Trolling motors are essential for keeping your boat moving while you’re out on the water fishing. Not only do they power your boat but they also have the ability to move the vessel at a consistent speed that doesn’t spook fish with sudden starts and stops.
Choosing a good trolling motor allows you to control your speed and anchor your success, so it makes sense that buying one is a process that often takes time and consideration. To help you make the best choice, though, we’ve compiled a list of our best recommendations for trolling motors. We’ve also slipped in a buying guide and a few extra bits of information that could prove to be useful.
Top Trolling Motors: 10 Great Recommendations
1. Newport Vessels 55lb Trolling Motor
Offering the ideal balance of efficiency and power, the NV 55lb is one of Newport Vessels most prized products. It’s versatile enough for use on both small and medium-sized watercraft and is made of high-quality materials.
It has an adjustable 30-inch fiberglass composite shaft, nylon transom mount, and can comfortably fit all of Newport Vessels’ various inflatable boats, dinghies, kayaks, and aluminum fishing boats. In addition, it features an 8-speed control system that ensures that going both backwards and forwards is smooth and quiet. These speed settings consist of 5 forward and 3 reverse, giving you plenty of choices when it comes to your preferred speed.
The trolling motor uses a 3-blade propeller for optimized performance and speed. It is also resistant to light rain.
2. Minn Kota Endura Trolling Motor
Available in six unique models, the Endura trolling motor is a go-to option for fishers everywhere. It’s ideal for freshwater fishing, as it has been equipped with a number of components that make it a top-of-the-line product.
The motor has 5 forward and 3 reverse speed settings, allowing the user to choose his or her perfect speed and maintain it throughout their fishing excursion. These settings are easily accessible to users and even easier to manage thanks to their external controls. To give the craft an added boost of power when navigating through thick vegetation, the motor offers a power prop, which comes with a pop pin, nut, and washer for easy assembly. Another major bonus of this motor is its ability to be fine-tuned in terms of speed; this allows users to save their motor battery.
The Endura’s composite shaft is virtually indestructible and able to stand up against frequent use for life. It also features a lever lock bracket, which uses a quick-release lever lock and is able to resist warping, flexing, and UV damage.
3. MotorGuide Xi3 Trolling Motor
Created by MotorGuide, the Xi Series of trolling motors is known for providing users with simplicity and convenience. Specifically, the Xi3 is known for this and more. This motor is high-tech and equipped with all the latest technology including reliable sonar, on-screen control displays, and PinPoint GPS. The entire display is it by bright LEDs that allows users to see it in any kind of light conditions.
The Xi3 is wireless, using remote-control steering. This handy wireless capability can be paired with wireless foot pedals for additional convenience and ease of use.
When it comes to setting up the trolling motor, it’s a breeze thanks to the SecureStep lever, which allows fishers to deploy and stow the motor with little to no effort. Once the motor is up and running, it’s guaranteed to be 40% quieter than its competitors. It can deliver 55lbs of peak thrust and has a composite shaft that is a whopping 48-inches long, as well as a 3-blade Machete propeller.
4. Haswing Cayman Trolling Motor
Designed and sold by Haswing, the ever-popular Cayman trolling motor is as versatile as it is attractive. It can be used successfully in both salt and freshwater, making it ideal for fishers who enjoy hitting the salty seas and the fresh waters of the lake.
The motor is so quiet that fish don’t hear the attached craft coming, which is an amazing feat when you consider that it puts out 55lbs of peak thrust. Thanks to this, it’s able to move a boat that weighs up to 2750 pounds.
In addition to being virtually silent, the trolling motor is also wireless, making it incredibly handy. The remote control is small enough to fit into the palm of the hand or be strung around the neck on a necklace or lanyard. It is rechargeable via a USB charger and compatible with the 14.7ft wired foot control.
The Cayman is easy to move, as it’s equipped with an easy-lift handle and a stow and deploy foot pedal that saves both time and the user’s strength for what really matters – wrangling fish.
5. Minn Kota Edge Trolling Motor
Another great trolling motor by Minn Kota, the Edge is one of the brand’s newest motors. It comes in 5 different models, each with their own unique features. In general, though, the Edge – regardless of model- is equipped with everything you might need for a day on the water.
Like Minn Kota’s other motors, this one is composed of a durable 50-inch composite shaft that isn’t going to bend or break. It is set to move at 5 different speeds ranging from slow to incredibly fast, each one maintained steadily and reliably by the motor.
It is equipped with a Power Prop feature that gives it an added bit of kick when times call for such a feature. This means that the motor is great for getting through thick vegetation and heavily planted waters.
6. Watersnake ASP 18 Trolling Motor
Boasting a simple, lightweight design, the Watersnake ASP 18 trolling motor is just what the doctor ordered if you’ve ever wanted to go out on the water with a motor that is both reliable and easy to manage. It weighs only 4.85 pounds and can be used to power a variety of small vessels including kayaks, canoes, and inflatable boats.
The motor comes with speed controls, forward and reverse controls, and an extendable steering handle. It also has a 24-inch shaft that has been completed with an anti-impact clip system; this shaft is crafted of high-quality materials that are resistant to breaking, cracking, and bending.
Setup and storage of the motor are straight forward and easy, taking no more than a few minutes to complete. To make the motor even more versatile in terms of how it can be used and what it can be used to power, it comes with an optional mounting bracket.
7. AQUOS Electric Trolling Motor
From AQUOS comes another great example of how successful simple designs and careful curation can be. With a 48-inch aluminum alloy shaft, this trolling motor is built with serious fishers in mind, as it not only holds up against bad weather and rough handling but also against the weight of heavy vessels that are reluctant to move. It can handle boats that weigh up to 2570 pounds with ease.
In addition, the motor uses wireless technology and can be controlled from a simple, no-nonsense handheld remote. The remote can be charged using a simple USB cable and is able to operate the motor from a distance of 164 feet away.
For set up, this trolling motor has been designed with a quick-release bracket that takes the hassle out of setting up and dismantling. The built-in stow and deploy features can be accessed using a basic foot pedal. Then, to transport your motor from place to place, it includes an easy-lifting handle.
To make sure that you never run out of power, each motor is equipped with an LED battery meter.
8. U-BCOO 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor
Boasting high performance, a lightweight and compact build, and convenient installation, this multi-purpose trolling motor is at the top of many serious fishers’ lists. Its 8-inch shaft has been carefully constructed with composite glass and comes with a 4-inch telescopic handle that can be extended for additional control.
In addition, it uses stainless steel hardware so that the risk of rust and corrosion are minimized, which is especially useful if you use your motor out on the ocean. When it comes to power, the trolling motor has 8 speeds and is operated by a 12V battery.
Installation takes only a few minutes thanks to the detailed, simple instructions that come with each and every U-BCOO trolling motor. Dismounting the motor is just as easy, giving you peace of mind and saving tons of time.
9. Newport Vessels Mossy Oak Trolling Motor
This Newport Vessels trolling motor is ideal for waterfowl hunting and fishing in small vessels such as sneak boats and mud boats. Without producing the noise that an outboard motor would, this motor gets you from place to place in near silence.
The motor has a unique camouflaged appearance and is made up of a 36-inch fiberglass composite shaft. Said shaft boasts a 6-inch telescoping handle with tilting capabilities and can be leveled to your desired position.
Moreover, the motor can power small vessels at 8 different speeds – 5 forward and 3 reverse. Its 3-blade propeller makes travel smooth and peaceful. On the top of the motor is an LED dashboard where battery status is showcased, as well as where speed information is put on display for convenient monitoring and adjusting.
The hardware used to hold the motor together is resistant to rust and corrosion and can be used in saltwater.
10. Seamax 12V PowerMax Trolling Motor
The 12V PowerMax trolling motor boasts a whopping maximum thrust of 65 pounds but manages to maintain a lightweight build and simplistic design. Its powder-coated aluminum shaft is 35-inches long, which makes it ideal for vessels with a 16-inch shaft. In addition, this shaft can be adjusted to suit most small to medium vessels.
It shifts seamlessly between the various speeds with the patented speed controller. The controller is one of a kind, offering step-less forward and backward speed operation. The chosen speeds are showcased on the motor’s voltage meter, allowing you to monitor your speed and battery levels in real-time.
Best Trolling Motor: An In-Depth Buying Guide
When it comes to controlling your boat, shaft length is critical. If the shaft you choose to use is too short, the prop runs the risk of not being submerged enough during rough water conditions. If it’s too long, the shallow water can also be a problem, leaving your vessel exposed and prone to developing damage.
Shaft length is generally dictated by the height of the stern or bow. Boats with deep Vs require longer shafts, while shorter shafts might work sufficiently for canoes and other small vessels.
To get the most out of your trolling motor, you’ll need to carefully match its power to the weight of the boat you’re installing it in. Of course, being generous is better than being too stingy on the power but going overboard with the extra power isn’t going to being beneficial.
Just the right amount of extra thrust, however, can be ideal for boating in tides, currents, and strong winds. In these situations, a motor with just enough power to get the job done would be strained.
You have two options for control: hand or foot operated. Both control methods have their own pros and cons.
Hand-controlled motors allow the front deck of the boat to stay clear and uncluttered. This means that there are no wires or cords to trip on, get tangled, or worry about damaging. This being said, one of your hands is constantly in use as you steer and run the motor, leaving you with only one hand available for fishing.
Foot-controlled motors free up both hands, which makes for easy fishing. The steering and speed-control buttons are located on the foot pedal for easy control. A long cable allows you to run the motor from almost any place on your boat’s deck.
This wire, however, can be a trip hazard – especially if you have a small deck or multiple anglers on board. In addition, these wires can be prone to malfunctions, which, of course, happen at the most inopportune times.
When mounting your motor to your boat, you need to make sure that your mounting bracket is strong and able to support the motor’s weight. In addition, your mounting gear should be made of high-quality materials.
You might also choose to consider the manner in which your motor is mounted. Some motors are easy to mount while others take a bit more skill, time, and patience. Before choosing a motor, think about how much time you want to spend on the installation process.
Where you’ll be fishing plays an important role in which motor you choose to use. Whether you fish in fresh or saltwater, on a large body of water or a small pond, or in areas with a lot of current versus a low current are important things to consider. If large bodies of water with fast currents are your go-to, you will need a motor that has extra thrust.
What Is A Trolling Motor?
Trolling motors are electric motors that are driven by gears and anywhere from 1 to 3 12-volt deep cycling marine batteries. Trolling motors are given power in thrust (also known as lbs) rather than in horsepower and range like outboard motors. Their max thrust range usually falls within 30 to 112lbs.
These motors are mounted to the desired boat using floor brackets or mounting clamps that are designed to stabilize the body of the trolling motor. They allow the motor to be stowed with ease when they’re not in use, as well.
The direction of the trolling motor is controlled via a hand tiller, a foot pedal, or wirelessly; this depends on the style of motor you go with. Directional changes that are made manually – usually via cables connected to the control head- pull the control head in the appropriate direction to rotate it. When this happens, the change prompts the position of the prop, which is submerged in the water, to change alongside it.
When speed is adjusted, regardless of how it’s done, the signal is sent through the control head of the motor, down the tube-like shaft, and to the motorhead which changes the speed of the prop.
6 Tips for Using a Trolling Motor
- If you want to use a transom-mounted trolling motor to hold your boat in place when it’s windy, it’s a good idea to turn the boat around. From here, put the trolling motor in reverse and keep the stern to the wind. This way, the bow sits down-wind, reducing the strain needed to counter-steer against the breeze.
- To remedy the propeller ventilating when your boat bobs up and down, consider setting the lower unit in deeper water.
- Don’t forget to tilt your bow-mounted trolling motor upwards when approaching a boat ramp or launch. Failing to do so can result in your propeller becoming damaged by the concrete.
- If you find yourself running out of battery power too soon, you may want to consider using the motor at slow speeds. Much like a traditional gasoline engine, top speeds of trolling motors eat up a ton of battery life. Running your motor at half-throttle can make a big difference in terms of how long your battery lasts.
- Fishing in weedy, shallow areas often causes the propellers of trolling motors to become clogged. If your boat is sluggish or vibrating too much, consider running it in reverse for a few seconds to untangle the weeds and get the propeller spinning properly again. If your propeller is still jammed, tilt the motor up and clean the weeds off manually.
- Charge your batteries after every use. Even though you may be going on a short fishing trip or feel as if you could get by with half a charge, charging your battery to full before every use is always a good idea. Running your trolling motor on half a charge can, over time, damage the battery.
How to Maintain and Clean A Electric Trolling Motor
Clean the exterior
To start the general maintenance process, get started with cleaning the exterior. Before you clean the motor, make sure that it’s secured to your boat or off the boat and on a surface where it won’t fall. Tighten and loose screws or bolts if you’re motor is bow-mounted, as you don’t want to lose any.
Clean the exterior using a mild soap mixed with water. Carefully remove any dirt around the moving parts of the motor and allow the unit to dry. Once dry, inspect the shaft for damage. If you find that your shaft is sticking, feel free to lightly grease the area with the oil of your choice.
Inspect the prop
Examine the edges of your prop for any damage. Remember; propellers are durable but they are not indestructible. Hard surfaces and rough water can damage them.
If you have any scratches, use sandpaper with a fine grit to smooth out the rough edges and minimize the interference that the added texture could cause. If your propeller has fallen victim to severe damage, it might need to be replaced.
You’ll also want to inspect the prop for fishing line or weeds. Remove your prop according to the manufacturer’s instructions and put the hardware in a safe place for easy access and safekeeping; carefully remove weeds or fishing line that have been caught. Try to remove as much as possible with your fingers and, if all else fails, use a flat-head screwdriver or tweezers. Be careful not to break the caught line with your tweezers or damage the drive pin.
Inspect the electrical components
Inspect each and every connection, ensuring that they are free of corrosion. Make sure all wires are hidden and secure and verify that all necessary straps and screws are in place. Replace any electrical tape that has started to fray or tear and swap fraying wires for new ones to avoid damage and safety hazards.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best trolling motor for the money are those of name brands and with good reputations.
It will go up to 5 miles per hour.
In general, you’ll need a trolling motor that offers 2lbs of thrust per every 100lbs of your boat’s weight.
Trolling motor batteries can last for up to 100 hours depending on the motor rating and power.
Yes. Trolling motors can be installed rather easily.
Technically, yes you can. As a general rule of practice, however, it’s strongly recommended to use only saltwater motors in saltwater.
For anyone who’s serious about fishing, a good trolling motor is like a good pair of socks – essential. As long as you take your time when purchasing a trolling motor, you’re sure o find one that works for you. Just remember to pay attention to power, materials, and the conditions in which you typically fish; factor these pieces of information into your decision.