Coleman is an established brand of outdoor equipment, including jackets, tents, canoes, stoves, and dirt bikes, among many other kinds of equipment.
They have been selling outboards in recent years, and they are widely available from dozens of retailers, even online retailers like Amazon.
Given how common and affordable they are, it is fair to ask, Are Coleman outboard motors any good?
Here’s how Good Coleman Outboard Motors are:
Coleman Outboards is an entry-level brand of motor, built to a price point just over a decade old. They have developed a decent reputation for reliability and good value. Replacement parts can be difficult to obtain, but many owners still like the brand as they are durable for their cost.
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A Brief History of Coleman Outboard Motors
The Coleman company traces its history back to 1900 when William Coffin Coleman made his first gas-powered lamps, which would become the company’s backbone and logo.
They expanded their offerings of outdoor equipment over the years, making items such as sleeping bags, clothing, and tents. Later they offered canoes and even campers.
In 2010, Coleman opened up its Coleman Powersports subsidiary, based in Arizona. The focus was to be on entry-level power sports equipment, such as go-karts and all-terrain vehicles.
Outboards were among the first wave of products that Coleman Powersports offered. These were all models featuring lower horsepower, from 2.6 up to 25 horsepower.
There are now only three models of Coleman outboard available.
How Durable is Coleman Outboard Motors?
The 2.6 horsepower model seemed to get the best reviews and had developed the best reputation for reliability. It has received 4.1 out of 5 stars in ratings on Amazon.com, with 138 people leaving ratings as of this writing.
Many owners point out that the more this motor is used, the better it performs; but this is generally true for most outboards.
Some of the favorable reviews of this model state that while it can take several pulls to start the engine, it performs very smoothly and reliably once it is running.
Coleman outboards are recognized for their efficient and reasonably quiet operation (though several reviews of the 5 horsepower model say it is loud). The gas consumption of the motors is perceived to be fairly low, so this is popular with owners.
The majority of the favorable reviews of all of the models also make a point to say that Coleman is an entry-level brand, so it is not reasonable to expect the same durability and quality that you would from, say, Yamaha. The value is in the low price and the reliability of the motor.
Not everyone agrees on the reliability of Coleman outboards, and the evaluation can vary greatly from one place to the next. The 5 horsepower model has 3.4 stars (out of five) on Amazon.com, while 4.3 stars on Walmart’s website. Both sites have over a dozen reviewers.
The general positive consensus for the 2.6 horsepower outboard ( and Coleman models in general) is best summed up in this review from Amazon’s website:
“Great product, I opened the package and frankly I was surprised with how well this motor was made and the finish work was excellent… I have only had to pull the rope starter one time each time after this to fire the motor up. It runs well, is not noisy, shifts without problems, and idles smoothly. What more can you ask for from a small motor…”
Getting parts has been difficult for some owners, as well. A quick search of the Coleman Powersports website for parts for their outboards shows that many are unavailable, even for current models.
Some owners have also pointed out the difficulty in finding repair facilities willing to work on Coleman outboards, authorized or not.
How Long do Coleman Outboard Engines Typically Last?
With just over a decade, it can be difficult to evaluate the longevity of a Coleman outboard.
Going off the reviews and forum comments, it seems Coleman outboards last about what you would expect for an entry-level outboard, assuming you do not get a lemon.
There are very few posts that discuss how many hours that the owner has gotten from his Coleman. Instead, most that comment on the longevity say that their model is still working after five or so years of being used.
Of those happy owners who have remarked on the hours, they say they have gotten around 1,000 hours so far.
The biggest problem affecting evaluating the longevity of a Coleman outboard is the number of unhappy owners who report that their motor failed out of the box or never even started.
While it is difficult to gauge the percentage of owners experiencing this, most of the 1-star reviews online cite this problem.
Coleman outboards probably do not have significant longevity; certainly not like the better and more expensive brands like Yamaha or Mercury.
Has Coleman made any Recalls?
According to the United States Coast Guard database, no recalls have been issued to Coleman for any of their outboards.
Likewise, there are no records of any recalls issued to or by Parsun, the company that manufactures Coleman’s outboards.
What are the Most Popular Coleman Outboards?
All three current models of Coleman outboards are very popular sellers, being carried by a large and diverse array of dealers.
These include Bass Pro Shops, Amazon.com, and Walmart, in addition to two dozen other national-level retailers. These current models are the 2.6-, 5-, and 9.8-horsepower outboards. These are all water-cooled, 4-stroke engines.
The 2.6 horsepower model is listed as Amazon’s Choice for “outboard motor,” indicating not just its popularity in sales but also customer feedback. The 2.6 model also regularly makes online “best of” lists at various boating websites for its value and performance.
There were also 4-, 15-, 20-, and 25-horsepower models, but they have discontinued Coleman, presumably as they sold fewer units than the other three models.
Where are Outboard Coleman Engines Manufactured?
Other companies make many products sold under the larger Coleman brand under license.
The outboard motors are one such product. There is a large amount of misinformation online concerning who makes the outboards for Coleman and where they are made.
Many forums claim that Coleman outboards are made by Tohatsu or Mercury, with a few claims that the outboards are made jointly by these two companies. It is difficult to track down where these rumors started; they go back to 2011, and these claims have been made as recently as 2021.
It seems that Coleman outboards are made in China by the Parsun Power Machine Company. Looking at the website for Parsun’s 4-stroke outboards, all three models of outboard that Coleman currently sells are on their product page with an almost identical appearance; only the decals are different.
Furthermore, the owners’ manuals are available online at the Coleman Powersports website, and Parsun is listed in the warranty information.
The Parsun Power Machine Company was founded in Suzhou, China, in 2004.
Coleman currently offers three models: a 2.6 horsepower, a 5 horsepower, and a 9.8 horsepower model. The 5 hp model is sold in both long shaft (20″) and short shaft (15″) configurations.
How Is the Warranty On Coleman Outboards?
The warranty on Coleman outboards is not impressive. It is a 1-year limited warranty.
It applies to the original purchaser and starts from the date of the original sale.
Some owners report difficulty in getting some replacement parts, even those covered under warranty.
While they do not sell outboards direct from their website, they do sell parts there. The parts are easy to identify from the website, but there is no indication of which parts are in or out of stock or the expected shipping time.
However, many parts are listed as no longer available, even on current models, indicating that it might be difficult to get replacement parts.
Which Brands Produce Engines Similar to Coleman?
The most obvious brand of outboards similar to Coleman is the manufacturing company, Parsun.
They sell all three current Coleman models and another dozen models ranging up to 25 horsepower, too:
Anbull & Sea Dog
Anbull and Sea Dog make entry-level outboards that are major competitors of Coleman.
Their most popular models go head to head against Coleman’s 2.6 horsepower model.
Hangkai is another Chinese manufacturer of outboard engines.
They originally produced motorcycle engines but branched to outboards in 2000.
They have a broad worldwide distribution and are sold at some of the same places that Coleman outboards are, particularly online retailers such as Amazon.
Cozyel is a brand that makes models in similar power and price ranges as Coleman.
They are also sold at online retailers such as Amazon, but they have a significant physical presence in brick-and-mortar stores.
Tohatsu may be considered a competitor of Coleman, as they make models in the same range of horsepower but are more expensive and not as widely distributed.
Coleman Powersports outboards can be difficult to evaluate properly.
While most reviews are positive – particularly of the 2.6 horsepower model – there are enough negative reviews to give one pause. It seems there is a possibility to get a lemon right out of the box.
But if you get a decent one, it seems that a Coleman outboard will provide a high degree of value. The number of positive reviews attests to this.
So are Coleman outboard motors any good? If you get a good one out of the box, as you probably will, you will have a decent entry-level outboard.