You can have all the best tackle on your boat, but without a powerful trolling motor, your angling skills will be stuck onshore. Trolling motors are indispensable if you want to explore the waters without disturbing the fish as large boat engines do. And for added convenience, you can opt for the best foot controlled trolling motor, so you can keep your hands to your rod and reel.
For this post, I reviewed 7 of the tried and tested trolling motors equipped with foot pedals. I picked models from varying prices, so you can choose one that suits your budget.
Too long, can’t read? Here’s a quick rundown of the 7 foot-controlled trolling motors we personally scouted for you:
Best Foot Controlled Trolling Motor – Top 7 Picks
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: Minn Kota Terrova Bow-Mount Freshwater Trolling Motor
Product Name: Minn Kota Terrova Bow-Mount Freshwater Trolling Motor
Product Description: If you’re looking for the best foot controlled trolling motor, you’ll never go wrong with the Minn Kota Terrova Bow-Mount model. This has an easy-to-deploy system that slides the prop into the water. And when not in use, this has a Lift-Assist design that will let you stow the motor out easily. Moreover, this unit has a GPS feature that uses the Spot-Lock technology, so you can find where the fishes are. It also records your paths and will command speed. Another thing I like about the Minn Kota Terrova is its touchscreen remote. It allows you to use the i-Pilot feature, so you can keep the command on your trolling motor even if you’re on the other side of the boat. Aside from the physical remote, you can also use the i-Pilot feature on Humminbird fish finders in case you have one.
Offer price: $$$
Value for Money
In terms of control, the Minn Kota Terrova comes with a low-profile electric foot pedal. It allows heel/toe steering as well as left/right control. You can also utilize the momentary-on pedal, rotary speed dial, and autopilot toggle. Overall, this foot-controlled trolling motor is packed with features that will make your fishing trips easier. It has 80 lbs. of thrust, a 60-inch shaft, and a 24-volt motor. With this, it can support fully-loaded boats weighing up to 4,000 lbs. Sure, this trolling motor isn’t the cheapest, but boy, it’s a beast in terms of power and features.
Equipped with Spot-Lock GPS Complete with autopilot and i-Pilot features It comes with a touchscreen remote controller Engineered with 80 lbs. of thrust Easy-to-deploy system
They use plastic bushing inside the steering housing. Not the best option for shallow waters
Lowrance Ghost Trolling Motor
If you have the budget to splurge on a top-dollar unit, you shouldn’t hesitate to consider the Lowrance Ghost Trolling Motor. This boasts a whopping 120 lbs. of maximum thrust at 36 volts. It can also be adjusted to 97 lbs. in a 24-volt operation.
Moreover, this beast has unbeatable reliability, which has been tested for four years and over 10,000 hours. It also takes pride in its quiet operation, so you won’t scare away a big catch. This is possible, thanks to its brushless and ultra-quiet motor.
Aside from that, the Lowrance Ghost Trolling Motor is made to defy strong winds. It has the proprietary Power-Pole that you can activate at the press of your foot. This works well on shallow waters and will help control drift on deeper areas.
This trolling motor also comes with a plug-and-play Lowrance CHIRP sonar that uses an HDI nosecone transducer. It’s also equipped with DownScan imaging technology for a better fish-finding experience.
Another thing I really like about this trolling motor is its fly-by-wire steering. It offers a smooth response similar to the feel of traditional cable steer but without the cable clutter.
You can also configure the foot pedal of this trolling motor. It has a Flip Switch that lets you drive the motor on either side of the pedal. You can also assign shortcuts using the programmable buttons on the unit. Also, the heading and anchor mode have LED lighting and indicator beep for visual monitoring.
If that’s not enough, this trolling motor is designed with a 360-degree breakaway mount. It allows the motor’s shaft to deflect away from obstructions. It will reposition itself after, which reduces the risk of damages.
MotorGuide Xi3 Bow-Mount Freshwater Trolling Motor
For those who are looking for the right balance between thrust power and price tag, the MotorGuide Xi3 Bow-Mount Trolling Motor might be a good option. This model is available in various thrust rating, starting from 54 lbs. to 70 lbs.
Aside from that, the MotorGuide Xi3 uses a SecureStep system that makes it easy to deploy and stow. It also has a LED dashboard, so you can easily check the motor’s status. It shows the propeller status, power, GPS status, and battery life.
This unit also has a pinpoint GPS for precise anchoring, cruise control, and heading lock. You’ll also enjoy wireless control, thanks to the remote control and wireless foot pedal that you can purchase separately.
Moreover, the Xi3 has a quiet motor, so you won’t scare away your potential catch. It also has a tighter hold on your anchor point compared to other models within the same price range.
Take note that this trolling motor is made only for freshwater use. It’s not advisable to try it on saltwater as it can corrode and damage the propeller and the motor itself.
In addition, the MotorGuide Xi3 stores and plays back your routes. It can store eight routes for a total of four miles. This is also compatible with the Lowrance Connectivity technology.
I also want to mention that MotorGuide has excellent customer service. If you receive a faulty unit, you can activate your warranty and the unit will be replaced.
As for the downside, some anglers complained that the remote controller is touchy and has a learning curve. Other than that, this trolling motor works well.
MotorGuide X3 Freshwater Trolling Motor
Another MotorGuide trolling motor I recommend is the X3 model. It’s cheaper than the Xi3 but not short of useful features for anglers.
This has a 70-lb. thrust in a 24-volt operation. It uses an innovative variable ratio steering for precise and high-response control. The torque feedback on this model is also reduced to ensure smoother and quieter operation.
Moreover, the MotorGuide X3 comes with a heel/toe foot pedal. Take note that the pedal is wired, unlike the one you can use on the Xi3 model.
Aside from that, this trolling motor has a composite inner shaft and a stainless steel outer shaft. This guarantees a long-lasting design. It also uses an aircraft-grade aluminum bracket to ensure that your motor won’t flex and move around while operating the highest thrust.
The MotorGuide X3 Trolling Motor is made for freshwater only, which is something you should keep in mind. While this will run on saltwater, it will damage the components fast.
This trolling motor is also backed with a two-year warranty. For this price range and set of features, I think this is already a good deal.
However, some users noticed that the foot pedal on this motor is faster than other models. Other than that, this trolling motor tracks well and is made to last.
Haswing Cayman Bow-Mount Trolling Motor
The Haswing Cayman Bow Mount Trolling Motor packs 55 lbs. of thrust on a 12-volt motor. This can be set up both in saltwater and freshwater, so you no longer have to purchase separate models.
Aside from that, this motor suits boats weighing up to 2,750 lbs. when fully loaded. Despite its powerful thrust, this unit remains quiet on the water, allowing you to approach fishes without scaring them.
I also like the cruise control of this model, which allows you to maintain a certain speed. And if you wish to go the reverse direction, you simply turn the motor in 180 degrees.
Moreover, this comes with a wireless remote controller. It has a small display that shows the propeller status. Aside from that, there are buttons for direction and speed control. The remote control also has a 164-feet range and can be recharged through a USB cable.
There’s also a pedal included in the package for hands-free control. However, you should know that this trolling motor requires manual correction from time to time during strong currents and winds. Also, the foot control is wired, but it comes with a long 14.7-feet cable to compensate.
Overall, this trolling motor offers excellent value for money. However, it doesn’t have GPS, which is something that puts off other buyers. But if you’re in the market for moderately priced trolling motors, this one is reasonable enough.
Watersnake Shadow Bow-Mount Trolling Motor
The Watersnake Shadow Trolling Motor is designed to chew through heavy underwater grass at an affordable cost. It sports a weedless, 3-blade propeller on its thrust power of 54 lbs. You can also get this in 44 lbs. to suit your boat.
Moreover, this trolling motor has a variable speed that you can control through the wired pedal. It’s also corrosion-free as all submerged parts are covered with stainless steel.
Meanwhile, the shaft of this trolling motor is made of a composite material that flexes upon impact. This reduces the risk of breakage should your propeller gets into heavy underwater grass and other obstructions.
Watersnake also takes pride in its simple design that makes the trolling motor easy to install and operate. However, it’s important to note that their Shadow model is only suitable for freshwater use. Nevertheless, this model is small but mighty in terms of performance.
Aside from that, this trolling motor is ready to install straight from the package. While it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of high-end models, it still delivers excellent value for money. It’s hard to beat considering this price range.
The best thing about Watersnake is their guarantee. If you’re not happy with the trolling motor you received, you can contact them for a potential replacement or refund.
Minn Kota Edge Bow-Mount Trolling Motor
The Minn Kota Edge Trolling Motor is an excellent alternative if you can’t afford the Terrova model. While it’s not as feature-packed as the latter, the Minn Kota Edge is as reliable as the premium models from the brand.
This trolling motor has 45 lbs. of thrust on a 12-volt engine. It also has five-speed settings that you can choose on the fly. With that, you can easily switch from one speed to another without fiddling with the controls for too long.
Aside from that, the Minn Kota Edge has a cable-steer foot pedal, complete with heel-toe controls. You can also use the momentary-on pedal or the side-mounted constant-on dial.
Overall, this trolling motor has a basic design, but with a rock-solid quality. You don’t get a lot of added features, but the brand compensates in terms of reliability and durability.
Moreover, the Minn Kota Edge Trolling Motor has a latch and door bracket for a solid hold. It also makes stowing of the motor hassle-free.
Overall, this trolling motor is well worth the money. The installation screws and other hardware are already provided in the package. It’s easy to install and the battery lasts quite long.
However, some users complain that the foot pedal is a bit cumbersome. But if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit more space on the deck, this wouldn’t be a big issue.
How to choose the best foot controlled trolling motor
There are many trolling motors in the market, but not all of them are suitable for your boat. This is why you should pick the right model that matches your vessel, intended use, and budget.
Below, I discussed the major aspects that you should know about trolling motors. Read on to ensure that you’ll get the right model:
There are three major trolling motor types in the market: transom, bow, and pontoon.
Transom trolling motors are mounted at the back of the boat. It uses a clamp-on bracket and a tiller. Overall, transom trolling motors are made for small dinghies and canoes since it doesn’t pack a lot of power. Nevertheless, this trolling motor type is suitable for standard trolling and is easy to position.
On the other hand, bow trolling motors are more versatile. It can be used for a wide range of control options and mounted on the boat using a bolt-on bracket. Instead of pushing the boat, a bow mount sucks in water to propel the vessel forward. Overall, it offers better control and maneuverability than transom types.
Lastly, the pontoon trolling motor offers steady and quiet tracking. It’s suitable for all-day use and it’s also easy to mount. However, it’s only suitable for flat waters since it doesn’t offer a lot of control, speed, and versatility.
If you’re looking for the best foot controlled trolling motor, you’d likely find one in the form of bow types.
Once you’ve chosen the motor type you need, the next thing to check is the size of the motor. Take note that the size should be matched on the size of your boat.
Motor size dictates how powerful your trolling motor will be. This will also affect the efficiency of the motor on various water conditions and boat load.
In general, your trolling motor should have 2 lbs. of thrust for every 100 lbs. of weight. Take note that the weight should include all the gears and passengers of the boat. Also, if your place has strong winds and strong currents, you need to add more thrust to the calculation.
With this, a fully-loaded boat weighing 2,000 lbs. should use a trolling motor with at least 40 lbs. of thrust. Take note that it’s better to have a higher thrust than not enough.
Another thing you have to factor in is the voltage of the trolling motor you’re going to buy. The voltage is the power the motor needs to work.
Generally, you need to use 1 battery for every 12 volts of power in your trolling motor. So for a 24-volt motor, you need 2 batteries and 3 for a 36-volt model.
Cutting back on battery power will affect the performance of your trolling motor. Also, trying to wire two trolling motors into a single battery is inefficient and will just defeat the purpose of using two units.
Aside from the technical stuff, you also have to be meticulous on the physical specifications of the trolling motor you’re going to purchase.
A very short shaft length will not submerge the propeller into the water enough. In general, the top portion of the propeller should be submerged for at least 6 inches.
Also, the length of the shaft differs between bow and transom types. For example, for boats with a bow to waterline distance of up to 10”, the ideal shaft length is 36”. Meanwhile, a transom to waterline distance of 10” only requires a 30” shaft.
You should also check the manufacturer’s shaft length guide to ensure that it’s a perfect fit for your boat.
Trolling motors are often available in hand and foot control versions. Both are good options, but foot control is only found on bow mount types.
Hand-controlled trolling motors are standard options. It allows you to steer your boat around and it also removes additional clutter on deck. Also, hand controls have a real-time response and are easier to operate for most users.
On the other hand, foot-controlled trolling motors allow you to keep both your hands on the rod. You can also place the foot pedal anywhere in your boat as long as connectivity and wiring permit. However, foot-controlled trolling motors tend to have a slower response and it also consumes space on your boat.
The good thing is that many foot-controlled motors have a hand control option. This way, you can configure the unit based on your preferred mode of operation.
While there are recommended features when it comes to foot-controlled trolling motors, you still have to factor in a few fishing considerations.
You have to check the water current and wind resistance where you plan to fish. Technically, strong winds and currents require more thrust to ensure control.
Aside from the mentioned items above, it’s also worth looking for additional features. This will add value to your purchase and make your fishing trips more convenient. Here are a few that you’ll usually find on modern trolling motors:
- Digital display. Digital displays give you real-time speed and depth readings. This lets you control your boat accurately, so you don’t go beyond the safe limits.
- Battery gauge. A battery gauge will prevent you from running out of power in the middle of your fishing trip. This way, you’ll know if it’s time to recharge or if your battery can still push it for another trip.
- Autopilot. An autopilot feature allows you to set your course, speed, and direction beforehand. Also, some trolling motors have the ability to adjust their settings based on the water current, wind, and waves. Overall, this feature is helpful, but it comes at a higher price tag.
- GPS. A built-in GPS in your trolling motor will bring you to more fish. It can also record and trace paths while ensuring that you know where you are. This is very handy when fishing on unfamiliar bodies of water. Also, the GPS feature can be connected to your smartphone, so you can record your previous data.
Lastly, you should consider the price of the trolling motor you’re planning to purchase. While price isn’t always an indicator of quality, most premium models are often more reliable than cheap ones.
In the end, it’s about picking the one that suits your boat in terms of thrust, engine power, size, and more. And if you’re an avid angler, you should consider investing in a trolling motor that will last for years. It could be the best foot controlled trolling motor or another model that you want.
Additional advice to boost trolling motor performance
Picking the right trolling motor is important, but maximizing its performance and lifespan is another story. Below, I shared some of my personal tips in ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your purchase:
- Clean behind the propeller. A lot of things can get caught in your motor’s propeller. It’s important to clean this up after using your boat. This will ensure that your motor will run efficiently and will have a longer lifespan.
- Manage the cables. If you’re using wired trolling motors, make sure that their wires are secured and installed properly. You don’t want to pull and break any of these wires while in the middle of a fishing trip. I suggest using a marine cable jacket to ensure that the cables are in one place and won’t be damaged.
- Tighten the mount bolts. Before you head up, make sure that your trolling motor is installed properly. Tighten the bolts and make sure that the bracket or clamp isn’t damaged.
- Lubricate the shaft. To ensure smooth operation, you need to lubricate the shaft of your trolling motor. This will make steering more precise, especially on high-thrust models. Make sure that you use water-based lubricants and not oil-based types.
- Always check the battery. Even if your trolling motor is in perfect shape, it won’t function if the battery is drained or corroded. Always check this part, especially if you’re planning a long fishing trip.
- Disconnect before storing. If you’re not going to use your trolling motor or boat for weeks, it’s important to disconnect the unit from the battery. This will prevent potential damage in case the battery leaks, corrodes, or dies down.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How far should your trolling motor be in the water?
A: Your trolling motor should have its blades submerged for at least 6 inches. Also, the centerline of the prop shaft and the motor should be around 12 to 18 inches underwater. Nevertheless, it depends on the make and model of the trolling motor you’re going to buy.
Q: How do you know if your outboard is too high?
A: A very high outboard will lead to low water pressure and your bow will lack lift. You’ll also notice your propeller letting go randomly. However, dropping your motor to compensate will just make things worse. This is why you should always measure your outboard against the trolling motor you’re planning to purchase.
Q: Are two trolling motors faster than one?
A: While using two trolling motors may seem like a good idea in increasing speed, it actually produces a very little effect. Worse, it just drains your battery too much. It will also make your boat’s bow push higher and the stern to dig into the water. In the process, this will slow down your vessel.
Q: How can I make my trolling motor faster?
A: To make your trolling motor faster, make sure that you’re using a powerful battery. Also, you should reduce the load on your boat and use an efficient propeller. Upgrading to a better motor will also help in speeding up your boat.
Q: Can I run two trolling motors in one battery?
A: It’s possible to run two trolling motors in one battery, but this will likely affect speed. Also, you should never run two motors using a single line to the battery. This can create a lot of problems, which can damage your motors in the long run.
Fishing is a fun hobby, but it gets better with the right trolling motor. Unlike other types, the best foot controlled trolling motor offers convenience, so you can keep your hands on the rod. It’s also easy to set up and is available in a range of thrust levels. You can also find these motors at varying costs to suit your budget. What do you think of these trolling motors? Share your thoughts below!