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  • Post last modified:September 7, 2022
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Pontoon boats offer a large fishing platform with enough space for many people. They are very stable and tend to have comfortable seats, which makes them popular with families for other fun activities.

An electric trolling motor gives you the ability to move your pontoon towards your favorite fishing spots quietly and stay on them without spooking the fish.

However, choosing the right motor can be challenging with many different brands and models on the market.

In this article, we’ve narrowed down and handpicked a few trolling motors that are especially suited for pontoon boats.

Let’s get started!

Pontoon Trolling Motors Compared

MotorThrustShaftControlGPS
Minn Kota
Ulterra
80 lb
112 lb
45"
60"
72"
Electric
Minn Kota
Terrova
55 lb
80 lb
112 lb
45"
54"
60"
72"
Electric
MotorGuide
Xi5
55lb
80lb
109lb
48"
54"
60"
72"
Electric
Minn Kota
PowerDrive
45 lb
55 lb
70 lb
48"
54"
60"
Electric
MotorGuide
Xi3
55 lb
70 lb
36"
48"
54"
60"
Electric
Haswing
Cayman GPS
55 lb48"
54"
Electric
Minn Kota
Maxxum
55 lb
70 lb
80 lb
42"
52"
Cable/Foot
Newport Vessels
Pontoon Series
55 lb
86 lb
55"Hand/Tiller

Pontoon Trolling Motor Reviews

Minn Kota Ulterra

The Ulterra is our #1 choice for the best pontoon trolling motor this year.

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

With the Ulterra, there is no need to get up to stow or deploy your trolling motor. You will appreciate this, especially if you fish on larger lakes or if you like solo fishing.

It can be steered with a foot pedal or the i-Pilot remote. Advanced GPS capabilities such as Spot-Lock (anchoring) make 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.

TECH SPECS

Thrust80 lb, 112 lb
Shaft45″, 60″, 72″
SteeringElectric Steer
Wireless RemoteYES
SpeedsVariable
Use InFreshwater

WHAT WE LIKE

  • Auto stow and deploy
  • Power trim
  • Control via i-Pilot remote and foot pedal

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE

  • i-Pilot Link sold separately

Minn Kota Terrova

The Terrova takes the #2 spot on our list. It’s a well-proven design, and just like other Minn Kota trolling motors, it’s built with high-quality materials.

Although it doesn’t let you auto stow/deploy like the Ulterra, it does have a spring-loaded mechanism for easy lifting.

It also comes with i-Pilot GPS remote, and we really like the low-profile foot pedal. It can be conveniently used on your boat without any extra modifications.

On top of that: Universal Sonar 2 and two-year manufacturer’s guarantee!

TECH SPECS

Thrust55 lb, 80 lb, 112lb
Shaft45″, 60″, 72″
SteeringElectric Steer
Wireless RemoteYES
SpeedsVariable
Use InFreshwater

WHAT WE LIKE

  • Lift-Assist
  • Low profile foot pedal

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE

  • Reports of a fragile part prone to breaking when you hit something in shallow water

MotorGuide Xi5

Next on our list is the hugely popular MotorGuide Xi5.

It’s a great motor, a newly designed composite shaft and robustly built.

You can steer it remotely through the wireless foot pedal, and this specific model comes with Pinpoint GPS, which gives you more 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.

TECH SPECS

Thrust55 lb, 80 lb, 109 lb
Shaft48″, 54″, 60″, 72″
SteeringElectric Steer
Wireless RemoteYES
SpeedsVariable
Use InFreshwater

WHAT WE LIKE

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

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE

  • Wireless foot pedal not very ergonomic

Minn Kota PowerDrive

The PowerDrive offers premium features and a very good value for money.

You control it with an electric foot pedal, but it’s also available with an i-Pilot wireless remote. It’s important to note that the foot pedal is not included if you choose an i-Pilot model.

It comes with a unique lever that helps to deploy your motor quickly and safely.

Thrust (Voltage):45 lb, 55 lb (12V), 70 lb (24V)
Shaft Length:48″, 54″, 60″
Control:Foot / CoPilot / i-Pilot

MotorGuide Xi3

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

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

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

Haswing Cayman GPS

The Cayman GPS is the most advanced bow mount trolling motor offered by Haswing. Keep in mind it is not very powerful with its 55 pounds of thrust. However, if you have a small or medium-sized boat, this should be plenty. (up to 2750 lbs)

The motor features electric steering and can be controlled via a wireless remote from anywhere on the boat.

This model’s signature capability is GPS-enabled functions such as Anchor Mode, Routes, and Cruise Control. The downside is that to access GPS features. You need to download and use a dedicated Helmsman App on your smartphone or tablet.

A wired foot pedal, as well as quick-release plates, are available as an option.

TECH SPECS

Thrust55 lb
Shaft48″, 54″
SteeringHand Steer
SpeedsVariable
Use InFreshwater & Saltwater

WHAT WE LIKE

  • Tiller tilts 180 degrees
  • Very light
  • Saltwater capable

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE

  • Only one thrust option

Minn Kota Maxxum

The Maxxum is a great choice for those who don’t need AutoPilot or GPS features.

It has a breakaway mount which protects your motor on impact.

Maxxum comes with both fixed and variable speed motors, so make sure you pick the right option before ordering.

Thrust (Voltage):55 lb (12V), 70 lb (24V), 80 lb (24V)
Shaft Length:42″, 52″
Control:Cable / Hand

Newport Vessels Pontoon Series

The Pontoon Series, as the name suggests, was designed with pontoons and deck boats in mind.

It has a horizontal bracket, which allows this trolling motor to be mounted on the bow of your pontoon.

The shaft is adequately long, at 55 inches, and the head tilts so that you can easily stow your motor.

Thrust (Voltage):55 lb (12V), 86 lb (24V)
Shaft Length:55″
Control:Hand/Tiller

Pontoon Trolling Motor Buying Guide

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. Where Do You Put the Trolling Motor on a Pontoon Boat?

You have three different locations and the corresponding trolling motor types:

  • Bow mount
  • Transom mount
  • Engine mount

Bow mount trolling motors are very popular on pontoon boats because pulling rather than pushing makes the boats easier to maneuver. That is especially true in windy conditions when the bow tends to get blown away easily.

If you do choose a bow-mount trolling motor, the best location on your pontoon will be right in front of the boat’s gate. You will most likely need a pontoon trolling motor mount.

2. What Size Trolling Motor Do You Need for a Pontoon?

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.

Many pontoon boats are relatively large and require substantial thrust to move through the water, especially in windy conditions or in locations with significant currents.

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.

What size trolling motor for a 24′ pontoon boat?

My advice is to get the most powerful motor you can. For a heavy ‘toon, 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. Measure Your Pontoon for Shaft Length

The right shaft of your trolling motor is absolutely 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, loss of power and can shorten the life of your motor.

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).

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

Pontoon Trolling Motor FAQ

How fast will my pontoon go?

You can expect up to 5mph in calm conditions, but it’s usually closer to 4mph. Trolling motors are designed to move a large boat at a reasonable speed (3-4mph) or keep it in a fixed position. If you want to go fast, you will have to use a much more powerful outboard or inboard engine.

What motor voltage is best for pontoons?

Higher voltage systems tend to be more powerful and more efficient due to the lower current flowing through the cables and less heat generated at the same power output.

For lighter pontoons, you might be OK with a 12V motor delivering up to 60 pounds of thrust. However, for most boats, we recommend 24V motors, while heavy ones carrying more passengers and gear will be better served by 36-volt motors with 100 pounds of thrust and more.

What size trolling motor for a 20 ft pontoon boat?

Pontoons have relatively high windage, and although a small trolling motor will move it, we advise you get a 24-volt motor with 80 pounds of thrust.

Sources

Minn Kota

MotorGuide

FishTalk Magazine