If you go by the belief that any kayak trolling motor is like any other one and they are all the same, then you should probably read this article. That’s because not every trolling motor for kayak boats are the same. In fact, there can be huge differences between the different types and models that can be found in your local sporting goods store or on the Internet.
There are some things that you’ll need to pay attention to when buying a troller. There’s the type of motor to consider, amount of thrust you need, whether it’s hand or foot controlled and a lot of other things which I’ll talk about near the end of this article in the section dedicated to more general information.
Before I tell you what to look for in one of these motors, however, I want to take a few moments and show you what I consider to be the top 10 best kayak motor models that are currently available. These are the models that I feel offer the best value for their money, as well as the best options. In other words, these are models that I would buy for my own kayak.
Best Kayak Trolling Motors Of 2018
10Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted Motor
This unassuming 12-volt freshwater transom-mounted motor has the blades and the thrust one needs for a day out in the kayak out on the water. It features a 30-inch shaft and 30-pounds of thrust that can be delivered in five forward speeds and in three reverse speeds – giving the user the control he or she needs. It also has a 6-inch telescoping handle and a lever lock bracket. When turned on, this motor is not as loud as comparable models, which makes it pretty good for kayak fishing because then you can rest assured that it won’t scare the fish away.
9Minn Kota Endura C2 40 Freshwater Transom Mounted
Equipped with a 36-inch shaft and 40-pounds of thrust, the Minn Kota Endura C2 40 is a transom-mounted motor that has a number of features which make it invaluable on a kayak. It has a telescoping handle, a high-quality composite shaft and has 5-forward directions and 3-reverse ones. It has more than enough power to provide thrusts for even a large kayak and is relatively quiet so it can be used for kayak fishing. It’s also becoming increasingly popular among kayaking enthusiasts as more and more people discover its power and versatility. This motor also maximizes battery life enabling the user to spend more time on the lake and less time recharging the battery.
8Minn Kota Endura C2 Endura C2 55 Motor
Built with a 6-inch telescoping handle, 5-forward and 3-reverse speeds and either a 36-inch or 42-inch shaft, depending on the model, the Minn Kota Endura C2 Endura C2 55 is a motor that can power even the biggest kayak without breaking a sweat. It features a composite shaft that’s stronger than steel and is almost indestructible. This motor provides 50-pounds of thrust and has a special prop that can power through even the choppiest of waves without having to drain its battery. The manufacturer has really paid attention to detail, even going as far as giving this motor a special extra-sturdy mount. This feature and its composite composition make this troller resistant to warping and flexing.
7VNewport Vessels 55-Pound Thrust 8-Speed Electric Motor
Designed to be used in both freshwater and saltwater environments, it has 55-pounds of thrust and features 5-forward speeds and 3-reverse speeds. It’s portable and lightweight, yet is also very durable. While it offers a little more thrust than the average kayak enthusiast could probably ever use, it is quiet and stable and is a good motor for kayak fishing. Other features of this motor include a 30-inch shaft that’s made of composite fiberglass and a 5-point LED battery meter and hardware that’s designed to be saltwater resistant and is made of stainless steel and magnesium. It also comes with a 6-inch telescoping handle.
6Newport Vessels NV-Series Saltwater Motor
The Newport Vessels NV is a motor that’s specially designed for saltwater applications. It has a completely encapsulated electric motor head and is mounted using all stainless-steel, zinc and magnesium hardware so that it’s resistant to salt corrosion. However, just because it’s hardened against saltwater doesn’t mean that it can’t also be used for freshwater bodies of water. It also has 46-pounds of thrust and 8-speeds (5-forward, 3-reverse). More than enough power to power even a large tandem kayak on the ocean waves or on any lake or river. All without having to worry if the motor was going to do its job.
5Newport Vessels NV 36-Pound Saltwater Transom Motor
This Newport Vessels motor is an inexpensive high-quality transom motor that provides dependability and power in the same package. This motor delivers up to 36-pounds of thrust and has a 30-inch high-strength shaft that’s made of composite fiberglass and features a tough nylon mount. It offers 8-different speeds which includes 5 different forward speeds and 3 different reverse speeds. It also has a LED battery meter, a 6-inch telescoping handle, and hardware that’s made from durable stainless steel and can be used in both saltwater and freshwater environments. It’s a good little motor for saltwater or freshwater kayak fishing and should provide years of service.
4Gorplus Mounted Freshwater Motor 36-Inch Shaft
This 24-volt Gorplus motor is for kayak enthusiasts who want more power than they can handle for their vessel. It has a 36-inch shaft and delivers up to 86-pounds of thrust, enough thrust to power any kayak on the market today. This motor can also power a number of other medium-sized vessels from Jon boats to canoes. It also features a 3-blade propeller and a 10-point LED lighted battery indicator that shows how much juice is left in your battery. This is a good item for someone who wants pure power without any compromises and are looking for an easy-to-use motor that performs.
3Watersnake T18S 24-Inch Asp Motor
The Watersnake T18S is a motor with an apt name. I say that because it’s 24-inch heavy-duty alloy shaft and 2-blade propeller will help power kayaks through the water stealthily just like a water snake. Of course, this isn’t the most powerful kayak trolling motor that can be bought but it is quiet and durable. It can be put into high or low-speed and has a reverse and forward switch. This 12-volt motor can be used on any freshwater body and can also be used in saltwater bodies thanks to its coating that protects it from the corrosive effects of salt.
2Saturn Electric Short-Shaft Motor
Designed specifically for all kinds of inflatable boats and every kind of small vessel from kayaks to canoes, the Saturn Electric Short-Shaft Motor is a lightweight motor that fits a lot of power in a more compact size than other motors may do. This 12-volt motor delivers up to 55-pounds of thrust and features 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds. It has an extendable handle that can be extended all the way up to 13.8-inches–giving the users more control than other models may offer. It also features an easy-to-read battery indicator that tells you just how much battery you have left.
1Watersnake FWDR54-48 Shadow Bow Mount Foot Controlled Motor
The Watersnake FWSR54-48 is a motor that delivers 54-pounds of thrust and features a 48-inch shaft. These two features are then paired with a 3-blade propeller designed to cut through even heavy underwater grasses. It’s also pretty quiet for a motor with a decent amount of thrust. This motor, like other Watersnake motors, also features stainless steel propellers and composite shafts that are durable and corrosive-resistant. Adding to its toughness is a fully sealed and waterproofed motor compartment that keeps the circuit board dry and safe. It’s designed to provide many years of service and trouble-free operation and to be easy-to-operate thanks to its variable-speed foot controls.
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Choosing a Trolling Motor for Kayak Use
It seems like more and more people are using kayaks for fishing. Which means that an ever-increasing number of people are beginning to look for a motor for their kayaks in order to get to their favorite fishing spots. And this may lead these very same people to question just exactly what type of motor they may need. To complicate things even further, motor manufacturer’s have been modernizing trolling motors with new features that expand their usefulness and make them easier to use.
All of this begs the question: with all of the manufacturers, models, and features on the market, how do you determine the best kayak motor? Well, the only way to do it is by comparing the features the motor has against what you need it to do. Below are some tips that will help simplify your motor shopping and allow you to find one that fits your particular needs as well as your budget.
The first thing you’ll want to look at before you purchase a motor is just how much thrust it provides. The amount of thrust that’s needed for normal fishing conditions depends upon the size of the boat. For example, a 12-foot boat requires a minimum of 30-pounds of thrust, while a 21-foot boat requires a minimum of 74-pounds of thrust. Since most kayaks are approximately 8 to 10-feet long, usually 30 or 40-pounds of thrust is sufficient.
Of course, the thrust needed to power a kayak may increase depending on water conditions. For rougher waters you may want more thrust than you would with calmer waters. If you decide to buy a motor with extra thrust, make sure the size of it doesn’t upset the stability of your kayak.
Saltwater or Freshwater Applications
Another thing that you’ll want to consider is whether the trolling motor was designed for strictly freshwater environments or if it is coated for saltwater environments. Salt water is very corrosive, so your motor needs to be specially coated or made with anti-corrosive metals such as stainless-steel or zinc.
Transom or Bow Mounted
This is a fairly easy category. Most kayaks need a transom-mounted motor so they can be operated while the fisherman is in it. Usually, bow-mounted motors are designed for medium-sized boats and not for kayaks.
12, 24 or 36-Volt
Once again, usually ‘yak’ motors are 12-volt – even for the very large ones. However, you do see a 24-volt trolling motor on a kayak so the fisherman can have extra time out on the water. I wouldn’t recommend going to a 36-volt, however. That’s a little too big for a vessel this size.
Hand or Foot Operated
This really depends on what your personal preferences are. Some people prefer the foot operated controls and some people hate it. Choose one that fits your fishing style.
Another thing to consider are the additional features that may be equipped on a motor. This includes telescoping handles, silent-operation, LED battery indicators, and lever locks. These features, as well as any other ones that may become available on popular trollers, generally make the motor easier to use and more intuitive.
The last thing you’ll want to take into consideration is the price of the motor. Motors that generally have more features or more power are usually more expensive than ones that have fewer features or less power. While it’s certainly acceptable to spend more for additional features or thrust, make sure that you aren’t paying for things that you don’t need. Do you really need 100-pounds of thrust or a glow-in-the-dark handle for your kayak? Probably not.
After you have read over the above tips on how to buy a motor for your vessel and have looked over the top 10 models available, then you can buy the model that fits your needs and fishing style. That’s how you can rest assured that you’re getting the best kayak engine available that will serve you well.