The 7 Best Trolling Motors For Inflatable Boats | Electric Motor Reviews

Looking for a trolling motor for your inflatable boat but don’t know how to choose the right one?

You’ve come to the right place.

Today, I’m not only going to give you my top trolling motors for inflatable boats. I’m also going to teach you what to look for and answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

So buckle up and let’s get right into it.

How to Choose a Trolling Motor

Looking for a new trolling motor is super exciting. I’m sure you can’t wait to buy one and hit the water as soon as possible.

But wait!

Don’t just grab the first trolling motor you see.

If you do this, you could end up with a motor that is too weak to do anything – or a motor that’s too heavy for your boat. You could end up with a trolling motor that is too short to submerge, or a motor that drags along the seafloor.

So how do you choose the perfect trolling motor for your inflatable boat?

You have to look at these 6 things first:

  • Thrust
  • Voltage
  • Shaft Length
  • Mount
  • Controls
  • Features

1 – Thrust

The last thing you want is a trolling motor that’s underpowered. You’re better off using paddles if that’s the case.

To avoid this, make sure you get a motor with enough thrust.

What’s thrust?

You can think of thrust as the “power” of your motor. The more thrust your motor has, the more powerful it will be. But, more importantly, higher thrust allows your motor to carry more weight.

Thrust is measured by pounds (lbs). The right amount for your boat will depend on a few things, but the biggest factor is the weight.

The rule of thumb is that for every 100 lbs. of boat weight, you need 2 lbs of thrust.

Let’s say your RIB boat weighs around 1,200 lbs (including you and your equipment), you’ll need at least 24 lbs of thrust. With this, your motor should be able to propel you at 3-4 mph comfortably.

Another factor that comes into play is the condition. If you’re taking your boat to rough waters, you’ll want more thrust than the minimum.

Keep in mind that the 100lbs weight to 2lbs thrust only works for calm waters. Rough waters or strong winds can carry your boat away if your engine only has the bare minimum. So get a little more thrust if you’re expecting these.

2 – Battery

The next thing you need to check is the battery you’re using.

To keep your motor running in top condition, it needs the right amount of electricity. Without it, you could run into some bad problems.

You need 1 battery for every 12 volts in your trolling motor. The more thrust your motor has, the more volts it will need. So get ready to get up to 3 batteries if you have a motor that has over 100lbs of thrust.

If you’re planning to go on a long fishing trip, you may want to get a powerful motor. You won’t need the extra power, but the extra battery life will be important. With 3 batteries in use, you’ll have enough to cruise for days.

3 – Shaft

It’s very important to consider the length of your shaft.

You want your shaft to be long enough to submerge the propeller in the water, but not too long that it slows your boat down.

Get it wrong, you’ll have a very inefficient motor. Worse comes to worst, your motor won’t be able to move your boat at all.

While there are some adjustable shafts, knowing the proper length before buying one is a good idea.

You can check out charts online – such as this one by Minn Kota – to know the proper shaft length for your boat.

the proper shaft length for your boat

Source: minnkotamotors.com

4 – Mount

Are you putting your motor in your stern, bow, or engine?

Stern trolling motors are by far the most popular. They’re the cheapest and easiest to install. It’s very easy to find a good mount for stern trolling motors.

Bow trolling motors may be easier to steer, but they are more expensive and difficult to install. This is especially true for inflatable boats since they don’t have a flat bow. You’ll have to install a plate first before setting up your bow trolling motor.

Engine trolling motors are attached to the outboard engine (if you have one). With these, you can switch between the loud and powerful outboard motor to the quiet and maneuverable trolling, something the navy SEALs like to do.

5 – Controls

There are two types of trolling motors: those steered by hand and those steered by foot.

Both of these have their advantages and disadvantages. For one, hand controls are faster to respond to. You can also keep your boat nice and tidy with these.

On the flip side, foot controls are easier to use. Plus, they free up your hands to do other things.

Neither one is better than the other. It’s all a matter of preference.

6 – Features

Last but not least, features.

While you can use vanilla trolling motors without any problems, extra features are always welcome.

Some nice features to have are GPS, battery meters, and self-directional motors. Features like these will make your trip so much more convenient. You can sit back and relax without any worry thanks to these.

With these 6 things in mind, you should get a good trolling motor every time.

But even with these, you’ll find that there are still so many trolling motors to choose from. Which one is the best?

This will depend on what you’re looking for. Only you can decide which is best.

If you’re still confused, let me help you out.

Top 3 Picks for You

MinnKota Edge 70 Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor with Latch and Door Bracket (70lbs thrust, 45"...
Editor's Pick
Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with 45-Inch Shaft, Universal Sonar 2, and...
Newport Vessels L-Series 62lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED...
MinnKota Edge 70 Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor with Latch and Door Bracket (70lbs thrust, 45"...
Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with 45-Inch Shaft, Universal Sonar 2, and...
Newport Vessels L-Series 62lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED...
MinnKota Edge 70 Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor with Latch and Door Bracket (70lbs thrust, 45"...
MinnKota Edge 70 Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor with Latch and Door Bracket (70lbs thrust, 45"...
Editor's Pick
Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with 45-Inch Shaft, Universal Sonar 2, and...
Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with 45-Inch Shaft, Universal Sonar 2, and...
Newport Vessels L-Series 62lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED...
Newport Vessels L-Series 62lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED...

The 7 Best Trolling Motors for Inflatable Boats

Here are my top picks:

1. Best Saltwater Trolling Motor – Newport Vessels NV-Series

Most trolling motors were made for freshwater only. If you run them in the sea, it won’t be long before you find them damaged. That’s why if you’re taking your inflatable boat to saltwater, you’ll need a trolling motor made for this.

Introducing the NV-Series by Newport Vessels.

This trolling motor is made from stainless steel, zinc, and magnesium, while the shaft is made from fiberglass. This ensures it can handle anything you throw at it. You won’t have to worry about corrosion or salt getting into the system at all.

Aside from that, there are a lot of other things that make the NV-Series a great trolling motor.

There are 5 thrust levels you can choose, from 36lbs to 86lbs. This means that no matter how heavy your boat is, you can get one with enough power to propel you forward.

The adjustable shaft that these trolling motors come with allows you to get the perfect length every time. They also feature ergonomic extendable handles, allowing you to steer comfortably.

You never have to worry about your battery levels thanks to the NV-Series’ built-in LED battery meter. All you have to do is glance at it and you can tell how much longer you can keep going. Calculating when to recharge will be a thing of the past.

The only problem with this trolling motor is that it isn’t completely waterproof. The top and handle of the motor should never be submerged. If it’s raining heavily, make sure to cover it up.

What we like:

  • Can handle saltwater
  • Strong and durable motor
  • 5 thrust options
  • Adjustable shaft
  • LED battery meter

What we don’t like:

  • Not completely waterproof

Buy on Amazon

2. Best Bow-Mount Trolling Motor – Minn Kota Terrova

Buy on Amazon

If you prefer a trolling motor for your bow, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better one than Minn Kota’s Terrova.

Since it’s a bow trolling motor, you get so much control of your boat. You can steer around with ease, and even make sharp turns if you need to.

Aside from the advantages that all bow mounts get, the Terrova comes with a bunch of special features. These high-tech features will give you so much convenience on the water.

One that stands out is the spot-lock feature. When turned on, the Terrova uses GPS to keep you in one spot. This way, you won’t need to bring an anchor onboard anymore.

You can use the spot-lock to help you while fishing. Once you find a good area, turn on spot-lock and your boat will stay put. You can then put all your attention on fishing without worrying about drifting away.

Another feature is the auto-pilot. With it, you set a direction and your trolling motor will push you that way on its own. You don’t have to touch the controls or steer yourself anymore.

If that’s not enough, it’s also very easy to deploy and stow this motor. With its spring-loaded lift assist, you can haul the motor off the water with minimal effort.

However, the Terrova is for serious boaters only. It comes at a very high price. This isn’t a beginner’s trolling motor in any way.

You may have a hard time installing this on your inflatable boat. It’s better suited for solid boats that already have a flat bow.

But if you have the time and the money, Minn Kota’s Terrova will easily be one of your best options.

What we like:

  • Bow trolling motor
  • Foot-steering
  • Wireless remote control for features
  • Spot-lock GPS
  • Auto-pilot feature
  • Easy deploy and stow feature

What we don’t like:

  • Hard to install
  • Expensive

Buy on Amazon

3. Best Budget Trolling Motor – Minn Kota Endura

Buy on Amazon

Not all trolling motors are expensive. Some of them, such as Minn Kota’s Endura, are surprisingly affordable.

The great thing about this product is that even though it’s cheap, it’s complete with everything you need from a trolling motor.

The Endura comes in 5 thrust levels, from 30lbs to 55lbs. It can’t carry heavy boats, but most of us don’t need more than 55lbs of thrust anyway.

What separates this model from the others is that it’s super easy to control. You can rotate the lower unit 180 degrees simply by turning the tiller 45 degrees. This way, you don’t have to get uncomfortable to make big turns.

You can also enjoy a smooth speed change. The Endura comes with 8 speeds – 5 forward and 3 reverse.

When fishing, you don’t have to worry about scaring away the fish. This trolling motor is remarkably quiet. You can easily get to the good spots without shooing the fish away.

All of these are what make the Endura the best budget trolling motor around. Sure, it’s not as powerful as other motors, neither does it have a bunch of special features. For the casual boater though, this has everything that you need.

What we like:

  • Affordable
  • 5 thrust options
  • Super easy to control tiller
  • 8 speeds
  • Super quiet motor

What we don’t like:

  • Not the most powerful
  • No special features

Buy on Amazon

4. Best Foot-Control Trolling Motor – Minn Kota Edge

Foot-controlled trolling motors offer several advantages over hand-controlled ones.

With the Minn Kota Edge, your hands will be free during the entire trip. Fishing will be a lot easier thanks to this. You can navigate your boat and hold your fishing rod at the same time.

The Edge by Minn Kota separates itself from other foot-controlled trolling motors by its quality. It’s hard to find a motor that is as well-built as this one. It truly is a heavy-duty machine.

Built from anodized aluminum, this motor can take quite a beating. It is extremely durable. Its shaft is so strong, it can last you a lifetime.

It’s not only the shaft either, but the propeller is also built to be extra strong. The Edge features a weedless prop. This prop is so well-built, it can run even in waters full of vegetation.

When you’re finished using your trolling motor, it’s very easy to remove. This is thanks to the latch and door mount that the Edge comes with.

With a strong, powerful, and easy-to-control trolling motor like this, it’s hard to find anything wrong with it. The only complaint I have is that it only comes in 70lbs of thrust – there are no options for less.

Also, it may be a little expensive for some people. No, not as expensive as the Terrova. But it isn’t something everyone can afford either.

What we like:

  • Foot-controlled navigation
  • Extremely tough – made to last a lifetime
  • Weedless prop can run through vegetation-full waters
  • Latch and door mount makes it easy to remove

What we don’t like:

  • Little options
  • May be expensive

Buy on Amazon

5. Best New-Release Trolling Motor – Pexmor Electric Trolling Motor

Nowadays, there are still new trolling motors coming out. The ones we have today are great, but there’s still room for innovation. In a few years, we’re going to see trolling motors that are even better and cheaper than the ones we have today.

One of the new faces in this market is the Pexmor Electric Trolling Motor. Pexmor is another budget trolling motor that you should check out. It’s got all the features you want at an incredibly low price.

For one, this trolling motor has a lot of adjustments. You don’t have to worry about shaft length since you can change this yourself. You can also adjust the handle to your desired length for maximum comfort.

Despite its price, this motor has 8-speeds you can choose from. This includes 5 speeds for going forward and 3 speeds for going back.

You’ll also never have to worry about calculating how much battery you have left. The LED battery indicator will show you exactly how much power it still has. Looking at this will help you plan ahead while on the water.

Finally, it has a 3-bladed propeller with sharp edges. These edges can easily cut through seaweed and other debris that would otherwise clog the propeller.

All of this plus the low price it comes with makes this trolling motor a great choice. However, always remember that this is a new release. Pexmor isn’t a brand that is as well known as, say, Minn Kota.

What we like:

  • Affordable
  • Adjustable shaft
  • 8 speeds
  • LED battery indicator
  • Sharp 3-bladed propeller for cutting seaweed

What we don’t like:

  • Not the highest quality
  • Not a well-known brand

Buy on Amazon

6. Best White Trolling Motor – Newport Vessels L-Series

You may have noticed that all the trolling motors we’ve looked at have one thing in common: they’re all black.

Most trolling motors in the market today come in this color. While it certainly is wonderful to look at, you may be looking for something else. Maybe you want a brighter color.

If this is you, I recommend Newport Vessels’ L-Series. This is perhaps the best trolling motor that comes in white. It’s not only good-looking, but it’s also a very good motor in and of itself.

Its shaft is made from fiberglass, making it strong and durable. It’s fully adjustable, so no worries about shaft-length here.

There’s a lot of power packed in this motor.  You can choose between a 62lbs or 86lbs thrust models. Both of these have the common, but very often undervalued, 8-speeds.

Like several other motors, the L-Series has a bright LED battery meter in place. If you’ve ever tried running out of battery before, you know how useful something like this can be.

Finally, this motor is so high-quality, it can go on saltwater. No, it’s not as good as the NV-Series at this. But as long as you wash the motor after using it, you should be alright.

White is a beautiful color. Unfortunately, you’ll have to take better care of it. It’s a lot easier for dirt and stains to appear on white materials than it is on black.

What we like:

  • Beautiful white color
  • Strong and durable fiberglass shaft
  • Powerful thrust options
  • 8 Speeds
  • LED battery meter
  • Can survive saltwater

What we don’t like:

  • Needs to be cleaned often

7. Best Kayak Trolling Motor – Newport Vessels Kayak Series

Buy on Amazon

Inflatable kayaks are an interesting one. They’re a lot thinner and closer to the water than other types of boats, so normal trolling motors may not work too well.

That’s why Newport Vessels came up with the Kayak Series. These 36lb and 55lb thrust motors were made specifically for kayaks. Aside from the usual features of good trolling motors, there are a few changes here and there to make them perfect for kayaks.

One of these is the shaft length. At only 24 inches long, this trolling motor won’t do for a lot of ordinary boats. It does, however, perfectly fit kayaks since they often have very little space between the mount and waterline.

Kayaks are very narrow. There’s not a lot of room for you to place items – such as the battery pack. That’s why Newport Vessels gave this trolling motor a very long cable.

With the 5foot 6inch battery cables, you can run your trolling motor even if the battery is on the other tip of the boat. This way, you won’t be forced to find a way to put your battery nearby.

This motor also features a two-bladed propeller. It doesn’t only reduce drag, but it helps with balance efficiency as well – something you need when on a kayak.

Other than those, the Kayak Series also has 8 speeds, LED battery lights, and saltwater resistance. What else could you ask for?

Of course, this trolling motor won’t work very well for other types of boats. But if you’re riding an inflatable kayak, this is probably your best option.

What we like:

  • Specially designed for kayaks
  • Short shaft
  • Extra-long battery cables
  • Two-bladed propeller for balance efficiency
  • 8 Speeds
  • LED battery meter
  • Can survive saltwater

What we don’t like:

  • Not the best for other types of boats
MinnKota Edge 70 Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor with Latch and Door Bracket (70lbs thrust, 45"...
Editor's Pick
Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with 45-Inch Shaft, Universal Sonar 2, and...
Newport Vessels L-Series 62lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED...
MinnKota Edge 70 Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor with Latch and Door Bracket (70lbs thrust, 45"...
Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with 45-Inch Shaft, Universal Sonar 2, and...
Newport Vessels L-Series 62lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED...
MinnKota Edge 70 Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor with Latch and Door Bracket (70lbs thrust, 45"...
MinnKota Edge 70 Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor with Latch and Door Bracket (70lbs thrust, 45"...
Editor's Pick
Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with 45-Inch Shaft, Universal Sonar 2, and...
Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with 45-Inch Shaft, Universal Sonar 2, and...
Newport Vessels L-Series 62lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED...
Newport Vessels L-Series 62lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED...

FAQs

Aside from “how to choose a trolling motor” and “what are the best trolling motors”, I get a lot of other questions about trolling motors.

I’ll try to answer as much of them as I can here…

Can I install a trolling motor myself?

Yes. Most manufacturers make it super easy for you to install your trolling motor. Most of the time, all you have to do is tighten screws.

How do I install a trolling motor on an inflatable boat?

For inflatable boats, you’ll need a trolling motor mount. This will give you the perfect place to install your motor. If you have a bow trolling motor, you also need to install a flat plate first.

Do I need a circuit breaker?

While you don’t need a circuit breaker, I highly recommend you get one. This will make your trips a lot safer. Also, in some areas, the coast guard will require you to have one.

How do I maintain my trolling motor?

It’s a good idea to rinse your trolling motor after every use (especially if you’re in saltwater). Make sure to check your propellers and remove any debris and vegetation entangled in them. It’s also a good practice to clean and lubricate your entire motor regularly.

My trolling motor doesn’t run, what should I do?

The best thing you can do is to ask a professional about your specific problem. If it’s a big problem, most trolling motors have good warranties that you can use to get a new one. Be sure to check the warranty before buying a trolling motor.

Can I use my trolling motor in saltwater?

Unless your trolling motor specifies that it can handle saltwater, the answer is no. There’s a very big chance you’ll destroy your motor if you do this. A lot of manufacturers will void your warranty if you use your motor on saltwater.

What battery should I use for my trolling motor? Once you’ve determined how many volts you need, you should get a marine battery. Any type of marine battery will do but stay away from non-marine batteries. These may work, but there are several dangers involved.

How long do trolling motor batteries last?

If your motor has a battery meter, this won’t be a problem. If not, you’ll have to calculate this yourself because there’s a lot of factors that come into play. You can check out Newport Vessels’ guide on how to do this here.

How fast can trolling motors go?

If your motor can bring you to 3-4mph, you know that it is working well. If you want more speed, you can install more powerful motors. These can take you up to 6mph, which is super fast for inflatable boats.

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment down below!


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