Every hunter who uses a boat has encountered the outboard vs. Mud Buddy belt-drive style vs. Go Devil long-tail style debate. Which of these motors is best? That depends on your priorities—so let’s check ‘em out.
A standard outboard has several advantages over these other more unique engine configurations. For starters, thanks to the through-hub exhaust system and an enclosed cowl they’re a LOT quieter than an air-cooled, un-muffled motor. A few air cooled models do include mufflers and if you’re willing to pay the price mufflers can be added to some other Mud Buddy and Go Devil motors, but they’re still louder than a modern two stroke, much less a modern whisper-quiet four-stroke. How important is muffling your rig? Some un-muffled air-cooled engines create over 110 dB-A when running, which essentially sounds like you’re standing next to a small prop-driven airplane.
Another outboard advantage is service. Just about anywhere you live, if you’re within range of a metropolitan area or a well-traveled launch ramp, there’s going to be a dealer within range as well.
And let’s not forget handling; it’s extremely tough to maneuver a boat with long-tail motors like the Go Devil. Belt driven engines maneuver better, but still aren’t nearly as easy to handle as a regular outboard.
Finally, outboards also tend to deliver more speed per horsepower. This is mostly a function of the props they spin, but it’s also due to the fact that their lower units are designed for speed, more so than ruggedness.
With all of these outboard advantages, why would anyone opt for anything else? Simple: with a Mud Buddy or a Go Devil on the back of your boat, you can cruise through a mere inch or two of water, muddy slurry, lily pads, weed beds, and barely-wet sand bars. These are true go-anywhere engines, and they can open up a whole new world of backwaters, swamps, and ditches that aren’t accessible to guys who run regular outboards. Most of these motors are also much simpler than modern outboards, so they tend to require less service. And they’re far more rugged—slamming into a log isn’t nearly as likely to put one out of action.
What about cost? As is true with outboards, how expensive one of these motors is depends on a lot of factors: how many options you choose, the type of steering system, trim and tilt systems, and more. You can find out how bad the damage will be by visiting the Mud Buddy or Go Devil web sites, both of which include pricing info.
So, which is it going to be: an outboard, a Mud Buddy, or a Go Devil? That’s your decision. Consider all of these factors, prioritize them, and make a call—we’re sure you’ll make the right one.