7 Best Trolling Motors for Kayak – Reviews and Buying Guide
The trolling motor was invented in 1934, and so far, it has changed the way people navigate with their kayaks. This electric motor for kayaks makes it so much easier to propel your boat and no muscle-power or even a paddle is necessary to move at high speeds with the trolling motor.
Interestingly, most kayaks usually use the transom trolling motor rather than the bow trolling motor as in general, kayaks have a transom mount and fittings located at the rear rather than the bow of the kayak.
Indeed, the only requirement you need for installing a trolling motor to your kayak is a hard-shell kayak equipped with a transom mount at the rear and you are good to go.
Moreover, one of the best things about the trolling motor is its ease of use and affordable price. Even if you have never used a trolling motor before, it is easier to install and use than you think.
- 7 Best Trolling Motors for Kayak - Reviews
- #1. Newport Vessels NV-Series Saltwater Transom Electric Trolling Motor
- #2. Minn Kota Endura Max In Shaft Trolling Motor
- #3. Saturn Short Shaft Electric Trolling Motor
- #4. Newport Vessels X-Series Electric Trolling Motor
- #5. Watersnake FWDR54-48 Trolling Motor
- #6. Goplus Electric Trolling Motor with Adjustable Handle
- #7. Cloud Mountain Electric Trolling Motor
- How to Buy a Trolling Motor
7 Best Trolling Motors for Kayak - Reviews
1. Newport Vessels NV-Series Saltwater Transom Electric Trolling Motor
2. Minn Kota Endura Max In Shaft Trolling Motor
3. Saturn Short Shaft Electric Trolling Motor
4. Newport Vessels X-Series Electric Trolling Motor
5. Watersnake FWDR54-48 Trolling Motor
6. Goplus Electric Trolling Motor With Adjustable Handle
46 lbs - 86 lbs
19.4 lbs - 22 lbs
7. Cloud Mountain Electric Trolling Motor
36 lbs - 86 lbs
20.3 lbs - 23.5 lbs
#1. Newport Vessels NV-Series Saltwater Transom Electric Trolling Motor
Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)
- Thrust range: 36 lbs
- Shaft length: 30 inches
- Weight: 20 lbs
The Newport Vessels is an affordable and yet high-performing transom electric motor for kayaks. This model has a thrust range of 36 lbs, which is high enough such that it displaces enough water to propel a small to medium-size kayak with ease.
You will need a transom mount at the back of your kayak to install this trolling motor. However, in case you do not have one, a DIY job is always possible on your kayak to accommodate it. Additionally, the shaft length of 30 inches is fully adjustable for more convenience.
The 6 in the handle is long and coated with a soft rubber material such that it is more comfortable to hold for an extended period of time. Overall, the maneuverability with this trolling motor is very good.
Best of all, this model has no less than 8 speeds for more efficiency and versatility. You will find 5 forward motion speeds as well as 3 reverse speeds.
The entire motor is propelled by a 12 V power source which is pretty standard. In addition, you have a LED battery meter that will show you the status of your battery at all times.
#2. Minn Kota Endura Max In Shaft Trolling Motor
Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)
- Thrust range: 30 lbs
- Shaft length: 30 inches
- Weight: 17 lbs
The Minn Kota Endura Max is a small and efficient trolling motor designed for small kayaks. Due to its low thrust range of 30 lbs, this model is definitely not intended for heavy-duty applications or for installation in a large kayak.
However, if you own a small boat, like a sit-in kayak, this lightweight trolling motor for a kayak will go above and beyond when it comes to performance. Indeed, at 17 lbs, this motor is also one of the most lightweight you will find in this review. Installation is also quite easy as long as you have a transom mount on your kayak.
Since this is a fairly small trolling motor, the shaft length is also on the small side at 30 inches. Let’s keep in mind that the industry standard for a shack length is generally around 36-inch in length. However, even at 30-inch, it is still more than adequate especially if this trolling motor is installed on a low profile and compact kayak.
You control this trolling motor with its 6-in handle and the motor itself is equipped with no less than 8 speeds for flexibility and ease-of-use. Best of all, due to the modern design of the 12 V motor, it performs efficiently as well as operates silently.
#3. Saturn Short Shaft Electric Trolling Motor
Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)
- Thrust range: 55 lbs
- Shaft length: 26 inches
- Weight: 17 lbs
The Saturn Short is a top-rated trolling motor for kayak and has one of the best weight to performance ratio 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.
Additionally, the motor has a 50 A power draw as well as a highly efficient motor that makes it not only performing but also silent during operation.
Best of all, it weighs only 17 lbs which makes it easy to carry as well as highly maneuverable in water.
The handle is coated with a soft rubber material which makes it very comfortable to hold, even for an extended period of time.
The shaft length of 26-inch is not the longest we have seen as this is indeed quite short. However, even at 26-inch, it is still more than sufficient for a regular kayak.
Of course, the shaft length is fully adjustable and this model has one of the best staff adjustments we have seen as it has a depth collar system that can be tightened or loosened based on the adjustment you want.
#4. Newport Vessels X-Series Electric Trolling Motor
Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)
- Thrust range: 55 lbs
- Shaft length: 36 inches
- Weight: 23 lbs
This Newport trolling motor is an enhanced an upgraded version to the model we have reviewed above. This one is definitely more powerful as it has a thrust range of 55 lbs as well as a long shack length of 36-inch. Indeed, this trolling motor has a superior performance when compared to other models.
Best, the part that comes into contact with water is made from stainless steel which means that this trolling motor can be used in both saltwater and freshwater, no problem. Maneuverability is excellent and there is an 8-speed control on the handle that 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.
It has the right combination of almost everything in a trolling motor, with a respectable shaft length of 36-inch, an excellent thrust range of 55 lbs, as well as a fairly lightweight of 23 lbs.
#5. Watersnake FWDR54-48 Trolling Motor
Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)
- Thrust range: 54 lbs
- Shaft length: 48 inches
- Weight: N/A
The Watersnake FWDR54-48 is a powerful kayak trolling motor that has a very respectable thrust range of 54 lbs and a very long shaft length of 48-inch. In fact, this model has the longest shaft length we have seen in this kayak trolling motor review.
Due to the long shaft length, this motor can be retrofitted to any type of kayak and will even power a regular canoe which has long besides than the kayak. As long as it has a motor mount at the rear, it will work.
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. You will not face such a problem with this Watersnake trolling motor.
One of the best things about this model is that it is foot controlled for better ease-of-use. The 3 blade propeller of this trolling motor is very efficient and will not make the motor work more than what it has to.
Overall, you will have a satisfactory performance with this trolling motor as it performs in both freshwater and saltwater equally well.
#6. Goplus Electric Trolling Motor with Adjustable Handle
Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)
- Thrust range: 46 lbs to 86 lbs
- Shaft length: 36 inches
- Weight: 19.4 lbs to 22 lbs
The Goplus is a popular trolling motor that has an efficient design as well as a long shaft of 36-inch. One of the best things about this trolling motor is that it comes in different weights as well as different thrust ranges to suit different needs and purpose.
This model comes equipped with a 10 LED light indicator for the battery such that you are able to tell when your battery is getting low and need a recharge. The build construction of this trolling motor is okay, as it is made from a high-grade plastic that offers good resistance to both seawater and freshwater. Although, we would have preferred stainless steel parts.
In addition, the handle is a tiller twist control and the motor has 8 variable speeds that give you more control over the speed. Not to mention that the handle itself is ergonomic and coated with a soft rubber for comfort.
#7. Cloud Mountain Electric Trolling Motor
Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)
- Thrust range: 36 lbs to 86 lbs
- Shaft length: 28 inches
- Weight: 20.3 lbs to 23.5 lbs
The Cloud Mountain is almost a carbon-copy of the Goplus model we reviewed above. Except for the fact that this trolling motor has a smaller shaft size of 28-inch. You do have a more diversified choice when it comes to the thrust range with this short shaft trolling motor for kayak from Cloud Mountain.
Again, we see the same plastic build construction that makes it resistant to both freshwater and seawater, as well as sporting a comfortable and ergonomic 6 in handle with 8 variable speeds. Angular adjustment of the shaft is equally easy and the angle can also be easily locked in position.
All in all, this trolling motor is easy to use and comes in different weights and thrust ranges for flexibility.
How to Buy a Trolling Motor
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 for kayak has a more heavy-duty build construction as well as made from materials that are corrosion resistant and will not rust or corrode when it comes in contact with saltwater.
As a general rule, trolling motors that are built with either a high-grade plastic or stainless-steel parts can be used in both freshwater and 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.
Additionally, make sure that adjusting the shaft length is easy. Some models allow you to quickly and easily adjust this length with the push of a button. With others, especially older trolling motor models, you will need either a screwdriver or spanner to do so. Which can be an inconvenience as it takes more time to adjust the shaft length.
#5. Shaft Build Quality
Since the shaft of the trolling motor is the part that is the most vulnerable, you need to ensure that it is built from high-quality materials so that it can withstand day-to-day activities and not break. In general, most quality shafts 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. As a general rule, the kayak will only need a 12 V trolling motor as this is plenty powerful for most people. 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. After all, the trolling motor for a kayak is usually a simple device that does not have complex parts. Moreover, its usage should be equally easy as well by have a handle or foot pedal that easily controls the motors’ speed and performance.
Read More: 10 Best Trolling Motors
As we have seen, the trolling motor may look intimidating but it is easy to install and easy to use as long as you have a transom mount at the back of your kayak. It is heavy-duty and almost all models we have reviewed above have the necessary power to propel a small to medium-size kayak with relative ease.
Moreover, this motor is quite affordable for the amount of performance and ease of use it brings to your kayaking experience.
Finally, if you are still not found a good motor so far, we recommend that you go through our trolling motor for kayak review one more time.