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  • Post last modified:September 8, 2022
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Saltwater can be extremely damaging to fishing equipment. Trolling motors are no exception. If you want to use one in saltwater, you need to make sure it is built from durable materials that offer corrosion resistance.

Saltwater electric trolling motors use strong marine-grade materials that protect the motor and its electronics from damage.

Welcome to TrollingMotorPro’s guide to the best saltwater trolling motors on the market.

We’ll provide you with an overview of what each motor offers and our honest reviews so that you can make the best decision for your needs.

Best Trolling Motors for Saltwater Compared

Best Overall

Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra

  • Auto stow, deploy, and power trim
  • i-Pilot remote with Spot-Lock
Best GPS Anchor

Garmin Force

  • A powerful combination with a Garmin fish finder
  • Brushless motor runs on 24 and 36 volts
Best For Estuary

Lowrance Ghost

  • Seamless integration with Lowrance fish finders
  • Top quality transducers
Best Bow Mount

Minn Kota Riptide Terrova

  • i-Pilot remote with Spot-Lock
  • Humminbird fish finder integration
Best Mid-Range

Minn Kota Riptide Powerdrive

  • The least expensive Minn Kota with i-Pilot GPS
  • Up to 70 pounds of thrust at 24v
Best PinPoint GPS

MotorGuide Xi5 Wireless Saltwater

  • Lowrance compatibility lets you control the motor through the fish finder
Best Budget GPS

Haswing Cayman GPS

  • The least expensive GPS anchor
  • Wireless remote control and smartphone app
Best Hand-Steer

Minn Kota Riptide Maxxum

  • Hand-steer/tiller for those who prefer it
  • Breakaway mount for shaft/motor protection
Best Budget Remote

Haswing White

  • Wireless remote control (no GPS)
  • Foot pedal and quick-release bracket
Best Transom Mount

Minn Kota Riptide Transom

  • Variable speeds for longer battery life
  • Extra corrosion resistance
Best Value Transom

Newport Vessels NV-Series

  • Wide choice of thrust options
  • Five forward, three reverse speeds
Best for Kayak

Newport Vessels Kayak Series

  • 24″ shaft length for kayaks and canoes
  • Very affordable

Who Needs a Saltwater Trolling Motor?

If you frequently fish in saltwater, or if you want the option to do so, then a saltwater trolling motor is a wise investment. Even if you don’t fish in saltwater regularly, a trolling motor designed for saltwater use will be more durable and last longer than one that isn’t.

There are several things to consider when choosing a trolling motor for saltwater use. The most important is the motor’s thrust, a measure of power. The higher the thrust, the heavier the boat it can move.

Another important consideration is the trolling motor’s shaft length. In general, longer shafts are better for saltwater use because they give the motor more power and are less likely to bend or break.

Finally, you’ll want to ensure that the trolling motor you choose is corrosion-resistant. This is especially important if you plan on fishing in saltwater regularly.

With those considerations in mind, here are the top trolling motors for saltwater available in 2022:

Saltwater Trolling Motor Reviews




Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra

BEST OVERALL TROLLING MOTOR FOR SALTWATER

SPECIFICATIONS

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

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Auto stow, deploy, and power trim
  • i-Pilot remote with Spot-Lock
  • Humminbird fish finder integration

REASONS TO AVOID

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

The Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra is our top pick for the best saltwater trolling motor in 2022.

The Ulterra is best known for its auto deploy, stow, and power trim. The auto stow/deploy on the Ulterra is very convenient for saltwater anglers, especially when solo fishing.

It can be steered with a foot pedal or the i-Pilot remote control. Minn Kota’s Spot-Lock (GPS anchor mode) makes staying on your fishing spot easy in most conditions.

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. Fortunately, the risk is very minimal.

By the way, the Ulterra is also the motor Jacob Wheeler, the former Major League Fishing’s World Champion, recently upgraded to. (YouTube)




Garmin Force

BEST GPS ANCHOR TROLLING MOTOR FOR SALTWATER

SPECIFICATIONS

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

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

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

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Electric-steer only
  • Few shaft choices

Although at #2 on our list, the Garmin Force is another great saltwater trolling motor. It has a futuristic design and is praised for its quick and accurate GPS anchor mode.

It 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 peak thrust, its thrust ratings are very conservative.

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

The Garmin Force is designed for saltwater and freshwater use. The motor itself is made of stainless steel and aluminum.

The downside: it is expensive.




Lowrance Ghost

BEST SALTWATER TROLLING MOTOR FOR ESTUARY USE

SPECIFICATIONS

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

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 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 Ghost works with 24v and 36v battery banks for larger boats. Traditional lead-acid as well as lithium batteries can be used.

Originally the Ghost was released for use only in freshwater. Any type of saltwater would void your 3-year warranty. However, in 2020, Lowrance announced a prop shaft anode that allows use in brackish water without voiding the Ghost trolling motor warranty.

Brackish water, according to Lowrance, means “estuary use”. You still can’t fish in the ocean, it will void your warranty.




Minn Kota Riptide Terrova

BEST BOW MOUNT TROLLING MOTOR FOR SALTWATER

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Bow Mount   Thrust: 55 lb (12v), 80 lb (24v), 112 lb (36v)   Shaft length: 54″, 60″, 72″, 87″   Steering: Electric-steer   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • i-Pilot remote with Spot-Lock
  • Humminbird fish finder integration
  • Many shaft lengths and thrust options

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Expensive

The Riptide Terrova is made of high-quality alloys that protect it from the corrosive effects of sea water.

Electric steering and a wireless i-Pilot remote are included as standard features.

i-Pilot GPS is probably the most popular GPS system in fishing. It keeps you on the fish, you can record paths, control speed and steering, cruise control, and more. Its large LCD screen is easy to read and intuitive to use.

The Spot-Lock found on the latest Terrova is much more reliable than the previous models, with far fewer complaints from those who own it.

The 24V Terrova with 80 pounds of thrust is powerful enough for most boats. If your boat is heavy, there is a 36-Volt version that offers 112 pounds of thrust and can handle boats up to 5,500 pounds.




Minn Kota Riptide Powerdrive

BEST MID-RANGE SALTWATER TROLLING MOTOR

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Bow Mount   Thrust: 55 lb (12v), 70 lb (24v)   Shaft length: 48″, 54″   Steering: Electric-steer   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • The least expensive bow mount Minn Kota with i-Pilot
  • Suitable for smaller boats that don’t need fish finder integration

REASONS TO AVOID

  • The longest shaft available is 54 inches
  • No built-in transducers

The Minn Kota Riptide PowerDrive is a great mid-range saltwater trolling motor.

It comes either with a wireless control remote or the more advanced i-Pilot GPS.

If you choose the i-Pilot version, you will have all the smart features such as Autopilot and Spot-Lock (GPS anchoring). The Digital Maximizer gives you smooth speed control which helps the motor run efficiently.

The main downside is a limited choice of shafts and relatively low thrust – maximum 70 pounds. This makes it most suitable for smaller boats.

The PowerDrive has a composite shaft with a lifetime warranty from Minn Kota.




MotorGuide Xi5 Wireless Saltwater

BEST SALTWATER TROLLING MOTOR WITH PINPOINT GPS

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Bow Mount   Thrust: 55 lb (12v), 80 lb (24v), 105 lb (36v)   Shaft length: 48″, 54″, 60″, 72″   Steering: Electric-steer   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Lowrance compatibility lets you control the motor through the fish finder
  • PinPoint GPS
  • Wide selection of thrust and shaft lengths

REASONS TO AVOID

  • PinPoint GPS interface is outdated and not as easy to use at the competition above

MotorGuide Xi5 Saltwater is a bow mount trolling motor with added corrosion resistance.

The Xi5 can be controlled with a wireless remote as standard or the optional PinPoint GPS.

The MotorGuide PinPoint GPS is an optional extra for the Xi5. It gives you GPS anchor mode and multiple control options.

MotorGuide Xi5 with PinPoint GPS can be fully integrated with Lowrance fish finders. You can see your position on the screen of your fish finder and control the trolling motor from there.




Haswing Cayman GPS

BEST BUDGET SALTWATER TROLLING MOTOR WITH GPS

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Bow Mount   Thrust: 55 lb (12v)   Shaft length: 48″, 54″   Steering: Electric-steer   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • The least expensive GPS anchor
  • Wireless remote control
  • Smartphone app

REASONS TO AVOID

  • 55 pounds of thrust makes it suitable for small boats only

The Haswing Cayman GPS is a budget-friendly trolling motor that comes with Spot-Lock.

It gives you wireless control of the trolling motor’s thrust, steering control, cruise control, saving and recording routes etc. All at a very reasonable price if compared to more established brands such as Minn Kota.

The Helmsman App needs more refinement, but it’s great to control your trolling motor through smartphone or tablet. It can be used with Android and iOS devices.

The Cayman GPS can be used in both freshwater and saltwater. It has a variable speed controller to help preserve battery power.

However, it’s a good option for those who need a simple trolling motor with a GPS anchor that won’t break the bank.




Minn Kota Riptide Maxxum

BEST BOW MOUNT HAND-STEER TROLLING MOTOR FOR SALTWATER

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Bow Mount   Thrust: 55 lb (12v), 80 lb (24v)   Shaft length: 42″, 52″, 62″   Steering: Hand-steer Wireless Remote: No   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Hand-steer/tiller for those who prefer it
  • Simple and reliable design
  • Breakaway mount for motor shaft protection

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No GPS anchor

The central feature of the Minn Kota Riptide Maxxum is the hand steering control. The tiller tilts up to 45 degrees and extends by 6 inches.

The basic model has five forward speed settings and three for reverse, but you can order one with Digital Maximizer to give you variable speeds.

One feature unseen on most other trolling motors in this list is the breakaway mount. It protects your trolling motor and boat by breaking away on impact and automatically resetting itself.

The motor comes with a latch and door bracket that makes stowing and removal much easier than many other trolling motors.




Haswing White

BEST SALTWATER TROLLING MOTOR WITH REMOTE

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Bow Mount   Thrust: 55 lb (12v)   Shaft length: 54″   Steering: Electric-steer   Wireless Remote: YES   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Wireless remote control
  • A simple foot pedal adds control options
  • Quick-release bracket included

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No GPS Anchor
  • Only 55 pounds of thrust limits its use to smaller boats

All Haswing White models have a 12-volt DC motor delivering 55 pounds of thrust.

This Haswing comes with a wireless handheld remote and wired foot control.

The remote control is fantastic, as you can do it from anywhere. It can be very useful when you launch or retrieve the boat on your own.

Since it’s just 55 lb, it’s suitable for boats up to 2700 pounds, roughly 18 feet in length.




Minn Kota Riptide Transom

BEST HAND-STEER TRANSOM MOUNT TROLLING MOTOR FOR SALTWATER

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Transom Mount   Thrust: 55 lb (12v), 80 lb (24v)   Shaft length: 36″, 42″, 52″   Steering: Hand-steer   Wireless Remote: NO   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Variable speeds for increased efficiency and run time
  • Extra corrosion resistance

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Expensive

This Riptide model is designed to be mounted on your boat’s transom.

The lower unit housing uses powder coat paint to protect important metal components from corrosion.

The Transom 55 trolling motor offers good performance and efficiency thanks to its Digital Maximizer (variable speeds). If you need something even more powerful on your boat, you can choose an 80-pound version of the same motor (24 volts).

The tiller handle tilts and extends 6 inches, which makes steering and controlling speeds quite a bit easier.

It is a bit expensive for a transom-mount motor.




Newport Vessels NV-Series

BEST VALUE TRANSOM MOUNT TROLLING MOTOR FOR SALTWATER

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Transom Mount   Thrust: 36 lb, 46 lb, 55 lb, 62 lb (12v), 86 lb (24v)   Shaft length: 30″   Steering: Hand-steer   Wireless Remote: NO   Speeds: 5 Forward, 3 Reverse   Use in: Saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Budget-friendly
  • Simple to use
  • Saltwater-capable

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No variable speeds

The NV Series includes some of the best-selling motors from Newport Vessels. They are frequently seen on smaller watercraft such as jon boats, bass boats and even inflatable boats.

The NV Series saltwater trolling motors are simple yet durable.

All Newport Vessels NV models include a simple speed controller with eight speeds: five forward speeds and three in reverse, and an LED battery meter.

The lack of the variable speed motor controller makes them very affordable.

The tiller is telescopic, extending an extra 6 inches for more steering convenience. The battery cable is 4 feet long.




Newport Vessels Kayak Series

BEST SALTWATER TROLLING MOTOR FOR KAYAK

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Transom Mount   Thrust: 36 lb, 55 lb (12v)   Shaft length: 24″   Steering: Hand-steer   Wireless Remote: NO   Speeds: 5 Forward, 3 Reverse   Use in: Saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • The 24 inch shaft length is perfect for most kayaks
  • Very budget-friendly, especially the 36-pound model

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No variable speeds

The Kayak Series was designed for small boat owners to offer a good balance of performance, size, and price. The 36-lb model is currently our top trolling motor in the kayak and canoe category.

Simply put, it offers the best value for kayakers of the trolling motors we reviewed so far.

The design has elements from the hugely popular NV-Series, but it was developed with kayak anglers in mind. The result is a good and reliable performance at a very affordable price.

We especially like the easily adjustable 24-inch shaft and longer cables. It gives you more flexibility in where to place the battery on your kayak or canoe.

This Newport Vessels model comes with a 5-point LED battery indicator and is saltwater compatible with corrosion-resistant materials and the sacrificial anode.

Conclusion

Deciding what saltwater electric trolling motor is best for you depends on a few factors, such as the size and type of your boat, how much power you need, and whether you need Spot-Lock or not.

We hope that reviewing some of the best saltwater trolling motors on the market will help you decide.

Ready to buy?

Please make sure to read our tips below first:

8 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Saltwater Trolling Motor

There are hundreds of different trolling motors models, and thousands if you count various thrust, shaft and feature 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. Saltwater Resistance

Most trolling motors are clear about whether you can use them in saltwater.

Saltwater is much more corrosive than fresh water and requires different materials.

For example, Minn Kota and Motorguide saltwater motors are built with premium-grade alloys, coated with zinc, and corrosion-resistant polyester paint. Each model comes with a sacrificial anode fixed to the prop. This will ensure your motor will last much longer.

If you use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater, it will often void your warranty.

2. Mounting Location: Bow or Transom

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

  • Bow mount
  • Transom mount
  • Engine mount

Bow mount trolling motors are very popular because pulling rather than pushing makes the boats easier to maneuver. They often come with more advanced steering features, like GPS anchoring.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option or don’t want to put anything on your bow, transom mount trolling motors can be the right choice. Many anglers like them for simplicity, as they steer in a similar way to outboards.

Engine mount trolling motors are fixed to the cavitation plate of outboard motors. You don’t have to stow or deploy them. They are remotely controlled and steer together with the outboard.

3. What Size Saltwater Trolling Motor Do I Need?

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.

4. Steering Options

Electric-steer trolling motors offer more control options, such as using wireless remote and GPS positioning that help you get where you want to be and focus on fishing.

Cable-steer motors have a multi-function foot pedal that is directly linked to the lower unit via a cable. It’s a less sophisticated system than the electric one but more responsive and very popular for bass fishing.

Hand-steer models use a tiller handle for direct control, very much like traditional outboards.

5. Batteries and Run Time

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.

6. Calculating the Shaft Length

Selecting the right shaft of your trolling motor is vital. The shaft must be long enough for the propeller to stay submerged at least 16″ below the water line 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.

7. Spot-Lock and GPS Navigation

GPS trolling motors, e.g. Minn Kota’s i-Pilot or Motorguide’s Pinpoint GPS, let you steer, control speed, lock onto fishing spots, and more just by pressing a button on the remote.

GPS anchoring is probably the most popular feature on premium trolling motors, and it’s fantastic in areas with substantial currents, waves, and winds.

It holds the boat at a set position by automatically thrusting whenever the boat starts to drift.

8. Fish Finder Compatibility

If you have a fish finder of a specific brand and you want it to be able to “talk to” your trolling motor, you will need to make sure they are both compatible.

For example, a Humminbird fish finder will work with Minn Kota’s models, whereas a Lowrance fishfinder works well with MotorGuide trolling motors.

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

If you want a built-in transducer, make sure it is of the type you want, for example, Universal Sonar or MEGA Down or Side Imaging.

Saltwater Trolling Motor FAQ

Can you use a regular trolling motor in saltwater?

Technically you can, but it’s not recommended for serious anglers. If you use a freshwater trolling motor in salt water it will corrode much faster, it will also usually void your warranty.

Is it OK to use a saltwater trolling motor in freshwater?

Absolutely. A saltwater trolling motor will be fine in freshwater.

How do I know if my trolling motor is saltwater-capable?

Each trolling motor description should state clearly whether it can be used in saltwater.

What materials are these motors built with?

For example, Minn Kota and Motorguide saltwater motors are built with premium-grade alloys, coated with zinc, and painted with corrosion-resistant polyester paint.

What is a sacrificial anode?

It’s a piece of metal fixed to the prop. The anode is made of a material that prevents your motor from rapid rusting.

Can you use an electric trolling motor in saltwater?

Yes, you can use electric trolling motors in saltwater. However, you need to be careful about which motor you choose and how you maintain it. Some motors are not designed for saltwater use and will corrode quickly. Others may require special maintenance to prevent corrosion. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

What happens to a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater?

If you don’t take proper care of a freshwater trolling motor, it will corrode and break down much faster than it would in freshwater. Saltwater is much more corrosive than freshwater, so it’s important to take extra steps to protect your trolling motor if you’re using it in saltwater.

Sources

Minn Kota Technology

MotorGuide

Haswing