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Paddling the kayak is the traditional way to get by the body of water. But it takes away the fun. A trolling motor helps you propel the kayak and therefore navigate faster and easier; not to talk yet of how useful trolling motors are to trawlers (fishermen who use trawl nets).
You can mount a trolling motor on your boat, kayak, or other types of watercraft, and let it do the work while you concentrate on fishing. A trolling motor is an electric motor that helps you move at a constant speed. Its name is due to a type of fishing, trolling, in which fishing lines with bait or lures are dragged through the water at a constant speed. Fish find this very attractive.
There are a few things to consider when choosing the best kayak trolling motors. They come in different sizes, which in turn determines their power output. People often think that buying the biggest one will solve all their problems, but this is not always the case. If you have a smaller boat, say a kayak, buying the bigger motor can be unwieldy, may require more batteries to power it (meaning you lose more space onboard), and finally – they just cost more. Keep reading to discover the best trolling motor for your kayak.
Kayak Trolling Motor Reviews 2022
1. Watersnake T18 ASP – Editor’s Choice
The Watersnake T18 ASP is an electric saltwater outboard motor with a maximum thrust of 18 pounds. If you are looking for lightness and portability, this is it. The Watersnake T18 Boat Motor is the baby of all Watersnakes, weighing just 2.2kg. It’s ideal for propelling kayaks, canoes, small dinghies, and inflatable boats, especially if you need to transport your boat in the water.
It has an anti-impact clip system and there’s a control for forward and reverse directions. The extendable handle ensures easy driving. But note that the battery is not included.
The Watersnake has a simple design so it offers limited weight while still delivering all the performance you need.
The ASP T-18 Freshwater is a light option for electric motorization on the water in real WATERSNAKE quality. The ASP T-18 is perfect for motorizing small boats, but also for the increasingly popular fishing kayaks and canoes.
You can have a convenient assembly and step-less adjustment of the screw depth with the robust bracket. There is also an adjustable steering resistance with a locking option for setting the course.
The control handle is removable for space-saving transport. You can have convenient speed control forwards and backward using the toggle switches. It features a weed-repellent two-blade propeller which can also be changed quickly. You have up to 18lbs drive power at the propeller shaft. Click here to see the best price.
- 18lbs maximum thrust
- 12V trolling motor
- Three-blade propeller
- Steel shaft material
- 24 inches shaft
- Kayak bracket included
2. Newport Vessels Kayak Series – Best Kayak Trolling Motor for Saltwater
Cruising against the wind and tides with minimal hassle in both freshwater and saltwater, strapping this lightweight trolling motor to the transom of your watercraft would be a rewarding decision.
It’s easy to use and virtually silent for a successful fishing trip. By installing it on your canoe, you can cover a longer area in the shortest time, as it can generate a thrust of 36 pounds. However, note that there’s a much more powerful version that can reach 55 pounds of thrust.
The great thing about this product is that it has a 5-point LED battery indicator which helps you avoid the chance of unexpected battery shortage causing you a lot of trouble. Its portability is another notable feature.
The design of this 6-inch long telescopic handle will give you a satisfying handling experience while allowing you to experience success with the power of the motor adjustable in up to five settings forward and three reverse speeds.
You will appreciate knowing that Newport Vessels developed this trolling motor for use in both salt and fresh water without any damaging effects. Its stainless steel hardware is designed to give you a majestic sense of fishing, even on seawater. It offers 8 different speed options that allow you to change the speed of your kayak to suit your needs.
Producing a powerful thrust, this device will ensure an easy and unhurried adventure, and fast currents will not profoundly influence its performance. Considering the terrible impact of hard water, the aluminum head is used to make it strong and allow you to go a long way with this device.
There is also a powerful 30” composite fiberglass axle that can easily be adjusted for height. Therefore, you will not be disappointed to use this versatile engine while you explore new fishing grounds or take your friends on your inflatable boats. Click here to see the best price.
- 36/55 pounds maximum thrust
- Designed in stainless steel for use in saltwater
- 8-speed settings (5 for forward, 3 for reverse)
- 30-inch fiberglass rod with nylon backing
- LED meter and 6-inch telescope handle
3. U-BCOO Trolling Motor – Most Durable Trolling Motor
The U-BCOO L-Series electric fishing motor is interesting for its robustness and resistance and sold for a very good price. Made of stainless steel, it can perfectly be used in seawater, without risk of corrosion.
It has a high-strength 1.36-inch fiberglass axle and a heavy-duty nylon backing. The 5-inch telescopic handle is very easy to maneuver and thanks to the 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds you will have no difficulty in maneuvering.
With a noise level of 50 dB, it is a silent motor that will allow you to observe birds or other animals in peace without scaring them.
The electric motor consists of a high-strength shaft with nylon support that is also very resistant. It has been designed with stainless steel hardware for use in saltwater.
The hardware is made of stainless steel so that you will be able to use it in the salty sea and that it cannot be damaged. As for the head, it is made of die-cast aluminum and has a 5-inch telescopic handle.
It can be adjusted in eight-speed levels (5 forwards and 3 backward) and the battery it uses works at DC 12V.
The propeller has 2 blades and is very quiet. It is estimated that it can emit a maximum noise level of just 50dB. The support water depth is 0-90 degrees in tilt position and the shaft size is 36 inches long, it can be adjusted in length so that the propeller is below 1.97.
In the package content, in addition to the electric motor, there is a manual, a propeller, and a propeller removal tool. Click here to see the best price.
- 36-inch high-strength fiberglass shaft
- 55-pound thrust
- Stainless steel hardware
- Durable aluminum head
- Full copper wire motor
- 8-speed settings (5 forward and 3 reverse)
4. Minn Kota 1358731 – Our Premium Pick
The Minn Kota Powerdrive is designed for fishing. If you wake up every day ready to fish, make sure your motor is just as ready. The PowerDrive’s advanced technology has reliable power and is easy to handle. It’s packaged in a sleek package that’s built with the everyday weigh-in in mind.
Unlike the Minn Kota Powerdrive 45 lbs model which features the Deployment Assist Lever for getting in and out of the water easily, the PowerDrive 70 lbs feature the i-Pilot GPS Trolling System, which is one of the most trusted and advanced technologies in the modern fishing industry. With this system, you can set your record paths, spot-locks, control speed, steering, and more.
The control speed, direction, and momentary and constant on/off with the PowerDrive foot pedal can be set. The foot pedal is waterproof and has a long cord. Note: Footswitch is not included with i-Pilot models.
Also, you can push a button for an instant “stage of charge” reading. There is also a Digital Maximizer™ technology that ensures up to 5x more runtime. Its unique design ensures it makes minimal noise. It won’t scare the fish away, which will result in several catches on your attempt. Click here to see the best price.
- 70 pounds thrust
- i-Pilot GPS
- AutoPilot feature
- Digital maximizer
- 2-year limited warranty
5. PEXMOR Trolling Motor – Most Powerful Thrust
Made for inflatable boats, Jon boats, and pontoon fishing boats, the Pexmor electric kayak motor offers up to 36 lbs of thrust for its smallest version. The outboard motor is powered by a 12-volt battery and offers five forward and three reverse gears. The motor is suitable for saltwater if it is thoroughly rinsed with fresh water after each trip. The Pexmor model also has a charge indicator with LED lights.
It has a variable handle that comes with a telescopic adjustable handle of 6 pulleys. It can be used as long as you like. In addition, it is comfortable to handle. You have 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds for smooth riding and easy control.
The LED battery indicator has 1 to 10 LEDs that allow you to monitor the battery capacity. The red and green lights will give you great advice. 1-3 red lights indicate low power to remind you of the left battery capacity. As in most motors of its range, batteries are not included
The trolling motor has an adjustable depth and angle. You can adjust the angle of the axis by pressing the button to adapt to different navigation conditions from water to all surfing needs. In addition, you can also adjust the depth of the machine in the water at will with a knob.
The electric motor is equipped with a propeller of very small blades, which can improve motivation and efficiency. Three sharp blades make it easy to remove seaweeds. Click here to see the best price.
- 36/46/55/86 lbs thrust
- Saltwater electric trolling motor
- LED battery indicator
- 8 variable speeds
As we mentioned at the beginning, you need to make sure that the trolling motor is appropriate for your kayak (it has enough thrust to move you). Also, you shouldn’t have any trouble handling it, and it should be strong and durable so it won’t get damaged easily and leave you stranded in the middle of the water.
We’ll walk you through everything to look for in our buying guide below. We hope it will help you find the right solution for your fishing adventures.
The Benefits of Using a Trolling Motor For Kayaking
As we mentioned earlier, equipping your boat with a trolling motor allows it to move at a constant speed. This eliminates the need to paddle and is beneficial for fishing. Another advantage of using a trolling motor is that it doesn’t make a lot of noise. Before they were introduced, boats used larger gasoline engines that were noisy and scared away fish.
As for the kayaks, you were forced to paddle – which took energy and time away. Then came this great solution. Trolling motors are getting better and better, and there is a wide range of products available for every boat. However, you should always do the research yourself and compare the products to your boat.
We will do our best to present the options and features that come with a trolling motor so that you can make the best choice.
The power of the motor determines the overall value and of course the price. There are three criteria to consider here:
This is essentially the power that your trolling motor has. Thrust determines the engine’s ability to propel the boat through the water. It is usually measured in pounds, which means that the more pounds of thrust a trolling motor has, the more powerful it is.
If you want to mount it on a kayak, you can go with a smaller motor of around 36 pounds. However, if you want to use it on a larger boat you have to consider that small motors will not be very effective at moving you around.
In general, the bigger the better. It will give you consistent performance in every situation. But, bigger motors are also more expensive. Therefore, you have to know how much is the minimum amount of thrust needed for your boat.
Keep in mind that thrust is the power an engine has to push (or pull) your boat at a constant speed. Installing a stronger engine on a small boat doesn’t mean it can go extremely fast, just that it won’t have any problems while on the water. As we mentioned earlier, going with a slightly larger motor is a good idea, but it should not be too powerful. Generally, trolling motors have a thrust range of 18 pounds to more than 100 pounds. The choice is yours!
When it comes to the voltage of your trolling motor, there are three options. They come as 12V, 24V, or 36V electric motors. What this means is the number of volts they need to run.
The 12V versions will require a single 12V deep cycle marine battery, the 24V will require the use of two batteries of the same type, and of course, the 36V will require three of them.
Generally, electric motors with more thrust will require more power. Therefore, motors with more than 100 pounds of thrust often need 36 volts to run properly. On the other hand, almost all motors for kayaks and smaller boats need only 12V. This is good for two reasons.
First, motors that require 12V are cheaper on average than larger ones. Second, there is no need to have multiple batteries on board to add weight to the boat and take up space that could be used for something else.
However, it does have some disadvantages compared to the larger ones. Your time on the water will be shorter than with a more powerful motor. This is because there are limitations to the batteries and how long they can power your motor. The 24V or 36V use a multi-battery system which is somewhat cheaper when it comes to power.
This means that you can use it for longer fishing trips or even multiple times without recharging the batteries. We’ll talk in more detail about batteries as we proceed, so you know what to buy with your engine for maximum performance
It is very useful to have good control over movement speed. This gives you versatility: you get to the spot quickly, and then you move slowly when the bait is in the water.
Slow forward speeds and reverse operation greatly increase maneuverability, which is a big plus. Kayak motors typically have 8 speeds: 5 forward and 3 reverse. When talking about the maximum speed that a kayak can reach, it depends on the weight of the kayak and the power of the trolling motor. In any case, most trolling motors will move your boat at speeds up to 10 mph.
This is one of the key things for a good performance. The shaft has to be long enough for the trolling electric motor to be properly submerged, which is said to be about 18 inches below the surface of the water.
If the motor position is too shallow, it won’t move as it should and will probably make road noise. On the other hand, if it’s too deep, you risk hitting rocks and the water bed in some areas. Kayak trolling motors for fishing work best if the shaft is adjustable, allowing you to make small corrections based on conditions.
An electric trolling motor requires a battery to run. Normally trolling motors come in 12, 24, and 36V versions and this determines the number of batteries you will need. The smaller motors (used in kayaks) are usually 12V models and require a single deep cycle battery to run. The most powerful motors (24 and 36V) require you to connect two or three motor batteries to work properly.
When shopping for the best trolling motor, you have to plan the space for the battery onboard, whether you want to store it in a battery box or put it in your storage compartment. In addition to voltage, you need to think about the battery capacity. This is displayed in amp-hours (Ah) and determines how long the battery will be able to power the motor.
A battery with a higher capacity is physically larger and heavier, which can be a drawback for kayaks. On the other hand, a smaller battery will save space, but may not give you the power you need to get through the day. You must find a balance when choosing, and also learn how to charge a marine battery so that it lasts a long time.
Saltwater or Freshwater
You will often see trolling motors designed for fresh or saltwater use. Saltwater is an unforgiving environment when it comes to certain types of metal because the salt causes corrosion and destroys the trolling motor.
Some products are made for freshwater use only, and if you get this type, we advise you to stick to the recommendation. On the other hand, electric saltwater trolling motors have hardware made from stainless steel and other metals with high corrosion resistance, making them safe to use in the ocean.
You will be happy to know that the saltwater type can also be used in fresh water, without any restrictions. No matter what type of motor you get, make sure it comes with a warranty so you can replace it if something happens. Most manufacturers give a 2-year warranty on their products.
Two parts of the kayak are taken into account when mounting the electric motor: the bow and the transom. The transom mount is often a better option for kayaks and other small boats, and many people choose to put it there. In this position, the motor sits behind you and pushes your kayak. It is easier to handle considering where you sit in the kayak. For this reason, all of the products we reviewed can be transom-mounted.
However, some of them can be modified and adjusted to mount on the bow as well. This position allows for more precise maneuvering through tight spaces but is often not as convenient to operate because you have to reach for the handle. Whichever type you get, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to assemble it correctly.
What size trolling motor should I use for a kayak?
Kayaks work well with smaller trolling motors ranging from 30 to 55 pounds of thrust. This is usually more than enough to propel a fully loaded kayak at a constant speed. However, the size and weight of your boat play an important role. They determine the power your new electric trolling motor needs to run smoothly. You need to consider not only the weight of the kayak itself but also your weight, as well as the weight of the equipment you have on board. Every trolling motor comes with a thrust rating, measured in pounds. You may be tempted to get the biggest trolling motor possible, but there are some drawbacks to this. Sure, they will go a little faster, but they are heavier and put too much weight on one end of the kayak, making it difficult to maneuver. In addition, they also cost more. When preparing for your kayaking adventure, your best bet is to get a trolling motor that can get the job done without adding too much unnecessary weight.
Is it worth putting a trolling motor on a kayak?
Yes, kayak trolling motors allow you to drive around without having to row. You'll get to your destination quickly, and you can easily change places if you need to. You will also catch fish more efficiently and create less noise compared to using paddles or gasoline motors. It is also good to install a fish finder on your boat. The fish finder will make sure you are always where all the action is. Since you won't be exerting yourself rowing, you'll have more energy to spend on fishing. Finally, you can stay on the water longer because your trolling motor kayak will get you back faster.
How fast will a kayak go with a trolling motor?
With a trolling motor, you can have a speed of around 4 to 5 mph depending on the power capacity of the motor and the condition of the water. However, note that high trust rates don't usually mean higher speed. You can find it easier reaching and maintaining maximum speed in strong currents and rough waters.
Having the best kayak trolling motor will make your fishing experience that much better. It’s very easy to use, and you can trust it because it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It’s just a matter of finding the right one, and we hope our guide has helped you narrow down your choice and buy the best kayak motor for trolling. We are sure it will help you find new ways to enjoy your fishing adventures!