Last updated on March 22nd, 2021
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5 Electric Trolling Motors Worth Your Dollars
Looking for the best trolling motor at best the value possible for your small to medium-size fishing boat, inflatable boat, or fishing kayak? There are plenty of great trolling motors available at reasonable prices, and even affordable options can offer a wide range of benefits for anglers looking for that perfect trolling motor.
Trolling motors are ideal for countless situations when out on the water fishing, from slowly navigating those hard-to-reach spots your main motor cannot reach to keeping disturbance down to a minimum as you fish, making them a very worthwhile investment.
We have put together a list below of what we think are the top 5 trolling motors on the market today for budget-minded anglers and boaters.
Let’s dig in and see what features and values they have to offer.
- Transom mount
- 36″ Shaft composite shaft (with a lifetime guarantee)
- 12 Volts
- 55 lbs of thrust
- 5 Forward speeds/3 reverse
- Quiet yet powerful propulsion
- Comfortable steering via telescoping tiller
- Rugged 10-position quick-mount bracket
- Recommended for freshwater trolling
- 2 Year Warranty
Minn Kota has been producing some of the best trolling motors – along with a whole host of other fishing boat equipment – for a long time, and the C2 55 trolling motor is one of its most popular transom-mounted options today.
Packing many great features into an affordable product is no easy feat, but it’s something that Minn Kota has been doing for years with the Endura models.
With an efficient 12-volt motor that puts out 55 lbs of thrust and a 36″ or 42″ shaft, the C2 55 offers a powerful yet affordable transom mount trolling motor that can be used in boats of up to 18’. You can expect impressive power, performance, and overall value from the Minn Kota C2 55 trolling motor.
It’s as quiet as you could hope for, with the larger brushes, windings, and commutators resulting in less heat generation, helping to provide a great battery life of several hours – you can expect plenty of time on the water before needing to recharge. It makes for a very good bass boat trolling motor.
Combined with 5 forward and 3 reverse speed settings, this is a powerful yet versatile motor that offers complete control for navigating those difficult spots. This is made even better by the 6-inch telescoping handle, which is ergonomically designed to provide simple and comfortable steering throughout the day.
Prop performance is certainly powerful, made better by Minn Kota’s famous ‘Weedless Wedge 2 Prop’. This robust prop will get you through even the thickest vegetation with ease without draining the battery due to constant chopping and hacking.
Another great feature of this motor is the incredibly strong composite shaft. It feels almost indestructible, with the shaft literally flexing upon impact with objects in the water. This ensures no breakages, kinks, or corrosion over time, and Minn Kota is so confident in the shaft that it comes with a lifetime guarantee! The motor is covered by their 2-year warranty.
If all this were not enough, the C2 55 comes with a super durable, quick lock/release composite 10-position mounting bracket that makes mounting and removing the motor a breeze.
- Transom mount
- 30-inch adjustable fiberglass-composite shaft
- 12 Volts
- Built with high-quality materials including stainless steel
- 8-speed settings (5 forward/3 reverse)
- Easy to read LED battery meter
- 55 pounds of thrust
- 10″ dia. 3-blade propeller
- Fresh and saltwater use
- 2 Year Warranty
Offering the perfect combination of function and affordability, the Newport Vessels (NV Series) 55 lb Thrust 8-Speed Electric Trolling Motor is a fantastic product worth every cent.
The design and build of this transom mount trolling motor are undoubtedly impressive, boasting a 30-inch fiberglass composite shaft, aluminum casing, and telescoping handle, which offers great comfort when steering. Using high-quality, corrosion-resistant materials, this motor is also a great choice for saltwater fishing. Just don’t forget to rinse it off with fresh water after each saltwater outing.
Built with versatility as well as durability in mind, the trolling motor is perfect for all Newport Vessels inflatable boats, while also being a great fit for a range of other vessels such as fishing kayaks, Jon boats, fishing boats (including aluminum types), canoes and any inflatable that features a transom.
As the name suggests, the motor provides 55 pounds of thrust and sports 8 different speed settings, with 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds. This allows for amazing control over your boat and makes it easier to achieve the smoothest possible ride.
The motor itself features a 3-blade propeller (10-inch diameter) to ensure optimum performance at all times. It is powered by a minimum 50 Ah 12-volt marine battery which isn’t included with the motor but, for those that already have a collection of batteries, this shouldn’t be much of an issue.
A great feature is the battery meter, which lets you know how much juice you have left, so you can quickly gauge the battery status. The battery life isn’t too bad either for a 12-volt, so you can expect to get several hours of operation even at top speeds.
Powerful, robust, inexpensive, and featuring a 2-year NV warranty, this Newport Vessels Electric Trolling Motor is a great choice for anyone looking to pair quality with value.
- Transom mount
- 12 Volt
- 55 Powerful pounds of thrust
- 36-Inch adjustable angle shaft
- 8-Speed operation – 5 forwards and 3 reverse
- 6-Inch adjustable/telescoping handle
- LED battery power indicator
- Propeller depth adjustability
If you are in the market for an affordable trolling motor, you will love this 55-lb electric transom-mounted unit from Goplus. But don’t let the budget-friendly price tag fool you – this is a very good trolling motor packed with lots of features normally found in more expensive models. (The Goplus also comes in 46 and 86 LBS thrust models).
At the heart of this powerful little Goplus offering is a 12-volt 55 ft/lb thrust motor capable of effortlessly moving your small fishing boat, inflatable watercraft or kayak to get you to your fishing spot.
Although the transom-mounted Goplus 55 was primarily designed for freshwater use, many anglers have also found use it in light saltwater applications. Due to its durable construction that features a 36″ high strength fiberglass composite shaft and an aluminum head, the Goplus offers a decent degree of corrosion resistance.
However, as with just about anything that comes into contact with salt water, it is advisable to thoroughly rinse the motors off with fresh water following each use.
Control and navigation and are provided by an adjustable handle with the built-in 8-speed operation. There are 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse to tailor your ride. The telescopic handle can be adjusted up to 6 inches for increased comfort and navigation control.
A very useful feature is the numbered 10-LED light indicator panel that displays your battery power levels from low to high.
Lastly, the propeller depth can be adjusted to alter its acceleration/performance in the water by adjusting the length of the shaft via clamps.
All in all, this is an exceptional and affordable unit with enough power to suit most needs. You will not be disappointed with the Goplus electric trolling motor!
- Bow mount
- 36″ and 45″ composite shaft with a lifetime guarantee
- 12 Volts
- 45 lbs of thrust
- Latch and Door design for easy deployment and storage/transport
- Foot-control for hands-free operation
- Two-year warranty for the remainder of the components
- Quiet motor designed to drain less battery power
- Rated for freshwater use
For those fishermen looking for an affordable bow-mounted, foot-controlled trolling motor for freshwater use, the Minn Kota Edge 45 is certainly a product worth considering.
There’s a lot to like here, including a lifetime warranty on the impressive composite shaft and a two-year warranty covering the various other components of the motor, so you can expect to get many fun years out of the Minn Kota Edge 45.
As you may have guessed by the name, the Minn Kota Edge 45 produces up to 45 pounds of thrust, offering ample power for steering in a variety of conditions.
The Edge 45 lb thrust motor comes in 36-inch and 45-inch shaft versions that are nearly indestructible, consisting of composite materials that resist corrosion and breaking, while being easy to adjust to various levels. This is especially useful for maneuvering through shallower waters, but you will find the Minn Kota Edge 45 offers fantastic steering in waters of every depth.
The ease of mounting is one of the most impressive factors about the Minn Kota Edge 45. Mounting takes no time at all, made easier thanks to the soft-grip knob for tightening and loosening. Add in the anodized aluminum arm and you have a motor mount that isn’t just quick to install but also incredibly secure.
The latch and door bracket also makes it a snap to remove and store away when you’re done for the day.
As with most Minn Kota motors, this is a trolling motor that will make very little noise. The larger commutators and windings help in this regard, allowing the motor to run cool and economize your 12-volt battery.
With a composite shaft guaranteed to last a lifetime, its quick and easy bow mount, a quiet engine, and a reliable 45 pounds of thrust, the Minn Kota Edge 45 can be rightfully considered one of the top-rated trolling motors today. The foot-controlled operation just makes targeting your favorite fish that much easier!
- Transom mount
- 40″ Adjustable fiberglass composite shaft
- 12 Volts
- 62 Pounds of thrust, yet lightweight
- Durable, marine-grade components for saltwater use
- Also perfectly suited for freshwater applications
- Adjustable mount bracket
- LED battery meter
- 2 Year Warranty
Sporting 62 pounds of thrust, the Newport Vessels Saltwater 62 lb Thrust Electric Trolling Motor is one of the most powerful12-volt trolling motors and can be powered by either a marine or deep cycle battery (not included).
Considering the price range, you will struggle to find a motor offering as much thrust as this one, especially when considering it’s powered by a single battery.
Better still, the motor is durable enough to be used in saltwater (perfect for freshwater as well) due to the composite fiberglass, stainless steel, and zinc materials used throughout. The aluminum head helps to keep it lightweight as well as tough.
As with any Newport Vessels trolling motor, it is designed to be used on any one of their inflatable vessels, although it can easily be attached to various other craft with a transom mount, such as tenders, fishing boats, pontoons, kayaks, and dinghies.
Both the 40-inch fiberglass composite shaft and mount bracket are completely adjustable, while the three-blade propeller will make short work of any stubborn weeds slowing you down. Steering your boat will be much easier thanks to the 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds of the motor, making it simple to get in and of those tighter spots.
Worrying about a dead electric trolling motor battery while out on the water is a thing of the past with the Newport Vessels Saltwater 62-Pound Thrust Electric Trolling Motor thanks to the handy battery meter. Using a 10-point LED display, you get precise information regarding how much battery life is left.
When it comes to trolling motors for small boats, there are few better and more powerful than this Newport Vessels model.
The ability to also venture into saltwater without the risk of damage is a great feature, while the surprisingly lightweight (just 23 pounds!) makes it easy to transport. It’s hard to deny that this isn’t one of the best saltwater trolling motor values for the money on the market today.
For those needing even more power, this trolling motor also comes in an 86 lb thrust 24-volt option.
Look for a good trolling motor battery? Check out our in-depth trolling motor battery buyer’s guide and recommendations!
Trolling Motor Q & A
What size trolling motor do I need?
While the urge may be to go with a trolling motor that’s bigger than you actually need ‘just in case’, you should resist the impulse. You should answer the question by first thinking about the type and size of boat you need to power.
A bigger trolling motor than you need is overkill and will only lead to you spending more money than is necessary. At the same time, you don’t want a motor that is underpowered, as that can be incredibly frustrating, to say the least.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about thrust because when we talk about the size of a trolling motor that is what we are really talking about. Thrust is the amount of power or force – measured in pounds – necessary to move or propel your boat through the water.
Though there are a few other things we can take into consideration when determining how much thrust you need, such as the length of the boat, the type of boat/hull, and water conditions, the weight of the boat is the most important one.
To help us in deciding the size of the motor/pounds of thrust needed, we recommend the industry rule of thumb which calls for 2 pounds of thrust for every 100 lbs of weight.
That, however, is not the weight of an empty craft. We are talking about the total weight which includes your boat (including motor), you, the fishing buddy you invited along, fishing rods, your loaded cooler, tackle boxes, and anything else you will bring on board.
So, for example, if your boat weighs 2500 lbs fully loaded, the formula for determining thrust would look something like this:
2500 divided by 100 = 25 x 2 = 50 lbs of thrust
But the weight of your boat is not stagnant and could change depending on the number of people, amount of equipment, etc. that you carry on your next fishing trip. So, you need to calculate the highest average weight you reasonably expect on carrying and buy your trolling motor based on that.
What Is the best shaft length for my boat?
Choosing the right shaft length is important. You don’t want the shaft to be so short that it comes out of the water while running, nor do you want it to be so long that it touches the bottom.
The length of your shaft will depend to a large degree on the type of watercraft and mounting location. Mounting on the bow of a boat with a deep V-hull will require a longer shaft than a transom mount on a jon boat or a kayak.
Trolling motor shafts come in various lengths ranging from 30″ to 55″ and above, with bow-mounted motors generally being longer than transom-mounted models. There are also plenty of trolling motors with adjustable length shafts, something that can be very useful in certain situations.
In selecting the best length shaft for your watercraft, we again apply a rule of thumb recommendation as follows:
Distance from Transom to Waterline Corresponding Shaft Length
0″ – 10″ 30″
10″ – 16″ 36″
16″ – 20″ 42″
Distance from Bow to Waterline Corresponding Shaft Length
0″ – 10″ 36″
16″ – 22″ 42″ – 45″
22″ – 28″ 48″ – 52″
28″ – 34″ 54″ – 62″
34″ – 44″ 72″
Should I buy a bow or transom mount trolling motor?
This really comes down to personal choice. Either one will get the job done, it just a matter of whether you want your trolling motor in the back of the boat (transom) or the front (bow).
Transom mount trolling motors are more widespread and traditional than bow-mounted versions. You often see them on smaller watercraft such as jon boats, canoes, inflatable rafts, and skiffs.
They easily attach to the stern via a clamp, offer hand tiller control/steering, are reliable, and generally less expensive than their bow mount cousins. They ‘push’ through the water.
Bow mount trolling motors are usually more expensive but ‘pull’ through the water, providing better precision steering and control, and they also generally offer more advanced features such as foot control/hands-free operation and autopilot.
They attached with bolt-on brackets. You frequently see them on bass boats where their no hands operation and superior maneuverability are a plus.
Can I use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater?
The short answer is yes. But that does not mean you should. Freshwater and saltwater trolling motor, though they may appear similar, offer vastly different levels of corrosion protection.
Freshwater motors lack the superior protection and anti-corrosion materials that go into saltwater motors. This includes stainless steel hardware, sacrificial zinc anodes, saltwater-resistant paint, and sealed electrical connections.
However, even with all this corrosion protection, even the best saltwater trolling motor can fail or have a shortened lifespan if not cared for and maintained properly. After each trip, the motor should be rinsed thoroughly with fresh water and stored indoors in a dry environment.