You can effectively increase the performance of your outboard with just a simple installation: THE HYDROFOIL.
At the end of this article, we are sure you are going to find the best hydrofoil for your outboard motor.
These hydrofoils are not like the usual ones attached at the bottom of the hull. These are connected with the cavitation plate of the motor.
And the results?
Porpoising elimination, more control, and less time for planing!
And with some luck, outboard hydrofoils can even increase your top speed!
Let’s get started with this guide!
Our top picks
Davis Doel-Fin is our top pick! It covers all outboard motors small and large. And the performance is simply outstanding! Porpoising reduction, quick planing, and control- It delivers all!
For smaller outboards specifically, the SE Sport 200 is the one we recommend!
Best hydrofoil for outboard motor reviews
1. Davis Doel-Fin Outboard Stabilizer
The Davis Doel-Fin is the best hydrofoil for outboard motors in our review.
The first thing to notice is the material of construction. It’s a hard and durable plastic that can withstand impact to a great extent. The hydrofoil does have a little flex to it, and that’s great for stability.
If you install this hydrofoil, it will improve the overall performance of your motor. Your plane time will be reduced by as much as 40%, and the speed requirement will also be low.
So, overall, it will put less strain on the motor and provide more control at high speeds.
However, the top speed might decrease a little bit. That shouldn’t be an issue if your motor performance and fuel economy improve.
This hydrofoil is compatible with motors from 5 HP to all outboards and stern drive motors at higher HP. Avoid buying this if you own a Volvo Penta outdrive.
Keep in mind that it’s a drill mount hydrofoil. So, you need to spend 20-30 minutes for installation, depending on the design of your motor.
- Fast planing at a lower speed
- Improves motor performance
- Adds stability at higher speeds
- Increase fuel efficiency
- The hydrofoil has a little flex but strong enough for mid-range water surfaces
- Mounting bolts that come with the set can sometimes be short
The Doel-fin is a widely known hydrofoil among boat enthusiasts. It will work for most outboards that are not too large. The performance is outstanding and relied on by many veterans. If you compare the price with the features, it’s a great value for money.
2. SE Sport 300 Hydrofoil
The SE Sport 300 is a drill mounted hydrofoil that works for 40-300 HP engines. So, it basically covers most outboard motors in the market.
It’s made from Polypropylene Polymer (plastic). But don’t be scared. This is a very high-strength material used massively on water vehicles.
What we truly loved about this hydrofoil is that it can reduce the plane time by almost half. This is because of Patented Turbo Trac’s crescent shape and control tips added to the unit. Additionally, you will also need a lower speed for planing.
The installation though requires drilling is still pretty fast. The template provided works great.
The design of this hydrofoil also helps to eliminate downturned trailing edge and provide more control.
- Compatible with a wide range of engines
- Reduces plane time with a lower speed requirement
- Built-in stability control
- Narrow design for precise control
- Comes with a template for quick installation
- Nothing significant to mention
The SE Sport 300 is one of the best hydrofoils for Mercruiser. It is perfect for shallow water and works fine on larger lakes. However, we really can’t say much about its performance on the seas. If you are struggling with the plane, this is the hydrofoil to buy.
3. Sport Marine SE400 Hydrofoil
If planing is the number 1 issue you are facing, the SE 400 is the right hydrofoil to buy. It’s pretty much similar to the SE 300 we reviewed earlier.
The best part is you don’t need drilling to install this unit. Just clamp it on and will also need to sport clip. Alternatively, you can still go with the drilling approach. However, the no-drill mount is very secure and will not fall off. You just need to tighten the bolts after every ride.
When you ride with it, you will see an improvement in your fuel economy and top speed.
The planing time will reduce, and you will have better control at high speeds. It also reduces chine walking and cavitation to some extent.
This hydrofoil will work for 40 HP and higher motors. If you have a motor less than 40 HP, then it won’t work.
- Reduce cavitation during sharp turns
- Reduces porpoising at low speed
- Planing is easier and quicker
- No drill mount reduces installation time
- Need frequent checking and tightening of the bolts as this is a no-drill unit
This hydrofoil might cost a bit more than the others in this list, but it will pay off in time. The performance of your motor will get better and help you stay in level at higher speeds.
4. SE Sport 200 Hydrofoil
The SE Sport 200 is the best hydrofoil for small outboard motors. It works with most motors with 8 HP to 40 HP.
As we talked with experienced boat riders and fishers, most agree that this hydrofoil offers better performance in the small motor range.
You can expect better steering and a reduction in planing time with this unit installed. It would take only 4-5 seconds for planing. And if that’s what you wanted, then go for it.
We also found that this hydrofoil will not decrease your top speed and will keep the boat stable.
It is a drill mount hydrofoil. You can also use it without drilling but will need to spend extra on the sport clip or other supporting gears.
- Keeps the top speed normal
- Eliminates cavitation
- Reduces planing time
- Perfect for small motors
- Need to spend extra if you want no-drill mounting.
You can easily find hydrofoils for bigger and more powerful motors. However, this hydrofoil is designed for smaller motors and will definitely improve the performance and steering.
5. Marine Dynamics SR- XPI-1 Stingray Hydrofoil
If you are thinking about the ‘Doel fin vs. Stingray fin’ and which one to choose, this stingray hydrofoil review will help you.
This Stingray hydrofoil can fit with motors having 25 HP to 300 HP. So, that’s a big enough range to cover most outboards.
But keep in mind, the Stingray performance is not effective for boats over 20ft.
Other than that, this is one of the best outboard hydrofoils for eliminating porpoising. It will also reduce planing time to half and increase your top speed.
The only issue that we found was some boats stayed left when installed with a Stingray. However, this solely depends on the outboard you have. Not a universal issue.
This is model needs drilling, and you will have to use a drill machine to get your work done.
- Stabilizes the boat
- Reduces porpoising considerably
- Increases top speed to some extent
- Lowers the planing time
- Don’t work for boats over 20ft
Stingray hydrofoils are compared side by side to Doel-fins. However, we think the Doel-fin can be more effective in many ways. The rest depends on the compatibility with your boat. All in all, the Stingray is a popular and proven hydrofoil that will pay off quickly.
List of outboards compatible/not compatible with our listed hydrofoils
These are the list of outboards we found from user questions and answers. Though these are just a few names that popped up, there are many more that will be compatible with your hydrofoil.
1. SE Sport 300 Hydrofoil (40 HP-300 HP)
Compatible: 200 HP Yamaha, 150 HP Yamaha, 115 Yamaha, 2010 250ho, 2014 50 HP Mercruiser, 112 HP Johnson, 60 HP Mercury, 200 HP Mercury Verado, 115 Mercury EFI 4 Stroke Outboard, 1993 120 HP Johnson, Mercruiser 3.0, 2017 60 HP mercury bigfoot AND MANY MORE!
Not compatible: Volvo Penta inboard
2. Davis Doel-Fin Outboard Stabilizer (5HP and UP)
Compatible: 150 HP Mercury, 115 HP Yamaha, 1987 50 HP Force, 1985 Johnson, 40 HP mercury, v6 inboards/outboards, 199-1997 20 HP Evinrude 4 Stroke, 50 HP Johnson, 6HP 2012 Yamaha, 9.9 HP Mercury, 90hp Yamaha AND MANY MORE!
Not compatible: 1970 18 HP Evinrude, 181 HP 1992 Rinker 3.0
3. Sport Marine SE400 Hydrofoil (40 HP and UP)
Compatible: 18 ft V6 Bayliner, 2009, 130 HP Evinrude, 2004 115 HP Yamaha 4 Stroke, Volvo Penta i/o 3.0 110 HP, 454 Mercruiser, 2009 40 HP, Mercury BigFoot, Alpha 1 Mercury, Rinker 232, 2003 90 HP Mercury, 1993 OMC Cobra AND MANY MORE!
4. SE Sport 200 Hydrofoil (8 HP-40 HP)
Compatible: 25 HP Johnson, 12 ft rib 30 HP, 1998 15 HP Evinrude, 2002 40 HP Mercury 2 Stroke, 1976 25 HP Johnson, 9.9 HP Suzuki, 2016 20 HP Mercury, 18 HP Tohatsu, 25 HP Yamaha 2 Strokes, 2002 Mercury 40 HP AND MANY MORE!
5. Marine Dynamics SR- XPI-1 Stingray Hydrofoil (25 HP-300HP)
Compatible: 200 HP Johnson, Mercruiser Alpha 1 drive, 115 HP Mercury, 140 HP Suzuki, 115 HP Yamaha AND MANY MORE!
What is a hydrofoil?
Generally, water vehicles equipped with hydrofoil plates are known as hydrofoils. But in this article, we are focusing on the hydrofoil plate.
Hydrofoils are usually wing-like components that are attached below the hull of a boat or ship or with the outboard motor in your case. The major functionality is to provide a lift to the vehicle to reduce drag and increase speed.
You will be surprised to know that the very same person who invented the telephone also developed the first successful hydrofoil.
Yes, it was Alexander Graham Bell who started developing the hydrofoil in 1908.
What does an outboard hydrofoil do for a boat?
Before you know what an outboard hydrofoil does for a boat, you need to know what it does in general.
In a boat equipped with hydrofoils near the hull, the hydrofoil creates enough lift to raise the hull from water. This reduces the dragging of the hull. So, as we know, the reduction of drag means more speed and fuel efficiency.
Let’s talk about the outboard hydrofoil now!
Outboard hydrofoils are relatively cheaper and easy to install. So, people who can’t afford an actual hydrofoil vehicle can install a hydrofoil to their outboard motor.
But does the outboard hydrofoil gives you the same performance as the real ones?
The answer depends on the design of your vehicle.
Usually, in smaller boats with no trim tabs, it can increase the speed up to 2-3 MPH.
But speed isn’t the only advantage you are going to get from an outboard motor hydrofoil. It can also reduce the side to side rocking motion by 10-15%.
When should you get a hydrofoil for outboard motor?
You need to think realistically when buying a hydrofoil for your outboard motor. If your boat is operating perfectly without any issues, a hydrofoil can be a waste of money. But sure you can experiment and see what it does to your boat.
If you have one of these 3 problems, then it’s worth buying an outboard motor hydrofoil.
Problem 1 – Your boat ventilates when the motors trim down
Problem 2 – The bow bounces up and down
Problem 3 – Your boat doesn’t remain straight on the water. The hull remains at an angle, probably because it’s not perfectly symmetrical.
*Note: If you want to buy an outboard hydrofoil only to increase the speed, then it may or may not work depending on the model of your boat.
Outboard motor hydrofoil buying guide
Outboard hydrofoils are generally made from plastic. These plastics are very hard and durable. So, it can withstand impacts quite well.
All of our reviewed hydrofoils are made from plastic. And they are the best performing hydrofoils in the market now!
You can also find hydrofoils made from aluminum or stainless steel. Both are quite strong and effective.
Stainless steel hydrofoils are more durable and lightweight. However, it might cost more.
If you are buying an aluminum hydrofoil, look for the one that has an anodized finish and marine-grade materials.
2. The size of your boat
The size of the boat is one of the most important factors to consider while buying engine hydrofoils.
This will impact your decision whether to buy or not to buy.
We talked with many experienced boat and cruiser riders. And they all agreed to the fact that hydrofoils are best suited for small boats.
Anything over 22ft will make the hydrofoil ineffective.
So, if you have a boat that’s under 22ft, then go for it. Otherwise, it’s best to look for trim tabs.
3. Mounting option
The mounting options for outboard hydrofoils are only two:
- Drill mount hydrofoils
- Clamp-on hydrofoils
The best hydrofoils for outboard motors are in most cases drill mounts. But in that case, you will have to drill into the cavitation plates. Some people don’t like toying with their motors.
So, if you are one of them you can go for the clamp-on models. The downfall is they can fall off sometimes.
The drilled hydrofoils will stay in place, no matter what. Additionally, the bow rising will reduce more and you can plane at a lower speed.
4. Compatibility with the engine
The power of your outboard motor will also impact your buying decision. Some engines have too much power and will require a hydrofoil that is compatible with the HP. Others have less power, and the hydrofoil must be compatible with that.
5. Desired speed and fuel consumption
Hydrofoils that can reduce bow rising and allow you to plane of quicker will offer more speed and fuel efficiency. But you cannot fully make sure that a certain hydrofoil will increase the speed of your boat. So, experimentation is the key here.
Research the product and read our outboard hydrofoil reviews for more in-depth information.
Outboard motor hydrofoil FAQ
1. How do hydrofoils work?
The science behind hydrofoils is a bit complicated. But we will try to make it simple for you!
When hydrofoils move through water, the flow of the water moves downward. This downward flow creates an upward force.
So, what happens is the bottom part has a higher upward pressure, and the top part has lower pressure.
When moving with speed, the hydrofoils lift the vessel and reduces drag.
An outboard hydrofoil, provide a lift of the lower part of the boat and so the boat remains stable.
Here’s a video that demonstrates how a hydrofoil work-
2. Are boat hydrofoils good or bad?
For you, good. For marine life, not so good.
Hydrofoils will provide you a comfortable boat riding experience and will keep your boat in the right position. Speed and fuel efficiency are sometimes by-products that need experimentation.
However, the bigger hydrofoil crafts pose a greater danger to any aquatic animal that might be swimming under the surface. In the case of outboard hydrofoils, this risk is minimum.
3. How to fit hydrofoil to an outboard motor?
We will be explaining the drill mount method here. It will take very few DIY skills and only a drill machine.
Here’s how to do it!
Step 1: Remove any torque tab installed on the engine. If your engine doesn’t have it, you are good to go to the next step.
Step 2: Place the hydrofoil on the cavitation plate of your engine. Slide it forward as much as possible, so that the end of the cavitation plate nicely fits into the gap between the center of the hydrofoil.
Step 3: Now put 4 marks through the pre-drilled holes of the hydrofoils on the cavitation plate.
Step 4: Drills through the marks according to the diameter of the given nuts.
Step 5: Place the rubber washers and press them from underneath the hydrofoil
Step 6: Place the hydrofoil back on to the plate.
Step 7: Place the nuts and tighten the bolts. And that’s it!
Here’s a video from Dangar Marine demonstrating the installation process-
4. Are hydrofoils more efficient?
The effectiveness of hydrofoils depends on the design of your boat and the motor. Some models might perfectly work for you; others could be ineffective.
If your boat has no issues to solve, the tool might not be worth buying.