Kayaking is fun.
But there are many ways to do it.
If you are an angler, paddling will tire you out and will leave little time for fishing.
That is where a trolling motor comes to rescue.
It allows you to focus on fishing while the motor propels the boat on battery power.
No matter whether you are an angler or not, if you want to take your kayaking game to the next level, a trolling motor is exactly what you need.
Here are the top trolling motors you can buy for your boat:
Newport Vessels NV-Series 55lb ThrustNewport Vessels NV-Series is one of the best trolling motors available in the market. It is at our #1 spot because of its amazing build quality, ease of use and high capacity. Note that the NV-series trolling motor from Newport Vessels comes in a range of variants – starting from 36 lb. thrust all the way to 86 lb thrust. In this review, we take a closer look at the 55 lb. version.
The motor is made with stainless steel, so it is going to last a very long time. It also does well in saltwater. The motor is super quiet, so you can kayak in peace and enjoy every bit of your time. It also allows you to have a conversation with fellow paddlers.
The motor comes with a 30-inch fiberglass composite shaft. This shaft is fully adjustable and allows for effective depth placement no matter what kind of waters you choose to kayak in.
Customers love the NV-series because of how easy it is to set up and how easy it is to use. It comes with a battery charge indicator that keeps you informed. You can also adjust the motor height and position quite easily.
The company also offers responsive customer service. Customers reported that if there is any fault with the motor, the company fixes it right away or even sends a new motor at no additional costs.
The trolling motor comes in a range of speed options – 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds. So you can control the kayak in all conditions and cruise at any speed you want. It comes with a 6-inch telescoping handle, which can be extended and made with an ergonomic way for ease of handling.
Out of the five forward speeds, the first two or three are a bit slow, but you can feel the raw power of this motor at the 5th speed option. Even when it has to pull 400-500 lbs. of load including the weight of the boat, it can drive your kayak at amazing speeds – 4 mph and above.
The NV-series 55 lb. trolling motor comes with a 5-point LED battery meter. It is bright and crystal clear, so you are always up to date on the charge level.
Note that the trolling motor doesn’t come with a battery. The 55 lb thrust motor requires a 12V lead-acid deep cycle or marine battery – you need to buy either of them on your own.
The 55 lb thrust from this trolling motor is enough to propel big kayaks. On top of that, it has a variety of speed options, so it gives you complete control over the kayak.
The maximum amp draw of this motor is 52. The hardware inside it is made of stainless steel, zinc and magnesium – all work well in saltwater and don’t incur physical damage from prolonged use in any kind of water.
- High power to propel big yaks
- Can work in saltwater and seawater
- 5-level battery indicator
- Forward and reverse speed options
- Can pull 400-500 lbs. of load at good speeds
- Easy to use
- Easy to set up, easily adjustable for height and position
- Battery lasts long on a single charge
- Quiet – paddler can enjoy the view or a conversation
- Excellent customer service
Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb/55lb Thrust Electric Trolling MotorNewport Vessels produces a wide range of kayak trolling motors. The Thrust Kayak Series is based on the tested design concept of NV series and developed especially for kayaks and canoes.
It comes with a 24-inch height adjustable shaft. The shaft is made of fiberglass material that provides unmatched durability and strength. The construction is sturdy throughout – the motor uses anti-corrosive materials that can last in saltwater. These materials include stainless steel, a sacrificial zinc anode, fiberglass composite shaft and a fiberglass reinforced nylon propeller. This shows that the construction is top-notch, so durability is the last thing to worry about.
This allows for accurate depth placement on your kayak (or canoe). It comes in two variants 36 lb. and 55lb. – you can choose based on the amount of power you need to propel your kayak. The 55lb thrust produces 0.83 HP of power.
It comes with 8 speeds – 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds. So you can drive the boat with a varying range of speeds. If it is windy or wavy, you can harness more power to get more speed. The motor also has a 6-inch telescoping handle so that you can better control where you are going. It comes with a 3 blade stock propeller as the standard.
It has a 5-point battery meter to keep you updated about the charge level at all times. It comes with extra long cables so that you can keep your battery where you want. This helps with weight distributions and brings more balance to the boat.
As explained earlier, the company has excellent customer service. One of the reasons we like Newport Vessels is they are based in California with a full-fledged support team to offer after sales support to their customers.
This trolling motor comes with a two-year warranty. So you can have peace of mind while parting with your hard-earned money. The motor weighs 23 lbs. in total and is 37 inches in height. It draws 52 amperes of current.
Note that the motor is not waterproof. It can work fine in light rains, but if you use it in heavy rains, sprayed directly with a hose or if it gets submerged in water, it will stop working.
The company recommends that you use a minimum of 50Ah battery with this motor. With this much capacity, the motor can keep a kayak moving for about 1 hour at speed 5 and 3 hours at speed 3. Some users even added a rudder to the motor to bring additional improvement in tracking and turning.
Users love that they could get a saltwater rated motor at the price. Besides, this has enough power to drive a big kayak at 4 miles per hour. The clamp is strong enough that it holds the motor even when the boat capsizes.
- Solid build quality
- Extra long battery cables
- 5 point battery indicator
- Easy to install
- Saltwater safe
- Easy to use
- Multiple speed levels
- 2 year warranty
- Responsive customer service
- Good enough power
- Strong clamp
Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling MotorMinn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor is another great choice for those who want a quality trolling motor for their kayak. It is perfect for those who want something high-quality yet affordable.
The trolling motor comes in multiple variants based on shaft size and style.
It has a solid 10-position bracket that comes with a quick release lever lock. It is made with reinforced composite material that doesn’t give in to warping, flexing or damage due to UV radiation.
The build quality of the Minn Kota trolling motor is phenomenal. It has an indestructible composite shaft and a 6-inch telescopic handle. The indestructible composite shaft is stronger than steel. It flexes on impact and doesn’t break, corrode, or kink. The 6-inch tiller allows you to stay comfortable and control the motor intuitively, without having to struggle to control it.
It comes with 8 speed settings – five forward speeds and three reverse speeds. This range of speed allows you to drive fast when you want to get to a desired spot and drive slow when you want to cruise and relax. The multiple levels of speeds provide up to 5 times as much longer run on a single charge.
It comes with a power prop that brings extra power to propel your kayak when there is heavy load atop. The power prop comes with a prop pin, nut and washer. It has swept-back flared blades that power through anything without chopping and hacking which drain the battery.
The Minn Kota trolling motor is also quiet and cool. It doesn’t heat up even after hours of use. Nor does it make any noise. This allows you to enjoy the ride and also a conversation with your fellow rider. Inside the motor are extra large windings and commutators that result in more heat dissipation, no overheating, longer battery use and prolonger motor durability.
The best thing is that the motor is easy to install and run. Users mentioned that the Endura trolling motor can propel a kayak with a total load of 700 lbs! This is astounding.
We like that the controls are easy to use – telescoping, easy click speed control, tilt shaft, depth control and steering lock/tightening. All are easy to use. It is so lightweight that even your child can carry it around.
What users also liked is how energy efficient it was. One user mentioned using it for four hours straight and still being left with 75 percent of the battery. Of course, they must have used a lower speed setting.
- Indestructible composite material
- 8 speed settings
- Lever bracket is easy to fix
- Quiet and cool operation
- Efficient energy use
- Easy to use controls
- Easy to install
- Power prop
- Value for money
Watersnake Tracer Transom Mount Trolling Freshwater MotorIf you are looking for the best trolling motor for your kayak, the Watersnake Tracer Freshwater trolling motor is worth checking out. There are many reasons it is in our top picks. It comes in two variants: 30-inch shaft with 30-pound thrust and 42-inch shaft with 54-pound thrust. So depending on the size of your kayak and how much power you need, you can choose an appropriate variant.
The unique thing about this motor is that it is created by anglers. So the creators better understand your needs than any random manufacturer. But does it really perform up to the mark? Let’s find out.
Its shaft is chrome plated and made of sturdy steel material, so it will last a long time. It comes with seven speed settings – five forward speeds and two reverse speeds. Multiple speed settings allow you to get more mileage on a single charge. Its weedless two-blade propeller is designed such that your kayak can glide through water and weeds without any hassles.
Not only this trolling motor can fit your kayak, it can also fit other small water crafts including kayaks, canoes, inflatables, jon boats and more.
One user had an amazing recommendation to secure the trolling motor: you can add an in-line fuse to the positive side of the motor for protection.
A couple users mentioned that the motor isn’t as quiet as the company claims. They mentioned that it is a bit noisy but not so much that they wouldn’t recommend it still. However, as per our tests, the motor is quiet and gives no vibrations.
An improvement we would like to see is a battery meter to see battery level in real time. If this is important to you, buy any of the trolling motors mentioned above from Newport Vessels. They come with a battery level indicator.
Another good thing about this trolling motor is the company’s responsive customer service. If you have any issues with the product, they will promptly resolve them.
- Good build quality
- Seven speed settings
- Responsive customer service
- Compatible with various watercrafts
Watersnake – ASP 18 and 24 Pound Thrust 12V Saltwater Transom Mount Trolling MotorWatersnake Trolling Motor ASP is another quality product from Watersnake, a company founded by a bunch of Aussie anglers. The trolling motor comes in two variants – 18 lb thrust or 24 lb thrust. Moreover, you can either buy it with a kayak bracket or without.
If weight is a concern for you, the ASP will be just perfect for you. It weighs just 4.85 lbs or 2.2 kg, so you can move it around and carry it with you without any hassles. You can connect it to your kayaks, canoes, inflatable boats and small dinghies.
Despite its lean construction, it has the functions we look for. It comes with high speed and low speed settings, so you can zoom fast through water when you want and cruise slow when you want. Multi-speed settings also allow you to conserve battery power. It also has a forward and a reverse switch for both kinds of motions.
Note that, like most trolling motors, it doesn’t come with a battery. Both motor variants are 12V, so you can find a compatible battery on your own. It comes with an extendable handle that lets you steer with ease. It gives you full control of the boat with a simple handle.
It comes with an optional bracket for mounting options and eliminates the need of DIY mounts. It also comes with adjustable transom mount fitting. The adjustable transom mount fitting consists of an anti-impact clip system.
The big advantage of the Watersnake ASP is that it is one of the few (and perhaps only) motors that work well with small kayaks and canoes. The upside is that you don’t need a big 50Ah battery to run it. You can buy a compact 35 Ah battery and it would work just fine.
This motor can change your perspective on what small 24 lb thrust can do for your kayak. You can cruise for hours with this little beast.
- Easy to use
- Multiple speed settings
- Easy to steer
- Optional bracket available
Newport Vessels L-Series Transom Mounted Electric Trolling MotorNewport Vessels L-series is a top-notch trolling motor that will truly automate kayaking for you. It comes in two variants – one with 62 lb thrust and one with 86 lb thrust. This trolling motor can be used on a variety of water crafts. It has the power to propel your kayak at high speeds and keep it going for hours on.
The L-series is built with the best stainless steel to resist oxidation. Other materials include a sacrificial zinc anode, fiberglass composite shaft and a fiberglass reinforced nylon propeller.
This makes this trolling motor work well in saltwater as well as fresh water without getting any physical damage. It comes with a 40 inch long fiberglass shaft – the shaft is adjustable for accurate depth placement.
The motor provides 8 speed settings – 5 forward, 3 reverse. So you can conserve energy using low speed settings or blaze fast using higher speeds. It is easy to control, everything can be controlled just with a single touch.
The motor also has a 6-inch telescoping handle and a sturdy 3-blade propeller. It also comes with a 10-point LED battery meter that indicates the battery level and keeps you updated so that you can conserve energy when needed.
The motor comes with a 2 year warranty so that you can rest assured any damage will be fixed by the company. On top of that, the company has responsive customer service too, so your issues will be resolved promptly.
We like that the motor comes with a 60 AMP circuit breaker as well. It helps protect the motor from damage.
Note that the motor head with the handle isn’t waterproof. It can survive light rains but it shouldn’t be submerged or sprayed on directly with a water hose.
The total weight of this motor is just 23 lbs, which means you can carry it around easily. It draws a maximum 58 Amperes of current. The 62 lb thrust variant delivers 0.93 HP of power. The 86 lb variant delivers 1.5 HP of power.
The motor is also quiet, so you can sit back, relax and take in the beautiful view on the lake or river while kayaking. Its low noise also allows you to enjoy a conversation.
- Solid construction
- Saltwater proof materials
- Easy to use
- 8 Speeds
- Telescopic handle
- 40-inch composite fiberglass shaft
- 10-point LED battery meter
- 2 year warranty
- Circuit breaker provided
MinnKota Edge Bow Mount Foot Control Trolling MotorThe MinnKota Edge Bowmount Trolling Motor is one of the best trolling motors you can get in the market. It is especially good for those looking for foot pedal control.
It is among our top picks for many reasons. First, it has an indestructible composite shaft, which makes it an obvious choice for long-term use. The motor is one of the most sturdy and durable products we have seen.
It comes with a latch and a door bracket for easy removal. The motor is easy to set up, you can get going within minutes.
It offers five forward speeds, so you can conserve battery power with low speeds and zoom fast through water with high speeds. Its design consists of a Weedless Wedge 2 propeller that pulls your boat on water.
The best thing about this motor is the durable materials it is built with. Its construction includes a super durable marine grade anodized aluminum spine, an impact-resistant composite head and a 45-inch indestructible composite shaft.
It is built with a latch and door design ensures a solid grip which makes it really easy to use. The motor attaches to a 24V battery and generates 45 lb of thrust which propels your kayak for long hours. The difference between the MinnKota Edge Bow Mount and other trolling motors is that it comes with a foot pedal that gives instant feedback. It also has speed control with temporary and constant on-off options.
The motor also comes with a direction indicator that is easy to use and helps with navigation. There are 5 speed modes but the first four are more or less similar. The 5th mode is where you feel the power of this trolling motor.
The trolling motor is easy to install and easy to pull into and out of the water. Some users found the foot pedal a bit hard to use. Depending on your size, it may get some time getting used to, but it works pretty smooth once you get the hang of it. In fact, some users reported that the foot pedal was much more comfortable than their previous motor.
The power is not high enough for planing the boat but it is good for fishing even when it is windy. The steering is instant, so you can have total control of the boat.
The trolling motor also runs quiet, so you can enjoy your ride in peace or have a warm conversation with a fellow rider.
- Foot pedal control
- 5 Speed settings
- Indestructible composite shaft
- Latch and door mount for easy removal
- Instant steer response
- Superior construction
- Easy to set up
- Easy to pull in and out of water
Watersnake Venom Swet 12V Electric Trolling MotorWatersnake Venom Swet 12V Trolling Motor is a compelling option for those looking for a high-quality trolling motor for their kayaks. It is well-built yet comes in a simple design.
The trolling motor comes in two variants – 34 pound thrust and 54 pound thrust. It comes with a compact motor head design that provides a better grip for the tiller handle. The shafts on all the Venom motors are built using super tough composite material which makes them especially good for use in marine environments. The telescopic tiller handles bring more comfort and control in your hands.
The propeller shafts are made of stainless steel and the props come with a weedless design that allow you to get more out of the trolling motor. The motor uses 12V power to function and has 8 speed settings – 5 forward and 3 reverse. You can easily set the speeds using the tiller handle control.
The motor head design stands out. It has a thick ergonomic grip for the tiller handle. It also comes with a digital voltage meter display so you can know the condition of your battery.
It comes with better grips on the alloy transform mount, which makes it easier to attach and secure the motor. The motors are more versatile than you think. They can fit on all kinds of boats – from small boats to big sportfishing boats. This kind of versatility lets you make the most out of the trolling motor.
The motor does not come with a battery, but you can buy a 12V compatible battery to run both the 54 lbs and 34 lbs version.
- Sturdy composite shaft construction
- Made for saltwater
- Stainless steel hardware
- 8 speed modes
- Tiller handle throttle
- Thick handle grip
- Digital voltage meter display
- Upgraded mount grips
- Designed by anglers
U-BCOO Transom Mounted Electric Trolling MotorU-BCOO makes one of the best trolling motors in the market. The Transom Mounted Trolling Motor is available in multiple variants – including 46 lbs thrust, 55 lbs thrust and 60 lbs thrust.
It comes with a high strength shaft, 8.5 inches long. The shaft is robust since it is made from fiberglass composite material. It also comes with a high strength nylon bracket that makes it even more sturdy.
It comes with 8 speed settings – five forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds. So you can have effortless control over the boat in a variety of conditions. Multiple speed modes also allow you to zoom fast through water or conserve energy when needed. You can go fast or slow – depending on your mood or the conditions on water.
The trolling motor comes with a solid die-cast aluminum head and a 5-inch telescopic handle that is easy to use and provides total control over the boat. The telescopic handle gives you a good range of adjustment as well. The motor is further constructed with stainless steel hardware that allows you to use it in saltwater without any hassle.
The motor comes with a LED power display that tells you the power left on a scale of 1 to 10. Many users vouched for the quality of this motor and reported that it is well-made and would last many years.
One user reported how the battery had half of its power left even after 11 hours of use on water. This shows how efficient this trolling motor is. The U-BCOO trolling motor is good for kayakers who want a transom mount trolling motor.
If you want to use it for fishing and want something that won’t run out of battery even after a long time on the water, the U-BCOO trolling motor is for you.
- Fiberglass high strength shaft
- Sturdy nylon bracket
- 8 speed modes
- Telescopic handle 5-inch
- Stainless steel hardware
- Made for saltwater use
- LED power display
- Swivel action allows full directional control at high thrust
Watersnake – Shadow Bow Mount Foot Control Motor Trolling MotorWatersnake Shadow Bow Mount Trolling Motor is one of the most trolling motors for those who want foot control in their motor. It comes in three variants 44 pounds thrust with 48-inch shaft, 54 pounds thrust with 48-inch shaft and 54 pounds thrust with 54-inch shaft. All three motors run on a 12V battery.
The foot control lets you control the direction or speed of the kayak. With the variable speed control available at your “footstep” you can drive slow or fast, depending on your mood or battery power.
The entire unit is made to be rust free. From stainless steel propeller shafts and propellers to corrosion free composite shafts, everything is constructed with durability in mind. The composite shafts also flex to absorb impact, which further adds to their durability.
All Watersnake trolling motors are designed by expert anglers. So you can rest assured you will get a quality motor. For some users, the foot pedal may take some time to get used to, but it works really well in the long-term.
You can mount this motor onto your kayak without having to drill holes or anything. This is because of the bracket that comes along with it.
What to Look for in a Trolling Motor – Buying Guide
There are many things to consider when buying a trolling motor. Here is each of them described in detail:
Thrust is a measure of how much power the trolling motor has. A motor with higher thrust will be able to propel a boat at higher speeds. If you have a heavy boat, you would need a motor with a high thrust. Thrust is measured in pounds.
But just knowing what thrust is not enough. You need to know how much thrust your boat needs. To calculate it, the first thing to know is the weight of your boat. Then, make sure you get 2 pounds of thrust for every 100 lbs. of weight. So if your boat weighs 500 lbs, make sure to get at least 10 lbs. of thrust in your trolling motor.
It is necessary to pay attention to the materials used to construct the motor. A motor that is made with fiberglass shafts of indestructible composite materials will last a long time.
Durable trolling motors also have high-quality hardware made of stainless steel and similar materials. Stainless steel also allows you to use the motor in saltwater without incurring any damage.
Most trolling motors come with 8 speed settings – 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds. Some come with less speed options, so check for speed when buying a trolling motor. Note that trolling motors aren’t meant to propel the boat at high speeds. They are, in fact, meant to provide a reliable speed for a long time on the water.
The shaft is an integral part of the trolling motor and it directly correlates to its performance. For boats with a higher bow, a longer shaft is needed to provide good performance. Once you mount the motor onto the boat, dip the propeller about one feet deep in water so that it can start functioning and propel the kayak.
The voltage of your motor is an indicator of the battery power needed. You need one battery for every 12 volts. So for example, if the motor is rated at 24V, you would need two batteries for its operation.
The more powerful the trolling motor, the more battery power it consumes. Choosing a battery is quite straightforward as manufacturers mark the voltage on each trolling motor.
The trolling motor can either be mounted on the ransom of the boat or the bow. This is the reason trolling motors come in two types – bow mounts and transom mounts. Bow mount motors go along well with medium and large boats. They are also highly maneuverable.
On the other hand, transom mount motors are good for those who want the control handle within easy reach while maneuvering their boat.
When it comes to kayak trolling motors, the controls can either be in your hand or in your foot. In hand-controlled trolling motors, there is a handle that lets you control the direction and speed of the kayak. The advantage of a hand-controlled trolling motor is that it is very responsive, the motor will respond promptly to any maneuver.
In foot-controlled trolling motors, there is a foot pedal that is rather easier to use. It allows you to use your hands for things like fishing or photography. The downside is that it isn’t as responsive as hand-control.
A third option is to buy a handheld remote control to have instant response, but these controls are quite expensive, so most anglers don’t buy them.
The above factors are crucial for the functioning of the motor. But you should also check for any additional features that could make your experience better. For example, many kayak trolling motors come with a battery level indicator that allows you to always know your battery level and accordingly plan your time on water.
Other trolling motors come with wireless control that allow you to have more freedom of movement and enjoy the ride better. Some trolling motors come with digital displays that show you stats such as current speed and depth of water.
Look out for additional features, because they can often make kayaking easy and fun.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do trolling motors work?
Trolling motors run on battery power. They use the electricity from the battery to power up the motor and make the propeller move the boat. The motor is placed at the bottom of the shaft in a watertight compartment. The motor stays inside the water, so it doesn’t get overheated.
Q. What size trolling motor do I need?
When it comes to trolling motors, you choose based on how much power they can generate. This is measured in terms of thrust and the unit of measurement of thrust is pounds. As a thumb rule, you need 2 lbs. of thrust to carry every 100 lbs. of load including the weight of the kayak.
So if you want to carry 500 lbs. in total, you need at least 10 lbs. of thrust. But since water conditions can further reduce the impact of the motor, it is recommended to buy a bit more than the minimum limit.
Q. How fast will a 55 lb thrust trolling motor go?
While it depends on the motor, usually a 55 pound thrust trolling motor can propel a boat up to 5 miles per hour. This top speed is calculated based on optimal conditions. If there is too much weight on the boat or the winds are strong, this speed reduces in number.
The thing to understand about thrust is that it is a static measurement of pushing or pulling power. Higher thrust does not mean higher speed. Speed actually depends on prop pitch and the motor’s RPM.
Calculating speed of a motor requires using a complex formula which you can find on Minn Kota motor’s page.
Q. How fast will a 112 lb thrust trolling motor go?
Again, thrust does not directly correlate with speed. But on average, 112 lb thrust trolling motor can go anywhere from 5 to 8 miles per hour. But pay attention to manufacturer’s guidelines to get a better idea about speed.
Q. How deep should a trolling motor be in the water?
As a general rule, the top of the motor should be submerged 12 inches into the water. This depth is enough for the motor to propel the kayak effectively. If you buy a bow mount motor, then choosing the shaft length is crucial for the proper functioning of the motor. The shaft length selection isn’t as crucial in transom mount motors.
Q. Will 2 trolling motors make you go faster?
No. Adding two trolling motors doesn’t make any significant difference. As explained earlier, the speed is a function of the prop pitch and the trolling motor’s RPM, not the thrust of the motor.
Q. How big of a boat can a trolling motor push?
How big of a boat a trolling motor can push depends on the thrust. The higher the thrust, the higher the weight that can be pushed by the trolling motor. For boats up to 14 feet in length and up to 1500 pounds in weight, a 30 lb thrust motor is sufficient. As the weight and length increases, one may need a higher thrust motor.
Q. Will a 24V trolling motor run on 12V?
Short answer – no. Long answer – it depends. If you are using a cable steer or hand controlled motor, it will not hurt its performance.
Trolling motors are good for those who want to focus on fishing or enjoying the ride instead of spending most of the time paddling.
Picking a trolling motor requires a careful consideration of all the factors mentioned above.
If you are short on time, buy our top pick – Newport Vessels NV-Series 55 lb thrust. With thousands of positive reviews and additional features such as a battery indicator, it is the best bang for your buck.