best trolling motors for small boats

The Best Trolling Motor 2019

An electric trolling motor for your boat or kayak is an affordable way of traveling on the water without the complexity of outboard motors and fuel. There is a trolling motor for all applications from boats, kayaks and even inflatables that require a boost.

The best trolling motor is the Minn Kota Endura C2 Endura, which combines powerful performance and excellent value for money into a single package.

Compared to the internal combustion outboard motors, trolling motors provide a quiet, easy to use and more agile form of power. It uses electric as a source of power that provides thrust to move the boat on the water.

Best Electric Trolling Motors

Trolling MotorsThrustShaft Length
Minn Kota Endura C2 5555 LBS36 - 42 Inch
Newport Vessels NV-Series55 LBS30 Inch
Minn Kota Terrova 8080 LBS45 - 60 Inch
Minn Kota Endura C2 3030 LBS30 Inch
Newport Vessels Kayak Series36 LBS24 Inch

The minimum amount of thrust you require is dependent on your boats weight and length. For example, the minimum for a 2,500 LBS 17 feet boat would be 50 LBS of thrust but in general, the ideal thrusts would be 10 more LBS on top of the minimum.

Using a powerful trolling motor on your boat can provide just as much fun as an outboard and requires very little maintenance too.

Electric trolling motors will prevent the need of constant paddling or the requirement to constantly fuel your inefficient outboard motor. Below is a list of the best trolling motors for boats and kayaks with a variety of power options.

Minn Kota Endura C2 Endura 55


The Minn Kota brand is one of the most well known in the world for electric trolling motors with various models available. The Endura C2 is the perfect all-rounder with 55 LBS of thrust, which will send any boat speeding on the water.

Other features of the Minn Kota Endura C2 Endura 55 include:

  • 6 inch telescoping handle
  • Indestructible shaft that is guaranteed for life
  • Available with 36 or 42 inch shafts
  • 10 position quick release lever lock
  • 5 forward and 3 reversing speed settings
  • Produces less heat and noise than alternatives

Minn Kota are focusing on producing a comfortable yet powerful trolling motor with a prop that delivers extra power to cut through heavy vegetation such as weeds.

The comfort and power makes it suitable for almost everyone and the added bonus of the reasonable price makes it highly desirable. The Minn Kota Endura C2 Endura 55 is the best trolling motor to buy and is also available in less powerful models for those that do not require as much power.

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Newport Vessels NV-Series Saltwater Trolling Motor

For those that find themselves frequently in saltwater, there are specifically designed trolling motors for saltwater such as the NV-Series by Newport Vessels. This is made possible by using stainless steel for all the hardware and components.

Other features of the Newport Vessels NV-Series saltwater trolling motor include:

  • 5 forward and 3 reverse gears
  • 55 LBS of thrust with a max amp draw rated at 52
  • 30 inch composite fiberglass shaft
  • 6 inch telescoping handle with ergonomic grip
  • 5 point LED battery meter for instant feedback
  • Includes a 2 year warranty

The NV-Series has 8 gears and is powered by 55 LBS of thrust, which is enough for most small boats to move along in the water. There is also a 5 point LED battery meter for real time battery monitoring from the marine battery you are using.

The Newport Vessels NV-Series is a powerful trolling motor capable of pushing large boats and other watercraft with ease. The stainless steel hardware is the real standout feature and makes it the best trolling motor for saltwater with enough power for the majority of vessels up to around 16 feet.

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Minn Kota Terrova 80 Trolling Motor

Terrova 80 Trolling Motor
For those that are stuck between an outboard or a trolling motor and want as much power as possible, the Terrova 80 by Minn Kota is the best option. With a 80 LBS thrust motor and a 45 inch shaft, this is by far the most powerful trolling motor.

Features of the Minn Kota Terrova 80 trolling motor include:

  • i-Pilot Wireless GPS Trolling System
  • Removable foot pedal
  • 80 LBS thrust motor
  • 45 inch shaft
  • Universal sonar
  • Digital maximizer controls
  • Cruise control
  • Auto Pilot

It is the ultimate package for those boat owners wanting to up their game to get the best trolling motor money can buy. The iPilot by Minn Kota that is included is a sophisticated piece of technology that is able to record and retrace up to 6 different tracks, which is great for retracing lucrative fishing locations

The Terrova 80 is the best trolling motor money can buy, which at the same time can be seen as a drawback as it is very expensive. However, it does every you could ask of a trolling motor and more, which makes choosing between a small outboard motor and this a clear winner for the Terrova 80.

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Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Electric Boat Motor

electric boat motor  that suited to those on a low budget.
Another trolling motor by Minn Kota is the Endura C2 30, which is suited to those on a low budget. With 30 LBS of thrust, this is ideal for small boats, kayaks and inflatable that require a boost on the water but also lightweight.

Features of the Minn Kota Endura C2 30 includes:

  • 30 LBS of thrust
  • 8 gears – 5 forward and 3 reversing gears
  • 6 inch telescoping handle with tilt twister
  • Indestructible composite shaft with a lifetimes warranty
  • Includes a 2 year warranty for the motor

There is only one shaft size but don’t let this put you off because it will work well with a range of applications. It is the best cheap trolling motor compared to others that are almost double the price and without the quality.

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Newport Vessels Kayak Series

best trolling motor for kayaks
Kayaking is a huge sport and pass time worldwide and it is only right that we mentioned the Newport Vessels Kayak Series. The trolling motor provides 36 LBS of thrust through the electric motor is and designed specifically for kayaks that require performance and reliability on the water.

Other features of the Newport Vessels Kayak Series include:

  • 36 LBS of thrust and 8 speeds
  • 24 inch adjustable fiberglass shaft
  • Telescoping handle
  • Battery LED display
  • 5 feet 6 inches of battery cables
  • Made in the US and includes a 2 year warranty
  • Suitable for saltwater with an aluminum motor head

Overall, it is the best trolling motor for kayaks with unique features tailored to a those that go kayaking on a daily basis. Of course, there are other more powerful trolling motors but this has a good power to weight ratio as it weighs just 20 LBS.

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Trolling Motor Buying Guide

Trolling motors are mostly used by fishermen wanting to safe their energy for fishing rather than paddling around to certain areas. They are small motors that are electric powered and generally attach to the transom or stern. Due to the electric power source, they are much quieter than the petrol powered outboard, which means fish are not scared away from your location.

Trolling motors also have the benefit of being more affordable than the outboard equivalent, which will require more maintenance, expensive to fuel up, harder to setup and the need to store boat fuel tanks onboard. To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below buying guide.

top rated electric trolling motors

Trolling Motor Power

The voltage and electric trolling motor output is measured in thrust and the need for additional thrust is required for larger vessels, windy conditions and heavy loads. As a rule of thumb, a boat weighing 1,500 LBS would need 40 LBS thrust for ease of travelling without struggling against the tide.

As the motor voltage increases, so does the thrust and you will require a strong marine battery if you are planning on running a large amount of thrust. It is also important to note that you do not need masses of thrust if your vessel is small, such as an inflatable boat, kayak or rowing boat.

Desirable Features

Additional features to your trolling motor is always a bonus and many do have extras from LED real time battery life monitors, telescoping handles, adjustable shaft heights and much more.

Due to the advancements in electrical motors, the trolling motor has improved greatly. They are now designed to run far more quietly and has far less vibrations that they once did. This is something that has made a huge difference with the latest trolling motors that are available.

Saltwater Compatibility

Saltwater is known to cause corrosion to untreated metals and this is a recipe for disaster if the trolling motor is not compatible. For those that do not plan to go into the ocean but instead go for trips down river or lakes, this is not something to worry about.

However, for those that will be using the trolling motors for saltwater oceans, you will want to ensure the hardware is made using stainless steel as this will not rust.

Trolling Motor Laws

From state to state and around the globe, the laws differ. It is highly advisable to check with your local community the laws and regulations because some can be fairly strict on what they do and do not allow if you intend on using a trolling motor.

For example, it is known for some states to have rules such as always wearing a life vests, registering the vessel, distress signals on board, navigation lights and more.

Hand or Foot Controlled

The two methods of controlling an electric trolling motor is by gripping onto the telescoping handle by hand or using a floor mounted switch and control plate. The latter is only compatible with boats that have the space to do so because you will need to mount the controls near the bow.

The issue regarding hand controlled trolling motors is the fact you will lose contact with your fishing rod when operating the motor. This is the reason fishermen love foot controlled alternatives but they usually come at a cost and require correct installation.

Kayaking Trolling Motors

Kayaking is sport loved by many and adding a trolling motor for those that fish on their kayaks can be the best improvement you can make. Weight distribution is crucial when using a kayak and you will find many trolling motors for kayaks include a longer battery cable that will stretch the length of the kayak in some cases.

Even beginner kayaks will be able to hold most lightweight trolling motors, which will help maneuver and save your energy for fishing or other actives.

Conclusion

The best trolling motor brands are Minn Kota and Newport Vessels and this is quite clearly from within this article. Based upon your requirements, there is an electric trolling motor for every scenario that being those wanting power to those wanting something lightweight.

A good marine battery that is fully functioning is essential with electric trolling motors. It is the main power source and without efficient power, you will find thrust will be down and it could break down when you least expect it i.e. miles away from a land without paddles.

All of our recommendations within this article should suit each and every person looking to purchase a trolling motor. We highly recommend sticking to big brands because they are more than likely going to offer spare parts, guides and other useful additions in the years to come.

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