Minn Kota vs MotorGuide: Which Should You Buy?

The extensive number of trolling motors on offer is almost overwhelming. With more than eleven manufacturers actively participating in the market, anglers are spoilt for choice. 

Two of the largest manufacturers of electric trolling motors are Minn Kota and MotorGuide, each of which has an established footprint and a well-earned reputation for the motors, foot pedals, and spot locks they produce.

An important consideration to know beforehand is what size trolling motor and which trolling motor battery you need. This will help you make an educated purchase choice.

Head-to-Head Comparisons

Background Of Minn Kota And MotorGuide

Both electric motor manufacturers have a long and storied history.

The name Minn Kota is an amalgamation of MINNesota North DaKOTA. 

O.G. Schmidt, who formed Minn Kota, was the inventor of the first gear-driven electric trolling motor.

The first motor was designed and manufactured in 1934. The idea proved very popular with boaters who wanted more accurate control of their vessels while fishing.

Over the past 89 years, the company has set the standards in the trolling motor industry and holds 13 active patents on the technology they have developed.

Today Minn Kota is owned by Johnson outdoors (who also owns Hummingbird).

The history of MotorGuide and its involvement in trolling motors can be traced back to the early 1960s.

The founder, G.H. Harris of Jackson, Mississippi, partnered with a grandfather clock manufacturer to design and manufacture a steering mechanism for trolling motors that could be actioned by the angler’s foot.

By the decade’s end, the trade name “MotorGuide” was established, and the company had patented a rack and pinion steering system for trolling motors.

In 1984 the company was sold to the Brunswick Corporation, after which the brand was incorporated into the Mercury Marine operating company.

Product Range

The MotorGuide range electric trolling motors tend to offer better value for money. The price range of both manufacturers’ products is listed below.

Minn Kota ModelFreshwater ModelsSaltwater ModelsPrice
Ultarra11
Ultrax10
PowerDrive11
Tarrova11
Pontoon Trolling Motor10
Fortrex11
Endura Max20
Edge10
Traxxis10
Maxxum11
Vantage10
Riptide Transom01
Totals126

MotorGuide ModelFreshwater ModelsSaltwater ModelsPrice
 R3 82
 X3 182
 R5 32
 Xi3 198
 Xi5 108
 Tour 40
 Tour Pro 40
Totals6622

Motor Features

The higher up the product range from each company, the more extensive the features which are offered.

But Minn Kota beats MotorGuide due to the substantial number of features offered as standard equipment on their high-end products.

With the hallmark being Minn Kota’s i-Pilot and i-Pilot Link systems.

The following list details the features which are available from each manufacturer.

FeatureMinn KotaMotorGuide
GPS35% of models30% of models
Sonar System29% of models18% of models
Wireless control47% of models65% of models
Mega Underwater (Below) imagingYesNo
Mega Underwater (Side) imagingYesNo
AnchorYesYes
Digital Power ManagementYesYes
Lift AssistYesNo
One Boat NetworkYesNo

Minn Kota’s products are feature-rich and offer substantial additional capability than the equivalent MotorGuide trolling motors.

Although some are “nice to have” rather than essential, Minn Kota is the winner in this category.

Warranty and Quality

Minn Kota and MotorGuide use composite aluminum and metal in the construction.

The shafts on Minn Kota and MotorGuide are manufactured from composite material and are supported by a lifetime guarantee.

The propellors on each unit are made of plastic, making these the most vulnerable components.

After-sales product support and the ability to correct problems and provide advice after the sale are just as important as choosing a feature-rich product.

The good news is that both companies offer acceptable warranties, the broad terms of which are summarized in the following table.

Minn KotaMotorGuide
Overall warranty periodsTwo- three Year Warranty depending on the trolling motorMotorGuide has a 2-Year warranty from the date of purchase
Warranty on shaftLifetime Warranty on Composite ShaftMotorGuide Composite Shaft Limited Lifetime Warranty
Warranty On accessoriesTwo-Year WarrantyMotorGuide has a 1-Year warranty from the date of purchase
2nd Owner transferWarranty coverage is not transferable.Warranty coverage is to the original purchaser only.

⚠️ Note: Warranty coverage is to the original purchaser only.

The product quality and finishes produced by each manufacturer are similar, which should not be considered when selecting the trolling motor.

Each company’s warranty conditions and build quality are similar; therefore, this section is a draw.

    Final Verdict on MotorGuide Vs Minn Kota

    For those seeking a cost-effective, straightforward motor, a MotorGuide is an excellent choice. For buyers looking for advanced features and superior customer service, I recommend Minn Kota’s for cutting-edge tech and robust features.

    Whether you go with Minn Kota or MotorGuide, they both manufacture excellent electric trolling motors for the fishing market.

    Frequently Asked

    There are three primary differences between the MotorGuide and Minn Kota trolling motors.

    • The Number Of Trolling Motors On Offer

    MotorGuide produces 88 models of its trolling motors (66 freshwater, 22 saltwater), and Minn Kota offers 17 (12 freshwater and 5 saltwater.)

    With the extensive range of MotorGuide trolling motors available, there is a solution for almost every size and type of boat used for many different applications.

    • The Price Difference

    As a general rule, MotorGuide trolling motors cost less than those manufactured by Minn Kota.

    • The Number Of Features Offered By Each Manufacturer

    Min Kota motors provide more features than MotorGuide. One of the reasons this is made possible is that their parent company, Johnson Outdoors, also owns Hummingbird. This has enabled a full integration between Minn Kota and Hummingbird products.

    Mercury Marine is the umbrella company of Attwood Marine, which houses investments such as MotorGuide.

    Mercury Marine is primarily known for the Mercury range of outboard and sterndrive boat motors.

    Mercury was formed in 1939 after E. Carl Kiekhaefer purchased a failed engine manufacturing plant in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

    Since then, it has established itself as one of the primary marine motor manufacturers in the world.

    Minn Kota is owned by Johnson Outdoors, which makes Hummingbird a sister company manufacturing fish finders and mapping devices.

    This close association has enabled the two companies to integrate each other’s products, resulting in the Minn Kota trolling motors being so feature-rich. Companies in the Johnson outdoors stable include:

    • Cannon
    • Eureka
    • Hummingbird
    • Jetboil
    • Johnson Outdoors
    • Minn Kota
    • Ocean Kayak
    • Old Town
    • Scubapro

    I’m the founder and chief editor here at Kite Ship. The electrification of boating is the most exciting thing to happen to the marine industry in a generation! Welcome, and I hope that we can provide the portal you need to dive into the world of electric propulsion and power.