Every boat needs to change its direction and to do that it has to change the angle of the rudder beneath it. This is done either by moving the tiller or by rotating the steering wheel for larger vessels. Choosing a Tiller or a Wheel can impact the overall control and must therefore be chosen very carefully.
|#1||Spinlock EJ Straight Tiller Extension with Diablo Universal Joint|| ° 360 Degree Rotation |
° Asymmetrical Grip
|#2||Spinlock Silver - Asymmetric Handle Tiller Extension with E-GRIP 600mm-900mm||° Better Control|
° Integrated Shock Absorber
|#3||Ronstan" Battlestick Telescopic Tiller Extension - 60.2"-98" (1530mm-2490mm)||° Protection from |
° Non-Slip Grip
|#4||Spinlock JoyStick Expandable Tiller||° Compact|
|#5||Sunfish Tiller HT7162||° Adds a vintage |
° Saves Space
° Durable materials
used in it
|#6||Edson 14.5" SS Comfort Grip Steering Wheel w/PowerKnob||° Single-Piece|
° Sleek Design
|#7||SeaStar Cimbro SW60500P Steering Wheel, Cimbro 13-1/2 inch with Knob, 3 Spoke Equidistant||° Well-designed |
If you made the wrong choice, then you are likely to lose out a lot of space in the cockpit area or over exert and strain yourself while sailing. That’ because the mechanical abilities of the Tiller and Wheel differ from each other, while a Tiller is suitable for boats under 60 feet, a wheel is a must for boats over 80 feet.
How is a Tiller Different from a Wheel?
To begin with, both of these devices perform the same function. However, which one to choose is a matter of preference and sound judgment. While both the tiller and the wheel help move the rudder, the choice depends on the size of the sailboat and how far you wish to sail.
Small sized Boats – For boats under 30 feet, there is no need for a steering wheel. In fact you’d be wasting space and risk losing control if you installed a wheel in a boat of this size.
Mid-Sized Boats – For boats between 60 and 80 feet, you have the option to, or not to opt for a steering wheel. That’s because if you and your other mates playing helmsmen don’t mind exerting some extra energy while moving the Tiller, then there is no need for a steering wheel. In fact there are many sailors out there who have crossed the Atlantic more than once with a Tiller in their boat.
Large-Sized Boats – For boats measuring 80 feet or more, a steering wheel is strongly recommended. That’s because of the additional mechanical capabilities that a marine steering wheel has.
Not to mention that a wheel also requires a larger cockpit area and hence may not be the best choice for a smaller boat. On the other hand, the tiller is just a stick that has to be pulled to move the rudder and change direction.
Why do most people recommend Tillers over Wheels?
Typically, a marine steering wheel is similar to your car’s wheel, and it controls the boat’s rudder in order to change directions. It has higher mechanical capabilities and is best suited for larger boats. Also, marine steering wheels require some time for you to master it.
On the other hand, a tiller is a smaller stick-like part that is much easier to use. Also, it does not require much practice to navigate like a pro with a Tiller. Most Tillers are foldable and come in various shapes and sizes. So depending on your preferences you can make a choice. Some benefits of a Tiller are as shown below.
Ease of use – A Tiller is far easier to operate than the wheel, so unless you have a really big boat that can’t do without a wheel, there is no need for one. Also, learning how to operate a tiller takes just a few minutes for most beginners, while a wheel may require a lot more than that.
Requires Lesser Space – You need to set up a larger cockpit area for the wheel, but that’s not the case with a Tiller. Connected to the rudder and fully capable of changing the direction of the boat, a Tiller requires lesser space and often comes in a foldable form. Therefore, a Tiller is strongly recommended for smaller and mid-sized boats.
Economic in the long run – It’s no secret that Tiller Pilots are more economic than the Wheel Pilots, therefore using a Tiller turns out to be economic in the long run and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. Now that sure tells you why not to hurry into a wheel unless the size of your vessel calls for it.
Why should you use Tillers in Smaller Sailboats?
This is as simple as answering why you need 18 wheels in a big rig truck and 4 in a car. In other words, a tiller exerts lesser pressure and that suffices the needs of small to mid-sized sailboats. Therefore, the mechanical strength of a Tiller best complements smaller boats and is optional for the mid-sized boats ranging between 60 feet to 80 feet.
However, you must note that using a marine steering wheel in a boat below 30 feet can cause an imbalance and loss of control. That’s because the rudder of smaller boats does not need as much strength as a wheel exerts and therefore moves best with a Tiller. Also, a wheel may consume a lot of space and may unnecessarily destroy the compact and sleek appearance of smaller sailboats. For this reason, most modern boats come with a Tiller.
When to consider a Wheel?
Depending on the size of your sailboat, it may or may not call for a marine steering wheel. So if you have a sailboat that measures under 60 Feet, then you may not really require a wheel to steer it. That’s because steering wheel is preferred only when additional mechanical advantage is sought.
Moreover, if you ignore using one, it could get extremely tiring because a Tiller would require more exertion due to lack of the mechanical advantage that comes with a Marine Wheel. So despite the fact that most people prefer Tillers due to its ease of use, at times a wheel is unavoidable.
Despite having a small of sailboat, you may be tempted to benefit from the higher mechanical advantage that comes with a Marine Steering wheel. However, you must know that this could backfire. Unless you are a pro who knows to use a Marine steering absolutely well, it could get complicated and time consuming. Also it matters whether you have an auto pilot or someone else with you who also knows how to use a Marine steering.
You must also take note of the fact that you can easily save space with a tiller because most of them are foldable. However, this is not the case with a wheel. The wheel continues to remain in its place and consumes that much of space even when left idle. Also, wheels may cause an imbalance if used in smaller boats because of the excess mechanical power that it has.
What to look for while buying a Tiller?
Whenever you decide to buy a Tiller, there are a few things that you must keep in mind. They are as shown below.
Material – While buying a Tiller, always look for materials that are durable in order to ensure that your Tiller lasts for quite some time. Try to look for an anodized exterior in order to avoid corrosion.
360 Degree Rotation – Ensure that the Tiller rotates 360 degrees without any strain on the wrist and elbow. You can figure that out by looking for details about the orbital joint.
Push Button – You must specifically look for this feature as the push button helps your arms get some rest while sailing.
Foldable – Although most Tillers are foldable, not all of them have this feature. Therefore, always ensure that the one you pick is foldable as it facilitates lesser space consumption.
Read through the Top 5 Tillers/Accessories and Wheels listed below for a great sailing experience
Price – $ 321.04 or 353.79
This is a classy Tiller extension that comes in two colors, the stunning black and the sleek silver. So depending on the color and style of your boat, you can pick one. The price of the product varies depending on the size of the product as it is available in 24 inch to 48 inch sizes.
360 Degree Rotation – This product’s stainless steel swivel ensures a comfortable and no-frills 360 degree rotation. So you get a stronger hold over the rudder ensuring easier motion of the ship.
Asymmetrical Grip – The oceans are unpredictable and you never know when the winds may get rough out there. Therefore, this Tiller extension is designed with an Asymmetrical Grip to keep your wrist from straining even when the going gets tough.
- Consumes lesser space in the cockpit area
- It facilitates quicker tacking
- The Asymmetrical handle ensures better grip and lower pressure on the wrist area
- Ideal for single-handed operation
- Automatically returns to its vertical status when left idle
- Some may find it expensive
Spinlock EJ Straight Tiller Extension is packed with some of the best features keeping in mind the rough times. Also, its orbital joint makes it great for single-handed operation and is quite easy on the wrist. Not to mention that it enables quicker tacking, all of which make it a great pick for the given price.
Rating – 5 Stars
Price – $ 295.39
The Spinlock Silver Asymmetric Handle Tiller Extension is one of the most sought-after products due to its ease of use and high durability. Also, the swivel is designed to enable superior control for accurate movement. The other features that ensure a hassle-free sailing experience are its asymmetrical design, push-button adjustment and the integrated shock absorber.
Better Control – This Tiller extension is loaded with some of the best features to ensure better control on the rudder with minimal efforts. That includes the asymmetric grip, ball locking system, and most importantly the swivel joint made of stainless steel.
Integrated Shock Absorber – The integrated shock absorber in this Tiller extension is extremely useful in reducing the pressure felt on the wrist. This turns out to be extremely useful during strong winds. Therefore, the Integrated Shock Absorber plays an important role in keeping the wrist of the Helmsman relaxed and that makes the entire process lesser tiresome.
- Ensures better control
- The integrated shock absorption reduces the impact felt on the wrists
- Has features that reduce fatigue for improved concentration
- The product is highly durable
- Some find it expensive
The Spinlock Silver Asymmetric Handle Tiller Extension gives more feedback due to the many features that it has. That makes using the Tiller easier and keeps it under better control for precise navigation. Also, the product appears to be fairly priced for the numerous features that it offers.
Rating – 4 Stars
Price: $ 182.93
This is an excellent light weight Tiller Extension that offers a solid water-resistant grip and comes with an anodized exterior. The construction of this Tiller extension is far more durable than other Telescopic Tiller Extensions. Also it comes in four telescopic alignments that you can choose from.
Protection from Corrosion – The Ronstan Battlestick Telescopic Tiller Extension has an anodized exterior to ensure that.
Non-Slip Grip – Ronstan Battlestick Telescopic Tiller Extension uses a non-slip Evalon to give you a good grip while you sail. Since this material is water-resistant, it reduces the chances of slippage.
- This is a lightweight Tiller extension, hence it causes lesser fatigue
- It comes in four telescopic alignments ranging between 60 to 98 inches
- Ensures better control with a non-slip Evalon Grip
- Fluted structure for extra rigidity
- Safety knob to ease-up the positioning
- Considered to be most suitable only for Catamarans
Ronstan Battlestick Telescopic Tiller Extension is an above average Tiller extension that is designed to last for a long time. It’s fairly priced considering the basic features that it offers and is best suitable for catamarans.
Rating: 4 Stars
Price: $ 208.61
This Joystick Tiller is extremely useful for those who have smaller boats or for the ones who don’t wish to lose space on a bigger cockpit area. It is highly recommended for sailboats under 30 Feet. Also, it is available in several colors and you can pick one that best suits the aesthetics of your sailboat. Depending on your preference and requirements, you can choose a 39 inch or a 47 inch model and its price varies accordingly.
Compact – This is a great Tiller for smaller sailboats with lesser area to spare for a cockpit. Although most Tillers are foldable and require lesser space, the Spinlock JoyStick Expandable Tiller is designed to be even more compact.
Advanced Features – Despite its compact size, the Spinlock JoyStick Expandable Tiller comes with all the features of an Asymmetric Tiller.
Expandable – Although compact in size, this Tiller can be expanded as and when required in order to save space.
- It requires lesser space in the cockpit area
- Best suited for smaller sailboats
- Facilitates hiking and fast tacking
- You can easily unscrew a couple of screws and convert it into an Asymmetric handle
- Available in five colors
- Not required for larger sailboats
- Some find it expensive
Spinlock JoyStick Expandable Tiller is a great space-saver and an ideal option for smaller sailboats. It makes helming quite convenient and pleasurable by reducing the strain on the helmsman even in the harsh winds.
If you prefer a vintage look and thought that only a classy wheel could do that, then you are highly mistaken. You can even make smaller boats appear aesthetically pleasing with a few smart additions to it.
Adds a vintage Look – For many small sailboat owners, adding a classic look to their boats becomes quite a challenge. This Tiller Extension was designed considering the preferences and requirements of such sailors.
Saves Space – Despite using a combination of aluminum and wood, this Tiller is foldable and is designed to save space in the cockpit.
Durable materials used in it – Wood and Aluminum have been used by sailors since ages and are found to be quite durable while sailing.
- Aesthetically pleasing and adds a vintage look
- Easily foldable Tiller, hence saves a lot of space
- Not the most comfortable to use
Sunfish Tiller HT7162 is a wonderful addition for smaller sailboats in order to add a more pleasing appearance, while also performing all the functions of a modern Tiller. The material used, viz. Aluminium and wood are both time-tested and highly durable.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Price – $ 514.06
With your hands on this Edson 14.5, you don’t have to worry about uneven welds or patchy joints. It comes as a single piece product for optimum comfort and thereby ensures better control. This only gets better with the powerful Power Knob on this wheel. This is a high quality product that is designed to last and fits into most boats.
Single-Piece – You don’t have to worry about an ugly looking welded wheel when you buy this product. That’s because, for optimum comfort and style, it comes as a single piece and is neither welded not joined.
Sleek Design – The design of this product is aesthetically pleasing and classy. Also, its silver color lets it fit into any boat and looks neat.
- Comes as a single piece without welds and joints
- This product is manufactured from Marine Grade 316 Stainless Steel
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Added control with the Power Knob
- May not fit into certain boats
Rating – 4.8 Stars
Price – $ 328
This product is engineered by taking the minutest details into consideration. With anti-vibration nuts and UV resistant material, this is an exceptionally well-designed Marine wheel. The material used in its manufacture also resists corrosion.
Well-designed – This product is exceptionally well-designed with all the essentials required in an above-average Marine wheel.
Durable – The UV resistant and anti-corrosion material used in the manufacture of this Marine wheel ensures higher durability.
- UV Resistant
- Anti-Corrosion Material used in its manufacture
- None to list
Rating – 4.7 Stars
All the above-mentioned products are manufactured by pioneers in the industry and serve different purposes. These products have distinct features in order to give you a wide range of options. While some of them are technologically advanced, some focus on adding an aesthetic look to your boat. Finally, all the products listed here are durable, up-to-date and definitely not outdated.