Best Trolling Motor for Pontoon Boat

If you’re on the hunt for the best trolling motor for a pontoon boat, you must consider the thrust, mount location, shaft length, and durability. To help you shop, we’ve rounded up some of the top trolling motors on the market. We’ll also go over their features to help you decide which trolling motor is ideal for you.

Best Trolling Motor for Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats are versatile platforms. They have become one of the most popular vessels for cruising, fishing, and even water sports. For fishing pontoons, in particular, trolling motors are increasingly becoming a must-have component.

A trolling motor is ideal for moving and maneuvering your boat when you cannot bear to activate your boat’s loud outboard engine. This means that your pontoon boat won’t be a disturbance to you, the local flora and fauna, or other fishermen.

Getting a new trolling motor for your pontoon boat will significantly improve your fishing experience.

Fortunately, along with the introduction of the latest generation of GPS-enabled models, you’ll have endless options for mounting and running a trolling motor on your pontoon. Each has its own features, thrust, and specs. With that being said, selecting the best trolling motor for a pontoon boat can be quite overwhelming.

So, we looked at some of the high-rated trolling motors on the market to help you in your quest. Can’t wait to get to know them? You may skip ahead and check out our favorites below!

What Is a Pontoon Boat Trolling Motor?

A pontoon trolling motor is self-contained equipment that contains an electric motor, propeller, and controls and is attached to the bow or transom of the boat. It helps a boat remain in one location when struggling against current or wind without setting a physical anchor.

Trolling motors can completely revolutionize the way you fish. These units are available in a variety of thrust levels and sizes to fit your pontoon and provide the best performance for your boat.

Installing a trolling motor allows you to travel through the water much more quietly. This means that you’ll have less risk of scaring away your catches. And who wants a loud fishing session after all?

A trolling motor is often attached as a supplementary unit to the boat’s standard propulsion system. It is more suited for traversing shorter distances. Such a motor is best paired with pontoon boats, making them ideal for catching fish.

The model you choose should be compatible with your pontoon’s design, size, and features. It should also be suitable for where you generally fish and the type of water you traverse. A trolling motor’s shaft length and thrust ability should also suit your boat’s specs.

The right trolling motor for your pontoon will allow you to travel silently across the water and explore the best spots to fish.

Our Top Picks

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best OverallNewport Vessels NV-SeriesNewport Vessels NV-Series• Electric, transom mount
• 36lb thrust
• 30-inch composite fiberglass shaft
• 8 speeds (5 forward, 3 reverse)
• 6-inch ergonomic telescoping handle
• 5-point led battery meter
• Saltwater compatible
Check price
Premium ChoiceMotorGuide 940700160 Xi3MotorGuide 940700160 Xi3• Wireless, bow mount
• 55lb thrust
• 48-inch composite shaft
• 3-blade Machete propeller
• Easy-to-read LED dashboard
• SecureStep system
• Pinpoint GPS
• Freshwater compatible
Check price
Best for DurabilityNewport Vessels Kayak SeriesNewport Vessels Kayak Series• Electric, transom mount
• 36lb thrust
• 24-inch fiberglass shaft
• 8 speeds (5 forward, 3 reverse)
• 6-inch handle
• 5 LED battery indicator
• Saltwater compatible
Check price
Best BudgetMinn Kota Endura C2 30Minn Kota Endura C2 30• Electric, transom mount
• 30lb thrust
• 30-inch composite shaft
• 8 speeds (5 forward, 3 reverse)
• 6-inch telescoping handle
• Lever lock bracket
• Freshwater compatible
Check price
Good OptionPEXMOR Electric Trolling MotorPEXMOR Electric Trolling Motor• Electric, transom mount
• 46lb thrust
• 30-inch fiberglass composite shaft
• 8 speeds (5 forward, 3 reverse)
• 6-inch telescoping handle
• LED light indicator
• Saltwater compatible
Check price

The Best Trolling Motors for Pontoon Boat

Deciding which trolling motor to get doesn’t come easy to many pontoon boat owners. So, here we’re bringing you some of the best models on the market.

Newport Vessels NV-Series – Best Overall

Newport Vessels NV-Series

The Newport Vessels NV-Series is one of the most affordable trolling motors out there. It’s easy to operate and has a 36-lb thrust that is quiet and cool, allowing you to fish all day without overheating or scaring away your potential catch.

This trolling motor features a 30-inch composite fiberglass shaft for added durability. It is entirely adjustable, allowing for accurate depth placement in all water conditions.

With multiple speeds, including 5 forward and 3 reverse, it gives you complete control for a seamless and steady ride. It also has an expandable ergonomic handle.

Another feature we like is the 5-point led battery meter. This shows the current charge level. The NV series performs best in saltwater but is also excellent in freshwater. However, while the manufacturer claims it is a quiet motor, some users claim it still creates loud vibrations. And it will only be suitable for smaller workloads.

Pros:
• Durable construction
• Multiple speed options
• Adjustable shaft
• Easy, quiet operation
• Battery charging indicator
• Inexpensive
Cons:
• Still produces audible vibration
• Ideal only for small workloads

MotorGuide 940700160 Xi3 – Premium Choice

MotorGuide 940700160 Xi3

If you’re in the market for something that you can control anywhere in the boat, the MotorGuide 940700160 Xi3 could be the best option. It offers features that not all trolling motors on the market have.

With its intuitive, hand-held remote, you can operate the Xi3 from anywhere on the boat. This is a huge convenience to many anglers.

This model also works in silence, making it about 40 percent quieter than other leading brands. And when it comes to power, it offers 55 lbs of peak thrust, which is the highest out of most of the trolling motors we’ve looked at.

It’s equipped with a 48-inch shaft with a 3-blade Machete propeller. Which allows the prop to adequately submerge.

This innovative trolling motor has a MotorGuide SecureStep System for secure and simple stowing and deployment of mechanisms. It also features an LED dashboard with status indicators for tracking motor functions and marine battery life.

High-tech capabilities like integrated sonar, and superior accuracy Pinpoint GPS provide you the flexibility to control your boat. Aside from the convenience it offers, another thing we appreciate about this model is the smart safeguard feature. This allows you to use it even in low temperatures and harsh situations.

You may want to set aside a great sum of money, though. The Xi3 isn’t inexpensive, but with its exceptional features, we think it’s worth it!

Pros:
• Better thrust than other models
• Easy and intuitive control anywhere on the boat
• Offers quiet operation
• Seamless stowing and deployment
• Comes with a wealth of innovative features
• Ideal for various temperatures and harsh water conditions
Cons:
• Expensive

Newport Vessels Kayak Series – Best for Durability

Newport Vessels Kayak Series

This Newport Vessels Kayak Series is specifically designed for kayaks, but is handy for pontoons, too. This motor has a 24-inch shaft and allows for varying depth placement. Its shaft is made from fiberglass, which is a sturdy material that provides high performance.

This trolling motor features LED lights that let you monitor its battery level. Equipped with 8 variable speed levels, the Kayak Series gives you the freedom to have full control of your boat.

Another thing you’ll appreciate about this motor is its durable construction. It’s made of aluminum and has stainless steel hardware, making it suitable for saltwater use. The placement of its battery also guarantees the best weight distribution.

With all of its features combined, the Kayak Series makes it to our list of one of the best trolling motors for pontoon boats.

Some users, however, have noted that the propeller is imbalanced and vibrates. Still, it has little effect on its function—just a bit annoying and loud due to the vibration.

Pros:
• Great for both kayaks and pontoon boats
• Durable construction
• LED indicators
• Offers adjustable speed levels
Cons:
• Propeller is not balanced and vibrates

Minn Kota Endura C2 30 – Best Budget

Minn Kota Endura C2 30

Most of the trolling on our list are on the more budget-friendly side than higher-end models like the Xi3. But you’ll save $20 bucks more with the Minn Kota Endura C2 30.

This trolling motor is one of the most-rated on the market right now, boasting a better steering reaction with less effort. And it keeps your outboard or kicker motor out of the way for simpler control.

Compact yet powerful. This motor gives you 30 lbs of thrust, with 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds, giving you complete control. And, owing to MinnKota’s signature cool, quiet power, the motor maximizes battery life, extends motor life, and reduces fish-spooking noise.

The motor’s expandable grip and tilt twist tiller make it comfortable and simple to use within the boat, and the lever lock bracket provides a rock-solid mounting.

We need to also give the brand credit to Endura’s durable 30-inch composite shaft, which is virtually indestructible. It offers unyielding durability, so it can last you a long time.

However, despite its power, some users reported that this motor works best in calm waters. It may struggle to keep on course if there is a steady light wind.

Pros:
• Compact and durable
• Responsive, and offers better steering
• Offers cool, quiet operation
• Inexpensive
Cons:
• Only works better in calm waters

PEXMOR Electric Trolling Motor – Good Option

PEXMOR Electric Trolling Motor

The PEXMOR Electric Trolling Motor may be at the end of our list, but it offers efficiency that is comparable to other models. For one, it provides 46 lbs of thrust, which is greater than most of the models we’ve discussed above.

This electric trolling motor delivers exceptional power and efficiency for any boater. Its quality construction allows the motor to operate all day without overheating. The trolling motor also runs steadily, and quietly. It’s a great option for fishing since it won’t scare away your potential catches.

It comes with a telescopic adjustable handle that you may use as long or as short as you wish. Also, the ergonomic grip, 5 forward speeds, and 3 reverse speeds allow for smooth and easy control.

Its 30-inch shaft can adapt to various sailing circumstances based on your needs. The motor’s three-bladed propeller also improves efficiency and can easily remove seaweed. Another thing we particularly love is the LED light indicator. This comes in handy for monitoring the battery’s capacity.

However, despite all the great things about this motor, it seems to lack some durability. Given its suitability for saltwater excursions, some users reported that the mounting screws corroded after only a few months of use.

Pros:
• Offers great thrust
• Efficient for fishing
• Multiple speed levels allow for versatile operation
• Provides cool, quiet trolling
• Inexpensive
Cons:
• Lack some durability

Things To Consider

A trolling motor is a wonderful investment for your boat. It’s a great way to enhance your fishing trips, but only if you get the best one. 

When looking for the best electric trolling motors, keep in mind the many considerations you need to look for. Let’s have a look at some of the most common features to help you pick the right trolling motor for your pontoon boat.

Thrust

This is the most important consideration in choosing the right trolling motor for your boat. Expressed in pounds, it is the amount of force required for your boat to travel through water.

A solid trolling motor thrust can help to maintain your motor’s performance and manage speed. Trolling motors with low and insufficient power will just leave you disappointed.

Pontoon boats are bigger than V-hull boats and lack hydrodynamic propulsion. As a result, opt for a trolling motor that provides the greatest thrust. As a rule of thumb, 2 lbs of the thrust are required for every 100 pounds of boat weight.

If you’re not sure how much power your pontoon requires, there is a traditional way of calculating the amount of thrust required for your boat (see our FAQs below).

This traditional approach can offer you a general estimate, though it is safer for you if you do not solely count on it. The safest way is to just go as high as you can with the thrust.

Mount Location

Another thing you need to know is that you can mount trolling motor in three different ways. As you shop, you’ll find models that are either bow, transom, or engine mount. And each has its own pros and cons.

Bow Mount

With a bow-mount trolling motor, you’ll be dragging your bait across the lake using your motor’s power. It means that you will no longer have to troll, reducing noise. This trolling motor is ideal for fishermen since the noise-free attribute of this motor mount does not scare away the fish.

Since pulling is easier than pushing, bow mount trolling motors provide for simple boat maneuverability. They are particularly handy in windy situations. The ideal place for a bow-mount trolling motor is just in front of your boat’s gate. These motors can get a bit tricky to install, though.

Engine Mount

Some anglers appreciate the convenience that an engine-mounted trolling motor provides. They are remotely operated, so you don’t have to stow or launch them. Make sure to firmly attach them to the cavitation plate of your boat’s outboard motor.

Transom Mount

A transom-mount trolling motor can be a less expensive option. It can also steer outboard motors. Much like a bow-mounted trolling motor, a transom-mount motor is also popular among fishermen. They are less complicated than other mounting options.

Shaft Length

The shaft length is one of the most important considerations. Getting the right shaft length for your boat helps your propeller to remain submerged regardless of water or weather conditions. The right shaft length simply makes your boating experience comfier and less stressful.

Selecting shaft lengths isn’t that hard for most boats. However, because pontoon boats have high decks, you must use extreme caution. You should think about the length of the decks on your pontoon boat.

For determining the proper length, measure the distance from your mounting spot to the water and add 20 inches or 50cm. There are many manufacturers that provide shaft lengths in a variety of lengths. So, choosing the proper length shaft for your pontoon boat will be simple.

Durability

The best trolling motor for pontoon boats should be made of sturdy materials. Heavy-duty construction helps you steer and run your boats smoothly. When your motor is durable, it will survive a long time of use and can save you money in the long run.

Control

Always go for motors with simple and efficient control features. You can opt for wireless control, which is very convenient since you can control your motor anywhere on the boat, however, they are more expensive. There are also motors with tillers and pedals. These models integrate traditional steering.

Other Features

Buying a trolling motor with additional handy features might be a good idea. You can look for one with GPS capability, multiple speeds, remote steering control, and movable parts. These are optional but they can have a great impact on the overall performance of your boat.

Best Trolling Motor for Pontoon Boat FAQs

What size trolling motor is needed for a pontoon boat?

The traditional way to figure the amount of thrust you require is to divide the overall weight of your boat by pounds by 100. Then, multiply the result by 2.

So, if your 24-foot pontoon weighs around 3,500 lbs when fully loaded with fuel, gear, and a few passengers, the size trolling motor you need will be 70 pounds of thrust.

Do trolling motors work on pontoons?

Yes, they do. Make sure to pick the right shaft length and thrust for your pontoon boat.

How long should a trolling motor shaft be on a pontoon boat?

Certain pontoon boats like bass boats can get away with 20-inch shafts. Most pontoons, however, have a 48-inch shaft, but it is always advisable to go a bit longer than what’s required. The most popular pontoon trolling motor shafts are between 55 and 6 inches.

Can I put a kicker motor on a pontoon boat?

Yes. A kicker motor is a fantastic must-have for any pontoon angler. Kicker motors serve as an emergency backup in case your main motor fails. They’re also more fuel-efficient, making them ideal for trolling.

How many pounds of thrust do I need for a trolling motor?

We recommend getting a trolling motor that weighs at least 2 lbs for every 100 pounds of thrust when your boat is completely loaded with gas, passengers, and gear.

However, a little more thrust is always a good idea. This way, your pontoon can maintain optimal boat performance. And this is especially handy when sailing in strong wind and current situations.

How do you measure trolling motor shaft length?

To determine the right shaft length for your boat, you must first measure the distance from the mounting place on the transom to the waterline. Next, add 20 inches to that measurement to get the shaft length your boat needs. If you can’t decide between two sizes, go with the larger option.

How fast can an electric trolling motor go?

Trolling motors can go as fast as 5 mph. Such a speed peak makes them ideal for fishing and they are popular as the primary means of propulsion for many boaters.

How deep should your trolling motor be in the water?

The recommended depth for a trolling motor’s propeller is 6 inches of water above the blades. This means that depending on the trolling motor’s make, model, and specifications, its centerline prop shaft should be around 12 to 18 inches below the waterline.

What does 55 lb thrust mean?

A motor with 55 pounds of thrust can support a 21-feet boat weighing up to 2500 lbs.

Can you have too much thrust on a trolling motor?

There is no such thing as too much thrust when using a variable speed. It is not only more functional, but it also extends battery life. Thrust is essentially a static measurement of pushing or pulling power, though more thrust does not always equal more speed.

When it comes to trolling motor thrust, it’s always a better option to have more power than to not have enough.

Conclusion

So, what is the best trolling motor for a pontoon?

Our favorite is the Newport Vessels NV-Series because it offers enough thrust and durability to withstand a day of fishing. It’s also one of the most inexpensive trolling motors in the market that provides efficiency, allowing you to set it to multiple speeds, and offers easy and quiet operation.

However, if you don’t mind splurging on a premium trolling motor, the MotorGuide 940700160 Xi3 could be a fantastic choice. It’s a wireless motor that offers better thrust than other models. And it comes with a wealth of advanced trolling motor features that are easy and intuitive.

It allows you to control your motor anywhere on the boat while offering quiet operation. And the best part about it? It can withstand various temperatures and harsh water conditions.

Another great candidate for durability is the Newport Vessels Kayak Series. This trolling motor is great for both kayaks and pontoons and allows for versatility on the water. It’s a great mid-range option that works well in all your fishing needs.

If you’re on the hunt for the most budget-friendly option, though, the Minn Kota Endura C2 30 may be a great option. It’s compact and durable. And its responsiveness offers better steering. It also offers cool, quiet operation.

Lastly, the powerful PEXMOR Electric Trolling Motor. This motor gives you higher thrust than most of the models on our list. It’s efficient for fishing, with multiple speed levels that allow for versatile operation. It also provides cool, quiet trolling. Plus, it’s inexpensive.

We hope you’ve found the best trolling motor from our recommended brands. Make sure to check out the latest prices and discounts on these motors, and as always, good luck!

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