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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

trolling motors
Photo: Ryan Barbosa

If You’re Looking at Trolling Motors for Your Boat, We’ve Compared Three of the Top in the Business

The world of fishing has seen significant shifts in advanced technology transforming traditional cable steer 12v trolling motors into powerful feature-rich tools. In the last few years, we have seen a battle between industry leaders like Garmin, Johnson Outdoors/Minn Kota, Lowrance, Motorguide, and now Power-Pole for the top spot.

Although the top spot is ultimately the angler who owns the boat hopefully we can shed some light on the similarities and differences of these powerhouse units. In this battle of the trolling motors, we will be comparing the Garmin Force, Minn Kota Ultrex Quest, and Power-Pole Move to help you make your decision on your next state-of-the-art purchase. 

Trolling Motor Showdown: Garmin, Minn Kota, Power Pole

Below, we compare and contrast three different motors.

Similarities of the Motors

Brushless

Each trolling motor is brushless which decreases noise and increases power while maintaining battery efficiency. You won’t have to worry about these units draining your trolling motor battery while you spend a day on the water. Each of these units can be used with either a 24- or 36-volt system. The 36-volt systems will increase the high-end thrust of each unit while the 24-volt capabilities are perfect for smaller vessels when weight or storage availability may be a factor. 

Anchor Mode + Heading Hold + Jog

Any of these units are capable of spot lock or anchor mode allowing you to hold your position even in strong winds and currents. You will also have jog and heading capabilities so you can run down the bank in a straight line or make adjustments to your anchored position, never having to touch the foot pedal. 

Remote Control

All 3 units have their own compatible remote which allows you to control your trolling motor no matter where you are in the vessel. Whether you are changing direction, increasing speed, calibrating, or using one of the GPS the remote gives you access to your unit at all times.

Stow Alignment

Another great feature each of these units have is the auto alignment when stowing your trolling motor which prevents the angler from having to align the head of the trolling motor using the foot pedal before pulling the cord and raising the unit. 

Built-in Transducer

Although the transducer is different within each unit the capabilities are similar. Each unit, if connected to its compatible display, will provide the angler with down scan, 2D, and side scan capabilities.

Rugged Build

Most importantly the biggest comparison between these units is their ability to perform in the harshest conditions. These units are tough tournament-ready tanks built to take an ass whooping on the water and keep on going. There is no question these units are built with high-quality materials that should be respected no matter which brand you choose.

Differences Between the Motors

Minn Kota Ultrex Quest $3699.99

minn kota trolling motor

We will start with the oldest of the bunch. Minn Kota has been making trolling motors since 1934 and has been the dominant player in bass fishing for several decades until brushless motors became popular in 2019. In fact Jeff Gustafson just won the 2023 Bassmaster Classic with his Minn Kota Ultrex proving they are still an elite competitor in the game. The Minn Kota Ultrex Quest is the only unit with true power steering, which provides instantaneous directional response.

The new Ultrex design also allows the angler to see a real-time battery monitoring system so the user can see exactly how long they have until needing to switch to eco mode or charge. The shaft is not a cylindrical design anymore but a more rigid carbon fiber-infused design with edges to improve strength within the servo and increase structural integrity. Since the all-new design is noticeably thicker it does have an impact on weight. With all these robust features weight is considerable at 82lbs. Luckily Minn Kota has incorporated their all-new patented lift assist to make stowing and deploying a breeze compared to older models. 

Garmin Force $3549.99

garmin force trolling motor

Garmin Force was introduced in 2019 and then went on to win Best in Show at ICAST. In 2020 and 2021 Hank Cherry won back-to-back Bassmaster Classics with his Garmin Force. The year after that Garmin Pro Jason Christi won the 2022 Bassmaster Classic with his Force; an incredible run for Garmin to say the least. The Garmin Force can be controlled with the wireless Bluetooth foot pedal, remote, or graph. Garmin Force utilizes Active Captain to allow the user to stay updated with the latest software no matter where they are.

The weight of the Garmin Force is about 80 lbs due to its aggressive structure. It too comes with a lift assist like the Ultrex, but Garmin uses a dual gas spring for easy stowing and deployment. The gesture control turns the remote into a motion control pointer. Simply hold the button and you will be able to steer the Force by pointing or waving the remote. It should be noted that Garmin is famous for its GPS systems and high-end sports watches for triathletes. Garmin knows how to make accurate navigation systems and the GPS inside the Force is no different.

The last difference worth mentioning is the alien spaceship-like design which gives the Force a sleek and futuristic presence that looks good on any boat.

Power-Pole Move $4,999.99

power pole move trolling motor

Although this is the “new guy” in the trolling motor battle the Power-Pole Move is off to a pretty good start. The Move won best boat accessory at ICAST this year for good reason. The most notable difference is the aerospace-grade titanium shaft which comes with a lifetime warranty. Although noise is difficult to measure, anyone who can get their hands on the Move will immediately notice how smooth and quiet it is.

Power-Pole claims it is “quieter than nature itself” due to its stealth steering drive. The power unity system is a fully custom brushless motor that is built to be quieter and more powerful than leading competitors. Also notably different is the foot pedal and power display. Although the Move is fully wired into the boat’s power cables, the anchor mode and active vector heading buttons are separate from the foot pedal to prevent accidentally engaging the buttons. The transducer is compatible with Lowrance and Simrad graphs.

Weight is a little over 52 lbs which is significantly lighter than the Force or Ultrex. With all these incredible features it does lead to the final difference we will discuss and that is price. At $4999.99 there is a pretty large gap between this unit and the others. 

Final Thoughts on These Trolling Motors

Each of these trolling motors represents advancements in the fishing industry. Minn Kota, Garmin, and Power-Pole are reputable companies, and there’s no clear winner in this battle of trolling motors.

With significant progress made in recent years, any angler can confidently stand behind their choice, whether it’s the Ultrex, Force, or Move. Ultimately, the decision rests with you and which unit find its place on your boat this year.


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