Whats the Best Trolling Motor for a Pontoon Boat?

You may never have considered buying a trolling motor because you thought they were too expensive or difficult to operate then maybe its time to rethink things becaiuse todays trolling motors are not only lightweightand easy to operater but they are more cost effective than you mght imagine. So, today I’m going to cover what I believe are the best trolling motors for a pontoon boat on the market.

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If, like me, you are an avid fisherman then, chances are you've experienced the pain of trying to dock a small pontoon boat using only an outboard or worse under your own steam.

It's tough.

Pontoon boats are a popular type of boat that is used for fishing and relaxing on the water and they can be found in lakes, rivers, and oceans all around the world.

In fact, pontoon boats have been around since 1965 when they were invented by Alan Adler from Minnesota and, since that time they have become one of the most common types of leisure craft on the water.

You may never have considered buying a trolling motor because you thought they were too expensive or difficult to operate then maybe it's time to rethink things because today's trolling motors are not only lightweight and easy to operate but they are more cost-effective than you might imagine. So, today I'm going to cover what I believe are the best trolling motors for a pontoon boat on the market and explain, along the way, some of the things you should look out for when buying one as well as where (and how) to pick up the best deal on your preferred model.

Newport Vessels L-Series 86lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED Battery Indicator (40

This article will provide you with information about what trolling motors are and how to mount them onto your pontoon boat so you can enjoy a great day out on the water!

What Is A Trolling Motor?

Trolling motors are electric-powered propellers that can be attached to the front of your pontoon boat. They are used for creating propulsion in water, making them perfect for fishing on a lake or river!

In the case of electric trolling motors, you charge up by plugging them into an outlet either at home or, if available, on the dock. This charges the onboard battery packs so they can run for several hours under their own steam (so to speak!). If you would like to find out more about trolling motor batteries, then I suggest you read the post I wrote dedicated to the subject.

Investing in a good quality, dependable trolling motor for your pontoon boat is essential as not only will it save you money in the long run through lower maintenance costs and lower running costs (you won't have to replace parts and batteries so often) but you may even come to depend on it to get you out of a sticky situation or even a life-threatening one. So, please, don't skimp!

What Size Do Trolling Motor Should You Buy?

It's worth noting that trolling motors come in different sizes and are normally (I'm not sure why) rated by their weight. So, it's common to find 24, 36, 48 or 55 lbs motors that fit most recreational boats with motors in the 38-42lbs range being the typical ones you would fit to small pontoon boats.

They are also rated by their thrust which, basically, tells you how powerful the trolling motor is with, naturally, a smaller thrust offering less power while a bigger one will have more power!

You want to make sure that your pontoon boat has two batteries hooked up to each motor because, if not, when one battery dies, the whole system dies with it. And that's not something you want to happen when you are out in the middle of a lake!

Most trolling motors are mounted by the use of swivel mounts which allow you to move the motor as needed. Typical mounting options are now, stern and transom depending on the type of application and craft you have in mind.

8 Surprising Facts about trolling motors for pontoon boats

  1. Pontoon boats have been around since 1965 which makes them one of the most popular types of boat currently in use.
  2. To be most effective, a trolling motor should be mounted onto a pontoon boat with a swivel mount that can be adjusted as needed to direct the thrust and help you maneuver into tight spots.
  3. A low-quality trolling motor will reduce battery life and slow down your speed in the water.
  4. You want to have two batteries hooked up to each other when using a pontoon boat so that if one dies then you still have power!
  5. Most people require 38-42lbs of thrust when using a pontoon boat
  6. The size of the trolling motor is measured by how much thrust it has which tells you how strong your propulsion will be!
  7. Its often best to invest in an electric-powered trolling motor because they are easy to use, quieter and more efficient than their gas counterparts.
  8. Trolling motors work by being plugged into an outlet when in the dock to charge the on-board battery packs.

Best Trolling motor for Pontoon Boats

A trolling motor is basically a small, electric (most of them are electric but you can also buy gas-powered trolling motor) motors that are used to maneuver into tight spots or used when you don't want to signal your arrival with a heavy, and noisy outboard.

They are generally very easy to operate and give you a fine degree of control which makes them great for mooring or getting into the perfect fishing spot.

They tend to come in 3 varieties - stern-mounted, transom-mounted, or bow-mounted depending on where you need to put them on your boat - and, for larger vessels, it's not uncommon to have more than one trolling motor installed.

Hopefully, you will find this article useful and informative but if you just want to save some time, then please feel free to jump in and pick one of my top picks from the table below.

Best Trolling Motors for Pontoon Boats

No.Trolling Motor NameMax Boat WeightMax Boat LengthShaft LengthThrustFoot PedalRating
1.Minn Kota Powerdrive 552500 LBS21′ Recommended54″ or 60″45 LBSIncluded[5.0/5.0]
2.Minn Kota 70 Hand2500 LBS21′ Recommended48″ or 52″55 LBSOptional[5.0/5.0]
3.Minn Kota Powerdrive 452500 LBS21′ Recommended45″ or 60″55 LBSIncluded[5.0/5.0]
4.Minn Kota Powerdrive 682500 LBS21′ Recommended48″ or 52″55 LBSIncluded[5.0/5.0]

Minn Kota 1358737 PowerDrive Freshwater Electric-Steer Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with Digital Maximizer, 55 lbs Thrust, 54" Shaft
Minn Kota 1355979 Pontoon Hand Control, Bow Mount 24v (70 lbs), Black, 52-Inch Shaft
Minn Kota 1358790 Powerdrive 45_BT Bowmount Trolling Motor with Bluetooth (45-lb Thrust, 48" Shaft)

$690.60$840.00$515.98$745.99--AmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon

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More Great Pontoon Trolling Motors to Consider

Newport Vessels 55lb Thrust Saltwater Electric Pontoon Trolling Motor with Deck Mount Bracket & 55" Shaft, BlackAQUOS Black Haswing 12V 55LBS 54" Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Portable,Variable Speed,with Foot Control/Quick Release Bracket for Bass Fishing Boat Freshwater and Saltwater UseWhite Haswing Cayman 12V 55LBS 54inch Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Lightweight, Variable Speed, with Wireless Remote for Bass Fishing Boats, Pontoon Boat, Freshwater and Saltwater UseAQUOS Black Haswing 12V 55LBS 54" Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Portable, Variable Speed with Quick Release Bracket for Bass Fishing Boats Freshwater and Saltwater Use,Quiet Operation

Newport Vessels 55lb Thrust Saltwater Electric Pontoon Trolling Motor with Deck Mount Bracket & 55" Shaft, Black
AQUOS Black Haswing 12V 55LBS 54" Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Portable,Variable Speed,with Foot Control/Quick Release Bracket for Bass Fishing Boat Freshwater and Saltwater Use
White Haswing Cayman 12V 55LBS 54inch Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Lightweight, Variable Speed, with Wireless Remote for Bass Fishing Boats, Pontoon Boat, Freshwater and Saltwater Use
AQUOS Black Haswing 12V 55LBS 54" Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Portable, Variable Speed with Quick Release Bracket for Bass Fishing Boats Freshwater and Saltwater Use,Quiet Operation

$399.00$689.00$549.00$609.00---AmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon

We’re an Amazon affiliate and we hope you love the products we recommend! We may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. These images are provided by the Amazon Product Advertising API.

https://7ca6b83e43692e19b102822b7f1b78b5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlBest Minn Kota Saltwater Trolling Motors for Pontoon Boats

Minn Kota Riptide Powerdrive Trolling Motor, 54" Shaft Length, 70 lbs ThrustMinn Kota Riptide 80 SM Saltwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with Latch and Door Bracket and Digital Maximizer (80-lb Thrust, 52" Shaft)Our Favorite for Saltwater UseMinn Kota 1363762 Riptide Terrova Saltwater Electric-Steer Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with Digital Maximizer & Copilot, 80 lbs Thrust, 54" Shaft

Minn Kota Riptide Powerdrive Trolling Motor, 54" Shaft Length, 70 lbs Thrust
Minn Kota Riptide 80 SM Saltwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with Latch and Door Bracket and Digital Maximizer (80-lb Thrust, 52" Shaft)
Minn Kota 1363762 Riptide Terrova Saltwater Electric-Steer Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with Digital Maximizer & Copilot, 80 lbs Thrust, 54" Shaft

$1,064.74$1,442.81$1,490.44---AmazonAmazonAmazon

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Top Selling Minn Kota Pontoon Quick Release Mount & Accessories

Minn Kota 1810140 DH 40 DeckHand Electric Anchor Winch, 40 lb anchor capacityMinn Kota 1810126 DeckHand 25R Electric Anchor Winch with Corded RemoteMinn Kota 1854035 MKA-16-03 AP/PD Quick-Release Bracket, BlackMinn Kota Johnson Outdoors MinnKota MK 330D On-Board Battery Charger (Black) (1823305)

Minn Kota 1810140 DH 40 DeckHand Electric Anchor Winch, 40 lb anchor capacity
Minn Kota 1810126 DeckHand 25R Electric Anchor Winch with Corded Remote
Minn Kota 1854035 MKA-16-03 AP/PD Quick-Release Bracket, Black
Minn Kota Johnson Outdoors MinnKota MK 330D On-Board Battery Charger (Black) (1823305)

$206.90$230.99$63.80$329.99--AmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon

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About Minn Kota Trolling Motors

Minn Kota was founded in 1934 when inventor O.G. Schmidt designed the first gear-driven electric trolling motor in Fargo, North Dakota. His idea gained traction and became popular with local anglers looking for more boat control. Schmidt named his company after the land he called home, in the heart of the fishing country.

For more than 85 years, Minn Kota has employed American anglers to “build the best fishing gear on the water”.

https://7ca6b83e43692e19b102822b7f1b78b5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlhttps://7ca6b83e43692e19b102822b7f1b78b5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlWhere Are Minn Kota Motors for Pontoon Boats Made?

Per the Minn Kota website, the motors are made “in the heart of fishing country, on the MINNesota-North DaKOTA border, Minn Kota was born.” Today, the company designs, services and manufactures their trolling motors from their headquarters in Mankato, Minnesota.

Background on Minn Kota Trolling Motor & Mount for Pontoon Boats

Minn Kota claims to “build the toughest, most innovative trolling motors” and that’s why they always get the best reviews.

minn kota trolling motor mounted on pontoon boat

Fans of the company also believe they build the fastest, quietest, deepest-reaching shallow water anchors and the most advanced battery chargers ever made.

When the equipment on your boat all works together, you spend less time adjusting and more time fishing. From your trolling motor to your fish finder and shallow water anchor, we created the One-Boat Network to help you do more of what you love to do.

Minn Kota

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Minn Kota Trolling Motors & Mounts on a Pontoon Boat

1. Great selection of trolling motors with the right thrust for an boat.

2. Easy DIY installation.

3. Foot control option for excellent maneuverability.

4. Best trolling motor warranty in the business.

5. Both freshwater and saltwater trolling motor product options.

https://7ca6b83e43692e19b102822b7f1b78b5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlWhat is the Best Thrust Selection for a Pontoon Boat

It’s important to keep in mind that boat weight is the most important criteria to use when selecting an appropriate motor size for your pontoon boat. Boat length is often considered as a helpful guideline but should not be used as a primary determinant of motor size.  If you’re unsure how much your boat weighs, you can look it up in the NADA boat directory.  

Trolling Motors review guide suggests that multi-use pontoon owners tend to select 40 to 70 lbs of thrust, depending on the boat’s weight. While propulsion on pontoon boats is relatively easy, keeping them in Anchor Mode (aka Spot-Lock) or a steady course (Auto-Pilot) can be challenging. Especially on windy days when your pontoon acts like a sail on the water! 

Boat Weight (lbs)1,0001,5002,00025003,0003,5004,0005,000
Boat LengthSub 14′15-16′17′18′19′20′21′21’+
Minimum Thrust30405060708090100
Performance Thrust*405060708090100100+
Motor Voltage12v12v12v24v24v24v36v36v

Minimum and Maximum Thrust Information for Pontoon Boat from TrollingMotors.net

What is the Best Length Shaft for a Pontoon Boat

You will want to choose a trolling motor with at least a 42″ shaft but 48″ or 52″ are recommended for pontoon installation due to the height off the water.

Do I Need the Minn Kota Deckhand Anchor Winch?

minn kota anchor winch mounted on pontoon boat

With the Deckhand anchor, you can automatically raise and lower your anchor at the touch of a button. This is a great addition to any pontoon but not a necessity.

The DeckHand 40 has a 40-lb anchor capacity and is pre-spooled with 100 feet of 800-lb test nylon rope. The universal davit can be mounted at the base of the DeckHand or in remote position on a boat deck. The davit also stows anchor horizontally to eliminate anchor swing.

The anchor shackle allows for quick changes between anchors. In addition, a special anti-drag system senses the bottom to allow for controlled drifting. The Deckhand runs on a 12-volt battery and the remote accessory allows for 25′ corded remote operation.SALE

Minn Kota 1810140 DH 40 DeckHand Electric Anchor Winch, 40 lb anchor capacity

Minn Kota 1810140 DH 40 DeckHand Electric Anchor Winch, 40 lb anchor capacity

  • Electric anchor winch makes fishing boat navigation and placement convenient and effortless
  • Davit can be mounted horizontally to stop anchor swing
  • Handles anchors up to 40 pounds; pre-spooled with 100 feet of 800-pound Test nylon rope

$206.90Amazon

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Do I Need the Minn Kota Quick Release Mount / Bracket for My Pontoon?

We highly recommend adding the quick-release bracket to your pontoon. It allows the trolling motor to be quickly removed from and reattached to the boat deck. The side screw design attaches the trolling motor to the top bracket and slides into the deck-mounted bottom bracket, secured with tightening a screw.

The quick-release bracket is made of solid, anodized aluminum construction and is compatible with Ultra, Terrova, Power Drive, Power Drive V2, Power Drive Pontoon and Deckhand 40.

Minn Kota 1854035 MKA-16-03 AP/PD Quick-Release Bracket, Black

Minn Kota 1854035 MKA-16-03 AP/PD Quick-Release Bracket, Black

  • Allows trolling motor to be quickly removed from and reattached to boat deck
  • Side screw design attaches trolling motor to top bracket and slides into deck-mounted bottom bracket, secured with tightening...
  • Solid, anodized aluminum construction

$63.80Amazon

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Where is the Best Place to Install a Trolling Motor on a Pontoon?

The decision to add a trolling motor is easy, but more important is the decision on how and where to mount your pontoons trolling motor. In most cases, you’ll want to mount your pontoon trolling motor on the bow of the boat.

minn kota trolling motor mounted on bow of pontoon boat

Using a bow-mounted pontoon trolling motor has many advantages over stern-mounted motors. A bow-mounted pontoon trolling motor gives you better control and allows you to more easily maneuver your pontoon boat. This is ideal trolling motor placement when trolling while dragging a fishing line, or docking your ungraceful deck boat.

How do You Install Minn Kota Trolling Motors & Mounts on a Pontoon Boat

Your new Minn Kota PowerDrive comes with everything you’ll need to directly install it to your pontoon boat. The motor can be directly mounted to the boat or coupled with a Minn Kota quick release bracket for ease of mounting and removal.

For detailed installation with a quick-release bracket, refer to the installation instructions here. Also, check out the video below for reference.https://www.youtube.com/embed/1eyEJFCjKBo?feature=oembed

How do You Use a Minn Kota Trolling Motor?

Each Minn Kota trolling motor your pontoon boats come with a detailed manual on how to install the motor and maneuver the boat.  Here are some of the features discussed in the manual. 

Controlling Speed and Steering With the Foot Pedal

  • Using the momentary button and constant switch
  • Controlling your speed
  • Steering right and steering left
  • How to use the foot pedal
  • Steering in reverse

Utilizing Autopilot Controls Using the AutoPilot heading

  • Adjusting for possible deviation due to wind and current
  • How and when to use the autopilot button
  • Toggle autopilot on and off

There are also a ton of YouTube videos on how to use your Minn Kota pontoon trolling motor that are easy to follow.https://www.youtube.com/embed/qJGnETzM9wU?feature=oembed

Can a Minn Kota Pontoon Trolling Motor be Used in Saltwater Applications?

If you purchase a freshwater Minn Kota trolling motor for your boat, it cannot be used in saltwater as it will void the warranty. You can, however, purchase a trolling motor made for saltwater applications. Here is a note from Minn Kota regarding your motor and saltwater applications.

We designed a special line of motors for use in salt or brackish water. The Minn Kota Riptide trolling motors have a number of “saltwater-engineered” enhancements, including stainless steel hardware, sealed electrical connections and an advanced painting process for improved corrosion protection.

Using any of our standard Minn Kota motors in saltwater may dramatically reduce the life of the motor and voids the manufacturer’s warranty. To extend the life of your Minn Kota Riptide saltwater trolling motor, thoroughly rinse the motor with freshwater after every use in saltwater and store indoors.

Never leave the motor submerged in saltwater when the boat is moored.

What is the Warranty on Minn Kota Trolling Motors for Pontoon Boats?

Minn Kota offers a limited 2-year warranty on the entire product and a limited lifetime warranty on the entire composit shaft.

Minn Kota warrants that their freshwater trolling motor will be materially free from defects in materials and workmanship appearing within two (2) years after the date of purchase. They will either repair or replace, free of charge, any parts found to be defective during the term of this warranty. Such repair or replacement shall be the sole and exclusive liability of Minn Kota / JOME and the sole and exclusive remedy of the purchaser for breach of this warranty.

Minn Kota Trolling Motor Reviews Found Online

Below are a handful of Minn Kota trolling motors review found online.

“I love the trolling motor, no complaints.”


“I am 67 years old and have owned all types of trolling motors. By far this Minn Kota Ultrex is the best I have ever owned. PROS: It is simple to operate and has all the bells and whistles! CON: The only con is the price.


“I love my new Minn Kota Ultrex. It was very simple to install. Everything I needed was in the box. The spot lock is the best feature of the Ultrex. My only complaint is the Knob that controls the tension is hard to get to after you have mounted the foot pedal.”


“I am impressed with the spotlock feature, it’s dead on. This is going to make a huge difference in fishing in the wind. I have mainly been fishing open water this winter and have not had a chance to evaluate the responsiveness of fishing tight to cover. I think it will work fine once I get used to it. So far very happy with the purchase.”

Other Great Pontoon Trolling Motors and Mounts to Consider

Newport Vessels 55lb Thrust Saltwater Electric Pontoon Trolling Motor with Deck Mount Bracket & 55" Shaft, BlackAQUOS Black Haswing 12V 55LBS 54" Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Portable,Variable Speed,with Foot Control/Quick Release Bracket for Bass Fishing Boat Freshwater and Saltwater UseWhite Haswing Cayman 12V 55LBS 54inch Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Lightweight, Variable Speed, with Wireless Remote for Bass Fishing Boats, Pontoon Boat, Freshwater and Saltwater UseAQUOS Black Haswing 12V 55LBS 54" Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Portable, Variable Speed with Quick Release Bracket for Bass Fishing Boats Freshwater and Saltwater Use,Quiet Operation

Newport Vessels 55lb Thrust Saltwater Electric Pontoon Trolling Motor with Deck Mount Bracket & 55" Shaft, Black
AQUOS Black Haswing 12V 55LBS 54" Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Portable,Variable Speed,with Foot Control/Quick Release Bracket for Bass Fishing Boat Freshwater and Saltwater Use
White Haswing Cayman 12V 55LBS 54inch Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Lightweight, Variable Speed, with Wireless Remote for Bass Fishing Boats, Pontoon Boat, Freshwater and Saltwater Use
AQUOS Black Haswing 12V 55LBS 54" Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Portable, Variable Speed with Quick Release Bracket for Bass Fishing Boats Freshwater and Saltwater Use,Quiet Operation

$399.00$689.00$549.00$609.00