Sports and Outdoors

Top 9 Best Trolling Motors for Freshwater & Saltwater Fishing – Sep. 2019

A trolling motor is an electric motor with propellers and controls. Anglers use these motors the most, and you can buy them for the bow or stern of your boat. A trolling motor works alongside your outboard so that you can move along slowly and fish. It runs on battery power and isn’t your primary source of propulsion.

The battery life of a trolling motor can differ, depending on whether your battery is 12 volts, 24, or 36. Once you’ve finished trolling, or your battery goes flat, you can lift it by its handle, restart your outboard motor, and head home at speed. 

The market is full of different trolling motors to suit different people. Some people want small ones for kayaks and dinghies, while others need large ones for big fishing boats. You then have to choose between a bow or transom motor, depending on your boat’s style. Take a moment to view these nine top-rated options below. You can then decide which one suits your needs the most. 

1. Minn Kota Transom Mount Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Transom Mount Trolling Motor

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By Minn Kota

When you’re out trolling on your boat, you don’t want to be stuck with an unreliable trolling motor. You want something that’s made to last, sturdy, and will have all the features you require for a lovely day out on the boat. This trolling motor from Minn Kota may be the answer.

As the Endura C2 55 model, it’s a brilliant motor with a lot to offer the average boat user. You can choose from three shaft sizes, and they are composite, rather than steel. Pound for pound, they are stronger than steel.

This trolling motor also comes with a lever lock bracket, a power prop, telescoping tiller, and a two-year warranty. If your engine doesn’t operate as it should within that two-year window, then you can return it for a replacement or refund. 

What will also appeal to many boaties is the speed type. This trolling motor boasts three rev speeds and five forwards speeds. As a variable speed motor, it’s precise and can conserve battery far better than several other models. 

This affordably-priced trolling motor has some flaws, such as a lack of sealing around the shaft top and wiring connect, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a closer look. View all its features and decide if it’s right for you. 

Features

  • Endura C2 55 model
  • Three shaft sizes
  • Lever lock bracket
  • Five forward speeds
  • Three rev speeds
  • Composite shaft 
  • Power prop
  • Telescoping tiller 
  • Two-year warranty 

Pros

  • Generous warranty period
  • It’s made to last
  • The shaft is supposedly stronger than steel
  • Offers plenty of steering response
  • It’s a variable speed trolling motor for battery conservation 
  • Affordably priced 
  • It’s quiet to operate

Cons

  • The wiring is not sealed
  • The shaft top is not sealed
  • The handle doesn’t pivot upward like others 
  • It’s not all that efficient in reverse compared to other motors

2. MotorGuide Wireless Trolling Motor 

MotorGuide Wireless Trolling Motor

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By MotorGuide

If you’re all about the future of boating, then set your sights on this trolling motor from MotorGuide. Unlike other trolling motors which have a lot of cords (and confusion), this one brings you back to basics but in the most technologically advanced way. 

This saltwater-compatible motor is entirely wireless. It comes with remote control steering so that you can operate it from anywhere in your boat. If that’s not enough, you can also purchase a wireless foot pedal to go with it, then upgrade to a motor with a pinpoint GPS. It doesn’t get much more intelligent than that.

What’s more, this motor is sleek, boasts a 55-pound thrust, and even comes with a SecureStep lever. This safety feature means you can deploy the motor into the water while feeling entirely secure on a step. 

Because this motor is well made, quiet to operate, and comes with plenty of optional extras, it could be the motor for which you’ve been waiting. Take a look at it and discover whether it’s the right one for your needs. 

Features

  • Bow mount
  • Saltwater-compatible 
  • 55-pound thrust
  • Three shaft sizes 
  • Xi3 model 
  • Remote control steering 
  • Optional wireless foot pedal
  • SecureStep lever

Pros

  • You can operate everything from a remote
  • It’s quiet to run
  • SecureStep System makes deployment of the motor safer
  • You can buy it with a pinpoint GPS and wireless foot pedal
  • You can choose a thrust and shaft length 
  • Well made
  • Ideal for a range of boats

Cons

  • Expensive price tag

3. Minn Kota Riptide Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Riptide Trolling Motor

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By Minn Kota

It can be a challenge to find a trolling motor that powers through choppy water like a hot knife through butter, but this one from Minn Kota could deliver. As a powerful Riptide Powerdrive motor with a 48-inch shaft and 55-pound thrust, it answers many fisherpeople’s questions. 

It boasts beautiful swept-back flared blades to cut through the water, has a weedless wedge for convenience, and even offers a battery reading screen. At the touch of a button, you can find out how much charge you have left. 

This model also runs cool and, depending on which motor you receive, can have Bluetooth functionality. However, many people state that the motors they received didn’t have it. If reliability is what you require in a trolling motor, then this one from Minn Kota is certainly worth a closer look. It’s tough, well made, reliable, and operates quietly. Read through the feature list and hit the water with peace of mind. 

Features

  • 55-pound thrust
  • Riptide Powerdrive model
  • 48-inch shaft 
  • Swept-back flared blades
  • State of charge reading 
  • Cool running model
  • Bluetooth functionality 

Pros

  • It’s a reliable motor
  • Tough and well made
  • It powers through the water 
  • It has a weedless wedge for convenience
  • You can find out what the level of charge is immediately
  • It operates quietly
  • It runs cool to extend the motor’s life 

Cons

  • Some models don’t have Bluetooth as advertised

4. U-BCOO 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor

U-BCOO 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor

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By U-BCOO

If you’re a hobby boater who likes to take the kayak out on the river or lakes from time to time, then this trolling motor could be for you. With eight speeds and operating on 12 volts, it’s an excellent option for those with only a small boat and a few requirements. 

This affordable trolling motor is kayak-compatible, offers a 46-55-pound thrust, and has an adjustable speed handle with 10mm tensile. The next time you go out fishing on your kayak, you’ll likely think about whether this motor could have been right for the job. 

It comes with five gears, three forwards, and is exceptionally easy to operate. Even installing it takes no time at all and it’s lightweight and quiet. Everything about this motor says convenience and ease, which is why it’s worth a closer look. The battery may not last all that long, but you can weigh up the pros and cons to decide for yourself. 

Features

  • Eight-speed
  • 12 volts
  • 46 to 55-pound thrust options
  • Kayak-compatible 
  • 10mm tensile
  • Five gears
  • Three forwards
  • Adjustable speed handle

Pros

  • Suitable for small boats such as kayaks
  • Affordable to buy
  • Easy to operate
  • You can choose your thrust speed
  • Lightweight and quiet 
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • The battery doesn’t last all that long

5. Minn Kota Powerdrive Trolling Motor with Bluetooth

Minn Kota Powerdrive Trolling Motor with Bluetooth

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By Minn Kota

The previous trolling motor range from Minn Kota was impressive and desired by many fishers. However, this Powerdrive Bowmount model takes it one step further. Enjoy all the reliability the brand is known for, but with far more superior technology than ever before.

This trolling motor has Bluetooth, runs on 12 volts, and boasts a 45-48-pound thrust. It has all the power you need to hit the water with confidence. It also has an entirely redesigned system, new aesthetics, and is far quieter than other models for sale too. 

What you will also enjoy is the remote control with new technology and advancements. The i-Pilot has seen some updates, and you can also set spot locks, steer, control speed, and record your paths with the remote control. This trolling motor also utilizes GPS as a bonus. 

This trolling motor may be more expensive than others and can be tricky to install a fish finder on, but Minn Kota has stepped up their game. Reap the rewards of new technology today. 

Features

  • Bluetooth included
  • Powerdrive Bowmount model
  • 45-48-pound thrust
  • 12 volts
  • Updated i-Pilot
  • GPS-powered
  • Remote control included 

Pros

  • You can set spot locks, control speed, steer, and record paths with the remote
  • It features a whole lot of updates compared to previous models
  • Plenty of thrust and power
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet to operate
  • It has been entirely redesigned from previous models 

Cons

  • Challenging to install a fish finder on it
  • Expensive to buy

6. Newport Vessels Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor

Newport Vessels Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor

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By Newport Vessels

While this trolling motor has control housing that can feel a little cheap for some users, and the thrust sometimes feels too heavy in first gear, it’s still a quality motor. Many people swear by this motor on their saltwater and freshwater adventures.

When you buy this motor, you can choose from a 62 or 86-pound thrust. It has a 40-inch composite fiberglass shaft, eight speeds (five forward, three reverse), and runs on a 12-volt battery. The beauty of this battery is that it comes with an LED battery indicator. You can know with a glance how much juice you have left. 

The six-inch telescoping handle is comfortable to use, and the motor runs cool and quiet. It’s also ideal for saltwater conditions thanks to the addition of magnesium, zinc, and stainless-steel hardware. 

As the cherry on top, you receive a two-year warranty on this L-series motor when you buy it. You can then hit the water with peace of mind that the manufacturer will cover any of their faults. 

Features

  • 62 and 86-pound thrust options
  • LED battery indicator
  • 40-inch shaft
  • L-series model
  • Composite fiberglass shaft 
  • Eight speeds
  • Six-inch telescoping handle
  • Five forward and three reverse speeds
  • 12-volt battery
  • Saltwater-compatible hardware
  • Two-year warranty 

Pros

  • Ideal for saltwater conditions
  • It’s quiet and runs cool
  • The shaft is entirely adjustable
  • The handle extends
  • You can always tell what the battery is at 
  • It has stainless-steel, magnesium, and zinc hardware
  • Generous warranty 

Cons

  • The control housing feels cheap and flimsy
  • The thrust is too heavy in first gear

7. Aquos Haswing Electric Trolling Motor with Remote Control

Aquos Haswing Electric Trolling Motor with Remote Control

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By Haswing

You may have to spend a little more than you thought you would to own this trolling motor, but once you put it to use, you will know why. Not only is it an attractive motor that you can buy in black and white, but it’s packed full of different features for a rewarding boating experience.

It’s ideal for saltwater or freshwater, comes with cruise control, and will even suit most boats up to 2,750 pounds. What’s more, it has a remote control. This wireless remote allows you to control many different functions of the motor while also being usable within a 164-foot distance. 

That’s not all that will make this motor desirable. It has a 48-inch shaft, stow and deploy pedal for safety, and a depth collar as well. Even when it comes time to bring the trolling motor in, there’s an ergonomic lifting handle that’s effortless to use.

This corrosion-resistant motor is ideal for many people and has a fully adjustable speed. Many people love the features this motor has to offer, so give it a try and see if it’s right for you. 

Features

  • Black or white color scheme
  • Wireless remote control
  • Variable speed functionality
  • Saltwater and freshwater use
  • 48-inch shaft 
  • 2,750-pound boat compatibility
  • 164-foot remote distance
  • Cruise control
  • 180-degree motor rotation
  • Ergonomic lifting handle 
  • Stow and deploy pedal 
  • Depth collar

Pros

  • Plenty of convenient features
  • You can adjust the speed
  • Easy to control
  • You can choose a color to suit your boat
  • You can recharge the remote via USB
  • Suitable for a range of boats
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Comfortable handle

Cons

  • Higher price tag than others

8. Haswing Inflatable Boat Electric Trolling Motor

Haswing Inflatable Boat Electric Trolling Motor

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By Haswing

Not everyone has a big, flash boat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy a trolling motor. Even if you only have a small fishing tube, kayak, or inflatable boat, you can take to the lakes for a spot of fishing with this trolling motor. 

It’s small, lightweight, quiet, and comes kitted out with a whole host of user-friendly features. From the 22-inch shaft to the corrosion-resistant saltwater coating for peace of mind; what more could you need? It even has a one-year warranty, which is sure to give you faith in this Haswing product. 

The only thing that may not appeal to you is the limitations with speed. It has a high and low-speed control with a forward and reverse switch, but not a lot of options. However, the addition of the two-blade weedless propeller and an easy installation process can easily make up for that. 

Hit the water with confidence and a spot of fishing with this trolling motor from Haswing. 

Features

  • Kayak and inflatable boat-compatible
  • 22-inch shaft
  • High and low-speed control
  • Forward and reverse switch 
  • Corrosion-resistant saltwater coating
  • Two-blade weedless propeller
  • One-year warranty

Pros

  • Affordable price tag
  • Ideal for kayaks and inflatable boats
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet to operate
  • Generous warranty period
  • It has some resistance against corrosion
  • It’s well made 

Cons

  • It doesn’t have a lot of speed control or options

9. Motorguide Freshwater Trolling Motor

Motorguide Freshwater Trolling Motor

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By MotorGuide

If you don’t plan on going into saltwater with your boat, then this freshwater trolling motor from Motorguide might be for you. Some people may see its lack of saltwater suitability as a drawback, but not everyone wants to go boating in the ocean anyway.

This X3 motor is packed full of convenient features that many people will enjoy. It runs on 24 volts to offer more grunt than other motors and has a 70-pound thrust. The shaft, which is 45 inches, also comes with a limited lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

That’s not all that will pique your curiosity either. This motor has high-quality materials, such as stainless steel, in high wear points, and is easy to remove, maintain, stow, and deploy. The manufacturer has even taken it one step further with nice touches such as a broad base for stability and quiet operation. You won’t have to yell to be heard by your fellow boaties. 

Even though this trolling motor is a desirable product that a lot of people like, it does have a few negative points. Even the slowest speed can be too fast, and the foot control is shorter than other models. If you can get past those points, plus not being able to use it in salt water, you will see it’s an excellent product that may be suitable for you. 

Features

  • Freshwater-compatible
  • X3 model
  • 24 volts
  • 70-pound thrust
  • 45-inch shaft 
  • Foot control bow mount 
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum mount
  • Stainless-steel bushings
  • Shaft lifetime guarantee
  • Dual cable pull system 

Pros

  • It has high-quality materials
  • Well made
  • It’s easy to stow and deploy
  • The base is broad for stability
  • Stainless-steel bushings for reduced wear
  • You can remove and adjust the motor height easily
  • The generous warranty period on the shaft 
  • Quiet to operate 

Cons

  • You can’t use it in saltwater 
  • It’s not easy to go slow with it
  • The foot control cable is shorter than other models

Considerations for Purchasing a Trolling Motor

A trolling motor can be a significant investment, regardless of whether you’re buying it for a small or large boat. It can take some time to find the right one, and if you haven’t done your homework, you may still end up with one you don’t like.

If you wish to reduce the risk of purchasing a trolling motor that’s not fit for your purpose, then read on. Below, we list a few considerations to make before you reach for your wallet. 

  1. Thrust

    The thrust is the measurement for the motor’s power. The less thrust (in pounds) the engine has, the less power it has as well. If you have a large, heavy boat, then you are going to need a trolling motor with a lot of thrust. If you only have a kayak or a small boat, then you don’t need to buy an engine with all that much.

  2. Weight

    The weight doesn’t refer to the trolling motor, but rather, your boat. You have to strike a happy balance between the power of your trolling engine and the weight of your boat. You will need at least two pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of the boat. Therefore, if you have a 2,500-pound boat, you will need to find a trolling motor with at least 50 pounds of thrust. An easy way to work this out is with this calculation: (boat weight / 100) x 2.

  3. Water Type

    Not every trolling motor is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater. Some are only ideal for use in freshwater. Make sure you read the fine print to know what you’re buying. A saltwater-compatible trolling motor will have non-corrosive materials such as zinc, magnesium, and stainless steel to last longer than its freshwater counterpart.

  4. Price

    Unlike other products, you can’t purchase a trolling motor based on its price tag alone. You also have to factor in those points above, such as thrust, weight, and water type. Once you identify the right kind of motor, you can then take a look at the price range to work out which is right for you. The price can differ dramatically depending on the brand and manufacturer. 

  5. Battery Power

    Most trolling motors for sale come with a battery of either 12, 24, and 36 volts. It’s imperative to choose the engine that matches the size of your boat. Otherwise, you will not get as much life out of it as you had hoped. A 12-volt battery is often cheaper, but it may not be all that convenient.

  6. Shaft Length

    Size matters. The shaft of a trolling motor is the pole between your engine and the propeller. It needs to be long enough to reach the water – whether you have a bow-mounted motor or a transom one at the rear.

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