best trolling motors for small boats

5 Best Trolling Motors For Boats 2018

An electric trolling motor for your boat or kayak is an affordable way of traveling on the water without the complexity of outboard engines 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 one package for a range of boats.

Compared to the internal combustion outboard motors, trolling motors provide a quiet, easy to use and more agile method of providing boats with power. It uses electric as a source of power that provide thrust to move the boat on the waters.

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

Choosing the correct trolling motor for your boat is dependent on a range of factors. The thrust output, battery and voltage power issues, mounted on the bow or transom, hand or foot control and more.

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.

Electric trolling motors can prevent the need of constant paddling to get to where you need on the water. Below is a list of the best trolling motors for boats and kayaks with wide ranging amounts of thrust.

Minn Kota Endura C2 Endura 55


The Minn Kota brand is one of the most well known in the world for electric trolling motors. The Endura C2 is one of the most powerful trolling motors by Minn Kota with 55 LBS of thrust, which will send any boat speeding on the water.

This model include a 6 inch telescoping handle, which provides the driver with comfort and convenient steering. Minn Kota claim that the composite shaft is indestructible and this is guaranteed for life by themselves.

Minn Kota are focusing on producing a comfortable yet powerful trolling motor with a powerful prop that delivers the extra power to cut through heavy vegetation such as weeds. The 55 LBS of force produced from this motor produces less heat and noise compared to other alternatives, which truly makes it the ultimate package.

Available with in both 36 and 42 inch shafts, the Minn Kota Endura C2 is the best trolling motor for the money. The comfort and power makes it suitable for almost everyone and the added bonus of the reasonable price makes it highly desirable.

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Newport Vessels NV-Series


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 achieved by this model using stainless steel for all hardware and components.

The NV-Series has 8 gears (5 forward and 3 reverse) and is powered by 55 LBS of thrust, which is enough for most small boats to move along in the water. The handle for controlling the steering is 6 inches and extends for total control.

In terms of the features, the composite fiberglass shaft is 30 inches and is fully adjustable for proper depth placement. 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


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 buy. With a 80 LBS thrust motor and a 45 inch shaft, this model will be able to push the majority of boats.

The features of this premium trolling motor include:

  • i-Pilot Wireless GPS Trolling System
  • Removable foot pedal
  • 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 is a sophisticated piece of technology that is able to record and retrace up to 6 different tracks. You are able to then retrieve coordinates to direct you to the exact location of the stored tracks uses GPS accuracy, which is great for fishing.

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


No we are not sponsored by Minn Kota, it is just another great trolling motor that they produce but this one in particular is targeted towards those on a budget. For small boats, kayaks and inflatables that require a boost, this Edura C2 motor produce 30 LBS of thrust, which is perfect.

As with the more powerful Minn Kota model, it features 8 gears and a 6 inch telescoping handle with tilt twister tiller for speed control.

The indestructible composite shaft has a lifetimes warranty and the motor itself has 2 years warranty. For a cheap trolling motor, this is good going and will provide peace of mind when you are on a tight budget.

There is only one shaft size but don’t let this put you off because it will work well with a range of applications from paddle boats, inflatable boats and others. 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


Kayaking is a huge sport and pass time worldwide and it is only right that we mentioned the Newport Vessels Kayak Series, which provides 36 LBS of thrust through the electric motor. It has been designed specifically for kayaks that require performance and reliability on the waters.

This Newport Vessels trolling motor features a 24 inch adjustable fiberglass shaft, telescoping handle and a LED display that shows the current battery life. The shaft is connected via the supplied 5 feet 6 of battery cables that may seem odd to some but it means you are able to place the battery anywhere in the kayak.

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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Electric 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 mostly 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 (good for fishermen).

Trolling motors have the benefit of being much more affordable than the outboard equivalent, which will require more maintenance, expensive to fuel up, harder setup and the need to store boat fuel tanks on board.

The world of electric trolling motors can be complicated with many other articles stating 20+ trolling motors as opposed to simply listing the best 5 trolling motors as above. Below is some information you should consider so that you can choose the right trolling motor for you.

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 thrusts for ease of travelling without struggling against the waters.

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.

As technology has improved, trolling motors have been designed to run quietly and not give much noise or vibrations. This is an essential features found in all the recommended trolling motor above.

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.

top rated electric trolling motors

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 top rated 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 motor 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 a must 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 land without paddles.

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