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Buying trim tabs for your boat is a worthwhile investment. For greater control, stability and safety there are few upgrades you can do that will have more of an impact.

However, which trim trab rig should you buy? Will you be installing it yourself or employing professionals? Are you looking for a comprehesive digital control system, or more manual based. The answer to such questions will help narrow down your choice to the best trim tabs for you and your boat.

In this review round up we have selected 5 different trim tab rigs covering a range of pricepoint and functionality. We have also taken a detailed look at the Bennett Auto Trim Pro controller.

For our findings at a glance, just head to the quick reference table below. For in depth review of each of the selected products, keep on reading.


Top 6 Best Trim Tabs

NAME TRIM TABS DETAILS OUR RATING
TOP PICK:
Bennett BOLT1212
Trim Tab
System
Includes: 2xTabs,
1xBennett Control
2x12V Actuators
Cables & Mounts
Lenco Marine Inc
15101-104 9x 12"
Trim Tab Kit
Includes: 2xTabs,
Switch Kit
Actuators
Cables & Mounts
Nauticus Smart
Tabs SX 9.5x10"
w/60lb Actuator
Includes: 2xTabs
60lb Actuator
BEST BUDGET:
Bennett SLT6
Self-Leveling
6x8" Tab System
Includes: Tabs
& Mounts
Nauticus
PT9510-60
Smart Tabs
Includes: Tabs
Levers & Mounts
AUTOTRIM PRO:
Bennett Marine, Inc
AP000A1BC
for Bolt Electric
Bolt Trim Tab
Control Center

Boat Trim Tabs Reviews

motor boat on the water

There are many brands, types, designs, and qualities of trim tabs.

In this review, the qualities of build design, durability, work efficiency, and ease of use have been used to grade and rank the various trim tabs in the market.

This has enabled to identify the best trim tabs, and from these pick the top 5 models for review hereafter. Also reviewed is a controller system that can improve the performance of an already installed actuator system and tab plates.

1. TOP PICK: Bennett BOLT1212 BOLT Trim Tab System

This is a well-built, high-performance and fully water-proofed electrical actuator and tab plate kit that is designed for installation in boats whose length range from 17-28 feet.

There are two actuators and tab plates, with each tab measuring 12inches by 12-inches which makes it suitable for installation in boats with limited transom space.

It comes without a control unit, which leaves one at liberty of fitting an electrically-powered controller that provides for independent control (preferable) or non-independent control.

Even so, its instruction manual recommends that one uses a controller that supports independent control.

On the downside, some controllers can be incompatible with the actuator, mostly because of the current and voltage mismatch between power delivered by controller and power needed by the motor unit. For this reason, it is recommended that one acquires a control unit made by the same manufacturer as the actuator.

To connect each actuator to the controller, there are wires that protrude from the well-sealed, waterproofed cylinder.

This model is part of the BOLT series of trim tabs developed by the premier Florida-based manufacturer and inventor of trim tab kits, Bennett Marine Inc. Its model number is BOLT1212 to indicate its size and brand.

This actuator-tab assembly weighs about 23pounds, and is shipped in a package measuring 25inches by 15inches by 5inches.

Inside the package are:
  • 2 tab plates (also called trim planes),
  • 2 hinge plates,
  • 2 backing plates,
  • 2 complete actuators (without hinges),
  • 2 actuator hinge pins for securing the actuator arms to the 2 actuator lower hinges,
  • 4 lower hinge screws (2 for screwing each actuator lower hinge to a trim plane),
  • trim tab screws for screwing hinge late to back plate,
  • and actuator upper hinge screws (each hinge is secured to stern using 3 screws).

The manufacturer recommends this model for watercrafts, marine vessels, and personal boats. The tab plate is silver in color with its side edges folded up to creating low upfins. Also, the hinge features a detachable low-height backing plate.

Still, the tab comes in a bare state, and one needs to clean it, and then coated with an undercoat of epoxy metal primer which is painted over by an anti-fouling paint.

This prevents marine growth on the tab, as well as makes the plate corrosion-resistant and moisture-proof.

The actuator is black, and this gives the tab-actuator kit a silver-black color scheme. This model comes with a user guide that provides operation precautions and other key safety information.

The near-edge mounting of the lower hinge of the actuator arm on the trim plane enhances the extent of downward displacement.

The plate is made from stainless steel, and its rear edge is screwed between the hinge plate and the back plate. Because the back-plate is detachable, it can be removed when mounting the tab to the bottom of the hull.

The back plate allows for transom mounting of the tab. Therefore, this model supports both transom-mount and bottom-mount.

The actuator system is designed to work well in winter conditions, hence obviating need for winterization during installation and servicing.

The motor unit is designed to work with 12volts (V), direct-current (DC) electricity with maximum amperage set at 20amperes (Amp). This gives the motor unit a maximum power draw of 240W.

Only one actuator must be fitted to a trim plane, as it is difficult to synchronize the operation of two motor units when actuating a tab – more so, when using an independent control unit.

Also, sound-proofing dampens noises produced by moving parts in the actuator, hence allows one to fish with the trim tabs engaged as there are no scaring sounds that could drive the fish away.

The wire harness on the actuator system features 2 color coded wires – yellow and black – with the yellow wire powering motor reverse motion that retracts the actuator arm, while the blue wire powers motor forward motion that deploys the actuator arm to push the trim plane.

Even though this model comes without a control unit, its instruction guide features a simple-to-follow wiring diagram that shows a complete wiring setup with the standard BOLT Rocker switch Control (BRC) and its two improved variants – the BRC with built-in diagnostics and ATR (called the BCN) and BCN with a series of indication lights on either end (called the BCI). The BCN or BCI connects the control box and power source.

Two color-coded wires feed into the control box with black and orange insulations marking ground and power led cables. From the control box, two pairs of blue and yellow wires lead to the starboard and port actuators.

The trim plane-and actuator kit comes with a 5-year limited warranty; while electronic controls purchased separately from the manufacturer carry a 3-year limited warranty.

Pros of the Bennett BOLT1212 BOLT Trim Tab System - 12
  • High-performance model with fully water-proofed electrical actuators.
  • Designed for installation in boats whose length ranges from 17 – 28 feet.
  • Comes with a 12inches by 12inches trim planes that can be fitted in boats with limited transom spaces.
  • Build design and operational design tailored to provide well-calibrated stern lift that reduces bow rise, allows for better planing and maximizes boat performance, while improving ride safety.
  • Actuating rams powered by 240W DC motor units that can be operated independently of each other.
  • No need for winterization.
  • Range of downward displacement maximized by near-edge mounting of actuator ram.
  • Design allows for fast and easy installation.
  • Quiet actuator allows for fishing with tram tabs engaged.
  • Allows for both transom-mount and bottom-mount.
  • Comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
The Cons
  • Requires user to coat the trim planes so as to prevent marine growth.
  • Operation design limits range of compatible control units to those manufactured by Bennett Marine Inc.
  • Two actuators cannot be fitted to a trim plane.

Bottom-line

Bennett BOLT-1212 is a well-built and professionally-designed, high-performance kit that comes with a pair of stainless-steel trim planes and fully water-proofed electrical actuators.

This model is designed for installation in boats whose length range from 17-28 feet. Each trim plane measures 12inches by 12-inches which suits it for installation in boats with limited transom space. Nonetheless, these tabs need to be coated to prevent marine growth.

Even so, the tabs are well-designed to allow for both transom- and bottom-mount. Additionally, the tabs and actuators can be installed easily on the stern.

The actuators are designed to work without winterization, and their actuating rams are powered by 240W DC motor units that can be operated independently of each other.

This design and build features allow the fully-fitted kit to generate well-calibrated stern lift that reduce bow rise, improve fuel efficiency, allow for better planing and maximize boat performance, while improving ride safety.

Consequently, the high-quality build design, high work efficiency, ease of use, and durable construction of Bennett BOLT-1212 makes it the best electric trim tab in this review.

2. Lenco Marine Inc 15101-104 9″ X 12″ Standard Trim Tab Kit

This is a well-designed, high-performance complete trim tabs kit that comes with an electrically-powered controller, and a pair of fully water-proofed electrical actuators and electropolished steel trim planes.

This model is designed for installation in boats whose length range from 16-25 feet. Each tab has a span of 9inches and a chord of 12inches, which makes it a bit smaller than the Bennett BOLT-1212 trim plane, and expectedly powers a smaller boat than the BOLT-1212.

Even so, this Lenco Marine model is designed to be installed in boats with limited transom space, especially boats that come with twin outboard engines.

Its electrically-powered controller provides for independent control with its double Roker switch allowing the user to actuate each tab independently of each other.

The cables that form the backbone of current transmission are provided, along with a fully-wired control unit.

This model is designed and made by the Florida-based company, Lenco Marine Inc.

This is a standard kit whose shipping weight is 17 pounds, and the package size is 14inches by 13inches by 5.2inches.

Inside the package are:
  • 2 stainless-steel tab plates,
  • 2 complete actuators,
  • two 20-inch long actuator extension harnesses,
  • 2 lower mounting brackets,
  • 2 upper mounting rackets fitted with gland seal,
  • stainless steel mounting hardware,
  • control box,
  • self-contained sealed keypad,
  • space saver mounts,
  • and double rocker switch kit

The 12-gauge tab plate is silver in color with its actuator ram fitted near its edge (near-edge mounting). Its hinged mount allows for the tabs to be mounted on the transom.

It is recommended that one cleans and coats the tabs so as to prevent marine growth. The black actuator cylinder houses a self-locking ballscrew actuating ram, which allows the actuator to generate more torque than a geared ram.

Like in Bennett BOLT-1212, the actuator system of Lenco Marine 15101-104 is designed to work well in winter conditions, hence obviating need for winterization during installation and servicing. Also, the Lenco Marine motor unit is designed to work with a 12V DC control unit.

Moreover, only one actuator must be fitted to a trim plane of this model. Additionally, the use of ballscrew rams reduces noise in the actuator hence making this system suitable for fishing boats.

The control unit of Lenco Marine 15101-104 features a double rocker switch with only up and down options for the bow and starboard tabs.

The rocker switch is wired to connect to the control box and power source. Color-coding of wires allows one to know where to connect each wire to, as laid down in the instruction manual.

The complete trim tab kit comes with a 3-year limited warranty.

Pros of the Lenco Marine Inc 15101-104 9
  • High-performance trim tab kit with fully water-proofed electrical actuators.
  • Designed for installation in boats whose length ranges from 16 – 25 feet.
  • Comes with a 9inches by 12inches trim planes that can be fitted in boats with limited transom spaces.
  • Build design and operational design tailored to provide well-calibrated stern lift that reduces bow rise, allows for better planing and maximizes boat performance, while improving ride safety.
  • No need for winterization.
  • Design allows for fast and easy installation.
  • Quiet actuator allows for fishing with tram tabs engaged.
  • Allows for transom-mount.
  • Supported with a 3-year limited warranty.
The Cons
  • Requires user to coat the trim planes so as to prevent marine growth.
  • Two actuators cannot be fitted to a tab.

Bottom-line

Lenco Marine 15101-104 is a well-designed, high-performance complete trim tabs kit that comes with an electrically-powered controller, and a pair of fully water-proofed electrical actuators and electropolished steel trim planes.

It is designed for installation in boats whose length range from 16-25 feet, and its 9inch by 12inch tabs are best suited for boats with limited transom space.

Also, these tabs support transom-mount with near-edge mounting of actuators maximizing the range of downward displacement.

Additionally, its actuators are designed to work without winterization, and their self-locking actuating ballscrew rams are powered by 12V DC motor units that can be operated independently of each other.

3. Nauticus Smart Tabs SX 9.5″ x 10″ w/60lb Actuator

This is a compact and easy-to-install self-adjustable automatic trim tab kit that comes with a pair of tab plates that measure 9.5inches (span) by 10inches (chord). Each actuator can generate 60 pounds of downward displacement force.

It does not need a controller unit because it uses the compressed gas in its cylinder to raise or lower the tabs depending on the prevailing sea conditions – hence the designation smart tabs as they operate without human intervention.

Even so, it generates little downward displacement force which makes it unsuitable for racing boats and yachts; but well-suited for use in inflatable boats and lightweight slow-moving boats whose length is less than 20feet.

This model belongs to the Smart Tabs series of trim tab products made by the Ohio-based company, Nauticus Inc.

This kit is shipped in an unassembled state, just like the kits for Lenco Marine 15101-104 and Bennett BOLT-1212.

Even so, the assembly of the Smart Tabs kit and its installation on the stern is much simpler than the latter two electric models.

The Smart Tabs kit is shipped in a package that is 13inches long, 11inches wide, and 4inches thick; and weighs about 3.5pounds.

Its actuator cylinder is fully-waterproofed as any leakage would render the actuator inoperable. The tabs are well suited for emplacement in boats with limited transom space, while the large chord maximizes the depth of plate displacement per pound of force generated by the actuator. Its color scheme is silver-black.

The use of two tabs that operate independent of each other ensures that the fully-installed trim tabs unit function as an independent actuator-controlled system.

Each tab has four upfins that meet each other at an off-center point, and the lower hinge of the actuator is connected to this point of convergence so as to ensure that near-edge mount is achieved on the tab. Its hinge features a non-detachable low-height backing plate.

This ensures that the trim tab is secured mounted on the transom. Furthermore, even though the tab is designed for use in both salty- and fresh-water environments, it is advisable that one coats it with an epoxy undercoat and anti-fouling paint so as to prevent marine growth.

This kit comes with self-locking clevis pins that firmly attaches the trim tabs to the stern. There is also a user guide that provides operation precautions and other key safety information.

The use of compressed gases to operate the actuator rams presents a challenge when actuator is used in a winter environment as the gases contract inside the cylinder hence generating less force.

This model is supported by a limited 5-year warranty.

Pros of the Nauticus Smart Tabs SX 9.5
  • Compact self-adjustable automatic trim tab with fully water-proofed gas-operated actuators.
  • Each tab is 9.5inches by 10inches which makes it suitable for use in boats with limited transom spaces.
  • Gas-operated actuator can generate up-to 60pounds of force.
  • Range of downward displacement maximized by near-edge mounting of actuator ram.
  • Design allows for fast and easy installation.
  • Quiet actuator allows for fishing with tram tabs engaged.
  • Transom-mounted model.
  • Comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
The Cons
  • Requires user to coat the trim planes so as to prevent marine growth.
  • During winter or ice-cold water conditions, the amount of force generated by the actuator is reduced.
  • Cannot provide a well-calibrated stern lift for managing bow rise, listing, porpoising, and yaws.

Bottom-line

Nauticus Smart Tabs SXW9510-60 is a compact and easy-to-install self-adjustable automatic trim tab kit that comes with a pair of tab plates that measure 9.5inches (span) by 10inches (chord).

Each actuator can generate 60 pounds of downward displacement force, and does not need a controller unit as the compressed gas in its cylinder can expand or contract to raise or lower the tabs depending on the prevailing sea conditions.

The tabs are can be fitted in boats with limited transom space. Moreover, these tabs support transom-mount with near-edge mounting of actuators maximizing the range of downward displacement.

4. BEST BUDGET OPTION: Bennett SLT6 Self-Leveling Tab System – 6″ x 8″

This is a budget-priced, compact and easy-to-install self-adjustable automatic trim tab kit that comes with a pair of tab plates that measure 6inches (span) by 8inches (chord). Its gas-operated, spring-loaded actuators can generate up-to 45 pounds of downward displacement force.

Like other automatic trim tab systems, it does not need a controller unit as it uses the compressed gas in its cylinder to raise or lower the tabs depending on the prevailing sea conditions – in a manner similar to an independent suspension system.

Even so, the amount of force generated is only suitable for trimming small boats whose length ranges from 10-14 feet.

This model is part of the SLT (self-levelling tab) series of trim tabs developed by Bennett Marine Inc.

This actuator-tab assembly weighs about 2.59pounds, and is shipped in a package measuring 11inches by 10inches by 6inches.

Inside the package are:
  • 2 planes,
  • 2 hinge plates,
  • 2 backing plates,
  • 2 complete actuators (without hinges),
  • 2 actuator hinge pins for securing the actuator arms to the 2 actuator lower hinges,
  • lower hinge screws,
  • trim tab screws for screwing hinge late to back plate,
  • and actuator upper hinge screws.

Like Bennet BOLT-1212, this STL model comes with a detachable backing late which allows the user to install the tabs on the transom or at the bottom of the rear edge of the hull. Its color scheme is silver-black.

Unlike Nauticus Smart Tabs SXW9510-60, this STL model features edge-mounting where by the actuator arm is higed at the edge of the plane.

This minimizes the range of downward displacement as compared to near-edge-mounting and center-mounting, and this explains why it can only trim boats whose length does not exceed 14 feet.

The STL actuator cylinder is fully-waterproofed as any leakage would render the actuator inoperable. The tabs are well suited for emplacement in boats with limited transom space.

The STL tab is a flat stainless-steel plate with rounded front corners. The use of two tabs that operate independent of each other ensures that the fully-installed trim tabs unit function as an independent actuator-controlled system.

Like the Bennet BOLT-1212 planes, the STL6 planes requires the user to coat it with an undercoat of epoxy metal primer which is painted over by an anti-fouling paint. This prevents marine growth on the tab.

On the downside, the use of compressed gases to operate the actuator rams presents a challenge when actuator is used in a winter environment as the gases contract inside the cylinder hence generating less force. This may require winterization for optimal performance in cold environments.

This model is supported by a limited 5-year warranty. There is also a user guide that provides operation precautions and other key safety information.

Pros of the Bennett SLT6 Self-Leveling Tab System - 6
  • Compact self-adjustable automatic trim tab with fully water-proofed gas-operated actuators.
  • Each tab is 6inches by 8inches which makes it suitable for use in boats with limited transom spaces.
  • Spring-loaded actuator allows for smoothening of movements of actuating arm.
  • Gas-operated actuator can generate up-to 45pounds of force.
  • Design allows for fast and easy installation.
  • Quiet actuator allows for fishing with tram tabs engaged.
  • Support transom-mounting and bottom-mounting.
  • Comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
The Cons
  • Requires user to coat the trim planes so as to prevent marine growth.
  • Range of downward displacement maximized by near-edge mounting of actuator ram.
  • During winter or ice-cold water conditions, the amount of force generated by the actuator is reduced.
  • Cannot provide a well-calibrated stern lift for managing bow rise, listing, porpoising, and yaws.

Bottom-line

Bennett SLT6 Self-Leveling System is a budget-priced, compact and easy-to-install self-adjustable automatic trim tab kit that comes with a pair of tab plates that measure 6inches (span) by 8inches (chord).

Its gas-operated, spring-loaded actuators can generate up-to 45 pounds of downward displacement force. It does not need a controller unit as the compressed gas in its cylinder can expand or contract to raise or lower the tabs depending on the prevailing sea conditions.

It supports transom-mounting and bottom-mounting. Its fair pricing makes it the best budget model in this review.

5. Nauticus PT9510-60 Smart Tabs

This is a compact and easy-to-install self-adjustable automatic trim tab kit that comes with trolling brakes, and a pair of tab plates that measure 9.5inches (span) by 10inches (chord). Each actuator can generate 60 pounds of downward displacement force.

This makes this kit suitable for installation boats whose length ranges from 14-19 feet. Its build quality and operational design is almost similar to that of Nauticus SXW9510-60 Smarts Tabs with the main differences being that this PT (ProTroller) model comes with trolling brakes and has a shorter warranty period.

This PT9510-60 comes fully disassembled without mounting hardware in its storage pouch. As expected, it does not need a controller unit because it uses compressed gas in its cylinder to raise or lower the tabs depending on the prevailing sea conditions.

This model belongs to the SX ProTroller Series of Smart Tabs made by the Ohio-based company, Nauticus Inc. Its model number is PT9510-60, which designates its tab size and amount of force generated by the actuator. Its part number is MSX60SR.

As mentioned earlier, this kit is shipped in an unassembled state in a package that is 12.2inches long, 11inches wide, and 4.2inches thick; and weighs about 4 pounds. Its actuator cylinder is fully-waterproofed as any leakage would render the actuator inoperable.

The tabs are well suited for emplacement in boats with limited transom space, while the large chord maximizes the depth of plate displacement per pound of force generated by the actuator. Its color scheme is silver-black.

The use of two tabs that operate independent of each other ensures that the fully-installed trim tabs unit function as an independent actuator-controlled system.

Like the Nauticus SXW9510-60, each tab of this PT model has four upfins that meet each other at an off-center point, where the lower hinge of the actuator is connected to the tab. This near-edge mounting improves the range of downward displacement.

Also, the PT tab hinge features a non-detachable low-height backing plate which makes it a transom-mount only model. Additionally, it is advisable that one coats it with an epoxy undercoat and anti-fouling paint so as to prevent marine growth.

Like other gas-operated self-adjustable automatic trim tab units, this model needs winterization if it is to be used in cold environments.

This is because low temperatures cause the compressed gases in the actuator cylinder to contract inside the cylinder hence generating less force.

This kit comes with self-locking clevis pins that firmly attaches the trim tabs to the stern. There is also a user guide that provides operation precautions and other key safety information.

This model is supported by a limited 1-year warranty.

Pros of the Nauticus PT9510-60 Smart Tabs
  • Compact self-adjustable automatic trim tab with fully water-proofed gas-operated actuators.
  • Each tab is 9.5inches by 10inches which makes it suitable for use in boats with limited transom spaces.
  • Gas-operated actuator can generate up-to 60pounds of force.
  • Range of downward displacement maximized by near-edge mounting of actuator ram.
  • Design allows for fast and easy installation.
  • Quiet actuator allows for fishing with tram tabs engaged.
  • Transom-mounted model.
The Cons
  • Requires user to coat the trim planes so as to prevent marine growth.
  • During winter or ice-cold water conditions, the amount of force generated by the actuator is reduced.
  • Shorter warranty period as compared to the Nauticus SXW9510-60 model.
  • Cannot provide a well-calibrated stern lift for managing bow rise, listing, porpoising, and yaws.

Bottom-line

Nauticus PT9510-60 Smart Tabs is a compact and easy-to-install self-adjustable automatic trim tab kit that comes with trolling brakes, and a pair of tab plates that measure 9.5inches (span) by 10inches (chord).

Each actuator can generate 60 pounds of downward displacement force. This makes this kit suitable for installation boats whose length ranges from 14-19 feet.

The tabs are can be fitted in boats with limited transom space. Moreover, these tabs support transom-mount with near-edge mounting of actuators maximizing the range of downward displacement.

Auto Trim Pro: Bennett Marine, Inc AP000A1BC Autotrim Pro for Bolt Electic

In this bennett auto trim pro review, we will take a close look at the AP000A1BC.

This is an electrically-powered controller unit that is compatible with BOLT series of trim tabs. Still, it can work with other Bennet non-BOLT electric actuators. It is also fully compatible with the Bennet BOLT-1212 that has been reviewed above.

This model is a user module that comes with daytime and night modes, with its double rocker switch providing four control buttons for independent control of the bow and starboard actuators. Each switch allows the user to raise or lower a tab, with the BOW UP button raising the tab, while the DN button lowers the tab.

Regarding its build, this controller unit integrates a BOLT-specific rocker switch control (BRC) with built-in diagnostics and ATR; while a series of indication lights on either end helps the user understand the operational state of the trim tabs.

It is basically a BCI controller. This model is part of the Automatic Pro series of trim tab controllers developed by Bennett Marine Inc. Its model number is AP000A1BC, and the part number is 85311654.

Another unique aspect of this controller is that it supports both independent control and synchronized control with the buttons of the double rocker switch allowing for independent control.

The four press buttons labelled ALL UP, FAV1, FAV2, and ALL DOWN allowing for synchronized control of the actuators. The buttons are arranged linearly below the double rocker switch compartment of the controller.

This controller kit is shipped in a package that is 11inches long, 10inches wide, and 6inches thick; and weighs about 2.59 pounds.

It is designed to be fitted in the dashboard in the pilot cabin, where the boater can easily access its control buttons, and thereby easily and effortlessly control the actuators which move the tabs when trimming the boat.

This controller features a wire harness holds in places cables that are connected to the power source and control unit.

There are two color-coded wires that feed into the control box – and they are coded by their colored insulations into black and orange cables.

The black cable is the ground cable while the orange cable is the power lead cable. From this control box, two pairs of blue and yellow wires lead to the starboard and port actuators.

This controller is designed to deliver 12V or 24V DC at a maximum amperage of 20A. There are multiple fuses fitted in its circuit.

This electronic control unit is supported by a 3-year limited warranty. There is also an instruction manual that guides one through the process of installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance.

Pros of the Bennett Marine, Inc AP000A1BC Autotrim Pro for Bolt Electic
  • Electrically-powered controller that features a stable circuit.
  • Can allow for both independent control and synchronized operation of the bow and starboard actuators.
  • Comes with its cables and control unit.
  • Integrates rocker switch control and indicator lights with built-in diagnostics and ATR.
  • Has daytime and night-time modes.
  • Has fuses for circuit protection.
  • Designed to deliver 12V or 24V DC at a maximum amperage of 20A.
  • Supported by 3-year limited warranty.
The Cons
  • Does not work well with hydraulic units of hydraulic actuators.

Bottom-line

Bennett Marine AP000A1BC Autotrim Pro is an electrically-powered controller unit that is compatible with BOLT series of trim tabs.

Still, it can work with other Bennet non-BOLT electric actuators. It has a stable circuit that features multiple fuses which provide protection against current surge.

Also, it comes with its cables and control unit. Moreover, it integrates rocker switch control and indicator lights with built-in diagnostics and ATR.

Likewise, it supports daytime and night-time modes. Lastly, it allows for both independent control and synchronized operation of the bow and starboard actuators.

Trim Tabs Buying Guide

speedboat trim tabs

Trim tabs are a useful addition to boats as they improve performance, power efficiency, and support smooth rides, while allowing you to shift weights around the boat without suffering listing, yaws and bows.

Even so, you can achieve the entire spectrum of these benefits if you acquire and install the right trim tab unit into your boat.

There are several factors that you need to consider when choosing the right unit for your boat, and this guide describes the 6 most important factors to consider, while minor factors such as aesthetics are not considered as they are personal preferences that do not impact performance of the unit.

Type of Trim Tab Unit

It is advisable that you purchase electrically-powered models so as to take advantage of the power generation capacity and battery system of the boat to run a highly-efficient trim tab system that provides almost immediate positive lift that corrects bow rise.

There are two main types of electrically-powered trim tab units; hydraulic and electric units. Hydraulic models use a motor in a hydraulic power unit to pump hydraulic fluid from the reservoir to actuate hydraulic rams that move the tabs up and down akin to mechanical water pedals.

The electric models have the motor in the actuating assembly where it runs a geared system that operates the rams.

The choice of type depends on much torque you want the unit to generate with hydraulic models generally providing more torque than electric models due to the multiplier effect of pressure transmission through fluids pumped by unequally-sized pistons.

Nonetheless, electric models that have ballscrew rams (actuator arms) can also generate high amounts of torque. Another consideration is the speed of tab movements and response time after pressing the control buttons, with electric movements providing faster movements and quicker response time as compared to hydraulic models.

Another important factor to consider for fishing boats is recessed units whose bottom-mounted tab plates can slide underneath the stern and hull. These sliding mechanisms prevents the plate from damaging fishing nets and lines hang on the stern.

Tab Size

The next consideration is the tab size, which is very important as it determines how much positive lift the unit can generate per unit of electric energy used.

The law of the thumb is that the span of the trim tab (in inches) should be equal to the boat length (in feet), for example, a 20-foot long boat needs two tabs, each with a span of 20inches.

Regarding chord, you need to choose between a 9-inch or 12-inch chord, with considerations such as amount of lift needed, transom space, boat length, and type of outboard engine being factored into the consideration.

Basically, the 9-inch chord is suitable unless you have a high-speed boat, or your boat has twin outboard engine, or is longer than 39feet long.

Independent Control

It is recommended that you acquire a model that allows you to control each tab separately. This is important because it allows for independent control of the trim tabs, hence supporting effective correction of listing, especially when you move weight around the boat.

It also allows for better planing, effective bank correction, and reduction of bow rise when driving at high-speed in tumultuous sea conditions, besides allowing for better management of quartering, as well as reduce heaving.

Mount Options

There are two mounting options available for fitting trim tabs on the boat:

Transom mount:

This is the preferable mounting option as it allows for adequate levelling of the tabs and maximum downward displacement, besides allowing the hinge of the tab to be fitted in boats with strakes. The tab hinge is fitted to the outer edge of the bottom stern transom, while mount plate (if available) is bolted to the stern.

Bottom mount:

This is used in boats whose stern hulls lack protrusions and strakes, which allow the hinge of the tab to be fitted at the bottom (underside) of the stern hull (usually directly behind the bottom edge of the transom). It is used when transom mount is impractical or impossible.

A related consideration is ease of installation, though most of these units require professional installation as they need to be connected to existing electrical infrastructure in the boat.

Still for a professional boater who has experience in installing trim tab units, it is recommended that you choose a model that you are comfortable installing and maintaining.

Maintenance and safety

boat on trailer

Trim tabs enhance safety for the boater by reducing bow rise so that you can see over the bow. Even so, repeated use of the trim tabs allows damages to accumulate hence reducing the efficiency of the trim tab unit, and in extension jeopardize your safety through poor management of bow rise.

You should choose a model that allows for easy inspection of parts (and fluid levels in hydraulic models), while allowing for easy cleaning of parts. It is also advisable that you paint the parts in contact with moisture so as to prevent marine (mold) growth.

Also, your model must come with a guide that provides operation precautions and other key safety information.

Another important consideration is waterproofing the actuator system as water entry into the cylinder can cause loss of pressure in hydraulic system as hydraulic fluid leaks out (through the point of water entry); while in electrical actuators, it can lead to short circuiting the motor which renders the actuator inoperable.

This makes waterproofing one of the key maintenance tasks that you need to perform, regardless of the water environment (whether riding in salty- or fresh-water lakes). It is advisable that you select a model that allows for simple and effective waterproofing.

Price

boat in sunshine

The model you choose must fit your allocated budget. The aforementioned considerations allow you to narrow your choice to a set of models, and after checking their prices, you can then select the model that has the best performance-to-price ratio.

It is also advisable that you acquire a model that comes with guarantee. Additionally, if after-sales services are provided by the authorized dealer, then you get an added benefit.