What Size Trolling Motor for a Pontoon Boat?

What Size Trolling Motor for a Pontoon Boat?

Is size always a better thing? This article provides answers to that and a number of other questions to assist you in choosing the best trolling motor for your pontoon boat.

Purchasing a trolling motor for a pontoon boat can make a tremendous difference in your ability to find fish and stay on them. It’s actually not difficult to choose the right trolling motor, but there are a few important factors to consider before shelling out money.

We’ll assist you in choosing a trolling motor brand, model, mounting, and other accessories in this buying guide.

How to Calculate Trolling Motor Thrust for Pontoon Boat?

Minn Kota, a leading trolling motor manufacturer, recommends that you have “at least 2 pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of fully-loaded boat weight.” I advise you to locate the legally required capacity plate on your pontoon boat by looking at it now. By virtue of its vivid coloring, this plate ought to be readily visible.

Capacity plates outline various weight and power limitations of your vessel. Commonly, this decal affixed to your pontoon boat will have three main categories:

  1. MAX PERSONS OR POUNDS – This is the total weight that your passengers are permitted to carry, expressed in either people or pounds.
  2. MAX WEIGHT – This amount, which is also in pounds, represents the maximum weight that can be carried by your boat in addition to people, gear, and a motor.
  3. MAX HORSEPOWER – The maximum power your boat can handle is distributed by this unit.

Please note that the capacity plate will likely not measure the engine power in terms of pounds of thrust. This does not exempt you from following federal laws, so make sure to calculate the appropriate conversions for your trolling motor to make sure you adhere to the rules.

What Size Trolling Motor for a Pontoon Boat?

But in addition to the weight of your fully loaded boat, there are other factors to take into account when looking for a suitable trolling motor, such as the wind and current.

Let’s work through an example together to give you a better understanding of the relationship between boat weight and thrust when searching for a suitable trolling motor.

Let’s say your pontoon boat weighs 2,000 pounds dry, but you probably add another 1,000 pounds for the motor, gear, and passengers. So if we follow suit with Minn Kota’s recommendations, here is the math: 3,000 lb ÷ 100 = 30 · 2 = 60 pounds of thrust

What to Consider When Choosing a Trolling Motor?

Here are several factors to consider when you are choosing a trolling motor:

Best Mount Locations for a Trolling Motor

Your main options are bow, transom (rear), or engine mount. There are benefits and drawbacks to each one, but if you’ll be doing any actual trolling (dragging your bait around the lake with the power of the motor) with your trolling motor then definitely pick a bow mount trolling motor.

While using trolling motors to catch fish, many fishermen never actually a troll. For instance, if you fish for bass, you probably won’t ever use a trolling motor but you might want one to make small adjustments to the boat without disturbing the fish.

Personally, I’ve always found it far easier to control the boat with a bow-mounted trolling motor. After all, pulling a rope or dock line is easier than pushing one. The convenience of an engine-mounted trolling motor, however, is adored by many anglers.

Installing a trolling motor on a pontoon boat can actually be a bit tricky because many ‘toons don’t have a front lip around the fence on the front of the deck. This means that mounting the trolling motor would require modifying the front gate, which is not possible.

What Size Trolling Motor for a Pontoon Boat?

Shaft Length

You must select a shaft length when selecting the trolling motor model at the store. Making the best decision is usually not difficult on boats. On a pontoon boat, it’s a bit trickier because of the high deck of pontoon boats.

For most pontoon boat purposes, you’ll probably want a 60″ (152.4 centimeter) trolling motor shaft.


We measure the thrust of trolling motors in pounds. Generally speaking, 72 to 75 lbs. of thrust roughly equals one horsepower or 746W of electrical power. An average 12V motor that draws 60A uses around 720W.

The equation for power is easy: the higher the voltage, the higher the thrust. Trolling motors come in 12V, 12/24V, 24V, and 36V versions, with the most potent ones having a maximum weight capacity of over 100lb.

powerful enough to move heavy vessels like pontoon boats by thrust. There are approximately 12V/55lb maximum thrusts at various voltages. and 24V/80lb.

Power Consumption

Consider the size of your boat, the amount of battery capacity you can install safely to meet the energy requirements of a trolling motor, and whether or not you will be able to charge the batteries while underway.

Examine the amp draw of the models you are considering. A 54lb. 24V model. of thrust may only draw 28A, while a 12V model with 44lb. of thrust can draw 36A.

What Size Trolling Motor for a Pontoon Boat?

The general rule is that larger motors require more battery capacity, and if you fish from dawn until dusk with a boat that is 16′ or longer, you’ll probably want 24V. Serious anglers who spend a lot of time on the water will appreciate a 36V motor.

Advanced Features

Today, a lot of trolling motors have autopilot and route storage features that can help you navigate your most profitable routes. You can control these features using the included remote control or your phone with Bluetooth connectivity.

Some Minn Kota motors feature Humminbird’s MEGA Down Imaging and are compatible with select fishfinders.

Quick Tip Guide for Selecting a Trolling Motor

  1. Find your boat’s Capacity Plate.
  2. Convert posted HP rating to pounds of thrust.
  3. Select the mounting location that will work best for your setup.
  4. Consider Thrust, Voltage, & Shaft Length based on your intended use and local water conditions.
  5. Properly install trolling motor (include quick-release brackets and always use a tether to secure the motor to a fixed point on your boat)
  6. Enjoy your pontoon boat!


Pontoon boats can perform very well with nothing more than a trolling motor, provided that it meets the thrust and shaft length requirements for your specific model pontoon boat.

When choosing a trolling motor, an authorized dealer can assist you by helping you take into account the maximum weight load and water conditions in the area you intend to travel to.

You can create the ideal fishing setup on your pontoon boat by purchasing the appropriate-sized trolling motor without having to shell out a lot of money for a manufacturer’s fishing package.

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