Boat Steering Wheels & Accessories

There are very few components of a boat that are more important than the steering wheel. At Boat Outfitters, we have a variety of high-quality steering wheels and accessories. » Read More

How to Choose the Best Steering Wheel for Your Boat

One decision you will likely have to make is which replacement steering wheel is best for your boat. To help make a tricky decision easier, we are going to highlight some of the important aspects of marine boat steering wheels you need to consider when choosing an exact replacement or upgrade for you and your vessel.

Steering Wheel Sizes

A good rule of thumb is the bigger the wheel the easier to steer. However, with modern power steering systems, this changes the rule. If your boat has hydraulic steering you can get away with a smaller wheel which often leaves more room at the helm. Wheel size really comes down to user preference, this is why replacement wheels are a popular product for our customers.

Steering Wheel Nut Size

The size of the nut is what will determine if it matches your boat's steering system. All of our wheels have multiple nut size options, when shopping you will find the options dropdown which gives you the nut size along with common manufacturers that use that specific size nut. To be safe we always recommend measuring your current wheel bolt to see if the nut size will match perfectly. Also, you can give us a call and we can walk you through finding a perfect match.

Should My Boat Have a Steering Knob? 

The most common upgrade or reason to replace a wheel is to add or remove a steering wheel power knob. These knobs help steer the wheel faster and more precisely. They are most common on center console boats or sport fishing boats that require quick maneuvering. However, some boaters prefer a standard wheel with no knob. A wheel with no knob can be safer for novice boaters by preventing overcorrecting or oversteering. A knob can be added to the wheel or be part of the actual boat wheel.

Wheel Styles 

The wheel is the centerpiece of your boat, it should look nice! Make sure to choose an upgrade that you found visually pleasing and that's compatible with your boat/ boating style. Often it’s best to choose something similar to the original/existing steering wheel your boat has or had. This is because boat designers and manufacturers put a lot of thought, time, and effort into all aspects of a boat’s design and construction, including the steering wheel they choose to install.


Some materials are significantly more durable than others. If you are on saltwater and even freshwater a lot, you may, like many other boaters, choose a 316 stainless steel steering wheel for your vessel. Stainless steel is not only durable but offers superior corrosion and rust-resistant compared to other materials and is considerably easier to maintain and clean.

Best Boat Wheels Based on Type of Vessel

Alongside the other considerations we have highlighted, you also need to give thought to the type of boat you are looking to install the part on. Different types of boats need different types of steering wheels. Below we look at some of the most popular types of boats and offer suggestions for the types of steering wheels you should consider for each.

Fishing Boats with Central Consoles: For these types of boats you will normally find that they are equipped with stainless steel wheels. These also often come equipped with an additional boat steering wheel knob for more precise control.

Sailboats: Larger wheels are often used in sailing boats and depending on the make, model, and the year it was manufactured, they tend to have either stainless steel or wooden wheels.

Powerboats: Powerboats is a rather general term that could be used to describe a variety of different boats. As such, you will find an interesting range of steering wheel styles and materials used for these vessels. Some even have power knobs to start the engine in addition to the steering wheel.  


Shop for Boat Steering Wheels At Boat Outfitters

If you are ready to buy a steering wheel for your boat, take a look at the high-quality selection of reliable and robust steering wheels featured on this page. If you have any further questions about steering wheels that we have not addressed, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Need More Help Deciding? Give us a call!

 For the last 40+ years, we’ve perfected the art of upgrading boats and helping boaters better enjoy their time on the water. If you have a question about a product or project give us a call! Our team of experts is here to help!

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Commonly Asked Questions about Boat Steering Wheels

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Why do sailboats have larger steering wheels?(show/hide)

Should my boat have a steering knob? (show/hide)

Why do sailboats have larger steering wheels?(show/hide)
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