Best Saltwater Trolling Motor – Buying Guide & Reviews

The goal of most fishermen is to spend as much time as possible out on the water; while catching a big one is part of the process, spending time on the water is the ultimate prize. However, there are days when you need to get back to shore faster than a pair of arms on the oars can get you to dry land; on days when you need to extra power, having the best saltwater trolling motor attached to your boat is, as Martha would say, a good thing. A best trolling motor is well worth the investment.

A trolling motor also allows you to go out further into the water than you would with just oars, and gets you back quickly – important on really hot days or when a storm is making up. What things should you consider when deciding on which motor will work best for your needs?

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Saltwater Trolling Motor

If you are looking for the best saltwater trolling motor, there are different factors you have to consider to ensure that you make the right choice. Here are some of the factors to consider:

1Price: Price is usually the deal-breaker for most people when considering a major purchase. While not as major as the boat it will be mounted on, a motor is not a minor purchase; price is a significant factor to be considered.

When researching available motors, have a price range in mind and go with the best product falling inside it; however, if the motor best suiting your needs is outside the high end of your range, don’t automatically reject it, unless price is the most important criteria you have; if budgetary concerns are paramount, choose the best saltwater trolling motor you can get for the money you have available.

If your price range is flexible, and the motor suiting you best is slightly outside the high end, consider getting it anyway.

2Purpose: Why do you want a motor? What will having a motor on your boat allow you to do that you can’t do already? What return will this investment give you? You need to answer these questions before purchasing a trolling motor.

You’re getting ready to drop a couple of hundred dollars at least on this motor, so be sure you have a good purpose in mind.

It’s OK if you just want to have a motor – just be clear on what your desires are before buying. And, be sure you can justify the purchase to your significant other before you spend the money.

3Versatility: Unless your last name is Gates or Buffet, you most likely don’t have the money to buy a single-purpose anything, let alone a single-purpose motor. If you spend most of your time in the Gulf of Mexico, it may not be a problem if your motor is only saltwater-capable.

However, if you spend equal amounts of time in fresh water as well as salt, you need a motor rated for both. Don’t assume a saltwater motor will work in fresh water – the vegetation is different, as well as the fauna, and the saltwater motor may not work well in those circumstances.

4Durability: A couple of hundred dollars may not seem like much these days, but in these budget-conscious times it’s not an amount you want to pay out any more than is necessary.

When purchasing a motor, you want one that will last more than one season; you certainly want one lasting at least one season, preferably more – many more. Durability is an important factor when buying something you could, under certain circumstances, be trusting with your life.

Investigate the craftsmanship and reputation of the company making the motor; you want a well-made motor from sturdy parts, not one made from pot metal.

5Warranty: You’re making a significant purchase when you buy a trolling motor, so don’t buy it from a fly-by-night company. You want to deal with a well-established company, with a good reputation – someone who will stand behind their product.

Not every motor made by the same company is first-rate – lemons happen; what you want is a company who will step up and make your lemon into lemonade by repairing or replacing the defective product without question and without cost to you.

Be sure your motor comes with a warranty, and be sure you understand what it covers, to prevent future misunderstandings when you need service.

Recommended Best Saltwater Trolling Motors & Reviews

There’s a lot of different saltwater trolling motors available and each one packs a lot of different features, so finding the right one can be difficult and overwhelming.

Fortunately, most of the hard work is done for you as there are five product reviews below that are bound to be some of the best saltwater trolling motor options on the market.

So if you’re looking to purchase one, take your time, read the reviews and details, and you’ll be ready to purchase in no time!

Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 lb. Thrust
Best Saltwater Trolling MotorThis little motor could easily be called Mighty Mouse; it has lots of power for its size, and it’s fast; it moves a canoe or kayak quite briskly in the water. It’s quiet – no scaring the fish with this motor. Transom-mounted, the operating handle gives the user complete control, and the height-adjustable motor mount lets you use the motor in any depth of water.

The motor is saltwater rated, but is also usable in fresh water, giving the operator a choice of where to use it. This motor is versatile – it fits any transom mount-capable craft, so mount it on a kayak, canoe, or aluminum fishing boat – it fits them all, plus many more.

The trolling motor is also quite sturdy and durable; constructed from zinc, aluminum, and stainless steel, the motor is saltwater resistant, and it fares equally well in fresh water. For its low cost, this motor provides more bang for the buck.

Features

  • Adjustable height 30” shaft
  • Two propellers
  • 8 speeds – 5 forward. 3 reverse
  • Transom mounted
  • Electric, runs off a 12-volt battery
  • Quiet operation
  • Saltwater resistant

Benefits

  • Fits most small transom crafts
  • Provides over one hour’s worth of power
  • Battery meter, for determining battery life
  • Runs in freshwater as well as saltwater
  • Easy to operate

The Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 lb. Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor with 30″ Shaft is a low-cost, well-constructed easy to operate rolling motor. It mounts on any transom mount-capable boat, and its adjustable height shaft allows operation in both shallow and deep water.

The motor operates in both saltwater and fresh, allowing the operator to choose where to boat. Overall, a good choice for the budget-conscious boater, providing both versatility and durability for the same low price.

I would recommend this motor to anyone looking to add power to their small craft without busting their budgets.

Check Price On Amazon

Intex Trolling Motor for Intex Inflatable Boats
2nd Best Saltwater Trolling MotorThis motor is specifically designed for INTEX inflatable boats and fits most of the boats in the INTEX line. It is also compatible with inflatable boats featuring a motor mount, so it’s not exclusively for the INTEX line.

The motor is designed to supply just enough power to go the designated speed, making it very efficient and extending its running time. The motor is also extremely quiet during operation, so the fish are not scared away. A ‘soft start’ function extends the motor life, by limiting how fast the motor goes from the OFF state to ON.

The motor is both saltwater and freshwater rated, giving the owner options for his or her fishing. Handling the boat is easy, and there’s a weed escape function, to aid the motor in getting out of weeds.

The shaft height is not adjustable; it’s fixed at 36”. The motor has a battery meter, as well as two protection modes – dry operation protect and overload protect – to preserve motor life.

Features:

  • Easy to steer
  • Efficient operation
  • Saltwater and Freshwater rated
  • Weed escape
  • Soft starting
  • Battery meter

Benefits:

  • Compatible with any inflatable boat with a motor mount
  • Water cooled
  • 8 speeds – 5 forward, 3 reverse
  • Tilting handle
  • Electric, runs off 12V marine battery

The INTEX Trolling Motor for INTEX Inflatable Boats, 36″ Shaft is an inexpensive, versatile motor for inflatable boats. It is designed specifically for INTEX inflatables, but is compatible with other inflatable boats with motor mounts.

The motor is quiet, and efficient, extending the motor’s lifetime. If you use an inflatable, and you have a motor mount on it, or if you have an INTEX inflatable, this motor is well worth the money.

Check Price On Amazon

Newport Vessels 55 Pound Thrust 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor

3rd Best Saltwater Trolling MotorThis Newport Vessels 55 motor is a stronger version of the Newport Vessels 36-lb thrust motor. It is larger, providing 55 pounds of thrust, and is used on a larger boat. The 36-lb thrust motor propels an eight-foot boat at maximum; this motor propels a 10.5 foot boat at maximum. It is both saltwater and freshwater rated, and the shaft is 36 inches, as opposed to 30 for the smaller motor.

The shaft is adjustable, and the control head can be tilted; the control head on the smaller motor is standard and fixed. The tiller, or control handle, is a six-inch telescoping handle on both motors. This motor has three propeller blades, for more thrust.

This motor is designed to fit all Newport Vessels inflatable boats, as well as any boat with a transom mount, giving the operator a wide choice of vessels to use it with.

Features:

  • Adjustable height 36” shaft
  • Three propellers
  • 8 speeds – 5 forward. 3 reverse
  • Transom mounted
  • Electric, runs off a 12-volt battery
  • Quiet operation
  • Saltwater resistant

Benefits:

  • Fits most boats with a transom mount
  • Provides about one hour’s worth of power
  • Battery meter, for determining battery life
  • Runs in freshwater as well as saltwater
  • Easy to operate

The Newport Vessels 55 Pound Thrust 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor is built for a larger boat and more thrust. It provides the same quiet operation as the smaller 36-lb motor, but twice the speed.

For boaters who want a larger ride, but who want the same great features the smaller motor has, this motor is the best choice, especially for the low cost.

Check Price On Amazon

Minn Kota Riptide 55 SP Saltwater Bow-Mount

4th Best Saltwater Trolling MotorThe Minn Kota Riptide 55 SP Saltwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with CoPilot (55-lb Thrust, 48″ Shaft) is a different animal than the Newport Vessel or INTEX motors previously reviewed. This motor does not use a motor or transom mount; it mounts on the bow of the boat instead.

The motor also comes with a remote control, allowing the boater to operate the motor from anywhere in the boat as opposed to the rear of the boat only. Being a bow mount, there is no restriction on the boats the motor will mount on; the restriction comes in the size of the boat the motor can power.

This motor is a saltwater motor only; Minn Kota makes freshwater motors, but their motors are not versatile in this aspect. If you want a Minn Kota motor for both salt and freshwater usage, you have to buy one of each.

Minn Kota motors of this size are not cheap; they range from 800 – 1200 dollars, so if you want to sail on both salt and fresh waters, you’ll need a chunk of change to do so.

This motor is designed for power efficiency, so it will give you longer run times between charges and be less expensive to operate.

However, you need to weigh the upfront costs over potential usage savings and determine how long it will take to even out. It may turn out the motor will not last as long as it needs to, to balance out the costs.

Features:

  • Deploy assist lever
  • Remote control
  • Digital maximizer
  • Advanced corrosion protection and Sacrificial Anode
  • Fully encapsulated electronics
  • Quiet power

Benefits:

  • Ability to move around and still control the boat
  • Easy deployment
  • Easy storage
  • Allows boater to use a larger boat

The Minn Kota Riptide 55 SP Saltwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with CoPilot (55-lb Thrust, 48″ Shaft) gives the boater more freedom than a traditional rear-mount motor.

With a remote control, the boater can steer the boat from anywhere inside it. The bow mount removes the restrictions of a motor or transom mount so the motor fits a wider range of hard-shell craft; however, this motor is not suitable for inflatable boats.

The cost of this motor moves it out of the hobbyist boater category and into the serious boater’s world; however, it is definitely worth a look if you’re seriously into fishing. This motor has been discontinued by the manufacturer, but is still available at outlets and discounters.

Check Price On Amazon

Outsunny 12V Transom Mounted 50-Pound Thrust Trolling Motor

5th Best Saltwater Trolling MotorThis transom-mounted motor is perfectly suited for the weekend warrior or the family man who wants to take the family out fishing. The Outsunny 12V motor provides 50 pounds of thrust, with three propellers and eight speeds – 5 forward and 3 reverse.

The lever lock has ten different positions for mounting on different boats. The motor is rated for both salt and freshwater, so a spin out in the bay or a trip back up the river delta is perfectly fine.

As this is a transom-mount motor, it is not compatible with boats having motor mounts, but it fits most inflatable boats, kayaks, canoes, and aluminum fishing boats, approximaely 8 or 9 feet in length.

Features:

  • Eight speeds – 5 forward, 3 reverse
  • Ten lever locking positions
  • Durable construction
  • Adjustable telescoping handle
  • Transom mount

Benefits:

  • Easy operation
  • Saltwater and Freshwater rated
  • Low cost
  • Easy installation
  • Compatible with a wide range of crafts

The Outsunny 12V Transom Mounted 50-Pound Thrust Electric Fishing Boat Trolling Motor is an inexpensive motor to own and operate. It’s both saltwater and freshwater rated, giving the boater choices on where to go, and it’s compatible with a wide range of transom-mounted craft. The motor is easily installed, and is easy to operate.

Check Price On Amazon

Final Verdict

Whether it’s Dad taking his son out for a fishing trip, or the whole family going for a spin on the river, one motor of them can get the job done.

Whichever of these five motors is suited for your needs, you won’t be dissatisfied with your pick. All of these motors are great deals, and your boating needs will be met and exceeded by your purchase.

Finally, I would suggest you pick a model that which matches with your needs.

Go ahead and make the purchase and let there be no worry or doubt as these are the best trolling motors the market have tested and are content with.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply