Your boat’s trolling motor can often make or break your fishing excursions. They come in handy when you need some stealthy quiet, the right amount of thrust, and precision in steering to catch fish. Therefore, when buying them, ensure you pick the one that serves you best.
The top three 36 volt electric trolling motors are the Minn Kota Ultrex, the MotorGuide Xi5 Wireless, and the Fortrex 112. Each has the advanced tech to help locate fish, allow for precision control, improve your boat’s stability in high winds, and assist in course-setting. They’re also noise-free.
In this article, we will discuss some of the crucial things to consider when buying trolling motors, such as weight capacity, voltage requirements, water conditions, and mounting systems. Then we will provide an in-depth review of three of the best 36-volt electric trolling motors.
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What to Consider When Buying a Trolling Motor
Trolling motors come in various sizes, power, and functionalities. Before buying a trolling motor, it would be better to research the available types to determine the one that best suits your needs. By failing to do so, you’d risk buying a motor that’s incompatible with your boat or underperforms under certain conditions, such as inclement weather.
Here are the key factors to consider when looking for a trolling motor:
Thrust is the most essential factor you should consider when choosing a trolling motor. Measured in pounds (lbs), it refers to how powerful a motor is. Ideally, you should pick a trolling motor whose thrust matches your boat’s weight.
As a general principle, you need an electric trolling motor that can produce at least 2 lbs of thrusts for every 100 lbs of your boat’s fully-loaded weight. In this case, fully loaded means the weight of the boat and all items, including gear, people, fuel, equipment, or fish on board. For example, for a 1000 lbs boat, you’ll need a motor that produces at least 40 lbs of thrust.
The voltage rating of a trolling motor indicates how much battery power it requires. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need one battery for every 12 volts. It’s also critical to note that the higher the voltage, the higher a trolling motor’s thrust.
However, lithium batteries are available in many voltage options from many manufacturers or DIY options. Don’t forget that your battery charger needs to match your battery type and voltage.
According to Minn Kota, a brand that produces some of the best motors on the market, you’d require:
- One 12v motor and one battery to get, at most, 55 lbs of thrust.
- One 24-volt motor and two batteries to get 68 – 80 lbs of thrust.
- One 36-volt motor and three batteries to get 101 – 112 lbs of thrust.
Battery Storage Space
The available storage in your bilge is another critical factor to consider. Depending on the trolling system you choose, you may need less or more space. For example, ensure the storage space can accommodate three batteries if you choose a 36-volt electric trolling motor. If you buy a 24-volt motor, ensure there’s enough space for two batteries, and so on.
You must never underestimate the impact of wind and currents on the amount of power you’ll need. Most notably, if the area in which you fish experiences high winds, it would be better to buy a trolling motor with higher thrust.
It’s more convenient to choose one with more thrust than you need. Although this does not mean you’ll get more speed, having insufficient power can be a headache during high winds or strong currents. More thrust means more torque or strength – you wouldn’t want your boat rotating at high speed during adverse weather.
When buying an electric motor, you should consider the type of charger that works best for it. As we mentioned earlier, a higher voltage rating means you’ll need more batteries for your trolling motor. For instance, if you buy a 36-volt motor, you’ll need a charger that can simultaneously charge at least three batteries.
The alternative is to buy a standard charger that charges one battery at a time. However, that would be inconvenient and costly since charging would take longer, or you’d need a charger for each battery.
Tip: It would be better to buy a charger that protects your battery, increases run time, extends your battery’s life, and provides the fastest charge.
It’s a no-brainer that you’ll need to mount your motor, and trolling motors come with different mounting designs. Most are designed for bow mounting and come with sliding hinges that allow you to raise or lower them into the water. The other mounting options are transom and engine mounts.
This is the most popular mounting system since it allows hands-free control and provides remarkable maneuverability. The point of thrust lies at the bow, making it easy to turn your boat with precision. You can also control these systems with a foot pedal, meaning you can still fish while steering. However, a bow-mounted motor comes with a large sliding hinge that takes up a portion of your deck space.
Some motors are designed to be transom mounted at the stern. They are the ideal option for smaller boats and provide excellent control and higher speed than bow-mounted motors. Although they’re not as maneuverable as bow-mounted motors, transom-mounted motors are easy to install and take up less space.
You could also choose a trolling motor that you’ll mount directly to your outboard’s cavitation plate. However, it’s critical to note that an engine-mounted trolling motor is designed to be steered through the outboard. Because of that, they’re the least maneuverable option. Another con is their lower durability and short battery life. However, they don’t require deck space.
It’s critical to pick the trolling motor whose shaft length is compatible with your boat’s size. Typically, the shaft between a boat’s engine and a trolling motor’s propeller is usually long enough to stretch from the gunnel to the water. Because of that, the propeller usually stays submerged. Since the height of the gunnel usually varies, it would be helpful to measure that distance. This guide by USAngler comes in handy when deciding on the shaft length.
Tip: To prevent the propeller from sucking the air above the water surface and making noise, ensure it’s submerged by at least 12 inches.
Electric Trolling Motor Controls
Based on the types of controls available, electric motors can be grouped into:
- Hand-control motors: These motors come with tiller handle models that are easy to control but require skills to use.
- Foot-control motors: With these types of motors, you can control the power level and steering using your foot and come in mechanical and manual types. They’re the best option if you’re looking for a trolling motor; you can steer from the comfort of your seat.
- Wireless model motors: They allow you to control the motor remotely. However, be careful not to drop the remote in the water.
In the video below, you can see additional information on how to choose the right trolling motor for your fishing needs:
The Ultrex Trolling Motor features power steering for exceptional comfort and response. The motor comes with a foot-pedal designed for easy use, precision control, and excellent responsiveness.
This motor uses Minn Kota’s i-Pilot technology to link with your Hummingbird fish finder, and the i-Pilot Link’s color touchscreen comes in handy for controlling the motor remotely. You can also do that using the Hummingbird.
The motor’s autopilot feature makes navigation a breeze. You can automatically navigate in any direction by pointing the head of the motor in the direction you wish to travel and activating the autopilot feature. The feature also corrects for wind, current, and waves, making the Ultrex an excellent choice for the money.
Additional features include:
- Universal Sonar 2 technology and a protected transducer: For interference-free sonar performance.
- A spot-lock: This holds your fishing location.
- Life-assist tech: To make stowing and deploying quick and easy.
- Digital maximizer: Increases the run time on a single charge by up to 5 times.
- Weedless Wedge 2: This comes with flared blades for weed elimination for smoother movement.
- Indestructible composite shaft: This increases the motor’s durability.
If you’re looking for a 36-volt electric motor that gets the job done while giving you a comfortable, noise-free, and smooth steering experience, the Ultrex Trolling Motor is what you need.
Xi5 Wireless Trolling Motor is a solid option for any angler. It features wireless capability, allowing you to command the motor and control the steering remotely. In addition, the standard freshwater medal comes with a wireless foot pedal for easy usage.
Features that make it a go-to trolling motor include:
- LED installation that allows you to check the status of the key functions in all light conditions. You can also see the battery level in real-time, thanks to the battery power indicator.
- Wireless pedal for incredible control. Precision defines the premium-grade operation controls. Besides getting precise and fast steering, you can use the variable speed control feature for low-speed movement.
- Next-Gen Digital Technology for efficient energy use. This feature minimizes energy loss, increasing the run time while reducing battery charges.
- A low-profile mount for better movement. This motor is pretty decent-sized but reduces bulkiness without compromising stability, power, or speed.
- GPS tech for easy application. Setting your course and anchor mode is easy and quick, thanks to the GPS feature.
In a nutshell, the Xi5 Trolling Motor comes with the features that make trolling worthwhile. If you need a motor with the best technology for maximizing your battery’s life while enjoying a quiet, silky smooth experience at sea, you should buy this product.
The Fortrex 112, another top-grade trolling motor from Minn Kota, comes with the Mega-DI that gives the best view of what’s beneath the water surface. The transducer is housed in the lower unit, while the wiring runs through the shaft, giving an uncluttered look along with reducing the risk of damage.
Additional features include:
- A removable bow guard 360° bracket. This automatically resets when tilted by impact for uninterrupted fishing. It comes with a dual-bearing system, eliminating noise.
- A mono-arm design with aluminum construction. This helps the motor run quietly and reduces wear, extending the trolling motor’s lifecycle.
- A counter-tension stabilizer for easy deployment and stowing. The stabilizer reduces steering torque and eliminates noise.
- An easy-to-read directional indicator. This in-built feature tells you the direction you’re headed under all conditions.
- An easy-to-operate battery meter. You can get an instant status of your battery’s life by pushing a button on the motor.
- A digital maximizer that increases the run time. This tech optimizes power usage, maximizing your battery’s life.
The Garmin Force is a brushless dual voltage motor. When you run the Garmin Force motor on 36 volts, it provides 100 pounds thrust. The brushless motor is very quiet compared to a stand brushed electric motor.
The point-and-go remote is another unique feature that gamin only offers. To use this remote, point your remote in the direction you wish to go and press the button to redirect the trolling motor.
Finally, because the Force is a dual voltage motor, most people will be able to install this motor without significant rewiring. This can be a considerable cost saving when you can postpone purchasing new batteries until your current battery life is expired.
For more information on the Garmin Force, check out our two articles below:
When fishing, you ideally need a motor that is quiet, offers a clear view of everything submerged in the water, and has precision steering. Unfortunately, the wrong type of trolling motor can quickly scare away any fish, ruining your day on the water.
To get the most out of your trolling motor, choose the one that provides enough thrust for your fully-loaded boat and produces adequate voltage, depending on your power requirements. Don’t forget to consider the type of charger when choosing extra batteries. Look for advanced tech that offers seamless navigation, is noise-free, and minimizes torque.