If you fish out of a boat, a trolling motor might be recognized as one of the most important tools for a fisherman. It lets you move a round with a stealthy precision and get into the best position to tempt and catch big fish. Some boats only have a trolling motor as their propulsion system while others have an outboard motor and a trolling motor. The outboard moves you spot to spot while the trolling motor lets you work an area quietly as you fish. Regardless of budget, you want to get the best trolling motors you can afford for your boats.
The trolling motor market exploded in the last 5 years. Before that, there were really only two main players. Today there are nearly a dozen trolling motor or electric motor makers offering some form of electric trolling propulsion for John boats, kayaks and larger fiberglass boats. They can run you as little as $149 up to $5,000 depending on the features, power and build that matters to you.
We’ll run down a few of the best in the categories that are most important to fishermen to give you some options across multiple budgets and feature sets. And we’ll discuss some other options at the end. So lets dig into our picks for best trolling motors for 2024.
OUR PICKS FOR BEST TROLLING MOTORS FOR 2024
- Best Overall Trolling Motor: Minn Kota Ultrex Quest
- Most Dependable Motor: Garmin Force, Lowrance Ghost
- Best Value Trolling Motor: Motor Guide Tour
- Most Robust Trolling Motor: Power-Pole MOVE
- Best Kayak Trolling Motor: Minn Kota Endura 55 pound Thrust
- Best Deep Hull Trolling Motor: Garmin Force Kraken
BEST OVERALL TROLLING MOTOR
Minn Kota Ultrex Quest
The original Minn Kota Ultrex set the bar for what a serious top-of-the-line trolling motor should be. It was rock solid, could handle a ton of abuse, had Spot-Lock gps anchoring capabilities had the most power in the market and had 5 decades of engineering know-how behind it. Minn Kota has always been synonymous with quality when it comes to trolling motors but now they have raised that bar again.
The new Quest trolling motors are more powerful, quieter thanks to new brushless motor designs, more sturdy and rugged to handle long, rough days on the water thanks to improved features in their builds. But they are now super efficient with power, super efficient with sound and movement with improved Spot Lock with Jog technology. I said when MInn Kota first came out with the original Spot Lock it was like I just got a fishing partner put in the boat with me. With their One Boat Network you can have total control of your boat with your trolling motor. Troll along contours, jog offer a few feet while remaining spot locked in an area and a whole lot more.
These new motors pull easily and deploy easily and the brackets feel rock solid with little to no noise. And the powerful 112 pound thrust is refined to be quieter while maintaining the power and reducing vibration.
The complete overhaul and rebuild with improved technologies makes these our top choice right now in Trolling Motors.
EDITORS NOTE: Our team has been on the water and using these trolling motors more than most folks in the nation. We have NDAs with most of the major brands so we are privy to products long before they are available to the public. We helped shoot some release materials for Minn Kota so we’ve had the trolling motors since the spring of 2023 and saw the specs and details prior to that.
- Great GPS anchor locking technology
- Very easy to quietly deploy and stow
- Very quiet operation
- Connectivity to all of your other Minn Kota and Humminbird electronics
- Incredible battery efficiency with variable speed control
- Price is steep at $3,999
MOST DEPENDABLE TROLLING MOTOR
Garmin Force Trolling Motor
Buy at BassPro.com Buy at Tackle Warehouse
I have run a Garmin Force on my boats for 4 years and save for one small sync problem with the first pre production model I’ve never had any down time with my Garmin Force trolling motor.
The lift assist is great and it turns the head the right direction to make sure my Livescope transducer clears my bracket and nose. The trolling motor is quiet, powerful and easy to use. The wireless pedal works every time on two small AA batteries and can be wired to your power system if you prefer. The dial and pedal are easy to use. The engineering behind this trolling motor have made it a consistent performer with no issues. The brushless motor keeps it quiet. It has a very powerful thrust and it uses almost no battery power even on long days of fishing.
The gesture steering with the remote is very cool feature. Just point your remote in a direction and the trolling motor will turn that way.
It’s very easy to setup and install. And it can be updated with improved software through the remote and your Active Captain app. You can connect it to your depth finders as well and with Power-Poles connected as well you can have a total boat control to control anchor locking, jog, course headings, anchor drag and more. It has been one of the most dependable trolling motors I’ve ever owned and I’ve owned quite a few now.
- Quiet and powerful operation
- Wireless foot pedal makes for clean install
- Responsive electric steering
- Pedal feels like cable steer with tension knob
- Lower priced that competitors of equal feature sets
- Great remote operation
- Anchor lock drives a bit too much in calm waters
Lowrance Ghost Trolling Motor
Buy at BassPro.com Buy at Tackle Warehouse
We have worked with a lot of electronics installers across the nation and one of my closest friends, runs one of the top independent marine electronics sales and service shops in the country. He told me the trolling motor he works on the least that he’s sold a lot of is the Garmin Force. The one that is a close second in needing the least repairs is the Lowrance Ghost. So it would be another solid choice for a dependable trolling motor with the other two we’ve already mentioned.
The Ghost features a brushless motor design with a powerful 120 pounds of thrust on the 36-volt option. This trolling motor is very quiet and the mount is very sturdy. It has a nice lift assist springs and the head auto rotates for quick stow and deploy.
The power management is one of the best in the industry and you can run all day and have plenty left over because the power management is that good. Terry runs a Ghost on his boat and loves how much quiet power he has. He can jump across the cove quickly, leaving a wake behind him with just his trolling motor.
- Very strong and quiet
- Efficient brushless motor
- Competitive price in its class
- Arrow doesn’t always line up with live forward facing sonar
BEST VALUE TROLLING MOTOR
MotorGuide Tour Trolling Motor
Buy at BassPro.com Buy at Tackle Warehouse
MotorGuide Tour trolling motors have long been synonymous with toughness and no-nonsense performance in a cable steer trolling motor. And the guys I know that swear by them have been running them for decades.
The latest versions have very tough shafts, brackets, breakaway spring busters, and components. They can take a lot of abuse and keep on plowing. They can chew through grass, bump off stumps and keep pushing you forward.
The 82-pound thrust cable drive MotorGuide Tour is a great trolling motor at a good price. It can push a lighter boat fast on 24-volts and offer no-nonsense performance in and around shallow cover. The price and quality of the build are why we voted it the best value trolling motor.
- Simple quick install
- Powerful and tough
- Can come with Universal Sonar in the head
- 24-36 Volt options
- Durable metal pedal
- Katana prop cuts up grass easily
- Priced competitively starting at $1,449
- A lot less options that newer trolling motor creations
- No remote or controlling with other electronics in boat
MOST ROBUST TROLLING MOTOR
Power-Pole MOVE ZR
The newest player in the trolling motor market is Power-Pole and their first offering the Power-Pole MOVE. Out of the gate this trolling motor is special. Their biggest action item in designing this trolling motor was to alleviate or design it so it would be super dependable and not have the issues that are common among other trolling motors of the past.
That design process led them to do some very interesting things. First they chose titanium as the material to make the shaft. It’s lighter, longer lasting and stronger than fiberglass composite that most shafts are made out of. They also built in levels of redundancy. Their steering gears have 6 additional gearing drives. So if you sheer all the teeth some miraculous way off the gear, there are 5 more that will take its place and still allow you to steer. The shaft is rated indestructible and has a lifetime warranty on it.
Their brushless motor was built from the ground up. They used no existing parts. They literally built every part to fit in the overall design so they wouldn’t rely on any existing parts that might have been points of failure in other trolling motors. The result is a highly strong, powerful and robust trolling motor.
We found it to be the quietest of all the trolling motors and might be the most powerful although it is hard to judge power with arbitrary measurements like thrust.
But to us it felt like one of the strongest in terms of power in vegetation and speed in open water.
They are so new and doing so many things new, we are hesitant to say they are the best when they don’t have decades of proven track records like some of the others. But we feel like this is going to be a very good option for years to come based on our initial testing.
We have heard a seen a couple issues with mounting but we also know Power-Pole is one of, if not the very best, in customer service. And they are very quick to adapt their designs to fix known issues. So we have no doubt they will fix any issues that come to ensure MOVE is always at the top of the list in performance and customer satisfaction.
- Titanium shaft with lifetime warranty
- Tons of power
- Quietest we’ve seen
- Cuts through vegetation
- Redundant fail safes throughout
- Price (most expensive of all trolling motors)
- Too early to know they will have proven track record with design
BEST KAYAK TROLLING MOTOR
Minn Kota Endura
There has been an influx of trolling motor propulsion systems in the market. Some really great ways to add a motor to a kayak to expand your range and easy propulsion. A lot of the newer units come with a pretty steep price tag. The Minn Kota Endura is a super affordable options that a lot of anglers have been using to propel roto-molded scamps and other polyethylene boats. And these trolling motors are great for kayaks too.
With the addition of a trolling motor mount like the Railblaza Kayak Motor Mount you can mount this transom mount trolling motor and the whole setup will be less than $350.
The Endura has three shaft lengths from 30 to 42 inches and three pound thrust powers from 30 to 50 pounds of force. I like the 36 inch shaft and 40 or 50 pound thrust options. Easy display, twist handle operation and on your kayak with a rudder, you can just set it to straight and use your rudder to adjust course slightly.
We’ll review some other options for kayak propulsion in a separate piece.
- Price makes it most affordable option
- Easy operation
- Quiet propulsion
- Only comes in transom mount
- Requires another mount to for stability on a kayak
BEST DEEP HULL TROLLING MOTOR
Garmin Force Kraken
The Force Kraken has only been on the market a few months but it’s already got anglers buzzing about some of it’s first of its kind features.
The obvious feature to start with here is shaft length. These trolling motors were made to push tall, big, deep-hull boats. They come in both saltwater and freshwater options but there are a couple of features that really impressed us.
The first feature that sets these apart is dual head GPS. This dual band GPS systems means the boat is being triangulated. The reason that matters is it means you can have an industry best precision anchor lock that singular GPS’s can’t match.
Now when you couple that dual band GPS with the added feature on Anchor Lock which is instead of the head swiveling all the time to move you back and forth it will reverse the prop. Used to the only way to back up was to turn the head and thrust, which is a big cause of why Anchor lock is always moving around on original Force trolling motor. With the new Anchor lock, it simply reverses the prop to hold you dead on your spot. This is really handy in wind and current or rough conditions.
The next feature is the cable management. The cables on your Livescope on the Kraken are routed in the shaft. So your Livescope cable goes into the shaft and comes out in a safe place to have worry free operation without a compromised electronics cable that gets pinched because it’s always in the way.
The Kraken is going to hopefully bring a lot more technology to all trolling motors in the Force line with it’s very innovative design, quiet power and rock solid durability.
- Pivot mount makes mounting easier
- More fluid operation
- Instant reverse on Anchor Lock
- Dual band GPS for super accurate GPS positioning in compromised areas
- Cable management
- Easy deployment
- Quiet power
- Only available in long shafts 63, 75 or 90