The Best Trolling Motor For Pontoon Boat

The spacious interiors of pontoon boats make an ideal watercraft for trolling with your friends. It’s a great activity to do with your friends and have a day out in the calm waters. Because pontoon boats are typically stable, roomy, and easy to maneuver, they can make excellent trolling platforms. 

A trolling motor can help you navigate through shallow waters, improve your boat’s maneuverability, and reduce the noise and disturbance caused by a traditional outboard motor. 

Let’s take a look at the best trolling motor boats for pontoons, including their features, advantages, and drawbacks, to help you make an informed decision and choose the right one for your needs.

Editors Choice

Here are my top picks at a glance for different kinds of pontoons. So no matter what kind you have, I’ve got your back!

Best Trolling Motor For Pontoon Boat With Spot-Lock: Minn Kota Riptide Terrova

  • iPilot GPS is one of the best in the market
  • Accurate spot lock 
  • Stays put even in strong currents and winds
  • Spot-Lock and Jog Feature
  • 112 lbs, perfect for bigger pontoons

Best Trolling Motor For An 18 Ft Pontoon Boat: Newport Pontoon Series

  • Designed for pontoons
  • 86lbs at 24V perfect for the general weight of an 18 footer
  • 55” shaft length is the perfect length for your pontoon, not too long, not too short
  • Adjustable
  • Variable speeds

Best Trolling Motor For A 20-Foot Pontoon: Garmin Force

  • One of the best options out there
  • Scissor style mount makes it suitable to be used anywhere
  • 50” shaft length
  • 100 lbs of thrust, powerful enough for your 20-foot pontoon
  • Brushless, quiet motor

Best Trolling Motor For 24-Foot Pontoon Boat: MotorGuide Xi5

  • 105 lbs of amazing power, sufficient to move heavy weights
  • 72” shaft length
  • Wireless remote
  • Compatible with Lowrance Fishfinders

Best trolling motor for inflatable Pontoon boat: Minn Kota Edge Freshwater

  • Lightweight, perfect for inflatables
  • 70lbs perfect for light pontoons
  • 52” shaft length 
  • Cable steer foot pedal
  • Compact design

Best trolling motor for Colorado Pontoon boat: MotorGuide Xi3

  • 70lbs, with a 60″ shaft
  • GPS with a lightweight model
  • Quiet, doesn’t spook fish
  • Perfect for getting close to the water
  • Amazing battery life

Quick Product Comparison Table

Make a table comparing all the motors by their key features such as:

FeatureGarmin ForceMinn Kota Riptide TerrovaMinn Kota Edge FreshwaterLowrance GhostMinn Kota PowerdriveMinn Kota UlterraMotorguide Xi3Newport Pontoon SeriesMotorguide Xi5
Mounting TypeScissor style mountBow mountBow mountBow mountBow mountBow mountBow mountDeck mountBow mount
Thrust (lbs.)10011270977080 7086105
Shaft Length (in.)50″ 72″52″60″60″60”60″55”72”
Weight (lbs.)98.7675892.645734524.6 – 2947.2
SpeedVariableVariableVariableVariableVariableVariableVariable5 forward/3 reverseVariable
Control OptionFoot pedal, wireless remotei-Pilot Link remoteFoot pedal, cable steerConfigurable foot pedalFoot pedalFoot pedal, i-Pilot remoteWireless remoteFoot pedal, wireless remoteWireless handheld
Brushed /BrushlessBrushlessBrushed or brushlessBrushed or brushlessBrushlessBrushed or brushlessBrushlessBrushlessBrushed or brushlessBrushless
Propeller Size3-blade2-bladePower prop3-bladeWeedless wedge2 or 3-blade3 -blade 3-blade3-blade

Top 9 Best Trolling Motor For Pontoon Boats

1. Garmin Force

  • Gesture Control:

One of the coolest features of the Garmin Force is its gesture control feature. Simply point your remote in the direction you want to go, and the motor will adjust itself and move toward that direction. 

  • Brushless Motor:

The Garmin Force is powered by a brushless motor, which offers several benefits over traditional brushed motors. It provides higher efficiency, greater power output, and a longer lifespan, making it a more reliable and durable option.

Why Did I Choose It?

This one is a game changer if you can use it with the Panoptix Live Scope+. The Garmin Force has a built-in transducer that is compatible with the Panoptix, and if you’re unfamiliar with it it is a fishfinder technology that provides real-time, live imaging of the underwater environment, allowing anglers to see fish and structure in incredible detail, even in murky water or low-light conditions.

Hands down one of the coolest ways to troll! Not to mention that the motor itself is very efficient and super quiet. It’s a great investment. 


  • Compatible with Panoptix
  • Easy to install and use
  • Quiet, brushless
  • Efficient, long battery life
  • Cable-less foot pedal
  • Waterproof, floatable remote
  • Scissor style mount


  • Very expensive
  • Heavy

2. Minn Kota Riptide Terrova

  • i-Pilot GPS System: 

The Riptide Terrova comes with Minn Kota’s advanced i-Pilot GPS, which allows you to navigate your boat automatically, set and retrace your path, and hold your position with the Spot-Lock feature.

This can make fishing and navigating in challenging waters much easier and more efficient.

  • Spot-Lock and Jog: 

Not only does this motor feature your regular Spot-Lock, but the Terrova also has the Jog feature, which allows anglers to move the boat 5 feet in any direction with just a tap on the foot pedal.

This feature is useful for making small adjustments to your position, whether it’s to stay in a specific fishing spot or to move closer to a target.

Why Did I Choose It?

This is the first Minn Kota I tried with my Pontoon. Minn Kota is one of the leading brand names when it comes to trolling motors, and it lived up to its hype.

It was easy to install and the 72″ shaft length was especially convenient in choppy waters. At 112 lbs of thrust, this one is a beast perfect for bigger pontoons. 


  • Accurate spot lock and autopilot
  • Digital Maximizer, efficient battery
  • iPilot Remote
  • Smooth 
  • Relatively quiet


  • Some models don’t come with a heading sensor due to a shortage
  • Remote might be too big for some people

3. Minn Kota Edge

  • Latch and Door Bracket: 

The Minn Kota Edge trolling motor features a Latch and Door Bracket, which provides a solid mount and easy removal of the motor. The bracket is made of indestructible composite material and has a positive locking mechanism to keep the motor secure.

This makes it easy to install and remove the motor when necessary without the need for any tools or complicated procedures. Additionally, the latch and door bracket design minimizes flex and movement of the motor, resulting in improved steering control and durability over time.

  • Cable Steer Foot Pedal: 

Control your motor with Minn Kota’s “ultra-responsive” foot pedal, which gives you precise control over the boat allowing for accurate navigation across the waters.

The cable steer foot pedal is designed to be comfortable to use for extended periods, with an ergonomic design and a heel/toe action that reduces fatigue.

Additionally, the foot pedal can be easily removed for storage or transport, making it convenient to use the motor on multiple boats or to store the motor during the off-season.

Why Did I Choose It?

Minn Kota advertises the Edge as their compact trolling motor, and it is slightly lighter than the Terrova and a bit more compact in design. Works great with smaller pontoons and if you plan on trolling alone.

The only complaint I’ve heard from other anglers is that they end up having to buy a new Minn Kota over the years. 


  • Easy to install
  • Powerful
  • Compact
  • Heel Toe foot pedal
  • 5-speed settings
  • Power props


  • Might be difficult to lower due to the propellers
  • Not long-lasting
  • No GPS

4. Lowrance Ghost

  • Brushless Motor: 

The Lowrance Ghost features a brushless motor that is designed for high performance and long-lasting durability.

Brushless motors are typically more efficient and require less maintenance than brushed motors, which can save you time and money in the long run.

  • Built-in Sonar: 

The Ghost also features a built-in sonar system that allows you to see below the surface of the water and locate fish. The sonar system can be used in conjunction with GPS technology to help you identify and target specific underwater structures or features, which can increase your chances of catching fish.

The sonar system can also be used for navigation, allowing you to avoid shallow or rocky areas that could damage your boat or motor.

Why Did I Choose It?

The Ghost is one of the quietest trolling motors on the market, with its brushless motor giving you a smooth, quiet glide on the water without scaring away any fish.

Once you’ve used both brushed and brushless motors, you will notice the subtle difference between the two. Depending on what type of fish you wish to catch, this brushless Ghost might just be the best choice. 


  • Quiet
  • Efficient
  • Interference-free
  • Pedal configurations
  • Integrated transducer
  • Reliable


  • Expensive 

5. Minn Kota Powerdrive

  • Deploy-Assist Lever: 

The Minn Kota Powerdrive features a Deploy-Assist Lever that allows you to easily and quickly deploy the motor by simply pressing down on the lever. This can save you time and effort, especially when you’re launching your pontoon boat by yourself.

  • Digital Maximizer Technology

The Power Drive also includes Minn Kota’s Digital Maximizer Technology, which helps to optimize battery life and increase your time on the water.

This technology provides variable speed control that delivers the precise amount of power needed at any given speed, which can help you conserve battery power and stay on the water longer.

Why Did I Choose It?

Minn Kota trolling motors are some of the most popular among the community and this one is no less.

With its 60” shaft and 70 lbs of thrust, this worked perfectly with my pontoon. There’s a weedless wedge 2 propellers that power through even the harshest of tides with ease. 


  • Easy to install
  • Great speed
  • Works great at high winds as well
  • Side-to-side/electric foot pedal
  • Waterproof foot pedal


  • Only freshwater
  • Doesn’t come with a transducer

6. Minn Kota Ulterra

  • Auto Stow and Deploy: 

The Minn Kota Ulterra features an advanced Auto Stow and Deploy system that allows you to effortlessly raise and lower the motor with the touch of a button.

This can save you time and effort when launching and retrieving your pontoon boat, and it also helps to protect the motor from damage during transportation.

  • Power Steering and Lift-Assist: 

The Ulterra is designed with advanced power steering and lift-assist technology, which makes it easy to maneuver your pontoon boat even in strong currents or windy conditions.

This can help you stay on course and avoid collisions, and it also makes it easier to dock your boat at the end of the day. Additionally, the lift-assist feature makes it easier to stow and deploy the motor, even if you have limited upper body strength.

Why Did I Choose It?

The ease of stowing and deploying this motor is enough to make me love it. There’s a lift assist mechanism on it as well that makes it super easy to lift, especially for someone like me with little to no upper body strength.

The Spot Lock on this is pretty accurate as well and allows me to stick to one position even in harsh conditions. 


  • Great features
  • Accurate GPS
  • Universal Sonar
  • iPilot GPS
  • Path recorder
  • Includes foot pedal


  • You can’t connect to Humminbird without iPilot Link
  • Unreliable customer service 

7. MotorGuide Xi3

  • Stow and Deploy: 

The Motorguide Xi3 trolling motor has an easy-to-use stow and deploys feature that allows for quick and efficient setup and storage. The motor is mounted on a sturdy bracket that can be easily attached to the pontoon boat’s transom.

When it’s time to deploy the motor, simply release the latch and the motor will slide down into the water. Once the motor is in the water, the user can adjust the depth of the propeller to the desired level.

When it’s time to stow the motor, the user simply pulls up on the release lever, and the motor will automatically lift out of the water and lock into place on the bracket.

This feature is especially convenient for pontoon boat owners who want to quickly and easily store their motor when they’re not using it.

  • Pinpoint GPS Anchoring: 

The Xi3 has a built-in GPS that allows for pinpoint anchoring, meaning you can lock onto a specific spot and stay there regardless of wind or current.

This feature is particularly useful for those of you who want to fish in one spot or for those who are trying to locate a school of fish.

  • Quiet Operation

The Motorguide Xi3 has a motor that operates quietly, making it less likely to spook fish or disturb the peace of the surrounding environment.

The quiet operation also allows anglers to hear approaching fish or wildlife, giving them a better chance of catching their prey.

Why Did I Choose It?

The MotorGuide Xi3 is a great choice for a lot of anglers. Whether you are into Kayaks Pontoons or other types of boats MotorGuide probably has a model that perfectly suits you.

The Xi3 with a 60” shaft and 70 lbs thrust is perfect for small to medium-sized pontoons. The battery on this is my favorite part. Even after a long day of trolling, it barely leaves a dent! 


  • Digital power management
  • Longer battery life
  • Easy to stow and deploy
  • Quiet
  • Wireless remote control
  • Electric steer


  • No foot pedal
  • The anchor lock might not always work properly 

8. Newport Pontoon Series

  • Durability

The Newport Pontoon series trolling motor is designed to withstand the harsh marine environment. It features a composite shaft that is highly resistant to corrosion, UV damage, and impact. Additionally, the motor head is made of durable aluminum, ensuring that it can withstand the wear and tear of regular use.

  • Adjustability: 

This motor is highly adjustable, with a variety of speed settings and a telescoping handle that can be adjusted to fit your height and preference. This allows for greater control and comfort when operating the motor, reducing fatigue and increasing efficiency.

  • Versatility:

The cool part about the Newport Pontoon series trolling motor is its versatility; with a variety of mounting options that allow it to fit most pontoon boats. It is also suitable for both freshwater and saltwater use, making it a great option for anglers who fish in different environments.

Why Did I Choose It?

This one is built specifically for pontoon boats, and it’s hard to beat that kind of option. It comes with a mounting bracket that you can mount anywhere on your pontoon. So there’s no hassle of choosing a mount style. The 55” inch shaft length is perfect for most pontoons with 86 lbs of thrust providing the perfect push for your heavy boats. 


  • LED battery meter
  • Flexible handle
  • Both saltwater and freshwater
  • 10” diameter propeller
  • Strong build
  • Amazing customer service 
  • Great battery life


  • Might be noisy
  • The lowest speed isn’t slow enough
  • No GPS

9. MotorGuide Xi5

  • Wireless remote control: 

The Motorguide Xi5 comes with a wireless remote control that allows you to control the trolling motor from anywhere on your boat. This feature allows you to adjust your speed, steering, and anchor position without having to physically be at the motor.

It is particularly useful when you are trying to navigate through tricky water conditions or trying to catch fish in a specific spot.

  • GPS: 

The built-in GPS offers advanced features like anchor lock, heading hold, and route record. This allows you to easily lock your boat in place or follow a predetermined route without having to constantly adjust your trolling motor.

The GPS also ensures that you stay within the legal boundaries of your fishing area, making it a great tool for serious anglers.

Why Did I Choose It?

The MotorGuide Xi5 is compatible with Lowrance, Simrad, and Mercury VesselView displays and I had a Lowrance fishfinder with my pontoon. This worked great and fit right in.

It has amazing features and an industry-standard pinpoint GPS which makes things like Spot-Lock highly accurate. 


  • Lowrance Compatible 
  • Easy-to-read LED dashboard
  • Machete III Glass Filled Propeller; super sturdy
  • Easy to install
  • Lightweight


  • Doesn’t integrate with Garmin chart plotters
  • Customer service isn’t reliable

Guide To Choosing The Right Trolling Motor For Your Pontoon Boat

All these cool features might have confused you at this point. But fret not, here’s how you can figure out which one is the right choice for you. Keep the following factors in mind and narrow down your choice. 

Fishfinder Brand

When it comes to choosing a trolling motor for your ‘toon, choosing a brand is one of the first things you should do. This isn’t a matter of simple brand preference, but a matter of what brands will work best with your pontoon. Pontoons built for trolling can often come with their fishfinders. 

So if you have a fishfinder already, try which brands are compatible with it, and then you can go from there. For instance, with Lowrance fish finders, you’ll probably want a MotorGuide Xi5 or Xi3.

On the other hand, if you have a Humminbird one, then you’ll probably want any of the Minn Kota motors. Choosing a brand also narrows down the choices for you, making it easier to pick a favorite. 

Mount Style 

Next comes the mounting style. Different models of trolling motors have different styles and they need to be compatible with your boat.

You have three options with almost any pontoon: the bow, the transom, and on the engine. While any of it is completely fine, I recommend a bow mount. 

A bow mount makes it easier to control your boat, especially if you troll. If trolling isn’t your priority, and you just want to fish for some bass without scaring them away, then you can get away with an engine mount or a transom mount as well.

But the bow mount is one of the more popular options among anglers and it also helps maneuver the boat better from the front. 

Shaft Length 

Shaft length usually isn’t much of a deciding factor when it comes to choosing a model, because most brands offer several different options for shaft lengths.

However, the shaft length will make a significant difference in your trolling experience. So as a rule of thumb, for pontoons, you should get one with 60”, especially if you’re planning on using a bow mount. 

You could measure the height from the surface of the water where you plan to troll, to the location where you plan to mount your motor.  Add about 18-22” to that height, and that should give you your ideal shaft length. 

Thrust Options

Since pontoons are a bit heavier than other options like canoes or kayaks, you do need sufficient power to properly control the boat.

Going as high as you can, especially if you have a bigger boat is what I would suggest. 60 – 80 lbs is usually a good bet.

If you have an estimate of how much your boat generally weighs when fully loaded, then you can calculate a good estimate of how much thrust you will require.

Divide the total weight by 100 and multiply it by 2. But don’t take this formula too seriously, as conditions vary greatly from boat to boat. So I would suggest you go for 80lbs and you can change or upgrade later on. 

How long does a trolling motor need to be for a pontoon boat?

The length of the trolling motor needed for a pontoon boat depends on several factors such as the size and weight of the pontoon boat, the desired speed, and the water conditions.

In general, a trolling motor shaft length of 54-60 inches is suitable for most pontoon boats.

When selecting a trolling motor shaft length, you should consider the depth of the water, the weight and balance of your pontoon boat, and the expected wave and wind conditions.

Mounting Process Of Trolling Motors On Pontoon Boats 

You can install your trolling motor in several places on your pontoon: the transom, the bow, or on the main motor.

If you want to skip some hassle, you can even get a quick-release bracket for your removable trolling motor for the pontoon boat. With quick-release brackets, you can just use the slot on the door to mount your motor. 

However, if your pontoon isn’t compatible with one of these, the bow mount is one of the most popular ways to mount your motor. Here’s how. 

  • Step 1: Choose the right location:

Select a spot on the bow of your pontoon boat to mount your trolling motor. This spot should be flat and clear of obstructions.

  • Step 2: Install the mounting bracket: 

Attach the mounting bracket to the bow of the pontoon boat using the appropriate hardware. Make sure the bracket is secured tightly to prevent the trolling motor from wobbling during use.

  • Step 3: Attach the trolling motor: 

Connect the trolling motor to the mounting bracket and secure it in place using the appropriate hardware.

  • Step 4: Install the propeller: 

Attach the propeller to the trolling motor and secure it using the appropriate hardware. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly install the propeller.

  • Step 5: Install the battery:

Install the deep-cycle marine battery in a safe, dry location near the trolling motor. Connect the battery cables to the trolling motor according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


What size trolling motor do I need for an 18 ft pontoon boat?

The usual weight of your pontoon will determine the thrust power you need. But generally speaking, for an 18 ft pontoon boat, you can get by with 55- 70 lbs of thrust. 

What size trolling motor do I need for a 20ft pontoon?

For a 20 ft pontoon, you will need a bit more power and you should look at thrusts of anywhere from 70-80 lbs or higher. 

What size trolling motor for a 24ft pontoon boat

With 24 feet, you can use anything above 80 lbs. Depending on the weight and the conditions you troll in, the higher thrusts might suit you better. 

What is the best battery for a trolling motor for a pontoon boat?

Since pontoon boats are a bit on the heavy side, for trolling you should get a deep cycle marine battery.
They are very long-lasting and give you amazing performance with most trolling motors. Remember to check your motor’s manual for more specific requirements. 

Final Thoughts

Trolling is an amazing activity to do on a pontoon boat. While many people might fish or simply enjoy strolling through the water on their ‘toons, trolling is a bit more underrated.

But whether you’re an experienced angler or just someone with a pontoon looking for water activities, getting a trolling motor for your pontoon might just be the best investment yet. 

So, no matter which one you end up choosing from this list, I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time! You can share this guide with your friends or family who also have pontoons. Happy trolling.