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  • Post last modified:September 7, 2022
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Transom-mounted trolling motors are portable, simple to use, and usually less expensive than bow mount models.

You can use them for fishing, or to make your small boat go faster without paddling.

Welcome to TrollingMotorPro’s round-up of the best transom mount trolling motors you can buy today.

Why Choose a Transom Mounted Motor For Your Boat?

Transom mount trolling motors are very easy to install. This makes them a good match for smaller aluminum and inflatable boats, kayaks, and canoes.

You attach the trolling motor to the boat’s transom using dual clamps and that’s it! You’re good to go.

They are also relatively inexpensive, so if you want a simple and quiet means of propulsion for your boat, a transom trolling motor will deliver.

The Best Transom Mount Motors Right Now



Haswing Cayman T

BEST TRANSOM MOUNT TROLLING MOTOR WITH REMOTE

SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 55 lb   Shaft: 39″, 47″   Steering: Electric/Remote   Voltage: 12V   Max Amp Draw: 50A   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater & saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Wireless remote control
  • Can be used in saltwater
  • Handle makes carrying easier

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Expensive

Most transom-mount trolling motors are hand-steered directly with a tiller, and a twisting motion controls the speed.

The Aquos Haswing Cayman T is different. It comes with a wireless handheld remote control and a foot pedal.

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

All Cayman T models have a 12-volt DC motor delivering 55 pounds of thrust.

They can also be used in saltwater. The Cayman T has a sacrificial anode, which helps protect the metal parts against corrosion.



Minn Kota Riptide Transom

BEST TRANSOM MOUNT TROLLING MOTOR FOR SALTWATER

SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 55 lb (12v), 80 lb (24v), 112 lb (36v)   Shaft: 36″, 42″, 52″   Steering: Hand/tiller   Max Amp Draw: 50A   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater & saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Many thrust options
  • Saltwater and brackish water capability
  • Tilting tiller that can be extended

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Relatively expensive, especially the high thrust versions

We love most of the Riptide range, and this is Minn Kota’s best model designed to be mounted on your boat’s transom.

There is Minn Kota Maxxum, which is a great motor too, but it doesn’t come with the same corrosion resistance as this Riptide Transom. Its lower unit housings are coated in aluminum and additionally powder-coated to prevent the impact of saltwater and rust.

The entry-level Riptide Transom offers 55 pounds of thrust at 12V. If you need more for your boat, you can pick the 80 lb or 112 lb model of the same motor.

The tiller handle tilts and extends 6 inches, which makes steering and speed control very easy from any angle.



Haswing 65 lb

BEST VALUE TRANSOM MOUNT TROLLING MOTOR

SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 65 lb (12v)   Shaft: 35″   Steering: Hand/tiller   Voltage: 12V   Max Amp Draw: 50A   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater & saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Tiller tilts 180 degrees
  • Very light
  • Saltwater-capable

REASONS TO AVOID

  • The difference between 65 lb and 55 lb model is hard to notice

This Haswing doesn’t have the same brand power as Minn Kota or MotorGuide, but it delivers in performance and features.

It has a brushless motor and variable speeds, which means it is easy on your battery, and virtually maintenance-free. (no need to replace brushes)

At 14.6lb Haswing is the lightest motor on this list. If you need to carry and mount your motor every time you use it, you know what difference the weight can make.

The tiller is not the most comfortable to hold, you can tilt it 180 degrees up and down which is very useful. It gives you more positions to hand steer your boat and folding it down makes it easier to store.

Haswing 65 can also be used in saltwater.



Minn Kota Endura Max 55

BEST TRANSOM MOUNT TROLLING MOTOR FOR FRESHWATER

SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 55 lb   Shaft: 36″   Steering: Hand/tiller   Voltage: 12V   Max Amp Draw: 50A   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Digital maximizer – variable speeds
  • Telescoping tiller

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Short power cables

Minn Kota Endura has been on the market for a long time, improving with each new model release.

It’s well-built and reliable, while relatively inexpensive (especially the non-Max version).

“Max” refers to the Digital Maximizer, Minn Kota’s name for the variable-speed motor controller. It means you can control the speed smoothly in both directions.

This is very convenient, but it also makes your motor run more efficiently for longer battery life.

My biggest complaint with Endura is that the power cables are too short. However, if your battery is very close to the transom, it shouldn’t matter.



MotorGuide R3 Digital

BEST TRANSOM MOUNT TROLLING MOTOR WITH VARIABLE SPEEDS

SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 55 lb   Shaft: 36″   Steering: Hand/tiller   Voltage: 12V   Max Amp Draw: 50A   Speeds: Variable   Use in: Freshwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Variable speed control
  • Telescopic tiller
  • Very quiet

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Freshwater only

The MotorGuide’s R3 Digital also has variable speeds and comparable thrust levels to the Endura.

The motor feels solid and well-built with powder-coated aluminum and steel.

It can only be used in freshwater.



Newport Vessels NV-Series

BEST BUDGET TRANSOM MOUNT TROLLING MOTOR

SPECIFICATIONS

Thrust: 55 lb (24v)   Shaft: 30″   Steering: Hand/tiller   Voltage: 12V   Max Amp Draw: 50A   Speeds: 5 forward, 3 reverse   Use in: Freshwater & saltwater

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

  • Low price
  • Saltwater-capable

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No variable speeds make it less efficient than the competition

NV-Series 55 lb is a well-tested model that offers very good value for money.

It comes with a 5-point LED battery indicator and a sacrificial anode, which alongside other corrosion-resistant components, makes it reader for use in saltwater.

The main difference between this Newport Vessels motor and other models on this list is the lack of a variable-speed motor controller. It only has 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds.

This motor is not as efficient as the above ones, especially at slower trolling speeds.

On the plus side, it is quite a bit less expensive than any of them.

Things You Should Know Before Buying a 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. 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. For 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.

2. 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 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.

3. Controlling The Speed

With transom-mounted trolling motors, you have the choice of two different types of speed control, from very simple to more sophisticated:

  • Simple High/Low-speed switch on the head unit
  • 5 Forward / 3 Reverse speeds you can select by twisting the handle/tiller in either direction
  • Variable speeds, also selectable by twisting the tiller

A variable-speed motor has a smooth power delivery in forward and reverse.

These motors draw less power than those without them, especially at lower speeds. No energy is wasted, and you get more run time off your battery.

4. Measure Your Transom 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. You take the distance from the top of your transom down to the waterline and add 15-20 inches.

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

Keep in mind a longer shaft will stick out more when you trim your motor for shallow water. For this reason, we prefer trolling motors with a tiller that you can tilt downwards and control comfortably regardless of the motor’s depth.

5. Saltwater Capability For Offshore Fishing

Each trolling motor description should state clearly whether you can use it in saltwater. Saltwater is much more corrosive than fresh water and requires different materials.

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

Your saltwater-capable motor will come with a sacrificial anode fixed to the prop. This will ensure your motor will last much longer.

It is important to note that if you use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater, it will often void your warranty.

Transom Trolling Motor FAQ

How do you mount a trolling motor on the transom?

Transom mount trolling motors usually have 2 clamps that are used to hold the motor in place. You open the clamps, place the motor carefully over the transom, and tighten the clamps. You can then connect the battery and adjust the depth of the motor.

How do you adjust the depth of the motor?

Most transom mount motors have a clip, ring, or a different way to set the depth. You need to make sure that it is at least 10 inches deep, to prevent propeller cavitation and noise.

How do you safely connect the battery?

Connect the battery. Before you do it, make sure the motor speed is set to 0 to avoid accidental thrust from the motor. Always connect the positive terminal (+) first and the negative second.

When disconnecting, it should be the other way round, i.e., disconnect the negative (-) first and the positive (+) last.

Sources

Minn Kota Technology

MotorGuide

Haswing