If you love going on your kayak and fishing or enjoying nature and the scenery, then you would probably like to cover more ground. And while kayaking is fun, you would be able to do it more leisurely if you don’t have to paddle. The only way to do this is to mount an electric trolling motor on your kayak.
The best electric trolling motors for kayaks include the Minn Kota Endura Trolling Motor, Newport Vessels Electric Trolling Motor, Cloud Mountain Saltwater Trolling Motor, Watersnake FWDR44-48, and GoPlus Electric Trolling Motor. They all offer great performance and durability.
This article will talk about the benefits of installing an electric trolling motor on your kayak and the things you need to look for when buying one. It also shares a list of the best electric trolling motors for kayaks available on the market and what makes them an excellent investment.
Note: most links in this article are Amazon.com Affiliate links, see Affiliate Disclosure, thank you.
Why Install an Electric Trolling Motor for Your Kayak
Kayak anglers install electric trolling motors on their water vessel because this helps them cover more ground faster. While trolling motors are not designed to add speed to a watercraft, they will help propel or push it through the water at a steady pace. That means you don’t need to paddle or use an oar to move your kayak forward and navigate it through the waters.
What’s more, putting this kind of electric engine on your kayak allows you to go for miles without making too much noise. So, if you are fishing, you can head to your fishing ground or spot without scaring all the fish away. Trolling motors also do not emit a smell, unlike gas motors that give an unpleasant smell on top of being very noisy.
Using an electric motor is also an excellent way to leisurely enjoy the water and the natural scenery without polluting the air. You can do this even if you don’t have the muscle strength and stamina to paddle. As such, a trolling motor will keep your hands free to take pictures, hold your fishing pole, or do just about anything you’d like to do while your kayak is on the water.
What To Look For When Picking an Electric Trolling Motor for Your Kayak
There are many electric trolling motors on the market, so picking the right one can be overwhelming. To help you sift through your many choices, here’s a guideline on what characteristics and features to look for:
Of course, your budget should be one of your primary deciding factors. A decent electric trolling motor can vary in price, from a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. So get one with a price point that’s comfortable for you but at the same time doesn’t sacrifice quality. Just know that being more expensive doesn’t always mean it’s better.
Power refers to how fast your kayak can go after a trolling motor is installed. Unlike outboard engines for boats, whose unit of power is HP or horsepower, the power of electric trolling motors is expressed in pounds of thrust. The equivalent of 1 HP is 66.6 pounds of thrust.
Ideally, you will need at least two pounds of thrust per 100 pounds (45.36 kg) of your kayak’s weight. So, you may want to go for trolling motors with 30 to 60 pounds (13.61 to 27.67 kg) of thrust.
12-Volt Battery System
Electric trolling motors run on batteries. Given a kayak’s thrust to weight ratio, a single-battery 12v system would do the work. Some trolling motors feature a built-in battery indicator, which allows you to better calculate how far your kayak can go on the water on a single charge.
Get a trolling motor whose total weight, including the battery, won’t exceed your kayak’s maximum weight capacity. You wouldn’t want your stern to sink or go below the waterline because your motor is too heavy. As such, lighter trolling motors are always a good choice.
The best motor you can use for your kayak is one with a relatively short shaft as it won’t be mounted high above the water. Long shafts will keep you out of shallow water and make it hard for you to take it back to shore. The shaft length should ideally keep your prop 12 inches (30.48 cm) below the water’s surface.
Motor Mounting System
Your trolling motor will need a transom mounting system to be fitted onto your kayak. Most systems are adjustable to fit any kayak and have a solid bar that would hold your motor. You may want to avoid bow mounts as they don’t offer any additional functionality and affect your kayak’s handling adversely.
Get a trolling motor with hand control as this has a more precise speed adjustment. There are kayak motors with a simple tiller you can use for steering with one hand, and there are also motors that can be steered with your feet, although the latter involves certain modifications to the kayak itself.
Most electric trolling motors for kayaks have preset speeds for forward and reverse movements. The more gears your motor has, the easier it will be for you to achieve the necessary or desired speed on water given certain weather conditions. You may, therefore, want to get something with a minimum of five forward and three reverse speeds.
Drive Shaft (Tilting or Non-Tilting)
You can lift and lock a tilting driveshaft out of the water, and the propeller won’t hit the ground. Meanwhile, a non-tilting driveshaft always stays vertical. This is fine when you’re in the water, but when you get into the beach or kayaking in shallow waters, this can be a problem.
The Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor is a 12-volt freshwater electric trolling motor that boasts a cool yet quiet power. You can kayak your way to the best fishing spot on the water without scaring off your potential catch. This motor comes with a 6-inch (15.24-cm) telescoping handle and ergonomic speed control tilt twist tiller for more steering response at less effort, 5 forward and 3 reverse speed settings, a lever lock bracket, and a rock-solid mount.
The trolling motor comes with a warranty of two years, while it is indestructible and the “stronger-than-steel” composite shaft carries a lifetime warranty. The maximum thrust is 30 pounds (13.61 kg). You can install and remove this motor in seconds, and it is nice to mount on most kayak transoms. It’s not the most powerful motor, but it’s ideal for leisurely kayak fishing.
On Amazon, the Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor series has a price range of $130 to $450, depending on the thrust.
The Newport Vessels electric trolling motor boasts excellent efficiency and power, as well as a high-quality build that allows it to run without noise for an extended period without overheating. This 12v trolling motor is available in 36lb (16.33kg), 46lb (20.87kg), 55lb (24.95kg), 62lb (28.12kg), and 86lb (39.01kg) thrust. It also has eight speeds (three reverse and five forward).
This electric trolling motor also features a three-blade propeller, a 5-LED battery meter, a 30-inch (76.2-cm) shaft, and an ergonomic six-inch (15.24-cm) telescoping tiller handle. The motor is made of stainless steel, which holds up very well in both freshwater and saltwater.
Despite its solid material, this motor is lightweight and portable. The shaft’s main material is composite fiberglass, which is exceptionally durable and can handle any weather condition and depth.
The Newport Vessels brand comes with a warranty of two years on all its products. They are also known for their accommodating and efficient customer service.
It has a price range of $130 to $340 on Amazon, depending on its power or thrust.
Mainly made of stainless steel hardware, this trolling motor by Cloud Mountain is impressively dependable and tough. It has an all-aluminum head that allows it many years of service. It features a reinforced nylon bracket, which contributes to its stabilization, elevated durability, and resistance.
This versatile electric motor has a convenient 10-point LED battery indicator that shows you how much battery is remaining. This feature will help you avoid being stuck in the middle of the water just because your battery ran out. It also has a composite fiberglass shaft (28 inches or 71.12 centimeters) that gives high-powered resistance in several water conditions.
You will also appreciate the ergonomic handle that you can adjust to match your height. It has eight speeds, five forward, and three reverse, for the smoothest ride on the water. You can also choose from seven different thrust settings: 36lb (16.33kg), 40lb (18.14kg), 46lb (20.87kg), 50lb (22.68 kg), 55lb (24.95kg), 60lb (27.22kg), and 86lb (39.01kg).
The Watersnake FWDR44-48 is one of the best electric trolling motors with foot control. This bow-mounted trolling motor is designed for freshwater use, and it has three stainless steel propeller blades that are great if you fish in areas with underwater grass.
This 12v trolling motor runs very quietly and has a 48-inch (121.92-cm) corrosion-free composite shaft and a 44-pound (19.96kg) thrust. You’d be able to easily control the speed and the direction of your kayak by touching the variable speed control unit with your foot.
And because you can control your kayak with your foot, you will have your hands free to concentrate on fishing or taking photos and selfies.
The Watersnake FWDR44-48 sells for around $400 on Amazon. This trolling motor is also available with a 54lb (24.5kg) thrust setting and 48-inch (121.92-cm) shaft, as well as with a 54lb (24.49kg) thrust and 54-inch (137.16-cm) shaft.
The GoPlus Motor has a uniquely designed three-blade propeller that delivers extra power to push forward while chewing underwater grass and marsh smoothly. It’s six-inch (15.24-cm) telescoping adjustable handle gives you improved control while navigating freshwater areas. This motor also has five forward speeds and three reverse speeds.
You will love how strong and reliable this motor is, thanks in part to nylon brackets reinforced to guarantee resistance, stability, and strength. The composition shaft is made of fiberglass, which guarantees resistance to corrosion and the highest tensile strength. Its aluminum head ensures a long life span.
You’d appreciate the 10-point LED battery indicator, too.
Other electric trolling motors perform really well and offer strong, powerful motor action, durability, and smooth operation. You may want to check into these other motor brands or models:
- Haswing Cayman B 55lbs 12V
- Haswing Protruar Electric Kayak Trolling Motor
- Minn Kota Powerdrive Trolling Motor
- Watersnake Venom Electric Trolling Motor
If you love taking your kayak out for a day of fishing or for some alone time on the water just being one with nature, then mounting an electric trolling motor would make the experience twice more fun and leisurely. With a motorized kayak, you would be able to cover more ground sans the arm fatigue associated with paddling. Going electric also means you don’t have to deal with gas motors’ noise and smell.
The best electric motors offer sufficient power, durability, long life, easy control and navigation, and multiple speeds.