Fishing is a sport for those with patience, time, and equipment. Victory will always go to those who put in the time and effort to get out there and get the lure in the water.
It never hurts to give yourself the edge, however. When you’re right next to your favorite fishing spot and you want to get in position without giving away your position, using the best trolling motor for your boat is the only way to go.
Trolling motors are quieter, easier to use, and much more agile than firing up the outboard every time you want to move or reposition.
At the end of the day you’ll have more fish on the stringer thanks to a quality trolling motor because it allows you to get into the perfect spot without alerting the fish. Once you learn to use a trolling motor to perfect your art form, you’ll never go back.
Picking out the right trolling motor isn’t always easy though. There are different sizes, voltages, and features that can seem confusing.
Don’t worry they’re really quite simply to understand.
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Trolling Motors For 2018
- Newport Vessels 55 Pound Thrust Trolling Motor
- Cosway 12V 55 Pound Thrust Hand Control Trolling Motor
- Coleman Sevylor Inflatable Boat/Kayak 12V Electric Motor
- Minn Kota Trolling Motor Endura C2 30
- Watersnake T18S Asp Trolling Motor
I’m going to help you learn how to pick out the right trolling motor for your needs in my guide below. Now, let’s take a look at a few top rated trolling motors!
Best Trolling Motors
Trolling Motor Reviews
This 55 pound thrust trolling motor from Newport is a hand operated model with an array of features and speeds.
I like the quiet and cool operating motor that gets tons of positive feedback from fishermen. At a reasonable mid range price like this, it’s really a solid choice.
This motor comes on a transom mount with lockable angles that can help you set the angle of the motor and pull the motor out of the water when traveling with the main engine.
There’s a fully adjustable 30 inch shaft that can be set to exactly the depth you need for any water conditions. One optional features on this motor is the 5 LED battery indicator light.
Not all motors have these and they’re so handy I can’t figure out why anyone would leave them off. Props to Newport for doing it right!
Video: Overview of the Newport Trolling Motor.
Newport gives you 5 forward speeds and an ergonomic handle for control as well as 3 reverse speeds.
I like that the handle can be adjusted for length, too! Overall, I think the Newport is the best trolling motor!
Best For: Transom mount applications with a traditional outboard motor feel.
This motor is very similar to the Newport Vessels we reviewed above but this time it’s meant specifically for light boats.
Is there really such a difference that you couldn’t use it on a metal or plastic boat? You could get away with this motor on any transom application I think.
I like a few of the advanced features on this motor such as the automatic weed escape. This makes is easier to avoid and escape weed entanglement in shallow or weedy water conditions.
Another awesome feature is the dry operation protection. The motor senses and avoids operation when not submerged. Keeping the motor submerged is critical for cooling and safe operation.
It’s easy to adjust not only the angle of the motor shaft, but also the angle of the handle.
You can adjust the handle up or down through a range of present angles that can be combined with the other adjustments on the motor to create just the right fit between the boat and yourself for comfortable fishing all day. Probably the best trolling motor for kayaks.
Best For: Transom mounted applications where adjustability is key!
Now we’re going to take a look at a tiny trolling motor that’s perfect for compact applications and low demand situations like kayaks, canoes or inflatable boats.
This transom mounted trolling motor is from the popular outdoor brand Coleman (Sevylor). It’s not going to turn heads or win speed competitions but it might be a great match for you low speed needs.
This motor tops out at a meek 18 pounds of thrust which doesn’t seem like much. However, when you consider that it’s made for being used with ultralight inflatable boats and one man applications it just might fit the bill.
Anglers love this motor and give it great reviews. The price tag is low enough to make if a great option for your low power needs and with a well known name like Coleman behind it, you can be assured of getting a quality product.
I like the Sevylor as the best trolling motor for inflatable kayaks like the Sevylor 3 person kayak.
Best For: Inflatable boats and entry level use for special lightweight situations.
Minn Kota might be the single most recognized name in trolling motors and accessories. This 30 pound thrust output motor is mounted on a durable 30” adjustable shaft with all the features you need to have a great trolling motor at a budget price.
Comparable to the Coleman 12V motor above, this Minn Kota packs a lot more output in a similar package. Don’t get the wrong idea, though.
This is still a motor best suited to lightweight boats and single person applications. There are 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds to choose from, like many of the higher end models.
There’s a 2 year factory warranty covering the motor and a lifetime warranty covering the shaft against breaking.
With a name like Minn Kota behind it, you can be sure they’ll be around to provide customer service for these warranties for many years to come.
Best For: Lightweight smaller boats and applications where budget and small form factor trump over motor power.
Finally we’re taking a look at a compact transom trolling motor that’s an awesome option for durability and lightweight.
This motor excels at repelling weeds and cutting through just about any water conditions on small, lightweight craft.
You’re not going to want to use this for heavy duty pulling with 18 pounds of thrust, but for a single person in a small dinghy or lightweight inflatable fishing boat its a good option.
The motor rides on a 24 inch long alloy shaft which keeps weight down and strength up. There are only four speed options but how many do you really need on a small motor?
Slow and fast options as well as forward and reverse are your choices, but I think they’ll hold most people over just fine. There’s not much reason for a ton of speed options on a small 12V trolling motor.
I like that the 2-blade propeller and motor housing are designed specifically to repel and cut through weeds. Nothing kills a good fishing spot like getting stuck in the weeds!
I do wish they would have included more angle options for pulling the motor out of the water or adapting to various situations.
By far the biggest drawback on this motor in my opinion is the lack of transom angle options. The Watersnake is my top choice as the best trolling motor for canoes.
Best For: Single person applications with a shorter shaft length need.
Trolling Motor Comparison Table
|Trolling Motor||Thrust and Voltage||Mounting||Control||Speeds||Can Be Used In|
|Newport Vessels Trolling Motor||55 Pound Thrust / 12V||Transom||Hand Control||5 forward, 3 reverse||Fresh or Saltwater|
|Cosway 12V 55 Pound Thrust Hand Control Trolling Motor||55 Pound Thrust / 12V||Transom||Hand Control||5 forward, 3 reverse||Fresh or Saltwater|
|Coleman Sevylor Inflatable Boat/Kayak 12V Motor||18 Pound Thrust / 12V||Transom or Bow||Hand Control||2 forward, 2 reverse||Fresh or Saltwater|
|Minn Kota Trolling Motor Endura C2||30 Pound Thrust / 12V||Transom||Hand Control||5 forward, 3 reverse||Freshwater|
|Watersnake T18S Asp Trolling Motor||18 Pound Thrust / 12V||Transom or Bow||Hand or Foot Control||2 forward, 2 reverse||Fresh or Saltwater|
How to Choose the Best Trolling Motor
There are a handful of key factors to keep in mind when you go looking for your next trolling motor. By the time you’re done with this article you’ll know how to compare and contrast motors to pick out your next trolling motor.
- Thrust Output
- Trolling Motor Size Chart
- Batteries and Voltage Considerations
- Bow or Transom Motors
- Hand Control or Foot Control
When it comes to trolling motors there are only two things that will directly impact your performance. Voltage / batteries and motor output measured in pounds of thrust.
These two factors solely comprise the most important factors of raw measurable performance.
Reasons that you might need more power in a trolling motor include larger boats, windy conditions, heavy loads, large numbers of people on board, or heavily weedy conditions.
Any factors that can add drag or resistance to the boat movement need to be consider for an increase in thrust.
To get an idea of how much thrust you’ll need for your boat, you can use this great generic guide from Trollingmotors.net. This gives you a baseline to start with so that you can guage what size and thrust of motor to get for your boat.
Remember if you anticipate heavier loads, lots of weedy conditions, or other factors that might slow down your boat, you may want to get the next size up.
Generally, any boats under 17 feet long can usually get away with a 12V motor. 20 feet and under can probably get away with a 24V motor. Anything over 20’ in length will definitely need to upgrade to the 36V motors.
A final note on motor size is that you’ll rarely regret purchasing a motor that’s too large.
Going several sizes up or simply buying the highest power motor that your pocketbook can afford offers the advantage of easy movement, less strain on the motor, and improved overall performance.
What Size Trolling Motor For My Boat?
|Boat Weight (lbs)||1,500||2,000||2,500||3||3,500||4,000||5||5,000|
|Boat Length (feet)||<14′||15-16||17||18||19||20||21||>21|
|Minimum Thrust (lbs)||30||40||50||60||70||80||90||100|
|Ideal Thrust (lbs)||40||50||60||70||80||90||100||>100|
Batteries and Voltage Considerations
Batteries can seem expensive and it might be tempting to go with the cheapest one available. After all, they all do the same thing, right?
Wrong. Erring on the side of cheap batteries is a sure fire way to get poor performance and spend a ton on replacements. I have a post here on how to choose a marine trolling motor battery and some recommendations.
When buying a battery you definitely want to do your homework. Each type of trolling motor will be run off from 12V batteries. 24V motors simply use 2 x 12V batteries and 36V motors use 3 x 12V batteries.
Higher voltage motors with quality batteries will perform better, longer than their smaller counterparts.
Even for a relatively small boat, you could consider going with a beefy 36V motor as the lower power draw means longer overall battery life.
When it comes to batteries, high quality batteries tend to have longer lives. It’s typical even for a well maintained battery to last only 3-5 years.
High quality batteries tend to be on the long side of that spectrum while I’ve seen low quality batteries, even well maintained, last only a single season.
AGM batteries are a newer type of battery which use a totally sealed system and advanced materials to last longer with less maintenance. AGM batteries, unlike wet cell batteries, can be stored on their side or upside down.
They tend to last a bit longer and overall are a vast improvement over the older wet cell batteries. Most trolling motor batteries today are AGM batteries.
Bow or Transom Motors
Which one is better between a bow (front) and transom (rear) mounted trolling motor? There are a few factors to consider before you throw in the towel and make a decision one way or the other.
Bow mount trolling motors are much more agile than transom motors. Due to the location of the motor, you can turn the boat nearly on a dime, troll forward, back the boat up and other tight maneuvers.
This is because the motor is pulling your boat from the front instead of pushing from the back like your standard outboard motor.
Transom mounted trolling motors are really only a good choice for boats that are too small to handle a bow mounted motor.
Canoes, dinghies, and other tiny vessels may not have the ability to handle a trolling motor on the front and you’d be left with transom mounted motors as your only option.,
Hand Control or Foot Control
There are two ways to operate an electric trolling motor. You can have a more traditional hand controlled unit which operates like a small outboard.
Or you can go with a foot controlled trolling motor that uses a floor mounted switch and control plate.
Floor mounts take up room on the boat floor and can be hard to use unless you’ve got enough space for them. You’ll need a decent size boat with a nice mounting option near the bow.
This would preferably be a nice flat deck so you can operate the motor with your foot while never taking your hands off the rod.
Hand operated motors cause you to have to lose contact with your fishing rod in order to operate the motor. Much less efficient, these can be a bit more natural feeling for some. They’re a good option for boats with no floor space.
In the world of trolling motors, transom mounted motors are usually the only choice. For kayaks, canoes, or dinghies there’s often only enough room for you, a bit of gear, and a small motor.
In these cases, or with other small boats, a lightweight trolling motor is the ideal choice. Because of their power, stealth, and agility they make the best choice for fishing your favorite water hole and landing as many fish in the boat by day’s end as possible!
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best trolling motor to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a motor I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.
Have fun and enjoy your time on the water!