Minn Kota Trolling Motors Reviewed: Ulterra, Endura & Riptide

by Andrew

Minn Kota Trolling Motors Reviewed: Ulterra, Endura & Riptide

by Andrew

by Andrew

Finding the right trolling motor for your fishing boat can be a challenge these days. Trust me on that; I tried fruitlessly to find one for my own boat for months before settling on a model with all of the features I wanted. While I was shopping for that trolling motor, I kept running into the same problems – either the model I liked lacked the features I needed, or it cost way too much.

That is, until I stumbled upon Minn Kota’s line of trolling motors. As I quickly learned, many of their best models fit my budget while providing top-tier features that would make trolling a hassle-free experience. After trying one of their motors out for myself, I can now certifiably confirm that they are some of the best on the market today.

Preview

Model

Shaft Length (Inches)

Thrust (Lbs.)

Mounting Style

Technology

Check Price

Minn Kota Riptide Terrova a 80 54' Shaft...

Minn Kota Riptide Terrova

87

112

Bow

AutoPilot, I-Pilot, Mobile App compatibility

Minn Kota Ulterra Freshwater Bow-Mount...

Minn Kota Ulterra

60

80

Bow

AutoPilot, I-Pilot, MEGA Down Imaging

Minn Kota PowerDrive Bow-Mount Trolling...

Minn Kota Power Drivee

54

55

Bow

I-Pilot (optional)

Minn Kota Riptide Power Drivee 55 48' Shaft...

Minn Kota Riptide Power Drivee

54

70

Bow

AutoPilot, I-Pilot, Mobile App compatibility

Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Endura

30

30

Transom

None


Minn Kota & Their Trolling Motors

Just who are Minn Kota, anyway? If you’re not familiar with this brand yet, you’ll be pleased to know that they are one of the best in the business today. They trace their origins back to 1934 when its founder started the company and named it for the Minnesota-North Dakota border region he called home. Today, Minn Kota designs, manufactures, and services all of its products at its headquarters in Mankato, Minnesota.

Since those early days, Minn Kota has led its industry when it comes to product innovation. This is certainly the case in the trolling motor market, which they revolutionized by making such units affordable for average anglers.

More recently, Minn Kota has made many fisherman’s dreams come true by making it possible to operate a fish finder through their motors. As such, Minn Kota’s trolling motors can be trusted to perform well and fully utilize the best American-made innovations that this industry has to offer today.


Why Choose Minn Kota?

There are numerous reasons to choose a Minn Kota trolling motor for your fishing boat. First and foremost, they pack a lot of value into every one of their motors. While some of their top-tier models will still cost you a pretty penny, they always come with the very best technologies to take your trolling and fishing experience to the next level. Even their most affordable models maintain high-performance standards, especially when it comes to durability.

Speaking of technology, Minn Kota’s trolling motors are easily the most technologically advanced on the market today. Their i-Pilot Link waterproof wireless remote is a great example of this as it allows you to effortlessly deploy or withdraw your Minn Kota motor, even from a distance.

Also, many Minn Kota motors come with digital compatibilities that enable them to operate in conjunction with your favorite fish finder.  These technologies and more make Minn Kota trolling motors a real asset when you want to get serious about fishing. You can also count on the company’s limited 2 year warranty period.


5 Best Minn Kota Trolling Motors Reviewed

1. Minn Kota Riptide Terrova

Minn Kota Riptide Terrova a 80 54' Shaft...
41 Customer Reviews
Minn Kota Riptide Terrova a 80 54" Shaft...
  • Lift assist design; raise the motor by barely...
  • Push to test Battery meter and a weedless...
  • Saltwater advantage; riptide's premium grade...
  • Country of Origin:United States

If I had to pick just one model to serve as the best Minn Kota trolling motor, I’d have to go with the Minn Kota Riptide Terrova. After all, this is a trolling motor I use on my boat today. As such, I can really appreciate this unit's ability to output a full 112 lbs. of thrust when fully engaged. Moreover, I can appreciate this model's extra-long 87-inch shaft because it allows me to troll my boat around in areas where a surface current would otherwise be a problem.

The Minn Kota Riptide Terrova’s technology suite is second to none, as well. For example, a long-time fan of this brand’s motors was excited to use their new i-Pilot Link remote control system. It worked as well as I expected and, in many cases, made it even easier to link up my trolling motor with my Humminbird fish finder. I was even impressed with how this model’s AutoPilot technology operated after just a few button pushes on the remote.

I’ve had my Minn Kota Riptide Terrova for several years now, and I can already tell that it was built to last. For proof of that, I simply need to look at this unit's aluminum enclosure. It has been grit-blasted and powder-coated, which makes it super-resistant to all water-borne corrosion. That same durability applies to the aforementioned shaft on this unit, which can take a hit or get a bit tangled without breaking down completely.

Pros
  • i-Pilot remote is very user-friendly
  • Swept-back flared blades can tear through all aquatic vegetation
  • Grit-blasted, powder-coated aluminum enclosure can stand up to all corrosion
Cons
  • Does not come with Universal Sonar or CoPilot systems

2. Minn Kota Ulterra

Minn Kota Ulterra Freshwater Bow-Mount...
  • The only trolling motor that can...
  • Trim the Ulterra up or down at the push of a...
  • Using GPS to lock onto fishing spots with...
  • Offering optimal sonar performance to help...

Next up is the best Minn Kota for freshwater use, which I would certainly award to the Minn Kota Ulterra Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor. This model does everything you need a freshwater trolling motor to do and even a little extra. When it comes to core performance, this unit delivers. Just take a look at its 80 lbs. of thrust and 60-inch shaft. These combine to make this among the most reliable trolling motors in its class.

But just like any good Minn Kota trolling motor, this model can do more than just putter your boat about reliably. It can also make your fishing experience better than ever. Case and point – this model's inclusion of MEGA Down Imaging. This feature utilizes a built-in transducer to make it exceptionally easy to image fish through this motor. You’ll be paying a little extra for this added functionality, but I believe that that price is well worth it.

Most users of this particular model also agree that it is one of the easiest to control in its class. This is likely because this model combines a Heel-Toe electric foot pedal and a simple-to-use AutoPilot system. These functions combined will allow you to troll with full control over your vessel – even when you are trying to focus on reeling in a big catch.

Pros
  • Heel-Toe electric foot pedal and AutoPilot allow for simplified controls
  • MEGA Down Imaging uses built-in transducer to image fish clearly
  • Stowing and deploying can be done hassle-free with color touch-screen remote
Cons
  • Costs just under $3,000

3. Minn Kota Power Drivee

Minn Kota PowerDrive Bow-Mount Trolling...
  • Deploy-Assist Lever
  • Side-To-Side/Electric Foot Pedal
  • Electric-Steer motor style for use in...
  • Deploy-Assist Lever

Next up is the Minn Kota Power Drivee, which provides anglers who are looking to get a lot of value for their money precisely what they want most. Priced in the middle of this brand's range of products, this Minn Kota trolling motor won’t burn a hole in your wallet or allow you to get away with paying less than $1,000 for a trolling motor. But even so, this model’s feature arsenal far exceeds its list price at almost every turn.

Take this model’s use of the i-Pilot remote control system, for example. Though this feature is included on some cheaper models, the Minn Kota Power Drivee, in particular, is able to make this system more user friendly by including a large LCD screen on its remote control. This makes it easy to control the direction of your craft with only one hand. That same simplicity applies to this model’s Deploy-Assist lever, which makes it super easy to raise and lower this motor without overexerting yourself.

One other feature I was surprised to see in this model is its Digital Maximizer. This component usually tacks a few extra hundred dollars onto any trolling motor it is installed into. But in this model, it doesn’t raise the price and is still able to maximize your unit’s energy efficiency. In fact, if you set it up correctly, you could easily get your Minn Kota Power Drivee’s battery to last up to 5x longer thanks to this useful add-on.

Pros
  • Deploy-Assist lever allows for quick deployment and stowing
  • Digital Maximizer allows battery to run up to 5x as long when trolling
  • Comes with all necessary mounting hardware, including waterproof PowerDrive foot pedal
Cons
  • Foot pedal is sometimes missing from online shipments

4. Minn Kota Riptide Power Drivee

Minn Kota Riptide Power Drivee 55 48" Shaft...
  • DEPLOY ASSIST LEVER Get in and out of the...
  • iPilot GPS TROLLING SYSTEM uses GPS to...
  • SPOT LOCK Just press a button, and Spot-Lock...
  • AUTO PILOT Automatically navigate your boat...

I’ve seen a great number of reviews referring to the Minn Kota Riptide Power Drive as the best Minn Kota saltwater trolling motor. As it stands, I cannot disagree with that assessment based on this model's key technical features.

These include an outstanding implementation of this brand’s i-Pilot GPS Trolling System, which allows a user to set their motor to stay within a certain area. This model's Spot-Lock function also ensures that this GPS is hyper-accurate, no matter where you are in the world.

Meanwhile, when it comes to saltwater use, this model has what it takes to resist that kind of corrosion and power through every obstacle in its path. To that end, the Minn Kota Riptide Power Drive features a unique aluminum enclosure that can resist all kinds of impacts.

This enclosure is powder-coated as well to prevent corrosion from taking hold of it. This trolling motor also comes standard with a set of Weedless Wedge blades that will never fail to get you out of a jam out on the water.

The Minn Kota Riptide Power Drive has one weakness, though. As some users of this model can attest to, its paint tends to chip off over time, causing it to look worn down faster. This does not seem to impact this unit’s overall durability, though, so it is not a major issue.

Pros
  • Housing features advanced corrosion protections due to powder coat paint and aluminum shell
  • Remote control features easy-to-read LCD screen
  • Utilizes Weedless Wedge blades to prevent tangles or jams
Cons
  • Paint has an unfortunate tendency to chip off easily

5. Minn Kota Endura

Finally, let’s round out this collection with the Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor. After looking at this model’s price tag, you’ll clearly see why I think it is the best Minn Kota budget trolling motor on the market. This unit can be a part of your fishing adventures going forward for only around $110. While that may sound dirt cheap, you need not worry about this unit’s performance matching its price tag.

On almost all fronts, the Minn Kota Endura Transom goes above and beyond its budget pricing. For example, this model’s lever lock bracket comes with 10 positions. In conjunction with its quick-release feature, this bracket is far more functional than other models in its price range. This model’s telescoping tiller tells a similar story. It can be operated intuitively and smoothly, making this trolling motor a great introductory model as well.

As the only transom-mounted trolling motor in this collection, you may be wondering about this model’s speed options as well. On that front, the Minn Kota Endura Transom offers 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds that give you full control over your craft. At that, this model is still able to produce 30 lbs. of thrust without ever overtaxing its main motor.

Pros
  • Affordably priced at just over $100
  • 6-inch telescoping handle and tilt twist tiller provide ergonomic controls
  • Quiet motor maximizes battery life without scaring fish
Cons
  • Some sealing issues on shaft

Mounting & Installing a Minn Kota Trolling Motor

If you've never mounted a trolling motor on your boat before, you may want to speak with a professional about installing your new Minn Kota unit. However, if you do want to perform the installation on your own, your first step should be determining what kind of mounting your model requires.

Most Minn Kota models utilize a bow mount, though a couple of models alternatively make use of a transom or engine-based mount.  From there, you’ll want to follow the installation instructions that came with your motor. To see a visualization of that installation process, check out this video. 

Meanwhile, if you want to see how to stow and deploy your installed Minn Kota motor, have a look at this video on the Minn Kota website.


Cleaning, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting for a Minn Kota Motor

If you want to get the most out of your new Minn Kota trolling motor, you need to take time to clean and maintain it. This should occur after every use and before entering the "offseason." This will ensure that your motor is always performing in peak condition and does not fail to operate before the end of its expected lifespan.

For some helpful tips on cleaning and maintaining your Minn Kota motor, check out this video. Also, be sure to follow all of Minn Kota’s maintenance recommendations for your model.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

How many pounds of thrust do I need for a trolling motor?

Specific amounts of necessary thrust will differ from boat to boat, based upon its core weight and distribution. However, a useful rule of thumb is to seek out motors with 2 lbs. of thrust for every 100 lbs. of your boat. So, if you own a 2,000 lbs. boat, you'd likely need a 40 lbs. thrust trolling motor. Meanwhile, a boat at twice that weight would require a bulky 40 lbs. thrust trolling motor.

What kind of battery do I need for a Minn Kota trolling motor? Can you use a regular battery?

Standard batteries do not work with Minn Kota motors. Instead, you'll need to obtain and install a lead-acid, deep cycle marine 12-volt battery on or in your boat. For more info on selecting the correct battery for your trolling motor, check out Minn Kota’s documentation on the subject.

How many amps does a Minn Kota trolling motor use?

Your Minn Kota motor’s amp usage will depend on how much thrust it provides. The chart featured on this page on the Minn Kota website will help you find out how many amps your particular model requires to operate efficiently.

What Minn Kota trolling motor parts do I need to replace?

Several parts of your Minn Kota motor may need to be replaced over time. This is especially true if you use your motor a lot or have recently been involved in an aquatic accident that harmed said motor. In any case, replacement parts can be ordered through Minn Kota here.

What boat types can benefit from a Minn Kota motor?

Truth be told, just about any craft you use for fishing can benefit from a Minn Kota trolling motor. So, if you own and use a standard fishing boat, most standard Minn Kota models will fit comfortably on your bow.

Meanwhile, pontoon boaters could even make use of one of these motors when moving gently through their local waters. Watercraft without the capacity to safely store a battery cannot use these motors, however.

How do I update my I-Pilot remote? How do I unlock it?

Minn Kota provides information on how to update their product's software through its website. There, you can also find manuals that will teach you how to perform all of your remote’s core functions, including the proper method for unlocking it.


Conclusion

At this point, there’s no doubt left in my mind – Minn Kota brand trolling motors are my number one pick going forward. They're built with anglers like you and me in mind when it comes to modern technology, and they are built to last twice as long as their competition. They're very user-friendly, too, so you don't need to be a boating master to use one.

All of those qualities especially apply to the Minn Kota Riptide Terrova, which stands as my all-around favorite Minn Kota trolling motor. This model can output a remarkable 112 lbs. of thrust, which is as much as even the largest fishing vessel needs to putter about reliably. Better yet, it makes full use of this brand’s latest and greatest remote control system, the i-Pilot Link. Despite its price, this trolling motor model is undoubtedly one of the best investments you can make in your favorite fishing vessel.

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