The Best Spot-Lock Trolling Motor: Expert Buying Guide And Reviews

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Video what trolling motors have spot lock

Spot-lock is a game-changer for any angler. Having the ability to anchor on a GPS coordinate means more time fishing and less time fighting the wind and current.

However, not all GPS trolling systems are the same, and you want to make sure you get the best spot-lock trolling motor for your situation.

If you’re looking for the best overall, the Lowrance Ghost is your best bet, but you’re going to pay the price.

If you need more explanation so you don’t spend money on the wrong trolling motor, keep reading!

Top 3 Best Spot-Lock Trolling Motors On The Market

There’s a lot of information to cover here, but not everyone has time to pour over every detail. For those of you in a rush, here are the top three trolling motors with Spot-Lock.

How We Selected Our Favorites

The Lowrance Ghost and Garmin Force are the industry leaders at the moment, despite being relative newcomers to the trolling motors business.

Motorguide is not far behind, and Minn Kota has always been an industry stalwart. But all that goes out the window when we’re messing with these trolling motors.

What matters is functionality, durability, and longevity. That’s a lot of “y” just to let you know that we qualify trolling motors based on how they improve the quality of your fishing trip. That includes a lot of important factors.

  • Thrust: In a bubble, thrust is how powerfully a trolling motor pushes your craft through the water. But, from a Spot-Lock perspective, it’s all about how well they retain max power and flawlessly put you on a chosen spot and hold you in place against the current.
  • Durability: Spot-Lock is pretty useless when your trolling motor is falling apart. We look at the materials that went into the construction of the trolling motor and how well those materials and components hold up when exposed to real-life scenarios.
  • Connectivity: It’s not enough for trolling motors to just troll anymore. Does it connect to your smartphone? Does it combine with a variety or a specific set of fish finders? Is there a companion app? How well does everything work together?
  • Ease-of-Use: Telescoping handles, stow and deploy depth adjustments, and cam locks are just a few features that make a huge difference in how well the trolling motor handles. The more you can fish without worrying about the trolling motor, the better.
  • Battery: Naturally, the more hardware and software packed into these trolling motors, the harder it is on the battery. How well did these choices measure up in use? Does the trolling motor have battery-saving features?

Best Spot-Lock Trolling Motor Overall

Lowrance Ghost

Lowrance Ghost spot-lock trolling motor

Key Features

  • 47″, 52″ 60″ shaft lengths
  • 24v or 36 volt
  • 97 or 120lbs of thrust
  • Brushless motor

Why We Chose It

Though Lowrance is relatively a newcomer to the trolling motor market, they stand head and shoulders above every other trolling motor besides the other newcomer, the Garmin Force.

Professional anglers have trusted Lowrance electronics for decades, so it’s no surprise they delivered an incredible trolling motor with spot-lock.

The Ghost has a customizable foot pedal, so you can choose what each button does, except for the anchor lock button.

No matter where you are in the boat, set the anchor lock; use the button on the foot pedal, wireless remote, or your Lowrance fish finder, so you can continue to make the same cast that just got you a bite.

Once you’ve set the spot lock, the GPS will hold you in place with minimal drifting.

If you do begin to drift, the silent brushless motor automatically gets you back in place so you can keep fishing without worrying about spooking fish.

See also  Wayfinding

While the Lowrance Ghost is the best spot lock trolling motor, it’s not for everyone. It’s costly, so unless you’re making money from fishing, it might not be the best investment.

However, if you don’t mind dropping $3,000+ for the latest and greatest trolling motor, then the Lowrance Ghost is for you. Especially if you’re using Lowrance electronics as they pair seamlessly.

Read our full review here: Lowrance Ghost Trolling Motor review.

Best Spot-Lock Saltwater Trolling Motor

Garmin Force

Garmin Force spot-lock trolling motor

Key Features

  • 50 and 57-inch shaft lengths
  • 24-volts or 36-volts
  • 100 or 120 pounds of thrust
  • Brushless motor

Why We Chose It

Despite being the other newcomer to the market, Garmin delivered arguably the best trolling motor with spot-lock.

You can decide for yourself which is better, Lowrance Ghost vs. Garmin Force, after reading my review, but there is no denying Garmin made the best saltwater trolling motor with spot-lock.

One might argue that Minn Kota’s Riptide Terrova or Ultrex are worthy opponents, but they would be wrong.

Neither Minn Kota trolling motor delivers as much as the Force. The Force has futuristic features like gesture steering using the wireless remote control.

Plus, the Garmin Force is quieter, more powerful, and more efficient than the Minn Kota motors.

Like the Lowrance Ghost, the one major flaw of the Garmin Force is that it requires brand-specific sonar to use all the cool GPS functions.

Also, like the Lowrance Ghost, once you hit Anchor Mode, you’re locked into place, and if you slightly drift off the spot, the silent brushless motor will get you back into your initial location without scaring fish that are close to the boat.

The Garmin Force is another expensive trolling motor that I would recommend only to the serious angler because most features are cool but unnecessary to the average weekend angler.

Upgrade your fishing experience with the Garmin Force. Its advanced Anchor Mode technology, combined with a silent brushless motor, ensures you stay locked in place and won’t scare off fish.

Don’t settle for anything less than the best, choose the Garmin Force for your next fishing trip.

Read our full review here: Garmin Force Trolling Motor review.

Best Spot-Lock Trolling Motor Budget-Buy

Motorguide Xi3

MotorGuide Xi3 spot-lock trolling motor

Key Features

  • 36″ composite shaft
  • 12-volt
  • 55lbs of thrust
  • Wireless Operation

Why We Chose It

Motorguide has been a well-respected name in the trolling motor industry for decades, so when they came out with a kayak-specific Xi3 bow mount trolling motor with GPS, many kayak anglers had high hopes as we also rated it as the best trolling motor for a kayak.

Since the Xi3 was designed for kayaks, it runs off of a 12-volt battery with 55 pounds of thrust so you’re not adding much weight, but you’ll have plenty of power.

The 36″ shaft is long enough to keep the motor in the water when riding over waves but short enough not to be in the way while fishing.

I love that the trolling motor easily stows and deploys from a seated position.

This is important for kayak anglers because sitting down while stowing or deploying the trolling motor is much safer than standing.

Instead of a foot-pedal control, the wireless remote is used to steer the motor and initiates spot-lock clearing up your deck.

Upgrade your kayaking game with the MotorGuide Xi3 trolling motor. With its advanced spot-lock technology and GPS capabilities, it’s the perfect choice for any kayak angler looking to improve their fishing experience.

The Motorguide Xi3 is for serious kayak anglers looking for the best 12-volt trolling motor with spot lock. If you want to know more about the newer Xi5, my Motorguide Xi5 review is worth checking out.

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Keep in mind that the Xi5 doesn’t have the shorter shaft designed for kayaks.

Read our full review here: Motorguide Trolling Motor review.

Minn Kota Ultrex

Minn Kota Ultrex spot-lock torlling motor

Key Features

  • 45″, 52″, or 60″ shaft
  • 24v or 36v
  • 80lbs or 112lbs of thrust

Why We Chose It

Minn Kota is one of the first names anglers think of when someone mentions trolling motors. They’ve proven they’re dedicated to improving their products year after year.

However, they still have a ways to go to catch Lowrance and Garmin.

Minn Kota was the first to introduce spot-lock, and though many anglers were skeptical at first, everyone now sees the benefits that Minn Kota pioneered.

Since Minn Kota has had spot-lock on their trolling motors for so long, they offer some of the most accurate GPS anchoring on the market.

The Ultrex has one feature that Lowrance and Garmin don’t yet offer, Universal Sonar. This means the transducer in the trolling motor is compatible with virtually any sonar brand.

So if you want new features from your trolling motor but don’t want to buy a new sonar system, then the Minn Kota Ultrex might be your answer.

The Ultrex doesn’t feature a brushless motor system, which is typically found in the premium, pricier trolling motors these days.

This does mean the motor is louder than a Ghost or Force. However, as an electric trolling motor, its much quieter than a gasoline alternative.

The transducer in the trolling motor is compatible with virtually any sonar brand, so you can enjoy new features without having to buy a new sonar system.

Don’t miss out on this game-changing technology. Choose the Minn Kota Ultrex for your next fishing trip!

The Minn Kota Ultrex is a little pricey for the average angler but because it has spot-lock and universal sonar, you can easily talk your significant other into purchasing it.

Read our full review here: Minn Kota Ultrex Trolling Motor review.

Buying Guide: Factors To Consider Before Buying A Spot-Lock Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Ultrex spot-lock trolling motor

If this is your first time buying a trolling motor, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which one is best for you.

While it would be easy to say go with the latest and greatest most expensive trolling motor, that would be dishonest of me.

You might not need all the fancy features the high-end trolling motors offer. If you do, then great, but if not, the following qualities are the ones that will be most important to you as an angler.

  • Quietness: Even though all our recommendations are electric trolling motors, they still have varying loudness levels. When I buy a trolling motor, I want it to be as quiet as possible. I’ve owned trolling motors that are loud when they turn and loud while they’re running, and it spooks more fish than I catch, which makes for a frustrating day.
  • Power: Your trolling motor needs to be powerful enough to propel your boat forward in strong currents and winds. You can think of thrust as how powerful your trolling motor is, even though there is no industry-standard more measuring thrust.
  • Efficiency: The efficiency of your trolling motor goes hand in hand with your trolling motor’s power. Once during a long day of fishing, I ran out of battery because the trolling motor wasn’t efficient. It didn’t matter how powerful the trolling motor was because my battery was dead. Please don’t make the same mistake I did!
  • Ease of Use: The great thing about inexpensive trolling motors is that they don’t have a lot of features to figure out. They’re simple to use. The best trolling motors have incredible easy-to-use features. What’s the point in having great features if you don’t know how to use them or it’s easy to fish without them?
  • How Well It Holds the Spot: When you’re considering a spot-lock trolling motor, your primary concern is how well it will keep you in the spot in which you anchored. All GPS anchors will have a slight drift, but the best move from the starting spot is very little before the trolling motor will jog back to its original position.
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How Many Different Ways Can You Initiate the GPS Anchor?

When you’re in the back of the boat landing a fish, it’s very convenient to press a button and anchor your boat in position—the best trolling motors with spot-lock offer multiple ways to engage the GPS anchor.

Look for a button on a wireless remote control, the sonar, the wireless foot pedal, or an app to turn on spot-lock at your favorite fishing spot.

Standard Features

Spot-Lock is the main feature to be concerned with; however, that doesn’t mean you should overlook the other features.

In theory, more expensive trolling motors should have more and better features, and this theory rings true most of the time.

It would be best to determine which features are most important to you and the ones you will use most often before deciding on which trolling motor to buy.

Price

We all have a budget, for some of us, it’s a little smaller than others, but it’s essential to stick to the price you can afford. GPS trolling motors are expensive in general, so be prepared to spend at least $1,000 or more.

You’ll Also Need

Dakota Lithium battery

Once you have your trolling motor picked out, you’ll need a few other things before you’re ready to go fishing. I know, there’s always something else!

Trolling Motor Batteries

A trolling motor won’t run without a power source! It would be best to have a high-quality deep cycle or marine battery.

Lithium batteries are the most powerful and efficient batteries on the market, but they’re also the most expensive.

If you own a bass boat running a trolling motor that requires 24 volts, then you’ll likely need two batteries unless you purchase a 24-volt battery. 36-volt trolling motors generally require three batteries.

If you need help choosing a marine battery, check out my article on the best trolling motor battery, where I go into great detail on what battery is best for each situation.

Circuit Breaker/ Fuse

Install a circuit breaker or fuse to protect your trolling motor from a power surge. It’s much easier and cheaper to flip a switch or replace a fuse than replace a trolling motor!

High-Quality Fish Finder

Most trolling motors with spot-lock can integrate with sonar, so purchasing a high-quality fish finder is beneficial.

Some trolling motors require you to buy brand-specific electronics, while others like Minn Kota offer Universal Sonar 2, which will adapt to most major sonar brands.

Final Thoughts

By now, you should understand why the Lowrance Ghost is the best spot-lock trolling motor overall, and the Garmin Force is my pick for the best saltwater trolling motor with spot-lock.

Spot-lock features from Minn Kota Ultrex, Garmin Force, Lowrance Ghost, and Motorguide Xi3 offer unprecedented precision and control, allowing you to stay on the fish without disturbing them.

Whether you’re a professional angler or a weekend warrior, these top-of-the-line trolling motors will take your fishing experience to the next level.

Upgrade your gear today and make the most of your time on the water.

Do you have any of the motors in this guide? Let us know your experience in the comments!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>