Most people buy pontoon boats for recreational purposes and the beauty about them is that they are customizable.
Although there are luxury pontoon boats that are equipped with fancy and luxurious features, they are more expensive than regular pontoon boats.
Besides, since you can customize one, you don’t need to buy an expensive one.
Pontoon boats are powered using water paddles or electric trolling motors. If speed is of importance to you, then you need to install a trolling motor on your boat.
And the type of trolling motor you need to buy is determined by the weight and size of your boat. Trolling motors come in different styles and sizes. Some come with GPS systems and can even be controlled using a remote control.
The style of trolling motor to buy is going to depend on your needs. If you use boat for cruising or fishing, a GPS equipped motor system would be quite helpful.
But it all boils down to what you can afford. Motors systems that come with GPS systems and other fancy features are expensive.
The size of the trolling motor to buy highly depends on how big and heavy your boat is when it’s fully loaded. So when it comes to choosing a trolling motor for your pontoon boat, knowing which one is the most suitable is extremely important.
If you have no idea what trolling motor to buy, we have done the hard work for you. And here are the 5 best trolling motors you can buy for your pontoon boat.
- Extremely Quiet
- Quick-Release Lever
- Digital Maximizer
- 3-Year Warranty
Trolling Motors for Pontoon Boat Comparison Chart
|Minn Kota 1358722 Powerdrive V2||Thrust: 68 lbs|
Shaft Length: 48 inches
GPS System: No
|MotoGuide 941700100 Xi5||Thrust: 105 lbs|
Shaft Length: 60 inches
GPS System: Yes
|Newport Vessels 23M1000203 NV||Thrust: 55 lbs|
Shaft Length: 30 inches
GPS System: No
|Garmin 010-02024-00 Force||Thrust: 80 lbs or 100 lbs|
Shaft Length: 50 inches
Voltage: 24v or 36v
GPS System: Yes
|Minn Kota 1082341 Ulterra||Thrust: 80 lbs|
Shaft Length: 45 inches
GPS System: Yes
5 Best Trolling Motors for Pontoon Boat (as of December, 2023):
1. Minn Kota 1358722 Powerdrive V2 – Best Ergonomic Trolling Motor For a Pontoon Boat Review
The Powerdrive V2 by Minn Kota is a freshwater trolling motor designed for people who have medium or large-sized boats.
This particular model is a 68-pound thrust motor with a 48-inch shaft.
So it can easily start and run boats that weigh 3500 pounds when fully loaded.
This unit not cheap and that is because it comes with a lot of features and accessories to make your fishing adventure fun and hasslefree.
One of these features is a user-friendly foot pedal that comes with an 18-inch cord making it easy to place the pedal anywhere on the boat you want.
And when you are not using the pedal, you can disconnect it easily and quickly for storage.
And the nice thing about this feature is that it allows you to have better control of your boat’s speed.
Another great feature is its deploy mechanism, which is designed for convenience. The mechanism consists of a quick-release lever that unlocks quickly and with ease. So you can deploy the motor quickly and effortlessly.
For easy installation, the motor comes with nuts, washers, and bolts. It uses two 12v batteries, which you don’t come with the battery, so you need to buy them separately.
When installing the motor make sure to check the user manual for instructions, if it’s your first time installing a trolling motor.
- Quick-Release Lever For Fast Motor Deployment
- Side-To-Side Steering Foot Pedal
- Variable Speed Feature
- Unique Bearing System Reduces Friction
- Electric Steer
- Composite Shaft
- Digital Maximizer Technology
- Cool, Quiet Power
- Weedless Wedge or Weedless Wedge 2 Prop
- 3-Year Warranty
- Freshwater compatible
- Ideal for medium to large vessels
- 68-pound thrust capable of starting and running 3500-pound boats
- 48-inch shaft
- Extremely quiet
- Variable speed feature
- Compatible with Minn Kota’s Autopilot navigation system
- A user-friendly foot pedal that is easy to use and control
- Easy to install
- Performs well even in heavy winds
- Efficient deployment mechanism
- Comes with a 3-year warranty
- It is expensive
- It is not saltwater compatible
- It is heavy
2. MotoGuide 941700100 Xi5 – Best Pontoon Boat Trolling Motor With GPS Review
The one problem with trolling motors is the cables.
They mess up your deck and you can trip on them.
That is not the case with the MotoGuide 941700100 Xi5 because its a GPS trolling motor.
We love these types of motors systems because there are no cables to create a whole lot mess on your deck.
The Xi5 is propelled using a wireless foot pedal which is easy to use and control. And since the foot pedal also does not come with cables, you can position it anywhere you like on your boat.
This gives you the option to be as flexible and comfortable as you want.
The motor comes with a handheld controller that allows you to steer and control the speed of your pontoon. It is extremely responsive and easy to use.
On the motor’s dashboard, there are LED lights to show you when the power, GPS, and propeller are on. There is also a battery power indicator that uses three different colors to show you the level of your battery life.
It can recall up to 8 different routes, but make sure to save the coordinates, which you can at the push of a button.
To keep you on course, there are two compass modules, which work together with the pinpoint GPS.
And in case you encounter strong winds or rough currents, the pinpoint automatically adjusts the motor’s orientation to ensure that you stay on course.
- 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
- Wireless foot pedal that’s easy to use and control
- Responsive handheld controller
- Quick deployment mechanism
- Battery power indicator to monitor battery charge
- Extremely quiet
- Pinpoint GPS for precision and accuracy
- Two compass modules to help you stay on course
- Sturdy and durable 60-inch shaft
- Ideal for saltwater and freshwater fishing
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- It is expensive
3. Newport Vessels 23M1000203 NV – Best Transom Pontoon Boat Trolling Motor For the Money Review
There are extremely expensive trolling motors out there.
Some of which cost over a thousand dollars.
And if you don’t have that kind of money to spend on a trolling system or you simply don’t want to, there are other cheaper options like the Newport Vessels 23M1000203 NV.
This motor is designed for boat owners who are on a budget and own medium-sized boats. It features a sturdy 30-inch shaft made of fiberglass that can cut through weeds and grass with ease.
The rest of the motor is build with stainless steel, magnesium, and zinc, which are also resistant to rust and corrosion.
This model has a thrust of 55 pounds and its pretty quiet. So you don’t risk scaring the fish away. It has a 6-inch extendable handle that tilts easily and on the handle, there are 8-speed settings. 5 speeds are forward and 3 are for reverse.
There is a LED battery meter on the head of the motor that helps you monitor the battery charge. So you always know exactly how much charge is left.
- 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
- Ideal for saltwater and freshwater cruising or fishing
- adjustable 30-inch shaft
- Made of rust and corrosion-resistant materials
- Extendable handle for easy steering
- Variable speed feature
- LED battery meter for checking battery charge usage
- Maximum draw of 52 amps
- Uses one 12v deep cycle battery
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
- The motor head is not totally waterproof
4. Garmin 010-02024-00 Force – Best Pontoon Boat Trolling Motor For 36v and Remote Foot Control Review
The Garmin 010-02024-00 Force is a heavy-duty trolling motor that can truly turn your pontoon boat into a machine.
It’s a massive motor that has an incredible cable management system to help reduce clutter on your deck.
It has a LED power indicator to help you know how much power is left in your battery.
And this is a very helpful feature because it can help you estimate how long to stay on water, whether you are cruising or fishing.
The motor is propelled using a wireless foot pedal. The pedal for this motor is huge unlike for other trolling motors.
But then again, the motor itself is rather large. And the size of the pedal makes it easy to steer the boat in whatever direction you want.
But some users are happy with it. So it depends on how much experience you have with these types of trolling motors.
The Force has other incredible features like its anchor lock which allows you to keep your boat in position as you fish. And there is a GPS system to help you navigate and stay on course.
The motor comes with a remote control that is waterproof for easy steering. If you get tired of using it or the foot pedal, you can set the motor on autopilot and enjoy the ride.
So despite its large construct, this motor is extremely sturdy and delivers high power output to move large pontoon boats. The only problem is that its super expensive.
- High Efficiency Brushless Motor
- Wireless Foot Pedal
- Full Color Floatable Remote
- Cable Management System
- Built-in GPS
- Integrates to Garmin MFDs
- Integrated High Definition Sonar
- Gas-Piston Lift Assist
- Coiled Spring Shaft Guard
- LED Power Indicator
- It has a strong and sturdy build
- Brushless motor that is quiet and efficient
- Ideal for newbies
- Two sonar systems with incredible clear imagery
- It comes with an LED power indicator to help you monitor battery power
- It has an excellent cable management system to reduce clutter
- It comes with a large wireless foot pedal
- It comes with remote control for easy steering and navigation
- It uses 24volt or 36volt batteries
- Antilock and autopilot capabilities
- Large, bulky, and heavy
- The foot pedal has a lag
- It is extremely expensive
- Ideal for only freshwater fishing
5. Minn Kota 1082341 Ulterra – Best Pontoon Boat Trolling Motor Minn Kota With Sonar Review
Minn Kota 1082341 Ulterra is a great trolling motor that requires very little maintenance.
You can use it for a year or more without needing to clean it.
So it’s pretty much maintenance-free.
The Ulterra has an 80-pound thrust, so it can move a fully loaded, large pontoon boat with ease.
The shaft length of the motor is 45 inches and it has a sturdy, unbreakable propeller to help cut through weeds and marsh grass with ease.
But aside from that, this motor utilizes GPS to help you stay on course, lock onto a fishing spot, and record and save routes.
On the motor head, there is a battery meter to give you readings on the battery power. And to help you find a good fishing spot, the motor comes with an inbuilt sonar system that provides clear images.
To control your boat and steer it in whatever direction you want, you have the option of using the foot pedal or the i-Pilot remote that comes with the motor. If you are feeling a bit lazy or tired, you can put the motor on autopilot.
So all things considering, this motor is great if you need to move a large pontoon. And although it is expensive, it is worth the investment.
- GPS Control System
- i-Pilot Remote Control
- Auto Deploy and Power Trim
- Multi-Function Foot Pedal
- Heading Sensor
- Sonar System
- Spot-Lock & Autopilot
- Weedless Wedge 2 Prop
- Battery Meter
- Inbuilt sonar system
- GPS system for easy navigation and to lock on fishing spots
- i-Pilot remote control for steering
- Easy to use foot pedal for navigating
- Quick and efficient deploy mechanism
- 80 pounds of thrust
- 45-inch long shaft
- Uses 24volt battery
- Ideal for freshwater fishing
- It is expensive
- It is not ideal for only saltwater fishing
What is a Pontoon Boat?
A pontoon boat is a flat deck that is mounted on two or three floating devices referred to as pontoons. The pontoons are airproof and hollow giving them the ability to float on water.
Pontoon boats are usually 14 to 30 feet long. And they can be driven using water paddles or an electric trolling motor.
They are not costly and this could be the one thing that makes them so desirable. But it also depends on the size, style, and design of the pontoon boat. Luxury pontoon boats are more expensive than regular ones.
But the good thing about these boats is that you can buy a regular one and then customize it. So you can decide how much you want to spend based on the additions you want to put on the boat.
So you don’t necessarily need to buy a pontoon boat that has all the features that you want. It might be more costly than if you were to get and install the features yourself.
What Trolling Motor Do I Need for a Pontoon Boat?
This depends on the size and weight of your pontoon boat. To know what trolling motor to buy, you need to first determine how much thrust your boat requires.
Once you determine how much thrust your pontoon boat needs, you know what type and size of trolling motor to buy. You are also going to determine what battery system you need for the motor.
How Long Should a Pontoon Motor Shaft Be?
To know how long a pontoon motor shaft should be, measure the distance between the waterline and where you intend to install your trolling motor. Then add 18 inches.
If you choose to place the motor at the bow of your boat, you need to measure the distance between the bow and the waterline to get the motor shaft length.
Then add 22 inches because you need a longer shaft since the bow is higher than any other part of the boat.
Also, consider water conditions. If you are going to be on lakes or rivers that are usually calm most of the time, then you don’t need a long shaft length. But if you are going to be on choppy water, a long shaft length would be the best choice.
How to Choose the Trolling Motor for Pontoon Boat?
If you plan on buying a trolling motor and you have never bought one before and you don’t know where to start, here are some key factors to help you out.
Type of Control
The different styles of motors available are hand-control, foot control, co-pilot control, and auto-pilot control.
Depending on your needs and budget, you can choose which one to buy. Hand- controlled motors are installed on small boats like skiffs and Jon boats.
And foot-controlled motors are installed on large boats like bay boats and bass boats.
So the type of control is going to depend on the type of motor that is suitable for your boat. The cheapest and easiest to use are hand-controlled motors. The others are expensive, but they do come with high-tech features.
Weight of Boat
The weight of your boat is another determining factor when choosing a trolling motor. You cannot know what type or size of the motor to buy if you don’t know how much your boat weighs. And the weight should include the carrying capacity of your boat.
The size and weight of your pontoon boat determine how much power your boat requires. And power is determined by the battery size and voltage.
Trolling motors come in 3 configurations: 12 volts, 24 volts, and 36 volts. 12-volt motors use one battery, 24-volt motors use two batteries, and 36-volt motors use three batteries.
If you have a big boat like a bass boat, you need a 24volt or 36volt motor to drive it. For small boats like canoes and kayaks, a 12volt motor is adequate. Since 24 volt and 36-volt motors deliver more power than 12-volt motors, they are more expensive.
How much thrust your boat requires depends on the size of your vessel. Small boats don’t need as much thrust as big boats do.
Shaft length is another important consideration. After all, the propeller of your motor should be in the water if your boat is to move at all.
For small boats like canoes and kayaks, a long shaft length is not needed. But for big boats, a short shaft length would not be ideal.
To measure the shaft length of a trolling motor, measure the distance between the water surface and where you plan on mounting the motor.
Saltwater Freshwater Choice
If you plan on fishing or cruising on both freshwater and saltwater, you need to get a trolling motor that is designed for saltwater. Mainly because they come with components that are resistant to rust and corrosion brought about by saltwater.
If you choose to buy a saltwater motor, it is going to cost you more than a freshwater motor.
This is because saltwater motors come equipped and coated with corrosion and rust-resistant materials. And it’s these protective features that make them pricey.
Trolling motors are great because they can transform your boat into a powerful machine that moves with incredible speed.
And when you find the right one for your pontoon boat, you are always going to look forward to exciting and fun fishing expeditions.
If you plan on getting into fishing tournaments, then having a quality trolling motor that you can rely on can be extremely helpful.
So don’t compromise on quality when choosing a trolling motor just to save a few bucks. You could end up regretting it.