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Electric Trim Tabs: Electromechanical Trim Tabs VS Hydraulic Trim Tabs

Electromechanical trim tabs vs Hydraulic Trim tabs.  Google this and you'll find a ton of articles regarding trim tabs of both nature.  How does one make an intelligent decision between electric trim tabs and hydraulic trim tabs when it seems that there are way too many opinions, comments, and contradictions, and the opposition between them will make your head spin.

It does appear that the hydraulic biased side has an armor piercing bullet when it comes to firepower, as we all know electric and water certainly do not go together, and the thought of such somewhat persuades the masses.  But, what about the hydraulic pump that has to be powered by DC voltage?  Do you want this oily mess sitting beneath your center console dripping transmission fluid on your deck? Perhaps you want to mount the pump back in the transom area where it's out of the way, you know, back there where it's nice and moist from the open access to the bilge?  Well, that may very well be the downfall of the hydraulic pump, as it too must remain dry or the connections and components that drive things such as auto tab retractors, and the port and starboard actuator contacts will corrode and become inoperable.  Did the bullet penetrate, or just bounce off and cause more confusion? 

The one common element that takes the brunt of the beating is the o-ring used in the electromechanical trim tab to keep the water out.  Well, I've heard that O-ring damage also occurs on the hydraulic trim tabs due to barnacles growing on the ram, ultimately causing the seal to leak fluid. This certainly can't be good for the marine environment!  Perhaps the pushing force is greater on the electromechanical tabs making them more stable at higher speeds, or reaction time is faster on hydraulic tabs, but retraction and extension times are faster with electric! Wow!  We can't forget about Hydraulic trim tabs having feedback sensor problems and electric tabs getting stuck in full down position.  Then you have excessive lag time from electric and precision from hydraulic, longer warranties for hydraulic tabs, faster and easier installation times for electric tabs, numerous durability and replacement issues, and the list goes on.

I've read and heard many comments from boaters that have had no issues with electromechanical trim tabs, and the same from the opposing hydraulic side. Some boat manufacturers supply their boats with electric trim tabs while others supply their boats with hydraulic trim tabs.  In my opinion, if either or were a bad choice then you'd see a lot less trim tabs on boats as they simply wouldn't be worth spending money on, unless you just want to look cool, at which point you couldn't go wrong with either type because they all look good. 

I've only owned hydraulic trim tabs, some by choice but some simply because the particular boats that I've purchased already had them on it.  Had I been given the choice after further research, well, I'd probably be still debating due to the confusion and miss out on owning any trim system.  I've put hydraulic tabs to the test and can tell you that they too are not without flaws by any means.  In fact, throw in too much technology and not enough attention to smaller things like moisture intrusion and you'll have problems as I surely found out.  Feel free to read my hydraulic trim tab review of a very popular brand. 

There are a few other types of trim tabs available out there as well, but for the purpose of this article I'm not going to confuse you any more than you may already be. Despite all of the arguments amongst the two sides, I am going to take my first venture into the world of electromechanical trim tabs!  If what the hydraulic quorum says is true, then wish me luck! If what the electromechanical quorum says is true, then you'll see me trimmed out and rippin

Seeing as I decided to go with the Uflex Hydraulic SilverSteer Steering system because of their engineering technology and attention to quality parts in the steering system, I also feel like this quality will bleed over into the tabs as well, so I'm getting my hull wet with their trim tab system.  I will be installing this trim tab system along with the steering system as part of "Project Osprey," our boat rebuilding project currently taking place.  I will give a fully detailed review complete with an installation video and pics, as well as a full article detailing as much as I possibly can, and a longevity report to keep you updated.


#9 Steve
Having same issues you mentioned on the bennett tabs. Had to scale back and go basic after wasting a lot of time and money troubleshooting . Curious to see the longevity of the electric tabs.
#8 Larry
I agree with Rick waiting for your review is getting painful. I've searched high and low on the web and nothing of a good review can be found. I did find some short reviews on uflex stuff but they are either from them or people selling them..nothing like a good independent review with tons of detail like you write. I've had a few issues lately with my hydr tabs and looking to rip em off and make a change. I'll test em for you if you don't have time! :lol:


Thanks for the compliment Larry. I haven't looked online for reviews, but mine will be coming soon and certainly will be detailed. Hang in there. Give UFlex a call if you are going to buy before my review, as I think these are going to be top notch tabs.
#7 Rick L
My god FIA, how about a review already! Been checking back with no results. Hopefully you do the detailed article like the rest I read on your site. thanks you.


Hi Rick, I haven't had a chance to get a set on the boat yet to try them, but I will be doing so shortly. Yes, I will do a complete review as I always do. Thanks for your patience and check back soon.
#6 Todd
No trim tabs here and all my friends tell me to get them. My boat drags ass heavy even on plane. Looking forward to reading your article on the flex tabs and maybe trying them on for size. Thanks for the good read in advance.


Todd, you will benefit greatly from tabs in many ways. It will certainly help lift the aft up, and you'll get much better control at the helm in many situations.
#5 Offshore Slam
It's amazing how one can fish for many a years and think you know all the companies out there that make the main components and then you stumble on this. Never heard of these guys, and there aren't many trim tab manufactures out there that I know of. I guess its been Bennett and Lenco for so long that others are over looked. When are you getting them wet and writing your review?


I stumble upon new products all the time and wonder why I haven't heard of them, though I'm not really looking until I need them so that may be it. Many times I find companies concentrate on OEM, such as DSS, BEP, and SeaSpension, which all make great products. I should be installing them soon.
#4 Laron Rayburn
I can't find anyone using these?
#3 Bryan
Hydraulic Bennett tabs here and many problems with the connection as you said in the article above. I Removed the extras and all is fine, except I do get a greasy residue on the hatch no matter what I do. I can live with that though. I might try electric when these go out.


Sometimes it's best to go basic. Think back to the old cars and trucks that ran forever. Really it's in the manufacturer and how much attention to quality they put into their product that will change our minds as to new technology. I'm trying electric this time around myself.
#2 Will
Got a set of Lencos and never had an issue in the 4 years I've owned them!
#1 Taft
How does the Uflex compare to Lenco tabs? I'm looking to get some new tabs and wasn't sure which way to go electric or hydraulic. Good read above.

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