Find yourself searching for top lightweight electric trolling motors? What are the best options available in the market? Which pieces suit you the best, depending on your needs? Are you looking for a motor for a canoe, kayak, rowboat, inflatable boat, or aluminum boat?
Some people might think that getting a motor defeats the purpose of canoeing or kayaking. But a lot of people engaging in such activities are doing it for the fun of it and not the intense athleticism, or simply to get to there favorite fishing spot.
This includes, specifically, older people. Recent statistics show that senior citizens really enjoy kayaking. And let’s not forget people with disabilities. So, installing a motor on a fishing kayak can help a wide range of people enjoy the boating experience.
And once you get into the market, there is a wide variety of options available when it comes to trolling motors. Typically, you want to get the lightest available option. However, there are other things to consider too.
In this guide, we will try to answer some of the most common questions and talk about lightweight electric trolling motors that may be the right fit for your needs.
Note: most links in this article are Amazon.com Affiliate links, see Affiliate Disclosure, thank you.
What Range of Weight is Light?
What do we mean by light? The weight of the motor is an essential consideration because it reduces the overall capacity of the boat. Some boats are very small, like fishing kayaks, canoes, or aluminum car top boats. So, if your motor weighs a lot, that means you can carry less load and equipment because you do not want to compromise on the driving ability that a certain amount of thrust gives you.
How Much Thrust Does a Lightweight Trolling Motor Have?
A lightweight trolling motor typically averages 35 pounds of thrust but can vary from 18 to 55lbs thrust. So, before you start looking for motors to purchase, you need to clearly understand what you’re looking for. This includes the specifications that your motor should have, like weight and thrust power.
Simply put, thrust is the propelling power, and you measure in pounds of thrust. The bigger your boat, the more thrust you will need to move it swiftly on the water at full throttle. An increase in thrust does not increase speed. This is a common misconception among novices.
When beginning your shortlisting process, look at the needs of your boat before you start listing down the places for product availability. A measure to look at is your boat’s weight. On average, your boat will need at least 2 lbs thrusting power per 100 lbs in boat weight.
Take into account live loads, which include gear and passengers. So, if your boat, when loaded with cargo, weighs a total of 3000 lbs, you need a trolling motor that provides a minimum of 60 lbs thrusting power.
What voltage will a lightweight trolling motor be?
Typically, a lightweight trolling motor will be 12 volts, but not always. You want to keep your boats as light as possible. And while this includes luggage and cargo weight, it also means getting the lightest options when it comes to motors and batteries. There are a lot of options for batteries.
What category of battery you need depends on the type of boat you have. For example, kayaks function well with lightweight batteries of around 12V. However, large boats need heavy-duty batteries that provide approximately 24 to 36V. The primary debate is around the question of AGM batteries vs. lithium batteries.
While lithium batteries are up to three times lighter than AGM batteries, they also cost a lot more. Comparisons between the two put lithium batteries anywhere between three to four times the cost of AGM. Understandably, not everyone wants to spend that much money on their batteries, but if you do, you will be rewarded.
Types of Motors
For beginner buyers, we are going to divide this introduction into two categories, transom and bow mount motors. The main difference is in how the electric motor is attached to the boat. Transom mounts are clamped onto the stern or the boat. With bow mount motors, you have to attach them to the deck with bolts or a mounting bracket. Some people prefer transom mounts because of the ease of operation and simplicity of installation.
When you are done reading this article, we have a great article, A Beginner’s Guide to the 10 Best Lightweight Trolling Motor Batteries, that will cover all your questions and product information for lightweight batteries.
Transom Mount Motors
This lightweight transom mount motor comes with a 30-inch shaft and operates on a 12 volt battery. Incredibly cheap, it is perfect for fishing kayaks and canoes because of its amazingly lightweight at only 16 pounds. The Minn Kota Endura line is a no-frills motor from a brand that stands behind its products.
We have put many hours on this motor and saw no evidence of extended battery life over other motors, but the 5 forward speeds got us moving at a perfect fishing speed almost every time. This motor is a top pick in the budget motor range.
However, it can only be used in fresh water and not on saltwater bodies. If you use this motor in saltwater bodies, it will be damaged and become unusable in under a year. Customer reviews are mostly positive, with users saying the motor functioned well, remained in good condition over many years, and was easy to handle.
The Endura electric trolling motor line comes in a variety of sizes up to 55 lbs thrust, which also runs on 12 volts. For a motor that size, we recommend a battery over 100 amp hours, or better yet, a large lithium-ion battery.
- A sturdy lever lock bracket.
- 6-inch telescoping tiller handle.
- Low noise.
- 2-year warranty
- Not saltwater rated.
- No optional upgrades are available.
The Newport Vessels NV-Series 46 is an ideal choice of motor for freshwater and saltwater sailing. The total weight of NV-Series 46 is only 20 pounds. It has a thrust of around 46 lb, which suits most kayaks, dinghies, and smaller fishing boats. Most inflatable boat manufacturers make special trolling motor bracket kits for a simple installation.
Our favorite feature of this Newport Vessel motor is the construction materials. All the hardware is stainless steel, and most of the body parts are fiberglass with some plastics, of course. Another great feature is its five-point LED battery meter.
The Newport Vessel 46 is manufactured using top of the line materials and ranks high in customer reviews for long-term use and efficiency.
- Saltwater rated.
- 6-inch telescope handle.
- Five forward-moving and three reverse speed options.
- A high-durability motor with a fiberglass shaft and propeller.
- 46 lb thrust.
- Stainless steel hardware components for long term durability.
- The motor is loud when set on high or medium-high speeds.
You should consider getting the Watersnake ASP Transom Mount Motor because of its 6.7-pound weight. It’s a comparatively smaller motor, but with reasonable thrust power, so it works well for kayaks and canoes.
You can use it for saltwater fishing. It has a thrusting power of 24 lb with a 24-inch shaft. Customer reviews show that this model of motor is well-loved. It lasts a long time and doesn’t require much in the way of upkeep and maintenance.
- Extremely lightweight at 6.7 pounds.
- Cheaper when compared to other motors of the same quality.
- Quiet motor operation.
- Variable two-speed control.
- Fixed tiller handle puts complete control over the working and movement of the boat in your hands
- Limited range of features available.
Bow Mount Motors
If you prefer bow mount motors for hands free operation, then you should check out the Minn Kota Edge Bow Mount Motor, which comes complete with a foot controller for easy maneuvering. It comes in a range of thrusting power, so you can purchase the 45 lb, 55 lb, or 70 lb options.
The 55lb thrust model comes in at just under 85lbs. A majority of the weight can be attributed to the mount, store, and deploy system. Consider battery weight when looking at this motor. The 55lb thrust motor is 12 volt and only requires one battery, but it should be on the larger side.
If you are a beginner, then you should not get the option with the most thrust just because you assume that is the best. The thrust of your motor should match the needs of your boat, the weight and size of your boat, and the maximum load that you are taking out at any given time.
Take all these values into account and then calculate the amount of thrust you require. Don’t waste money purchasing thrusting power you don’t need and won’t use. That is a waste of money.
Because of the weight, we don’t recommend the 70 lb thrust model because it will be too heavy to fit the lightweight category.
- Automatic weed escape propeller that can be useful when you are out fishing.
- The range of thrust options makes it so everyone can find a model that works for them.
- Included foot control cable steer.(also available in hand steer)
- Five-speed options.
- There is also a variety in the voltage offered, which is 12 V and 24 V.
- Standard 2 year warranty
- No options available, like GPS autopilot.
- Freshwater rated
This motor is a no-frills, lightweight motor that comes at a budget price for the casual user that wants hands free operation. The total weight of the Shadow is under 36 pounds. It is a good option for smaller boats and dinghies as long as standing is an option.
We recommend buying a trolling motor wire extension kit so you can place a larger single AGM battery at the back of your boat to offset the weight at the bow of your boat completely.
- Extremely lightweight and durable.
- Like the previous option, this bow mount motor is also weed repellent.
- Suitable for all water conditions.
- Variable speed options.
- Includes a foot controller.
- It has 54 lb thrusting power, which is suitable for small and medium-size boats.
- Possibly the cheapest motor option on this list.
- 2 year warranty
- No options available, like GPS autopilot.
- Negative reviews, we recommend purchasing additional warranty protection.
Our all-around favorite is the Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Trolling Motor. Because this motor is a solid offering from a solid company, it is hard to go wrong with an Endura series. We have a full review and a short test video at these links.
However, the other motors on this list are also good offerings that each have their strengths. Which lightweight Electric Trolling Motors you choose depends on:
- Your preference – transom or bow mount
- Your needs – size of boat and total weight with passengers and load
- Budget and price requirements – some motors are cheaper, while others provide advanced functions and are comparatively pricier.