WEIGHING THE VALUE OF A TROLLING MOTOR
We often get calls from customers asking us, what is the best saltwater trolling motor on the market today? There are only a few companies making trolling motors, and often times these trolling motors seem basically the same. To address this question, we have created this comparison of a Minn Kota trolling motor against a Newport Vessels saltwater trolling motor. We have selected comparable saltwater trolling motor models: the Riptide Transom 55lb and the 55lb NV-Series. We will be comparing the most important factors that customers consider when deciding which motor to get: Performance, Durability and Price.
Looking at the Newport Vessels and Minn Kota trolling motors, they are both built to last. Each of these trolling motors are designed to withstand the corrosive effects of saltwater, and minimize any lasting effect. Both trolling motors produce the same amount of thrust and are built with the same or very similar materials. One feature that separates these saltwater trolling motors is variable speed control, better known as a pulse width modulator (PWM), that comes standard with the Riptide.
At the slowest speeds, the PWM can be beneficial for extending battery life. However, due to the nature of the PWM, it has the ability to overheat the motor and insulation within your motor. If the PWM were to malfunction, it is not a cheap or easy replacement. A replacement will set you back $100+ and a trip to the “local” Minn Kota registered service center.
The 55lb NV-Series trolling motor utilizes a Speed Switch, which has 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds. This doesn’t allow for the speeds in between or conserve as much battery life, but it does give you a satisfying “click” to tell you which speed you are in. Unlike the Digital Maximizer, if the Speed Switch does happen to fail, it is a quick and inexpensive fix. The Speed Switch is $14.95 plus shipping and 15 minutes with your own two hands and a Phillips Head screwdriver.
The Digital Maximizer only helps save power at lower speeds, but at higher speeds it is comparable to the performance of the Speed Switch. When using a saltwater trolling motor, you are most likely using it in tides and strong ocean currents. This requires more power to stay in that spot and to keep up with the fish. Situations like these making it an even playing field for the Speed Switch and Digital Maximizer.
Both saltwater trolling motors have the potential to last many years. The main factor in determining how long a motor will last is how each is cared for, how often they are used and if you can replace parts that break due to wear. Both of these saltwater trolling motors are backed by a 2-Year Warranty, demonstrating a commitment to quality and product support. While the length of the warranty is the same, the ease of exercising each warranty can vary greatly.
MINN KOTA - WARRANTY
Minn Kota requires you to bring or ship your motor to an authorized service center at your own expense. This can eat up a lot of time, time that you could be spending fishing with your saltwater trolling motor. The shafts of Minn Kota trolling motors are also covered by a lifetime warranty. While this is nice insurance to have, it is extremely unlikely you will ever encounter an issue with any fiberglass composite shaft from any company. Even if the shaft does break and is under warranty, it is up to you to install or pay for the installation of the shaft. For something that is supposed to reassure the customer, the warranty policy for Minn Kota trolling motors seems like a real hassle.
NEWPORT VESSELS - WARRANTY
Newport Vessels understands this process is complicated and works hard to make it as simple as possible. If you happen to have any issues with your trolling motor, you file a Warranty Claim Form at NewportVessels.com/warranty-claims/. After receiving your claim, we reach out to you within 24 hours to gain additional information and provide a solution to the issue. This could mean a replacement part, or a brand new trolling motor! We usually have warranty claims resolved within 24 hours. No long wait times, no driving several hours to find an authorized "service" center; just quick, knowledgeable service!
One would expect that when comparing saltwater trolling motors against freshwater only trolling motors, there will be a substantial price difference to cover the the cost of the materials need to resist the corrosive nature of saltwater. However, the cost of these parts is very minimal, maybe a few dollars at most. Minn Kota uses different saltwater and freshwater motors to fatten their profit margins, while Newport Vessels believes in offering the best best value motor to our customers.
When comparing Minn Kota freshwater and saltwater trolling motors against each other, this price differential is about $150. When viewing Newport Vessels motors, you will notice that we do not differentiate between freshwater and saltwater trolling motors. This is because all Newport Vessels trolling motors are saltwater compatible. We don’t believe in overcharging customers for corrosion resistant paint and metals. When seeing the price of the Minn Kota Riptide Transom 55lb motor at $429.99, this can make a budget angler’s heart drop. Newport Vessels believes in manufacturing high quality and reliable motors at a great value. It is for this reason our 55lb NV-Series motor is more than fairly priced at $199.00.
It’s difficult to label one saltwater trolling motor as the “best”. There are always pros and cons to one motor over another. However, after reviewing the key differences, we can conclude that the 55lb NV-Series motor offers the “best” value. While the Minn Kota trolling motor seemed evenly matched for performance and warranty, Newport Vessels offers a better price and industry leading customer service. Newport Vessels understands that it is not only important to create a quality product, but the support products and the customers who own them. This is where Minn Kota and its motors fall short.