Outboard motor for a canoe

Outboard motor for a canoe
Video Outboard motor for a canoe

So you’re tired of paddling your canoe against the wind and current, huh?

The good news is that a trolling motor will solve your dilemma, but what is the best trolling motor for a canoe, and how can you mount one? That’s where my years of experience fishing out of kayaks and canoes come in handy!

By the end of the article, you will know why I rated the Newport Vessels X-Series the best over canoe trolling motor and why I think the Haswing Protuar is a worthy contender.

I promise not to troll you too much as we make our way through the article! haha sorry… Dad jokes.

Comparison Table: Best Electric Trolling Motors For A Canoe

ImageFeaturesRatingPriceNewport Vessels X-SeriesNewport Vessels X-SeriesView DetailsWatersnake T18 ASPWatersnake T18 ASPView DetailsMinn Kota Endura C2Minn Kota Endura C2Bass ProCabela’sNewport Vessels NV-SeriesNewport Vessels NV-SeriesView DetailsMinn Kota TraxxisMinn Kota TraxxisView DetailsMotorGuide R3MotorGuide R3Bass ProCabela’sHaswing ProtuarHaswing ProtuarView Details

Reviews Of Our Favorite Trolling Motors For Canoes

Newport Vessels X-Series


Read more: 16 ft canoe weight limit


  • 12-volts
  • 55lbs thrust
  • 36-inch fiberglass shaft
  • Eight speeds: Five forward speeds, three reverse speeds


  • Adjustable head unit
  • Telescoping handle
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Great customer service
  • Ten LED battery meter


  • Noisy
  • Spotty quality control

Why We Chose It

Newport Vessels manufactures inflatable boats and trolling motors for kayaks and canoes. The Newport Vessels Kayak Series is designed specifically for kayaks because its short 24-inch shaft makes it too short for canoes. That’s why the X-Series is the best trolling motor for a canoe for the majority of people.

The X-series is a transom mount trolling motor, so if your canoe has a flat transom or trolling motor bracket, it will fit it. The 55 pounds of thrust and five forward speeds are more than enough to propel your canoe quickly through the water so you can get to your favorite fishing spot fast.

I love the telescoping handle and adjustable head unit because the trolling motor adjusts to you and where you’re most comfortable instead of putting you in awkward positions to operate it. The fiberglass shaft is just long enough to fully submerge the lower unit but not so long that it gets in the way of your fishing.

The Newport Vessels X-Series is for every canoe enthusiast looking to add an electric trolling motor to their canoe or even a jon boat. If you have any problems with it, Newport Vessels has one of the best customer services of any trolling motor company.

Watersnake T18 ASP


Read more: 16 ft canoe weight limit


  • 12v
  • 18lbs or 24lbs of thrust
  • 24″ shaft
  • Two forward speed and two reverse speeds


  • Inexpensive
  • It comes with a kayak mount or transom mount
  • Lightweight


  • The shaft might be a little short.
  • It’s not powerful, only a maximum of 24lbs of thrust
  • Fewer speed settings

Why We Chose It

Watersnake makes several transom mount and bow mount trolling motors for anglers. They’re known for creating budget-friendly products like the T18 ASP. They are inexpensive because their products are low-tech and straightforward, so they make excellent entry-level products for beginner anglers.

The Watersnake T18 ASP is inexpensive, so if you’re unsure about canoe fishing with a trolling motor, then this will give you a decent taste without emptying your wallet. The lightweight nature of the trolling motor ensures you won’t have to compensate for it by leaning away from it while you’re in your canoe.

Depending on how tall your canoe sits out of the water, the shaft of the T18 ASP might be a little short, so you might have trouble keeping the lower unit fully submerged if you run into waves while on the water.

The Watersnake T18 ASP is for any canoe angler on a budget or the beginner wanting to test it out. Watersnake’s slogan is “Created by anglers for anglers,” which means they should understand the frustrations anglers face, and their products should help relieve those frustrations.

At the very least, they reduce the stress on your wallet!

Minn Kota Endura C2


Read more: 16 ft canoe weight limit


  • 12-volts
  • 30lbs, 45lbs, 50lbs, and 55lbs of thrust
  • 30″, 36″, and 42″ composite shaft
  • Eight speeds: Five forwards, three reverse


  • Telescoping handle
  • Indestructible composite shaft
  • Ergonomic handle design
  • Multiple thrust and shaft length options


  • Poor quality control
  • Customer service has declined in recent years.

Why We Chose It

Minn Kota has been a well-respected trolling motor manufacturer for decades. However, in recent years, Minn Kota loyalists have noticed a decline in their products and customer service quality. Hopefully, Minn Kota is working to fix these issues. With that said, they still make some of the best trolling motors on the market.

The Minn Kota Endura C2 runs off of 12-volts like the other electric motors that made this list, so you only have to buy one deep cycle battery. This also means you only have to make room for one battery, saving space and weight in your canoe.

I love having options. Minn Kota offers several options for thrust and shaft length so you can choose which best suits your needs. It’s almost like having a custom motor for your canoe at a much lower price!

The indestructible shaft of the Minn Kota Endura C2 means you won’t have to be as careful while freshwater fishing in stumpy or rocky locations. Freshwater canoers should only use the Endura C2; it’s not designed for saltwater use.

Newport Vessels NV-Series


Read more: 16 ft canoe weight limit


  • 12v or 24v
  • 36lbs, 46lbs, 55lbs, 62lbs, and 86lbs of thrust
  • 36″ shaft length
  • Eight speeds: Five forwards, three reverse


  • Saltwater and freshwater
  • Multiple thrust options
  • The telescoping tiller hand control
  • Excellent customer service


  • 86lbs of thrust requires 24-volts
  • Spotty quality control

Why We Chose It

Newport Vessels trolling motors are versatile. Initially designed for their inflatable fishing boats, they quickly made kayak trolling motors, which conveniently work well on canoes.

While their quality control lets some minor problems slip through the cracks at times, their customer service is always there to fix the problem for Newport Vessels customers.

The Newport Vessels NV-Series has the option for 24-volts and 86lbs of thrust, but that would be overkill for a canoe. I would stick with the 55lbs or 62lbs of thrust at the most to help keep the weight down while still having more than enough power to move you across the water quickly.

The telescoping handle is an excellent feature because you can set the motor back behind you at a comfortable distance and still have complete control. The biggest downside to Newport Vessels trolling motors, in general, is the spotty quality control.

However, their customer service does an excellent job of ensuring you’re back on the water as quickly as possible.

The NV-Series is an ideal trolling motor for the angler who frequently fishes saltwater and freshwater. It has several options, so you’re sure to find an electric motor that fits your style.

Minn Kota Traxxis


Read more: 16 ft canoe weight limit


  • 12v
  • 55lb thrust
  • 36″ shaft
  • Variable speed


  • Digital Maximizer
  • Telescoping handle
  • Tilting tiller handle
  • Indestructible composite shaft


  • The weedless prop isn’t that weedless.
  • Expensive compared to other canoe trolling motors

Why We Chose It

Minn Kota has been a leader in the trolling motor industry for many years, so it’s no surprise that they have a couple of trolling motors listed as one of the best trolling motors for a canoe. Their recent struggles in quality control were amplified when Lowrance and Garmin introduced the Lowrance Ghost and the Garmin Force.

Read more: 17 ft grumman aluminum canoe

However, I think Minn Kota will bounce back with a tremendous trolling motor of their own, as they’ve done time and again.

The Traxxis has Digital Maximizer, which is Minn Kota’s way of prolonging battery life. They claim Digital Maximize will increase the battery run time by five times. The reviews stated that it definitely increased battery life but not five times as much as Minn Kota’s competitors.

The 36-inch shaft is the perfect length to keep the lower unit fully submerged without interfering with your fishing activities. The Traxxis has a telescoping and tilting handle so you can find the most comfortable position for steering your canoe.

I recommend the Minn Kota Traxxis to dedicated canoe anglers. It’s more expensive than the other trolling motors on the list, so it’s not for someone just trying out canoe fishing.

MotorGuide R3


Read more: 16 ft canoe weight limit


  • 12-volts
  • 30lbs and 40lbs of thrust
  • 36-inch and 30-inch shaft
  • Seven speeds: Five forward and two reverse


  • Multiple thrust and shaft length options
  • Reversible motorhead, bow, or stern mount
  • Extending twist tiller handle


  • Loud
  • Poor customer service

Why We Chose It

MotorGuide is another brand that has manufactured trolling motors for decades. They should know what they’re doing and do it well in theory. However, the quality of their products and customer service has left a lot to be desired in recent years, despite that MotorGuide’s still trusted by many professional anglers today.

As I previously mentioned, I love having options. Hence, the MotorGuide R3 has multiple thrust and shaft length options make me happy as an angler because I’m more likely to find the perfect match of trolling motor and canoe.

Unlike other comparable trolling motors with three reverse speeds, the R3 only has two reverse speeds. While this isn’t a significant drawback, it does make one wonder why they wouldn’t want at least as many speeds as their direct competitors.

The MotorGuide R3 is a decent entry-level canoe trolling motor. If you’re still deciding if you like canoe fishing or not, then the R3 might be for you because you won’t break the bank and can afford to upgrade down the road.

Haswing Protuar Electric Trolling Motor


Read more: 16 ft canoe weight limit


  • 12v or 24v
  • 1HP or 2 HP
  • 35.4-inch shaft
  • Stepless forward and reverse


  • Quiet brushless motor
  • Saltwater and freshwater compatible
  • Battery level indicator
  • Extending and tilting handle


  • Manufactured overseas
  • Less than ideal customer service

Why We Chose It

Haswing has begun to make a name for itself in the trolling motor industry. They have several trolling motor models, including one that has GPS capabilities. They are known for making entry-level, affordable trolling motors for anglers.

The Haswing Protaur is the only brushless trolling motor on our list, which immediately gives it an edge, in my opinion, because brushless motors are quieter and more efficient than traditional motors.

The 35.4″ shaft is cast aluminum so that you can bend it, unlike a composite fiberglass shaft. The Protuar is as powerful as a one-horsepower outboard motor when using a 12v marine battery, so it has plenty of power to propel you across the water. However, the Protaur doesn’t have the weight or nose of an outboard motor.

The Haswing Protuar is for canoe anglers looking for another edge over the fish. It’s much quieter than its competitors because of the brushless motor, but it’s also slightly more expensive.

Buying Guide: Factors To Consider Before Buying Electric Canoe Motors

Factors To Consider Before Buying Electric Canoe Motors

Canoes were intended to be paddled. That’s why most don’t have a place to mount a motor. That means a few special considerations need to be made before purchasing a trolling motor for a canoe. The most important considerations are:

  • What pound thrust trolling motor do you want?
  • The weight of the motor and battery
  • Do you want a long shaft or a short shaft?
  • How will you power the trolling motor?
  • The standard features you have to have
  • How will you mount it?
  • What size trolling motor is best for a canoe?


What pound thrust trolling motor do you want or need? You might think the more thrust, the better. However, once you start getting more than 55lbs of thrust, you’re not gaining much speed compared to the added weight. For my 14′ canoe, a 55lb thrust trolling motor will push it about 3.5-4mph, which is plenty fast for me.

Read more: Grace’s canoe trip answer key

You should know that there is no set standard to measure thrust, so each company has its way of measuring it. Just because both trolling motors say, their 55lb thrust doesn’t mean they’re equally powerful. They will be relatively close, so it’s nothing to lose sleep over.


Considering the weight is important because, most likely, the trolling motor will be mounted to a bracket off the side of the canoe. So if the trolling motor is heavy, it will cause your canoe to lean, which might cause you to lose balance and flip.

That’s also why it’s essential to mount the trolling motor as close to the edge of the canoe as you can; this will make controlling the boat much safer.

The weight of the battery is also an essential consideration since canoes only have so much weight capacity. You could eat up a lot of that capacity with a 12v battery or two.

Shaft Length

The ideal shaft length keeps the lower unit submerged at all times, including when you encounter waves and is out of the way while you fish. If you fish shallowly, you don’t want the motor and prop constantly hitting the bottom. Not only does it muddy up the water, but it also scares fish away, and you could damage the shaft, motor, or prop.

I like to have the lower unit about one foot under the water’s surface. That way, I can get pretty shallow without it hitting bottom and maneuver over waves without breaking the surface and causing a huge commotion.

Power Options

The power options are pretty simple for a canoe, in my opinion. I would only run a trolling motor that requires a 12-volt battery. As we talked about earlier, this keeps the weight down, and there are fewer things that can go wrong.

If you want the added power, a 24-volt system brings more power to you! However, it’s not necessary to have a highly effective fishing canoe.

Standard Features

What standard features are most important to you? Canoe motors will not have many features. They keep everything relatively simple. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a trolling motor with the features you want and need. You might have to look a little harder, though.

If you want to put a Lowrance Ghost or Garmin Force on the front of your canoe, then I say go for it, but for the rest of us who won’t use 90% of the features they offer, it’s best to stick with a simple tiller handle trolling motor. That way, you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to place the foot-pedal.

How Will You Mount the Canoe Motor?

As I mentioned previously, most canoes don’t have a flat transom, which makes mounting a trolling motor a little more tricky than mounting one on a fishing kayak. However, as anglers, we are an industrious group of individuals and can figure out many different ways to mount a trolling motor to a canoe.

Many people DIY their mount, while others purchase one. It will depend on the make and model of your canoe as to which mount you should buy, so do your research!

What Size Trolling Motor for a Canoe?

The best size trolling motor for a canoe will vary from situation to situation. Now that I have given the copout answer, a 55lb thrust brushless motor with a 36″ shaft is the best all-around size trolling motor for a canoe.

I would also add a Lithium-Ion 12-volt battery instead of a Lead-Acid battery but more on that later.

You’ll Also Need


Once you’ve decided on which canoe motor is best for you, you’ll need to purchase a few other items to have a successful trip on the water:

  • Trolling motor canoe bracket
  • Trolling motor battery
  • Heavy-Duty Battery Cables
  • Circuit Breaker

Trolling Motor Mount For Canoes

You can purchase a trolling motor bracket for canoes or craft one yourself. Either way, you will need a bracket unless your canoe has a flat transom, then you’ll only need a way to reinforce the transom so it can support the weight of the motor.

This is one of the best DYI brackets I found on Youtube.

Trolling Motor Battery

Purchasing a trolling motor battery can be confusing. That’s why we created the Best Kayak Trolling Motor Battery article. Kayaks and canoes are similar enough that this guide will direct you in purchasing the best battery for your canoe.

*Spoiler alert* I think the Dakota Lithium 12v 54Ah is the best trolling motor battery for canoes and kayaks.

Heavy-Duty Battery Cables

Yes, I know the trolling motor comes with cables. However, they might not be long enough to run the length of your canoe if you need to place your battery on the opposite end to help disperse the weight.

Circuit Breaker

Unless you enjoy wasting money and buying a product multiple times, I suggest purchasing a circuit breaker. It will save your motor from power surges. So instead of damaging your trolling motor, the circuit breaker will trigger, and all you have to do is flip a switch or press a button to reset it.

Final Thoughts

Even though canoes were not designed to have trolling motors mounted, we found a way to prevail! A fishing canoe with a trolling motor is a game-changer.

The best trolling motor for a canoe overall is the Newport Vessels X-Series. It’s relatively inexpensive and highly versatile.

If you’re on a tight budget, check out the Watersnake T18 ASP, it’s not as powerful, but it’s cheaper than all the other trolling motors that made the list.

Do you have questions about the best trolling motor for a canoe? Feel free to ask them in the comments, and I’ll answer them as best I can!

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