Trolling Motor Vs Outboard: A Guide for Anglers to Choose the Best Pick

When you talk about the trolling motor and the outboard, two of these motors have different purposes. So, you’ve to choose between the trolling motor vs outboard considering their HP, power, purpose, features, and functions.  Also, you’ve to consider the boating environment and the size of your boat.

However, the outboard motors are generally used for bigger purposes like when you intend to fish on a large water surface. On the other hand, a trolling motor is the best while you go fishing on a small water surface like a river.

A trolling motor won’t provide what an outboard motor can. You can expect higher speed while running an outboard motor than a trolling motor. There are many more dissimilarities between these two motors which can make your way easier to choose the right one. 

Overview of Trolling Motor

A trolling motor is a self-contained motor and it’s not the primary source of propulsion. The trolling motor isn’t lifted from water during the usage of the primary engine. 

However, it works in removing drugs so that you can glide through the water with ease. Besides, it will allow your boat to stay in the same spot without deploying its physical anchor. Therefore, it becomes easier to remain calm in the heavy current or wind.

Trolling motor comes with various advantages, for instance, it will give you full freedom to control your boat in any situation. Because, as an angler, you can manipulate each movement of your boat according to your advantage. Also, you can eliminate the variables to maximize the bait and lure presentation.

Overview of Outboard Motor

An outboard motor is a motor that is responsible to propel your boat through the water. It is also a self-contained motor like the trolling motor. An outboard motor consists of a propeller, gearbox, and engine. 

Usually, an outboard motor is fixed on the outside of the boat. To steer and power the boat, you can choose the outboard motor but you’ve to move the entire engine to steer. It works by eliminating oil and gasoline and performs the way a car does. 

However, the outboard motor is becoming tremendously popular due to many reasons, and one is its noiseless operation. And, since there’s no noise around your fishing area, it won’t spook the fish. Another significant reason for its popularity is it requires less maintenance time. Also, it’s easy to maintain an outboard motor.

Trolling Motor Vs Outboard: Top Tips

Trolling motor and the outboard come in different purposes and activities. They have different features and functions. Let’s make a crucial difference between them based on the following terms-

Comparison Table

Trolling MotorMinimum HPLow 20 Ibs- 27 IbsLithium/AGM12, 24, 36 VoltsSmall Water Lever
Outboard MotorMaximum HPHigh155 Ibs to 359 IbsDeep-Cycle Marine13.6-14.3 VoltsLarge Water Level


If you consider a trolling motor with an outboard motor, the outboard motor will serve the maximum power. For example, the smallest outboard motor comes at 5HP while the largest trolling motor comes with only 2 HP. So, you’ll get more efficiency from the outboard than the trolling motor in terms of power.


When comparing their speed, the outboard motor will step in the first phase. Due to its higher HP and prop-pitched design, the outboard motor reaches a higher speed than the trolling motor.


The weight of a trolling motor depends on its AMP and the types of battery. If it comes with a lithium battery, it weighs between 20 to 27 Ibs.  

For an outboard motor, you can measure the weight based on the 3 different types-

  • Portable Outboard Motor– Generally ranges from 29.5 Ibs to 110 Ibs weight.
  • Mid-Size Outboard Motors- You’ll get 155Ibs to 359 Ibs.
  • High-Power Outboard Motors- It is the largest motor that ranges from 478 Ibs to 1094 Ibs in its weight.


The purpose is to use a trolling motor to get auxiliary power that can help you to maintain a slow speed for the limited run time of your boat. In a word, a trolling motor is used for short-distance fishing purposes.

However, the purpose of the outboard motor is to power up the boat. How the outboard motor can power up the motor, depends on the HP of the outboard. For instance, if you choose a 3 HP outboard motor, it can power up a 24 ft boat. 


The trolling motor battery comes in a more extended period of run time than the outboard motor battery. Also, trolling motor batteries require less maintenance. The trolling motor performs well with lithium or AGM batteries while the outboard goes for deep-cycle marine batteries. 


The outboard motor is much easier to set up than the trolling motor when you compare them in terms of their setting procedure.


In maximum cases, the trolling motor comes in three voltages of its battery. And, these are 12 volts, 24 volts, and 36 volts which tend to be 13.6volts to 14.3 volts for the outboard.  

Do you need a trolling motor along with an outboard motor?

No, you don’t! Since these two motors come up with different features and functions, their purpose is also different. The outboard motor is designed for higher power while the trolling motor ensures low power. In that case, you don’t need to use a trolling motor along with an outboard motor. 

Is A Trolling Motor Considered An Outboard Motor?

Not Exactly! Both the trolling motor and the outboard motor are self-contained motors. But, the purpose of these two motors aren’t the same. The outboard works as a primary source of propulsion and lift from the water while its engine is used. The trolling motor, on the other hand, is used to move the fishing boat.


You must now understand the difference in trolling motor vs. outboard. The trolling motor and the outboard aren’t the same; you can use these two for the same usage area. 

If you intend to use it for shore-based tender to fish in a lake or to get your boat moored offshore, you have to go for an electric trolling motor rather than the outboard motor. 

Again, if you want to use your boat for occasional purposes, you need the trolling motor. But, if you want to go fishing in a large lake or in long-distance cruising, nothing but the outboard is the right one for you. 

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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