Mercury Marine generated quite a buzz when they introduced the largest outboard engine on the face of the planet, the V12 600-hp Verado, but in reality their newly introduced 25-hp and 30-hp FourStrokes will impact a far wider range of boaters than the mega-monster motor ever will. Midsized portable outboards like these are used on a huge array of boats all across the spectrum. Waterfowl hunters put them on duck hunting boats, yacht owners put them on tenders, anglers put them on small skiffs, and they’re used to power Jon boats in every state of the nation. In fact, this class of outboard is more popular than ever before — during the Covid-triggered boating boom of 2020, the sales of outboards 30-hp and below surged by an amazing 25-percent. And critically, Mercury didn’t just drop a fresh cowl on an existing powerhead and call it “new.” These mini-mighties are a fresh design, from the ground up.
25-hp and 30-hp Mercury FourStroke Specifications
Both of these models are based on an inline three-cylinder powerhead that displaces 500cc, with the major difference between them being that the 30-hp model turns a maximum rpm of 5800 to 6200, while the 25-hp model spins up to 5400 to 5800. Both motors are available in either tiller or remote steering configurations and with the choice of electric or manual start, in 15”, 20”, and 25” shaft lengths. Engines equipped with electric start also have a 17-amp alternator. Dry weight for the 30-hp model is 145 pounds and the 25 tips the scales at 132 pounds, which is about a 15-percent weight reduction as compared to older models. Gear ratios for both models is 2.17:1.
The Smallest SmartCraft Outboard Ever
Probably the most important advancement with these new motors is that they boast SmartCraft integration, making them the smallest outboards ever built to incorporate this digital technology platform. This means you can enjoy some seriously modern features, like using the VesselView Mobile app to communicate via Bluetooth with the VesselView Mobile module and monitor performance, track maintenance, or check out dozens of data points (like fuel burn or fluid pressure levels) that up until now remained mysteries on outboards of this size. You can also get a SmartCraft Connect module (for Garmin or Raymarine) or VesselView Link (Lowrance or Simrad) to integrate the engine and your MFD, then bring up all engine data on-screen. And, there’s an added bonus for anglers: the digital control includes “Troll Control,” which allows you to dial in precisely targeted trolling speeds by making rpm adjustments in increments of 10.
There’s a long list of additional features Mercury built into these outboards in addition to SmartCraft functionality. One that will be appreciated by everyone who’s ever lived with an older tech portable outboard is the attention paid to attenuating vibrations. Mercury balanced the powerhead to make it as smooth as possible, then added vibration-isolating soft-rubber mounts. Another significant feature is the EFI system, which includes battery-less EFI for models with manual start. That means you can eliminate the bulky, heavy, 12-volt battery from weight-sensitive rigs like small aluminum Jon boats, yet still enjoy crisp start-ups with just a tug or two on the chord. Added bonus: having EFI eliminates most of the ethanol problems common to small engines (no more gummed-up carburetors!) as well as delivering better fuel economy.
Although it won’t apply to those opting for remote controls, the tiller Mercury uses for the 25/30 also warrants a mention. Tiller-steered rigs are favored for several applications (not to mention that they cost less), but historically tillers have been difficult for many boaters to get accustomed to. The Advanced Mercury Tiller can be reversed for either left- or right-handed throttling, and the tiller angle can also be adjusted both side to side and up and down to fit whatever’s most comfortable for you, personally, on your specific rig. The shifter is also placed forward on the neck of the tiller as opposed to being on the front of the outboard itself, so it’s easier to reach.
Note that in addition to the 25- and 30-hp models, Mercury offers a 25-hp ProKicker version. This one comes in an electric start version with remote steering and 20” or 25” shaft lengths, only, and weighs 146 pounds. It’s designed for use with a high-thrust four-blade propeller for enhanced control at slow speeds.
Will the new Mercury 25-hp and 30-hp models dominate the headlines, the way the 600-hp Verado did upon its introduction? Not by a longshot. Yet a huge number of boaters will benefit from the new tech and improved performance they deliver. If you’re looking for a mid-size portable outboard, these new Mercury engines belong on your radar.
See Mercury outboards for sale on Boat Trader.