Trolling Motors: Only the Best (My Recommendations)

Years of experiences, mistakes, research and time on the water has allowed me to put together my trolling motor recommendations for you.

A few years back I wanted to buy a new trolling motor for my small Jon Boat since the one I had did not last very long. Upon searching for days at local stores and even some of the larger stores, I was more confused than when I started about what I wanted.

This guide should be an excellent service to those of us who are tired of scouring to find the best trolling motors for our situation.

Trolling motors come in various sizes and serve a multitude of purposes for each application. Choosing the right trolling motor for your set up can be daunting if you do not know what you are looking for. There are freshwater and saltwater trolling motors.

Different motors are depending on where you want to mount the motor and for different vessels such as Jon Boat, bass boat, or kayak.

On top of that, there are various sizes for thrust, shaft length, and battery sizes, so we have tried to take some of the guesswork out of this process by compiling this list based on solid reviews, personal experiences, and reputation.

The categories are:

  • Best Overall Trolling Motor (General Applications)
  • Best Trolling Motor for Kayaks
  • Best Bow Mount Trolling Motor
  • Best Saltwater Trolling Motor
  • Best Trolling Motor for Canoe
  • Best Trolling Motor for Jon Boats (Transom Mount)

Many websites and companies have online material to assist you in the fundamentals of finding the right trolling motor for your needs. However when choosing the correct trolling motor to consider the reputation of the company, consider the application, i.e., Kayak, Bass boat, Jon Boat, or Canoe.

Also, things to consider are battery sizes, whether you will be in freshwater or saltwater, and the length shaft you might need.

Options vary according to thrust and speed for trolling motors as well. There is a motor that will fit all of the criteria for your next setup.

How To Choose A Trolling Motor

To Choose the right trolling motor you will need to know the application in which it will be used, i.e., Jon Boat or Kayak. 

By identifying what application you will know more about the mount you might need whether Transom, Bow, or Engine mount. This will lead to the next area to choose from the length of the shaft.

Shaft lengths vary depending on the mount and style of the boat, but some motors have adjustable shafts making it easier to find a universal motor.

Trolling motors also come in a variety of speeds and thrust. Most common trolling motors are not concerned as much with speed as they are thrust. Thrust has to do with the amount of power that is applied to push or pull the vessel through the water whereas speed is a determination of prop pitch and motor R.P.M.

This is how the list for best trolling motors is defined here in this article.

To recap here is a listing for looking :

  • Application for use
  • Mount type and location
  • Shaft Length
  • checkSpeed/Thrust needed

Our Recommendations

1. Best Overall Trolling Motor – MotorGuide X5-105FW

The X5-105W is a bow mounted trolling motor for both freshwater and saltwater, which makes it sustainable to the corrosion that happens with a lot of saltwater applications. It has an easy to use the foot pedal for smooth control. This particular motor has a range of options for the thrust that range from 55, 70, 80, and 105 pounds of thrust.

The basic rule to remember when buying trolling motors is five pounds of thrust for every two-hundred pounds of boat. More thrust is not always better because then the boat can become unstable and not as easy to control.

However, a ten to twenty pounds of extra thrust will be good for any application.The X5-105FW also has a range in shaft lengths as well with 40, 50, and 60 inches of length to choose from. The propeller is a two-blade weedless. MotorGuide has digital power management and LED directional indicator.

To put the icing on the cake Variable Ratio Steering. MotorGuide offers a two-year warranty with this model as well.

Key Features of the MotorGuide X5-105FW

  • Fresh and Salt Water application
  • Variable options for Thrust 55, 70, 80, and 105lbs
  • Bow Mount
  • checkFoot Controlled
  • checkVariable Shaft Lengths 40, 50, and 60 inches
  • checkTwo Blade Weedless Propellor
  • checkLED Directional Indicator
  • checkVariable Ratio Steering
  • checkTwo-Year Warranty on motor
  • checkTwo-Year Warranty

Best Trolling Motor for Kayaks 

Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Transom Mounted Trolling Motor

Minn Kota has one of the best reputations for kayak trolling motors. There are numerous models of Minn Kota’s that a person could choose from for this category but this specific model the C2 with the thirty-inch shaft makes a standout appearance.

The C2 is a 12-volt freshwater transom-mounted trolling motor with an outstanding 30 pounds of thrust and a thirty-inch shaft. Equipped with a six-inch telescoping handle and a tilt twist tiller for ergonomics, speed control, and steering.

The lever lock bracket gives a solid mount for the motor.

With the quiet power, it maximizes the battery life giving you more time on the water, and it is less likely to spook the fish out of your favorite spot. The C2 has five-forward speeds, and three-reverse speeds to help aid in the overall control.

Overall this is a great motor that will not break the bank and offer you beautiful results on the water where you need it most. The two-year warranty covers the motor while a lifetime warranty backs the indestructible shaft. Making this one robust little trolling motor for the money.

Key Features of the Minn Kota Endura C2 30

  • 12-Volt
  • Transom Mounted
  • Fresh Water Application
  • check30 lbs of Thrust
  • checkLifetime Warranty on Shaft
  • checkTelescoping Handle
  • checkTilt Twist Tiller for ergonomics/Speed Control/Steering
  • checkLever Lock Bracket
  • checkQuiet Running
  • checkTwo-Year Warranty on motor
  • check5-Forward Speeds and Three-Reverse Speeds

Best Bow Mount Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Maxxum 70 Bow-Mount Trolling Motor

This trolling motor is astonishing for all the great features that it has. For the category that it is in this bow-mounted trolling motor surpasses others in many areas. Featuring over 70 pounds of thrust and a 42-inch shaft. It is optimized for freshwater usage.

Maxxum 70 comes with the Bowguard 360 degree mount, which is durable for all conditions. With an illuminated directional indicator it is optimal for low light situations. This model has the Weedless Wedge 2 propeller and an indestructible shaft.

Easy to control with the cable steer foot pedal. And the Digital Maximizer gives only the power you need instead of a constant flow of energy maximizing your battery life and keeping you on the water longer.

The two-year warranty covers the trolling motor while once again the shaft is backed with a lifetime guarantee.

Key Features of the Minn Kota Maxxum 70

  • Cable steer foot pedal
  • Bow Mounted
  • Fresh Water Application
  • check70 lbs of Thrust
  • check42-inch Shaft
  • check360-degree mount
  • checkIlluminated Directional Indicator
  • checkWeedless Wedge 2 Propellor
  • checkTwo-Year Warranty on Motor
  • checkDigital Maximizer for Battery Life

Best Saltwater Trolling Motor

Caroute N200-24V 120LB Brushless Large Thrust

Caroute N200 is a powerhouse machine for saltwater purposes. With 120 pound thrust, it can power through the rougher saltwater environment. The electric motor is brushless which brings about a more robust motor that is less likely to fail when you need it most.

The brushless motor has a higher efficiency rated 65-percent higher than electric motors with brushes in them and 100-200 percent higher than gasoline motors

The brushless motor is much quieter than the same power gasoline motors and over half of the weight. Every piece is manufactured in a manner that protects the motor from the corrosion that can happen with saltwater motors.

The motor controller protects the motor, the battery, and is safer for the user as well. Complete with low-voltage protection, overheating protection, stall protection, sudden start protection, and reverse polarity protection this is one of the safest trolling motors on the market.

Key Features of the Caroute N200-24V 120LB 

  • Saltwater Application
  • 120-lbs of Thrust
  • Brushless Electric Motor
  • checkQuiet Running
  • check1/2 the Weight of Gasoline Motors
  • checkMotor Controller to protect against, power overloads, low voltage, and reverse polarity

Best Trolling Motor for Canoe (And for Pontoon Boat)

Newport Vessels 55 LB 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor

Even canoe’s without transom mounts can have trolling motors attached with the proper hardware. However, Newport Vessels has made an excellent motor for freshwater and saltwater applications. The ultra-quiet 55 pounds of thrust makes this an excellent motor for fishing. It is a cool running motor that allows you to stay on the water all day without the fear of overheating

The motor comes with a 30-inch composite Fiberglass Shaft and is fully adjustable to give you the optimum depth placement for any situation.

This particular model has a total of 8 speeds, five forward and three reverse. It also has a 6-inch telescoping handle for easy control. The five-point LED Battery Meter provides an immediate read-out of your 12-volt Battery.

Newport Vessels offers a two-year warranty and promises to stand behind their products altogether. Instead of listing the motor twice in the same reviews Newport Vessels 55LB 8 Speed Trolling Motor also ranks in the top motors for Pontoon Boats as well. This is a versatile motor for multiple applications.

Key Features of the Newport Vessels 55 LB 8 Speed

  • Fresh and Salt Water Application
  • Can be mounted Transom or Bow (With appropriate mount)
  • Ultra-Quiet
  • check55-lbs of Thrust
  • checkCool Running Temp
  • check8-Speeds Five Forward and Three Reverse
  • check6-inch Telescoping Handle
  • checkTwo-Year Warranty
  • check5-Point LED Battery Meter
  • checkRanks Top for Pontoon Boats as well
  • check30-inch Shaft

Best Trolling Motor for Jon Boat

MotorGuide Xi3-55W Wireless Control

MotorGuide has created a winner with the wireless trolling motor for Jon Boats. This particular model has 55 pounds of thrust and a 48” propeller shaft. It is not overpowered by where you lose control and not underpowered for your boat.

The options available with this motor are endless.

 It comes equipped with a convenient release lever to take the motor from stow to operation in one easy step. There is an option for an accurate GPS system

The Xi3 has built-in LED lights in the handheld controller for a comfortable, effective way to check the functions or status. A smooth variable speed control keeps everything in your hand and in control.

The motor is efficient and quiet keeping you fishing and the fish from being spooked. This is one of the best selling MotorGuide motors and leading the way when it comes to Jon Boat Trolling Motors.

Key Features of the MotorGuide Xi3-55W  

  • Wireless Trolling Motor
  • Fresh Water Application
  • Easy Release Lever for convenient stow away
  • checkOption for GPS System
  • checkBuilt in LED indicators
  • checkSmooth variable Speed Control

 Finding the best trolling motor for your application is crucial, and this list should make that process a lot easier. Scouring the internet reading reviews and testing equipment these motors stand up to the test and achieve a much higher standard.

Find the best motor for you and get out on the water. Feel free to use the comments below if you have any questions.