The 5 Best Saltwater Trolling Motors: Everything You Need to Know

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could take your trolling motor to the beach?

Well, with saltwater trolling motors, you can!

But here’s the catch:

You do NOT want to use ordinary trolling motors for saltwater.

Ever.

If you do, your motor will rust up and fall apart.

Instead, you should get a trolling motor made specifically for saltwater.

That’s exactly what I’m here to help you with today.

Today, we’re looking at the best 5 saltwater trolling motors in the market.

This way, you won’t buy in the dark anymore.

Plus, we’ll also look at the most frequently asked questions about trolling motors and saltwater.

Let’s dive in.

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The 5 Best Saltwater Trolling Motors

Finding good saltwater trolling motors can be challenging.

But don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

Here are the 5 best saltwater trolling motors you can get your hands on:

1. Minn Kota Riptide Transom

Thrust: Shaft Length:
45, 80, 112 lbs. 36″, 42″, 52″

When we’re talking trolling motors, you can’t go wrong with a Minn Kota.

They’re so complete, they have an entire saltwater motor line-up!

These are known as the Riptides.

Riptides are grit-blasted then coated with aluminum, giving them the best corrosion resistance ever.

You’ll never have to worry about rust popping up when you hit the beach with one of these.

Since transom-mounted motors are best for inflatable boats, I highly recommend checking out the Riptide Transom.

Not only does this motor come with a bunch of thrust and shaft length options, but it’s also packed with features.

For one, the Riptide Transom comes with an LED battery meter.

With this, you’ll never have to worry about running out of battery in the middle of the water.

Plus, this motor runs 5x longer than others. All thanks to Minn Kota’s Digital Maximizer feature.

You also get an extremely ergonomic tiller.

Not only can you tilt and extend this any way you like, but you get to choose any variable speed.

This makes speeding up or slowing down super smooth.

Stowing and deploying is manual, but with the quick-release lever lock, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Finally, the Riptide Transom has the Weedless Wedge propeller. This can slice right through light vegetation without any problems.

seaweed underwater
You’ll never have to worry about your motor getting caught in seaweeds with the Weedless Wedge propeller!

However, this motor isn’t cheap.

No, it costs more than a lot of the best inflatable boats.

But hey, you can’t go wrong with a Minn Kota.

If you want the highest quality saltwater transom motor, you won’t find anything better.

What we like:

  • Plenty thrust and length options
  • High-quality build
  • LED battery meter
  • 5x longer battery life
  • Ergonomic tiller
  • Weedless propeller

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive

2. Newport Vessels NV Series

Thrust: Shaft Length:
36, 46, 55, 62, 86 lbs. 30″, 36″

Looking for an affordable saltwater motor?

Newport Vessels has got your back.

The great thing about Newport Vessels’ trolling motors is that they are ALL saltwater-ready.

Every. single. one.

To make things even better, they are far cheaper than Minn Kota.

Take their NV series for example. These motors only cost a fraction of the Riptide Transom.

How do they stack up?

Well, they aren’t as high-quality as Minn Kota of course. Neither are they as feature-packed.

But the NV Series has everything to get the job done.

It has eight speeds – five forward and three back.

It has a telescoping handle – making steering easy and comfortable.

It has a composite fiberglass shaft – which makes it extra strong and able to withstand rock hits.

It has an adjustable shaft – so you can choose the perfect length for your boat.

And it has a LED battery meter – you’ll never get caught off guard with no battery.

Battery charge colour icon
With a battery meter, you’ll always know when you need to charge.

All that on top of stainless steel, zinc, and magnesium hardware for complete corrosion-resistance.

No, it’s quality isn’t top-notch.

But at its price point, what more could you ask for?

The NV series has everything you need for a great trip to the beach.

What we like:

  • Affordable
  • Plenty of thrust options
  • Eight speeds
  • Ergonomic telescoping handle
  • Strong and adjustable shaft
  • LED battery meter

What we don’t like:

  • Not the highest quality

3. Newport Vessels Kayak Series

Thrust: Shaft Length:
36, 55 lbs. 24”

Have an inflatable kayak?

If so, you’ll love Newport Vessels’ Kayak Series.

With it, you can troll with your kayak to your heart’s desire, even on saltwater!

As you can guess, these motors come with several features that make them perfect for kayaks.

For one, their shaft length is shorter than usual.

This is because kayaks are a lot closer to the water than inflatable boats. With a shorter shaft, you won’t have to worry about your motor scratching rocks underneath.

What’s more, the Kayak Series also comes with extra-long cables.

As you know, kayaks are narrow. Very narrow.

Finding a way to wire your batteries can be a struggle with regular short wires.

That’s why the 5’6” long cables are a godsend for kayakers.

kayak with trolling motor
If you’ve tried installing a trolling motor on a kayak before, you’ll know how valuable long cables are.

Other than that, the Kayak Series is almost identical to the NV series.

It has the composite fiberglass adjustable shaft, the eight speeds, and the LED battery meter.

It does cost slightly more than the NV series. However, this is a price kayakers will be happy to pay.

No motor is better suited for saltwater kayaking.

What we like:

  • Built for kayaks
  • Shorter shaft
  • Extra-long cables
  • Strong and adjustable shaft
  • Eight speeds
  • LED battery meter

What we don’t like:

  • Not the best for inflatable boats

4. Minn Kota Riptide Terrova

Thrust: Shaft Length:
80 lbs. 54”

For some, transom mount motors aren’t high-tech enough.

Hypermodern features can only be found in bow mount motors.

Now, bow mount motors are quite difficult to install on inflatable boats. But if you get it done, boy will you be rewarded.

It’s not only easier to steer, but you can get the most feature-rich motors ever – such as the Riptide Terrova.

Let’s start with the basics.

Like the Riptide Transom, the Terrova also has variable speed options and the Digital Maximizer.

It has the all-important LED battery meter, and a weedless wedge to get rid of vegetation as well.

Now here’s where things get interesting.

The Riptide Terrova is extremely easy to stow and deploy – a LOT easier than the Riptide Transom.

This is thanks to its lift-assist. The motor is spring-loaded, so you never have to struggle to bring it up ever again.

What’s more, the Riptide Terrova also comes with a foot pedal.

That’s right, you can fully control your boat with your foot! This allows you to fish with both hands as you troll around.

And that’s not all.

If you don’t want to use even your foot, you can go for remote control!

The Riptide Terrova is i-pilot compatible. Meaning you get Minn Kota’s famous remote control and all its amazing features (such as AutoPilot, CoPilot, and spot lock).

Check out what the i-pilot can do on this video:

Yes, it’s a bow-mount.

Yes, it’s expensive.

But if you can make it work, you’ll love the Riptide Terrova.

What we like:

  • Unlimited speed options
  • 5x longer battery life
  • LED battery meter
  • Weedless propeller
  • Super easy to stow and deploy
  • Comes with foot pedal
  • I-pilot compatible

What we don’t like:

  • Bow mount
  • Expensive

5. Motorguide Xi5 Saltwater

Thrust: Shaft Length:
55, 80, 105 lbs. 48″, 54″, 72″

Not wanting to miss out, Motorguide also created their own set of saltwater trolling motors.

They have quite a few, but the Xi5 Saltwater is probably the best one.

Here’s why:

The Xi5 Saltwater might seem toe to toe with the Riptide Terrova. But a closer look will show you that it’s one step ahead.

Riptide Terrova is great, but it doesn’t have integrated sonar imaging.

This might not seem like a lot. But for tech-savvy fishermen, they can’t get the ultimate fishing experience without this.

Also, the Xi5 doesn’t only have an LED battery meter, it has an entire LED dashboard.

This dashboard shows you everything you need to know – from the battery level to the exact settings you’re on.

Motorguide has a great reputation for their durability. And with the Xi5’s composite shaft, you can expect it to last you years to come.

Aside from those upgrades, the Xi5 also has all the basic goods.

It has a foot pedal, a remote control, and its version of the Digital Maximizer. It’s 3-blade Machete III propeller will slice through anything that it gets caught in as well.

Plus, you get a bunch of advanced features like pinpoint GPS (Motorguide’s spot-lock).

As for downsides, this motor is very expensive.

And it’s a bow mount.

But hey, if you can fix those problems, you’ll have a near-perfect motor for your boat.

What we like:

  • Integrated sonar imaging
  • Built-in LED dashboard
  • Super strong and durable
  • Comes with foot pedal
  • Comes with remote control
  • Extremely long battery life
  • 3-blade propeller
  • Pinpoint GPS and a bunch of other features

What we don’t like:

  • Very expensive
  • Bow mount

Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question about saltwater trolling motors?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve compiled the answers to the questions I get about saltwater trolling motors all the time.

Let’s get into it.

What is the Best Saltwater Trolling Motor?

As always, it depends.

It depends on how much power you need, which features you want, and, of course, your budget.

If you’re confused, here’s a useful chart to help you out:

Motor: Price: Features: Thrust Levels: Mount:
Riptide Transom 💲💲 ⭐⭐ Low, Mid & High Transom
NV Series 💲 Low, Mid, & High Transom
Kayak Series 💲 Low & Mid Transom
Riptide Terrova 💲💲💲 ⭐⭐⭐ High Bow
Xi5 Saltwater 💲💲💲 ⭐⭐⭐ Mid & High Bow

Will Saltwater Destroy a Freshwater Trolling Motor?

Yes.

It won’t instantly damage your motor. But don’t expect your motor to last very long.

Saltwater is extremely corrosive. Before you know it, rust will start popping up all over the place.

And if you don’t do anything, it won’t be long before the water gets into the electronics and destroys everything.

Remember, saltwater motors are reinforced – like the Minn Kota Riptides which are grit-blasted and coated with aluminum – freshwater motors aren’t.

To make matters worse, if you use a freshwater motor on saltwater, you void your warranty.

Manufacturers aren’t going to repair or replace a motor that is misused.

The moment your regular motor touches saltwater, you can say goodbye to that warranty.

Can I Use a Freshwater Trolling Motor in Saltwater?

If all you have is a freshwater motor, you can take it on a short trip to saltwater.

Saltwater will destroy your freshwater trolling motor eventually, but not instantly.

But warning! DO NOT do this all the time.

Use your freshwater motor on saltwater ONLY if you don’t have a choice.

And when you’re done, give it a good rinsing and drying. The last thing you want is to leave salt on the metal of your motor.

Are Saltwater Trolling Motors Worth It?

If you enjoy boating on the beach or salty lake, getting a saltwater trolling motor is a must.

Yes, saltwater models cost more than their freshwater counterparts.

But in the long run, this will be well worth it. Besides, you’d have to buy a new motor soon if you keep insisting to use a regular motor on saltwater.

However, you won’t need one if you only get on salt water once in a blue moon.

It’s okay to use a freshwater motor on saltwater once in a while – as long as you rinse it off well afterward.

How do I Maintain My Saltwater Trolling Motor?

Even though saltwater motors are built to be tough, they’re not invincible.

If you want to prolong your motors life, all you have to do is rinse it after every use.

Yes, they’re made to resist corrosion. But it never hurts to help out where you can.

If you do this, you can add years to your trolling motor’s lifespan.

Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb/55lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor...
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MotorGuide 941700110 Xi5 Wireless Saltwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor — 48-inch Shaft, 80-Pound...
Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb/55lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor...
Newport Vessels NV-Series 36lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Electric Trolling Motor...
MotorGuide 941700110 Xi5 Wireless Saltwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor — 48-inch Shaft, 80-Pound...
Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb/55lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor...
Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb/55lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor...
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Newport Vessels NV-Series 36lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Electric Trolling Motor...
Newport Vessels NV-Series 36lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Electric Trolling Motor...
MotorGuide 941700110 Xi5 Wireless Saltwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor — 48-inch Shaft, 80-Pound...
MotorGuide 941700110 Xi5 Wireless Saltwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor — 48-inch Shaft, 80-Pound...

Conclusion

So what will it be?

The Riptide Transom?

NV Series?

Xi5 Saltwater?

Whatever you choose, one thing is for certain:

You’re going to have an amazing time trolling around in saltwater!

Did I miss a question? Ask me in the comments below!


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