The Ultimate Trolling Motor Buyer’s Review

The Ultimate Trolling Motor Buyer’s Review

Fishing is an exciting hobby that millions of people enjoy. Trolling motors are used to enhance one’s fishing experience. To get the best trolling motor, there are a few things to keep in mind. Understanding what you need in a trolling helps you get the best out of it.

To aid you on your buyer’s journey, we’ll give you advice on certain aspects to look out for when buying a trolling motor. This guidance helps the reader have a clear understanding of what they should expect before getting a motor for their boat.

trolling motor connected to a kayak

Through this article, we review four of the top trolling motors. We also included consumer reviews to add information on things that we have missed out on. By the end of this article, you’ll have an increased confidence when it comes to buying the right motor for your vessel.

*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table​

Buying Advice

Understanding what motor you need is a particular process that shouldn’t go unmentioned. Users make the mistake of not researching their options. This error leads them into buying the wrong motor for their watercraft. Here, we give a few pointers on what specs you need to look out for when making your next purchase.

Difference Between A Bow And Transom Motor

There are two types of boating motors. To install a motor, make sure to have enough room up front. Also, have a mounting bracket to adjust the housing in the correct position. Lastly, have a flat bottom platform to make it a feasible setup.

Transom Mount on a Boat

Bow motors are motors that are placed in the front of the boat. This type of motor is recommended for large boats past 14 feet due to its increased speed and handling. The increased mobility is because bow motors pull the boat through the water, unlike transom motors that push the boat through the water.

Transom motors clamp to the stern of a boat and work with almost any style of vessel. We suggest using this type of motor for smaller boats. Transom motors offer improved positioning and trolling application. Mainly, transom motors keep your boat positioned well during fishing in tough climates.

Understand The Thrust Power

Thrust power relates to the amount of strength needed to move a vessel through the water. The higher the thrust power, the better it maneuvers around the sea. Without proper thrust power, it’s harder for you to work your boat through tough conditions such as high waves and areas filled with snags.

Simply, thrust power relates to the size of your boat. For example, if your boat is under 12 feet, it needs about 30 pounds of thrust power to operate. Larger boats that are 22 feet or higher need a thrust power of 101 pounds to work correctly.

For a good rule of thumb, buy the largest motor that you can afford within reason. A motor that is too large can “dwarf” the size of your boat. Make sure to choose wisely and measure the variables before buying a motor for your vessel.

Check The Size Of The Shaft Length

The size of the shaft determines the level of control you have over the boat. You’ll want to strike a balance between a short and long shaft for optimal performance.

A short shaft is unable to be submerged during harsh conditions. However, if it’s too long, you’ll run into problems when faced with shallow water. Make sure to find the right shaft size to ensure a carefree and safe boating experience.

Problems with a Long Shaft

To find the shaft length, find the height of the bow or the stern. Deep V boats require a shaft of longer length. Small crafts like canoes need smaller shafts to keep it moving at an exceptional rate. Overall, learning which shaft length goes with your vessel helps your boat operate more efficiently.

Trolling Motor Batteries And Voltage

Almost every electric trolling motor comes in three different power systems: 12, 24 or 36 volts. To explain, a 12-volt motor uses one 12-volt deep cycle marine battery while a 24-volt motor uses two 12 volt batteries to operate. For a 36-volt motor to work, it needs three separate batteries to work properly.

The 12-volt battery is the cheapest and easiest to operate. However, it doesn’t offer the power that 24 and 36-volt batteries provide. 24- or 36- volt batteries allow you to fish for longer periods of time. These batteries increase thrust power for a smoother ride on the water.

If your boat is 16 feet and under, we suggest using a 12-volt battery. It allows the boat to work properly through the harsh conditions throughout the water. If your boat is larger, then a 24-volt or a 36-volt ensures that your boat will run smoothly.

Make sure to buy quality batteries to gain the maximum power out of your boat. High-quality batteries increase the longevity of the utility you gain from the vessel. This prevents you from being stranded out in the sea because the motor won’t overheat quickly.

Should I Use A Hand Or Foot Control Motor?

The size of your boat and boating style determines the type of motor you’ll need.

Foot control motors allow a hands-free experience. This means that the motor is easy to use and can be utilized almost anywhere in a boat. For beginners needing something that’s simple to operate, foot control motors are the ideal choice.

Minn Kota Foot Controlled Trolling Motor

But, foot motors clutter up the vessel; making it harder for one to operate when there’s multiple people on the boat. This type of motor also has a lower response rate than other models. If you are planning to use a foot motor, understand that it will take time getting used to.

Hand control motors allow for a real-time response. This helps the angler maneuver at an efficient level that matches their motions. Since it has no clutter on the deck, it’s recommended to use when there are multiple people on your vessel. Overall, it’s a motor that gives you a full range of control over your vessel.

However, it comes with the flaw of being controlled from the bow. It’s harder to control because your hand is not always placed on the rod for steering. Because of that, it’s suggested that only advanced fishers use this type of motor.

No matter what motor you chose, make sure you get used to it. Make sure to practice a few times a week until you get the hang of the mechanics of your motor. After that, you’re off to set sail on your fishing journey.

Battery Indicators

Most trolling motors consist battery gauges located in the head of the unit. The indicator gauges how much power is left in the battery. This helps the angler figure out how much power is needed before being placed on a charger.

Self-Directed Motors

The benefit of having self-directed motors lies in its automation. For instance, the motor follows depth contours and shorelines. But, we recommend using either a hand or foot powered motor for starters as it allows you to control the vessel easier.

Man Putting Trolling Motor into Water

Price Range

The best trolling motors come at a high price. While price isn’t a central aspect, it does determine how much you’ll get out of your motor. Since there is a myriad of saltwater trolling motors for sale, you’ll find one that fits your budget.

Our Top Reommendations

Lets take a look at some of the best trolling motors:

Newport Vessels 55 Pound Thrust 8 Speed Electric Trolling

Technical Specs

  • 8 Adjustable Speeds (5 forward, 3 reverse)
  • DC 12 V battery
  • ​55lb thrust
  • ​Saltwater Resistant
  • Fits most small boats & kayaks
Newport Vessels 55 Pound Thrust 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor on a Boat

Overview

Starting off our list is the Newport Vessels 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor. It’s a 55 lb thrust trolling motor designed for smaller vessels. With a 30-inch adjustable shaft & a strong nylon mount, the motor is versatile enough to be used for any situation.

One advantage that consumers commended this motor is its power. The boat provides a reliable 12 Volt battery that runs smoothly when in the water. Its power helps kayaks operate at speeds up to 7 knots which are a good speed for beginner fishermen.

Saltwater resistance is another plus the boat offers. When riding in saltwater, your motor faces the issue of corrosion. But with the Newport Vessels Electric Trolling motor, it rides well when traveling through saltwater. This saltwater trolling motor’s durable resistance helps to enhance your fishing experience.

In some newport trolling motor reviews, customers of this product complained about the lack of a speed indicator. While the boat consists of 8 speeds, users couldn’t find out which speed the boat was on. The difficulty in finding the speed leads to dangerous situations that lead to injury. We suggest looking for a different motor if you need to know the exact speed your vessel is going.

This electrically powered motor is one of the best small boat motors in the market. With over 8 speeds that are adjusted, it grants versatile use in all boating venues (lake, ocean, etc.). To get the most out of this small outboard boat motor, use it for vessels under 16 feet long.


Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted Trolling Motor

Technical Specs

  • 30lb Thrust
  • Quiet & Reliable Battery Power
  • 5 Forward Speeds & 3 Reverse Speeds
  • Composite Shaft
  • Lifetime Warranty
Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Trolling Motor Top

Overview

Next up on our list is the Minn Kota saltwater trolling motor. The transom-mounted motor comes with a composite shaft, making it flexible and easy to adjust on virtually any boat. At full throttle, the motor runs at 30 Amps. Due to its amp usage and adjustable settings, it’s a powerful motor for small boats and kayaks.

The motor’s main advantage is its energy efficiency. After using the motor for over 4 hours, it had a 75% battery life. For those needing a basic motor that lasts for extended periods, this might be the right fit for you.

In addition, the motor’s adjustable speed is another strong point. Consumers found it easy to shift speeds once out in the water. When reversing, it runs in a smooth and safe manner. For your safety, make sure to watch the blades before switching your speeds.

However, saltwater trolling motor reviews found a few flaws in the motor. The first issue is the lack of speed. Users reported only going 5 mph at the boat’s maximum setting. Plan on purchasing a motor with a higher thrust if speed is the main concern.

Despite its setbacks, it’s still a great motor. The motor is inexpensive and provides an energy efficient setting for extended use. Since it is 30lb of thrust, you might find it a good choice if you need a boat that goes on relaxing speeds.


Intex Trolling Motor For Intex Inflatable Boats

Technical Specs

  • 40lbs thrust
  • Compatible with almost any inflatable boat
  • DC 12 V Battery (420 Watts at Max Power)
  • 5 Forward & 3 Reverse Speeds
  • Suitable for Freshwater and Saltwater
Intex Trolling Motor Mounted on an Intex Inflatable Boat

Overview

Coming in third on our list is the Intex Trolling Motor for Intex Inflatable Boats. The motor features enough power to carry four people on a boat. With 40 lbs of thrust, it’s strong enough to be used on most inflatable boats under 16 feet.

An advantage that consumers noticed firsthand is its acceleration. Acceleration helps the user maneuver around the river with ease. It has a maximum speed of up to 7 knots. When using this motor, make sure to adjust the speed at a comfortable setting so that it works safely.

Another plus lies in the battery power. For instance, customers noted that after 2 hours of usage, the battery only lost 20% of its power. This means that the battery is strong enough to keep the boat running for extended periods. Thus, making this a good choice for those wanting a long lasting battery.

But there are a few complaints about this motor. Users disliked the limited usage that the Intex Trolling Motor offers. The motor is designed for Intex boats which leave out a myriad of vessels that could use it. This might be a problem for those who have a boat that doesn’t match Intex’s criteria.

The Intex Trolling Motor for Intex Inflatable boat is a great deal for its low price of $119. You’ll like this motor if you need something that lasts long while out in the water. However, make sure you have an Intex branded boat to use the motor properly. Overall, this is one of the best saltwater trolling motor in the market.


Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 lb. Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor

Technical Specs

  • 36lb Thrust
  • Stainless Steel designed for Freshwater and Saltwater Use
  • 8 Speeds (5 Forward, 3 Reverse)
  • 30-inch fiberglass shaft with nylon mount
  • LED Meter & 6-inch telescope handle
Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 lb. Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor

Overview

Last on the list is the Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 lb. Thrust Saltwater motor. It comes with a 36lb thrust for smaller boats. At its highest speed, the motor runs at 348 Watts and outputs at 28 Amps. It's a motor that enhances the speed of one’s vessel.

Consumers across the board recommended the motor’s lightweight size. Due to its small size, it makes it easier for one to maneuver once in the water. In fact, it works well for medium sized boats due to its extra thrust power. Thus, it’s a good choice for small to medium sized boats.

When comparing newport vessels vs. minn kota vessels, this motor has a battery indicator. The indicator makes it easy for the user to see the power usage of this motor. For users wanting a motor that improves their awareness & and experience, this motor can support that need.

On a newport vessels trolling motor review, consumers disliked the lack of motor control. The motor has problems of returning to the neutral position. Users experienced complications with the when switching from forward to reverse. This might be an issue if you need a motor that is easy to control.

Despite its flaws, the Newport Vessels NV-Series motor is a versatile motor. It’s thrust power is strong enough to support medium level vessels. When using the motor, make sure to maintain it to extend its lifespan. The motor is one of the best trolling motor for kayaks and boats.


The Verdict

The winner of this trolling motor review is the Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 lb. Thrust Saltwater Trolling Motor. We liked the motor because of its powerful output and durability through harsh weather conditions.

Using Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 lb. Thrust Saltwater Trolling Motor

It’s one of the best outboard motor for saltwater in the market.

What trolling motor did you think was the best? Leave a comment below.

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