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The Best Boat Engines You Can Buy

Man fishing on a boat while holding the shaft of a trolling motor.

When looking for an efficient way to get your small boat from point A to point B on a budget, nothing beats a high-quality trolling motor. While trolling motors are not famous for their speed, they are ideal for fishing since they are much quieter than your average boat engine. Trolling motors can be used in bass boats, flats boats, pontoon boats, kayaks, and more. We made this guide to simplify your search for the best trolling motor so that you can spend less time shopping online and more time out on the water.

Shopping for a Trolling Motor for Your Boat

Here’s what you should consider ahead of your purchase:

  • Thrust: A trolling motor’s moving power is measured in pounds of thrust, with about 75 lb. of thrust being roughly equal to one horsepower. When shopping for a trolling motor, be sure that it sports enough thrust to not only account for the weight of the boat it’s used on but also the passengers. Weather and water conditions can also affect a boat’s moving power, so factor these in as well to ensure your trolling motor can get you to where you need to be.
  • Water Type: Saltwater can badly corrode parts that are not constructed for use in a saltwater environment. Look for trolling motors that feature durable stainless steel construction and corrosion-resistant hardware and ensure it is saltwater rated before taking it out on the ocean.
  • Power Consumption: While trolling motors are known to be battery-eaters, there are some great energy-efficient models out there. To determine how efficient your motor will be with your boat, consider your boat’s weight versus the amount of power your motor can generate. Larger motors generally need a higher battery capacity, so if you plan on fishing all day, you might be better served with a 24V option as opposed to a 12V motor.

Best Overall: Newport Vessels NV-Series 55 lb. Thrust Electric Trolling Motor

Black 12-volt trolling motor with a 30-inch shaft and three propellers.

For those seeking a versatile trolling motor that is ideal for both fresh and saltwater environments, the Newport Vessels NV-Series Electric Trolling Motor is just about as good as it gets. Featuring eight speeds and a rugged 30-inch shaft, this trolling motor might surprise you with the amount of torque it can produce on open water. Despite this, it is nearly effortless to control with precision so that you do not have to worry when venturing into shallow spots. This product also scores big for its high-quality stainless steel, magnesium, and zinc hardware, making it a great deal for its price tag.

Best Overall

Newport Vessels NV-Series 62lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Electric Trolling Motor w/LED Battery Indicator & 36" Shaft, 23M1000202

This trolling motor features five thrust options. It's also easy to control and ideal for fresh or saltwater environments.

Best for Freshwater: Watersnake Venom Swet 12V Electric Trolling Motor

White 12-volt trolling motor with a 30-inch shaft and black trim.

Those with smaller, lighter boats and a penchant for freshwater fishing will love the Watersnake Venom Swet 12V Electric Trolling Motor. This product features upgraded grips on the alloy transom mount that make securing your motor to the boat a piece of cake. It is also quite powerful given how quietly the motor operates, and it’s easy to pull up when maneuvering your way through shallow stretches. This trolling motor also sports a beautiful head design that integrates a digital voltage display to help you track your battery’s condition while enjoying a relaxing day on the river.

Best for Freshwater

Watersnake Venom 34lb Thrust Electric Motor (Fresh & Saltwater)

This 12V trolling motor is easy to install and very quiet given its surprising power. It also makes it easy to maneuver in shallow water.

Best for Saltwater: Newport Vessels Kayak Series Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor

Rear view of a gray and black trolling motor with a 24" shaft and three propellers.

When using your trolling motor in saltwater, you want to be sure it can withstand corrosion. Thanks to this Newport Vessels trolling motor’s saltwater-rated aluminum motorhead and rugged, corrosion-resistant hardware, losing your motor to the salt of the sea will not be a concern. Additionally, this product is incredibly easy to install and really seems to get the most out of any battery you use with it. The inclusion of extra-long battery cables is another great touch, especially for those who strive for ideal weight distribution before taking their boat out on the water.

Best for Saltwater

Newport Vessels Kayak Series 55lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED Battery Indicator (24" Shaft)

This trolling motor features a durable all-aluminum motorhead and corrosion-resistant magnesium, zinc, and stainless-steel hardware for saltwater use.

Best Heavy-Duty: PEXMOR Electric Trolling Motor, 86LB Thrust

Side view of a black 86 lb. thrust trolling motor with a fiberglass composite shaft.

While the PEXMOR 86LB Thrust Electric Trolling Motor is a little pricier than our other picks, we love its unique, rugged design as well as the impressive power it generates. Everything from the variable handle to the aluminum head feels incredibly well-made, and it definitely seems like PEXMOR did everything possible to make this trolling motor last in a saltwater environment. As a bonus, the three-blade propeller makes quick work of seaweed, and the LED battery power display provides a much more detailed view of your battery’s life than similarly-priced models.

Best Heavy-Duty

PEXMOR 86LBS Thrust 24V Saltwater Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor w/LED Battery Indicator 8 Variable Speed for Inflatable Boats, Jon Boat, Pontoon Fishing Boat (36" Shaft)

This 86-pound-thrust trolling motor sports plenty of power as well as a detailed battery life indicator and reinforced nylon bracket.

Also Great: U-BCOO 8 Speed Saltwater Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor

Side view of a black transom mounted electric trolling motor affixed to an inflated raft.

For budget-savvy fishermen who want the best bang for their buck, the U-BCOO Saltwater Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor is yet another great choice. Featuring eight speeds and corrosion-resistant stainless steel hardware, this motor is very energy-efficient, thanks to its full copper core construction. It’s also incredibly easy to set up right out of the box, with good variation between the five forward and three reverse speeds. Finally, these motors are also very quiet, making them ideal for a variety of fishing applications.

Also Great

U-BCOO 8 Speed Saltwater Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor Fishing Boat Outboard Motor Kayak (L-12V-46lbs)

This eight-speed trolling motor is extremely quiet and sports corrosion-resistant stainless steel hardware for saltwater use. It also features a high-quality telescopic handle.

Zachary McCarthy Zachary McCarthy
Zachary McCarthy is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. He has a bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and experience in blogging, copywriting, and WordPress design and development. In his free time, he can be found frying up Tangsuyuk or watching Korean films and MMA events. Read Full Bio »

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