Garmin Force vs Ultrex: Trolling Motor Showdown

When it comes to trolling motors, Garmin Force and Minn Kota Ultrex are two of the top contenders on the market. Both motors offer advanced features and technologies that can …

When it comes to trolling motors, Garmin Force and Minn Kota Ultrex are two of the top contenders on the market. Both motors offer advanced features and technologies that can effectively improve the overall boating experience for anglers on both freshwater lakes and coastal areas.

The Garmin Force is known for its wireless capabilities, including a wireless foot pedal and remote control. It also has a built-in transducer that provides high-resolution scanning of the underwater environment around your boat. The motor is quiet, highly efficient, and provides precise control, making it easier to maneuver in different water conditions.

The Minn Kota Ultrex offers a cable-steer design and has a highly responsive foot pedal. It has an integrated GPS system that allows anglers to lock onto a fishing spot and stay in position without drifting in wind or current. The Ultrex also has a sturdy interior and exterior construction, making it ideal for use in rough waters.

While both motors have their unique selling points and may be the perfect choice for certain situations, the Garmin Force slightly edges out the Minn Kota Ultrex with its wireless capabilities, advanced imaging technology, and efficient control. The wireless foot pedal and remote control feature can provide greater freedom and flexibility on any fishing trip when compared to the Ultrex.

Garmin Force vs Minn Kota Ultrex: Comparison Table

Garmin Force
Minn Kota Ultrex
Product
Shaft Length Options
Shaft Length Options
45”, 50”, 57”
45”, 52”, 60”, 72”
Control Options
Control Options
Wireless foot pedal Wireless remote Chartplotter integration
Foot pedaliPilot integration Humminbird integration
Thrust Range
Thrust Range
57 lbs - 120 lbs
80 lbs - 136 lbs
Battery Options
Battery Options
12-volt and 24-volt
12-volt and 24-volt
Special Features
Special Features
Built-in transducerWireless foot pedal Anchor lock
Power steering i-Pilot LinkLift-assist system

Garmin Force Trolling Motor Quick Review

Garmin Force Trolling Motor Product Image
The Garmin Force Trolling Motor is high-performance and durable, designed for use in freshwater and saltwater fishing boats.
Garmin Force
Garmin Force
Garmin Force
Our Score

The Garmin Force trolling motor is a higher-end option for any anglers that are seeking advanced features and precise control. It offers a wireless foot pedal and hand-held remote for easy navigation from your favorite seat onboard. 

This trolling motor also offers advanced spot lock technology and uses GPS to keep your boat in a fixed position with exceptional accuracy, even in stronger wind and heavy currents, so you can cast your line into the right spot to land big bass. 

The Garmin Force trolling motor also has integrated sonar capabilities, including traditional CHIRP sonar and Garmin's own ClearVu and SideVu scanning sonar technology, which provide a detailed view of the underwater environment.

  • Highly advanced spot lock technology
  • Accurate integrated sonar capabilities
  • Built-in GPS and mapping features

Minn Kota Ultrex Quick Review

Minn Kota Ultrex Trolling Motor Product image
The Minn Kota Ultrex Trolling Motor is powerful and versatile, providing accurate and precise control in freshwater and saltwater fishing.
Minn Kota Ultrex
Minn Kota Ultrex
Minn Kota Ultrex
Our Score

The Minn Kota Ultrex is a popular trolling motor among anglers for its advanced features and precise control. Its cable steer foot pedal provides precise control over the motor's speed and direction, while the i-Pilot Link enables wireless remote control. 

The Ultrex also features power steering capabilities, which reduce the need for extra steering effort and improve control on both long and short trips, making it easier for anglers to maneuver their boats in the water.

  • Cable steer foot pedal
  • i-Pilot link for navigation
  • Accurate GPS Spot-Lock

Minn Kota Ultrex vs Garmin Force: Features

Motor

Minn Kota Ultrex

Minn Kota Ultrex is a trolling motor that features a cable steer foot pedal that provides precise control over the motor’s speed and direction. It also has an i-Pilot link, which enables wireless remote control, as well as power steering to reduce the need for manual steering effort. The Ultrex also has an optional built-in Mega DI transducer that provides underwater imaging to help you locate suitable fishing spots or schools of baitfish.

Garmin Force

Garmin Force features a wireless foot pedal and hand-held remote that will allow you to control the motor’s speed and direction from any seat on board. It also has advanced spot lock technology that uses highly accurate GPS to maintain the boat’s position in the water with exceptional precision. The Force also has integrated sonar capabilities including CHIRP as well as SideVu and ClearVu technology.

Spot-Lock/Anchor-Lock

Minn Kota Ultrex

Minn Kota Ultrex has a GPS-based spot lock that keeps your boat within a 5-foot designated area, while its anchor lock feature allows you to lock the motor in a specific location and hold the boat steady. Its power steering feature enables effortless turning and enhances overall maneuverability in tight spaces or when entering and leaving narrow boat slips.

Garmin Force

Garmin Force uses GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite systems for its spot lock, allowing it to maintain your boat’s position within a 3-foot circle. This makes it more precise and reliable in harsh conditions when you simply want to float near a hotspot for fish. Like the Ultrex, it also offers an anchor lock option when you want to keep yourself in a single spot without drifting.

Integrated Sonar

Minn Kota Ultrex

Minn Kota Ultrex has an optional built-in Mega DI transducer that provides clear underwater imaging and displays those images on a compatible fish finder. This feature helps anglers find and catch fish more efficiently by highlighting baitfish schools, fish arches, and prime nesting spots for your target species.

Garmin Force

Garmin Force features an integrated transducer that provides high-resolution scanning sonar and displays it on compatible Garmin chartplotters or fish finders. This allows you to see fish, underwater structures, thick vegetation, and other underwater objects in exceptional detail so you can make more informed decisions on when and where to cast your lure.

Power Options

Minn Kota Ultrex

Minn Kota Ultrex offers trolling motor models with different thrust power ratings ranging from 80 lbs to 136 lbs, allowing you to choose the power level you need for your specific boat or water conditions. The Ultrex is also available in both 24V and 36V models which provides plenty of flexibility in battery selection and motor performance for large and small boats.

Garmin Force

Garmin Force has different thrust power options ranging from 57 lbs to 120 lbs, giving you the ability to choose the appropriate motor for your fishing plans. The Force is designed to operate on either 24V or 36V battery systems making it comparable to the Ultrex in this regard.

Control Options

Minn Kota Ultrex

Minn Kota Ultrex features a foot pedal control with cable steering that allows you to control the speed and direction of the motor with your foot. It also offers an i-Pilot link, which is a wireless remote control option that lets you steer the motor and control its speed and direction from anywhere on the boat. 

Garmin Force

Garmin Force features a wireless foot pedal as part of the standard kit that allows you to control the motor’s speed and direction from any seat on the boat. The Force also offers a wireless hand-held remote control that provides steering, speed control, and anchoring functions without the use of the foot pedal. 

Auto-Pilot

Minn Kota Ultrex

Minn Kota Ultrex features an i-Pilot link, which uses GPS technology to navigate your boat along a predetermined route. This feature allows you to record and retrace successful fishing paths, set a new course, and follow it automatically from either direction. It also has a feature called “Jog,” which allows you to move the boat five feet in any direction with a press of a button helping to keep you with the movement of fish arches and schools.

Garmin Force

Garmin Force offers a heading lock option that maintains a boat’s heading and direction with no effort from you. You’ll also find the course over ground feature that maintains the boat’s course based on set GPS coordinates. It also has a follow-the-contour option which guides your boat along the contours of a body of water while fishing which is perfect when searching for fish hiding spots or nesting grounds.

Saltwater Compatibility

Minn Kota Ultrex

Minn Kota Ultrex is designed to operate in freshwater and has components that protect the motor from the effects of those freshwater environments. However, some models do come with an optional saltwater-resistant coating on external components that provides extra protection against marine environments.

Garmin Force

Garmin Force is designed to operate in both freshwater and saltwater areas. It has a sealed motor and electronics housing case that protects the motor from the corrosive effects of saltwater. It also has a sacrificial anode to help protect the motor from corrosion when used in rough coastal waters.

Minn Kota Ultrex vs Garmin Force: Final Thoughts

Minn Kota Ultrex and Garmin Force are two high-quality trolling motors with advanced features such as spot lock, integrated sonar, and autopilot. While both models offer similar features, they also have some differences that set them apart. 

Both options can help you get to specific GPS locations to locate fish and can help you control your boat more efficiently and safely on both still water and water with a current. Ultimately, the choice between which of the two models will work best for you will depend on your specific needs and fishing preferences.

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AUTHOR
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.