Best Saltwater Trolling Motor

Best Saltwater Trolling Motor

Saltwater trolling motors have a significant advantage over freshwater motors.

And that advantage is that you can also use them in freshwater.

This is not the case with freshwater motors because they are not constructed using corrosion-resistant materials like saltwater motors.

So if you are to buy a motor system for your boat, you are better off with a saltwater motor because it also works well in freshwater.

Other than that, both types of motors work well.

But if you are looking particularly for a saltwater motor system, there are many options. It’s only a matter of knowing which one is suitable for your boat.

And to help you out, here are some of the best saltwater trolling motors you can buy.

Top Pick

Minn Kota 1023103 Riptide Fortrex

Minn Kota 1023103 Riptide Fortrex

  • Mono-Arm Design
  • Counter-Tension Stabilizer
  • Digital Maximizer

Saltwater Trolling Motors Comparison Chart

PhotoProductFeaturesPrice

Minn Kota 1023103 Riptide Fortrex

Minn Kota 1023103 Riptide FortrexThrust: 80 lbs
Shaft Length: 62 inches
Voltage: 24v
GPS System: No
Check Price

MotoGuide 941700100 Xi5

MotoGuide 941700100 Xi5Thrust: 105 lbs
Shaft Length: 60 inches
Voltage: 36v
GPS System: Yes
Check Price

Minn Kota 1088337 Riptide Ulterra

Minn Kota 1088337 Riptide UlterraThrust: 112 lbs
Shaft Length: 60 inches
Voltage: 36v
GPS System: Yes
Check Price

Newport Vessels 23M1000203 NV

Newport Vessels 23M1000203 NVThrust: 55 lbs
Shaft Length: 30 inches
Voltage: 12v
GPS System: No
Check Price

U-BCOO 8 Speed

U-BCOO 8 SpeedThrust: 55 lbs
Shaft Length: 8.5 inches
Voltage: 12v
GPS System: No
Check Price

5 Best Saltwater Trolling Motors (as of November, 2020):

1. Minn Kota 1023103 Riptide Fortrex – Best Saltwater Trolling Motor With Hand Control Review

Minn Kota 1023103 Riptide Fortrex

Minn Kota 1023103 Riptide Fortrex has a grand reputation for making high-quality trolling motors.

This is the reason their motors are popular with boat owners.

And the Minn Kota 1023103 Riptide is right at the top of the popularity list.

This motor is designed for large boats. It has a thrust of 80 pounds, so it can power and run a boat that is 4000 pounds when completely loaded.

It has a shaft length of 62 inches, which has an unbreakable 2-blade propeller that makes it possible to fish in waters that are filled with marsh grass or weeds.

You can break away from the motor easily when you are not using, thanks to the detachable Bow guard bracket

The Riptide is controlled using a mono-arm made of aluminum, which helps the motor to run quietly.

The arm works with no metal to metal contact to reduce wear and extend its lifespan. And it telescopes up to 6 inches.

It’s a 24volt motor, so it uses two 12volt batteries. At slow speed, the motor draws 5 amps and this translates to 15 hours of runtime. But at high speed, it draws 52 amps, so you can only get a runtime of less than 2hrs.

Minn Kota 1023103 Riptide Fortrex Review, Pros and Cons

And to measure how much of your battery is left, the motor comes equipped with a battery power indicator. So you always know when your battery is running low.

Because it’s large and heavy, the motor comes with a lift assist feature. The lift assist has a stainless steel spring charged with nitrogen gas that makes it easy to stow and deploy the motor. 

Main Features

  • Patented Lift-Assist Design
  • Removable Bowguard 360° Bracket
  • Mono-Arm Design
  • Solid One-Piece Construction
  • Made of Extruded, Anodized Aluminum
  • Counter-Tension Stabilizer
  • Advanced Corrosion Protection
  • Push-to-Test Battery Meter
  • Digital Maximizer
  • Weedless Wedge 2 Prop
  • Indestructible Composite Shaft
  • Guaranteed for Life

Pros:

  • Telescoping 6-inch mono-arm for easy steering
  • Uses two 12volt batteries
  • Utilizes a list assist feature for easy motor stowing and deploying
  • Variable speed feature
  • Stainless steel construction for saltwater performance
  • The shaft comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Comes with only a 2-year warranty
  • Some parts have poor quality plastic

2. MotoGuide 941700100 Xi5 – Best Saltwater Trolling Motor With GPS Review

MotoGuide 941700100 Xi5

This particular model by MotoGuide is a 105-pound thrust motor that is designed for boats that weigh more than 4000 pounds.

MotoGuide 941700100 Xi5 has a 60-inch shaft that has an unbreakable 3-blade propeller.

So you can fish in waters are that are full of weeds and marsh grass without worry about getting stuck.

This heavy-duty motor uses three 12v batteries. It does not come with batteries, so you need to buy them.

You can choose to buy AGM deep cycle batteries or lithium-ion batteries. We advise getting AGM batteries because they are spill-proof, and they last long.

Remote Control for MotoGuide 941700100 Xi5

It’s a foot-controlled motor that uses a wireless foot pedal to control the boat.The pedal is extremely responsive, easy to use, and shock-resistant. On the pedal, there is a variable speed feature that displays different levels of speed.

This motor uses pinpoint GPS that is remote controlled. It does come with a waterproof and shock-resistant remote control that is extremely user-friendly. It is also waterproof.

And the GPS system comes with some amazing features. These features include Route Playback to record and save your routes. It can save up to 8 routes. There is a GPS anchor feature to help keep your boat in position while you fish.

MotoGuide 941700100 Xi5 Review, Pros and Cons

The cruise control feature helps to keep your vessel at a particular speed and the heading function keeps you on course.

So overall, even if the motor is quite expensive, it has a lot to offer. It comes with a lot of great features that make fishing easy and fun. But if you are on a budget, consider getting a motor that does not come with high-tech features.

Main Features

  • Ultra-Quiet Operation With Precision Gears
  • GPS System With Route Playback
  • Low-Friction Bearings
  • Wireless Foot Pedal
  • Variable Speed Control & Momentary On
  • Precision Steering With Fast Rotation Speed
  • Fully Encapsulated, Digital Electronics
  • Improved Low-Profile Mount With Stow & Deploy Mechanism
  • Composite Shaft With a Lifetime Warranty

Pros:

  • Pinpoint GPS for position locking and precision control
  • An extremely responsive foot pedal that is easy to use
  • Variable speed feature
  • 105 pounds of thrust
  • Rust and corrosion-resistant construction
  • Uses three 12volt batteries
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • It is expensive

3. Minn Kota 1088337 Riptide Ulterra – Best Strong Saltwater Trolling Motor With Bow Mount and GPS Review

Minn Kota 1088337 Riptide Ulterra

Like all the other models in the Riptide series, this Minn Kota 1088337 Riptide Ulterra comes with pinpoint GPS that does a lot of things, like record and save your routes, command steering, lock your boat in a particular position and much more.

The GPS system is controlled using an i-Pilot remote control, which is sturdy and shock-resistant. And it is also waterproof.

i-Pilot remote control for Minn Kota 1088337 Riptide Ulterra

The buttons on the remote control are easy to understand. And once you understand what button does what, it should be relatively easy to control your boat using the remote.

Minn Kota 1088337 Riptide Ulterra has Power Trim & Auto Stow & Deploy

The boat is also controlled using a wireless foot pedal that is extremely responsive. And on the foot pedal, there is a speed feature that has speed settings. So you are able to tell at what speed you are moving at. 

This is a 112-pound thrust motor, so it can move large boats that weigh more than 6000 pounds when fully loaded.

It does need plenty of power, 36volts to be precise. And since it is built for large boats, it has a 60-inch shaft with a 2-blade propeller

Some users prefer having a 3-blade propeller on their motors instead of a 2-blade propeller because they are quieter. But this does not mean that this propeller is loud. It’s pretty quiet, so you are not going to scare away the fish.

Minn Kota 1088337 Riptide Ulterra Review, Pros and Cons

This motor comes with a lift assist built into the hydraulic arm to help with the stowing and deploying of the motor. This feature is quite nice and useful because the motor itself is quite heavy. So what it does is make it easy to stow and deploy the motor.

So this is a great motor for large vessels. It comes with a lot of amazing features, so as you would expect, it is not cheap. So if you are on a tight budget, this may not the ideal option for you.

Main Features

  • i-Pilot GPS Trolling System
  • Auto Stow & Deploy
  • Power Trim
  • Spot-Lock With Jog
  • AutoPilot
  • Advanced Corrosion Protection
  • Integrated Battery Meter
  • Digital Maximizer
  • Weedless Wedge 2 Prop
  • Indestructible Composite Shaft

Pros:

  • Pinpoint GPS for spot locking, route tracking, and command steering
  • Waterproof remote control
  • Easy to use foot pedal
  • Stainless construction for saltwater performance
  • 60-inch shaft with a 2-blade propeller
  • 105 pounds of thrust
  • Ideal for boats weighing over 4000 pounds
  • Uses three 12v batteries
  • Comes with a lift assist for stowing and deploying

Cons:

  • It is expensive

4. Newport Vessels 23M1000203 NV – Best Transom Saltwater Trolling Motor For The Money Review

Newport Vessels 23M1000203 NV

This Newport Vessels 23M1000203 NV model is the 55-pound thrust saltwater motor in the NV-Series.

This is a transom trolling motor, so its ideal for small vessels like canoes and kayaks.

It comes with a 30-inch shaft, which is ideal for small boats.

The shaft unlike the rest of the motor which is made of stainless steel, magnesium, and zinc, is made of fiberglass. It comes with a 3-blade propeller which is extremely quiet and strong enough to cut through thick vegetation.

The motor is controlled using a 6-inch telescoping handle for steering and controlling the boat.

The handle has 8 speeds. Five forward speed and three reverse speeds. To change speed, you simply turn the handle and there is an audible click with every turn.

At high speed, the battery can last for about 2 hours, but at low speed it can last more than 10 hours. On the motor head, there is an LED battery meter to help you keep track of your battery charge.

The LED lights tell how much battery charge is left. If it blinks red, it means that the battery is running low on charge. This is a nice feature because you are always aware of how much charge you have left

This motor only uses one 12v battery since it designed for small boats, and usually, they don’t need much power to start and run. If you choose to buy a deep cycle battery, which the company recommends, you can get plenty of run time at a slow speed.

Newport Vessels 23M1000203 NV Review, Pros and Cons

Aside from that, the motor comes with an attractive price tag. There are many similar models that cost a lot more than this particular model.

The only setback, which is not much of a setback is that it does not come with features like a pinpoint GPS system, which has many capabilities like helping you find good fishing spots. But it does give you better control of your boat.

Main Features

  • Ultra-Quiet, Cool & Efficient
  • Stainless Steel Hardware for Saltwater
  • Composite Fiberglass Shaft
  • For Proper Depth Placement In All Water Conditions
  • Ergonomic Extendable Handle
  • 5 Forward Speeds & 3 Reverse Speeds Puts Total Control
  • 5-Point LED Battery Meter
  • 3-Blade Propeller
  • Maximum Amp Draw: 52

Pros:

  • Made from corrosion-resistant materials
  • Comes with an extremely responsive 6-inch telescoping hand for controlling the boat
  • Fiberglass 30-inch shaft with a 3-blade propeller
  • LED battery meter to keep track of battery power
  • Uses one 12v battery
  • Ultra-quiet
  • Sturdy and durable construction
  • Ideal for small boats

Cons:

  • Comes only with a 2-year warranty
  • It is not ideal for large boats

5. U-BCOO 8 Speed – Best Kayak Saltwater Trolling Motor With Telescopic Handle Review

U-BCOO 8 Speed

This U-BCOO 8 Speed multipurpose trolling motor is compact, lightweight, and easy to install.

It’s a 55-pound thrust motor capable of moving a boat that is 2250 pounds when fully loaded at 5 miles per hour at full power.

So it is ideal for small, lightweight boats like kayaks, dinghies, and canoes. 

It features an 8.5-inch shaft made of fiberglass. The shaft comes with a strong and sturdy 3-blade propeller to help you cut through marsh grass and weeds with ease. 

Like all transom motors, this one is operated using a telescoping hand to give you better control of your boat. And the handle has 8-speed settings. Five speeds and three reverses.

The motor runs on a single 12v battery. The company recommends that you use a deep cycle marine battery. And with a 12v battery on slow speed, you can get more than 8 hours of runtime.

How long you can stay on the water depends on how much the motor draws at varying speeds. At high speed, you may get only 2 hours of runtime.

U-BCOO 8 Speed Review, Pros and Cons

When it comes to construction, it is a saltwater motor so its made of rust-resistant materials. The head of the motor is made of aluminum and the rest of the motor is made of stainless steel.

So you can also use this motor in freshwater, which is very convenient. Motors made for freshwater cannot be used in saltwater.

U-BCOO 8 Speed has 4 inch Telescopic Handle

It is a pretty simple trolling motor. It does not come with fancy features like some motor systems but it’s quiet, reliable, and efficient.

Main Features

  • Durable, Energy Saving & Quiet
  • 4 inch Telescopic Handle
  • 10 Level LED Power Display
  • 8.5 inch Composite Fiberglass Shaft
  • 8 Speeds (5 Forward & 3 Reverse)
  • 3-Blade Propeller
  • High Performance
  • Full Copper Core Motor
  • Stable Performance & Long Service Life
  • Compact, Light Weight & Convenient Installation

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Made of rust-resistant materials
  • Sturdy 8.5inch fiberglass shaft
  • Strong and durable three-blade propeller
  • Easy to use 4-inch telescoping hand
  • Ideal for kayaks and canoes
  • Decently priced

Cons:

  • Some parts are not high quality

Buyers Guide

What’s a saltwater Trolling Motor?

A saltwater trolling motor is a motor that is made of rust and corrosion-resistant materials like stainless steel, zinc, magnesium, and fiberglass.

Many saltwater motors have a fiberglass shaft, stainless steel propeller, aluminum head, and stainless steel body.

They work the same way freshwater motors work. They only advantage they have over freshwater motors is that you can use a saltwater motor in freshwater, but you cannot use a freshwater motor in saltwater.

How to choose the Best saltwater Trolling Motor?

Saltwater motors come in varying sizes and styles. The two most common styles are bow motor and transom motors.

Bow motors are designed for large boats and therefore, they are large and heavy. They deliver a high power output, and they are expensive and difficult to install.

Bow-Mount Motor and Transom Motors

Transom motors are built for small boats. Usually, boats that weigh less than 3000 pounds like kayaks and canoes. They are small in size and lightweight. They have a simple design, and they are easy to install.

As for size, it all depends on the size of your boat.

Other than that, there are several other factors you need to consider when choosing a saltwater motor. And these factors include:

Control Type

You have more than two options when it comes to how you want to control your boat. The two most common styles are hand control and foot control.

Transom motors are controlled by hand. They come with telescoping handles for steering and the length of these handles vary depending on the motor. Most of them have 6-inch handles that have speed settings that range from zero to eight.

Transom motors are controlled by hand

Not all motors come with a variable speed feature. Some come with only two speeds and usually, they have a switch that you push up and down to move high speed to low speed.  

Bow mounts are controlled by foot. They utilize foot pedals that have buttons on them to help control a boat.

And the advantage they have over telescoping handles is that you can place a foot pedal anywhere on the boat. For you to operate a telescoping hand, you must be position yourself close to where you can access it.

The other way you can control your boat is by remote control. Motors that come with GPS systems usually come with a remote control. And like foot pedals, you can position yourself anywhere on the boat. You are not restricted as with telescoping handles.

Saltwater Trolling Motor has GPS systems with a remote control

So the control type depends on your choice of motor, which is also determined by the size of your boat.

If you have a medium or large boat, you can install a foot-controlled motor. But if you have small boat, it might difficult because they take up a lot of space.

Propeller

Motors come with 2-blade or 3-blade propellers. And when choosing a saltwater motor, you need to ensure that the propeller is made of rust-resistant materials.

Also, 3-blade propellers are quieter and more powerful than 2-blade propellers. So deciding which one to get depends on your fishing style and personal preference.

Saltwater trolling motor with 3-blade propeller

But if you fish in water that is filled with marsh grass or weeds, a 3-blade propeller would be the best choice.

Shaft

Small and lightweight motors come with short shaft lengths, while large and heavy motors come with long shaft lengths. Getting a shaft that is too short for the size of your boat can result in less thrust and power.

A shaft that is too long can make it difficult to fish in shallow water if the shaft is not adjustable. But most shafts are adjustable.

So you are better off with a long shaft than a short one because you can always adjust the length of the shaft to become shorter.

Battery Power

Battery power is determined by the size of your boat. If your boat weighs more than 3500 pounds, you need a 24v or 36v motor system. A 24v uses two 12v batteries while a 36v uses three 12v batteries.

Also, consider how much thrust your boat requires. A boat that is less than 3000 pounds requires a motor that has a thrust of 55 pounds. And such motor requires only one 12v battery.

Any motor that has a thrust of upto 80 pounds requires two 12v batteries and over 100 pounds requires three 12v batteries.

Essentially, to know how much battery power you need, you need to to know how much your boat weighs.

Thrust Power

Small boats don’t need as much thrust power as big boats. So depending on the size of your boat, you can calculate how much thrust it needs.

And the rule of thumb is to get the total weight of your boat when fully loaded and multiply it by 100, then divide the result by 2.

So if a boat weighs 6000, it requires a thrust of (6000/100)*2=120lb of thrust. Many boat owners forget to include the maximum capacity of the boat to the total weight when calculating thrust.

To avoid getting the wrong size motor system, ensure that you add the total weight your boat is capable of carrying to the weight of the boat. 

Corrosion Resistance

Saltwater motors are built differently from freshwater motors in that they use corrosion resistant materials. Usually, they are made of stainless steel, zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and fiberglass.

So you may find that the motor head is aluminum, the shaft is fiberglass and the rest of the body is a mixture of stainless steel, and zinc. But not all motors are made from these materials but they are the most common.

Some come with plastic parts, but you may find that the plastic is of poor quality. We recommend that you check what materials the entire motor is made from as that determines its durability, performance, and longevity.

Sacrificial Anode

Most trolling motors come with sacrificial anode. And the node helps prevent some key parts of the motor from corroding.

If you have a bronze propeller, to protect it from corrosion, you can attach a sacrificial anode, if there is none one the motor. Make sure that the anode is made of zinc or aluminum.

There are those that are made from magnesium, but they are specifically designed for freshwater motors.

A sacrificial node is important because it can increase the lifespan of your boat’s engine, propeller shaft, cooling systems, and other metal parts that are vulnerable corrosion.

Conclusion

Deciding on whether you need a saltwater motor depends on your fishing style. If you like to fish in saltwater environments, then it makes sense to get a saltwater motor.

It is important, however, that you get one that is suitable for your fishing needs and boat size.

Best Saltwater Trolling Motor

Leave a Comment