines that were created have been able to handle the test of time, stress, usage, and abuse. With this in regard there are a few brands that decided to take an economical marketing approach which meant using cheaper materials. For the most part, you can count on almost any brand or outboard motor to function well if taken care of.


We will continue to add to this article for the next 2 weeks. Thanks.


December, 2002

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Looking For An Outboard Motor For Sale? Visit smalloutboards.com