Comparison table of the best trolling motors:
best for sw
Best trolling motor overall:
MINN KOTA ENDURA MAX 55LBS
After looking at all the options available in 2018 The Minn Kota Endura max edges out the other contests and comes in first as the best trolling motor in 2018. Minn Kota's name is synonymous with quality and durability. The endura max is Minn Kota's entry-level trolling motor, reasonably priced. but don’t let the entry level name fool you, It still packs quite a punch and is more than cable on most boats. The endura max is a variable speed trolling motor. Superseding the C2 it comes packed with a ton of features.
The standout feature for me though is the digital maximizer which allows you to run your trolling motor longer on just a single charge while only using a 12v battery. This is achieved by allowing you to choose the exact speed you want then delivering only the amount of power that is needed allowing you to converse power.
Another great feature is it now comes with a battery gauge with LEDs that light up and show you how much battery you have left. Has a telescoping tiller which allows you to adjust the arm length which makes steering easier and gives you better control.
The bottom is made of aluminum and press plating to enable easier dissipation of heat (had problems with melting in the past). It has larger housing and the wires are spaced apart (about a half inch) instead of being bound tightly together like the original Endura series.
Best trolling motor for kayaks and small boats:
MINN KOTA ENDURA C2
If you’re looking for a trolling motor to power your small boat the Endura C2 might be just what the doctor ordered. In my opinion, Endura C2 is the best trolling motor for small boats. Equipped with 12v and a more than adequate 30lbs of thrust, it is perfect for kayaks, canoes, and pontoon boats.
It has a 6-inch telescoping arm which makes it easy to adjust to required length at the drop of a dime allowing for easier steering.
The C2 has 8 speeds, 5 forward and 3 for reverse which gives you a lot of options in regards to the speed you want to troll at depending on what you’re fishing. The Endura C2 is very quiet which means you won’t spook any fish!
Best bang for the buck:
NEWPORT VESSELS NV SERIES 55LBS TROLLING MOTOR
While not having quite as many features as my first choice the Minn Kota Endura max, the Newport Vessels NV 55lbs comes at a significantly lower price. If price is a primary consideration and you want to save a few bucks, you’d be hard pressed to find a trolling motor that offers the same amount of thrust and so many great features at a lower cost.
The NV is an eight-speed trolling motor which has a 5-point LED meter that gives you precise battery usage measurements. The NV 55lbs is constructed using stainless steel components that are saltwater resistant, making it useable in saltwater but without the hefty price of most saltwater trolling motors.
Comes with a 30inch adjustable fibreglass shaft that is built to last and allows you to make minute adjustments to your desired length making it suitable for both small and medium-sized boats.
Best saltwater trolling motor:
Motor guide’s xi5 is my choice for the best saltwater trolling motor. Motorguide needs no introduction, known as the go-to brand for commercial fisherman and charters it continues to solidify its reputation as the go-to brand for serious fishermen. You wouldn’t even know that the motor is running it’s literally silent even when you turn the motor on. The XI5 is motor guides’ premium saltwater trolling motor and comes packed with a ton of features. The standouts for me are;
The Xi5 has a digital motor which offers infinite speed control, allowing you to adjust the speed to just where you want it. Another great advantage of these variable speed motors is that they are more energy efficient than fixed speed motors allowing to remain on the water for longer on just a single charge.
How to Choose the best trolling motor
One of the first decisions that you will want to make is whether you want a;
Saltwater vs freshwater trolling motor
This is pretty straightforward. If you’re fishing saltwater you get a saltwater trolling motor if you’re fishing freshwater get a freshwater trolling motor. The main reason being especially for the saltwater you’re going to get saltwater components such as stainless steel, composites and so forth so that your trolling motor won’t rust out on you.
Transom mount vs bow mount
Another thing you will want to consider is whether to go with a transom mount or a bow mount trolling motor. Transom mount trolling motors are mounted on the back of the boat. These are generally put on smaller boats such as john boats, bass buggies or your skiffs and you can even use the transom mount trolling motor as your primary propulsion if you want to motor your small boat around a pond or a small lake. The biggest advantage of transom mount trolling motors is that they are more affordable and easier to install.
On your medium, to large fishing boats, you’re going to want to use a bow mount trolling motor which is mounted on the front of the boat. These are the trolling motors you would find on bass boat, flats boats or a by boat. The biggest advantage of the bow mount trolling motor over the transom mount is that it offers significantly better maneuverability and more precise control of the boat.
Their biggest disadvantage is that they are generally more expensive than transom mount trolling motors.
Choosing the right control of your trolling motor.
There are 3 main ways of controlling your trolling motor. Hand control, foot control or wireless control. The control of the trolling control is really based on personal preference and there are advantages to each.
Hand controlled trolling motor - that’s one where you will use your hand to control.
- it takes your hand off your fishing gear because you constantly have to grab your trolling motor to maneuver it.
Foot controlled - use a foot paddle to control the direction of your trolling motor.
- operating the trolling motor with your feet which frees your hands to focus on fishing.
Wireless - you control the motor by using a remote.
- allows you to control the trolling motor from anywhere on the boat.
Ideally, your trolling motor should roughly be a foot beneath the surface when operated. That way you don’t get cavitation. Cavitation happens when your trolling motor shaft is not long enough and it comes in and out of the water and it will spook the fish making your fishing day a whole lot harder.
The most important factor you will need to consider when purchasing your trolling motor is thrust. Thrust is the amount of power need to move your boat through water and it is measured in pounds (lbs). With inadequate thrust, it becomes next to impossible to navigate your boat through thick vegetation, against strong wind and big waves. You’re generally going to see a trolling motor labeled 55lbs thrust, or a 71 lbs thrust or 101 lbs thrust. But how do you determine that? How do you know what amount thrust to choose? It basically depends on the size of your boat and its weight when fully loaded (including the weight of the people on the boat.)
As a general rule of thumb for every 50lbs of weight on your boat, you need 1lbs of thrust. 3000lbs boat dived by 50 = 60lbs minimum thrust trolling motor. Note however this is just a minimum if conditions are bad high waves and strong winds, you would need more thrust. Many pros believe it is always better to buy the biggest you can afford is more is never a bad thing but not having enough power can ruin a fishing trip.
Unsure how much your boat weighs? You can look your up boat in the NADA boat directory which has a list of boat weights organized by manufacturer, model, and length.
You will have to decide whether you're going to need a 12-volt, 24-volt or 36-volt trolling motor. In most cases, you don’t have a choice as this is usually determined by the boat and the amount of thrust of the trolling motor. A 12-volt trolling motor will run on one 12 volt marine battery a 24 volts on 2 batteries and 36-volts on 3 batteries. A 24 or 36-volt trolling motor will allow you to fish for a longer period of time, as they draw lower amps while providing increased thrust for more power.
Currently, there are a plethora of trolling motors available on the market to choose from, making it a very challenging task to find the right one. This review focusses on finding a trolling motor that is suitable for you. I hope that this article has helped you find the best trolling motor for your needs. Which one is your favorite? Comment below.