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Trolling Motor Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right Trolling Motor

Trolling Motor Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right Trolling Motor


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on selecting the perfect trolling motor for your boating adventures! Whether you're an avid angler, a casual weekend boater, or somewhere in between, the right trolling motor can significantly enhance your experience on the water. This guide is designed to help you navigate through the options and find a trolling motor that meets your specific needs.

Understanding Trolling Motors


Types of Trolling Motors:

  • Bow Mount: Ideal for serious anglers. Provides better control and maneuverability in various water conditions.
  • Transom Mount: Great for smaller boats and casual fishing. Easy to install and operate.
  • Engine Mount: Perfect for those who want to keep their deck free. Integrates with the outboard motor for seamless operation.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

  • Bow mounts offer precision but can be more expensive and require more space.
  • Transom mounts are affordable and easy to install but offer less control in rough waters.
  • Engine mounts save space but are less accessible for quick adjustments.


  • Bow mounts are best for larger boats fishing in diverse water conditions.
  • Transom mounts suit small to medium-sized boats in calmer waters.
  • Engine mounts are ideal for boats where deck space is a premium.

Key Features to Consider in a Trolling Motor



Determine thrust needs based on boat size and weight. Generally, you need at least 2 pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of boat weight. Keep in mind this is the "fully loaded" boat weight which includes people and gear. You also need to consider the area(s) in which you like to fish. Dealing with a lot of wind or a strong current? Extra thrust gives you extra control.


    Your options for voltage when purchasing a trolling motor will typically be 12v, 24v, or 36v. Your choice ultimately will come down to boat size and thrust requirements. Additionally, you'll need to know your battery requirements based on voltage needed. A good rule of thumb is 1 battery for every 12v. See below for a quick reference guide:




       55 pounds or less


      1 battery

      60-80 pounds


      2 batteries

      101-115 pounds


      3 batteries

      Shaft Length:

      Shaft length is an important consideration when purchasing a trolling motor. If it is too short, the prop won't be sufficiently submerged in the water. There are many factors that could determine the shaft length needed for your specific application. However, a rough recommendation for optimal performance is to measure the distance from the mounting point of your motor to the waterline and add about 16 to 20 inches to determine the shaft length needed. See our more in-depth guide on choosing the right shaft length here.

      Control Options:

      When it comes to controlling your trolling motor you've got a few options, each with their pros and cons. 

      • Foot pedals offer hands-free operation, ideal for anglers.
      • Hand controls are straightforward and user-friendly.
      • Remote controls provide the ultimate convenience and flexibility.

      Trolling Motor Brand Comparisons

      When selecting a trolling motor, the brand can make a significant difference in terms of quality, innovation, and customer support. Let’s compare some of the most popular brands in the market: Minn Kota, MotorGuide, and Garmin.

      Minn Kota

      • Key Features: Known for their innovative technology, Minn Kota offers features like i-Pilot and Spot-Lock GPS anchoring, which are game-changers for precision fishing.
      • Durability: Their motors are renowned for being robust and long-lasting, even in harsh water conditions.
      • Price Range: Generally positioned in the mid to high-end market, offering good value for the quality and features.
      • Customer Support: Offers comprehensive customer service and a reliable warranty program.


      • Key Features: MotorGuide stands out with its quiet operation and energy-efficient motors. Their wireless models are particularly popular among recreational boaters.
      • User-Friendly: Known for being user-friendly, especially for beginners or casual anglers.
      • Price Range: Offers a range of models from affordable to premium, catering to a wide audience.
      • Customer Support: Provides solid customer support with a focus on customer satisfaction and a robust warranty.


      • Key Features: Garmin, traditionally known for GPS technology, brings high-tech features like integrated sonar and advanced navigation capabilities to their trolling motors.
      • Innovation: Continuously innovating, particularly in integrating trolling motors with fishfinder technology.
      • Price Range: Tends to be on the higher end, reflecting their advanced technology and features.
      • Customer Support: Offers excellent customer service with a focus on technological support and detailed product guides.

      Choosing the Right Brand for You

      • Your Boating Activities: Consider what you primarily use your boat for. Anglers might prefer the precise control of Minn Kota, while casual boaters might appreciate the simplicity and quiet operation of MotorGuide.
      • Technology Needs: If you're a tech enthusiast, Garmin's integration of trolling motors with cutting-edge navigation and fishfinding technology might appeal to you.
      • Budget: Consider how much you're willing to invest. More features and advanced technology typically come with a higher price tag.


      Choosing the right trolling motor involves considering various factors like boat size, water conditions, and personal preferences. By understanding the different types of motors, key features, and additional technologies available, you can make an informed decision that enhances your boating experience.


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