Even though all boats come with steering wheels, many of them aren’t mirrored pretty, comfortable, or durable in a marine environment. If you want to make navigating the waters truly enjoyable, you should consider installing one of the best steering wheels instead of your old one.

In this article, you’ll learn about the best marine steering wheels available for all standard boat types. When selecting them, we paid special attention to their size, material quality, and looks. As a result, you can confidently pick a model that will work well and stay stylish for many seasons on the water.

How To Choose The Best Boat Steering Wheel – Buying Guide


Size (Diameter)

Regardless of which size you choose, it won’t affect the turning of the boat. For example, if you replaced a 13-inch wheel with a 14-inch model, you won’t notice a difference in performance or how the boat drives. Changing the size of the wheel simply changes the amount of leverage you have to turn the rudder. If you think about it, the distance from your hand to the center of the wheel is the amount of leverage you will have to steer. Increase the diameter of the wheel and you now have more leverage. Size should only be adjusted if you feel that the helm feels too heavy to control and steer effectively. However, there are other aspects to take into account.

The steering wheel isn’t the only thing you’ll have on the dash panel. Because of this, getting a larger wheel than your original one might result in blocking some of the switches on your boat and make them inconvenient to use. To avoid this, it’s always the safest bet to get a wheel the same size as your original one.


When talking about the material, the biggest concern is whether or not it’s resistant to the marine environment. Most plastic materials are usually fine, but if you choose metal, you need to make sure that it’s high quality so it can resist corrosion. Stainless steel wheels are a good choice here because they won’t corrode as quickly when exposed to saltwater.

With this out of the way, choosing the steering wheel comes down to personal preference. For example, a plastic steering wheel can give you a good grip, but many people don’t like the way they look. A polished stainless steel steering wheel can look great but might be slippery when wet. Lastly, wood has a good grip and looks elegant, but it’s much less durable if it isn’t maintained.


All boat steering wheels serve the same basic function – they are circular in shape and work by being turned over a shaft. When talking about the mechanical aspect of the product, there isn’t much that separates one model from all the others.

Perhaps due to that, companies put a lot more effort into the style of their boat steering wheels, making sure it looks good. You can get them with three, four, or five spokes, in matte black or with a mirror-like polished surface, and with some additions that make them even more stylish.

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If you look at the steering wheel in your car and then look at the one on your boat, you’re going to see a big difference. For a better grip, most car steering wheels have a leather exterior that is stitched together. This obviously wouldn’t work on a boat, as water would get through the stitching and quickly ruin the wheel.

Thankfully boat steering wheels don’t require the same amount of grip, so they don’t need an outer layer like that. If you’re looking for a better grip, getting a plastic wheel would be the best bet. As an alternative, you can get a stainless steel steering wheel that has a turning knob.

Turning Knob

Having a turning knob can be ideal if the steering wheel gets slippery when wet, you need to steer the boat one-handed, or if you need to make more delicate turns. It can be a useful very feature, as it expands your options when it comes to steering.

On the other hand, some people don’t like it and feel that it gets in a way too much. Similarly, some people like how it looks on a wheel and others don’t. Because of this, it comes down to whatever suits you – if you think that it might annoy you, you can easily go without it.



Q: How To Fit A Steering Wheel To A Boat?


Fitting a steering wheel onto your boat is a simple and easy process. To replace the old one, you first need to take the center cover off, expose the nut on the steering shaft, and then undo it. Once you have done that, you can remove the old steering wheel, put the new one in its place, replace and tighten the nut, and put the cover back on.

Q: Why Is A Good Steering Wheel Necessary For Any Boat?


Getting a cheap steering wheel can cause some unwanted problems. It will break more easily, which can be a huge problem while out at sea. Also, it’s unlikely to have the same level of grip, and it will wear more easily over time. Getting a good steering wheel is a good way to avoid all of these problems.

Q: Are All Boat Steering Wheels The Same?


From the size aspect, most steering wheels are the same so they can fit well on different types of boats. However, there are big differences between construction materials that reflect on durability and comfort while using, so you should pay attention to this when picking one for your boat.

Q: What Is The Standard Steering Wheel Size?


As you’ve had the chance to see, the standard size of boat steering wheels is 13.5 inches in diameter. Most manufacturers use this size on their boats, so the replacements come in the same dimensions. However, if you prefer the comfort of a large boat steering wheel or the precision of a small boat steering wheel, these are available too.

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Even if you love the original steering wheel on your boat, it will get worn out in time. When that moment comes, you should pick a replacement carefully.

Whether you want a stylish stainless boat steering wheel or you enjoy the grip that plastic gives you, we hope that our list of top-rated marine steering wheels has helped you equip your boat just the way you like it.

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