Buyers Guide - Why You Should Never Overpay For Another Minn Kota Trolling Motor

Part I - What Trolling Motor Do I Need?

Part II - Trolling Motor Performance and Speed

Part III - Why You Should Never Overpay For Another Minn Kota Trolling Motor

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There are two brands which have dominated the trolling motor market in recent decades, without reading further I’m sure you can guess what they are: Minn Kota, and MotorGuide. These are large established brands, and Minn Kota has competed in the category since their first trolling motor in 1934. In recent years, MotorGuide has remained stagnant with minimal changes to their lineup, while Minn Kota has focused on other fishing electronics categories to grow.

The Business of Trolling Motors:

In business lingo, the level of concentration, and therefore competition in an industry is rated by the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI). The HHI scale ranges from 0-10,000; any rating over 1500 is considered highly concentrated, or “uncompetitive”, meaning a few brands control too much of an industry. The trolling motor industry has a HHI concentration ratio over 5500!!! What does that mean for you? It means you’re getting screwed! High concentration has allowed a single brand to control the trolling motor market, and dictate pricing by controlling supply and demand. Why, you ask? Because no other big brands are competing to hold them accountable.

 While you may still be upset about overpaying for your last few trolling motors, don’t lose too much sleep over it. There are many important aspects to choosing the right trolling motor. As we mentioned in Part II, transom motors are very simple machines, however an inherent risk of marine electronics is their propensity to get wet. As we’ve all experienced, water and electronics don’t mix well.

Do Your Due Diligence

So what should you look for when choosing a trolling motor? Support! Make sure you choose a brand that stands behind and supports their product. How can you do that? Google their website, then, pick up your phone and give them a call! If they don’t have customer service hours, you’ve probably found your answer; if they do pick up the phone, ask whether they have a parts department and offer replacement parts for their motors. There are many low quality importers that buy motors in bulk with no intention of guaranteeing quality or longevity; these are all over Amazon, WalMart, discount websites and are easy to spot.

Why is a parts department important? Trolling motors have a weakness, the control switch. The switch adjusts the amount of current applied when changing speeds, meaning it has electrical and mechanical function. This makes the switch more susceptible to wear over time, not surprisingly, it is the most replaced component on motors. Purchasing a cheap blind import motor means you’re unlikely to get much life out of the switch. So once the switch goes, there are no parts to fix your motor, making it a better anchor than troller.

So before you buy your next trolling motor, do some research! If you find yourself saying, “I’ve never heard of these guys but before but their price is cheap”, you'll regret not digging deeper. It is important to check for both product and brand reviews to ensure there is a legitimate company behind an ad. Find out whether the manufacturer will support the motor after the sale, otherwise, you may find yourself up a creek without a motor!

 

Part I - What Trolling Motor Do I Need?

Part II - Trolling Motor Performance and Speed

Part III - Why You Should Never Overpay For Another Minn Kota Trolling Motor