Trolling motors have come far in recent years – while they used to be simple electric motors, they’re now complex machines that can help anglers with everything from navigation to anchoring.
One of the biggest technological advances in this field is GPS virtual anchoring, also known as Spot-Lock if you’re a Minn Kota fan. Using Spot-Lock, anglers can keep their boat in place no matter the strength of the current or direction of the wind, eliminating drifting.
Anglers can take advantage of the anchor by actually focusing on fishing instead of re-positioning the boat. This makes hassle-free fishing a button’s press away.
Using Spot-Lock has made fishing so much simpler and more enjoyable that many can’t go back to the way they used to fish before – in this article, we’re going to go over the most affordable trolling motors with this game-changing feature.
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Table of Contents
Does MotorGuide XI5 Have Spot-Lock?
The MotorGuide XI5 has its own version of Spot-Lock, i.e., virtual anchor technology. Anglers can take advantage of this trolling motor to lock GPS positions as they see fit and can even jog anchor position if needed.
This function allows you to adjust the position of the anchor in five-foot increments in the direction of your choice.
In addition to adjusting the anchor, the MotorGuide XI5 also allows you to store and recall anchor positions so that you never lose the perfect spot.
Does Minn Kota Autopilot Have Spot-Lock?
The Minn Kota Autopilot system is available on several of its trolling motors, including the Ultrex, Ulterra, PowerDrive, and Terrova trolling motors.
The Terrova, Ulterra, and Ultrex trolling motors are equipped with Spot-Lock with Jog, which combines accurate GPS with the flexibility to move within a 5-feet radius. It comes pre-installed on the i-Pilot GPS system and lets you float above your desired spot with the push of a single button.
Both the i-Pilot remote and Humminbird fish finder can be used for this. However, Spot-Lock is not available for the PowerDrive trolling motor.
Does the Minn Kota Fortrex Have Spot-Lock?
Unfortunately, the Minn Kota Fortrex doesn’t have Spot-Lock technology. However, it does boast other exciting features like the counter-tension stabilizer, mono-arm design, and lift-assist mount.
What Is the Cheapest Spot-Lock Trolling Motor?
There are a number of affordable trolling motors available on the market and many offer virtual GPS anchoring. The following are some of the best ones for your money.
1. Minn Kota Terrova Trolling Motor
- The Minn Kota Terrova features an easy-to-deploy system of fallaway ramps that effortlessly slide the trolling motor into the water, plus a spring-loaded Lift-Assist design for easy stowing.
- A low-profile electric foot pedal offers two steering options (heel/toe pedal and left/right steering buttons) and includes Spot-Lock activation, rotary speed control dial, momentary/constant on...
Minn Kota is the gold standard in trolling motors and the Terrova is no exception. Its state-of-the-art i-Pilot GPS trolling system is widely known, and for good reason – it’s one of the most reliable GPS systems on the market.
Basically, if you have the cash to spare, we recommend springing for the Minn Kota above all else.
One of the reasons we prefer the Minn Kota over the Motorguide options is because of how it makes fishing so easy and convenient by automizing boat positing and control. Solo anglers will rejoice at this because it saves so much time and energy that you can now direct on fishing.
Because Minn Kota introduced Spot-Lock technology to the market, their models are obviously the most sought after when it comes to virtual anchoring.
Minn Kota’s Spot-Lock technology allows you to get the most out of any fishing spot.
While traditional anchors may spook fish, Spot-Lock technology lets you anchor your location without alerting fish. The technology is so easy to use that it doesn’t even require touching the trolling motor – all you have to do is use your fishfinder or the i-Pilot remote provided.
This isn’t where the advantages end – the Jog function of the Spot-Lock makes it easy to adjust boat position five feet in any direction and provides both, convenience and flexibility.
While the Motorguide options also offer their own version of Spot-Lock, they don’t have as many features as the Minn Kota. Therefore, your ultimate choice depends on whether you prioritize the advanced features or not.
Minn Kota’s AutoPilot system, for example, results in extremely easy navigation – all you have to do is point the motor and you’ll keep heading in that direction automatically. Since the motor takes care of current and wind, your fishing experience is truly hassle-free.
It’s not just fishing that’s made easy when it comes to the Terrova – it’s the entire fishing experience. Even stowing the trolling motor is easy because of its spring-loaded assembly. Additionally, the stow/deploy level makes moving the motor into the water a piece of cake.
The electric foot pedal is another ingenious design – anglers can use heel/toe pedal or left/right steering buttons depending on their personal preference. The universal sonar also keeps the transducer and its wiring safe from harm.
If this wasn’t enough, the digital maximizer makes battery life extremely long-lasting, with up to 5 times longer run time on just one charge. Because power is used on an as-needed basis, the battery’s energy isn’t exhausted immediately. A simple push of a button can get you an update on the battery left so you know exactly where you stand.
With Minn Kota also comes durability – the composite shaft is pretty much indestructible. Since it’s guaranteed for life, you can count on it.
Additionally, if you’re not in the mood to use any remote devices, it’s not a problem. Just control the i-Pilot from your smartphone or tablet using the mobile app.
2. MotorGuide XI3 Wireless Trolling Motor
Not everyone can afford Minn Kota. However, with MotorGuide, there’s no compromise on quality or durability. In addition to getting a great product, users can also benefit from a great price.
With the XI3, users can have the ultimate calming fishing experience where their focus remains on the fish instead of battling with their equipment. The XI3’s SecureStep lever allows for effortless stowing and deployment, which saves anglers both time and energy. Therefore, this isn’t just restricted to Minn Kota or the Terrova.
In addition to wireless control, you can look forward to the advanced Pinpoint GPS system which optimizes navigation while also allowing users to use virtual anchors. Similar to Minn Kota’s Smart-Lock technology, this allows users to set a virtual anchor wherever they please.
Not only can users drop anchors, but like in Spot-Lock, they can also adjust them and replay routes. If you’re itching to go back to a previous spot, you now can with no problem.
Another reason to consider the XI3 is the bright LED dashboard – notifications for power, propeller activity, battery life, and Pinpoint GPS status are conveniently displayed so that anglers can easily spot them.
You can also extend battery life by up to 5 times by taking into account digital power management, but this is available in the Minn Kota option as well. However, the quiet working of the trolling motor makes any trip with the XI3 extremely calm and serene, a marked advantage over the Terrova.
If you’re someone who likes fishing alone, you can make the most of this experience.
3. MotorGuide XI5 Wireless Trolling Motor
- 3X Steering NONE
- Autopilot Yes
Known for being extremely quiet, this trolling motor is one of the best available today – if this is a priority for you, you’re definitely better off springing for the XI5 than sticking to the XI3.
The excellent quality provided is especially surprising considering how affordable this is compared to its competition, Minn Kota.
This isn’t where the competition ends – the XI5 is also known for 50% faster steering rotation.
MotorGuide’s XI5 is worth investing in because it’s sure to last you for years. In addition to its three-coat corrosion protection, the unbreakable composite shaft comes with a lifetime warranty.
The electric steering is extremely responsive, and users do not have to put up with any lags or delays. Additionally, anglers can benefit from Chartplotter integration and can connect their Lowrance or Simrad devices to the trolling motor.
If you can go all out for this feature, this is a much better pick than the XI3!
Of course, the star of the show is the ultra-precise GPS anchor that makes navigation as easy as can be. Anglers can anchor their boats effortlessly as well as use functions like jog and route playback for a productive fishing experience.
This rivals Minn Kota’s Spot-Lock and is sure to provide you with many of the same benefits.
Many anglers have spoken about how revolutionary Minn Kota’s introduction of the Spot-Lock has been and how it has changed the game for them. However, those missing out because of Minn Kota’s prices need not worry – our other options are more affordable but do not stray in terms of quality.
No matter your budget, we’re sure you’ll be able to pick something from our three top-rated options that are sure to improve your next fishing trip whether you’re a fishing enthusiast or a professional angler.
Do let us know how these work out for you in the comments below!