Pontoon Boat Trolling Motor Review

If you’re planning to use your pontoon boat for fishing, a trolling motor is an essential upgrade you should invest in. Not only can some of them pair up with your GPS or fishfinder to help you find the best spots for fishing, but they will also be much quieter than the actual engine, which is crucial for not scaring all the fish within a 3-mile area. We have a separate guide on how to choose the best trolling motor for your particular pontoon, and you can find it here (LINK). You might want to go through that one first, and then come back here for actual product recommendations, or you could skip that and go straight to our personal Top 5. Here are our recommendations:

#1. Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted Trolling Motor

We mentioned this model in our guide as well – it is one of the best budget alternatives you’ll find from Minn Kota, which is one of the leading manufacturers on the market. It’s nothing too spectacular, as it doesn’t have all those smart GPS and fish finder pairing features, but it will do the job if you want to troll the bait around the lake, or just keep the volume low enough to not scare the fish away. It has a thrust level of 30, a 30” shaft and a 6” telescoping handle plus tilt twist tiller for easier steering. It has 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse ones and is backed by a lifetime warranty.
To find out more or get your own Minn Kota Endura C2, click the button below:

 

 

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#2. MinnKota Pontoon 55 Hand Control Trolling Motor

Here’s a more powerful alternative from Minn Kota – the Pontoon 55 hand control trolling motor. This one has a thrust power of 55lbs, and a 52” stainless steel shaft. Minn Kota call their shaft “indestructible,” and while that might not be 100% true, they are backed up by a lifetime warranty, so you’ll be able to get a replacement for free no matter what. Besides that, the motor is very similar to the C2 above – 5 forward speeds, a tilt twist tiller for easier steering, and a 2-year warranty on the motor itself.
Check out the latest price and more details about the MinnKota Pontoon 55 Hand Control Trolling Motor here:

 

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#3. Minn Kota Terrova Bow Mount Motor

We couldn’t go past this model. Yes, it costs a little fortune, but hey, you’re a pontoon owner. You can probably spare a couple thousand more to tweak it, don’t you? Price aside, this is actually one of the most ergonomic models you could get if you’re planning to do some serious fishing with your ‘toon. It comes with the nifty iPilot system, as well as a remote control that you can use to control the motor from anywhere on the boat, without having to stay near the bow all day long.
The Minn Kota Terrova Bow Mount Motor is also available in a wide variety of sizes – from 45” to 60” long shafts, and from 55lb to 112lb of thrusting power. You can find it here, but we recommend going through the whole list of specs on the Minn Kota web site (the feature system leaves out a lot of essentials in this case) before making a final decision.

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#4. Motorguide 80FW Xi5 Trolling Motor

Here is another all-time favorite – the Motorguide 80FW Xi5 Trolling Motor. It is in the same price range as the Minn Kota Terrova and offers pretty similar features. A reason why you would want to choose the Xi5 instead of the Minn Kota is if you have a Lowrance fish finder that is compatible with trolling motors. Lowrance fish finders are typically compatible with Motor Guide units, while Minn Kota works with Hummingbird devices.
This motor is also available in several sizes, from 45” to 60”, and comes with a remote control in the form of a wireless pedal for easier control. Again, these high-tech units usually have tons of features that are hardly mentioned on Amazon so you might want to check the Motorguide website to know exactly what you’re in for. Check the latest price for the Motorguide 80FW Xi5 Trolling Motor here:

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#5. Newport Vessels 55 Pound Thrust

You barely see anything but Minn Kota and Motor Guide on the trolling motor market, and a lot of people seem to believe that they are literally the only manufacturers on the market. However, that’s not true in the least, especially if we’re looking at the cheaper price ranges. Take this unit form, Newport, for instance. With 8 speeds and 55 lbs thrust power, it is an excellent trolling motor for a pontoon to begin with. It also has a 30” shaft (rather short, but adequate for this price range), and a durable telescoping handle. Another advantage of this model is that you can use it in both saltwater and freshwater – grace to the fact that all the parts are stainless steel.
The Newport Vessels 55 Pound Thrust is quite the steal for the price, especially if you’re not looking for anything too fancy. Check the latest price or get your own here:

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#6. Cloud Mountain Electric Trolling Motor

Here’s another less known brand that doesn’t venture into the little computer trolling motor area – Cloud Mountain. Much like Newport, they stick to classic trolling motors, that come in a variety of power settings, and retails for a fairly affordable price. You can get Cloud Mountain motors ranging from 36 lbs to 55lbs. Their shaft measures only 28” though, which might be a bit short for some pontoons. They have 8 speeds, 5 forward ones, and 3 reverse ones, as well as a LED power indicator that lets you know when you’re low on battery.

Again, this is a great budget option. Nothing too fancy, but still a great choice if you want to troll the bait around without spooking the fish. Check out the latest price here:

 

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These were all the recommendations we had in terms of trolling motors. For a more ample guide on what they do and how you can check out our guide to choosing a trolling motor. If you’re not really interested in that, here are a couple of basics you need to keep in mind, without getting too technical:
The commonly-accepted ideal shaft length for a regular pontoon trolling motor is 60”. You can technically get away with anything as low as 30”, mostly depending on the size of your pontoon and the waters you’re sailing on. If your boat is on the small side, and you go fishing on a small lake on a perfectly clear day, you’ll be just fine with any shorter shaft. But, if you want to be all-weather ready, go for 50” to 60” length, you can’t go wrong with those.

When it comes to thrusting power, you’ll find lots of formulas online on how to calculate the perfect one based on the weight of your boat. If you can’t be bothered with that, and are just looking for a short answer, we suggest going for anything between 60 lbs and 80 lbs for smooth trolling.

Brands are another important aspect you’ll come across sooner or later. If we’re talking about pontoon trolling motors, Minn Kota and Motorguide are definitely the leaders of the market. Their units are pretty expensive, but there are countless advantages to choosing one of these over other brands. For once, all of their trolling motors have at least 2-year warranties included in the price. Minn Kota ones even offer lifetime warranties for their shafts. And if you’re looking for a trolling motor to pair up with your GPS or fishfinder, nothing can beat these two brands, especially since they collaborate with the leading fish finder manufacturers – Hummingbird and Lowrance. Minn Kota motors are compatible with Hummingbird devices, and Motorguide ones with Lowrance units.

Let’s talk prices – trolling motors are not the cheapest upgrade for your pontoon and will cost you anything between $150 and $2000, and sometimes even more than that. If you’re big on fishing and want to level up your game to an insane level, you’ll probably want to go for a fish finder compatible unit – which costs anything between $1500 and $2500. If you’re just doing it for fun, you’ll be good to go with anything up to $300.

This would be everything you need to know when it comes to trolling motors. For a more in-depth guide, check out this article here. We hope you found our list useful and informative, and maybe even chose one of our recommendations for your pontoon.

Jerry Brookes
 

Hi I'm Jerry, founder of PontoonHelper.com. I've been pontooning for over 30 years believe it or not and have learned a thing or two about pontoons. As my passion project Pontoon Helper is aimed at educating any reader on all the different things you need to know before pontooning. I consider myself somewhat of an expert in this industry as it has become my life since retirement. Feel free to submit a comment or question on the website and I'll try to get back to you.

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