Expert Reviews: Discover the Best Trolling Motors for Boats in 2024

Maya Brown

April 19, 2024


Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a weekend warrior, navigating the vast sea of options can sometimes leave you adrift. That’s why we’re diving deep into the world of the best trolling motors for boats, sifting through the currents of choices to bring you nothing but the best. So, grab your captain’s hat, and let’s set sail on this electrifying adventure!

The Garmin Force is ideal for freshwater enthusiasts and the Minn Kota RIptide Ulterra is a top choice for saltwater adventures. However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly alternative, the Newport NV-Series emerged as an excellent option. By listening to your specific needs and expectations, you really can’t go wrong with choosing either of these three options.

Power Up – Which Types of Motors Can Be Used on Vessels?

When you think of propelling smaller vessels, the image of traditional paddling often comes to mind, right? It’s the classic way to glide across the water, feeling every ripple and current. But let’s face it, while paddling has its charms, it’s not always the most efficient or relaxing way to travel, especially when you’re out for a fishing expedition.

With your fishing rod in hand, waiting for that big catch, the last thing you want is to be distracted by constant paddling. That’s where motors come into play. Not only do they free up your hands, but they also make for a smoother, more efficient ride. Let’s reel in some knowledge about the different types you can use:

  • Electric trolling motorsquiet and eco-friendly, perfect for those stealthy approaches in fishing.
  • Gasoline outboard motors – ideal for longer distances and larger boats, offering more power.
  • Jet outboard motors – great for shallow waters, as they don’t have an exposed propeller.
  • Pod drive motors – mounted below the fishing boat, these are space-efficient and offer excellent maneuverability.

What Is the Best Trolling Motor Battery?

Efficient battery life for boat motors is as crucial as bringing the right bait to your angling escapade. Lithium-ion batteries are incredibly lightweight and pack a hefty power punch for their size, which means longer trips without the bulk. Plus, they have a longer lifespan and can be recharged faster.

However, all these perks come at a cost – literally. Lithium-ion batteries are significantly more expensive and require a specific type of charger. That’s where lead-acid batteries come into the picture, being much more affordable and readily available. But their lifespan isn’t as long, so you might need to plan your fishing trips with a bit more caution.

Two men sitting on a boat fishing
The lifespan of marine batteries typically ranges from two to five years

The Garmin Force Is One of the Best Trolling Motors for Small Boats and Freshwater Environments

Ready to make a splash for your freshwater hunts? Look no further than the Garmin Force Trolling Motor. It’s like the Swiss Army knife for lakes, ponds, and rivers. Imagine gliding through serene waters, your fishing boat effortlessly responding to your every command – that’s the Garmin Force experience.

Key Features of These Remote-Controlled Boat Motors

Built like a tank but moving like a breeze, the Garmin Force boasts a rugged mount and a stainless steel shaft that laughs in the face of corrosion. It comes equipped with a wireless foot pedal for hands-free control and integrated sonar to find your next big catch. On top of that, it’s one of those GPS-enabled trolling motors that make getting lost a thing of the past. Here are the main specifications of this particular engine:

Trolling motor thrust levels 80-100 lbs
Weight 110 lbs
Shaft Length 57 inches
Battery 36V, 24V
Mount Transom

Pros and Cons of Garmin Force

Freshwater trolling motors should always offer versatility as vast as the waters you’ll explore. With the 57-inch shaft length, the Garmin Force is a perfect fit for a wide range of boat sizes and water depths, making this aspect its most notable advantage.

However, every rose has its thorn, and for the Garmin Force, it’s the price tag. Sitting at around $3,500, it’s a significant investment. But in the grand scheme of things, similar products are in this range as well.  For those willing to invest, the Garmin Force will provide a long-term partnership for unparalleled aquatic journeys.

Customer Reviews

Scouring through the sea of customer reviews for the Garmin Force, it seems like this one isn’t just making waves – it’s creating a whole tsunami of positivity. Users are raving, with many declaring it one of the best trolling motors for pontoon boats, kayaks, and everything in between. So, the common thread? Satisfaction and awe. Negative reviews? As rare as a calm day at sea.

A man fishing on a boat
Wireless trolling motors eliminate the need for unnecessary cables on your vessel

The Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra Is the Ultimate Choice for Those Saltwater Adventures

If you’re planning to set sail in pursuit of saltwater species and heavy hitters, the Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra Trolling Motor can be your trusted ally that’s as relentless as the tide. Whether you’re battling the briny deep or cruising coastal waters, this ride will be a true glide. It’s one of those saltwater trolling motors that will truly elevate your boating experience to legendary status.

Key Features of Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra

With its groundbreaking i-Pilot system, the Riptide Ulterra turns you into the captain with precision and ease. Using GPS, i-Pilot not only keeps you anchored in the perfect fishing spot but also lets you command your vessel like a seasoned skipper with its intuitive, large LCD screen.

As if that’s not enough, you will experience up to five times longer run times on a single battery charge, thanks to its energy-efficient design. It’s also one of those variable-speed trolling motors, where you control the throttle, ensuring just the right amount of power is used. This being said, here are the key specifications:

Thrust 80 lbs
Weight 66 lbs
Shaft Length 54, 60, 72 inches
Battery 24V
Mount Bow-mount

Pros and Cons of Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra

The shining beacon of the Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra? Its arsenal of advanced features redefines ease of use and control, coupled with the surprisingly lightweight trolling motors design. Despite being built for the more challenging saltwater environments, this power piece is not just about performance – it’s about smart performance.

On the flip side, like with the first product, quality comes at a cost. With a price range between $2,500 and $3,500, it’s a premium pick for those ready to invest in their saltwater adventures. But remember, with great price comes great performance.

Customer Reviews

Diving into customer reviews, the Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra emerges as a titan of customer satisfaction. Most users are not just happy – they’re hooked, having relied on it for years. It’s a testament to trolling motor durability and performance.

However, a few seasoned sailors have noted that its performance might take a slight dip in extremely cold waters. But don’t let that steer you away – for most, the Riptide Ulterra is a trusty companion, making every journey an unforgettable one.

Boat fishing rod and net
Durability is the most important thing if you regularly venture out to the open sea

The Newport NV-Series Offers the Best Value for Your Money

On the lookout for the best trolling motors for bass boats and other vessels that won’t make your wallet jump overboard? If the sticker shock of high-end models has you rubbing your temples in distress, the Newport NV-Series Trolling Motor rides in like a budget-friendly knight in shining armor. Sure, it’s easy on the purse strings, but don’t let its price tag fool you – this motor still packs a punch in the performance department.

Key Features of Newport NV-Series

The Newport NV-Series are those quiet operation trolling motors that remain cool as a cucumber, letting you chase the fish all day without breaking a sweat. Its ergonomic extendable handle is like a magic wand for your boat, granting you the power of 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds. This means smooth sailing and total control at your fingertips, without any of the fuss. Here are some of the main specifications of the Newport NV-Series:

Thrust 36, 46, 55, 62, 86 lbs
Weight 18.5 lbs
Shaft Length 30 inches
Battery 12V
Mount Transom

Pros and Cons of Newport NV-Series

The standout star of the Newport NV-Series? That oh-so-tempting price tag. Ranging between $100 and $200 depending on your thrust needs, it’s a breath of fresh air for your budget. And it’s not just about saving some green – it’s about getting a lot of bang for your buck. While it may not be decked out with the bells and whistles of its pricier counterparts, it’s a solid performer that’s more than capable for many anglers.

Customer Reviews

Scouring through customer reviews, it’s clear that the customers are pleasantly surprised by the performance this budget-friendly option delivers. It’s like finding a hidden gem that shines brightly without burning a hole in your pocket. For many, the NV-Series has proven that great things can indeed come in affordable packages.

A modern open bowrider motorboat
You can power up your vessel without breaking the bank

How to Choose the Best Trolling Motors for Boats for Adventures to Come

Picking your fishing boat’s next power source can truly make or break your journey. It’s like charting the course for your future escapades with a trusty mate. To ensure you’ve got the perfect fit, here are a couple of aspects you need to explore:

Thrust Power

Like picking a horse for a knight, choose a motor with enough thrust to carry your vessel. Think about your boat’s weight and size. Bigger boats need more muscle, so look for a motor with higher thrust to ensure smooth sailing.

Shaft Length

This is the wand that connects your boat to its magical power – the motor. Make sure the length suits your boat’s size. Too short, and you’ll lose efficiency. Too long, and it might be cumbersome.

Battery Life and Type

Your motor’s lifeline is its battery. Consider the type – lithium-ion or lead-acid – and its life expectancy. You want a battery that can keep up with your adventures without leaving you stranded.

A Few Additional Tips Before Making the Final Purchase

So, you’re almost ready to reel in that perfect fit for your trusty vessel. Before you do, here are a few pearls of wisdom to consider:

  • Get insights from fellow mariners by reading reviews, as their experiences can guide you in the right direction,
  • Look for products with a good warranty and accessible service,
  • Remember, the most expensive option isn’t always the best, so make sure you balance cost with quality and necessity.

Setting Sail With Confidence and a Promise of a Bountiful Adventure

Whether you’re a weekend warrior casting lines in tranquil lakes or an intrepid explorer tackling the salty seas, the right trolling motor can elevate your boating experience from good to legendary. Remember, it’s not just about the specs – it’s about matching your needs, your boat, and your aquatic aspirations. Tight lines and smooth sailing!