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If you want to compare the two of Minn Kota’s most advanced trolling motors, you’ve come to the right place.

Those who like steering with the foot pedal will probably choose the Ultrex. If you want the automatic stow/deploy and trim features, you will prefer the Ulterra.

Which one is better for you and your boat?

In this post, we discuss both trolling motors, the technology, and features they share, and what’s different.

Let’s get started!

Minn Kota Ultrex and Ulterra Compared

Minn Kota
Ultrex
Minn Kota
Ulterra
PricingCHECK PRICECHECK PRICE
Thrust80lb (24v)
112lb (36v)
80lb (24v)
112lb (36v)
HighlightUltra-Responsive
Hybrid Steering
Auto Stow, Deploy
& Power Trim
Shaft45", 52", 60"45", 60", 72"
SteeringCable & ElectricElectric
Foot Pedal
Wireless Remote
SpeedsVariableVariable
Use InFreshwaterFreshwater & Saltwater
(Riptide Ulterra)

Introduction

Both the Ulterra and the Ultrex are premium bow-mount trolling motors:

The Ultrex has a superb hybrid steering system, combining cable and electric steering.

With the Ultrex you get the responsiveness and precision of cable control plus the electric power steering with a remote—the best of both worlds.

The Ulterra can also be steered with a foot pedal and the i-Pilot remote, and the steering is fully electric. There is no physical connection between the pedal and the steering mechanism.

Anglers love the Ulterra for the ability to automatically deploy, stow, and adjust the motor’s trim at the push of a button.

Also, this trolling motor has its saltwater-capable version called the Riptide Ulterra.

What Do They Have in Common?

Motors and Voltage

Minn Kota offers two different motor thrust options for both the Ultrex and Ulterra. It’s either an 80-lb motor running on 24 volts or a 112-lb motor powered by 36 volts.

The motors come with the Digital Maximizer, or a variable-speed motor controller, which delivers power smoothly forward and in reverse. No energy is wasted, and you get more run time off your battery.

Autopilot

Autopilot allows your trolling motor to steer on its own in the set direction. It uses a compass to keep a steady heading and can be used in many ways, for example, trolling along a shoreline, a ledge, or shelf.

Minn Kota’s autopilot makes automatic corrections for wind, waves and current.

i-Pilot is GPS trolling motor system that you control with a wireless remote.

You can steer, control speed, spot-lock onto fishing spots and more, just by pressing a button on the remote.

i-Pilot comes as standard on both the Ultrex and Ulterra, but you can upgrade to i-Pilot Link.

i-Pilot Link can do everything i-Pilot does but offers extra features including integration with a Humminbird fish finder. Unlike the standard i-Pilot, i-Pilot Link comes with a touchscreen remote.

You can learn more about i-Pilot Link on the Minn Kota’s website.

Sonars and Transducers

Both trolling motors include a Universal Sonar 2 as standard, but you can upgrade to MEGA Down and Side Imaging for additional features.

Universal Sonar 2

As the name suggests, this sonar can be used with various fish finders such as Humminbird, Lowrance, Garmin, and Eagle.

What’s great about it is that the transducer that is fully-integrated with the lower unit.

The wiring runs through the shaft and the connectors are shielded to minimize interference.

MEGA Imaging

These built-in transducers send images directly to your Humminbird fish finder. They are fully integrated with the lower motor section, which means there are no additional cables or connectors involved.

MEGA Down Imaging is available on both the Ultrex and Ulterra as an option.

Composite Shaft

Both motors have a shaft made of material that makes them sturdy and yet allows for some flexing.

Keep in mind that neither the Ultrex nor Ulterra comes with a break-away mechanism that will protect the shaft in case of hard impact.

Ultrex and Ulterra: The Differences

Let’s look into the main differences between the two motors:

Cable Steer on the Ultrex

What sets the Ultrex apart from most trolling motors is its cable-steer foot pedal.

The main characteristic of cable steer trolling motors is that there is a direct link between the foot pedal and turning the motor. This makes them very responsive and popular with bass fishermen, who need to quickly maneuver around shallow cover.

The cable-steer makes going around obstacles a breeze, hands-free!

It is very fast to move your boat around 360 degrees whenever you need it. Also, with a cable-steer, you always know which way the motor is pointing, which is extremely useful.

Ulterra: Electric Steer

The Ulterra also comes with a foot pedal, but it’s a different type.

Rather than relying on a cable, electric steer motors are controlled by electrical signals sent whenever you push on a pedal or press a button on your remote.

That means there is a slight delay between your input and your motor’s turning.

The electric-steer on the Ulterra is a matter of preference. If you used a cable-steer foot pedal before, an electric steering system could feel unresponsive.

Foot Pedals

Both the Ultrex and Ulterra come with foot pedals that let you control your trolling motor hands-free.

The foot pedal on the Ultrex is bigger than Ulterra’s, and because it’s cable-steer, it has to be kept on your front deck. You might have to install a recessed tray for it so it doesn’t get in the way.

Ulterra’s electric-steer foot pedal has a lower profile and a much longer cable – 18 feet.

Stow, Deploy, and Trim: Comparison

Ultrex

Minn Kota tries hard to make stowing and deploying their motors as easy as possible.

The Ultrex has a stainless steel nitrogen gas spring which makes lifting your motor much easier.

However, it’s still a manual process, and you can’t do it from anywhere in your boat.

There is no power trim on the Ultrex. If you want to adjust the depth of the motor, you have to do it manually.

Ulterra

The ability to automatically stow and deploy on the Ulterra is fantastic.

There is no need to get up to deploy your trolling motor. You will appreciate this, especially if you fish on larger lakes in windy and rough conditions or if you like to fish on your own.

One of the best features of the Ulterra is that you can adjust the trim using your i-Pilot. Very handy in those situations when it gets too shallow, and you need to lift the motor quickly.

Want to deploy or stow your motor?

– Press a button.

Want to adjust the depth of your motor?

– Again, just press a button on your remote.

With the convenience of the auto stow/deploy mechanism comes a small risk of malfunction. When the Ulterra loses power for some reason, it can’t be stowed automatically.

You will then have to stow it manually, which is not difficult, but it requires tools and working in an awkward position.

Fortunately, it happens very rarely, especially with the latest Ulterra models.

Ultrex or Ulterra: Which Trolling Motor is Better Overall?

These are both Minn Kota’s premium trolling motors. Yes, they’re expensive, but if you look to upgrade your boat, these motors can transform the way you fish.

Both the Ultrex and the Ulterra are rugged, reliable, and perform very well what they were designed for.

So the question shouldn’t really be whether the Ultrex or Ulterra is a better trolling motor.

You should rather ask: Which motor is the right one for me and my boat?

Which Trolling Motor Should I Choose?

It really boils down to your fishing style and personal preferences.

If you fish for bass or fish primarily in shallow waters and want to use the foot pedal a lot, the Ultrex will be a better match for you.

If you like to control your motor with a foot pedal, and need to precisely and quickly navigate around obstacles and structures, you will love the Ultrex.

On the other hand, if you aren’t too excited about foot controls, and the cable potentially getting in your way, you should get the Ulterra.

If you want to automatically stow, deploy and trim your motor at a push of a button, the Ulterra will make you happy.

Auto stow, deploy, and the ease of trimming are the main reasons anglers choose Ulterra.

We know that many of you would prefer the foot pedal of the Ultrex, but as we all get older and develop back or shoulder problems, the ability to stow, deploy and trim, becomes more important.

Which one will YOU choose?