A trolling motor for an inflatable dinghy/raft is sure to make boating fun. Moreover, fishing trips will become easier as you won’t have to paddle!
That being said, choosing the best motor for inflatable boat may leave you inundated, especially if you’ve just stumbled upon the world of boating.
But we’ve done the ground work for you and made a list of the top-rated trolling motors in the market based on power, ease of installation, and durability.
With help from this article, you can choose a decent trolling motor for your inflatable boat. Let’s get started!
What is a Trolling Motor?
Generally, there are 3 types of motors for inflatable boats; electric outboard motors, gas outboard motors, and trolling motors.
Trolling motors are the most hassle-free among electric motors for inflatable boats as they don’t require a lot of maintenance, unlike outboard motors that need to be tuned up and lubricated periodically.
This type of motor is very lightweight, and they can be installed and uninstalled very easily from transoms. Trolling motors can be used as primary motors for short-distance trips, while also offering means for clean energy transportation.
Affordable and Easy to Maintain
All you’ll need is a trickle charger and a deep-cycle battery for using this type of motor. Lead-acid batteries are cheap, and you can find great deals depending on their Amp-hour ratings.
Low-Maintenance and High Durability
As these motors require very little maintenance, they are known to be durable and can last for years. In brief, trolling motors are the most affordable and practical option for motorizing vessels.
Low Operating Speeds
On average, trolling motors can’t exceed speeds higher than 5 MPH. While this ensures a safe boating experience, it can also be a bit too slow for experienced users.
As trolling motors are battery-powered, their range is limited to battery power. This should be considered by users who intend to travel greater distances on their inflatable boats.
The Best Motor for Inflatable Boat – Top 4 Picks
Before proceeding further, keep in mind that the main factors to consider are the motor’s weight, power, and its ease of installation. You should also evaluate the boating scenarios where you’ll use a trolling motor. With that being said, here are 4 of the best motor for inflatable boat –
1. Pexmor Electric Trolling Motor For Inflatable Boats
One of the most efficient trolling motors on this list, the Pexmor Trolling Motor is a popular choice among inflatable boat owners. And it is a favorite for good reasons!
The 12 volts battery-powered motor comes in three thrust variants, and the most efficient is the 36 lbs. version. Thanks to the high-quality components used in the motor, you can run the motor all day long without issues of overheating.
Another impressive feature of this trolling motor is its telescopic handle that can be adjusted about 6-inches. The ergonomic handle offers 5 forward speed options and 3 reverse speed options.
You can also adjust the shaft angle with a button, so you can adapt to varying surfing conditions on the go. Lastly, the in-water depth of the motor can be adjusted with a knob. In simple words, the Pexmor Trolling Motor truly aces in terms of adjustability!
One common complaint among users is that the Pexmor Trolling Motor doesn’t have a very sturdy build. However, this doesn’t seem to cause issues during boating, and the motor works just fine. On the bright side, it is specially treated with anti-corrosion elements to protect the metal components from salt water, etc.
The Pexmor Trolling Motor is a no-frills option for inflatable boat users that are looking for a hassle-free inflatable boat electric motor. Although the build quality is questionable, the motor can last for years if used properly.
2. AQUOS White Haswing 12V55LBS Trolling Motor for Inflatable Boat
Cue in the most lucrative trolling motor on this list; the AQUOS White Haswing comes with all bells and whistles that you would expect from a high-end trolling motor.
The 12-volt motor is designed for optimal silence and stability. While offering modest stability, the 55 lbs. thrust still packs quite a punch. With its variable speed dial, you can dial into your desired speed for smoother control. Moreover, the motor is surprisingly light on batteries.
The coolest feature of the AQUOS White Haswing is its remote control; you can control the motor with a remote from around 160 feet away! You also get a 14.7 feet long cable for wired foot control, so you can operate your boat hands-free when fishing.
This AQUOS trolling motor does well in terms of adjustability as well; it comes with a quick release mechanism for swift installation and uninstallation, a depth collar for adjusting depths, and a stow-and-deploy pedal for quick transitions to and from the boat.
If you’re planning to go all out on your purchase for the best inflatable boat motor, you should consider the AQUOS White Haswing. It comes with great features you’d find on high-end models, while not costing a fortune.
3. Newport Vessels NV-Series Electric Trolling Motor
Newport Vessels is a renowned manufacturer in the boating world. The same can be said for their NV series of trolling motors. This series of trolling motors are popular due to the great value for money offered by the motors.
The 12-volt motor comes in various variants between 36 lbs. and 86 lbs. of thrust. Although it may not be as powerful as the AQUOS motor we’ve seen earlier, it is certainly the most efficient and capable trolling motor on this list.
Built with high-quality components all around, the motor can be run all day without overheating. Moreover, it is relatively silent and it won’t spook fishes. With 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds on its telescopic handle, the motor is simple to maneuver. However, it doesn’t come with an on/off switch.
It is easy to adjust the mounting angle and in-water depth of this motor. The Newport Vessels NV trolling motor misses out on fancy features such as wired foot control and quick release, sure, but it makes up for all that with guaranteed durability.
All in all, the trolling motors from NV-series can surely stand up to anything that is thrown at them.
The Newport Vessels NV-series trolling motors can be said to be the best motor for inflatable boat in its segment. Thanks to the high-quality components all around, a long lifetime is guaranteed from these motors.
4. Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Transom Mounted Trolling Motor
If budget is not a problem and you’re looking for the best trolling motor that money can buy, you should have a look at the Endura C2. Minn Kota is a popular manufacturer of high-end boating products, and their Endura series of trolling motors are highly sought-after among boating enthusiasts.
What makes these trolling motors so popular is their nearly indestructible shaft. But that’s not it, the Minn Kota Endura C2 is the most silent motor on this list! It still packs quite a bit of power and is ideal for most boating scenarios.
The telescopic tiller handle on the Endura C2 can be adjusted up to 6-inches, and it offers 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds. Thanks to the handle’s ergonomic design, it is a delight to maneuver this motor.
Its quick-release lever lock bracket can secure your boat significantly tighter than conventional brackets. Another impressive feature is its power propeller, which can cut through dense vegetation without draining too much battery.
If you’re still not convinced about its durability, the special composite materials perform great at resisting flexes, warps, as well as UV damage. The only shortcoming of the Endura C2 is that it isn’t suitable for saltwater.
If you’re not willing to gamble your choices, you’ll certainly not regret getting the Minn Kota Endura C2. With tried and tested high-quality components all around, this trolling motor is sure to offer an impeccable boating experience.
Buying Guide for Trolling Motors
Choosing a trolling motor that perfectly fits the need of your inflatable boats will require you to consider a few factors.
Although we’re only looking at trolling motors, this buying guide can also be used for other types of inflatable boat motors. That being said, you should check out the following aspects –
a) Power-to-Weight Ratio
Using a heavy motor for a lightweight inflatable boat will beat its purpose of portability.
But as a general rule, it is advised to get a motor that can carry the load of the maximum weight allowed for your inflatable boat.
For example, if your boat can hold 5 passengers, you should opt for a motor that can at least transport 5 passengers, the dry weight of the boat, and the cargo all at once.
In simple words, the ratio of power should be higher, if not less than the ratio of the total weight of the boat.
b) Motor Power & Runtime
Before deciding on how much motor power you need, you should assess how you will be using the boat.
If you’ll use the boat for fishing, a motor producing 3-4 horsepower reaching speeds of 3-4.5 MPH should suffice.
But if you intend to explore and move around waterbodies, having extra power will allow you to go faster.
Since powerful motors consume batteries faster, it is recommended to carry extra batteries with them just to be safe; imagine getting stuck in the middle of a lake with an empty battery!
Read also: How To Charge A Trolling Motor Battery
c) Manufacturer Limits
Most inflatable boats come with manual guides that state the boats’ capacity, weight, etc. If your inflatable boat comes with a guide, you should check to see if there is any information on the maximum horsepower rating for it.
Conforming to the manufacturer recommendations minimizes the risks of a potential accident, so do not overlook them.
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Q: What kind of motor can I put on an inflatable boat?
A: Inflatable boats are typically powered by outboard motors, which can range from two to five horsepower.
Q: How big a motor can you put on an inflatable boat?
A: The size of the motor you can put on an inflatable boat depends on the size and weight capacity of the boat. Typically, a two to the five-horsepower outboard motor is suitable for most inflatable boats.
Q: Can a trolling motor push a dinghy?
A: Yes, a trolling motor can be used on all types of inflatable boats, including dinghies and rafts.
Q: How fast will a 30 lbs. thrust trolling motor go?
A: The thrust force of a trolling motor does not determine the top speed of a boat. For instance, a 30 lbs., 40 lbs., and 55 lbs. trolling motor will all top out at around 5 MPH.
Q: How fast can a 12-volt trolling motor go?
A: The maximum speed of most trolling motors is around 5 MPH, regardless of how many lbs. of thrust is produced by the motors.
If you want the best motor for inflatable boat, you should first assess your requirements and boating scenarios. If you won’t be using your inflatable boat very often, you can get a cheap trolling motor. But if you’re a seasoned boating enthusiast, the extra bucks will surely pay off in the long run!