Trolling Motors For Intex Inflatable Boats

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 VesselsMinn Kota
Freshwater useYesYes
Saltwater useYesNo
Battery meterYesNo
Circuit breakerYesNo
Warranty2 years2 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.

MotorDescriptionSpeedPrice check
Newport Vessels Trolling Motor X 55 LbsTOP pick
X-Series 55lb
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
55lb thrust
8 speeds
Amazon
Newport Vessels Trolling Motor X 40 LbsBudget pick
X-Series 40lb
Extendable handle, 30° adjustable tiller, 10 pint battery meter.
Max 3.5 MPH
40lb thrust
8 speeds
Amazon
Newport Vessels Trolling Motor Nv 62 LbsStrongest
NV-Series 62lb
Extendable handle, 5 point battery meter.
Max 4.5 MPH
62lb thrust
8 speeds
Amazon

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 C245lb Endura C255lb Endura C2
Max speed3.5 MPH4 MPH4.5 MPH
Shaft length36″36″36″
HandleTelescopingTelescopingTelescoping
Speeds5 Fwd/3 Rev5 Fwd/3 Rev5 Fwd/3 Rev
Price checkAmazonAmazonAmazon

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.

Intex Mariner 4 With Motor

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.

Intex Motor Mount

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.

Battery Agm 55ah 2

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.

100ah Battery Vmax

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.

Battery charger

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.

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
  • payload
  • 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:

  1. Find your boat’s Hull Identification Number (you may find it at the bottom of the capacity label on the stern of the boat)
  2. Know your boat’s model name
  3. Click this link to be taken to Intex’s boat registration page: https://www.intexcorp.com/boat-certificates
  4. Select your boat
  5. Enter your Hill ID Number
  6. 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 3.5 HP motor is a good value.

Hangkai 3 5 Outboard Motor

It can go about 6 MPH, and is suitable for saltwater as well as fresh water.

Are you new to the world of inflatable boats? Then my Getting Started Guide is for you. You’ll find tips, tricks, and how-to articles to start off right.

19 thoughts on “Trolling motors for Intex inflatable rafts”

  1. hi there,
    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!
    Great job.

    Orianne

  2. 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!

    1. Tom @ pumpupboats.com

      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.

    1. Tom @ pumpupboats.com

      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″.

  3. 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?

    1. Tom @ pumpupboats.com

      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:
      https://pumpupboats.com/inflatable-boat-trolling-motors/#do_you_need_a_power_center_(battery_box)_on_your_boat

      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.

  4. intex 12 volt electric trolling motor runs for 20 seconds and then keeps shutting off why?? Spins fine on weed cycle forward and reverse.

    1. Tom @ pumpupboats.com

      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.

  5. Hi Tom, I wonder if you can advise on whether a 55lbs electric trolling motor will be compatible with the Intex Excursion? Thanks, Alex

  6. 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.

  7. Hello, very useful information, I have a 200ah battery on a 3.0 hp hawsing electric, excursion 5 was looking for figures!! Thanks

  8. 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!

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