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Jennifer
Mar 6, 2024  •  14 min

Bass Boat Motors: The Only Guide You Need in 2024

Now every angler knows bass boat motors are a great addition for fishing expeditions, if you want to catch more fish. Apart from traditional combustion engines, more and more bass fishing anglers start to consider modern electric bass boat motors. This innovative technology, when used to power an electric bass boat, provides key benefits such as stealth fishing, precise control, clean operations, and impressive range and performance, making it an excellent choice for bass fishing anglers.

However, it’s not that easy to know which bass boat motor is the best of the best for your boat, with so many options available on the market claiming to be the best.

No worries. This post will guide you through all the essential choices you have to make (with professional insights) to help narrow down your options and find an ideal bass boat motor.

You will learn how to decide the bass boat motor sizes, styles (inboard vs outboard), and types (electric vs combustion).

Check out our list of the best bass boat motors (with prices) if you are in a hurry.

Table of contents:

Combustion vs Electric Bass Boat Motors

Combustion bass boat motors have been a big player on the market for decades, providing reliable and sufficient power for both recreational and tournament bass boaters.

However, as time goes on, we can see more and more electric motors on bass boats.

If you fish mostly in lakes, you might need to accept the fact that 90% of the lakes you fish in are electric only.

There are even electric-only bass fishing tournaments such as the Georgia Total Electric Championship, making electric bass boat motors even more popular among the bass fishing community.

It seems that electric bass boat motors are the future of bass fishing.

So combustion vs electric bass boat motors, which one is better?

According to our experience in handling customer inquiries from bass boaters over 10 years, electric bass motors can perfectly take care of all your bass fishing needs and the customers would never want to go back after they have an electric bass boat motor onboard.

That’s because the electric bass boat motors provide a premium boating experience that the combustion motors can never compare:

  • It’s virtually silent. Perfect for not spooking fish when you are fishing.
  • There’s no exhaust, keeping you, your family and friends safer and healthier.
  • Electric bass boat motors are clean. No messy fuel or oil leaks, and therefore no greasy stains on your hands, car trunk or boat.
  • It’s pretty maintenance-free. Significantly lower maintenance required than combustion engines. Maintenance-free on direct drive models.
  • The electric bass boat motors are more reliable with fewer moving parts to break.
  • The digitalization of electric bass boat motors provides you with the ease of electric start and also real-time operational data.
  • The ease of winterization. If you want to use the bass boat all year round, you will save a lot of time and money on winterizing the boat with electric bass boat motors.

However, the electric bass boat motors do come at a higher price than the combustion ones, although the price difference can be compensated by their lower operational costs over time. According to our calculation, the cost can be break even within 10 years of use for 3 HP bass boat motors.

Bass Boat Motor Cost Comparison

*Click here to check out the details of the bass boat motor cost calculation.

Personally, I’d recommend anyone who wants a better boating experience to try electric bass boat motors. It’s also a future-proof option since more and more lakes are electric only these days.

However, if you are looking for a more budget-friendly option and don’t use the motor quite often (so you can save more on fuel and maintenance costs), the combustion motor is still a good choice.

[Alt: Combustion vs Electric Bass Boat Motors]

Electric Trolling Motors on Electric Bass Boats

What about an electric trolling motor on a bass boat?

As you may have already noticed, electric bass boat trolling motors are also popular among the fishing community. If you decide to go electric, be sure to make the right choice between a trolling motor and an outboard for your bass boat.

Although coming with similar designs and functions, the bass boat trolling motors are only intended for specific fishing situations with slow trolling speeds.

Here is a video that compares a small electric outboard vs trolling motor in specs (with test data and calculations) and costs:

Inboard or Outboard Bass Boat Motors

Another important choice is whether to go with an inboard or outboard bass boat motor.

In fact, outboard motors are getting more and more popular today among bassers, whether you are talking about small fiberglass bass boats, aluminum bass boats, or big fiberglass bass boats.

Actually, Ranger has built the bass boat with inboard motors but it didn’t last quite long. Now they are selling mostly bass boats with outboard motors.

That’s for some reasons. Make sure you understand the differences and make a wise choice.

Outboard vs Inboard Bass Boat Motor

As the name implies, a bass boat inboard motor is built into your bass boat (positioned in the middle of the boat) and the bass boat outboard motor hangs off the back of your boat.

So bass boats with inboard motors can ride better because the weight of the motor is forward and the center of gravity is lower. Also with inboard bass boat motors, you don’t need to sacrifice the precious space on the aft deck for the motor.

However, they are not as easy to service as outboard bass boat motors. Also, an inboard bass boat is a heavy and costly piece of machinery to maintain. Although space-saving on the deck, having an engine inside the boat (instead of hanging out of the boat) will eat up the needed storage space.

On the contrary, an outboard bass boat motor is much easier to service and you simply have a much better power-to-weight ratio with an outboard.

These are the primary reasons why outboard motors are preferred for bass fishing today.

Personally, I’d recommend going with a modern electric outboard, especially if you are a first-time boat buyer of a small bass boat. As mentioned above, it saves a lot of hassles on maintenance and operational costs.

There are also more modern outboard options with advanced features to fit your diverse needs.

However, if you are talking about tournament bass fishing boats and want to go electric, an inboard bass boat motor can provide you with a higher power range (up to 100 kW with ePropulsion inboard bass boat motors).

Further  Reading: Inboard vs Outboard Motor, Which One Is Better?

Bass Boat Motor Sizes: How to Choose

What size motor do I need for a bass boat?

You can see many bass boats hanging 150 HP outboard motors but also those with trolling motors.

In fact, the ideal bass boat motor size all depends on how fast you want to go and how much money you are willing to spend to get there.

Also, your boat size and the maximum horsepower rating on your boat matter (otherwise it will void the warranty).

Generally speaking, a 10 HP bass boat motor can cover most of your fishing needs, especially if you are fishing mostly in small lakes.

Let’s take ePropulsion Navy 6.0 Evo electric bass boat motor as an example.

We did a test on the popular 16ft Bass Tracker 16 with one Navy 6.0 Evo onboard (connected with 2 Navy Batteries that provide 6,048 Wh battery capacity), and its performance turned out to be impressive:

Power (W)Speed (mph/kph)Runtime (hh:mm)Range (mile/km)
10004.0 / 6.46:0024.0 / 38.6
20004.9 / 7.93:0014.7 / 23.7
30006.0 / 9.72:0012.0 / 19.3
40006.5 / 10.51:309.8 / 15.7
50007.0 / 11.31:128.4 / 13.5
60008.3 / 13.41:008.3 / 13.4

Click here to see more detailed information about the test, including the bass boat and motor specs, the testing location, and weather conditions.

If you want to go faster, you can upgrade to the 40 kW X40 bass boat motor which allows you to achieve nearly 35.9* kph (22.3 mph) speed continuously for one hour**.

If you are just looking for a bass boat motor for trolling or moving from spot to spot, a bass boat trolling motor can also get the job done.

There is no one size that suits all, and the ideal bass boat motor sizes all depend on your expections for the motor. If you are still not sure about it, leave us a message in the comment and we’ll get back to you ASAP with professional suggestions.

*The data is based on a 20-foot V hull aluminum boat with two persons (130kg) onboard, powered by one X40 with four G102-100 batteries (total boat weight 1030kg), in calm lake water.

**Same as the Navy 6.0 electric bass boat motor, the runtime can be greatly extended by adjusting its power settings and cutting down the speeds.

Bass Boat Motor Height & Shaft Length: Best Options

After deciding on the motor types and sizes, the bass boat motor shaft length (thus the bass boat motor height) is your next crucial choice as it affects the bass boat motor efficiency and speed.

The motor height really matters. If your bass boat motor sits too deep, it will create more drag and it decreases the motor efficiency. If it sits too high, it will cause the prop to start pulling in air and losing bites on the water.

The ideal bass boat motor height is different between different bass boat motor types:

  • For combustion outboard motors, the cavitation plate should be about even with the keel right in front of it.
  • If you are talking about electric outboard motors, make sure the top of the propeller is kept between 100 mm to 150 mm below the water.

Here is a diagram that illustrates the best outboard motor height on bass boats:

Bass Boat Motor Height

Now that you understand the importance of bass boat motor height, it all comes down to finding the correct bass boat motor shaft length.

While most bass boats can use a 20-inch shaft outboard motor, you are suggested to do some simple calculations to get an accurate number to fit your bass boat perfectly.

Taking ePropulsion electric motors as an example, there are 3 steps to decide the bass boat shaft length:

  1. Measure your bass boat transom height (from the top of the boat transom to the bottom of the boat).
  2. Add the radius of the propeller (available in the user manual) to the transom height. This is the minimum bass boat motor shaft length needed to make it work.
  3. Add another 4” to the calculation to get your best bass boat shaft length.

Compare your final calculation with the bass boat shaft length options, and you will know which one to get.

If you get the bass boat motor shaft length wrong, no worries. There are still some tricks for you to make it right. Click here to learn the tips immediately.

Further Reading: How to Find Your Shaft Length

Best Electric Bass Boat Motors in 2024

Hunting for a bass boat motor for your boat? You will need a reliable and powerful engine for freshwater fishing on inland rivers, bays, and lakes.

Here are some of our top recommendations for bass fishing with different power levels, so you can choose depending on your individual needs and preferences, as well as the size and weight of your boat.

*All the recommended bass boat motors are electric with sleek and low profiles that offer less water disturbance for better fishing and less noise for a premium boating experience.

#1. Spirit 1.0 Evo Bass Boat Outboard (3 HP)

If you just want to move around at a decent pace, a small bass boat motor will do the job. This 3 HP Spirit 1.0 Evo is suitable for bass boats under 25 ft. It’s also popular as a kicker motor on bass boats.

3 HP Bass Boat Motor

Thanks to its compact design and lightweight (only 20 kg/44 lbs, including the battery), you can easily carry it around. It’s also easy to install and use. Just press the button, and you are on your way!

It also saves you trouble searching for batteries (which requires a separate purchase if you go for a bass boat trolling motor), since the Spirit 1.0 Evo comes with a built-in battery*.

In terms of performance, this bass boat motor allows you to go 22 miles** within one charge at the speed of 4.4 mph (7.1 kph). That’s more than enough for a round trip from Pike Place Market to Golden Gardens Park in Seattle (18 miles).

With Spirit 1.0 Evo, you can enjoy all the convenience of an electric bass boat motor at an affordable cost. Here is a comment from a Spirit 1.0 owner who just made the switch from gas to electric propulsion:

“We’ve had our ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 for three years now, and we absolutely loved it. It has been 100% maintenance-free the entire time. We haven’t had to do anything. Not having to worry about getting fuel, not having to store fuel, not having to fix anything on it. It’s such an easy thing to deal with. It warms my heart.”   – Sailing Soulianis

Also, check out the video to find out how this small bass boat motor works on the Pelican Bass Raider following the Bass Brothers Fishing DMV:

*The battery can also be purchased seperately.

**The data is collected on a 12-foot aluminum boat with one person and one Spirit Battery Plus in calm lake water.

#2. Navy Evo Series Electric Bass Boat Motors (6 HP / 9.9 HP)

The Navy Series outboard is one of the most popular motors for bass fishing. You can choose the 6 HP Navy 3.0 for bass boats within 30 ft or the 9.9 HP Navy 6.0 for bass boats within 35 ft.

6 HP & 9.9 HP Bass Boat Motors

A big highlight for ePropulsion bass boat motor is its adjustable max power output (also available for Spirit 1.0 Evo and X-Series), meaning you can control the full throttle specifically for kids.

In terms of its performance, you can expect to see the Navy 6.0 Evo going at 15* mph (24.3 kph) full throttle and the Navy 3.0 Evo going at 10.2* mph (16.4 kph) full throttle.

Also check out the comments from Charles Curtis, a happy owner of Navy 6.0 and also the former points champion (2x) in the Jon Boat Bass Club of NC:

“I love my Epropulsion Navy 6.0 EVO electric outboard! Paired with the E175 48v lithium iron phosphate I have the confidence to outrun my opponents to the best spots and still have plenty of power to make it back on time to weigh in. It’s quiet, reliable, affordable, and virtually maintenance free!” – Charles Curtis

Navy 6.0 Evo on Bass Boat

*The data is collected on a 12-foot aluminum boat with one person, powered by one Navy 3.0 Evo and E80 battery / Navy 6.0 Evo and E175 battery in calm lake water.

#3. X Series Electric Bass Boat Motors (12 – 40 kW)

If you fish in large lakes and want to get somewhere fast, the X Series bass boat motor is best for you. It’s clean, quiet, powerful and easy to use. You can choose the 12 kW, 20 kW, or 40 kW model depending on your specific use cases.

X Series Bass Boat Motor

Designed with a compact design (max 36% less weight than its conventional equivalent), this bass boat motor offers an industry-leading powertrain efficiency of 88.2%. You will be impressed by its performances on the water:

X40X20
Out (kW)102040510
Speed (kph / mph)12.6 / 7.815.4 / 9.635.9 / 22.311 / 6.814 / 8.7
Runtime (hh:mm)4:002:001:004:002:00
Range (km/mile)50.4 / 31.330.8 / 19.135.9 / 22.344 / 27.328 / 17.4

Note: Click to check the whole bass boat motor setup (including the batteries) and detailed test information.

More importantly, this bass boat motor features cutting-edge driving assistance features that help you catch more fish! The integrated electric steering enables “Position Hold” and “Heading Hold” functions so you can spend more time fishing than controlling the boat.

The ePropulsion Link app allows you to keep in touch with the status of your boat in real time, including monitoring, reporting, and trip tracking.

If the X Series bass boat motor is in low battery, it can be recharged with all kinds of renewable energy resources, including hydrogeneration, wind power, and solar power.

Final Thoughts

There are seemingly endless bass boat motor brands and models available on the market, making it hard for you to decide the best choice. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified dealer to ensure that you select the best motor for your specific bass fishing needs.

Join the discussion!

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