Minn Kota vs MotorGuide – Who Makes the Best Trolling Motor? – Foundry Outdoors

Minn Kota vs MotorGuide – Who Makes the Best Trolling Motor?

Summer is in full swing and hopefully that means getting out on the lake for a cruise - or better yet, some fishing! One of the primary pieces of equipment for your boat is a trolling motor. Trolling motors offer precision movement and the convenience of a quiet approach up to your favorite fishing hole. Research is always an important step when considering a new purchase - especially for your boat. When thinking about trolling motors these are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Boat Size & Thrust
  • Mounting Location
  • Voltage
  • Shaft Length
  • Features & Benefits



You can review key attributes 1-4 in one of our previous blog posts: How to choose a Trolling Motor. In this article we will take a more in depth review of two of the top trolling motors on the market today: Minn Kota & MotorGuide. Both are well-respected trolling motor brands, and with that comes brand loyalty. In some cases it is similar to arguing between Ford and Chevy. It is difficult to distinguish a clear winner between the two. We can however highlight some of the key elements every angler looks for and expects out of their trolling motor; and compare that to each brand.

Background Check 

Minn Kota - In 1934, O.G. Schmidt founded Minn Kota. A fun fact, the name Minn Kota is derived from the state of Minnesota and North Dakota. The manufacturing plant was in Fargo and in close proximity to Minnesota hence the name Minn Kota was born. The company offers 15 types of freshwater trolling motors and 8 types of saltwater trolling motors. Technology is at the forefront, Minn Kota prides itself in not only equipping their trolling motors with the latest technological advancements but also having a continuous thought process on how to improve their trolling motors through advances in technology.
MotorGuide – Began in the 1960s when G.H. Harris from Mississippi was looking for a better solution for getting his boat from point A to B. MotorGuide developed and patented the use of rack and pinion steering that made the directional control more reliable and sensitive; all which could be controlled with the use of your foot. MotorGuide also pioneered the first 12/24-volt motor allowing anglers to double the thrust of their trolling motors.

Motor Reliability

One of the absolute most fundamental components to any angler’s setup is the trolling motor. You can fish without the big motor, but your helpless without a running trolling motor. If you jump on any fishing forum related to trolling motors you will find anglers who have experienced this dead in the water feeling with both Minn Kota and MotorGuide trolling motors. Though these may be a needle in the haystack it sometimes happens and therefore you find those people speaking out, and rightfully so. Though for the vast majority of anglers you will find they have had no significant issues with either motor. This makes since when you think about the longevity of each company, they have been around the block and have established a rapport of being reliable when it matters most. When comparing apples to apples as an angler you can feel confident that you will have a high quality trolling motor with either Minn Kota or MotorGuide, and pricing will be similar with either brand.

Service Beyond the Point of Sale

When you buy anything of value it’s nice to know someone will be there in the event that something goes wrong. It might not be the first thing you think about during the buying decision, but it is something you should keep in mind. Know your area, it is much easier to drive to a service center then it is to package up and ship your broken trolling motor to a different region of the country. Both companies have a fair share of service centers; as one might expect based on the where each company was founded. Minn Kota has a strong presence in the Northern region while MotorGuide has extensive service centers in the South and Southwest regions. Use these links to help determine the closest service centers for you:
MotorGuide - http://www.motorguide.com/support/dealers/locator

Minn Kota - https://www.minnkotamotors.com/support/service-providers/locate 

This may steer you in deciding on which brand to choose, both are reliable motors but if something malfunctions it’ll be reassuring knowing there is a service center right down the road from you. Something to also keep in mind is the product warranty. Minn Kota has offered a 2-year warranty on all of their trolling motors for quite sometime now, while MotorGuide's warranties have varied over the years until just recently; they also now offer a 2-year limited warranty.

Trolling Motor Features

Minn Kota was first to market with their AutoPilot functionality that allows anglers to maintain a straight heading without constant monitoring or steering. Minn Kota also has the I Pilot option that uses GPS to mark locations and lets anglers key in a certain mark and the motor does the rest. MotorGuide also offers similar features, for example the Xi3 motor works very similar to the I Pilot by Minn Kota. Similar technology exists among each brand, making it difficult to decide on that point alone. One area the companies differ upon is accessories and add-ons. Minn Kota boasts a variety of accessories, for example the company offers a variety of prop mounts and packages for their trolling motors. While MotorGuide takes a more one size fits all approach with a smaller segment of accessories and a heavier emphasis on standardizing their lower shafts to 3.5” to ensure compatibility across multiple motor series. Who has more features? Minn Kota offers more features, but beware more options sometimes leads to tougher decisions! At the end of the day it is nearly impossible to say one brand is better then the other. Both offer a dependable trolling motor.

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Stan Jepson - Aug 18, 2021

Good reading material, but as you said in the article makes a person think what he wants and which motor is better for that use. I’m in the mark it for a kayak so I’m really wanting the best for fishing.

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