7 Best Trolling Motors for Kayak in 2021
The trolling motor was invented in 1934, and so far, it has changed the way people navigate their kayaks. This electric motor makes it much easier to propel your boat because no muscle-power is required.
Interestingly though, most kayaks usually use transom trolling motors rather than the bow trolling motor because transom mountings are located at the rear rather than the bow of the kayak.
That said, the only requirement you need to install a trolling motor is a hard-shell kayak body plus transom mountings at the rear end. With that in mind, this article looks at 7 of the best trolling motors for kayaks to consider buying.
- 7 Best Trolling Motors for Kayak – Review
- 1. Watersnake FWDR54-48 – Best Overall
- 2. Newport Vessels 23M1000205 – Best for a Fishing Kayak
- 3. Minn Kota Endura C2 30 – Best Budget
- 4. Newport Vessels X-Series – Best for Saltwater
- 5. Goplus Electric Trolling Motor – with a Battery Indicator
- 6. Cloud Mountain Electric Trolling Motor – Most Powerful
- 7. Saturn Electric Trolling Motor – Short Shaft
- How to Buy the Best Trolling Motors for Kayaks
7 Best Trolling Motors for Kayak – Review
1. Watersnake FWDR54-48 (Best Overall)
2. Newport Vessels 23M1000205 (Best for a Fishing Kayak)
3. Minn Kota Endura C2 30 (Best Budget)
4. Newport Vessels X-Series (For Saltwater)
5. Goplus Electric Trolling Motor (Has Battery Indicator)
6. Cloud Mountain Electric Trolling Motor (Most Powerful)
7. Saturn Electric Trolling Motor (Short Shaft)
1. Watersnake FWDR54-48
2. Newport Vessels 23M1000205
(Best for a Fishing Kayak)
3. Minn Kota Endura C2 30
4. Newport Vessels X-Series
5. Goplus Electric Trolling Motor
(Has Battery Indicator)
6. Cloud Mountain Electric Trolling Motor
7. Saturn Electric Trolling Motor
1. Watersnake FWDR54-48 – Best Overall
- Thrust range: 54 lbs
- Shaft length: 48 inches
- Weight: N/A
Watersnake's FWDR54-48 is the best overall trolling motor because of a number of reasons. For starters, the unit has a very long 48-inch shaft, which makes it very versatile since it be retrofitted to any type of kayak.
The thruster can also be used on a regular canoe, which is longer and heavier than a kayak, so long as there are rear mounts to hold it in place.
For more versatility, this model comes with either a transom mount or a bow mount depending on your need and purpose. This is very practical as most manufacturers tend to limit you when it comes to the mounting system.
Other than that, the motor is quite powerful because it has a very respectable thrust range of 54 lbs.
More features include a foot control for easier use, a 3-blade propeller with a weedless design that can cut through underwater vegetation and durable parts that are corrosion-free, making it ideal for fresh or saltwater use.
The only problem is that you don't get a reverse speed setting.
2. Newport Vessels 23M1000205 – Best for a Fishing Kayak
- Thrust range: 36 lbs
- Shaft length: 30 inches
- Weight: 19 lbs
The Newport Vessels trolling motor offers up to 36 lbs of thrust but is easy to operate and runs cool while producing little noise. This makes it ideal for fishing kayaks because it allows for long periods of fishing without scaring the fish or overheating.
You also get a 30-inch shaft length that is fully adjustable and is made of fiberglass material, which is sturdy and corrosion-resistant.
A 6-inch long telescopic handle with an ergonomic design makes the unit easier to use while 8 speed settings (5 forward and 3 reverse) give you complete control.
Other features include a super bright 5-point LED battery indicator to show you the battery level, a lightweight 19-lb design, a transom mount and a 4-ft of battery cables.
On the downside, the motor is equipped with a small 2-blade propeller, which results in slow speed.
3. Minn Kota Endura C2 30 – Best Budget
- Thrust range: 30 lbs
- Shaft length: 30 inches
- Weight: 17 lbs
The Minn Kota Endura Max is a very affordable trolling motor and is also quite compact in size.
Since this is a fairly small trolling motor, the shaft length is also quite small, measuring in at 30 inches. However, considering that the industry standard for a shaft length is generally around 36 inches, this size can work on many types of kayaks.
Indeed, at 17 lbs, this motor is also one of the most lightweight units you will find. Installation is also quite easy as long as you have a transom mount on your kayak.
Control is done via a 6-inch handle and the motor itself is equipped with no less than 8 speeds (5 forward, 3 reverse) for flexibility and ease-of-use.
However, the unit has a low thrust of only 30 lbs., which means the model is not ideal for propelling large kayaks.
4. Newport Vessels X-Series – Best for Saltwater
- Thrust range: 55 lbs
- Shaft length: 36 inches
- Weight: 23 lbs
This Newport trolling motor is built using saltwater-compatible hardware, which includes parts made from stainless steel, zinc and magnesium.
The unit is also very powerful because it has a thrust range of 55 lbs, as well as a relatively long shaft length of 36 inches. This gives it superior performance
You also get superb maneuverability, which is supported by an 8-speed control on the handle that consists of 5 forwards speeds and 3 reverse. This makes it very easy to control.
Additionally, the shaft angle can be adjusted up to 30-degrees based on the maneuver that you want to perform with this trolling motor. All in all, this model from Newport is definitely one of the most powerful trolling motors for kayaks that you can currently buy.
The only problem is that it is quite expensive to buy.
5. Goplus Electric Trolling Motor – with a Battery Indicator
- Thrust range: 46 lbs to 86 lbs
- Shaft length: 36 inches
- Weight: 19.4 lbs to 22 lbs
The Goplus electric trolling motor is characterized by a 10-point LED battery indicator, which shows you when your battery is getting low and needs a recharge.
Other than that, you get a relatively long 36-inch shaft, which is made using fiberglass. This gives it high tensile strength and abrasion resistance for long lasting use in fresh or saltwater environments.
More features are 46-lb, 55-lb and 86-lb thrust options for different kayak sizes, a 3-blade propeller for smooth movement, 8 variable speeds for better control and a 6-inch telescopic handle. However, the product is quite expensive.
6. Cloud Mountain Electric Trolling Motor – Most Powerful
- Thrust range: 36 lbs to 86 lbs
- Shaft length: 28 inches
- Weight: 20.3 lbs to 23.5 lbs
Cloud Mountain's trolling motor actually consists of a very diverse range of thrust ranges, which consists of the most powerful one; an 86-lb electric engine.
Despite the thrust range though, each one has a 28-inch shaft, which is most suitable to use in inflatable kayaks. This composite shaft is made using fiberglass material, which gives it high tensile strength and corrosion-resistance.
Other features include an ergonomic 6-inch handle, 8 variable speed settings, an adjustable shaft and a 10-point LED battery indicator to show you the battery level.
However, the short 28-inch shaft limits the motor's use to smaller, shallower boats such as the inflatable kayaks.
7. Saturn Electric Trolling Motor – Short Shaft
- Thrust range: 55 lbs
- Shaft length: 26 inches
- Weight: 17 lbs
The Saturn motor is quite unique because it has a short shaft design that is only 26 inches long. This makes it ideal for small, inflatable kayaks, which are very common.
Other than that, the unit has one of the best weight to performance ratios when compared to other models.
Indeed, with a thrust range of 55 lbs., this motor can power a small kayak as well as an oversized kayak with ease and yet, it only weighs 17 lbs.
More features include a 50-amp power draw, an adjustable collar for adjusting the motor's depth, an adjustable handle to your desired angle, 8-speed settings (5 forward and 3 reverse) and a composite shaft that is stronger and more flexible than the metallic type.
However, this piece only has a transom mount clamping mechanism. You cannot mount it on the kayak's bow.
How to Buy the Best Trolling Motors for Kayaks
Before finding the best trolling motor for kayak, there are some important aspects to take into account. Here they are:
1. Saltwater or Freshwater
First and foremost, you must choose a trolling motor based on whether you will be kayaking in saltwater or freshwater. There is a difference as a saltwater trolling motor has an abrasion-resistant build that does not corrode when it comes in contact with saltwater.
As a general rule of thumb, trolling motors such as Newport Vessels' X-Series are recommended because they built using anti-corrosive parts. This makes it ideal for use in freshwater or saltwater.
2. Kayak size
The kayak size plays an important part in your choice of a trolling motor. The bigger the size of your kayak, the more powerful your trolling motor must be. Since most trolling motors have a 12 V motor, you may want to go with a more powerful 24 V or even 36 V motor depending on the size of your kayak.
3. Mounting place
You should decide on the mounting place of your trolling motor. While most people would choose the rear of the kayak, where the transom mount is located, some people may choose the bow or even the rear engine block for mounting their trolling motor.
A bow is a mounting place that is either at the front of the kayak or to the side. One of the advantages of mounting your trolling motor to the bow is that it liberates the cockpit and offers you greater maneuverability and control.
Not all kayaks come with an engine block. If yours does and has cavitation plates at the back, then you can fit your trolling motor to your engine block for better efficiency.
4. Shaft length
The shaft length is an important consideration. If the shaft is not long enough, then the propeller will not be submerged enough in the water thus making it inefficient. On the other hand, if the shaft is too long, then the motor would have to work extra hard.
While there is no exact shaft length when it comes to the trolling motor, from personal experience we recommend that you submerge the motor around 12 in from the center of the motor. This shaft length provides the best performance ratio for almost any type of kayak.
That said, and adjustable shaft such as the one in Newport Vessels' 23M1000205 is recommended so that you can set it to the preferrable length according to your kayak's size.
5. Shaft Build Quality
Since the shaft the most vulnerable part of a trolling motor, you need to ensure that it is built from high-quality materials so that it can withstand heavy use.
In general, most quality shafts like in Goplus's Electric Trolling Motor are made from a fiberglass composite that has a high tensile strength and will not break easily.
Basically, there are 3 different types of voltages in the trolling motor: 12 V, 24 V and 36 V. The higher the voltage of the trolling motor, the more performance it has.
Generally, kayaks can be propelled by 12 V trolling motor as this is powerful enough. Bear in mind that a single 12 V battery produces around 68 lbs to 80 lbs of thrust which is a good enough for a kayak weighing around 40 lbs to 50 lbs.
7. Ease of use
You do not want a trolling motor that is unnecessarily complex. Moreover, its usage should be equally easy as well by have a handle or foot pedal that easily controls the motors’ speed and performance. For this, check out Watersnake's FWDR54-48.
Read More: 10 Best Trolling Motors
In conclusion, all the trolling motors reviewed above are ideal for use in kayaks but Watersnake's FWDR54-48 stands out as the overall best because it has a long shaft that can be practically used in all types of kayaks. It is also quite powerful and has a convenient foot control for easy use.
If you want to use your kayak for fishing, Newport Vessels' 23M1000205 is your best bet because it runs smoothly without overheating. For those on a tight budget, we recommend Minn Kota's Endura C2 30 as the best trolling motor for kayaks.