Fishing is a very popular pastime, it takes you into the outdoors and the satisfaction of making a catch is hard to compare. To make your hobby even more enjoyable, why not consider a trolling motor – these attach to either the front or back of your boat and ensure your boat runs smoothly and quietly through the water helping you to maintain your energy to catch those fish.
The type of trolling motor you need very much depends on the type of boat you have and there are factors such as size, weight and power needs that you need to think about before purchasing. Here we take a look at some of the best trolling motors currently on the market and have a run through of what you need to consider before taking the plunge.
Table of Contents
- Best Electric Trolling Motor for the Money
- Best Gas Trolling Motor for Canoe
- Best 80 Lb Trolling Motor for Pontoon Boats
- Best 55 lb Trolling Motor For Aluminium Fishing Boat
- Best 50 lb Trolling Motor for Inflatable Fishing Boat
- Best 30 lb Trolling Motor For Kayak
- Best Trolling Motor Extension Handle
- Best Recessed Trolling Motor Tray
- What are the benefits of a trolling motor?
- What type of boat do you have?
- What are the different types of trolling motors?
- How much thrust power do I need in my trolling motor?
- What about the voltage of the trolling motor battery?
- Why does the length of the shaft of the trolling motor matter?
- Where will you be fishing?
Best Electric Trolling Motor for the Money
Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 lb Electric Trolling Motor Review
If you are after a versatile trolling motor for your canoe or other small recreational boats, then this excellent product from Newport Vessels will be well worth a look. With 30 inches of high-quality fibreglass making up the adjustable shaft, and a powerful 36 Lbs worth of thrust, as well as 8 different speed settings, this model has everything you need to get your boat moving when you don’t have the energy to do the pushing.
This transom-mount unit is also suitable for both saltwater and freshwater thanks to its stainless steel frame, whilst the 6-inch telescoping handle offers you additional mobility alongside the 5 forward and 3 reverse speed settings. The 12-volt DC power also means you will be turning heads as you speed past other canoeists suck in the ‘analogue age’! The useful LED lighting system also helps you monitor how much power you have left so you can make it back to shore.
Fortunately, this little bit of kit will not empty your pockets as it is sold at mass-market prices. But you don’t have to worry about quality as the materials used last great in whatever conditions you use them in and the motor runs reliably, with excellent running time performance levels. The motor head is also built to withstand quite a beating so you don’t have to worry about putting this trolling motor to the test despite its value.
This motor also does well where it matters most – pushing you along and getting you up to a decent speed, even with some fairly heavy loads, and doing so again and again and again. So if you want a motor that is built to last, has great power to produce decent speeds even under strain, and will not cost you an arm and a leg, this will be the trolling motor for your needs.
Q&A: Is the battery included with this trolling motor?
A: Unfortunately this is not included so you will need to purchase a 12-volt deep-cycle battery separately, but at least this means you can pick one that best suits your needs.
Q&A: What is the maximum boat length this can be used on?
A: The best performance will be on boats between 8-12-feet, but it can go higher depending on what is loaded in the bigger boat.
Best Gas Trolling Motor for Canoe
Coleman 5HP Easy Start Outboard Boat Motor Review
If you’re after a gas trolling motor suitable for you canoe or other similarly sized boats, then this lightweight and quiet running model from Coleman is easy to use, durable, suitable for both fresh and saltwater, and offers an impressive 5 Horse Power to give you impressive speed even with heavy loads. With a 15-inch shaft, quick-starting system, and CE and EPA approval, this gas-powered trolling motor is top of the range.
For added control and manoeuvrability this model has a twist grip throttle so you will be able to make through any tight situations you find yourself in and give passengers a smooth ride as you enjoy canoeing along your favourite river channels without breaking a sweat. The shift between direction settings is also easy and intuitive adding control when you need to stop, get out of the way, reverse or just float along.
Made out of marine aluminium alloy, the motor is highly resistant to corrosion, whilst the propeller is made of heavy-duty aluminium so you can even use this in troublesome saltwater safe in the knowledge that it can withstand the strain of any tough conditions you want to throw at it. The tilt and trim option also means you can navigate your way throw shallow waters easily, making this a great option for the canoeist who likes to test routes off the beaten track.
The power of this unit will have you relaxing even as you head upstream, so you can sit back and enjoy the ride! The quiet running of this motor also has to be seen to be believed from a gas powered unit. So if gas power is your thing, you want a trolling motor suitable for canoes, that is built to last, and you love to havetop of the range gadgets, you will find this model to be just what you need.
Q&A: How big is the tank of this gas powered motor?
A: The tank is 34 gallons so it will keep you out on the water for hours even without any manual intervention.
Q&A: How heavy is this motor?
A: It weighs just 54 pounds, not bad and lighter even than some electric models without taking into consideration the weight of the battery they require.
Best 80 Lb Trolling Motor for Pontoon Boats
Minn Kota Maxxum Bowmount Trolling Motor Review
If you’re looking to get the force to push a bigger boat, then the Maxxum 80 from Minn Kota offer 80 Lbs of thrust power which will have you nipping along nicely for boats up to a hefty 4000 Lbs. This best bow mount trolling motor comes with the renowned 360-degree mount and tilt twist tiller which makes navigation as easy as you like and allows you to break away from any angle and easily reset the motor. For a high powered trolling motor, the performance from this product is hard to beat.
With a 52 and 42-inch option for this trolling motor’s shaft, there is great flexibility for a host of boat lengths. You also have the added feature of a hand or foot control, giving you added control when out on the water however it is that you like to drive and steer. The composite head is also impact resistant in case of any accidental mishaps so you can feel confident of putting this motor through some tough conditions and for it to come out smiling.
Another stand-out feature of this model is the inbuilt digital maximizer that will help see your battery lasting up to five times as long off of a single charge thanks to technology that allows you to dial in your exact speed and et only the exact amount of power needed for this. This means you’ll only be drawing the amount of power you need for any given speed. This motor will have you ploughing obstacles in all conditions.
You also have a host of speed settings including 5 forward and 3 in reverse, so no matter what sort of situation you find yourself in you’ll have the necessary control to navigate yourself out of it. The running efficiency is great too so you won’t be scaring off the fish with loud sounds thanks to the quiet power produced with this motor. So if you like being out on the water for longer, want an indestructible device, and love high-tech gadgets this is an excellent choice.
Q&A: What voltage battery will I need to run this motor?
A: You will need an operating voltage of 24-volts to run this motor.
Q&A: How heavy is this motor?
A: This motor weighs 65.6 Lbs which is hefty, but manageable in terms of lifting for installation.
Best 55 lb Trolling Motor For Aluminium Fishing Boat
Newport Vessels 55 LB Trolling Motor Review
If you are looking for a trolling motor that is suitable for smaller boats but still has decent thrust power, then Newport Vessels’ excellent 55-pound motor is a great option to have on the table. With 55 Lbs worth of thrust power, a durable 30-inch fibreglass adjustable shaft, suitability for salt and freshwaters, and with an impressive 8-speed control, this model has most of the features of higher cost equivalents, at a fraction of the price.
The motor itself has only three blades, reducing the noise pollution caused by the motor and helping to produce the motion you need quietly so you don’t need to worry about scaring the fish away as you approach your favourite fishing spot. The motor itself is also saltwater compatible and fitted with an indestructible head built to deal with the roughest of rides. So you will happily have this motor for years to come even if you come across challenging water hazards.
A useful feature, for those who don’t want to be left up the proverbial creek without a paddle, is the intuitive LED battery meter which helps you track battery usage and estimate how long you have left to get back to shore. The transom mount also fits easily into the rear end of the boat to push you along nicely, and you won’t have any installation problems with this motor. With 55 LB’s worth of thrust power and the 30-inch shaft, this motor will be suitable for boats between 9-12 feet in length.
Overall this product has everything you could possibly want for a small boat trolling motor. It is simple to install, easy to use, and deals well with both different water types and rough treatment in the water. So if you want a motor with all the features of the expensive trolling motors, that comes at a fraction of the cost, this unit is an excellent option for you and will have you quietly zipping along the water in no time.
Q&A: What type of operating system does this have?
A: This uses a 12-volt operating system and you will need to buy a battery separately, try a deep cycle AGM battery,
Q&A: Can the shaft be moved if you don’t want it to hang as low as 30 inches in the water?
A: This shaft is adjustable so you can have it as deep as you like in the water. It can also be tilted as the shaft is adjustable on all three axes.
Best 50 lb Trolling Motor for Inflatable Fishing Boat
Cloud Mountain 50 LBS Trolling Motor for Fishing Boats Saltwater Review
For those with smaller inflatable fishing boats, this motor with a 12-volt operating system and 28-inch fibreglass composite adjustable shaft is a great option, especially for the price. It also has a host of great features including an extensive 10-point ED battery indicator, saltwater and freshwater compatibility, an extendable telescoping handle that is adjustable, and a depth adjustment collar, amongst others.
With 50 Lbs worth of thrust, this model is suitable for smaller boats up to 12-feet, although it may function on slightly bigger boats you’d be better off investing in higher thrust power. That said, on the right sized boat you get great thrust and torque from this trolling motor and the high strength design give superb ablation resistance making it a stable piece of kit. It is also corrosion resistant so you can count on this product to last over time.
The depth adjustment collar is also a really useful feature with this motor as it means you can easily adjust the depth at which you want the propeller to sit in the water if 28 inches is not giving you suitable control for your size of inflatable boat. The 6-inch telescoping handle is also adjustable which helps give you additional control in a tight spot and the ergonomic design means you won’t be getting any pesky strains or blisters on a long trip.
There is a fair amount of assembly with this motor, but the instructions will get you through without too much difficulty. All in all, this is a powerful and responsive bit of kit, that does not drain your battery fast, creates very little sound pollution and is built to last. So if you don’t have a vast amount to spend but want a great trolling motor for a small or inflatable fishing boat, this product has a huge amount going for it and will be right for you.
Q&A: How much does this weigh and what is its horse-power rating?
A: The weight is under 20 Lbs, so easy to lift and won’t weigh down even small boats too much. It is equivalent to 1.6 horse-power.
Q&A: Would this be suitable on an 8-foot inflatable and fabric dinghy?
A: This is ideal for that type of boat!
Best 30 lb Trolling Motor For Kayak
Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted Trolling Motor Review
This best transom trolling mount trolling motor for smaller boats by the legendary Minn Kota is a very sophisticated product. With 30lb thrust power this trolling motor is suitable for kayaks and canoes and being transom mount will fit nicely to the back of your boat. Minn Kota are so confident in the quality of this product that they give you a lifetime guarantee for the composite shaft which is pretty much indestructible and the rest of the product comes with a two-year warranty.
In addition to having a quiet battery, this trolling motor comes fitted with a unique friction minimising system so that you can be doubly sure that your fishy friends won’t be scared away. The silence of this trolling motor means you will be able to maintain that close to nature feeling and you can relax as your kayak or canoe glides through the water.
The batteries are rated at 12V and thrust power at 30lb, which is certainly sufficient to power kayaks and canoes. In addition to this, it comes with a Power Prop which gives you a helpful power burst if you find yourself tangled in some weeds in the water and need to be able to push through. Without a doubt, this is the best Minn Kota trolling motor for Jon Boat.
In terms of usability this trolling motor rates highly. The motor is controlled by a telescoping 6-inch handle which allows you to alter the direction of the boat, this handle also contains the power button, speed and reverse controls. In terms of speed options, you have 5 options of different speeds when travelling forward, and 3 for reversing.
It is easy to attach this trolling motor to your boat as it is fitted with a lever-lock bracket, this bracket also has good manoeuvrability and can be adjusted to 10 different positions. Its shaft length measures at 30 inches, so it a perfect fit for smaller boats such as kayaks and canoes.
This excellent product is also fitted with features to prolong its life – such as large commutators and windings which allow heat that the motor produce to deplete and therefore not get too hot and overheat. This also helps to maintain battery power so the charge lasts for longer. Make sure to only use this trolling motor in freshwater though as it is not suited for saltwater.
Q&A: Does this product come with all the equipment I need to attach it to my boat?
No, it doesn’t. You’ll need to get some clamps and cables to attach this trolling motor – easily available from a hardware store or you can buy them online.
Q&A: How do I charge up this trolling motor?
You will need to purchase a battery charger to charge the batteries within this trolling motor.
Best Trolling Motor Extension Handle
HelmsMate Tiller Extension Handle 18Inch–51Inch Review
Once you have your trolling motor all set up you might decide that you want a little more flexibility in your steering mechanism. This HelmsMate Tiller Extension Handle comes in various lengths, ranging from models that are 18 inches to 51 inches and can mean you don’t need to be sitting right by your motor in order to steer it. Some models also come with an adjustment mechanism so you can alter the length of the handle as it suits you.
The HelmsMate handle has a universal design and fits pretty much all gas and electric trolling motors. It is a top quality product, made of sturdy aluminium and the handle is covered in unbreakable nylon – you can be confident in purchasing this product as it comes with an amazing lifetime warranty. A great choice if you are looking for extending your trolling motor handle.
Best Recessed Trolling Motor Tray
EZ-Troll Fishing Boat Motor Tray Review
If you’re looking for a little extra comfort while you’re fishing then why not take a look at this recessed trolling motor tray by EZ-Troll. This trolling motor tray is designed to relieve leg and back pain by putting you on a level while you fish to reduce the chance of injury. This means that you can be out on your boat enjoying your favourite pastime for much longer and then come home in real tip-top shape with no aches and pains to speak of.
Providing an even base for your boat while you fish, this is a great product for any keen boater and its universal design means it can easily be installed on any boat with a trolling motor. It is also lightweight, weighing 2.8 pounds so it won’t add any unnecessary weight to your boat. This recessed trolling motor tray is made out of incredibly durable polyetheyne plastic which can withstand high impact, and with UV color moulded on to the product, the paintwork will not fade or chip.
You won’t regret an investment in this EZ-Troll Fishing Boat Motor Tray and are sure to be enjoying this product for years to come.
What are the benefits of a trolling motor?
First off, it is good for you to have a think about why a trolling motor will be beneficial to you.
If you are a fishing fanatic then you will no doubt know how a day out pedalling on your fishing boat can be hard work, especially when your hobby takes you to hotter climates. A trolling motor is a self-contained electric motor that can be fixed to either the stern or bow of your boat, it will then allow your boat to glide through the water making very little noise so as to not scare the fish away.
An investment in a trolling motor will save your energy reserves without deterring from the serenity of the natural setting and you can switch it on and off as you please should you wish to do a bit of manual manoeuvring.
Or maybe you have a kayak or a canoe and want the opportunity to give your arms a rest so you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery around you. A trolling motor can also be attached to a kayak on the bow or the transom of the boat. With a trolling motor installed, you will be able to extend the length of your kayaking trips as you won’t solely be relying on your own resources.
What type of boat do you have?
There are trolling motors available for all types of fishing boat, be it pontoon boat, jon boat, inflatable boat, aluminium boat, bass boat, bowrider boat, kayak or canoe. The type of boat you have will determine the specifications of the trolling motor you purchase, with the size and shape of your boat being the most influencing factors. The following guide will help you to choose the best trolling motor for your boating needs.
What are the different types of trolling motors?
What is the difference between a bow mount and transom mount trolling motor?
When it comes to trolling motors there are different types which are determined by how they are mounted onto the boat. Transom mount trolling motors are designed to be fitted to the back of the boat and work by pushing the boat through the water.
Transom mount trolling motors can be fitted to almost any boat, but are best suited to smaller vessels such as kayaks and canoes as they can fit well on the back of the boat and you can be seated as you operate it. As well as giving you a mechanised boat, transom mount trolling motors are also good for positioning your boat well in the water.
Bow mount trolling motors are fitted to the front of the boat and work by pulling the boat through the water. These are the best option for boats that are on the larger size (anything over 14 feet) and require a mounting bracket in order to attach it to the housing of the boat. As the bow mount trolling motor pulls the boat through the water, this gives it more control than its transom counterpart and has seriously advanced manoeuvrability.
Should I get a foot or hand controlled trolling motor?
If you have a larger boat and you opt for a bow mount trolling motor then the next thing to think about is how you want to operate your motor. You can either purchase a hand controlled or a foot controlled motor when it comes to bow mount trolling motors, it is hard to know exactly which would best suit you so its a good idea to try a couple out before making the big decision.
Generally, the hand controlled models are recommended for the more advanced boater as, due to other tasks, your hand is not always able to be on the rod so steering has to be a fine art. However, the hand controlled option is beneficial if you are able to do this as the motor is more sensitive and will respond to your actions in real time thereby increasing the efficiency of your boat’s movements. A hand-controlled model is also a good option if you are going to be hosting lots of guests on your boat, or already have a lot of equipment on there, as it takes up a lot less space than a foot controlled model.
The benefits of a foot controlled trolling motor is that it is a hands-free system and doesn’t require you to be sitting right by it for it to function as you can take the foot pedal with you around the boat. This means you can complete other tasks with your hands without losing control. This is a great option for beginners. As already discussed this type of trolling motor takes up more space on the boat and it doesn’t work in real time like the hand controlled trolling motor and has a slower response rate.
With transom mounted trolling motors, these are always controlled by hand so if your opting for one of these you don’t need to worry about making this decision.
What about remote controlled trolling motors?
If you really want to go all out and invest in a trolling motor that is fitted with ultra-smart technology then check out the range of remote controlled or self-guided trolling motors on the market. These assist you in navigating your way through the waterways, you just set the destination and the motor basically drives for you so you can focus on catching those fish. A really amazing invention and a good option for those of you who would rather not work the motor yourself.
Should I buy an electric or a gas trolling motor for my boat?
In general, most trolling motors on the market are electric and this is because it can operate quietly and not disturb the fish in the water, they are an alternative to the traditional gas outboard motors that are a noisier option. However, there are some gas trolling motors that have come on the market that are suitable for smaller boats – these gas-powered trolling motors have less horsepower and torque than a traditional gas motor and so have taken on the trolling motor name.
While the tried and tested electric trolling motors are the normal go-to option, the newer gas powered trolling motors are worth considering for smaller vessels as the portability of gas as a fuel source may mean that you can enjoy your adventures for longer.
How much thrust power do I need in my trolling motor?
So, onto power needs. To work out the amount of power you need in your trolling motor you need to think about both the size of your boat and the nature of the waters you will be sailing in.
The power within a trolling motor comes from the batteries and the amount of power needed to get you through the water is known as thrust power, and this is measured in pounds (Ibs). To put it simply, the bigger your boat the more thrust power you will need – so if your boat is long and/or heavy you need to look for a higher thrust power rating otherwise you will struggle to reach your favourite fishing spots.
At the same time you don’t want to buy a trolling motor that is too big for your boat, otherwise, it will become a hefty burden. If your boat is 12 feet or under a trolling motor rated at 30 pounds thrust power will be fine, whereas if your boat ranges between 20-22 feet you will need between 74-101 pounds of thrust power to get you going.
The other thing to consider is the conditions in which you fish in and the nature of the water. If you are likely to be sailing in waters that can get a bit rough, or you like to fish even when the storms are setting in, make sure you opt for a trolling motor with a high thrust power. This will make sure your trolling motor won’t let you know when you need it most.
What about the voltage of the trolling motor battery?
Now you need to decide on what size of trolling battery you need – these batteries are rated in volts. Trolling motors battery systems are a bit like a golf cart, as you can wire several batteries in series to achieve a higher total voltage. So you can start with a decent 12-volt battery and that will be sufficient if your boat is on the smaller side, say around 16 feet or a bit smaller.
However, if your boat is any bigger you will need a trolling motor with a higher volt rating, these will either be 24 volts (two 12 volt batteries) or 36 volts (three 12 volt batteries). Trolling motors with a higher battery voltage will mean that the battery lasts for longer so you can be out enjoying your favourite hobby for longer. A higher battery voltage will also mean that your thrust power increases, another benefit of investing in a trolling motor with a higher voltage.
In terms of battery types, look for a trolling motor that has deep cycle marine batteries – these are a good quality option and will ensure that your trolling motor lasts as long as it should do.
Why does the length of the shaft of the trolling motor matter?
It is important to select the correct shaft length of your trolling motor as this will affect how much control you have over your boat. The shaft length has to correspond with the length of your boat.
If a trolling motor has too short a shaft it may not be able to be fully immersed in the water which would make sailing unproductive. Whereas if it is too long you would have the opposite problem as if you are sailing in shallow water this will also mean the trolling motor will not be able to work sufficiently.
So before purchasing make sure you know what the optimum shaft length of trolling motor would best suit your boat size. Unsurprisingly, smaller boats will require a smaller trolling motor with a shorter shaft length (such as canoes, kayaks) and larger boats need a trolling motor with a longer shaft length (such as a bass boat, or bowrider).
Where will you be fishing?
Have a think about whether your angling adventures see you sailing in freshwater or saltwater as there are certain precautions you need to take if saltwater is where your boat spends most of its time. If this is the case, look out for a trolling motor that is coated in materials that are corrosion resistant (such as grit and aluminium) so the saltwater doesn’t cause damage to the motor. Its always a good idea to give your boat and motor a hose down with freshwater after sailing in salt water, just to help reduce any potential damage.
When it comes to trolling motors, you are not going to regret making this addition to your vessel. It will enhance your angling experiences as it does the hard work so you don’t have to – leaving you more energy and time to focus on your favourite hobby.
Purchasing the perfect trolling motor for your boat takes some careful consideration. The key things to consider are the size of your boat and whether a bow mount or transom mount motor would be most suitable. The size and weight of your boat will also determine the thrust power, shaft size and voltage rating of the trolling motor you select. Make sure you consider all of these factors to ensure your trolling motor sees you serenely sailing into the sunset.