For most people looking to buy a motor for their inflatable boats, 55lb thrust trolling motors are an ideal pick.
- Trolling motors thrust weaker than 55lbs will struggle when the weather turns against us or the boat is overloaded
- Stronger than 55lb thrust motors are more expensive, require more battery power, and are only a necessity if the joint weight of the boat + load is over 2000 lbs / 900 kg or if the boat is longer than 16 feet.
Electric trolling motors with 55lb of thrust are perfect for inflatable boats, kayaks, and fishing boats.
Top 55lb thrust electric trolling motors
Here is my list of the best motors in the 55lb thrust category:
|Newport Vessels NV 55lb||Newport Vessels X 55lb||Minn Kota Endura 55lb||Minn Kota Endura Max 55lb||Minn Kota Riptide 55lb||Goplus 55lb|
|Handle||Extendable (6″)||Extendable (6″) + 30° up/down||Extendable (6″)||Extendable (6″)||Extendable (6″)||Extendable (6″)|
|Water||Saltwater & freshwater||Saltwater & freshwater||Freshwater||Freshwater||Saltwater & freshwater||Freshwater & saltwater|
|Shaft length||30″||36″||36″ / 42″||36″ / 42″||36″ / 42″||36″|
|Weight||24 lbs||24 lbs||23 lbs||24 lbs||24 lbs||22 lbs|
|Battery meter||5 point LED||10 point LED||none||4 point LED||4 point LED||10 point LED|
|Warranty||2 years||2 years||2 years||2 years||2 year||no info|
Let’s have a look at them in more detail.
Newport Vessels NV-series – Top pick
My number 1 pick is the 55lb NV series from Newport Vessels.
The brand is known for making high-quality motors, which is backed by their 2-year warranty. If anything goes wrong, their motors are serviceable, they provide great customer service, and parts are readily available on their site.
For around $200, you get a lot of features, most of which cost extra with competing brands:
- Built-in 5 point LED battery meter
- Can be used in freshwater and saltwater (zinc, aluminum, and stainless steel construction)
- Adjustable 30-inch fiberglass composite shaft
- 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds
- Includes 50 amp manual reset circuit breaker
I have used this motor extensively and can say that it is dependable, quiet, and overall very pleasant to use.
Here is a video on this motor, you can see how fast it can go and how easy it is to use.
Newport Vessels X series – Runner up
The X series, 55 lb thrust trolling motor from Newport Vessels is similar to the NV above in many ways.
The main differences, which warrant the higher price point, are the following:
- Adjustable 36-inch fiberglass shaft
- 30° tilting head
Besides the longer shaft, the main feature the X has over the NV is the tilting head. It can tilt up or down up to 30°. Combined with the extending tiller (handle), this means that the person steering can find the perfect position to operate the vessel.
Minn Kota Endura 55lb – 3rd place
Minn Kota is another popular manufacturer of trolling motors. Don’t let the awkward name fool you. The company was established in 1934, and the name is short for Minnesota Dakota.
The company also offers a 2-year warranty and provides support and parts if needed.
Their Endura line of trolling motors is very popular amongst freshwater fishermen. It is comparable to the Newport Vessels NV in most aspects, but lacks several features that the NV has:
- no battery meter
- cannot be used in saltwater without voiding the warranty
- does not include a circuit breaker
Another difference is that the Endura used a 2 blade propeller, as opposed to Newport Vessels’ 3 blade propeller. This is supposed to save some battery power, but I doubt it is noticeable in real life conditions.
I have a friend who owns and swears by this motor, so this could be a good pick if you are only looking for freshwater use.
Here is a video on this motor as well.
Minn Kota Endura Max 55lb – 4th place
The Minn Kota Endura Max is basically an upgraded version of the normal Endura.
The extra features are:
- built-in 4-point LED battery meter (push button operated)
- Digital Maximizer for longer battery life
- not restricted to 8 speeds, rather an analog speed handle for dialing in your exact speed
The Endura Max is all about extending your time on the water. The company’s “Digital Maximizer” technology, which promises longer battery life by delivering the precise amount of power you need. They promise up to 5x more battery life, but that is way overshooting it.
I have used this motor, it did get more time on the water, but not 5x. Here is a detailed post about how the digital maximizer works, and what you can expect.
The disadvantages of the Endura over the Newport Vessels NV or X are:
- limited to freshwater use
- no circuit breaker included, you have to buy it separately
The extra features of the Max make it somewhat more expensive than the normal Endura.
Minn Kota Riptide 55lb – 5th place
The Riptide is a further upgrade from the Endura Max.
It has 2 added features:
- Saltwater safe
- Tilting handle
This is a very high quality trolling motor, but it comes at a much higher price point though.
Goplus 55lb – Budget pick
I do not have any personal experience with this motor, but it is a well-known budget brand of trolling motors.
Its main features are:
- saltwater safe
- 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds
- 10 point LED battery meter
I have mixed feeling about this brand though, because:
- I cannot find any warranty information on Goplus motors
- the product received mixed reviews on Amazon
This motor is significantly cheaper than the other ones on this list, just know the risks before you buy it.
What kind of battery does a 55lb trolling motor need?
The amp draw of 55lb trolling motors is around 50A. It is a good idea to use a deep cycle marine battery that has at least 50 Ah of power.
Depending on how much time you are looking to spend on the water with a charge, my recommendations are either:
- 55 Ah Mighty Max battery (because it has served me well)
- 100 Ah Vmax battery (because you can spend an entire day fishing with this battery)
It is important to know that the 100 Ah Vmax is considerably heavier and bulkier than the 55 Ah Mighty Max.
If you are looking for a motor for an inflatable raft (like the Excursion 5), you should stick with the smaller battery, or perhaps a light Lithium one. But if you have a hard floor boat, you can easily go with the 100 Ah Vmax AGM.
Have a look at my guide on marine batteries for trolling motors as well.
How fast can a 55lb thrust trolling motor go?
You can reach speeds of around 4 MPH with a 55lb trolling motor if conditions are optimal.
There are several factors that your speed will depend on though:
- Water currents
- Battery charge
The amp draw of 55 lb thrust trolling motors is around 50 amps at full throttle, so going max speed will deplete your battery pretty quickly.
Can you use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater?
Saltwater safe trolling motors have better seals on the mechanical and electrical components and are thus better protected against the corrosion that saltwater levies on the motor.
You can, of course, operate a freshwater motor in saltwater, but it will probably void the manufacturer warranty.
If you decide on using it in saltwater, make sure you rinse the motor with fresh water as soon as you can.
What shaft length does my boat need?
The length of the motor shaft will determine how far the propeller can go down into the water.
- If the shaft is too short, the propeller will not submerge fully into the water, especially during harsh conditions.
- If the shaft is too long, you might bump your propeller into things or the seabed in shallow water.
How do you know what shaft length you need?
It’s simple actually. To find the proper shaft length, find (or measure) the height of the top of the transom to the waterline, and add 16-20″. The goal is for the entire propeller to stay about 6 inches below the water surface, even when the boat pitches and rolls in bad weather or waves.
A longer shaft is always better than a shorter one, since you can fine-tune the motor’s vertical position with the adjustment on the mount.