Spot lock trolling motors (sometimes also called anchor lock) are a real game changer! This technology accurately positions you onto your fishing spot with the push of a button.
While in the past, this was a really pricey feature, now even some lower-priced motors have it! If you’ve read other articles on our blog, you know we’ve spent a lot of time researching these trolling motors. So, here are our TOP 5 best anchor lock trolling motors!
Minn Kota Ulterra – Best Spot Lock Trolling Motor
The Minn Kota Ulterra is our editor’s pick! In addition to just being an all-around great motor that has a spot lock anchor you can depend on, it also has some other fantastic features: like remote stow & deploy that you’ll be missing out on with other motors!
- Remote stow and deploy
- Bluetooth enabled
- Built-in Mega Down Imaging
- Works with Humminbird
- Works better in weeds
- Remote prop height adjust
- Control via Smartphone
- Most features come standard
- More expensive than Motorguide
- Doesn’t work with Lowrance
- More stuff to potentially break
It performs better in weeds than the Motorguide motors too, thanks to its design and innovative power trim features, making it much more enjoyable to use in shallow channels of water. It also operates quietly and efficiently, and it’s chock full of features.
In addition, Minn Kota’s Riptide series is a fantastic pick if you need a spot-lock trolling motor for saltwater! Riptide motors are designed to deal with the more abrasive environment of saltwater fishing, so pick up one of these if you are a saltwater angler.
While Motorguide motors also have GPS lock, they are lacking in one super awesome feature which the Ulterra has! That is the remote stow and deploy feature, which you can see in the below video.
In short, this feature allows you to automatically lower, raise, and run the motor via remote. This means you don’t have to stoop over and get it manually, a feature that aging fishermen will find valuable, though it’s a great feature for anyone really.
The Minn Kota Ulterra also plugs directly into Humminbird fish finders if you plan to use one of those. Though if you’re a fan of Lowrance electronics, then you might want to go with a Motorguide instead because they have useful integrations for those.
Runner Up Pick!
That brings us to our next pick, the Motorguide xi5! While it is lacking some of the fancier features of the Minn Kota Ulterra, it does come at a bit nicer price tag, and some people actually prefer not to have fancy features. Sometimes, that’s just more stuff to break, especially if you don’t really care about those features, or plan to use them.
- Works with Lowrance
- Less stuff to break
- A bit cheaper than Minn Kota
- Aluminum vs composite shaft
- No remote stow and deploy
- Pinpoint GPS is not always included
- Wireless foot pedal not included
- Lift assist not included
- Doesn’t work with Humminbird
- Performs poorly in weeds
The Motorguide motor also plays nice with Lowrance electronics if you prefer them, though some anglers have expressed frustration with how Motorguide pairs with fishfinders. This system is not quite as seamless as Minn Kota, and if that’s a concern for you, then you may want to go with the Ulterra instead.
However, when it comes to durability and usability; the Motorguide motors are on-par with Minn Kota. Some fishermen also prefer the build of the Motorguide motor, as it has an aluminum shaft when compared to the composite Minn Kota one. Though, if you do manage to bend it, you’re likely out of luck, so you should still be cautious while navigating.
You should also know that while the Motorguide is cheaper than the Minn Kota motors, there’s a reason for that. It’s because not all features are included! So, when you buy a motor, make sure to read the description very carefully to make sure that you are actually getting the pinpoint GPS feature!
However, this could be a bonus for you rather than a con. Why? Well, it allows you to forgo paying for things that you will not use. So if you don’t want a foot pedal, or you don’t need lift assist: you can buy a motor for less that does not have those features. Where the Ulterra comes with everything standard whether you’ll use it or not.
All in all, the Motorguide i5 is an excellent trolling motor. Though we do have some reservations about Motorguide’s warranty and customer service, which we talk about in our Minn Kota vs Motorguide article if you’re interested in learning more about this.
The short version though is that many anglers reported Minn Kota was more generous with sending out parts when things go wrong, and Minn Kota offers a straight 2-year warranty, while Motorguide’s varies.
Dream Motor Pick
The Lowrance Ghost is by no means a budget pick, but it is a very impressive trolling motor! In addition to the fantastic GPS anchor feature, it’s also the most powerful trolling motor around (120 lbs. of thrust!). While that may be overkill for smaller boats, it could be interesting to those working with choppy water, or in larger boats where other motors struggle to keep up.
- Ultra-quiet brushless motor
- 25% more thrust (120lbs.)
- 60% better runtime
- Chirp + Downscan integrated
- HDI Nosecone Transducer
- Programmable foot pedal
- Break-Away mount
- Cable steer feel
- Works with Lowrance
- Works with Powerpole
- NO Auto Stow & Deploy
- Side Imaging costs extra
In addition to a great spot lock GPS feature, it also includes a super quiet brush-less motor that allows it to run quieter than any other trolling motor on the market. The improved thrust allows you to confidently GPS anchor at a waypoint, regardless of weather conditions or current, and the battery efficiency allows you to fish all day without worry.
You also get Lowrance’s integrated CHIRP and Downscan imaging out of the box, though you will have to pay extra if you want to get sidescan imaging as well, unfortunately. Still, it’s pretty awesome, and it integrates with Lowrance electronics, allowing you to control everything from your HDS or ELITE displays.
The Ghost also integrates with power pole shallow water anchors if you have one, and you can even program the foot pedal to drop it at the push of a buttom. Though you can also use the foot pedal to program your favorite fishing spots so it will go there with a tap of your foot.
This motor also has what they call “fly-by-wire steering”, a feature that is supposed to give the feel of cable steering, something many people appreciate, without you having to worry about the maintenance woes of those cables that wear out over time.
However, we feel an overlooked feature of this particular motor is that it also comes with a 360 breakaway mount. What this does is that it actually acts as a buffer for the motor. So, if you accidentally hit something, the risk of you bending the shaft and ruining your fishing trip is greatly diminished.
So, what’s bad about this motor? Well, for starters, it’s pretty expensive. It also does not have automatic stow and deploy, like the Minn Kota Ulterra, sadly. Instead, it has an “assisted” cable pull type system, which does help, but it ain’t automatic for sure.
Though everything else about this motor is on-point, and if you can afford it, it’s the best of the best right now.
Minn Kota Terrova
If you aren’t interested in remote stow and deploy, you can still take advantage of the other high-quality features which come with a Minn Kota trolling motor and save some cash by getting the Terrova instead! So, what will you be missing out on with this motor?
- Cheaper than Ulterra
- Has motor deployment assist
- Comes with foot pedal
- 2 year warranty
- Does not connect to Humminbird
- Doesn’t have auto stow & deploy
- Inferior imaging and sonar
- Less memory for itracks and fishing spots
In addition to it lacking the remote stow and deploy feature – it also has a smaller memory. That means that while you will be able to save spots in the system’s memory, you won’t be able to save as many as you would with the Ulterra trolling motor model.
The Terrova’s discounted price also comes at the cost of it having inferior imaging and sonar capabilities, and it does not connect to Humminbird fish finders. For us, this is a big limitation, but if you don’t plan to use this feature, then this motor saves you money.
Some people also enjoy having a trolling motor with fewer features, as that means fewer things to go wrong during a high-pressure situation, like a competition. This doesn’t mean the Ulterra is not high-quality, of course, just that everything breaks eventually, and it loves to do it at the most inopportune time possible.
In all other areas, the Terrova will perform as well as the more expensive Ulterra. You can simply think of it as a stripped-down version of our Editor’s pick, and if you’re okay with that, it’s honestly a great trolling motor.
Motorguide xi3 – Cheapest Spot-Lock Trolling Motor
Small Budget Pick
If you’re on a slim budget, then the Motorguide xi3 is likely one of the cheapest spot-lock trolling motors around. While this motor is a bit more stripped down compared to its big brother, the xi5. It’s still a serious contender in the world of trolling motors, and you don’t need to feel like you’re missing out if your budget does not have room for a fancier one!
- Cheaper than Xi5
- 3 Blade Machete Prop
- Comes with remote
- Works with Lowrance
- The foot pedal costs extra
- Only good for smaller boats
- Doesn’t work with Humminbird
However, the Motorguide Xi3 is really only suitable for boots in the 14-17 foot range. So, if your boat is bigger, you’ll likely need to pick a more powerful trolling motor, using one that’s too small will quickly drain your batteries as it struggles to propel the boat.
Though, if you can get away with it, it’s a great little motor, and having a smaller form factor can be an advantage. For starters, it weighs less and it’s easier to move it around. Plus, a smaller motor produces less noise. But what will you miss out on with the Motorguide xi3? Not much honestly!
This motor still has all the GPS features, including spot lock, it still has a remote control, it features the 3-blade prop system, which tends to be better for navigating weeds, and unlike the stripped-down Terrova, the xi3 does work with Lowrance electronics!
It does not come with a foot pedal, and the available shaft sizes and power ratings are smaller than what you can get with the Xi5 since this model is intended for smaller boats.
While the foot pedal is a must-have feature, you can actually purchase this separately if you really want it! So, that one’s not really a “loss” so much as it’s something you’ll need to budget for later when it comes to the Motorguide xi5 vs xi3. In short, the xi3 is a great motor, but make sure you measure your boat and you know it has enough power for your needs before you buy.