The last thing anglers need while fishing is a trolling motor that’s loud, unreliable, or easily snagged in underwater grasses and weeds. A poor trolling motor can mean they spend more time fiddling with a motor than fishing.
The companies listed below are the best trolling motor brands for quality construction, reliable performance, and features that can turn an ordinary afternoon on the water into an angler’s dream.
Fish-finding sonar, GPS mapping, and whisper-quiet performance are great features that companies like Garmin, MotorGuide, and other names on this list offer.
Anglers can find every variety of freshwater, saltwater, transom-mount, bow-mount, kayak-mount, and deck-mount motors designed for flat pontoon boats from these top companies.
Some have been manufacturing trolling motors and marine accessories for over 80 years, like Minn Kota, while others only entered the trolling motor market in 2019, like Lowrance and Garmin.
Let’s look at each trolling motor brand and what that company offers.
The 7 Best Trolling Motor Brands
- Minn Kota
- Newport Vessels
Minn Kota was the first company to manufacture and sell trolling motors. O.G. Schmidt founded the Minn Kota Manufacturing Company in 1934 to build and sell the copper soldering torch he invented.
In that same year, he invented the first electric gear-driven trolling motor, and the line of Minn Kota trolling motors was born.
The company is an industry leader with innovations like the first motor with a reverse switch and the first compact bow mount.
As the original trolling motor company, Minn Kota is considered by many to be the best brand of trolling motor, paving the way for improvements like wireless remotes to GPS-enabled motors like the Ultrex, which is one of the top-selling GPS motors available.
Minn Kota manufactures dozens of trolling motors, electric outboard motors, and fishing gear like battery chargers and anchors.
The website links directly to other brands also owned by Johnson Outdoors and features buying guides, videos, and other resources.
MotorGuide began in 1947 and started manufacturing a foot-steered trolling motor in the 1960s when bass fishing enthusiast G.H. Harris decided to create a foot pedal that would allow him to operate his trolling motor hands-free.
He revolutionized bass fishing by allowing anglers to keep their casting arms free while still controlling their boats.
Headquartered in Oklahoma, MotorGuide only sells trolling motors and motor parts and accessories and is known for this singular focus with dozens of sizes and styles. The company’s long history ensures it will make every list of the best trolling motors.
MotorGuide manufactures transom-mount motors in their R Series and bow-mount motors in their X Series. The XI Series are wireless bow-mounts, while their high-end Tour and Tour Pro Series are true cable-steer motors with GPS anchors.
The company offers a download of its entire catalog from its website and a link to buy branded merchandise like hoodies.
Newport Vessels is one of the best trolling motor brands that started in the last 20 years.
The company began selling inflatable boats in 2008 and is still known for affordable boats and marine accessories.
This manufacturer also made a name for itself and became known to many as their best brand of trolling motor when it began selling electric trolling and outboard motors.
The company sells standard trolling motors adaptable to various mount locations and pontoon engines designed to be deck-mounted.
Their website also features trolling motors specifically designed to be side-mounted on kayaks, including a series of brushless kayak motors.
This relatively new company is well-known as a good starting place for new anglers looking for an affordable, entry-level trolling motor.
Newport Vessels offers a buying guide online to help shoppers choose the type of motor best suited for their boat and fishing style.
This Australian company makes most top marine lists, some as the best brand of trolling motor, because of the variety of styles available in a lower price range than many of the long-term companies offer.
Like Newport Vessels, Watersnake Electric Motors started in the last 20 years but quickly became one of the most recognizable trolling motor brands available.
Watersnake is the first Australian brand to make inroads in the American fishing gear market.
Watersnake’s Venom Series are transom-mounted motors, while their Geo-Spot Series are bow-mounted, higher-end motors with GPS. They sell kayak motors with and without the mounting bracket.
They also sell parts, accessories, personal flotation devices (PFDs), and inflatable lifejackets.
Jarvis Walker Brands owns Watersnake and has it sharing a website with Rovex, Quantum, Boone, and Jarvis Walker fishing products.
The site also offers a buying guide and articles on several topics like netting laws and fishing with kids.
Garmin is a name most people probably associate with the GPS and navigation products they began selling in 1989 when the company started manufacturing digital devices and accessories. This brand is incorporated in Switzerland but has its headquarters in Kansas.
What started with GPS devices for vehicles expanded into marine, aviation, and outdoor markets, and in 2019 Garmin introduced its brand of trolling motor, the Force trolling motor.
This high-end electric trolling motor is the only one Garmin offers. Still, it garnered enough acclaim after its introduction to make a splash in the market and become one of the best trolling motor brands available.
Users can control the motor with a wireless foot pedal or remote, and it comes with built-in sonar and autopilot.
The Force motor can connect to a Garmin marine GPS device for fish-finding and mapping to plan a route or see where the boat has been in freshwater or saltwater.
Garmin’s website links to all the compatible products they manufacture to let anglers take advantage of the motor’s wireless capabilities.
Lowrance is another company known for its GPS devices that also entered the trolling motor market in 2019.
This manufacturer, like Garmin, sells only one trolling motor. The Lowrance Ghost trolling motor gets its name from its quiet and smooth operation.
Daniel Lowrance founded Lowrance in 1957 and sold the first transistor sonar device called the FISH-LO-K-TOR in 1959.
The company continued to innovate with graph recorders and one of the first computerized depth sounders in 1979.
Lowrance also created the first sonar capable of producing photo-like images of what’s beneath the water with its DownScan Imaging in 2009 and changed the way anglers find fish.
The Ghost freshwater trolling motor is adaptable to all types of mounts, with foot-pedal steering and integrated sonar and GPS anchoring technology. This tech lets users plug and play with several Lowrance imaging devices.
The website offers the Ghost trolling motor and Lowrance’s fish finders, transducers, and other devices.
The Haswing factory began manufacturing marine equipment accessories in China in 1997, making the company a well-established brand in fishing circles. The company sells trolling motors, parts, and accessories.
Haswing is known for quality, inexpensive entry-level motors suitable for freshwater and saltwater. They manufacture several different trolling motor series.
The Cayman and Osapian motors are bow-mount motors, while the Protruar and Ventura are transom-mount.
They also sell a W20 adjustable mount motor that happens to be one of the most inexpensive motors available.
Haswing’s highest-end motor is the Cayman Helmsman. The Helmsman is one of the most affordable GPS spot-lock motors in a crowded market.
This motor and the company’s range of inexpensive and mid-range motors make it one of the best trolling motor brands available.
The Haswing website makes it easy to find their motors and the accessories that work with them, like extra propellers, remotes, and foot pedals.
Every list that names the best brand of trolling motor is bound to have most or all of these companies featured.
Each brand has innovated new technology and devices in fishing equipment or has become known for years of solid offerings in the trolling motor market that deliver on their promises.
People looking for a motor, whether a new angler or an old pro who wants to try some new gear, can find any style of trolling motor they need from these companies. Now, all you need is a good battery so you can fish all day long!