Pontoons are great boats for various purposes, including cruising, relaxing, and fishing. You should have a trolling motor on board for many of these activities. However, it can be difficult to determine which motor is best for your boat.
When buying a trolling motor for a pontoon boat, you should look for a motor that has enough thrust, is relatively silent, and has some advanced features that will improve your overall experience on your pontoon.
In the rest of this article, I’ll explain everything you should keep an eye out for while you’re looking for a trolling motor for a pontoon boat. Then, I’ll recommend some of the best motors you can buy.
What To Look For in a Trolling Motor
Shopping for boating accessories can be stressful, especially if you aren’t sure what you need or should look for. Luckily, this article will cover everything you need to know before buying a trolling motor for your pontoon boat.
Good Trolling Motors Should Have Enough Thrust for Your Boat
There are many trolling motors on the market, and some have more thrust than others. Thrust is the amount of force that the motor generates. You need at least two pounds (0.90 kg) of thrust per 100 pounds (45.35 kg) of weight. For example, if you have a pontoon boat weighing 3,000 pounds, you’ll need a motor with at least 60 pounds of thrust.
The following table outlines how the minimum number of pounds of thrust you’ll need for different sizes of boats:
|Boat Weight||Pounds of Thrust (Minimum)|
|Less than 1,500 pounds (< 680.38 kg)||30|
|1,500 pounds (680.38 kg)||40|
|2,000 pounds (907.18 kg)||45|
|2,500 pounds (1133.98 kg)||50|
|3,000 pounds (1360.77 kg)||60|
|3,500 pounds (1587.57 kg)||70|
|4,000 pounds (1814.36 kg)||80|
You should also remember that it is better to have more power than not enough, so, when shopping for a motor, it is better to get a motor with more thrust than less.
The Best Trolling Motors Are Quiet
Some trolling motors can be extremely loud, but the best ones keep the sound level to a minimum so it doesn’t scare any fish away or cause a disruption on the lake. Of course, a motor can’t be completely silent, but motor manufacturers have developed some decent models that won’t cause too much noise.
The quietest trolling motors often come with a bigger price tag. If you recently bought your pontoon, you might not be able to spend as much on a silent trolling motor.
To better understand how much pontoon boats cost, check out my article on the: average cost for pontoon boats.
Good Trolling Motors Have Advanced Features
Nowadays, trolling motors are more than just motors; they can have additional features that improve your overall experience on your pontoon. For example, some trolling motors have Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to play your tunes for your next pontoon party! Other motors have autopilot capabilities, and others are compatible with fishfinders to improve your fishing game.
Here are some other features to look out for when shopping for a trolling motor:
- Corrosion protection
- Digital maximizer
- Heading sensor
- Power steering
- Tilt tiller
You might not be able to afford all of these features, but you can look for the ones most important to you and your planned activities. For example, if you’re planning on using your pontoon for fishing, you might prioritize getting a motor compatible with a fishfinder.
The Best Trolling Motors for Pontoon Boats
With all of the above considered, shopping for the best trolling motor can be a little overwhelming. Luckily, I have some great recommendations for you!
The following table outlines some quick facts about my recommendations:
|Minn Kota Ulterra||73 pounds (33.11 kg)||80 pounds (36.28 kg)||Auto Stow Auto Deploy Bluetooth i-Pilot Trolling SystemSpot-Lock Digital Maximizer|
|Lowrance Ghost||85 pounds (38.55 kg)||120 pounds (54.43 kg)||Sonar Technology Sonar Integration Fly-By-Wire Steering Configurable Foot Pedal|
|Newport Vessels||25 pounds (11.33 kg)||86 pounds (39 kg)||LED Battery Meter Telescoping Tiller Handle Multiple Speeds (Foward and Backward)|
Now, let’s get into more detail. Here are some of the best trolling motors for pontoon boats you can buy. All of them are available on Amazon.com.
This motor is a great option for most pontoon boats, as 80 pounds (36.28 kg) of thrust is enough for the average pontoon. For more information on how much the average pontoon boat weighs, I recommend reading my article on examples of pontoons and their lengths. This motor is also relatively quiet, so it won’t cause too much of a disturbance on the water.
This trolling motor comes with many exciting features, including:
- I-Pilot GPS System. The motor’s included trolling system empowers you to record paths, navigate hands-free, control your speed, and more. You can also connect it with a fish finder if you’re using your pontoon for fishing.
- Spot-Lock. This feature is great for fishers. The spot-lock feature allows you to stay in place with GPS accuracy, so if you find a particularly great fishing spot, you can program your trolling motor to keep you in place.
- Digital Maximizer. The included maximizer empowers you to stay out for longer, increasing how long you can run the motor on just one battery charge.
- Electric Foot Pedal. The foot pedal allows you to make adjustments and activate your spot-lock hands-free.
The Minn Kota also has other useful features, and it is truly one of the best trolling motors you can buy.
Pros of Minn Kota Trolling Motor:
- The motor can stow and deploy itself.
- There is an included i-Pilot remote and foot pedal.
Cons of Minn Kota Trolling Motor:
- This motor is on the higher end price-wise.
- If you have a large pontoon, 80 pounds (36.28 kg) of thrust might not be enough.
Lowrance is one of the most trusted companies in the marine electronics game because of its high-quality products and 60 years of experience. Therefore, if you have the budget to splurge on one of the best trolling motors on the market, I recommend their Ghost Freshwater motor.
This motor’s prize quality is its quietness. If you’re planning on using your pontoon for fishing, this is the best motor you can get because it is so quiet the fish won’t be able to hear you coming! The brushless motor is one of the quietest motors you can get.
The Lowrance Ghost motor also has more thrust and better run-time efficiency than many other motors, so you’ll be able to accelerate and reach high speeds without running out of battery. Therefore, you’ll be able to stay out fishing for longer.
The foot pedal is also a highlight of this trolling motor. You can anchor at a specific place with your pedal, and the pedal has access keys and programmable shortcut keys that allow you to view the displays using your foot.
Finally, the sonar technology is unmatched. You can get high-resolution images of the underneath and sides of a boat using the SideScan and DownScan imaging.
Pros of Lowrance Ghost Freshwater Trolling Motor:
- This motor is one of the quietest motors you can buy.
- The motor comes with exciting advanced features.
- This motor is compatible with many boat setups.
Cons of Lowrance Ghost Freshwater Trolling Motor:
- This motor is expensive.
- The motor doesn’t have Bluetooth.
The other two trolling motors I’ve recommended are great products, but they come with a pretty hefty price tag that might not be realistic for you. Luckily, this Newport Vessels trolling motor is a solid option for people on a tighter budget.
This Newport motor comes with eight speeds: five forward and three reverse. It has a three-blade propeller that runs on 12-volt marine batteries, which you’ll have to get separately.
The best part of this motor is its portability. The motor is only 23 pounds (10.43 kg), which makes it the heaviest motor on this list by a long shot. This is a great option if you don’t want the hassle of transporting a heavy motor.
Your purchase of the motor comes with the proper installation hardware, including the tightening nut, drive-pin, and washers.
Pros of Newport Vessels Electric Trolling Motor:
- This motor is significantly more affordable than the other options in this guide.
- There are multiple speeds.
- The angle, height, and direction are all adjustable.
- The motor fits most sailboats, dinghies, jon boats, and pontoons.
- At only 23 pounds (10.43 kg), this motor is more portable and lightweight than other options.
Cons of Newport Vessels Electric Trolling Motor:
- This motor doesn’t have nearly as many advanced features as the other options on this list.
- There is no Bluetooth.
- The top speed is only 4.5 miles per hour (7.24 km/h).
- The motor doesn’t come with all the accessories you’ll need, such as the batteries and battery charger.
- The motor isn’t very quiet.
A high-quality trolling motor is a must-have for your pontoon boat. The best trolling motors have enough thrust for your boat, are relatively quiet, and have various advanced features that improve your boating experience. There are many great options for trolling motors, but my favorites include impressive models from Minn Kota, Lowrance, and Newport Vessels.
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