If you're new to paramotoring, choosing an engine can be a bit hit-or-miss. There are loads to choose from, but good unbiased reviews of these engines simply don't exist. I know many pilots who have bought brand new engines, only to be disappointed after the first flight.
To give you a little help, I've listed the top five engines based on my own experience, a Facebook poll, popularity, and lots of online research. Of course you're not limited to these five, but if you do choose one that isn't on this list always do your own research, as there are some truly awful engines on the market!
The Facebook poll took 1131 votes and asked pilots which engine they're flying, and there were 75 to choose from.
1. Vittorazi Moster 185
Go to a big fly-in, and it will soon become clear which paramotor engine is the most popular. Not only does this engine dominate the field, but it also dominated the Facebook poll, with a quarter of pilots voting for the Moster.
Vittorazi is an Italian engine builder that was founded in the mid 1980's. Their first paramotor and engine was built in 1996, on which Vittoriano Orazi was able to win first place at the world air games in Turkey.
Today Vittorazi is the leading paramotor engine manufacturer, with the Moster 185 being their most popular choice amongst pilots.
I've been flying the Moster 185 Plus since 2016, and I've clocked up hundreds of hours with very little maintenance required. My 2016 version has been replaced with the MY '19 which has been given a few important upgrades.
If you read my V3 review you'll know about some of the teething problems I had with the Moster in the first 100 hours. These problems have been addressed, and the MY '19 has been given an upgraded airbox to prevent the common manifold failure, and an upgraded exhaust to cut down on the amount of services (brass washers) required.
Overall the Moster is a super reliable, powerful, low maintenance engine. The fuel consumption isn't the best at 4 litres per hour, but with an average sized fuel tank you'll still be able to fly for many hours before landing to refuel.
Vittorazi Moster 185 specifications
Displacement: 184.7 cc
Power: 25 hp at 7.800 RPM
Thrust: 78 kg prop. 130 cm at 8.500 RPM
Weight: 14.2 kg pull starter version
2. Miniplane Top 80
This little engine was first introduced way back in 1989, and was developed specifically for the Per Il Volo Miniplane. It came in at second place on the poll, with 10 percent of pilots owning one.
The Top 80 is produced in Italy and has been a top choice for competition pilots for many years due to its low weight, and low fuel consumption. I've flown one and was quite surprised at the amount of power it had for such a small engine.
But with that being said, it definitely isn't an engine for the bigger guys. If you weigh any more than 175 lbs you'll probably want to choose a different engine.
The Top 80 is very light at just 11.1 KG, which also makes it the go to choice for those with back or knee problems, or pilots who just can't lift the heavier engines.
It's probably the least thirsty paramotor engine available. You can expect a fuel consumption of 1.5 - 2.5 litres per hour, so if you like cross country flying this is a great choice.
This paramotor engine has proven itself as a unit pilots can rely on. It's easy to maintain (not that it requires much maintenance), with all parts being readily available.
All 2-strokes need rebuilding eventually, and one thing to note is that the Top 80 may require top end rebuilds more regularly than the bigger engines, due to it producing its power at a much higher rev range. But don't let this put you off, even a total newbie can easily rebuild the top end of a 2-stroke engine.
Top 80 specifications
Displacement: 80 cc
Power: 15 hp at 9500 RPM
Thrust: 49 kg prop. 125 cm
Weight: 11.1 kg
3. Simonini Mini 2+
If you need the extra grunt, the Mini 2 Plus from Simonini offers a huge 26 HP at 7200 RPM. This makes the engine super popular with the bigger guys, trike and quad pilots, and even single seat microlight pilots.
Simonini are an Italian company that offer a range of single cylinder paramotor engines and twin cylinder microlight engines.
So have you noticed a pattern emerging yet? the top 3 paramotor engines all come from Italy! It seems the Italians really know how to make a good engine.
Considering its size, the mini 2 plus has a very low fuel consumption of just 3.2 litres per hour. This, combined with its high power and proven reliability makes it a great all rounder.
If you're fitting it to a wheeled machine then you won't mind, but foot launchers should bare in mind that it does weigh a lot. You're looking at a whole 7.5 KG heavier than the Top 80, so if you struggle to run with a paramotor you may wish to choose a lighter unit.
Simonini Mini 2 + specifications
Displacement: 202 cc
Power: 26 hp at 7.200 RPM
Thrust: 75 kg prop. 125 cm
Weight: 18.6 kg with electric start
4. Minari F1
Yep, you guessed it... Another Italian paramotor engine! Minari are based in Parma, and they have a long history of engine building. They started out producing Motocross, Mini moto, and Karts engines, before realizing that there was a gap in the market for a powerful, low weight paramotor engine.
The F1 is offered in various forms including manual and electric start, a manual-electric start combo, and a version with in-flight battery charging. They also have a clutched version that is available as a 180 cc or a 200 cc unit.
The Minari came in much lower down the list on the Facebook poll at number 11, but there were a few engines in-between that need to be left well alone due to reliability issues. For this reason it's my number 4, although owners of the F1 suggest that it could be the best paramotor engine on the market.
I haven't flown one, but speaking to owners tells me that reliability is fantastic, with no serious problems to mention. I contacted pilots who have experience with many other engines, and they all say the 180 cc version has heaps of power, and the throttle response is unmatched.
The 180 cc is perfect for average to larger pilots, or really heavy pilots may wish to choose the 200 cc version.
Minari F1 specifications
Displacement: 181 cc
Power: 26 hp at 7.500 RPM
Thrust: 65 kg prop. 125 cm
Weight: 14.4 KG manual start non clutched version
5. EOS 100 Booster
You may be surprised that this paramotor engine isn't Italian! It's true, other countries can make good engines too! EOS are an Austrian company made up of flying enthusiasts who had the goal of designing an engine that's not only compact and light, but also very powerful.
The EOS 100 was the companies first engine, the Booster is the upgrade weighing in at just 9.6 KG. This makes it one of the lightest (maybe the lightest) paramotor engines on the market.
For such a small engine the EOS 100 Booster puts out an incredible amount of power, and produces a massive 61 KG of thrust with a 130 CM propeller.
This engine is fairly new to the market so long term reliability data isn't yet available, but pilots seem to be very happy so far.
Some comments include: a fuel consumption of 4 litres per hour, slightly higher than the quoted 3-3.5 litres per hour. Excessive exhaust spooge, probably fixable by changing the mixture. Max RPM: 9300 with 130 cm E-Prop, and a very good throttle response.
EOS 100 Booster specifications
Displacement: 102 cc
Power: 21,6 HP at 9500 RPM
Thrust: 61 kg prop. 130 cm
Weight: 9.6 KG manual start no clutch
Which paramotor engine do I choose?
If you're new to paramotoring then it's best to wait until you've completed your training before choosing an engine. When you fly the schools paramotors you'll get a good idea of how much thrust you need, and how much weight you can lift and run with.
If you've completed your training but you're still unsure, then start by looking at how much weight you can lift, but don't just look at the engine + the paramotor. You should also add the weight of a full tank of fuel, and all of your equipment, as you'll be surprised how much weight it will add on.
When you have a maximum weight in mind you can look at thrust. A Vittorazi Moster, Minari F1, and Simonini Mini 2+ should easily lift any pilot weight, even tandem paramotors. Smaller engines like the Top 80 will have a maximum pilot weight of about 175 LBS, but the EOS should lift a 190 LB pilot with no problems.
The last thing you want is an under-powered paramotor. You'll struggle to get off the ground, and to climb to avoid objects. This is not only annoying but also very dangerous, so choose wisely.
For a few more engine buying tips, check out THIS POST.