If you think that every kayak trolling motor is the same and unique, then you should probably read this article. This is so because not all kayak trolling motors are created equal. Which one is best for you out of all those who tout themselves as the best? Choosing the best kayak trolling motors requires some skill, and we can help you out with an objective to assist you in making the right decision.
In this post, I use my experience as a professional kayak angler to help you decide which trolling motor is best for you. If you’re looking for the best trolling motors for kayaks, we have put together a shopping guide for you – it will help you choose the right motor for you!
Best Trolling Motors For Kayaks – Quick Comparison
Best Trolling Motors For Kayaks Reviews
1. Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb/55lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor
- Fiberglass 24″ shaft length, adjustable
- Tiller grip, 23 pounds in weight.
- 36 or 55-pound thrust
- Three backward and five forward speeds
- Use of freshwater and saltwater
Newport Vessels’ trolling motors are so silent that at low speeds, you risk leaving them on unintentionally and depleting the battery. Consumers claim that the new throttle locations provide solid clicks to signal when you’ve changed gears or switched the motor off. The 6-inch telescopic handle allows you to adjust the speed and choose between three backward speeds and five forward speeds.
Newport Vessels’ trolling motors are so silent that at low speeds, you risk leaving them on unintentionally and depleting the battery. The major disadvantage is the absence of GPS anchoring since you will need to continually change the motor’s direction and speed while battling the wind and tide. It has an all-aluminum head, and only corrosion-resistant zinc, magnesium, and stainless steel components.
- Capabilities in both freshwater and saltwater
- Excellent client service
- Built for kayaks
- Various mounting possibilities
- Adjustable handle
- Inexpensive price
- Adequate battery life
- fantastic client service
- The adjustable shaft is brief
- Only the tiller handle operation
- Without GPS anchoring
2. Watersnake T18 ASP – 18 Pound Thrust 12v Electric Saltwater Trolling Motor With Kayak Bracket
- 18 or 24-pound thrust
- Corrosion-resistant 24″ shaft made of stainless steel
- Use of freshwater and saltwater
- 12-volt battery
- Hi-Lo speed settings
Watersnake’s ASP Saltwater Trolling Motor weighs less than 5 pounds and produces 18 pounds of thrust, which is sufficient to move your kayak and gear but never a bigger boat. It has a two-blade propeller, adjustable mount fitting, anti-impact clip system, and an extensible handle. This is without a doubt one of the best solutions available if you’re looking for a little motor that is ideal for usage only with a kayak.
This trolling motor is unquestionably the best trolling motor for ideal, lightweight kayaks. It features an adjustable mount fitting that works with the majority of fishing kayak fittings and a 24-inch shaft that can be shortened for usage offshore. The lack of control I have over speed is one thing I dislike. There are just a few simple Hi-Lo speed settings included with the motor.
- Constructed to fit kayaks and canoes
- Saltwater trolling motor that is pricey
- both forward and back
- Flexible handle
- Dependable performance
- Outstanding ocean fishing
- Ultra-quiet; High-Low speed settings
- Easy-grip, extendable handle
- The bracket is not very good.
- Two-speed settings
- Not strong
- There is no integrated battery level indicator.
- Our list’s lowest thrust rating
3. Newport Vessels NV-Series 36lb Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Trolling Electric Trolling Motor
- Thrust 36 pounds
- 30″ shaft length, adjustable
- Weigh 18 pounds
This trolling motor from the Newport Vessels kayak series has 36 pounds of thrust and is made to be used in both freshwater and saltwater. For long-term durability, it contains a 30-inch fiberglass shaft and a 6-inch telescopic handle. It might not be as silent at high speeds as a trade-off though.
The NV series trolling motors were built for extended battery life rather than sheer power. 36 pounds of thrust is a lot for a kayak, so moving quickly through currents won’t be a problem. It may be used with kayaks, small boats, inflatable dinghies, and inflatable boats. It is robust to withstand saltwater corrosion and has the same 6-inch telescopic handle as the 55.
- Telescoping grip
- Friendly to both freshwater and saltwater
- Excellent transmission
- Flexible shaft
- Increased battery life
- three-bladed prop
- 8 rates
- At high speeds, can be loud.
- Not made for use with lithium batteries
- You must mount it on a kayak by yourself.
4. Watersnake T24 ASP – 24 Pound Thrust 12v Electric Saltwater Trolling Motor With Kayak Bracket
- 18 to 24 lb of thrust
- Type of electric elevator
- The 12-volt battery
An entry-level motor with kayak mounts is an option. A 35amh battery can last for around 4 hours, but the larger the battery capacity, the longer it can last. A 12-foot kayak can travel inland at roughly 4 miles per hour. It has two-speed settings, and while using them is straightforward, getting the most out of them takes some skill.
The speed of a clam boat is dependent on the wind, tide and current – but generally speaking, it can go at around 4 miles per hour on high and half that on low. Being mindful that rapid speed can shorten the battery life more quickly is important to keep in mind. For the majority of trolling motors, it would be beneficial to get a battery level indicator for peace of mind – these may be purchased at a reasonable price.
- Enough power to be useful
- Can accelerate to roughly 4 mph
- Two-speed forward and backward
- Speed switches are difficult.
5. Minn Kota Endura Freshwater Transom Mounted Trolling Motor
- Shaft length: 30 to 42 inches
- 30 – 55 lb. thrust
- Transom mount type
- 5 forward and 3 backward speeds
- 12 volts
The Minn Kota Endura C2 40 is a transom-mounted motor with a 36-inch shaft and 40 pounds of thrust. It features a telescopic handle, a premium composite shaft, five forward directions, and three backward directions. The battery life is increased with this motor, allowing the user to spend more time on the lake. Overall, it’s a fantastic choice for newcomers with a reasonable price and outstanding features.
Six-inch telescopic tiller provides easy, comfortable, and intuitive use. Electric power allows it to operate fast, quietly, and without disturbing fish. Minn Kota Endura trolling motor has an unbreakable shaft that can withstand corrosion. The engine’s performance is unsurpassed even by the best trolling motors of its kind.
- Adjustable Forward and Reverse Speed
- Lock Lever Bracket
- Broad-Area Tiller
- Peaceful & Clean
- Composite Shaft That Is Indestructible
- Use only freshwater; not appropriate for use in the ocean
- It’s intended to be attached to the transom.
6. Watersnake Tracer Transom Mount Trolling Freshwater Motor
- The equivalent of a 1.8 HP outboard motor
- Shaft length of 19.7″
- The transom mount
- Rudder control
It is just a mile per hour slower than the Torqeedo 1103 AC, but it costs half as much. Everything you need to start rolling is included in the package except a 24-volt battery. Given the restricted space in a kayak, the bigger or additional battery adds significantly to the weight and size of your kayak. Using the included wires or the rudder or motor to steer, you may control it.
One of their best budget-friendly versions is the Tracer Transom Mount Trolling Motor. It has a 30, 44, and 54-pound thrust power and is designed to accommodate freshwater. Similar to the ASP series, this model has a sturdy metal clamp and an ergonomic transom mount. The shaft is one of the best choices for small boats like kayaks and Jon boats.
- Low-noise brushless motor
- Specifically made for kayak anglers
- Utilizes AGM or lithium batteries.
- Saltwater and freshwater
- Two 12-volt batteries or a 24-volt battery are required.
- The runtime at full speed is brief.
7. Watersnake T18 ASP – 18 Pound Thrust 12v Electric Saltwater Trolling Motor With Transom Mount
- Thrust: 18 or 24 lbs
- Shaft Length: 24”
- Weight: 4.85 lbs (ASP T18)
Watersnake’s T18S trolling motor has a 24-inch heavy-duty alloy shaft and 2-blade propeller. It features a backward and forward switch, and it can be set to run at high or low speed. Two engine sizes are available from Watersnake for their trolling motors: the ASP T18 and ASP T24. The smallest of the two trolling motors weighs in at little under 5 pounds.
The T18 and T20 are two different motors that can be built to suit practically any kayak and are available with a bracket or transom mount. Both have straightforward controls that let you choose between forwarding and backward as well as low and high speed using two switches positioned on the engine casing. Watersnake trolling motors are a great option for still lakes and ponds but don’t have enough thrust for strong currents.
- Excellent battery life
- Ideal for kayaks, short shaft
- Easy controls
- Not the strongest alternatives available
- Best in calm water
8. Goplus Electric Trolling Motor 8 Speed, Boat Fishing Motor For Freshwater Saltwater Use
- Use of freshwater and saltwater
- 45, 55, and 86-pound thrust
- 12-volt battery
- 24-inch shaft
- 8-speed settings
This GoPlus Electric Trolling Motor is the one to choose if you’re seeking an electric kayak motor. It can compete with the Newport Vessels series at a terrific price. But without the 12V marine-grade battery you’ll need to power the motor, it weighs 18 pounds. If you’re close to the kayak’s weight limit, take this into account. It’s powered by an electric motor with a thrust of 46, 55, or 86 pounds, and comes with its own onboard battery charger.
A 10-point LED battery indicator is also included to indicate how much juice is left in the onboard battery. The motor has a 36-inch shaft, a two-blade propeller, and eight settings for adjusting forward and backward speed. It also includes a telescopic handle, mounting bracket tilting mechanism, and an adjustable shaft for the right location in terms of depth.
- Telescoping handle with an integrated eight-speed dial
- Depth-adjustable shaft and tilting attachment bracket
- A 10-point LED battery indicator is included.
- Features of a three-blade propeller
- Possesses no issues handling saltwater
- It weighs 18 pounds, which is a fair amount.
- The throttle detents deteriorate more quickly than anticipated.
- A more ergonomic design might be used for the handle.
How To Choose The Best Kayak Trolling Motors? Buying Guide
Weight – How much do trolling motors for kayaks weigh?
The majority of fishing kayaks can support up to 300 pounds of weight. The more weight you add to the kayak, the harder it is to paddle. Because of this, lighter motors are typically a better option. You must consider your kayak’s maximum carrying capacity while choosing the battery, the mount, and the trolling motor.
Lighter motors are typically a better option as they tend to be more fuel-efficient and less prone to overheating. Remember the kayak weight limit is also important. A kayak can only carry so much weight before starting to sink and absorb water. Too much bulk in the bow or stern might cause your ‘yak’s trim to move, burying one end or making it ride far too low in the water.
Thrust – How Much Thrust Do I Need For My Kayak Trolling Motor?
A 12-foot kayak, for instance, needs a minimum of 30 pounds of thrust. Since most kayaks are 8 to 10 feet in length, 30 to 40 pounds is typically plenty. The majority of kayak trolling motors offer far more thrust than merely 8 pounds. Finding a balance is essential since your battery will be drained more quickly.
You need around a 2-pound thrust for every 100 pounds of weight – so a 50-pound kayak would weigh 50 pounds if it were powered by an internal engine. The size of your boat will have the most impact on this, but given the lightweight nature of kayaks, this is not much of a problem. Depending on the length of the boat and quantity of gear you’re using, choose a trolling motor for propulsion.
Shaft Length – How long a shaft do you need?
For kayak trolling motors, stick with short shafts; preferably 24′′ to 36′′. A lengthy shaft will simply hinder your cast, hookset, or retrieve OR it will be more likely to collide with the water’s surface and submerge objects like rocks and stumps. The propeller must be submerged to avoid drawing air from the surface and creating a lot of noise. A propeller that is partially immersed in the water may not be able to move as much water as one that is totally submerged.
The ideal shaft length for attaching a trolling motor to a kayak is between 18 and 24 inches. An excessively long shaft can scratch the floor or make the motor difficult to manage. The best trolling motors for kayaks have very short shafts, meaning they won’t be positioned very far above the water’s surface. Long shafts will keep you out of the shallows and make returning to shore more difficult.
Power Options – How much power do a trolling motor for kayaks need?
For my kayak, I continue to use 12-volt trolling motors. A 24-volt-capable trolling motor will have greater thrust, but it will also weigh more. Trolling motors are designed to move objects the size and mass of bass boats. Since a trolling motor’s thrust is measured in pounds rather than horsepower, even the smallest electric motors provide more than enough thrust for a kayak.
The majority of trolling motors are designed for small boats, so they have plenty of power to propel your kayak across the water. On calm water, a trolling motor with a maximum thrust of 20 pounds would still be able to move a boat that weighs 1000 pounds. Given that ‘yaks don’t weigh nearly as much, the situation is implausible, but you get the idea.
Size – How much size of your kayak trolling motors do you need?
The best-sized trolling motor for a kayak will have a 24-36 inch shaft, 55 pounds of thrust, and a 12-volt battery. Depending on the size, mass, and height of your kayak, the answer will change a little. You can move with less thrust and a shorter shaft if you own a smaller 10′ kayak. Since kayaks are typically lighter than other kinds of boats, you won’t need as much power as you would for bass boats.
Although a larger motor won’t always propel you quicker, it can let you keep moving at your top speed while fighting the wind or current. For kayaks, a trolling motor that is “underpowered” seldom causes problems. Although it won’t travel very fast, even the “weakest” units will outpace your typical paddling speed. Weight and length won’t be important factors in deciding how much thrust is needed to move it. In reality, you need two pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of weight.
Mounting System – Transom or Bow Mounted?
Most kayaks are not intended to support a mounting mechanism, so most leisure and adventure kayaks cannot have a trolling motor fitted to them. A transom mounting solution that fits the scuppers behind your cockpit is what you should seek instead. Bass boat fishermen can control trolling motors from the captain’s chair or while standing on the deck by mounting them on a ‘yak’s bow mount.
If you are planning to use a trolling motor on a kayak, you may need to cut holes in your kayak. Some specialist installations let you attach the trolling motor to the bow or rear of your boat. To fit beneath your cockpit, trolling motors for kayaks require a transom mounting method. These provide a sturdy bar on which to mount your new motor and are adjustable to accommodate most kayaks.
Battery – How Long Do The Kayak Trolling Motor Batteries Last For?
Check your kayak’s maximum weight limit to get a sense of what you can carry. Electric engines need power sources with voltages greater than 12 volts, such as 12, 24, and 36 volts. A deep cycle battery or marine battery will typically be used. Some motors may work best with a Mighty Max battery since they typically have long battery life.
Lithium-ion batteries are superior to nickel-metal hydride and sealed lead-acid batteries for electric motor motors. Batteries come in 12, 24, and 36-volt sizes, and depending on weight of the kayak and gear it has, choose the appropriate voltage. For long durations of fishing, you’ll want the maximum 12-volt battery for maximum performance. But unless you’re toting a bear about with you, scaling up shouldn’t be required.
Control Type – Do you want a remote control, tiller, or foot pedal option?
Hand controls are used on the best trolling motors for kayaks – this makes speed adjustments much more accurate. Some kayak motors have a straightforward tiller that can be used with one hand, others may need some modifications to enable you to operate them with your feet. The remote control is included with some trolling motors so you can drive your boat using just the buttons on the remote. Trolling motors installed on the bow is meant to be utilized with foot pedals – they are operated while standing and fishing.
You should know how fast is a pedal kayak. You may manually guide or lift the trolling motor by using the tiller, which is a handle attached to the top of the motor. You should remain seated when running your motor if you wish to remain in your kayak. Although there are pricey remote control choices, a tiller handle is a most straightforward and often used setup.
Furthermore, when it comes to mastering the waters in a kayak, trolling motors are a pivotal tool, offering pinpoint accuracy and ease of movement. But their true potential is unlocked when paired with best kayak outriggers. These accessories act as guardians of balance, forming a barrier against unexpected tipping, and fine-tuning the boat’s direction, particularly when the trolling motor is engaged. Together, a high-end trolling motor and steadfast outriggers are the alchemy that redefines the boundaries of kayaking, granting a passage that’s fluid, unshakeable, and proficient, irrespective of the temperament of the waters.
Saltwater Compatibility – Do you need a saltwater or freshwater motor?
Some trolling motors can function in both freshwater and saltwater conditions. A saltwater motor has a bottom anode more protected than one designed for freshwater. Alt water kayaks, which are more expensive, at least have better degrees of corrosive protection. Most trolling motors from well-known companies, like Minn Kota, offer many variants for various situations.
Saltwater trolling motors must be coated or constructed with anti-corrosive metals like stainless steel or zinc to protect them from the high corrosiveness of salt water. A freshwater motor can only be utilized in, well, freshwater. An electric trolling motor rated for operation in both freshwater and saltwater waters is typically constructed to a better level than one just intended for freshwater.
Legal – Is It Legal To Put A Trolling Motor On A Kayak? Do you need to register a Kayak with a trolling motor?
It is legal and common to mount a trolling motor on a kayak, but there’s a catch. You’ll probably need to register your kayak or canoe with the DMV in your state. Many jurisdictions mandate the registration of all boats with engines, even trolling motors. Check that you are in compliance by contacting your local wildlife and fisheries department.
You see, motorized kayaks are governed by a different set of rules than “normal,” paddle-propelled watercraft in the majority of states – not only in the US but all throughout the globe. It will be categorized as a motorized watercraft, therefore registration and licensing will probably be necessary.
If you are planning to kayak on a public waterway, it is important to make sure that your kayak complies with all applicable laws and regulations. This includes registering it in the state where it will be used most often, such as New Jersey or Delaware. Kayak registrations are typically handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Department of Natural Resources. However, it’s best to check with local authorities.
Speed Settings – How Fast Will A Kayak Go With A Trolling Motor? Speed and distance
Many trolling motors come with a variety of speed settings so you may change your speed while you’re out on the water. By adjusting the speed, you may also extend the power of your battery since slower speeds need the battery to work less. Some trolling motors only have a one-speed setting and are thus considered “fixed-speed”.
The majority of trolling motors feature preset forward and reverse speeds. Cheaper trolling motors typically have fewer gears, which might cause you to go at an excessively fast or slow speed. A minimum of five forward and three reverse speeds are desirable in items. The ability for higher speeds increases with increasing thrust, but this depends on a variety of factors, including the state of the water and how much weight you’re carrying.
The majority of trolling motors feature preset forward and reverse speeds. It will be simpler to obtain the best kayak speed for the water and weather circumstances if you have more gears. As slower speeds utilize less power and hence deplete the battery more gradually, motors with several speed settings typically have longer battery lifetimes.
A trolling motor is a lifesaver when you have a long distance to go from your launch to your fishing location. Cheaper trolling motors typically have fewer gears, which might cause you to go at an excessively fast or slow speed. To avoid straining against current or tides, or traveling too quickly, look for items having at least five forward and three reverse speeds.
Budget – How much does a kayak trolling motor cost? What Is A Good Price For A Trolling Motor?
The price of a good trolling motor may range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Your budget is perhaps the most crucial factor to take into account when purchasing a trolling motor. Choose the amount you are comfortable paying before searching for the type that most closely fits your requirements.
A high-spec motor can offer features that you don’t need and will never use, so keep in mind that more costly does not necessarily equate to better. If you are looking for the best trolling motor for your kayak, here are our top three picks for trolling motors.
Do you really need a handle that glows in the dark or 100 pounds of thrust? Most likely not. Foot-operated trolling motors are typically more costly than hand-operated motors installed on transoms. Transom-mounted motors of greater quality begin to be available around the $200 price point, and excellent foot-driven motors begin to come in at about the $600 price point.
FAQs to Consider Before Purchasing Kayak Trolling Motors
What Is A Kayak Trolling Motor?
A tiny electric engine called a trolling motor is used to navigate without startling fish. Typically put on the bow of bass boats so that it may be used while fishing on foot. A trolling motor enables fishermen to make precise changes in near quiet rather than having to start a noisy outboard.
A trolling motor is typically a bow-mounted engine used to guide a bigger boat while fishing. They are practical for the low-speed steering required for fishing for bass and crappie, for example. Trolling motors are typically operated by a foot pedal, letting the angler continue reeling in fish while steering.
Why Do You Need A Trolling Motor?
A trolling motor is an excellent addition to a kayak for fishermen and hunters for a variety of reasons. They are really just a nice extra that makes certain kayaking activities simpler, but you can survive without them. A motor may make all the difference whether you use it for kayak fishing, hunting, or transportation (particularly upstream or against the tide).
Most likely, paddling is an enjoyable element of recreational kayaking on the still lakes and slow-moving rivers in your region. You may arrive at your “honey spot” with a trolling motor feeling as fresh as a daisy and prepared for a long day of fishing or hunting. Paddling may be exhausting, particularly if you’re moving quickly up a river or across a turbulent lake.
Early dawn is often the best time for fishing, and a trolling motor makes it easier to get to your fishing spot. A trolling motor allows you to move (largely) hands-free and concentrate on your current work. This means you don’t have to worry about attempting to swap between your paddle and pistol or fishing rod.
Tilting or non-tilting driveshaft?
A non-tilting driveshaft is good, but when you approach the shore or are kayaking in very shallow water, problems may arise. A tilting drive shaft, on the other hand, maybe raised and secured out of the water, preventing the propeller from colliding with the ground or rocks. When making your selection, be aware that inexpensive trolling motors often do not tilt.
Is your Kayak Suitable for a trolling motor?
Although most sea/fishing kayaks will be similar, there will be variations in their length and weight. It is recommended to evaluate the weight and size unless you want your bow to be 90 degrees in the air by purchasing either a too strong or a too heavy motor. If you are looking for a fun way to test out your kayak skills on the water, we don’t recommend drilling a trolling motor into a rodeo kayak.
Is It Easy To Add A Trolling Motor Onto A Kayak?
How to mount a trolling motor on a kayak. A trolling motor should be simple to mount, but you will typically need a mount to connect it to. Unless your kayak already has a motor mount, you can either purchase or create this mount. Go to this tutorial to learn more about how to put a trolling motor on a kayak.
Trolling Motor vs. Outboard Motor: What’s the Difference?
Trolling motors and outboard motors have a similar appearance at first sight. The more I studied the subject, the more I learned about the essential distinctions between the two. It became clear why kayakers choose a trolling motor over an outboard motor – and why they use different motors for different tasks.
Both outboard and trolling motors are self-contained motor units (comprising of engine, gearbox, and propeller) attached to your boat. They are typically fastened to a pivoting mount that lets you maneuver the boat and may be angled upward to prevent striking the bottom in areas with shallow water.
Making the option to purchase a trolling motor will be crucial, and it will depend on the sort of kayak you have. Choices depend on a number of factors, such as the sort of kayak you want to use and the area in which you live – but keep that in mind when making an informed decision.
The trolling motors with the best performance will be the best trolling motors for kayaks. They produce sufficient thrust, has adjustable speed settings and can work in many environments. Just keep in mind that if you install a trolling motor on your kayak, you may need to think about getting it registered or licensed.