We pick 8 of the best trolling motors that have enough electric power to hit a rising tide without breaking the bank
So you are looking for an electric outboard to whiz your hardtail around the port. Who wouldn’t want a fancy Torqeedo hanging from your transom? But at £1,450 and above, there’s a good chance it won’t be in the budget. A solid alternative, however, is the trusty trolling motor at a fraction of the cost. With prices starting under £100, the best trolling motors are lightweight, reliable and, if you pay a little more, extremely well built.
We tested some of these models against the Torqueedo (and ePropulsion) electric outboard in our in-depth electric outboard motor test and, while they don’t offer quite the same level of functionality, many agree. come out quite well comparatively.
But which one to buy? With over 40 or more on offer, and with brand names like Fayelong and Flyhero, U-BCOO and Caroute, sorting out the good from the bad can be a challenge. Remember that many of the motors you’ll see advertised will be for anglers looking to sneak in slowly on a snub, rather than hitting a rising tide. The power here is important.
And speaking of horsepower, know that when it comes to trolling motors, they are rated in pounds of thrust, not horsepower. They can start as low as 18 pounds, but load up your RIB with crew and supplies and you won’t get anywhere fast. Go for at least 45 pounds of thrust — 55 is better — and you’ll have power to spare when you need it.
Also, when looking at prices, remember that you will need to add the cost of a 12-volt battery. Unlike that fancy Torqeedo with its snap-on battery, trolls need a separate battery for juice. Budget between £80-120 for a voucher. And we recommend nothing less than a 105 amp-hour deep-cycle marine battery to give you the runtime you need. Sorry, this cheap Halfords won’t cut it.
You will also need a trolling motor designed for saltwater rather than freshwater, and with a transom mount rather than one up front. So which electric trolling motors should be on your wish list?
The Best Trolling Motors Available Right Now
Minn Kota Riptide 45 SC Trolling Motor
It’s hard to beat this tough, reliable troller from the company that basically invented the trolling motor and has been building them since 1934. Available in sizes ranging from a 45-pound version with a 91cm shaft to a muscular 112-pound version, our favorite is still the entry-level Riptide 45 SC, with 45 pounds of thrust.
With five forward and three reverse speeds, a 15cm telescoping drawbar, an indestructible composite shaft with lifetime warranty and a full two-year warranty, it’s a great balance of performance and value. An icy white finish too. We also like the clever Digital Maximiser technology that helps extend battery power.
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Newport Vessels X-Series 55 Trolling Motor
The electric troll from this California-based company packs a punch of 55 pounds while tipping the scales at a lightweight 22 pounds. What sets it apart for us is its 30-degree tilting tiller – it also extends 15cm – as well as its large three-bladed propeller and, our favourite, the 10-point LED battery meter.
It also features a durable composite shaft and five forward and three reverse gears. The company estimates that powering an eight-foot hardtail, the 55 would give a top speed of 4 mph, depending on boat weight. The X Series is also fully saltwater resistant and comes with a two-year warranty. Another advantage; This 25cm diameter three-blade propeller is made of fiberglass reinforced nylon rather than cheap plastic.
Bison Neraus 55 Trolling Motor
The best selling electric trolling motor on Amazon UK right now, the US built Bison Neraus 55 is all about value. At £159.99 with a free spare for good measure, the price is hard to beat, especially considering it’s designed for saltwater. And it has all the typical trolling motor perks, like a composite transom shaft and mount, LED battery level indicator, five forward and three reverse gears, and a two-year warranty. years with Bison’s UK service centre.
Despite the value price, there’s no shortage of 5-star reviews on Amazon UK praising the solid performance and quiet operation. Of course, if you need more punch, there’s always the 68-pound version.
Motorguide R3 Digital 55 Trolling Motor
MotorGuide is part of the American Brunswick Corporation, owner of Mercury Marine, and has been designing trolling motors for over half a century. Their main focus is developing trolling for serious fishing machines and have a close relationship with Lowrance, incorporating high technology sonar transducers and chartplotter technology in trolling motors. Serious stuff.
For smaller applications, such as pushing hardtails and dinks, they feature the high-quality transom-mounted digital R3 and R5 saltwater series. Yes, they are expensive, but they are constructed from aluminum alloy and stainless steel coated with a three-layer corrosion protection process. We like the 55lb R3 thruster with 91cm shaft, which at around £280 is still great value.
Haswing Osapian 55 Trolling Motor
Chinese trolling motor manufacturer Haswing offers everything from an £119 30-pound thruster to a lithium-ion outboard motor rivaling Torqeedo for £1,240. For value hunters, we like the simple delights of the Osapian 55 which costs around £147. Weighing just 8.2 kg, it holds a weight of 55 pounds, has five forward and three reverse gears and offers a five-level LED battery indicator.
The cast aluminum driveshaft won’t be as durable as the composite versions, and the plastic rocker cover is definitely flimsy. But there is a sturdy fin at the base of the motor to protect the propeller and the tiller extends to 35cm and tilts nicely. For the money, it’s hard to beat.
Watersnake Venom SXW Trolling Motor
Call it the silent thunder of Down Under. This Australian-made saltwater sled from Dandenong, Victoria comes with a choice of 34, 44 and 54 pound thrust motors and 66, 76 or 91cm shafts. All run on a separate 12-volt battery and operate with five forward gears and three reverse gears.
There’s plenty of tough composites in their construction – including the shaft – and fridge white paint. We’d opt for the torquey but super-quiet 54-pound Venom with its three-blade propeller, telescoping tiller, and digital voltmeter on the headgear. A fair dinkum price at around £317.
EP Carry Trolling Motor
Most trolling motors tend to look the same, don’t they? The same diamond-shaped head, a thin shaft, an underwater pod with an attachment on the end, and wires leading to a separate lead-acid battery. The American-made EP Carry shakes things up by looking more like a traditional speedboat, with a traditional cowl and long tiller.
Yes, there’s still a separate battery, but here it’s a lithium-ion pack in a soft case that weighs just 2.9kg. The motor and battery combined tip the scales at just 9.5kg. Plug in its fast charger and it will recharge the battery in less than five hours. According to the makers PropEle, it can easily push something like a three-meter Walker Bay RIB at over 3.5 knots. At the moment it’s only available in the US at $1,600 – around £1,220 – although they happily ship one.
Torqeedo Travel 1003 Trolling Motor
Yes, it’s pricey at £1,449+, but for powering your RIB with the least amount of hassle, this German-made Torqeedo Travel 1003 is still the gold standard of electric outboards. With 68 pounds of thrust – that’s roughly the equivalent of a 3hp gas outboard – it will push a decently sized RIB around five knots at full throttle. Go back to three knots and it should run for three and a half hours on a charge.
And it’s such a great piece of design with its built-in high-performance lithium-ion battery and distinctive gray and orange colors. The base version comes with a 530Wh battery, but for around £250 extra you can get the larger 915Wh battery for extra range.
Don’t miss our electric outboard motor and trolling motor test.