Trim tabs can be a valuable addition to any boat to improve handling, rough-water ride and overall efficiency. You can also use them to balance a boat with an uneven load. Here’s the level on the three most popular high-performance trim tabs on the market.
Lenco Marine HP 21 x 14 Tabs
The Level: Lenco trim tabs work with individual electronic actuators in each unit. They’re popular because there’s no hydraulics involved, which means no lines and not having to add fluid. They’re also less expensive and easier to rig for DIYers, so they’re a popular choice with boaters who want to save time and money on parts and labor.
The Tilt: Because they are electronic, if a seal in the actuator is compromised, corrosion will soon follow and you’ll be replacing an entire unit, so maintenance is critical.
Bennett Marine XPT (Xtreme Performance Tabs) System
The Level: Bennett uses hydraulics to raise and lower the tab, which has been the industry standard for decades. The XPT system is for nonracing performance boats from 30 to 45 feet long. The kit comes with indicators that can connect to electronics through the NMEA2000 network.
The Tilt: A leak with a hydraulic system can cause a mess and create a drop in pressure, reducing effectiveness or ceasing operation altogether.
Mercury Racing 280S K-Planes
The Level: These serious trim tabs are for serious performance boats: the heaviest-duty, most robust trim tab available for go-fast guys. Each tab has its own pump, so make sure you have room. Cast aluminum construction features larger support ribs for improved durability. Elastomer mounts on the hydraulic ram eliminate play and dampen impact loads.
The Tilt: They’re heavier than the competition, so it could throw off the balance on a smaller boat. Indicators and switches are extra.
$3,424.45 for the pair; mercuryracing.com