12V vs 24V Trolling Motor: Which Size Do You Need?

When it comes to choosing the right new trolling motor for your boat, one of the most important factors to consider after the amp draw is the voltage.  The two …

When it comes to choosing the right new trolling motor for your boat, one of the most important factors to consider after the amp draw is the voltage. 

The two most common voltage options for trolling motors are 12 volts and 24 volts from lead acid batteries, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right voltage can make a significant difference in the performance of your trolling motor and will impact your overall boating experience. 

In this article, we will explore the differences you might notice with 12V and 24V trolling motors to help you determine which size you need for your specific boating and fishing needs.

Comparing 12V & 24V Electric Trolling Motors

Minn Kota Ultrex Trolling Motor
Voltage option choice depends on factors like boat size, fishing conditions, battery life, and personal preference.

This section will take a closer look at each voltage option, outlining the pros and cons of both to help you make an informed decision when searching for a trolling motor that is best suited for your unique boating needs.

Thrust of 12V vs 24V Trolling Motors

The thrust of a trolling motor refers to the amount of power it generates to move your boat through the water. 24 volt trolling motors provide more thrust than 12 volt trolling motors due to their higher voltage and amperage. The higher voltage allows the motor to draw a higher amount of amps from the battery and spin the propeller faster, resulting in more thrust and higher speeds. 

However, the amount of thrust required for your particular boat will depend on the size and weight of the boat itself, as well as the fishing conditions you’ll be boating in, such as moderate winds, thick weeds, or rough water. It’s important to choose a trolling motor with the right amount of thrust for your needs to ensure smooth operation and efficient fuel and energy costs when out on the water.

See also: What Size Trolling Motor Do I Need?

Battery Requirements

The battery requirements for 12V and 24V trolling motors differ significantly. A 12 volt trolling motor typically requires just one 12-volt deep-cycle battery to operate, while a 24V trolling motor requires two 12-volt batteries wired in series to create a 24-volt power source. 

The two batteries used in a 24V system must be identical and of the same type and capacity to ensure balanced performance; otherwise, you may have to deal with shorts, lower battery power outputs, or other problems. 

When it comes to battery life, 24V trolling motors will normally last longer than 12 volt trolling motors due to their higher combined output. But the actual battery life will depend on a wide range of factors, including the boat size, water conditions, wind conditions, fishing conditions, charging levels, and more.

Simplicity of Use

12 volt trolling motors are generally easier to deal with and maintain than 24 volt trolling motors. 12V trolling motors have a simpler wiring system, and they require only a single battery to operate, which means fewer components to manage. 

On the other hand, 24V trolling motors require more batteries connected together in parallel, a somewhat more complex wiring system, and may have additional features that require a higher level of skill and knowledge to operate. While they can provide more trolling motor power and speeds, they may be more challenging to use for beginners or those who prefer a simpler setup.

Efficiency

For efficiency, 24V trolling motors are generally more efficient than 12 volt trolling motors due to their higher volt and amp output. The higher volts allow the motor to draw more amps from the battery and operate more efficiently, resulting in longer battery life and more extended periods of use on the water. 

24 volt trolling motors can provide more thrust with less amps than a 12 volt trolling motor, which can help conserve battery life and reduce the total load on the battery. The efficiency of the trolling motor will depend on several factors, including the size and weight of the boat, the fishing conditions on the water, and the battery capacity and type.

Time on the Water

12V vs 24V Trolling Motor Amp Draw

In general, a 24V trolling motor will have a lower amperage draw than a 12V trolling motor, which can help conserve battery life and allow for more hours of fishing out on the lake or river. This is because a 24 volt trolling motor can provide max thrust with less amperage than a 12V trolling motor to push your boats through the water with ease. 

However, a 24V trolling motor typically requires two batteries, which can add to the weight of any boat it is used on and can reduce its overall runtime. The runtime of a trolling motor will also depend on other factors such as boat speed, wind, water currents, and the type and capacity of the batteries used.

12V vs 24V Trolling Motor Run Time

In terms of run time, 24V trolling motors generally have a longer run time than 12 volt trolling motors due to their higher overall power rating. More volts from the double battery combination allow the trolling motor to draw more amps from the batteries, which can provide more extended periods of use on the water. 

Weight and Space

When it comes to weight and space, 12V motors are generally smaller in size and lighter in weight than 24V trolling motors. 12 volt trolling motors require only one battery compared to the two batteries connected in parallel needed for a 24 volt trolling motor. 

Features

In addition to their higher amp rating, both 12V and 24V trolling motors can offer a variety of features to enhance their performance and convenience on the water. Some common features found in both types of trolling motors include variable speed control, digital displays, GPS integration, wireless remote control, and autopilot capabilities

Some 24 volt trolling motors may offer more advanced features, including the i-Pilot, as well as being able to offer a more powerful thrust so you can navigate through stronger currents or with heavier loads.

Cost Differences

24V trolling motors are generally more expensive than 12 volt motors due to their larger size, more powerful motors, and additional battery requirements. 24 volt trolling motors may also offer more high-tech features, which can also contribute to the higher cost

12V motors are normally less expensive, as they require only one battery and have a simpler wiring system. However, the exact cost of a trolling motor will depend on the brand, model, features, and retailer, so don’t be afraid to do some comparison shopping.

Should You Get a 12V or a 24V Trolling Motor?

Garmin Force Trolling Motor
To choose between a 12V and 24V trolling motor, consider boating conditions, boat and gear weight, and hull design.

Boating Conditions

Boating conditions are an essential factor to consider when choosing between a 12V and 24V trolling motor. If you plan to use your vessel in calm or light conditions, a 12V motor may be suitable for your needs.

However, if you plan to use your boat in choppy or rough conditions or if you have a larger or heavier vessel, a 24V trolling motor may be necessary to provide sufficient thrust and maneuverability. 

If you plan to fish for longer chunks of time or cover greater distances, a 24 volt trolling motor may be preferable due to its longer run time and higher effectiveness when it comes to the amp rating and voltages it can generate. 

Weight of Boat and Gear

When traveling at the same speed through the water, the total extra weight of your gear when loaded on the boat is a crucial factor to consider when choosing between a 12V and 24V trolling motor. If you have a smaller boat with less gear, a 12V motor may be enough to provide the necessary thrust to move the boat through the water. 

But if you have a larger vessel or carry more gear, a 24 volt trolling motor may be needed to provide enough thrust and maneuverability. The weight of your gear and boat and gear can also affect the run time of the trolling motor, as extra weight will require excess thrust from the batteries, which can reduce the overall lifespan and battery charge. 

Hull Design

Hull design is an important factor to consider when choosing between a 12V and 24 volt trolling motor. If you have a vessel with a smaller, lightweight, or flat-bottomed hull, a 12V motor is probably all you need. 

But if you have a larger boat or a hull with a deep V design, a 24 volt trolling motor is your better option for thrust and maneuverability to navigate through rough or choppy water conditions. Additionally, some hull designs may benefit from specific features, such as an i-Pilot system, which uses GPS to maintain a steady course and speed, or spot lock technology, which allows the trolling motor to maintain its position in a specific spot.

See also:

FAQs

What Size Trolling Motor Do I Need Feature Image

Are 24V Trolling Motors Faster Than 12V Ones?

A 24 volt trolling motor can provide a higher amount of thrust than a 12V trolling motor, which can result in faster speeds, but this is not always the case. The actual speeds of the trolling motor will depend on several factors, such as the size and weight of the boat, the type of hull design, and the overall effectiveness of the trolling motor. In some cases, a 12V trolling motor may provide sufficient speed for a particular vessel and boating conditions. 

Can You Run a 24V Trolling Motor on a 12V Battery?

No, you cannot run a 24 volt trolling motor on a 12V battery. A 24 volt trolling motor requires two 12V batteries wired in series to provide the necessary volts. When two 12V batteries are wired in series, they effectively act as one 24V battery, providing the volts required to power the 24V trolling motor. Attempting to power a 24 volt trolling motor with a single 12V battery will not work and can cause damage to the motor and battery.

Does a 24V Trolling Motor Run Longer Than 12V?

In general, a 24 volt trolling motor will run longer than a 12V trolling motor due to the increased battery capacity. When two 12V batteries are wired in series to power a 24V trolling motor, the overall battery capacity is doubled, providing more energy and allowing the motor to run for a longer time.

If you have a smaller boat or use your trolling motor at lower speeds, a 12V trolling motor may provide sufficient running time for your needs. But if you have a larger vessel or need to operate the trolling motor at higher speeds, a 24 volt trolling motor may be a better option to provide enough thrust and running time. 

Do They Make a Single 24V Trolling Motor Battery?

It’s rare to find single 24V trolling motor batteries available. A 24 volt trolling motor usually uses two 12V batteries wired together to provide the necessary voltage. When two 12V batteries are connected they effectively act as one 24V battery providing the volts required to power the 24 volt trolling motor.

It’s important to use two identical batteries to power a 24V trolling motor since using mismatched or incompatible batteries can cause damage to the motor or battery. It’s also important to choose high-quality batteries designed for marine use to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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