Best Trolling Motor for Pontoon Boat – Reviews & Guide 2020
Nothing can beat pontoon boats when it comes to fishing. These boats are stable, sturdy, and easy to move taking a lot of hassle from you. To unleash the power of your boat, getting a trolling motor is worth investing considering the number of benefits you will get from it.
The best trolling motor for pontoon boat doesn't produce that much waves on the water and keeps the noise to its minimum; these are 2 primary reasons that highly affect your fishing experience.
Finding the right motor for your boat can be tiresome. To simplify things, here are the top 5 suggestions that are currently dominating the market.
Our Best Trolling Motor for Pontoon Boat
The products were listed considering their performance, durability, intensive operation, and noise factors.
1. Newport Vessels NV-Series 36lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Electric Motor
Newport Vessels engineered this trolling motor with high-end specs and loads of exciting features. If you are someone who can spend all day long while catching fish, this motor will further enhance your fishing experience significantly.
The motor offers a 36lb thrust that makes it very easy to operate regardless of the conditions. Even if you continue fishing for extended hours, you will still find the motor relatively cooler than its competitors. It produces low noise that doesn’t scare away fishes.
With this one, you don’t need to compromise the durability for performance. Its 30-inches shaft got composite fiberglass construction ensuring high-strength. You also have the option to adjust it for setting appropriate depth no matter what's the condition on the water.
This motor from NV series offers you 8 speeds; 5 forward, and 3 reverse, which come super-convenient at controlling the boat. Your hand will comfortably rest on its telescoping ergonomic handle. Even if you need to boat for a long time, you will not feel uncomfortable to hold it.
Also, it features a 5-point LED battery meter that allows you to see the battery level whenever you want.
You are okay to ride the boat on saltwater. The hardware is mostly made of stainless steel, magnesium, and zinc material that ensures the durability of the motor, whether you use it on fresh or saltwater.
2. Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor
With a thrust level of 30, this trolling motor from Minn Kota provides you with the necessary speed regardless of what you load on the boat. This 12-volt trolling motor runs on freshwater with much efficiency.
As the motor is equipped with a 30-inches shaft, it efficiently manages to reach underwater for providing you excellent running performance.
If you are concerned with the material of the shaft, know that you will find it even stronger than steel shafts. No matter what’s going on underwater, the shaft will not break, corrode, or kink whatsoever.
For more convenient steering, the manufacturer engineered the motor with a rotatable lower unit that rotates at 180-degrees. In addition to that, its lever lock bracket allows you to backtroll the boat right away.
The battery of this motor provides 5 times more runtime on a single charge than most convenient motors. To control the speed precisely, it got a total of 8-speed options; 5 forward and 3 reverse. You can conveniently dial the exact speed and get the necessary power while conserving the battery for fishing the entire day.
Controlling a trolling motor cannot be easier than this one. The unit got a telescoping tiller by which you can steer with great comfort and convenience. Apart from that, you can also adjust the length up to 6-inches as per the situation demands.
If you previously owned a Minn Kota motor, you know how cool their motors run. It will not overheat and provide low performance due to this. As far as the noise is concerned, it manages to run at a relatively low noise, which doesn’t scare the fish. Thanks to its bearing system that helps to reduce the friction to cut the noise.
3. MinnKota Edge 70 Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor with Latch and Door Bracket
If you are looking for a high-end trolling motor, this one from Minn Kota would be worth considering. The engine features a 52-inches shaft that puts no restriction to your preferred fishing area. This shaft is long enough to go underwater for providing excellent boating experience regardless of the conditions.
Furthermore, the shaft is made of indestructible composite material that assures you of lifelong usage. It can outstand serious abuses and impacts underwater at ease.
As far as the performance is concerned, it's a performance beast. The shaft is powerful enough to provide you great speed regardless of the weight you put on the boat. There will be no issue running this motor on shallow water even if there are waves.
With one charge, the battery can pretty much last your entire fishing hours. The hardware is well-optimized to keep power consumption to a minimum level without compromising much of the performance.
Your success in fishing largely depends on the lower unit of the motor. If it's too noisy and vibrates too much, it can scare off fishes. Minn Kota understands the fact quite well and ended up making this motor that produces relatively less noise than its competitors. You will enjoy a quiet fishing experience once you get the unit.
This motor also features a powerful prop set that can cut through pretty much all submerged grass, weeds, marshes, and other growths, without much trouble. It will not drain the battery significantly, as most conventional motors do.
For more convenient control, there is a manual cable to steer the motor.
4. Minn Kota Ultrex Freshwater Bow-Mount Motor
Another high-end freshwater trolling motor from Minn Kota. This manufacturer is very popular among pontoon boat owners because of their reliable and top-class products. And this Ultrex mount motor is the best pontoon trolling motor, considering the convenience of use and exciting specs.
Apart from regular features, it comes with some advanced and innovative features as well.
If you prefer foot pedal control, you will love how well this GPS powered motor responds. The GPS i-Pilot takes care of speed, spot-lock, steering, and can retrace and record the path as if it's very natural. With a touchscreen remote, you will able to control your boat efficiently and comfortably.
The unit will take your fishing experience to a whole new level. It features the universal sonar 2 imaging transducer that delivers clear images of things that are right below this fish finder. All the wirings and transducers are adequately sealed so that water cannot get in through.
Ultrex foot pedal makes fishing super-convenient. You can effortlessly tap the spot-lock button to make the boat stay on a spot without touching any physical button. Once you take off the foot, you will find the motor head still is pointed towards the direction where you left.
With a shaft length of 45-inches, you will get a high-end performance from this gear. 80 pounds of thrust will provide you great running speed without any compromise. It comes with a 24-volts battery that supports the amount of thrust you need.
You can easily mount this trolling motor to the front of your boat. It will efficiently pull the water through to provide you easy maneuverability regardless of the water condition.
5. Newport Vessels NV-Series 55lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Motor
Last but not least, this 55lb saltwater trolling motor from Newport Vessels can provide you some great boating and fishing experience. This feature-dense motor is so powerful, durable, and well-functional that it automatically becomes the best pontoon trolling motor among its competitors.
With its 55lb of thrust, the unit can provide powerful running performance regardless of the water condition. The motor is well-engineered to be able to outstand the toughness of saltwater. Even if you go fishing all day long, the motor will not overheat and compromise its performance.
Great trolling motors come with high shafts. This one comes with a 30-inches composite fiberglass made shaft. The shaft is durable enough to outstand tough underwater conditions. You can adjust the length as well.
The unit offers you 8 easy to control speeds; 5 forward and 3 reverse. You will find the telescoping ergonomic handle very comfortable to hold. It brings controlling your boat at your fingertips while you ride.
Like most NV-series models, this one also features an LED battery indicator that shows you about the battery status. You will need a 12V marine battery to run this 55lb trolling motor.
What to Look for Before Buying?
Different trolling motors come with different specs and features. You need to relate those things to your requirements to be able to get the right one for some enjoyable fishing hours. Let's have a look at things that are important to consider while buying a motor for your pontoon boat.
To be able to move your boat forward with much efficiency, a motor with a powerful thrust is essential. The amount of thrust tells you how much load it can handle while running.
For every 100 pounds, 2 pounds of thrust is required to move the boat forward without compromising the performance. So, here, you have to also consider how much weight you usually put on the boat. Determine the load, and then go for thrust amount that suits it.
As you are dealing with a boat motor that continuously has to run underwater, there is a high chance of developing rust and corrosion. To prevent such a situation from happening, make sure the motor has a solid and well-built sealed housing that prevents water from making its way into.
The materials should be of stainless steel metal. It would be best if you go for an aluminum motor that keeps the weight to its minimum while providing great protection from corrosion. There shouldn't be much vibrations that startle the fishing spot.
It’s one of the parts of the trolling motor that always stays underwater. It comes with two or three blades that constantly cut through underwater grass, weeds, and other growths to aid the acceleration without much trouble.
Most props come with two blades. Some models have three blades as well. More advanced ones have a bit curved edges on the blade to make them more functional.
Although it might seem that the handle isn't a big concern here, when you are out for an entire day, there will be a lot of steering work. That's when the handle becomes a matter of concern. It greatly influences the movement of the prop in underwater too.
A comfortable to hold handle will make the prop to move a lot easier. It will further ensure you are heading the boat to the exact spot you want.
Most handles come in telescoping body shape. Make sure it’s comfortable to hold. The ergonomic ones are the most comfortable ones here.
This is the part that goes underwater from the edge of your boat. The shaft needs to be long enough to go in underwater to a perfect position so that the motor can perform smoothly.
If the distance between the waterline and transom is around 10-inches or less, consider getting a motor that has a shaft of around 30-inches. Similarly, if the distance is 16-inches, the shaft should be of 36-inches.
Some motors offer an adjustment feature that allows you to adjust the length as per conditions require.
As this part comes to contact with many submerged objects in the water, you must ensure the shaft is durable enough to outstand impacts. Fiberglass made shafts are the most durable ones. This material doesn’t wear that easily.
Voltage readout refers to the capacity or power of the battery. It's closely related to the thrust power. For more thrust, you need more voltage. In most cases, a 12-volt marine battery does the thing. However, if the thrust is very high and you use the boat for heavy-duty tasks, consider 24-volt battery.
You will find wires with the motor to link the battery. The battery should be placed close enough to the motor to be able to link them to each other using wires. Make sure there is still enough room for the wires, and there is no problem with the setup.
Most trolling motors offer a total of 8 speeds; 5 for forward and 3 for reverse. These numbers of speeds are enough for you to move your pontoon forward and backward conveniently.
However, you might not be able to push the motor beyond 10 MPH. That’s normal as these motors are designed to provide a decent amount of speed.
It’s the most primary concern. There are motors made for running on freshwater; some models run on saltwater. Motors that run on saltwater can also be used on freshwater as well.
To be able to run on saltwater, the motors require more advanced engineering. Be sure to check the manufacturer's guidelines to confirm it.
Most trolling motors fit perfectly onto the transom part of pontoons. Note that the motor must be placed into the middle of the transom to be able to distribute the power evenly. Some motor models are mountable on the bow.
No matter where you place the motor, controlling the boat should be convenient for you. There shouldn't be any issues to run the boat smoothly.
What Size Trolling Motor Do I Need?
The motor size basically refers to the thrust power. There is no straight cut answer to the question. However, you should go with a motor that has the capability of 70 pounds at least.
If you go less than that, you might not be able to ride on the boat with your buddies without compromising the performance. The amount of gears and accessories that you want to load on the boat also play crucial matters too.
Owning a trolling motor with a substantial amount of thrust allows you to go fishing with all the necessary equipment and accessories along with your mates. If the thrust power is low, the motor will not be able to provide enough power to accelerate the boat smoothly.
In addition to that, you must also consider the shaft size. If you go for too long shaft size, it might get stuck in the grass, and you may face a tough time dealing with them. On the other hand, if the shaft is too low, there is a high chance of not moving the boat smoothly.
Therefore, consider buying a boat that offers a decent thrust power around 70 pounds or more, and also, the shaft size should be moderate.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much noise will a motor make?
Trolling motors make noise to some extent. It shouldn't be too loud to bother anyone or scare away the fish.
A well-made housing conceals all metal parts as well as the sound. As a result, there is relatively less noise that gets out of the housing.
2. Will the prop going to make any disruptions in underwater?
The prop will only produce enough power to move the boat through underwater growths. There will be no changes in the amount of waves on the water whatsoever.
Otherwise, the fish might feel threatened by the waves and run away from the spot.
3. How fast can my boat go with a trolling motor?
Most trolling motors provide around 4 to 10 MPH of speed on average. You cannot expect to get anything more than that.
The purpose here is to move forward or reverse slowly without impacting the water too much, which is perfect for bait and fishing.
4. How long can the battery give backup?
How much battery backup you will get depends on the way you run the motor. If you go too fast and move a long distance, it cannot go beyond a few hours.
When you use the motor efficiently, it will give a decent backup performance to meet your fishing need.
5. Can a trolling motor handle intense water conditions?
Most motors cannot handle excessive waves and intense currents. To be able to handle tough conditions, you will need an electric engine in such conditions.
Hopefully, the guide gave you all the necessary ideas that will help you to get the best trolling motor for the pontoon boat to enjoy fishing even more. Be sure to consider your pontoon type before pursuing a motor.
If the specs and features of the motor fulfill all your boating or fishing purposes well, only then will it be the right companion to make your leisure time more enjoyable.