How Big of A Trolling Motor Do I Need: A Precise Guide for Anglers

This is where you’ll get your answer if you’re seeking a specific answer to “how big of a trolling motor do I need”? The size of a trolling motor depends on how big or small your fishing boat is. 

Usually, the trolling motor with 36 inches shaft, and 12V 55 lbs thrust goes for most fishing boats. However, there are still different exceptions. And, you require a specific size of trolling motor based on your boat. So, read out the entire article to dive into detail.

What Type Of Trolling Motor Should You Choose

Depending on power and size, you should choose the type of your trolling motor. In general, there are 3 main types, and each of these types has its own specific area to work on. Once you know all the types according to their functioning area, you can easily identify the right type. Here are-

1. Gas/Electric Powered Trolling Motor

Gas Powered

When you need high power and maximum speed, you should decide on a gas-powered motor. This motor has a 4-stroke engine with the highest speed of 5 knots, and it will provide 2-6 HP. As a result, gas-powered motors are stronger compared to electric motors. 

  • Highly suitable for bigger boats.
  • Perfect for a wide range of purposes
  • Heavy weight
  • Noisy operation


The electric-powered trolling motor comes with only around 1.5 HP with a maximum of knots from 2 to 3. Therefore, it will be a suitable gear for small boat requirements.

  • Quiet operation process
  • Lightweight
  • Cannot use large fishing boats

2. Mount Type Trolling Motor

There are two mount types of trolling motor available on the market where one is a Bow mount and another a Transom mount type trolling motor. 

Bow Mount Type Trolling Motor

This bow mount motor is the most common and popular trolling motor due to its great capacity and precision to offer wonderful boat control. It has a latter option to free the angler’s hands during fishing time which makes it more popular among anglers. The Bow mount trolling motor appears with all the advanced features. 

  • GPS anchor lock included
  • Controllable with either a foot pedal or autopilot. 
  • Expensive

Transom Mount Trolling Motor 

The most common one that is trouble-free to mount and also more cost-effective than the Bow mount type trolling motor.

  • Usable from the back side of the boat
  • Perfect for Canoe
  • No GPS or Auto Pilot included

3. Hands/Foot Controlled Trolling Motor

Hand-Held Remote Control Trolling Motor

Some of the trolling motors are hand-held remote controlled while some are foot pedal controlled. Both of these trolling motors are high-end. However, anglers from professionals to beginners like to have remote-controlled trolling motors rather than the foot pedal. 

  • Easy to operate from anywhere in the boat.  
  • Suitable for high-performance
  • You cannot keep your hands free

Foot-Pedal Motor

The foot pedal motor is also a high-end trolling motor like the hand-held motor. It is an easily controllable motor for bigger fishing boats.

  • Keep Your hands free
  • Easy to maintain
  • You have to control it from a specific place on your boat.

How Big Of A Trolling Motor Do I Need

The essential parts of a trolling motor are thrust or horsepower to determine the right size.  You can determine the size either based on your boat’s weight and length.  Let’s see-

How Do I Choose the Right Size Trolling Motor?

Follow the given table below to understand what size you need according to the weight of your boat-

Size Chart of Trolling Motor

Boat Weight while LoadedBoat LengthMinimum ThrustThrust for Strong Current & Winds
550030 ft110 lbs120 lbs
500029 ft100 lbs110 lbs
450027 ft90 lbs100 lbs
400025 ft80 lbs90 lbs
350023 ft70 lbs80 lbs
300021 ft60 lbs70 lbs
250019 ft50 lbs60 lbs
200017 ft40 lbs50 lbs
150015ft30 lbs40 lbs

Trolling Motor Size For Different Types Of Boat

The size of a trolling motor also depends on its types since there are different types of motor available for different purposes. Here we explored the size considering the types of boats-

How Big Of A Trolling Motor Do I Need For A Canoe

Canoes exceed 500lbs not very often but it requires sufficient thrust to make a standard performance. And, if you can make sure the right size of the thrust of the trolling motor is, the Canoe troll for a maximum period of time that can go up to 3 to 4 MPH. Here’s a  chart for you to check the Canoe thrust size-

Size of Trolling motor for Canoe

Canoe WeightCanoe LengthPerformance Thrust
500 lbs10 ft25 lbs
750 lbs12 ft35 lbs
1000 lbs14 ft55 lbs
1250 lbs16 ft55 lbs
1500 lbs18 ft80 lbs

How Strong of A Trolling Motor Do I Need for Canoe

The Canoe with 35 lbs to thrust motor is strong for water surface without a strong current. But, if you want it to withstand a stronger current condition, you should choose a trolling motor with at least 55lbs thrust.

How Big Of A Trolling Motor Do I Need For A Pontoon

Usually, the Pontoon boat can go for all conditions of current from stable to strong since it has a shallow draught. However, you should choose the right size accurately based on the length and weight of your Pontoon. Let’s see in the given table below-

Size of Trolling motor for Pontoon

Boat LengthBoat Weight while LoadedMaximum ThrustThrust for Strong Current & Winds
21 ft 4500 lbs110 lbs100 lbs
20 ft4000 lbs100 lbs90 lbs
19 ft3500 lbs90 lbs80 lbs
18 ft3000 lbs80 lbs70 lbs
17 ft2500 lbs70 lbs60 lbs
16 ft2000 lbs60 lbs50 lbs
15 ft1500 lbs50 lbs40 lbs
14 ft1000 lbs40 lbs30 lbs

How Strong of A Trolling Motor Do I Need for A Pontoon

Pontoon boat comes with a large height deck. If you want to use a spot lock, it can create problems on the water when there’s strong wind around. 

How Big Of A Trolling Motor Do I Need For A Kayak

Kayak is a small boat that makes your small fishing trip enjoyable. Installing the right size of trolling motor on a Kayak won’t require much cost or measurement to get. However, you’ve to focus on the thrust you want while choosing a trolling motor for your kayak. 55 lbs thrust is good enough for a kayak.

How Strong of A Trolling Motor Do I Need for A Kayak

Choosing a 30 lbs motor for a Kayak boat will be strong enough to deal with 300lbs weight. But, this size motor will be better for a small water surface. For kayaking in the ocean, you must choose the trolling motor from 40 to 55 lbs thrust.  

How Big Of A Trolling Motor Do I Need For A Bass Boat

The right size trolling motor for a Bass boat enables you to fish on any water surface, for example, spillways, wind-swept flats, river currents, etc.

Size of Trolling motor for Bass Boat

LengthWeightMinimum ThrustThrust for Strong Current & Winds
21 ft4000 lbs100 lbs110 lbs
20 ft3500 lbs90 lbs100 lbs
19 ft3000 lbs80 lbs90 lbs
18 ft2500 lbs70 lbs80 lbs
17 ft2000 lbs60 lbs70 lbs
16 ft1500 lbs50 lbs60 lbs
15 ft1250 lbs40 lbs50 lbs
14 ft1000 lbs30 lbs40 lbs

How Strong of A Trolling Motor Do I Need for A Bass Boat

The lightweight design of the bass boat will be perfect for a bigger size trolling motor that ranges between 100 lbs and 110 lbs thrust. This size trolling motor will allow you to fish for a longer time.

How Big Of A Trolling Motor Do I Need For A Jon Boat

Jon boats are significantly utilized as flat-bottomed boats for a wide range of purposes like fishing, lumber collecting, or hunting. These boats are commonly so lightweight and perform best for rough water with up to 4 ft of strong currents. To choose the right size of the Jon boat type, you can take a quick look at the given chart below-

Size of Trolling motor for Jon Boat

Boat LengthBoat Weight while LoadedMinimum ThrustThrust for Strong Current & Winds
12 ft500 lbs30 lbs40 lbs
13 ft750 lbs40 lbs50 lbs
14 ft1000 lbs50 lbs60 lbs
15 ft1250 lbs50 lbs60 lbs
16 ft1500 lbs50 lbs60 lbs
17 ft1750 lbs50 lbs60 lbs
18 ft2000 lbs60 lbs70 lbs
19-more ft2500 lbs60 lbs70 lbs

How Strong of A Trolling Motor Do I Need for A Jon Boat

Since the Jon boats have a lightweight design, trolling motor from 45 to 55 lbs thrust will be well enough. However, in the case of a heavy weight load, you should make sure the trolling boat has 70 lbs thrust.

Extra Features To Look For While Buying A Trolling Motor

It’s pretty important to consider some factors before buying a trolling motor. So, in this section, you’ll learn what to look for and what not to purchase a high-quality and right-size trolling motor. Here these are- 

  • Thrust / HP

Thrust is the term for electric motor power while HP comes from the combustion engine. Determining the thrust or HP accurately is very important. The weight and size of your fishing boat translate the measurement for HP or thrust. So, check out whether you’ve chosen the right thrust for your boat before you buy it.

  • Shaft 

Choosing an accurate shaft length is essential as the propeller won’t be submerged if the shaft length is too short. We suggest you submerge at least 12 inches of the center in your trolling motor.  

  • Battery & Voltage

It indicates the battery power you require for your trolling motor. You should have 1 battery for each of your 12 volt trolling systems.

  • Digital Maximizer

High-end trolling motors are coming with all the advanced and newly added features, for example, a digital display. To get the additional facilities, you can choose your trolling motor with this feature. 

  • Mega Imaging Transducer

You can buy the trolling motor with the built-in imaging mega transducer if you want to get a clear image. It will help you locate the fish precisely.


Finally, you must select a reputed brand that is trustworthy in maintaining its product quality with all the advanced and unique features. Check out the given trolling motors below from different reputed brands-

  1. Minn Kota C2 Endura Trolling Motor The Minn Kota C2 is a 240-ounce lightweight transom trolling motor which is compatible with freshwater. It offers all the outstanding features including a telescoping tiller, lever-lock brackets, and an indestructible composite shaft. 
  1. MotorGuide X3 Trolling Motor It’s a foot-control bow mount trolling motor with an exclusive cable steer, 5-speed settings, and digital variable. You’ll enjoy operating this 12 volts motor.


How big of a trolling motor do I need for a 12-feet boat?

Well, a trolling motor with 55 lbs thrust will be working fine for a 12 ft boat. 

What size trolling motor do I need for a 20 ft boat

You shouldn’t go for less than 70 lbs of thrust. But, the 80 lbs will be better. 

What size trolling motor do I need for a 17-foot boat

Trolling motor with 80 lbs of thrust is perfect for a 17 ft boat. 

What size trolling motor do I need for a 16-foot boat

The 55lbs thrust trolling motor performs the best for a 16 ft boat.

Can a trolling motor be too big?

No, the trolling motor is never too big as the angling necessitates more power.

How much thrust do you need for a trolling motor?

Minimum 2 lbs of thrust you require for a trolling motor.

Final Thoughts

It’s significant to ask yourself “how big of a trolling motor do I need” before deciding on a trolling motor. And, most anglers find it tough to identify the accurate size. However, we’ve made this tough job easier for you to understand with ease.

You can decide the size of your trolling motor considering all the fundamental measures that we’ve mentioned above. So, Don’t Miss them Out!

Anthony Jones
Anthony Jones

Anthony is an expert in fishing and trolling motor equipment, based in Austin. In his free time, he can often be found out on the water, perfecting his fishing techniques and testing out the latest gear.

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