Sideshift vs. Tunnel Thrusters - Sideshift Bow Thrusters and Stern Thrusters

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Choosing the right bow and stern thruster is as easy as picking the product that matches the length of your boat. And if you’re still not sure, our experts are here to help!

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See how Sideshift outperforms all other thruster solutions

Significantly lower installed costs. More responsive performance. No mounting holes below the waterline. Virtually silent operation. These are only a few of the many benefits you receive when choosing a Sideshift thruster over conventional thruster systems.

See the chart below to learn how Sideshift outperforms the competition. Our results speak for themselves!

Features Sideshift Conventional Thrusters
Easy same-day installation YES NO
No tunnel or mounting holes below waterline YES NO
In-water installation possible YES NO
Virtually silent operation YES NO
Zero drag when planing YES NO
Pivot point advantage for optimal performance YES NO
Prop-in-water design for greater responsiveness YES NO
Canadian built to perform in heavy weather conditions YES NO
Can be retrofitted to a future boat YES NO
Virtually maintenance free YES NO
All-inclusive kit YES NO
2 Year Warranty YES YES
Potential to void hull warranty NO YES
Fits any type of boat – cruiser, trawler, cuddy, sailboat, pontoon or houseboat YES NO
Typical installed cost for boats up to 75’ $3,300-$6,700





 Detailed cost breakdown

  Sideshift Conventional Thrusters
2.5hp – 7.5hp Thruster $2,900-$4,900 $3,000-$7,000
Additional Hardware $200 $300-$500
Batteries/cable $200-$500 $200-$500
Installation – DIY Not Available
Installation – Dealer $800-$1,200 $4,000-$7,000
Total Installed Cost $3,300-$6,700 $7,500-$15,000


Deciding which thruster is best

Significantly lower installed cost, more responsive performance, no mounting holes below the waterline, virtually silent operation. These are only a few of the many benefits you receive when choosing a Sideshift thruster over conventional thruster systems.

Through-the-Hull Thrusters
Although occasionally found on smaller boats (less than 30 feet in length), through-the-hull thrusters are usually found on larger boats. While they are generally installed at the factory when the boat is built, they can be added later. There is, however, a downside to retrofitting. First of all, two significantly large holes must be cut or drilled in the hull below the water line for the tunnel/tube that must pass through the boat. Correct tunnel placement is critical and requires a skilled installer experienced in structural fiberglass repairs because the area around the tunnel on the hull’s exterior will require fiberglass work, paint and gelcoat. If the boat is new, installing a through-the-hull thruster will most likely void the hull warranty.

The placement of the tunnel and the thruster motor will also reduce storage space in the boat and/or interfere with tanks, bulkheads and other structural components. Finally, in order to be effective the thruster must be placed as far forward as possible and deep enough below the water line to generate the maximum turning moment – something that is not always practical with smaller boats. Additionally, through-the-hull thrusters are known to be noisy.

External Thrusters
Sideshift offers both bow and stern configurations. As the name suggests, bow thrusters are designed to be mounted on the bow of the boat. They can be attached with only three bolt holes for the mounting hardware and one or two holes for the power cables. All holes are drilled above the water line, thereby eliminating the possibility of a potential boat-sinking leak.

Stern thrusters are also available for those who feel they need better stern control. Mounted on the swim deck or transom, they allow the captain to push the stern from side to side. For boaters who want to install both bow and stern thrusters, Sideshift provides a double joystick that makes it possible to use the bow and stern thrusters separately or together to move the boat sideways. The advantages of that set-up will be obvious to anyone who has had to dock a boat between two other boats tied up parallel to the dock. Using the two thrusters simultaneously permits the pilot to simply slide it in



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