Motorguide is a contender in being one of the top trolling motor companies on the market today. They have several different trolling motor designs on the market today.

In this article, we are going to take an in-depth look at two of their most popular models of trolling motors, the xi3 and xi5, we will take a look at the difference and how that applies to you as an angler on the water.

Motorguide Xi5 Reviews and Comparison

The xi5 is a staple trolling motor design in the fishing industry today and it has some very impressive features that give credence to the popularity. For one, it features a wireless foot pedal design, allowing the fisherman to break free from the normal spot of being stuck on the bow, and allowing him to have precise control from anywhere in the boat.

motorguide xi3 vs xi5
The i5’s wireless foot pedal is ideal if you don’t want to be tied to the motor all day. The i3 does not ship with one of these, but is available as an extra add-on.

This is a pretty big deal if you are a fishing guide, allowing you to control the trolling motor from the rear of the boat, while you monitor boat positioning, depth finders, GPS, and other crucial things that require focus while your clients can fish on the front deck.

It’s also a great feature if you’re short line trolling for walleyes or other species, allowing you to stay in the back with your rods and even allowing you to keep a rod in hand while making precision movements as needed from the rear of the boat. Along with the wireless pedal there is also a key fob style controller that you can hang around your neck, eliminating the use of a pedal all together.

motorguide xi5 vs xi3
Both motors feature a convenient remote.

The xi5 also has one of the best integrated GPS systems available in a trolling motor unit. This Pinpoint accurate GPS offers some amazing GPS navigation options, like the incredibly precise Anchor option which allows the trolling motor to keep you on an exact spot like weed points, humps, rock piles, or even to stay stationary in river currents, Jog, Heading Lock, and Cruise Control.

The trolling motor shaft is composite made and it has incredible flexibility and bend but won’t break or warp, the shaft in the xi series comes with a lifetime warranty.

One other important factor that was considered in the xi series is noise, this thing is ultra quiet, great for stalking into shallow waters and reducing the chances of spooking fish. The rotation speed on the xi series is also 50% faster when compared to previous models and the electronic steering is incredibly responsive.

motorguide xi5 reviews
The Xi3 features a 3-blade prop design, while the Xi5 features a 2-blade design

However, a big difference between the Xi5 and the Xi3 which you should be aware of is the prop design. The xi5 features a two-blade design, and the Xi3 features a 3 blade design. This is largely up to personal preference, but many fishermen believe the 2 blade prop design has more power, but the 3 blade design has better performance when it comes to steering and navigating through weeds. Just something to keep in mind.

Motorguide Xi3 Reviews and Comparison

The xi3 has most of the features of the xi5 with only a few real differences to mention. One of the most important differences is that the xi3 is smaller and more compact than the xi5 and is better suited to smaller boats like flat bottom river boats or skiffs, or that 14 footer you take off road through the woods to your secret fishing holes.

motorguide xi3 reviews
The Xi3’s more compact design is easier to use, especially on smaller boats.

One great key feature is that the xi3 requires 50% less effort when it comes to stowing or deploying the trolling motor compared to larger models. This smaller and more compact model also produces 40% less noise compared to competitors as well, as well as a digital power management system.

The xi3 has the exact same industry leading GPS system as the xi5, so you can use the anchor, jog, head lock, and cruise control features just like the xi5 and has the Chartplotter integration with NMEA 2000 network.

One big difference of the Xi3 vs the Xi5, is that it does not come with the wireless foot pedal. Motorguide has decided to eliminate that altogether in favor of the key fob system, but you can still buy a pedal separately for the trolling motor if that is something you decide you can’t live without on the water.

motorguide xi3 reviews
While the Xi3 does not come with a foot pedal, it does have a handy remote.

The elimination of the foot pedal actually can work very well for anglers looking to strap this thing to a kayak or other smaller watercraft where the pedal would take up too much room and space is limited. Below you’ll find a complete features and specs comparison table for both motors.

Xi3 vs Xi5 : Features and Options

Features and specifications

Xi3

Xi5

Shaft length

48-60”

45-72”

Thrust

45,54,55,68,70 lbs

55, 80,105 lbs

Props

3 blade machete

2 blade safari

Recommended boat length

14 to 17 ft

17 to 21 ft

Control options

Wireless key fob remote

Wireless remote and pedal

GPS

Yes

Yes

Volts

12-24v depending on thrust

12, 24, 36v depending on thrust

In short, the Motorguide Xi5 is more suited to larger boats that demand more power than smaller rigs, but can also be used in smaller rigs with the 55lb thrust and 12 volt systems which only require one battery.

Motorguide has done a great job at overlapping both the Xi3 and the Xi5 at their limits with the maximum limits of the Xi3 overlapping with the lower limit of the Xi5. This overlap allows any angler with a boat in that size range to choose either or based on the other features that separate the two models.

Likewise, the Xi3 is better suited to smaller boats in the 14 to 17 foot range, in particular, this motor will be perfect for aluminum boats and honestly, I think it’s safe to say that the Xi3 would have zero issues running on an aluminum boat larger than 17 feet due to these boats being much lighter than comparative fiberglass rigs.

The Xi3 12 volt options are great for small boats that don’t typically have more than 2 deep cell batteries on board, only requiring one. The only downside I can really see if you are in that overlapped area and can go either way in between the two models is if that foot pedal is something of high importance to you, in my case it would be, but keep in mind you can always buy the pedal separately if you are on the fence.

One thing we didn’t include is the price point between the two, the reason for this is the prices of each model vary considerably depending on size and options, but it’s safe to say that overall the Xi3 is quite a bit cheaper than the Xi5, but at the cost of some features.

As a personal preference? I actually would prefer the Xi3 due to the 3-blade prop system, with the addition of a foot pedal at extra cost. That’s just me though, and the Xi5 is a fine motor as well. Either one will serve you right.

PS. Interested in seeing how Motorguide stacks up against Minn Kota? Read more in this article.

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