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  • Post last modified:September 7, 2022
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If your boat is heavy or you fish in areas with strong currents, waves, and wind, you need a trolling motor that can handle that.

Welcome to TrollingMotorPro’s round-up of the most powerful trolling motors you can buy today.

Our Power Ranking Explained

Although our list is sorted from the highest to the lowest thrust, it’s important to understand that trolling motor makers use different methodologies when testing their products.

When comparing different models, you should take the thrust numbers as rough guidance rather than absolute truth.

A model with a lower thrust rating on paper could turn out more powerful on the water.

All the motors below are bow-mounted and powered by 36 Volts.

The Most Powerful Trolling Motors Right Now


SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 97lb (24v), 120lb (36v)   Shaft length: 47″, 52″, 60″   Steering: Electric-steer   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Brushless motor works on either 24V or 36V
  • Easy integration with Lowrance fish finders
  • High-quality transducers
  • Precise GPS anchoring

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Electric-steer only
  • The longest shaft available (60″) is not long enough for some boats

Lowrance is a U.S. manufacturer of GPS, sonars and fishing electronics. Their first trolling motor was released just in 2020, but it quickly became a hit.

The Ghost combines a powerful brushless motor with Lowrance high-quality sonars and reliable GPS anchoring.

Brushless motors are great for many reasons. They are more efficient, quieter, and cause less interference with your fish finder. Also, you don’t need to worry about replacing worn brushes in the future.

The standard version gives you Lowrance CHIRP sonar and DownScan Imaging. You have to pay extra for SideScan Imaging.



2. Garmin Force


SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 120lb (36v)   Shaft length: 50″, 57″   Steering: Electric-steer   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • A powerful combination with a Garmin fish finder
  • Brushless motor runs on 24 and 36 volts
  • Fish finder connects wirelessly

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Electric-steer only
  • Few shaft choices

Like Lowrance, Garmin is a leader in GPS equipment and marine electronics.

The Garmin Force uses a brushless motor, which helps it to reduce noise, including electromagnetic noise that can interfere with your fish finder readings.

You can run the Force on either a two (24v) or a three-battery bank (36v) for more available thrust.

Although Garmin rates its trolling motor at 100 pounds maximum, the standard used is very conservative.

In real life, the Force is just as powerful or even exceeds the performance of some of the models on this list.


SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 80 lb (24v), 112 lb (36v)   Shaft length: 45″, 60″, 72″   Steering: Electric-steer   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Auto stow, deploy, and power trim
  • i-Pilot remote with Spot-Lock
  • MEGA Down and Side Imaging (option)
  • Humminbird fish finder integration

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Manual stow can be problematic when the motor loses power
  • Electric-steer only

The Minn Kota Ulterra is best known for its auto deploy, stow, and power trim.

The auto stow/deploy on the Ulterra is very convenient, especially when solo fishing.

It can be steered with a foot pedal or the i-Pilot remote. Minn Kota’s Spot-Lock (GPS anchoring) makes staying on your fishing spot extremely easy.

It comes with integrated Universal Sonar 2 as standard, which means you don’t need to install any other transducers, run extra wires, etc.

You can also order it with MEGA Down Imaging, which you can connect to a Humminbird fish finder.

The main downside of the Ulterra is that when the motor loses power for some reason, it can’t be stowed automatically. You then need to go through a manual stow procedure.



4. MotorGuide Tour Pro


SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 82 lb (24v), 109lb (36v)   Shaft length: 45″   Steering: Cable/Electric   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Hybrid cable/electric steering combines the advantages of both
  • Well-tested Pinpoint GPS
  • Breakaway mount

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Few shaft options

What sets the Tour Pro apart is the hybrid cable/electric steer, similar to the one seen on the Ultrex.

The Tour Pro combines the precision of cable-steer with wireless control supported by the PinPoint GPS.

It also has a 360º breakaway mount, which prevents damage to the motor and shaft in case you hit an underwater object.



5. Minn Kota Ultrex


SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 80 lb (24v), 112 lb (36v)   Shaft length: 45″, 52″   Steering: Cable/Electric   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Hybrid cable & electric steer
  • i-Pilot GPS
  • MEGA Imaging transducers

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Few shaft choices

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

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

Ultrex comes with i-Pilot GPS or i-Pilot Link, which lets your motor “talk” to your Humminbird fishfinder.

It also has a sonar/transducer as standard, either Universal Sonar 2 or Mega Down Imaging.



6. Minn Kota Fortrex


SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 80 lb (24v), 112 lb (36v)   Shaft length: 45″, 52″   Steering: Cable-steer   Wireless Remote: NO   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Responsive cable-steer
  • Strong and rugged
  • Impact protection mount

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No GPS features, such as i-Pilot

The Minn Kota Fortrex is rugged and simple to use with its cable-steer foot pedal.

The Fortrex is for all who don’t need electronic features and a GPS anchor. It is just as powerful, but also less expensive than other motors listed here.

The impact protection mount resets when you hit something to prevent damage to your motor.

Another interesting feature is the counter-tension stabilizer to hold the shaft still.



7. MotorGuide Xi5


SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 55 lb (12v), 80lb (24v), 109lb (36v)   Shaft length: 48″, 54″, 60″, 72″   Steering: Electric-steer   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Pinpoint GPS
  • Less expensive than similar models from Minn Kota
  • Low-profile mount

REASONS TO AVOID

  • The foot pedal could be more user-friendly

The Xi5 is one of MotorGuide’s most popular models.

You can steer the Xi5 via the wireless foot pedal or remote. The Pinpoint GPS provides advanced features such as Anchoring, Jog, Heading Lock, and Cruise Control.

If you prefer MotorGuide rather than Minn Kota, this might be the right motor for you.

8. Rhodan Marine HD


SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 120lb (36v)   Shaft length: 48″, 54″, 60″, 72″, 64″, 96″   Steering: Electric-steer   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater

REASONS TO BUY

  • Great selection of shafts, including ultralong 96″
  • Quick-release mount as standard

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No built-in transducers

Rhodan trolling motors are not as well-known as Minn Kota or MotorGuide, but they really should be. They are powerful, the GPS anchor is accurate, and offer some features not seen elsewhere.

Rhodan Marine’s top-of-the-range motor delivers 120 pounds of thrust and is available in as many as six different shaft lengths.

The longest shaft is 96,” and it’s great for any boat with a high bow, or if your bow tends to move up a lot, especially when loaded with people and gear.

Although GPS navigation is great, we wish Rhodan motors had built-in transducers.

Things You Should Know Before Buying a Trolling Motor

There are literally hundreds of different trolling motors models, and thousands if you count various thrust, shaft and features configurations.

They can be quite expensive too, so before you buy one, make sure you educate yourself to avoid a potentially costly mistake.

Below, we’ll discuss the most important questions you should ask yourself and important things to know before deciding which motor to buy.

1. How to Install a Bow Mount Trolling motor?

Bow mount trolling motors are relatively easy to install on boats with flat bows. All you need to do is to bolt the motor’s mounting pad to the bow.

If your boat has an angled bow or other features that prevent straightforward horizontal mounting, you will need to fabricate a plate to which the trolling motor can be attached.

You can find our step-by-step mounting instructions here.

2. How Much Thrust Is Enough for My Boat?

Thrust is the force that moves the boat through the water. It is measured in pounds (lbs) and gives you a rough idea of the motor’s performance.

A generally agreed rule is that for every 100 lbs you will need at least 2 lbs of thrust. For example, if your boat weighs 4000 lbs, fully loaded, then you want 4000/100 * 2 lbs = 80 lbs of thrust for your trolling motor.

My advice is to get the most powerful motor you can. If you fish offshore on a large boat, you will be much better off with a 100+ lb trolling motor that runs at 36V.

You will also want more thrust if you fish in areas with fast currents and significant waves. The last thing you want is for your boat to be underpowered.

Learn more in our thrust guide.

3. Calculate Your Battery Runtime

This is one of the most frequently asked questions and depends directly on two things: the capacity of your battery and the current draw of your trolling motor.

Battery capacity is measured in Ampere hours or Ah and current draw in amperes (amps). If your battery has 100Ah capacity and your motor draws 20 amps of current, then you can calculate its run time by dividing 100/20 = 5 hours.

However, this is only a theoretical number because depending on the type of battery you use, you will never want to deplete it to 0% of capacity. For example, if you have a standard lead-acid battery, you should really only use 50-70% of its Ah capacity if you want to keep it in good shape.

The current draw of your motor depends on the speed you set it to and how heavy your boat is. If you use your trolling motor at lower speeds, you will have a significantly lower current draw and much longer run time.

Weather and water conditions will also affect how long your motor will run. It is harder to push a boat against the current, choppy waters, or into the wind, which means higher current draw and shorter run time.

4. Measure Your Boat for Shaft Length

The right shaft of your trolling motor is vital to make sure your propeller stays submerged regardless of water and weather conditions.

You don’t want the propeller to get out of water in choppy waters or/and suck in air from above the waterline when it is not deep enough. It will cause noise, and loss of power and can shorten the life of your motor.

You will need to take measurements and calculate the right shaft length for your boat. The rule of thumb is to measure the distance from your chosen mounting location down to the water. You then should add another 20 inches (50cm).

This is especially important if you pick the bow-mount model, as there are many different bow shapes and heights. It’s best to measure the boat fully loaded with people and gear or at least account for it.

Extra weight at the stern can lift the bow and the motor with it.

If you’re stuck deciding between a shorter and longer shaft version, it’s usually safer to go a little longer.

Sources

Lowrance

Rhodan Marine

Minn Kota

MotorGuide

Garmin