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What size trolling motor do I need?

Navigating the world of trolling motors can be daunting. It's common to ask, "What size trolling motor do I need?" especially when you're striving to achieve the perfect balance between power, control, and efficiency on the water.

Contrary to common misconceptions, the size of the trolling motor isn’t about physical dimensions. It’s about power, measured in thrust, and the amount of energy it can deliver to move your boat efficiently.


Understanding the Basics of Trolling Motor Sizing

Before delving into the specifics, it's essential to understand what we mean by "size." In the context of trolling motors, size relates to the thrust – essentially, the pushing power of the motor. This power is often measured in pounds or kilograms of thrust.


How to Determine the Right Size for Your Boat

Boat Length: As a basic guideline

Boats under 16ft generally need 30-46 lbs of thrust.
Midsize boats between 16-20ft might require 36-55 lbs of thrust.
Larger vessels over 20ft can work with 55-112 lbs of thrust to handle their mass and combat the elements.

Type of Water

If you're navigating calm lakes or ponds, you might need less power compared to those battling swift currents or ocean waves.

Weight and Load

Apart from boat length, consider the boat's weight, including gear and passengers. A heavier load will require more thrust.

Fishing Style

If you frequently move spots or fish in areas with strong winds and currents, you might want a stronger motor.


Benefits of Choosing the Right Trolling Motor Size

Enhanced Efficiency

A correctly-sized motor ensures you’re not wasting battery power.

Optimal Speed Control

With the right thrust, you can better manage your boat's speed, ensuring a smoother ride.


Overpowering can make the boat unstable, while underpowering can leave you stranded.


Potential Pitfalls of Incorrect Sizing

Choosing a trolling motor that's too powerful for your boat can lead to inefficient use of energy and tricky steering. Conversely, an underpowered motor might not provide the thrust necessary, especially in challenging conditions.


Recommendations and Brands to Consider

Many reputable brands, like Minn Kota or MotorGuide, offer a variety of trolling motors suitable for different boat sizes and conditions. Remember to read product specifications and reviews, or consult experts when in doubt.



Ensuring you have the right trolling motor size is vital for both safety and efficiency on the water. When armed with the correct knowledge, you can confidently answer the question, "What size trolling motor do I need?"

Still pondering over trolling motor specs? For a deeper dive into trolling motor intricacies, don’t miss our in-depth articles and guides. Your perfect match might be just a click away!

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