Trolling Motor Vs Outboard Motor: What’s The Difference?

Trolling Motor Vs Outboard Motor: What’s The Difference?

There’s something to be said about the peacefulness that comes from sitting in a boat in the middle of a body of water, just waiting for the fish to start biting. Unless you’re using a row boat, the type of motor your boat uses is going to play a big factor in how successful your fishing trip will be.

Today, we’re going to be discussing the difference between an electric trolling motor vs outboard motor and why one is best suited for smaller boats. 

What Is An Outboard Trolling Motor?

An outboard motor is the system responsible for propelling a boat through the water. These systems consist of a self-contained unit that includes the engine, a gearbox, and a propeller. The system is designed to be affixed to the outside of the small boat, either at the bow or stern.

Outboard Trolling Motors

Not only do outboard motors propel you through the water, you can also steer your boat simply by pivoting the motor on the mountings. You can eliminate the risk of hitting bottom with an outboard motor because it can be tilted to a higher position. This can be done either manually or electronically.

When you’re considering buying a small outboard motor, you’ll want to choose between a two- or four-stroke design, as well as if it’s water-cooled or air-cooled.

Over the years, two-stroke outboard motors have been used to power almost every kind of small boat on the water. If you’re an experienced fisherman or boater, you’ll recognize the odor created by the exhaust from one of these motors because they require gasoline and motor oil to operate, which creates a very distinct odor.

However, in a world that is becoming more and more eco-friendly, the four-stroke outboard motor eliminates the need to pre-mix the gasoline and the oil. With this motor design, it’ll operate the same way as your car does: you’ll put unleaded gas in the tank and motor oil in the engine case of the outboard motor.

Stroke Motors

This results in cleaner air, but also quieter operation too. That means you’ll be able to quietly move your boat in the water without worrying about disrupting the fish.

In terms of keeping your motor cool, most two-stroke motor designs are air-cooled, thus eliminating the need of an expensive water pump for water-cooling.

However, by eliminating the water pump and relying on air to cool your motor, you’re going to be limited by how deep you can go because the engine will only operate in shallow water – sometimes even without fully submerging the propellers. A motor that is cooled with water is going to work

What Is A Trolling Motor?

A trolling motor is complete self-contained like an outboard motor, but unlike the outboard motor, the trolling motor isn’t going to be the primary source of propulsion. Instead, these motors are lifted from the water when the primary engine is being used. This will eliminate drag, thus letting you glide through the water easier.

There are two types of trolling motors: electric and gas powered.

Electric Trolling Motors

Electric trolling motors are designed using 12-, 24-, or 36-volt DC motor that is specially designed for marine use. The electric trolling motor is housed in a watertight compartment that is submerged during operation.

By the motor being submerged under the water, it’s not going to overheat. Electric trolling motors are usually used on smaller vessels because they don’t require as much power.

If you have a larger boat, a small gas-powered outboard trolling motor isn’t going to operate as efficiently or as silently as electric trolling motors.

These motors feature a pull-start system, a throttle, and gear controls that are mounted right on the motor. You can use the tiller to steer with, but when using these motors for trolling, the tiller will be connected to a steering mechanism will that’s connected to the helm.

Trolling Motor Vs Small Outboard Motor: Which Should I Choose?

Choosing a motor for your boat is something that deserves careful consideration because the weight of the engine and the amount of horsepower it generates is going have a big impact on how well your boat performs.

When you’re trying to decide between a trolling motor vs small outboard motor for your boat, you should take into consideration the size of your boat, but also where you’re going to be fishing.

Fishing Boats

If you’re going to be fishing in a large lake, you may want to opt for a small outboard because it’ll make it much easier getting to your spot.

However, if you’ve got all the time in the world, a trolling motor is a great option because it’s much quieter, therefore you’ll be able to move the boat in the water without scaring off any fish.

Also, since the trolling motor is electric, you won’t have to worry about the additional weight from extra gas weighing you down.

Trolling Motor Recap

Whether you’re interested in getting your feet wet and becoming a boater or if you’re looking to upgrade the motor on your existing boat, knowing what kind of motor you need is part of the battle! ​

Trolling motors are going to give you better steering control, which allows you to get to those fishing spots that are usually inaccessible. Best of all, a trolling motor is going to be much quieter than your typical gas-powered outboard.

If you’re wondering what your options are for trolling motors, check out our buying guide where we talk about our top trolling motors. In the buying guide, we’ll also highlight the features you should consider before buying just any trolling motor you come across.

Leave us a comment below and tell us what kind of boat you use to go fishing with. We’d love to hear from you!

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