The Best Trolling Motor for Pontoon Boats Reviews and Buyers Guide

best trolling motors for pontoon boats
Joe
Written by Joe

Looking to add some speed to your boating? We rate and review the best trolling motor for pontoon boats available on the market today.

Table of Contents

With summer first approaching, many people are moving away from the cliché V-shaped hull boats and investing more in pontoon boats. Pontoon boats offer more leveled ground that is ideal for any fishing expeditions.

However, to harness the full power of your pontoon boat you need to have the right trolling motor for easy navigation. With little intel, choosing the right fit can be a daunting task. Luckily, we have simplified things with our comprehensive analysis of what we consider the best 2017 trolling motor for your pontoon boat.

What is a Pontoon Boat?

A pontoon boat is not your everyday boat – it has a flattish deck mounted on a flotational device called pontoons. This boat can be powered by electric trolling motor, water paddles or deep cycle lead batteries. The boat has exceptional stability and calmness in choppy waters and navigates with breeze any waterway. Furthermore, its spacious deck makes it perfect for sunbathing or rod fishing in the deep blue.

10 Best Trolling Motors Product Reviews

MotorGuide VariMAX 24-VoltMotorGuide VariMAX 24-Volt

MotorGuide Varimax hand-control pontoon motor is an exclusive freshwater edition with unmatched run-time power. You get to enjoy three times the battery life of a regular five-speed motor. All this is made possible with its advanced technology, the digital variable speed control which reduces amp draw. This exceptional horsepower, includes a BluVis function that displays forward and reverse directions, precise speed settings and ten-levels of battery voltage when turned off.

Key Features

  • Tapered hub with 3-blade, weed-free trademarked Machete III prop that allows you to go faster, shallower and quieter.
  • Has Digital Variable Speed Control that reduces amp draw and increases your time on the water - over 3times longer than the average 5-speed motor.
  • Lightweight compact lower unit.
  • Exceptional push or pull, forward and reverse speed adjustments.
  • Taper-lock mount with seven-point adjustment eliminates slack.
  • Rapid slide-depth with One-touch adjustment collar for quick manipulation.
  • Extendable Tri-Lobe, soft-touch handle that allows you to set the length for perfect feel and control.
  • Peak Thrust: 75
  • 50-inch shaft

Verdict: With the longest run-time of any motor in its range and the benefit of precise variable speed adjustment, Motor Guide’s VariMAX gives you the freedom to fish day long with unmatched control of your boat.

Minn Kota Terrova 55Minn Kota Terrova 55

Terrova trolling motors are known for their reputable status. Equally impressive is their latest line of 55Bow-mount trolling motor that relies on GPS to remember fishing routes. Its active cruise control gives you advanced autopilot, command of speed, and steering. The Terrova 55 innovative stow and deploy mechanism makes stowing a breeze. Its transducer and wiring are fully concealed in the motor to giving you crystal-clear sonar performance. The Terrova 55lbs thrust motor is suitable for boats weighing up to 2,750lbs. It is also, available in i-Pilot and i-Pilot link. It comes with a two-year warranty. 

Key Features

  • One- hand stow and deploy with lift assist a breeze.
  • Includes universal Sonar
  • Freshwater trolling motor.
  • Low profile waterproof foot pedal
  • Features a preinstalled i-Pilot that gives you ultimate boat control.
  • Thrust threshold: 55lbs
  • Shaft length: 45inches.
  • Digital Maximizer
  • Heading Sensor
  • In-built battery gauge.
  • Bluetooth Smartphone App
  • Weedless Wedge 2 prop

Verdict: Best for techy fishermen looking for autopilot features.

NOTE: Terrova motors are an upgrade from PowerDrive models offering larger thrust options of up to 101 lbs. Even though both models are well-suited with Co-Pilot, Autopilot or i-Pilot accessories, only the Terrova model has the ability to incorporate both the foot pedal and a wireless Co-Pilot or i-Pilot controller simultaneously.

Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 lb.Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 lb.

The NV Series 36lb thrust electric trolling motor by Newport Vessels is built to last. It is engineered with the highest quality materials and design concepts. The adjustable 30-inch shaft length allows the Newport Vessels 36lb thrust trolling motor to fit all Newport Vessels. The eight-speed control system (3 reverse speeds and 5 forward speeds) makes for a smooth and easily controlled ride. The trolling motor comes with a two-blade propeller for optimal performance. This transom mount motor is meant to be powered by a 12-volt DC battery. Has an Amazon rating of 4.3 stars.

Key Features

  • Maximum thrust: 36lbs.
  • 30inch composite fiberglass high-strength shaft
  • 8 speeds (5 fwd & 3 rvs)
  • DC 12V
  • 5-Point LED battery meter
  • 6-inch telescoping handle
  • Stainless steel hardware used in both freshwater and saltwater.

Verdict: A good trolling motor that works efficiently on both freshwater and saltwater.

Minn Kota PowerDrive V2 54Minn Kota PowerDrive V2 54

The revolutionary PowerDrive series V2 54 strategically designed for pontoon boats is strictly a freshwater trolling motor. This 54pounds thrust kick trolling motor is mostly recommended for pontoon boat weighing up to 2750lbs. The PowerDrive V2 54 features an aluminum quick release bracket, a powerful new Deploy-Assist Lever, increased digital electronics that enhance battery life, and improved ergonomics. Its quiet motor swiftly navigates you closer to your catch without scaring them away. It comes with a 48inch shaft.

It is also available in the following upgrades:

  • Autopilot-Automatically keeps your motor on a heading.
  • CoPilot: Control your motor using a wireless remote.
  • i-Pilot and i-Pilot Link: Advanced GPS powered boat control.

Key Features

  • Super-quiet trolling motor with 54lbs thrust kick and 48-inch aluminum shaft
  • Quick-release lever for quick motor deployment.
  • Foot pedal featuring side-to-side steering with precise speed control knob.
  • Digital Maximizer technology that enables 5times battery life on single charge.
  • Features a unique bearing system that reduces friction to cut fish-spooking noise.
  • Features a Weedless wedge prop with additional options such as US2 sonar.
  • 3-year warranty
Minn Kota PowerDrive V2Minn Kota PowerDrive V2

Minn Kota’s PowerDrive V2 is an upgrade of its predecessor. This powerful Freshwater trolling motor features improved deploy mechanism, Digital electronics and a new ergonomically designed foot pedal. The PowerDrive V2 has a 48 inches’ shaft with a 68lbs thrust best for boats weighing up t0 3400lbs. It is super quiet with a quick release lever for fast deployment. Its foot pedal has side to side steering that allows you to control easily the speed while running five times longer on a single charge. The Minn Kota PowerDrive V2 upgrades are available in Co-Pilot and i-Pilot. This trolling motor comes with a three-year warranty.

Key Features​

  • Electric Foot Pedal
  • Variable Speed Motor
  • Aluminum Quick Release Plate
  • Weedless Wedge Prop
  • Digital Maximizer
  • Composite Shaft
  • Built-In Battery Gauge.

Verdict: The PowerDrive V2 Pontoon series motor come with a fast release plate for easy motor removal from the deck of your pontoon boat. Furthermore, the PowerDrive is an upgrade of the Maxxum line of motors. Compared to Maxxum cable control, PowerDrive offers electronic steering

Newport Vessels 55Newport Vessels 55

The versatile Newport Vessels 55lbs thrust electric trolling motor is engineered with high quality materials and design concepts. This trolling motor is made using stainless steel hardware, durable aluminum head and composite fiberglass shaft. Its best known for its adjustable 30 inch’ shaft that is saltwater resistant. This trolling motor runs smooth with any 12-volt Deep Cycle battery or Marine battery. The Newport Vessels 55lbs thrust electric trolling motor holds an Amazon star rating of 4.2 with many positive reviews from satisfied consumers.

Key Features
  • Features 55lb thrust
  • Adjustable 30-inch shaft length
  • Saltwater resistant – made using aluminum, zinc and stainless steel components for a dependable performance in salty waters
  • Features 8 speeds (5 forward and 3 reverse) for a smooth and easy controllable ride.
  • 5 point LED battery meter built directly into the head of the trolling motor.
  • Powered by either a 12V Marine or Deep Cycle Battery.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Fits almost all small pontoon boats.

Verdict: The Newport Vessels 55lbs thrust electric trolling motor is not only built to last but designed to be used exclusively on saltwater. It is a great option for people looking for an electric trolling motor.

Minn Kota EdgeMinn Kota Edge

The Minn Kota Edge 45 is a bowmount foot controlled trolling motor with a latch door and bracket. It has a shaft length of 36inch and offers a thrust kick of 45lbs. However, other shaft lengths are available. Its shaft is guaranteed for life and has a two-year warranty. The Minn Kota Edge 45 trolling motor is made with an impact-resistant composite head and marine-grade, ultra-tough anodized aluminum spine. Overall the Minn Kota Edge 45 Trolling motor holds a steady 4.2 Amazon star rating.

Key Features
  • Indestructible Composite Shaft that is Guaranteed for Life
  • 5 Forward Speeds
  • Latch and Door Mount for Easy Removal
  • Ergonomic Foot Pedal
  • Two Year Warranty

Verdict: Edge hits the water with relentless durability, uncompromising strength, and an arsenal of features that deliver you the prey.

Minn Kota Maxxum 80 Bowmount Minn Kota Maxxum 80 Bowmount

The Minn Kota Maxxum 80 is famous for its Bowguard 360 mount. This 80lbs thrust trolling motor is perfect for boats weighing up to 4,000lbs. The unique Tilt Twist Tiller handle rotates up to make navigation easy and more convenient. The motor speed is controlled by tilting the hand lever. When the Maxxum trolling motor is not in use, the motor is manually removed from the water and rotated into a flat position to store on the deck. The motor shaft has a lifetime guarantee while the remaining components have a two-year warranty. The motor has an amazon star rating of 4.0.

Key Features
  • Shaft length of 52 inches
  • Thrust threshold of 80lbs.
  • Variable Speed Motor
  • Digital Maximizer
  • Built-In Direction Indicator
  • Push-to-Test Battery Gauge
  • Includes a bowguard
  • Weedless Wedge Prop
  • Composite Shaft.
  • Compatible with select quick release plates and handle extensions.

Please Note: Maxxum trolling motor is an upgrade from the Minn Kota Edge as it offer larger thrust levels of up to 80 lbs. it also feature an illuminated directional indicator, heavy spring-protected shaft housing, and select models that offer a variable speed motor.

Verdict: The Minn Kota Maxxum 80 surely lives up to its expectation.

Minn Kota Terrova 80 / I - Pilot 24V Trolling Motor With US2 And Foot PedalMinn Kota Terrova 80 / I - Pilot 24V Trolling Motor With US2 And Foot Pedal

The Minn Kota Terrova 80 is ideal for pontoon boats that weigh a maximum of 4000lbs. The motor is navigated with the foot pedal which controls motor direction and speed. When a Co-Pilot or i-Pilot wireless remote is installed, the foot peda function simultaneously. Terrova 80’s redesigned stow and deploy system includes a one foot or hand lever. Its lift-assist mechanism carry the weight of the motor. It also has an Amazon star rating of 3.8.

Key Features
  • Variable Speed Motor
  • Electric Foot Pedal
  • Lift-Assist
  • Heading Sensor
  • Bluetooth Smartphone App
  • Digital Maximizer
  • Built-In Battery Gauge
  • Weedless Wedge Prop
  • Composite Shaft.
  • Two-year warranty.

Verdict: Ideal for folks looking for foot pedal navigation that frees their hands for more fishing time.

MotorGuide 80FW Xi5 Trolling MotorMotorGuide 80FW Xi5 Trolling Motor

The Xi5 series is an upgrade from the MotorGuide Wireless line of motors. While both models are wirelessly controlled, only the Xi5 line offers GPS control and positioning of your boat. Furthermore, the Xi5 is offered with thrust options of 55, 80 and 105lbs and in saltwater specific models. This 80lbs thrust motor is recommended for boats weighing up to 4,000lbs. Its wireless foot pedal is standard with freshwater models and a hand-held remote is standard with saltwater models. The new quiet MotorGuide Xi5 runs smoothly through all water pathways. 

The MotorGuide Xi5 is also available in the following upgrades: Pinpoint GPS: Advanced GPS-powered boat control.Sonar: Built-in transducer.

Key Features
  • Available in 45, 55 and 75lbs thrust levels.
  • Includes shaft lengths of 45", 54" and 60".
  • Fully Protected Electronics
  • Variable Speed Motor
  • Electric Foot Pedal
  • LED Indicator Lights
  • Two-Blade Prop
  • Composite Shaft
  • Low Profile Mount.

Criteria of selecting a good trolling motor

A good trolling motor for your boat depends on various factors. The brand type plays a key role in deciding which motor is best fits you. Go for motors that belong to the same brand as your fish finder. It is also important to consider your boat’s weight. Furthermore, may use the boat length as a guideline, however, it should not be the main determinant for your motor size. You can also consider the battery size – its best to go for a deep cycle battery that ensures you of less worry and more fishing time.

Remember there are two kinds of trolling motors: saltwater and freshwater motors. However, saltwater motors are more corrosion resistant compared to freshwater ones. Nevertheless, both trolling motors tend to survive more if well rinsed after a drive in the water.

Please note: As you likely won't be using your trolling motor continuously, the actual amount of on-the-water time a motor should allow will be significantly longer than times given. Actual motor run time can vary – it is dependent on conditions such as winds, waves, and the type of battery used.

Facts about Pontoon Boats trolling motors:

  • The main leading brands purchased by most pontoon boat owners include Terrova or PowerDrive V2. However, Ulterra trolling motors are rising in popularity.
  • It is best to buy a quick release bracket that allows you to clear the deck for recreational needs when done fishing.
  • Go for a motor with i-Pilot functionality for maximum flexibility.
  • The Terrova is the only Minn Kota trolling motor that has the ability to use a foot pedal and a wireless i-Pilot or Co-Pilot controller simultaneously.
  • Co-Pilot and i-Pilot offer unparalleled boat control with GPS and wireless capabilities. The standard wired foot pedal allows hands-free, precision navigation.

Conclusion

Hope this short list has been of help in discovering a trolling motor that is best for your pontoon boat. Remember, to consider all the criteria listed above when choosing the right one for you. But most importantly, it is best to go with a similar brand same as your pontoon boat type.

About the author

Joe

Joe

I'm Joe, I run Nature Rated. I love spending time in the outdoors. Whenever daily life gets me down I head to the nearest lake or river with my kayak and my camera and I spend time recharging my batteries. I hope you'll love my no fluff to the point reviews and that they'll help you choose the right gear for your next adventure!

Leave a Comment