What Are the Best Trolling Motors for 2022?

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What Are the Best Trolling Motors for 2022?

Updated August 29, 2021

Best Trolling Motos_Minn Kota Terrova
Minn Kota Terrova Trolling Motos (Photo via Christian Schultz/Premier Angler)

So, you’re looking for the best trolling motors on the market, right? Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place.

Throughout this lengthy article, you will find details on how to find the right trolling motor for you particular boat size, fishing needs, and budget. To streamline the process, however, we are going to provide links to some of these motors right out of the gates so you can explore them on your own:

Some of the Best Trolling Motors for 2022

As mentioned above, choosing the best trolling motor for your boat requires some research and planning. Below, you will find a variety of options, however, that will likely make your search easier.

Minn Kota Terrova Bow Mount Bluetooth Trolling Motor With I-Pilot Link US2.

This is the most advanced and modern Terrova out today and it comes with some pretty impressive equipment inside and out. The Bluetooth capability in this unit really ups the game while being extremely user friendly. You are able to download the i-Pilot app on iOS and Android for recent updates on your smartphone.

You can record and playback paths you’ve made throughout the day or use the cruise control to put yourself over a previous hotspot with the i-Track feature. The spot lock feature takes the worry of having to drop an anchor each time you stop to fish stationary, literally with a press of the spot lock button either on the unit itself or the remote control it will keep you in the same spot even in some rougher water.

The wireless touch screen remote lets you roam the boat freely without having to use the pedal at the bow. The Minn Kota Terrova i-Pilot Link US2 has all the features an avid angler is looking for without breaking the bank.

  • Bluetooth Ready
  • Customizable wireless touch screen remote capable of multiple functions
  • Lift-Assist
  • One-Step Stow with Deploy Lever
  • Push to test battery meter
  • Quiet/Powerful
  • Digital Maximizer
  • Manufacturers 2-year limited warranty

MotorGuide X3 Foot-Controlled Bow Mount Trolling Motor

With the X3 Foot-Controlled Bow Mount Trolling Motor, MotorGuide has engineered an excellent, low-to-mid-range trolling motor. For anglers who are looking for an affordable model that offers control, precision, and quiet navigation, the X3 is a certainly worth considering.

This model is equipped with Proprietary Variable Ratio steering, which gives anglers incredible control when steering. With models available with both 45 and 55 pounds-per-thrust, it is a suitable model for boats in the 2,100-2,700 pound range.

  • Steering and control precision
  • Proprietary Variable Ratio steering
  • Remains quiet when moving through the water
  • Height adjustment and removal are simplified
  • Offers five different speeds for advanced operation
  • Durable and reliable
  • User friendly
  • A 2-year warrant is provided by the manufacturer

Minn Kota Endura C2 Transom Mount Trolling Motor with Lever Lock Bracket

Loaded with features but not with a high price tag, the transom-mounted Minn Kota Endura C2 is an excellent option for the casual angler with a smaller, lighter fishing boat. With 36 pounds of thrust, the Endura C2 is effective for powering boats in the 1,200-1,800 pound range.

Durable for its price, the shaft on the Endura is “stronger than steel,” making this a great (and affordable) trolling motor option for anglers looking to maneuver around a variety of obstacles.

  • Adjustable, ergonomic steering control
  • Composite shaft that is close to indestructible
  • Mounting bracket with durable level lock
  • Battery meter built in to the motor

Minn Kota Endura Max Transom-Mount Trolling Motor

A higher-end model when compared to the Endura C2, Minn Kota’s Endura Max Transom-Mount Trolling Motor is still a very affordable option for anglers who want a reliable product from a reputable brand.

Available in 40, 45, and 55 pounds-per-thrust option, the cost will adjust accordingly. That said, this upgraded Endura model will provide steering and control for boats in the 1,800-2,700 pound range.

The motor also makes use of Minn Kota’s Digital Maximizer technology, which allows it to run up to five times longer than many other batteries on the market.

Lowrance Ghost Freshwater Trolling Motor

The Ghost trolling motor is the most quiet trolling motor on the market and still packs a punch. With its new age brushless motor and propulsion technology the ghost gives the user the most thrust and longest run time out of any other trolling motor out there. This unit can be controlled not only from the bow foot pedal but also the Lowrance HDS LIVE, HDS Carbon and the Elite Ti2(not included).

The 360 degree breakaway mount will automatically realign itself if you come into contact with structure below while moving. This trolling motor has the consumer in mind due to its high compatibility with almost all boat set ups.

  • Quietest trolling motor in its class
  • Programmable foot pedal
  • 60% longer run time without charging
  • 25% more thrust
  • Precise Anchoring
  • Battery level indicator
  • 360 degree breakaway mount
  • Works with 24V and 36V Systems
  • Compatible with most boat set ups
  • Integrated Stabilizer Bar

Garmin Force Freshwater Trolling Motor

The Garmin Force Freshwater Trolling Motor holds the best-in-class title for trolling motors. With a company as reputable and experiences as Garmin, it comes as no surprise. Powerful, efficient and extremely quiet make the Force very appealing. This model includes high-wide CHIRP traditional sonar plus built in Ultra High- Definition sonar that gives you crisp imaging. Some other great features are a remote control foot pedal and full-color remote control which allows the user to navigate with simple point and go gesturing. This trolling motor is compatible with multiple different Garmin fish finders, as well as the popular Garmin Panoptix Livescope Transducer System.

  • Quiet steering and operation
  • Anchor lock which keeps you in the same spot while fishing
  • Wireless foot pedal
  • Handheld Remote
  • High-Wide CHIRP Traditional plus Ultra-High Definition ClearVu and SideVu
  • Most powerful trolling motor in its class

MotorGuide Tour Pro Bow-Mount Trolling Motor With Pinpoint GPS

MotorGuide Tour Pro delivers a very reliable and easy to use product. Compatible with Lowrance, Garmin and Humminbird fish finder products, it is the only trolling motor that provides the industry’s only true cable steer with GPS anchor.

The Bulldog Locking System allows the user to stow and deploy the unit swiftly. The prop on the Tour Pro also beats out the rest in its class by providing more power and 30% more efficiency.

Being the most connected trolling motor on the market, while also remaining lightweight and versatile, makes the Motorguide Tour Pro Bow-Mount a no-brainer when looking for a new trolling motor.

  • Only true cable steer with a GPS anchor
  • Lightweight design
  • 360 degree break away prop system
  • High efficiency prop
  • Connects to traditional and high definition sonar
  • Bulldog latching system

Minn Kota Maxxum Bow Mount Trolling Motor

The Maxxum Trolling Motor by Minn Kota holds the title of being the strongest bow-mount in the world. The 360 breakaway feature ensures safety and durability if it hits and object while in use. It will automatically readjust to its original path. The weedless wedge pushes away weeds while not compromising power.

While the Maxxum doesn’t come equipped with some of the advanced technology found in some higher-end trolling motors, it will serve as a functional and effective mid-range trolling motor for both casual and competitive anglers.

  • Indestructible composite shaft
  • The strongest bow mount system in the world
  • Streamlined foot pedal
  • Weedless prop pushes away weeds while delivering constant power
  • Provides up to 5-times longer run time on a single charge

A History of Trolling Motors

Early Minn Kota Trolling Motor
A very early Minn Kota trolling motor model (photo via eBay)

Growing up, I was always curious about trolling motors. While fishing on a fairly small lake in Ohio, all of our boats (both pontoons and fishing boats) were limited to a 9.9 HP motor. While I enjoying flying down the lake (or at least moving as quickly as we could with a fairly small engine), we spent a lot of our time on the water trolling. This was a great way to land some nice muskie, walleye, saugeye, etc.

What surprised me, though, is that we hardly ever used our trolling motor when we trolled for fish…

As a child, I was always confused by trolling motors and considered them a strange and elusive technology — Why did people use trolling motors? What benefit did they serve? Were trolling motors worth having? Some of the other anglers had older models, but I never really saw anyone using them.

In more recent years, however, I realized just how versatile and practical these motors really are. There is a good reason that savvy anglers have been using them for well over a century.

In the mid-1890s, Scientific American posted an article highlighting an early, battery-powered model that functioned similarly to an electric oar.

In the mid-1930s, however, an inventor named O.G. Schmidt developed the first true electric trolling motor. By adding a shaft and propeller to a starter motor from a Ford Model A, he was able to create the predecessor of the modern trolling motor.

Of note is that Schmidt’s company was located on the border of Minnesota and North Dakota, hence the name Minn Kota — more on that later.

Old Minn Kota Trolling Motor
An older Minn Kota 35 trolling motor (photo via eBay)

Over the years, trolling motors have come in both hand-controlled and foot-controlled options. They are also used for both traditional trolling (often mounted to the transom of a boat) and as an auxiliary steering motor focused on precision (often mounted on the bow).

Newer models tend to be electric whereas some older motors run on gas.

Choosing the Right Trolling Motor for Your Boat

Now, the big question your might be asking is, “what is the best trolling motor for my boat?

The answer, as always, is: it depends

When choosing the best trolling motor for you particular boat and targeted species, there are several factors that should be considered:

Power (Pounds of Thrust): Depends on the Size and Style of Your Boat

While most people think of gas-powered, outboard motors (which are classified by their horsepower), electric trolling motors are classified by their pounds per thrust.

This measurement, combined with the motor’s voltage (12 volt, 24 volt, and 26 volt), will determine how quickly and precisely your boat will move through the water.

That said, you want to make sure you choose the right trolling motor for your boat’s length and weight. As a general rule, you will need roughly 2 lbs. of thrust for every 100 lbs. of the boat’s weight. That said, adding a bit more thrust than the minimum is not at a bad idea. Conversely, you do not need to throw a powerful trolling motor with 100 lbs. of thrust on a 12-foot John boat.

*It is important to remember that the boat weight also includes all passengers, equipment, etc.

To simplify the process, the chart below suggests the minimum pounds of thrust per pound of boat weight.

Boat Weight (Pounds)Pounds of Thrust (Min.)
1,50030
2,00040
2,50050
3,00060
3,50070
4,00080
5,000100+

By choosing the proper thrust for your boat’s length and weight, you will be able to maintain a steady cruising speed and navigational course. For more advanced trolling motors, you will also be able to spot-lock, which avoids the use anchors in most cases. For anglers fishing for crappie and sensitive species, this can be a real blessing it limits the risk of possibly scaring the fish away.

How Much Does a New Trolling Motor Cost: What Are You Willing to Spend?

Choosing the Best Trolling Motor
The best trolling motors on the market are great investments (Photo via Christian Schultz/Premier Angler)

Fishing is definitely not a cheap endeavor — or, at least not for folks who are looking at an article on buying the best trolling motors. On any given year, the average angler in the United States spends close to one thousand dollars on fishing gear and accessories. That average is definitely skewed by those of us who routinely spend several thousand (or more) during that time frame.

For proof of this, consider a 2019 walleye tournament on Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, where the average angler spent roughly $1,400 during the event.

The Minn Kota Terrova listed above, with three marina batteries (totaling 36 volts), i-Pilot remote, and 112 pounds of thrust would retail for close to $4,000. This is a more expensive and involved model than most anglers would need, but is considerably less expensive than some have paid or will pay for their particular models.

When it comes to purchasing the best trolling motor for our boats, at least in most cases, the high-cost of fishing continues to rise.

Fortunately, for anglers looking for a simple, smaller, serviceable, cost-efficient trolling motor to pair with a lighter, shorter bass boat (say, in the 14-16 foot range), there are some very affordable models on the market, like the Minn Kota Endura C2 Trolling Motor with Battery Meter.

For those with heavier or longer fishing boats, however, the cost will inevitably go up. Adding features (like GPS, bluetooth, and autopilot capabilities), however, could run you several thousand dollars.

If you plan to take your fishing to the next level and want to pair a Garmin Livescope with your trolling motor — the Garmin Force Freshwater Trolling Motor is a popular choice — then you are looking at a considerable investment.

Before spending thousands of dollars, however, make sure to do your research. Determine what type of trolling motor is best for your boat, your species of choice, and the bodies of water you are fishing on a regular basis.

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