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MotorGuide offers trolling motors for all kinds of fishermen and boats.

Apart from the most popular Tour and Xi5 Series, many other models, such as X5, R5, and the less powerful Xi3 Series.

The names of different models can get a little confusing, and I hope to make it much clearer with this article.

Let’s get started!

Thrust and Voltage

MotorGuide trolling motors have thrust levels ranging from 30 lbs all the way to 109 lbs.

Boat weight is key when determining how much thrust you need. The general rule of thumb: you need at least 2 lbs of thrust for every 100 lbs. of fully-loaded boat weight (people and gear included). If things like wind or current are major factors where you fish, you’ll want a little extra thrust.

In the chart below you can see a rough guide on how much thrust is required for different boat sizes.

Boat WeightBoat LengthRecommended
Batteries Needed
under 1500 lbunder 15 ftover 30 lb1 Battery (12V)
1500 lb15 ft40 lb1 Battery (12V)
2000 lb16 ft50 lb1 Battery (12V)
2500 lb17 ft60 lb1 Battery (12V)
3000 lb18 ft70 lb2 Batteries (24V)
3500 lb19 ft80 lb2 Batteries (24V)
4000 lb20 ft90 lb2 Batteries (24V)
4500 lb21 ft100 lb3 Batteries (36V)
over 4500 lbover 21 ftover 100 lb3 Batteries (36V)

As you can see, depending on the amount of thrust, a trolling motor requires a different number of batteries.

For 60 lbs of thrust or less, you’ll need a single 12V battery. 70 to 100 lbs of thrust will require 2 batteries (24 Volts), and above 100 lbs of thrust, you’ll need another battery for 36 Volts in total.

Controlling Your MotorGuide

MotorGuide offers models with all kinds of steering found on trolling motors: cable, electric, and hand or tiller.

Cable Steer

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 maneuver around shallow cover quickly.

The drawback of cable steer is that you always have to keep your foot on the pedal to keep going in your chosen direction.

MotorGuide’s cable steer motors include the Tour Series.

Electric Steer

Rather than relying on a cable, electric steer motors are controlled by an electrical signal 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 benefit to it the electric steer is that you can control the motor with a remote from anywhere on a boat. It can also control itself using GPS features, for example, to stay on the same spot (GPS anchoring).

MotorGuide Xi5 is an example of an electric-steer motor.

Hand Steer

Hand or tiller is the most traditional and simplest way of controlling your motor. They can be both bow-mount or transom-mount.

MotorGuide X5, X3, R5, and R3 are all hand-controlled trolling motors.

Available Shaft Lengths

Choosing the proper shaft length is important—if it’s too short, the prop won’t be sufficiently submerged. It can lead to prop ventilation, which means you will lose thrust and create noise that can spook fish.

The center of the motor section should be at least 12 inches below the waterline. You can learn more about choosing the correct shaft length here.

MotorGuide’s shafts come in various lengths ranging from 30″ to 72″.

MotorGuide Technology and Features

MotorGuide has been designing and manufacturing trolling motors for over 50 years.

Today they are built with aircraft-grade aluminum mounts and stainless steel bushings. This helps increase rigidity and reduce material wear.

Composite bushings are used in other areas to make the operation as quiet as possible. MotorGuide motors are some of the quietest in the industry.

The shaft is also made with composite materials and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Here is a quick overview of the most popular features found on MotorGuide models:

Digital Power Management

It’s MotorGuide’s name for a variable speed motor with smooth power delivery in forward and reverse.

Motors with Digital Power Management draw less power than those without it, especially at lower speeds. No energy is wasted, and you get more run time off your battery.

PinPoint GPS

Anchor Mode

Anchor mode is another name for GPS anchoring. It’s probably the most popular feature on GPS trolling motors.


This feature uses a heading sensor to move your spot five feet in any direction.

Other PinPoint GPS features include Heading Lock and Cruise Control.

Chartplotter Integration

One feature that most of the competition doesn’t offer is the ability to connect your trolling motor to a chartplotter.

It is available on the Tour Pro and Xi motors and lets you connect to Lowrance, Simrad, and Mercury displays.

Sonars and Transducers

The MotorGuide Xi Series and the Tour Series offer built-in sonar options:

  • Xi Series: 2D Universal Sonar
  • Tour Series: HD+ Universal Sonar

The sonars are compatible with many different fish finder models: Lowrance, Simrad, Mercury, Garmin, Humminbird, Raymarine.

The transducers are fully integrated with the lower motor section, which means there are no additional cables or connectors involved.

360º Breakaway Mount

The premium MotorGuide models, notably the Tour Series, have the impact protection mount, which resets when you hit something to prevent damage to your motor or shaft.

Freshwater Trolling Motors – Bow Mount

As the name suggests, these motors mount to the bow of the boat with bolts and brackets.

The big advantage of this location is that the motor pulls the boat rather than pushes it, making steering very easy and precise.

Let’s start with the premium models:

Tour Pro

The MotorGuide Tour and Tour Pro, are both premium cable-steer trolling motors.

What sets the Tour Pro apart is the hybrid cable/electric steer. It gives you the responsiveness and precision of the cable, but a the same time it can be steered with a wireless remote or by the PinPoint GPS system.

The Tour Pro comes with a Zero-G lift assist, which MotorGuide claims to be 40% easier to use than the systems used by the competition.

Unlike the Minn Kota Ultrex or Ulterra, the Tour Pro has a 360º breakaway mount, which prevents damage to the motor and shaft in case you hit an underwater object.

Thrust (Voltage):82lb (24v), 109lb (36v)
Shaft Length:45″
Control:Cable / Electric


The Tour models come with the same powerful motors and the responsive cable steer as the Tour Pro.

What they don’t have is the electric steer with its remote control capability and the GPS.

Thrust (Voltage):82lb (24v), 109lb (36v)
Shaft Length:45″
Control:Cable Steer

Xi5 Freshwater

The Xi5 is one of the most popular motors in the whole range. It comes with a wireless remote and PinPoint GPS as standard.

Its composite shaft has been recently redesigned.

Thrust (Voltage):55lb (12v), 80lb (24v), 109lb (36v)
Shaft Length:48″, 54″, 60″, 72″
Control:Electric Steer

Xi3 Freshwater

The MotorGuide Xi3 is smaller and less powerful than Xi5, making it a good choice for lighter boats.

Also, it doesn’t include the wireless foot pedal.

Thrust (Voltage):55lb (12v), 70lb (24v)
Shaft Length:36″, 48″, 54″, 60″
Control:Electric Steer

X5 Freshwater

The X5 is aimed at medium and large bass boats.

It is controlled with cable foot pedal for precise and responsive steering.

Thrust (Voltage):70lb, 80lb (24v), 105lb (36v)
Shaft Length:50″
Control:Cable or Hand / Tiller

X3 Freshwater

The X3 is a smaller and less powerful version of the X5.

Thrust (Voltage):45lb, 55lb (12v), 70lb (24v)
Shaft Length:36″, 45″, 50″
Control:Hand / Tiller

Freshwater Trolling Motors – Transom Mount

R5 Freshwater

Just like other motors in this category, it has variable speeds and comparable thrust levels.

Its three-blade propeller helps with quick acceleration.

There are other things to like, such as the modern look and ergonomic tiller handle, which you can extend.

Thrust (Voltage):70lb, 80lb (24v), 105lb (36v)
Shaft Length:42″
Control:Hand / Tiller

R3 Freshwater

The R3 is a smaller version of the R5.

The 30lb version with a 30″ shaft is a great choice for fishing kayaks.

Thrust (Voltage):30lb, 40lb, 45lb, 55lb (12v)
Shaft Length:30″, 36″, 42″
Control:Hand / Tiller

Saltwater Trolling Motors – Bow Mount

These trolling motors are specifically designed for saltwater and brackish environment.

They make use of strong marine-grade materials that protect your motor and its electronics from the damaging effects of salt water.

Each model comes with a sacrificial anode fixed to the prop. This will ensure your motor will last much longer. The anode is made of material that prevents your motor from rapid rusting.

Xi5 Saltwater

It takes all the good points of the Xi5 Freshwater trolling motor and adds saltwater capability. It’s built with high-grade materials and coatings and comes with a sacrificial anode to protect the motor.

The Xi5 can be controlled with a wireless remote as standard.

PinPoint GPS is available as an option.

Thrust (Voltage):55lb (12v), 80lb (24v), 105lb (36v)
Shaft Length:48″, 54″, 60″, 72″
Control:Electric Steer

Xi3 Saltwater

This MotorGuide trolling motor is the saltwater version of the very popular R3 model.

We found this MotorGuide to be one of the quietest we’ve tested so far. This could be in part thanks to the 3-blade machete-style propeller.

Controlling this motor is effortless. The digital speed control gives it the expected efficiency and increased run time compared to the simple 8-speed models.

Thrust (Voltage):55lb (12v), 70lb (24v)
Shaft Length:48″, 54″, 60″
Control:Electric Steer

X5 Saltwater

The X5 is a powerful motor for all fishermen who prefer hand control.

Thrust (Voltage):80lb (24v), 105lb (36v)
Shaft Length:50″, 60″
Control:Hand / Tiller

X3 Saltwater

It’s one of simpler models offered by MotorGuide. That means it’s also less expensive.

It’s suitable for small to medium boats.

Thrust (Voltage):55lb (12v), 70lb (24v)
Shaft Length:50″
Control:Hand / Tiller

Saltwater Trolling Motors – Transom Mount

R5 Saltwater

R5 is one of the most powerful hand-steered trolling motors available on the market.

Thrust (Voltage):80lb (24v), 105lb (36v)
Shaft Length:42″, 50″
Control:Hand / Tiller

R3 Saltwater

Thrust (Voltage):45lb, 55lb (12v)
Shaft Length:36″
Control:Hand / Tiller