If you already have an Intex inflatable boat or are looking to get one soon, getting an electric trolling motor is a great upgrade.
An Intex raft paired with a motor opens up a lot of possibilities out on the water and is a lot of fun for kids and adults alike:
- fishing is made so much easier without the need for handling the oars,
- kids love cruising with a motorized boat,
- paddling is hard with many people in the boat.
This article will list the best electric trolling motors for Intex inflatable boats (Mariner, Excursion, Seahawk, Challenger), and answer a few questions you may have before committing to a motor.
Which Intex rafts can be motorized?
There are 4 classes of Intex inflatable boats that are suitable for equipping a motor:
- Intex Excursion 3, 4, 5
- Intex Challenger 3
- Intex Seahawk 2, 3, 4 and Seahawk II
- Intex Mariner 3, 4
All of the above boats are strong enough to support a motor mount and the motor itself.
The Mariner 3 and 4 are meant specifically for motorized boating, since they have an inflatable keel, which makes them easier to control the boat.
Best electric trolling motors for Intex boats
Here are the best electric trolling motors you can get for Intex Excursion, Challenger, Mariner, and Seahawk SIBs.
I chose these motors specifically for Intex boats keeping the following in mind:
- 36-inch shaft length (as recommended by Intex)
- Transom mountable
- Thrust between 40-80 lbs. Anything less is not enough, but more than 80 is not rational for Intex rafts as the marginal performance gains do not offset the added expenses.
- The motor requires a single 12V deep cycle battery.
You basically have 2 brands that manufacture suitable motors at affordable prices: Newport Vessels’ NV and X series, and Minn Kota’s Endura line of motors.
In this category, I prefer Newport Vessels, because they offer more features.
|Newport Vessels||Minn Kota|
|Warranty||2 years||2 years|
Minn Kota makes good motors in the high-end range, but in this category, your best bet is Newport Vessels.
Newport Vessels trolling motors
Newport Vessels manufactures high quality trolling motors that are suitable for both freshwater and saltwater use. These motors come with a 2-year warranty, and replacement parts are readily available. They come with a circuit breaker, so you can’t overload the motor. Each motor also has an LED battery meter, so you can see your battery’s charge level.
This is my #1 choice, it has great features and ample power. Extendable handle, 30° adjustable tiller, 10 point battery meter, 3 blade prop.
|Max 4 MPH|
Extendable handle, 30° adjustable tiller, 10 pint battery meter.
|Max 3.5 MPH|
Extendable handle, 5 point battery meter.
|Max 4.5 MPH|
These motors cost between $140 to $270. As prices change over time, please use the price check button to see their current price.
Minn Kota Endura trolling motors
Even though I recommend Newport Vessels in this category, Minn Kota deserves a mention as well.
Minn Kota is a USA based company. Their Endura series trolling motors are similar to that of Newport Vessels’ X and NV series, but with fewer features. Most importantly, their motors in this price class are for freshwater use only. They do have saltwater ready motors, but those are way more expensive.
Also, their motors do not come with a circuit breaker, nor a battery meter. However, they do offer a 2-year warranty, and you can easily order replacement parts.
|40lb Endura C2||45lb Endura C2||55lb Endura C2|
|Max speed||3.5 MPH||4 MPH||4.5 MPH|
|Speeds||5 Fwd/3 Rev||5 Fwd/3 Rev||5 Fwd/3 Rev|
The pricing of Minn Kota trolling motors is between $160 to $240. Their price tends to vary by season, so please use the price check button to see their current price.
Minn Kota also has a Max version of the Endura motor. These are called Endura Max. These provide better power usage for longer battery life at slower speeds (great for fishing), and also offer a battery meter. Here is how they work.
The Endura Max motors are a bit more expensive though and are not saltwater friendly, check out their prices on Amazon.
Intex 40 lb trolling motor
Intex actually has a trolling motor under their brand.
It provides 40 lb of thrust, which is not much. But it does come with impressive features though:
- extending + tilting handle
- suitable for saltwater and freshwater
- built-in battery power meter
- has an auto-prop oscillation mode, which turns the prop left-right to shake off weeds caught on the propeller
I like the features, but would prefer more than 40 lb of thrust.
The truth is that I don’t have any experience with this motor though, you can read what customers think about it here on Amazon.
How strong should the trolling motor be?
The thrust of electric trolling motors is measured in pounds (lbs).
If you can budget it, I would recommend at least a 50lb thrust motor.
Stronger motors will drive your boat a bit faster, but more importantly, can handle larger payloads.
If you know you will be taking many adults at a time, or you’ll be fishing with a lot of heavy gear, you should definitely get a stronger motor.
There is also a safety advantage of stronger motors. If the weather turns bad, a weak motor may not be able to push your boat against the wind/waves. This can become a serious problem out on the water, especially if you go further from shore.
How do you put a motor on an Intex boat?
Intex sells a dedicated motor mount, which fits all of its boats from above. Here it is on Amazon.
The mount attaches and detaches to Intex boats very quickly. There are 4 connection points welded onto each Intex boat. The motor mount attaches to these points.
The motor mount can support any trolling motor, and even gasoline powered motors up to 3.5 HP.
What kind of battery do I need?
The motors listed above require a single 12V deep cycle marine battery.
I like using batteries that provide at least 50 AH, as lower AH batteries drain too quickly.
Here are 2 great choices. Choose the bigger one if you know you need extended time out on the water, for example, if you go fishing for many hours at a time.
55 AH battery
This is the Mighty Max 12V 55Ah battery.
It is a deep cycle, AGM marine battery, so it is suitable for use on the water to power inflatable boat electric motors.
It has a 1-year warranty and has a 4.4 rating on Amazon.
100 Ah battery
This is the VMAX 12V 100Ah battery.
It is also a deep cycle, AGM marine battery, so it will perform wonderfully powering the motor on your Intex raft. This is a very popular battery as well, it has a 4.5 customer rating on Amazon.
This battery will power your motor all day long if you keep the speed at the 2-3 setting. I know, I have this battery.
The only problem with this battery is its heavy weight. I would recommend it only if you have (or are building) a hard floor in your boat.
If the weight of the battery is a concern, you might consider a more expensive Lithium battery instead of these AGM ones. Check out this post on lightweight marine batteries if you like.
You will also need a battery charger to charge your battery.
I have this fancy Ampeak charger set up at home, and this Minn Kota one as my portable charger.
Getting a good charger is important, as you can easily kill your battery if you don’t know what you’re doing.
The mostly flat bottom of Intex inflatable boats means that they are hard to steer straight, and are highly affected by wind and currents.
The solution to this problem is getting a clamp-on rudder, like this one.
It is affordable, and really helps gain control of motorized flat-bottom inflatable boats. You simply clamp it onto the shaft (it fits 1 1/8″ shaft diameter), and you’re ready to go.
It effectively creates a rudder to help steer your boat.
How fast can an Intex inflatable boat go with a trolling motor?
Regardless of the thrust of your electric trolling motor, you can reach a maximum speed of 4-5 MPH.
Reaching this speed depends on several factors though:
- the power of your motor
- the charge of your battery
- wind & currents
Registering your motorized boat
If you equip your Intex inflatable boat with a motor, you will need to register it with your state authorities.
Here is a guide on how to do this in each state.
Before registering your boat, you will need to get a Certificate of Origin from Intex directly. This can be done online automatically as follows:
- Find your boat’s Hull Identification Number (you may find it at the bottom of the capacity label on the stern of the boat)
- Know your boat’s model name
- Click this link to be taken to Intex’s boat registration page: https://www.intexcorp.com/boat-certificates
- Select your boat
- Enter your Hill ID Number
- Print the automatically generated Certificate of Origin
After you print the certificate, you will have to fill out a few blanks sections with a pen.
Would a gasoline outboard motor be better?
You can mount gasoline-powered outboard motors on Intex inflatable boats the same way you can mount an electric trolling motor. The Intex motor mount can handle a motor of max 3 HP on the Mariner.
Owning one and the experience of using one is very different for the 2 types of motors.
The advantage gasoline powered motors have over trolling motors is that they can go much faster, and that you don’t need to haul and charge a battery.
However, there are many disadvantages:
- gasoline motors are very loud, while electric trolling motors basically don’t make any noise
- some lakes do not allow the use of gasoline motors
- Intex rafts are light, so a gasoline motor can flip the raft over on a wave or against wind, if there is no weight in the front
- gasoline motors require a lot of maintenance and cleaning, while electric motors do not
I prefer using an electric trolling motors on my Intex raft, but if you don’t mind the above, the Hangkai 3.6 HP motor is a good value.
It can go about 6 MPH, and is suitable for saltwater as well as fresh water.
34 thoughts on “Trolling motors for Intex inflatable rafts”
Good morning from British Columbia! Love your advice and I agree with everything I’ve read. The one thing I can’t seem to find, though, is if you got more than yourself in the intex 5, where do you put the battery box? I see in the mariner series people put it behind the rear bench. The excursion has those infateable pillows. I’m also using a deep cycle group 27 battery in my minkoda battery box which weighs about 70lbs. Will this be too rear heavy?
The Excursion 5 is very bouyant, as you can see in this image: https://pinterest.com/pin/613404411728032912
You’ll put the battery in the back, right in front of the motor. You would not use the inflatable seat if you have a battery there.
I have the Intex 40-lb trolling motor model bm4212, a/k/a 68631. Is there an aftermarket performance 2-blade prop that fits it? I bought a Motorguide Katana and it didn’t fit, though it’s a 3.5″ hub prop. Is there a compatibility chart? I’d like to get a better propeller. Thanks
I want to purchase a Seahawk 3, motor and battery but I’m confused. I have a deep cell 12v 55ah battery I’d like to pair with the Newport 46 lb thrust electric motor but it says to use at least a 60ah battery. Will the 55ah battery work, or should I go to a lighter thrust motor?
Hi, the 55Ah battery will work with a 46 lb motor without any problems.
Can you put a 3.5 hp 2 stroke on the seahawk 4
Hi, Intex’s official recommendation is 3 HP, but 3.5 should still be ok.
Hi Tom, Do you think a 3hp gas motor would be too much for the intex transom?
Hi, that’s still OK, the official Intex recommendation is max 3.5 HP.
I just got into inflatable boating. The goal is to go on a river near our seasonal campsite to fish a bit and get to the beach…etc. I’m an experienced canoe guy on lakes. This adventure is totally different and I feel lost. I took the family out the other day and got stranded because the current was too strong in one direction (other side of an island) but when I turned back I had too low power from my battery to fight the current to get back. Rowing got us absolutely nowhere. I got myself completely an utterly exhausted and resulted to pulling ashore and walking back to camp. Thankfully that was an option!
Anyway, I’m determined to make all this work but I need help. I purchased an Intex Excursion, Minn Kota 30lbs thrust and a chinese knock-off 35amp/hour battery. I realize now the battery was a huge mistake so I certainly plan on rectifying that aspect bu before I do, I want to properly and truly educate myself so I don’t’ get stranded again.
I landed on your site looking to educate myself on batteries and found that you have a lot of experience and articles..etc. Thought I’d ask your direct advice on the matter.
Thanks in advance
Hi there, here are my thoughts:
– Considering that you have a large boat with the weight of a family in it, a 30lbs thrust trolling motor is too weak. 30 lbs motors are for kayaks. On a boat, it will be sort of ok in flat water but will run into problems in wind and currents, as you experienced first hand. The Excursion has high walls and no keel, so the wind can blow it around all day. I would definitely swap the motor for a 55 lbs motor like these.
– The 35 Ah battery will be a bottleneck with a 55 lbs motor. It is probably an AGM battery, which also means that it starts getting weaker as the charge runs lower. I would not head out with less than a fully charged 50 Ah battery.
– It’s good to be mindful of how much charge you have and how much you need to get back to your base. AGM batteries have a recommended max discharge of 50-80%, so you can’t use 100%. And as I said, it gets weaker as the charge starts running out, so you need to factor that in as well.
– If you’re on a river, you don’t really want to be trolling/rowing upstream. Depending on the flow rate of the river, it may even be futile. If you have to do so, you can give your motor some help by rowing at the same time. And stay close to shore, where the current is more gentle than in deeper sections.
– Before going on a river, I like to check the flow rate of the water online. Just google the name of the river + flow rate. Sometimes the water can get fast even on small rivers. Remember that your trolling motor maxes out at around 3.5-4 MPH. If the river is faster than 3-3.5 MPH, trolling upstream is impossible. The motor just can’t push hard enough.
I hope this helps!
I have an intex mariner 3. the manual recommends a maximum 33# power motor. you are recommending a 50# minimum. why is there such a big difference and is there a safety issue putting a bigger motor then they recommend?
ps. i currently have a minnkota 30# – fine for smooth calm waters but very underpowered for rougher water – so i am looking to replace it.
Intex is playing the safe game I guess. Don’t worry, the 50 lbs motor is not strong enough to fold your boat. I had a Mariner 4 with a 55 lb Newport Vessels motor, so the body was longer than your Mariner 3, meaning less rigidity on the Mariner 4. It was still perfectly OK.
Can i use Minn Kota C2 55lb with shaft length 42 inch for intex excursion 5?
Yes, you can. The tiller will be set a bit high, but that’s all.
Hello. I’ve followed your directions and am wondering about whether I need to get a box to store my battery in? Any help there? Also any set up ideas for a Sea Hawk 2 being powered by a heavy battery? Thanks!
Hi, yes, it’s a good idea to get one. I have some thoughts on this here:
Hello, very useful information, I have a 200ah battery on a 3.0 hp hawsing electric, excursion 5 was looking for figures!! Thanks
What keeps the passengers from getting shocked?
Any experience with a 30″ on Mariner 4? I just picked up a used one in great shape for a great price, and saw the 36″ recommendation after-the-fact. Don’t have the mount just yet.
Hi, I have already answered this above here.
Hi Tom, I wonder if you can advise on whether a 55lbs electric trolling motor will be compatible with the Intex Excursion? Thanks, Alex
Hi Alex, yes, definitely. If you look at my motor recommendations above, you’ll see that a 5lb one is my top pick 🙂
intex 12 volt electric trolling motor runs for 20 seconds and then keeps shutting off why?? Spins fine on weed cycle forward and reverse.
As I said in the article, I have no personal experience with Intex’s own motor. I would return it on warranty in your place if you can’t figure it out, and get a Newport Vessels motor.
Thanks Tom for a very useful article. Is the only difference between NV and X series the fact that the handle tilts? Also is a battery housing required? Do you suggest any brands?
One more question, do I need connectors or something to connect battery to the motor wires?
Hi Sam, other than the tiltable head (which is very useful), it has a 10 point battery meter, and the design of the head is a bit slicker.
You can get a battery box, it’s not required, but it is convenient and a bit safer. Here is the one I use, the Minn Kota:
The motor has wires than have to be connected to the terminals. Usually, you have a nut on the battery, just tighten the wire from the motor there. If it has a nut and bolt terminal like the Mighty Max, you’ll need nuts and bolts 🙂 Here are some kits for this.
If you swap your battery a lot, you might want to get a connector kit like this.
Can I use a 30” shaft trolling motor on an intex excursion 5? Thanks!
Intex recommends a 36″ shaft. You could use a 30″, but you might have problems if the water is rougher since the prop might not have enough submersion. I tried a 30″ with an Excursion once, I would say it had about 8″ of clearance from the tube, which is low. It was at about the height of the top of the rear inflatable seat.
So if you have one already, you can use it. But if you’re buying a new motor, I would recommend getting a 36″.
Thank you for your help! I have used your site extensively. It has been amazing!
I just bought the Intex Explorer 5 with the trolley motor. I am going to purchase one of the batteries above (thank you for the input!), but I’m confused as to why I need the battery charger. Can you explain what that does?
Thank you so much for all of your helpful advice!
Hi Angela, just like you would charge a mobile phone battery, you need to charge the trolling motor battery. The chargers I list on the page do exactly that.
I just want to let you know how much this article has helped me with the purchase of an inflatable boat, trolling motor and battery for this xmas for my husband.
I keep referring back to it for information and I want to thank you for this!
Hi, thank you, I’m sure he’s going to love the gift!