Top 7 Best Trolling Motors for Kayaks | 2020 Reviews

If you own a kayak, there are several ways to make it move using paddles, oars, pedals, or motors. Although propelling it by using oars or paddles can be an excellent exercise, there are times when you just want to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature without tiring your arms. In this case, you need to use a motor to make your kayak move.

However, kayak motors can be loud. It can be a nuisance instead of help when you are fishing or exploring wildlife. It is because the noise from the engine can bother these creatures and drive them away. Because of this, you need to use the best trolling motor for kayaks.

This type of motor is not loud. Paddlers often place it on the kayak’s bow or transom, and you can control it in several ways.  You can enjoy fishing and propelling your boat effortlessly.

Top 7 Best Trolling Motors for Kayaks Reviewed

  1. Newport Vessels NV-Series 46-Pound Saltwater Trolling Motor 
  2. Minn Kota Endura C2 30-Pound Trolling Motor 
  3. Newport Vessels 36-Pound Kayak Series 
  4. Saturn 65-Pound Electric Trolling Motor 
  5. Minn Kota 50-Pound Endura Max 
  6. Intex Trolling Motor 
  7. Watersnake ASP T24 Transom Mount Electric Trolling Motor 

#1. Newport Vessels NV-Series 46-Pound Saltwater Trolling Motor 

Newport Vessels NV-Series 46-Pound Saltwater Trolling Motor

Specifications

  • Thrust (pounds): 46
  • Shaft length (inches): 30
  • Forward speed: 5
  • Back speed: 3
  • Construction material(s): Stainless-steel, zinc, and magnesium

If you are looking for an all-rounder trolling motor, you will never go wrong with the Newport Vessels NV-Series. This motor is available in different thrust amounts. This one is 46 pounds.

It is a premium motor because of its fiberglass composite shaft, stainless-steel, zinc, and magnesium construction, making it an ideal engine for freshwater and saltwater. That is why you can guarantee that it will last for years.

It is 30 inches long, which you can use not only in a kayak, but also in other types of boats, such as dinghies, Jon boats, inflatable transom, and more. The shaft is also adjustable. It uses a 6-inch telescoping for a handle.

Newport Vessels take pride in its eight speeds that provide you a smooth ride of up to 3.5 mph when you are on a 7.5-foot boat. Like most trolling motors promise, it is quiet.

What makes the NV-Series unique is that it comes with a two-year warranty, and in some cases, they offer replacements or repairs. 

This item comes with a three-blade propeller kit, and a five-point LED battery indicator.

ProsCons
For freshwater and saltwater paddling
Battery not included
Limited shaft adjustment
Long battery life

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#2. Minn Kota Endura C2 30-Pound Trolling Motor 

Minn Kota Endura C2 30-Pound Trolling Motor

Specifications

  • Thrust (pounds): 30
  • Shaft length (inches): 30
  • Forward speed: 5
  • Back speed: 3

The Minn Kota Endura C2 Trolling Motor features are no different from the Newport Vessels NV-Series. Like the NV-Series, it is quiet and has a long battery life. It also has a durable composite shaft that will last for years. 

What the Endura C2  features are the lever lock bracket, which is a 10-position brack that offers a fast release on the lever lock. Aside from that, this feature is also resistant to the sun’s UV, flexing, and warping.

This model is controllable by hand, using a six-inch telescoping tiller that is comfortable to grip. You can run your kayak at eight speeds: five for forward and three for reverse.

It also features the power prop that provides an added force to propel a heavy kayak. It includes washer, nut, and prop pin. Although you cannot use this motor in salt water, it compensates through the cost of it.

ProsCons
Effortless installationNot for saltwater usage
Lightweight
Affordable

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#3. Newport Vessels 36-Pound Kayak Series 

Newport Vessels 36-Pound Kayak Series

Specifications

  • Thrust (pounds): 36
  • Shaft length (inches): 24
  • Forward speed: 5
  • Back speed: 3
  • Construction material(s): stainless-steel aluminum, magnesium, and zinc

If you are looking for a trolling motor explicitly built for fishing, you should consider the Newport Vessels 36-Pound Kayak Series. Not only is it ideal for fishing, but you can also only use it both in saltwater and freshwater.

Newport Vessels claims that it has the features explicitly built for anglers, which are the product of their long years of experience and research. According to the brand, it is the first motor that a paddler can use to a kayak with a low hull profile. Aside from that, it is also durable, trustworthy, and affordable.

The 36-Pound Kayak Series can deliver the best performance for kayaks. Paddlers will not have a problem attaching it to the kayak because of its short, adjustable size.

It comes with a one-year warranty. Included in the package are the long battery cabling, battery indicator, and two-blade propeller. The long battery cable ensures compatibility in almost any kayak transoms. The battery indicator allows you to know your battery’s status while in the middle of the lake.

ProsCons
Usable in freshwater and saltwaterBattery not included
Effortless installation
Heavy
Short shaft length
Affordable

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#4. Saturn 65-Pound Electric Trolling Motor 

Saturn 65-Pound Electric Trolling Motor

Specifications

  • Thrust (pounds): 65

Although the thrust of the Saturn 65-Pound Electric Trolling Motor is 65 pounds, it does not mean that it should be heavy enough for lightweight kayaks. Lightweight boats can still accommodate the 65-pound electric trolling motor.

With this amount of thrust, you can guarantee enough for you in any kind of water activity.

This model features 600-watts power output and supports 12 volts of a marine battery. This motor also features the Digimax Digitizer Energy Saver that ensures you are only using enough power for your engine, thus, saving your battery life.

Despite being a 65-pound trolling motor, it comes with a short shaft. It comes with a telescoping handle that supports 10 positions.

This model is also usable in saltwater.

ProsCons
Telescoping handle that supports 10 positions
65 pounds is more than enough
For saltwater or freshwater usage
Saves battery life
Lightweight

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#5. Minn Kota 50-Pound Endura Max 

Minn Kota 50-Pound Endura Max

Specifications

  • Thrust (pounds): 50
  • Shaft length (inches): 36

If you are looking for a trolling motor with excellent battery life, you will love the Minn Kota Endura Max. What the brand takes pride in this model is its Digital Maximizer feature. According to the company, this feature lets the motor utilize only the needed power to propel your kayak. As a result, it saves more battery life, allowing you to be in the water for a longer time.

According to Minn Kota, the Digital Maximizer allows the motor to run five times longer than the typical engines only with a single charge.

Aside from this impressive feature, the Endura Max is durable. You only have to read and follow the manual, and your motor will last a long time of usage.

Like the other Endura model, the Endura Max features a lever lock bracket and power prop.

This model comes with a push-to-test battery indicator. With just a push of a button, you will know your motor’s battery life status.

ProsCons

Impressive battery life because of the Digital Maximizer feature
Some paddlers complain about the push-to-test battery indicator being inaccurate
ManeuverableOnly for freshwater usage
Quiet

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#6. Intex Trolling Motor 

Intex Trolling Motor

Specifications

  • Thrust (pounds): 40
  • Shaft length (inches): 36
  • Forward speed: 5
  • Back speed: 3

If you own an inflatable kayak, you will benefit from the Intex Trolling Motor, whether your boat is from Intex or not. As long as it has a built-in mount for motors, this trolling motor can be compatible.

This motor comes with an adjustable handle that you can tilt to different degrees.

You can lengthen it up to six inches.

It features the Digital Maximizer that saves battery life.

This model comes with a battery meter, so you do not have to worry when your motor will die. Aside from this, it also comes with battery cables and mounting brackets.

ProsCons
Usable in both freshwater and saltwaterBattery not included
An excellent choice for inflatable kayaks
36-inch shaft length
Comes with more usable accessories
Saves battery life
Affordable

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#7. Watersnake ASP T24 Transom Mount Electric Trolling Motor 

Watersnake ASP T24 Transom Mount Electric Trolling Motor

Specifications

  • Thrust (pounds): 24
  • Shaft length (inches): 24
  • Speeds: 2

If you are looking for a highly portable trolling motor to attach to your lightweight kayak, you will never go wrong with the Watersnake ASP T24 Transom Mount Electric Trolling Motor. This model is light and compact, which is why you can take it almost anywhere you like. Aside from its small size, the price is also affordable.

If your kayak is small, the ASP T24 model should be good enough. If you want, you can accompany it with a gas motor if you own a longer kayak.

This model features a transom mount that lifts the motor when you do not use it because of the tilt lock. Its shaft is 24 inches long, making it an excellent option for in-depth installation.

Its lightweight nature trades some of the outstanding features, such as speed and durability.

This model has only two speeds, which are high and low. However, it can be an advantage because it only utilizes 20 amps at the full rate.

This model comes with a two-blade weedless propeller.

ProsCons
Usable in both freshwater and saltwaterBattery not included
An excellent choice for inflatable kayaks
36-inch shaft length
Comes with more usable accessories
Saves battery life
Affordable

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Top Pick – Our Favorite Trolling Motor For Kayaks

It is undeniable that there are trolling motors on the market that can do the job. However, not all of them are the best.

Although this article listed some of these trolling motors, what stands out the most is the Newport Vessels NV-Series 46-Pound Saltwater Trolling Motor.

Why this model becomes, this article’s top pick is because of its versatility. It has a durable construction that allows you to use it both in saltwater and freshwater. Aside from that, it enables you to have a smooth and controllable ride.

You can never doubt this model’s quality because Newport Vessels bestowed its confidence by giving a two-year warranty.


Best Trolling Motor for Kayaks Brands

Now that you know some of the best trolling motors on the market, it is time to learn the leading brands. It is useful information if in case you do not like any of the mentioned motors.

If you know the best brands on the market, you can zero in the vast number of choices you have.

Minn Kota

Minn Kota has been around since 1934. These long years are already enough proof of the brand’s reliability. O.G. Schmidt, the founder of Minn Kota, was also the one who founded the trolling motor. He named his business Minn Kota because his company is close to North Dakota and Minnesota’s borders. 

This founding was only the start; since then, the company has been innovating its products and established tons of firsts in the industry. Aside from the trolling motors, Minn Kota has also been the inventor of the electric flexible cable motor, AutoPilot, Weedless Wedge, to name a few.

Aside from Trolling Motors, Minn Kota also sells other types of motors, parts, and accessories.

Newport Vessels

The Newport Vessels has been around since 2008, and its country of origin is in California. The brand claims that the customers focus on what it does and continuously aiming for 100 percent satisfaction. In some way, the brand fulfills its claims by providing extended warranties for its products and setting quality manufacturing standards.

This brand never stops improving its products and services to adhere to its aim.

Aside from trolling motors, Newport Vessels also sells boats, kayak motors, and boat parts.

Watersnake Electric Motors

Watersnake is one of the brands owned by Jarvis Walker. This guy, Jarvis Walker, started his company in 1946.

The Watersnake, one of Jarvis Walker brands, focuses on providing bow mount electric motors and accessories to anglers and boaters. It claims that its engines are usable for both freshwater and saltwater, giving its customers more value at a low price.

Aside from Watersnake, Jarvis Walker also owns Rovex, Quantum, Tsunami, to name a few. It sells fishing gear, boating accessories, and personal flotation devices.

Saturn

Although its products do not primarily focus on motors, Saturn is one of the leading brands in the boating industry. Its trolling engines are not bad at all.

Saturn’s manufacturers are from China and South Korea. The brand’s only importer in the USA is the Saturn Rafts, located in Idaho.

This brand is famous for its inflatable boats of different kinds.

Intex

Intex has been around for over 50 years, which is another stable and reliable brand. Intex’s primary products are inflatables, such as airbeds, ground pools, boats, and more. However, its trolling motor for inflatable is pretty impressive too for an inflatable kayak.


Why Use a Trolling Motor?

You probably already know by now that trolling motors are beneficial because they are quieter than engine or gas motors. However, you need to know more in-depth information about this apparatus because you plan to buy one.  

Trolling motors are small machines that you can mount to your kayak’s stern and attach it to a shaft propeller. Suppose you are an angler, a wildlife photographer, or an average kayaker who does not want to go crazy listening to a noisy motor. In that case, the trolling engine is a quiet alternative for the usual engine-operated ones.

Aside from its quiet feature, the trolling motors are also affordable and easy to use. Using a  trolling engine, you will never have a problem controlling your kayak because it can withstand windy conditions. It allows you to move from one place to another without disturbing the creatures that you follow.

What Do You Need to Know Before Buying a Trolling Motor?

Before knowing what the factors you should consider when buying a trolling motor for your kayak, you must have all the requirements. It ensures that your money will not go to the drain or not face a possible lawsuit.

First, learn your state or country law regarding a motor installation. Some states in America require you to register your boat as a motor vessel, which will be under taxation. In some areas, licenses are prerequisites too.

Second, you should consider the length and weight of your kayak. This data will help you identify the amount of thrust your boat needs.

Third, prepare all the necessary gear and equipment for the installation of the motor. It includes steel bolts. Some trolling motor models do not have a mounting bracket in the packages, so you need to buy it separately.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Trolling Motor For Kayaks

If you buy the best trolling motor for kayaks, it makes fishing more fun, and you will have a better chance of catching an enormous fish. If you are a wildlife photographer, you will find a high-quality trolling motor handy because it does not scare or disturb them.

Now that you know what a trolling motor can do, it does not mean that you can just snag almost anything from a store. If you are spending money on a new purchase, you already aim for the best, which will last in the long run.

To have the best trolling motor for kayaks, you need to know the different considerations to maximize your purchase value.

Max Thrust

Many people, especially the new kayakers, have the misconception that the trolling motor’s thrust directly relates to speed. What they do not know is that thrust provides the force, not the speed.

Knowing your trolling motor’s max thrust is a crucial consideration because it describes the engine’s power. The unit of measurement for thrust is in pounds. The higher it is, the more powerful and more voltage your trolling motor has.

How much thrust you need depends on various factors and how much your kayak can accommodate and how massive your kayak is. The water condition is also a consideration. The trolling motor’s max thrust is 86, 60, 55, 50, 46, 40, and 36 pounds.

Commonly, massive and weighty kayaks need more thrust. You should avoid going below what your kayak needs to not underperform in the waters, giving you a headache.

You can tell that the kayak uses a trolling motor with enough thrust through the following signs:

  • It runs at three to four mph.
  • If your trolling motor has a GPS feature, it allows the kayak to stay in the anchor mode position even if the water condition is wavy.
  • The kayak tracks well without setting you off course.
  • The Kayak planes effortlessly.

To determine how much max thrust your kayak needs based on its weight, you must know that the general rule is 2 pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of your kayak’s weight.

In this kayak weight, it should include not only the boat, but also the total heaviness of passengers, gears, and the like. 

When it comes to the water condition, you should know that propelling on the rapids needs more thrust. Because of this, if you always see yourself paddling the rapids, you need to add two more for your motor’s thrust.

Because of this, if you find yourself always on a long-day trip, carrying a lot of gears and passengers, you need a trolling motor with high thrust.

Brand Reputation

When a group of expert kayakers and anglers recommend a brand, you can count on their words. They have long years of experience of using a trolling motor on their kayaks. That is why they can tell what is best.

Price

A product’s price is always a factor in making a purchasing decision. What you need to know about this factor is the cliche that you should opt for the quality more than the low price. You can cut the cost not to buy the extra features that you do not need. 

For example, if your boat only needs 36 pounds of thrust, why buy the 86-pound if you do not need it?

Shaft Length

Aside from the max thrust, the size is another consideration that you should not overlook to a trolling motor. Remember that kayaks do not float better than most other types of boats do.

If you buy one with a long shaft, it may bump into debris and rocks, damaging the motor. That is why you should choose a trolling engine that will not protrude from your boat’s transom.

Usage

Not all trolling motors are all-rounders that can withstand the challenges both in the freshwater and the saltwater. Salt can break some of them if they do not have the right design to resist it. Because of this, you should also consider the location where you use your kayak.

Battery

As mentioned, the higher the thrust, the more voltage it uses. Most trolling motors come with a battery tester that allows you to know your engine’s battery life. If the trolling motor that you are eyeing for does not include a tester, you should buy a separate one. It is because the last thing that you want to happen is to be in a kayak with a dead motor and stuck in the middle of the lake.

You also need to know this factor because the trolling motor battery comes in two types: the lead-acid wet cell and the Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM). If you have money to spend, buy the AGM because it can last longer, and it does not need maintenance.

Remember not to mix your batteries. Avoid using the new one with the old one.

Remember to recharge your batteries after using it. If you leave your batteries in a discharged state, it will affect its performance and lifespan. If you choose to use a lead-acid wet cell, do not forget to check the water levels from time to time and add distilled water if you must.

You also need to check the terminal connectors if they are starting to rust. If they are, clean them with water and baking soda.

If your batteries are not in use, store them in a clean, cold, and dry place.

Construction

Premium trolling motors commonly have durable stainless aluminum alloy and zinc hardware to withstand corrosion because of their frequent exposure to salt, weather changes, and water. With these materials, your motor will last a long time.

Speed

As mentioned, the max thrust does not indicate the speed. If you want to measure how fast your kayak will be when you use a trolling motor, you have to learn the motor’s number of revolutions per minute (RPM). It refers to the count of rotations on an axis.

Knowing the RPM gives you a clue how fast your kayak will be by using a trolling motor.

Operation

You can operate a trolling motor either by hand or foot pedal. It is up to you to decide which is more comfortable for you, but many kayakers use the hand-operated engines. It is because standing on a kayak is not advisable, and there is not enough space. That is why a foot pedal might be more inconvenient for kayakers.


Conclusion

If fishing is the favorite activity that you want to do in your kayak, you will benefit from a trolling motor. A trolling engine makes fishing more comfortable for you because you do not scare off the fishes while you are at the river or lake.

This article mentioned some of the best trolling motors for kayaks that most paddlers love. This article’s top pick is the Newport Vessels NV-Series 46-Pound Saltwater Trolling Motor, which will make your fishing and journey enjoyable and rewarding.

Now that you know the tips on how you can buy a trolling motor and learn some of the suggested engines, you should be able to buy the item you need. It is because only you can tell what the best trolling motor for kayaks is to use.


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Is It Possible to Use My Trolling Motor in a Saltwater?

A: It depends on the motor’s construction. If it is zinc and stainless steel-made, you can use it in saltwater. These materials are anti-corrosive.

Q: Why Do I Have to Consider the Battery When Buying a Kayak Trolling Motor?

A: If you want to settle for the affordable lead-acid wet cell battery, you should expect it to last for less than three years. You also have to maintain it by checking its water levels each month or adding more if needed. You also have to clean it and observe having dry storage for it. Take note that this type of battery is vulnerable to spillage and vibration. If you want your motor to last longer and have up to four years’ lifespan, you can go for the Absorbed Glass Mat battery and do not need maintenance.

Q: Are Thrust and Horsepower the Same and How Can I Convert Them?

A: Some say that one horsepower is equivalent to 75 to 110 pounds of thrust. However, thrust and horsepower are different because they measure other things. Thrust is the measurement of the force applied to an object. The thrust refers to the pull the motor exerts to pull the boat to propel it. On the other hand, the horsepower refers to the work, which does not apply to trolling motors, but with engine motors. Horsepower measures not only the force but also the time and distance. For this reason, you cannot convert the thrust to horsepower directly.

Q: How Many Volts Should I Buy for My Trolling Motor’s Battery?

A: Twelve-volt premium deep cycle marine battery group 27 rating is advisable. Also, consider selecting the one that has a high ampere (amp) hour rating. It indicates how many hours your battery will last. The general rule is that the higher it is, the longer the battery life will be. For example, if your motor runs at low speed and utilizes five amps and your engine has 100 amp-hours. It means that your motor’s battery life will last at approximately 20 hours. As for the amp-hour rating, the advisable amount is 100 to 110 amp.

Q: Can I Use a 24-Volt or a 36-Volt Trolling Motor Battery?

A: The most advisable is 12 volts. This amount is already ideal for kayaks, no matter how enormous or small they are. If you are out of options, you may use the 24-volt, which still does not damage the motor, but it can already affect its performance. However, you cannot go beyond 24, because it is incredibly massive and more than what kayaks can handle.

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