Best Trolling Motor for Kayak & Canoe 2018 Review & Buyer’s Guide

It’s easy to get tired when trolling in your kayak or canoe. It’s all great for the first 30 minutes or so, but you quickly find your arms turn to jelly and you wish you didn’t have to paddle back to the boat launch again. Thankfully, there is another way! A canoe or kayak-compatible trolling motor easily fits the side of your floating palace and then you can sit back while resting your weary arms.

There’s a mistaken belief that a kayak or canoe is not sturdy or strong enough to hold a trolling motor and its battery. However, let us dispel that false belief right now. A canoe doesn’t even require a transom mounting system to do so either.

Having dispelled that rumor, let’s move ahead with the reviews of the top 5 trolling motors to ride in a kayak or canoe over the water.

Top 5 Trolling Motor For Kayak & Canoe Reviews

#1

Newport Vessels Kayak Series 55lb Thrust Electric Kayak Trolling Motor

The Newport Vessels Kayak Series in their 55-pounds of thrust configuration is a powerful offering designed to propel a kayak through the water with pleasing speed.

Most of the parts are made using aluminum for lightness, durability, and compatibility with saltwater use. There’s also use of zinc, magnesium, and stainless-steel at the motor-head to protect it from splashing water sprays too.best kayak trolling motor reviews

The 24-inch shaft is made from fiberglass and is fitted with a 3-blade propeller that runs deep enough to get some purchase in the water below the kayak (or canoe). You won’t make waves using this quiet motor which doesn’t excessively disturb the water during use.

The motor itself supports a total of 8 speeds. Five selective forward speeds and three for reverse. A useful LED indicator provides 5 levels of confirmation at 20% intervals for a 12-volt marine or deep cycle battery charge level (battery sold separately). This is probably overkilled with a trolling motor for a canoe or kayak, but this level of selectivity on speeds is still handy to have.

At full speed, a kayak can reach over 12 MPH with this powerful motor. It’s no longer necessary to own a boat to cruise on the water comfortably! The propeller is deep enough to not be that audible despite the 55-pounds of potential thrust at your fingertips.

The one-year warranty along with the dependable Newport Vessels brand also provides reassurance for nervous buyers.

PROS:
  • Trolling motor for attachment to a canoe or kayak
  • Saltwater use
  • Fits using various mounting options
  • 24-inch fiberglass shaft
  • Quiet 3-blade propeller
  • 55-pounds of thrust under your control
  • Telescoping 6-inch handle
  • 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds
  • LED battery indicator
  • 12-volt Battery leads to hook up quickly
CONS:
  • Probably more speed options than you need for a kayak or canoe
  • Transom mount rather than a specifically kayak-designed mounting system
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#2

Newport Vessels 55lb Thrust Electric Kayak Trolling Motor with Kayak Mount Set

The Newport Vessels Electric Kayak Trolling Motor is compatible with both saltwater and freshwater use. It comes with a useful mounting system specifically for a kayak that will also work with a canoe too. The engine provides a full 55-pounds of thrust at full speed (5 forward speed and 3 reverse ones) which is plenty and will propel you powerfully in the water.trolling motor for canoe

The transom mount is made by Railblaza and is supplied with the hardware needed to put the correct fitting in place. The mounting kit is designed to work with many different kayak or canoe brands. For anglers who like getting out on the water to find the best spots where the fish are biting, the fit is a dependable one. The mount is also fitted or removed in under a minute, so it’s not a pain to deal with either.

The shaft is 24-inches long with a fiberglass construction for durability. The three-blade propeller is whisper quiet at times and is only noticeable when pushing the 5-speed forward speed engine harder.

Cables are also supplied to hook up the motor to a marine or deep cycle 12-volt battery too.

One-year warranty provided.

PROS:
  • Saltwater and freshwater trolling motor for kayaks and canoes
  • 55-pounds of thrust
  • Railblaza Kayak Transom Mounting system installs on virtually any canoe or kayak
  • Install or remove the mount in under a minute
  • Fiberglass shaft (24-inches) with a 3-blade quiet propeller
CONS:
  • More power than some inflatable kayak owners will need but they can save battery life by moving at lower speeds too
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#3

Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb Thrust Electric Kayak Trolling Motor with 24″ Shaft

ThisNewport Vessels Kayak Series is designed for canoe or kayak owners who are sure that 36-pounds of thrust will be plenty for their floating needs. There’s still the usual 5 forward and 3 reverse speed selection options that buyers of Newport Vessels’ trolling motors have come to expect, so speed on the water can be adjusted up and down as needed.mounting trolling motor to kayak

The transom mount makes it easier to fit the trolling motor to the side of a kayak or canoe. Once installed, the 24-inch fiberglass shaft goes into the water along with its 3-blade propeller ready to guide you along the water. The shaft can also be adjusted in depth to allow for shallow stretches of water and to avoid getting caught up in water reeds or other water-based obstacles too.

A deep cycle or marine battery (12-volt) is necessary to power this motor. A battery is not supplied with the purchase, but good length cables certainly are. The battery will last a different amount of duration depending on how hard you push the engine once on the water.

The LED battery monitor has 5 sections which illuminate depending on charged level providing a useful accountability, so you won’t get caught on the water with a dead battery.

One-year warranty provided.

PROS:
  • Trolling motor with 36-pounds of thrust
  • 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse ones
  • Decent handle with a good grip in a telescoping design (extends 6-inches)
  • Transom mount to fit to the side of the kayak or canoe
  • Battery cables to hook up a marine or deep cycle battery (battery not supplied)
  • Strong fiberglass 24-inch shaft with adjustable deployment
CONS:
  • Fitting in the middle will turn a kayak or canoe more slowly than when fitted to the end of a boat.
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#4

Saturn 55 Lbs Short-Shaft Electric Tolling Motor For Inflatable Boats, Kaboats, Kayak, and Canoes

The Saturn Electric trolling motor comes with a 26-inch shaft made from a composite material to provide better protection in the water. The 55-pounds of thrust (one horsepower) is impressive for this trolling motor designed to fit everything from canoes to Saturn KaBoat inflatables, kayaks and other inflatables with ease. There’s 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds to back into slips or reach the shore easier too.trolling motor for kayak saltwater

The handle which controls throttle levels has 10 dynamic positions because it’s a telescoping model. The handle extends out to 13.8-inches – not the usual 6-inches of most Newport Vessels’ trolling motors –which is an attractive feature. The handle can be pushed all the way pointing to the water or moved up at a 45-degree angle. The flexible handle features are a major selling point.

The marine or deep cycle 12-volt battery (not provided) is monitored using a level meter. There’s a restriction of 50-amps as a maximum draw on the battery to produce the 55-pounds of thrust. It’s up the user how fast they wish to go which will require more amps and provide a shorter duration on the water.

Saltwater use is possible, but it’s recommended to wash the saltwater from the brushless motor before storing this trolling motor for use on another day. Doing so avoids excessive corrosion of the internal parts and extends the useful life of the product as a result.

PROS:
  • Trolling motor for use in saltwater and freshwater
  • 55-pounds (1 horsepower) of thrust trolling motor for kayaks, canoes and inflatables
  • 26-inch composite shaft
  • Adjustable handle with 45-degree up angle or event pointing towards the water
  • Telescoping handle moves out to 13.8-inches at a maximum
  • 5 forward speeds and 3 in reverse
  • Alter water depth of the shaft
  • Requires deep cycle or marine battery (12-volt)
CONS:
  • Maximum 50-amp draw on the battery at the top speed
  • The shorter shaft means this trolling motor won’t be suitable for boat use in most cases
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#5

Saturn 12v 65 Lbs or 1 HP Thrust Short-Shaft Electric Tolling Motor For Inflatable Boats, Kaboats, Kayaks and Canoes

his Saturn Electric Trolling motor comes with an impressive 65-pounds (1+ horsepower) of available thrust which is surely enough for any water adventurer or angler. It will fit to the side of many lightweight water vessels including canoes, kayaks, and inflatables, including the Saturn KaBoat inflatable models.canoe electric trolling motor

The brushless motor offers excellent performance with its 600-watts of power output via a 12-volt deep cycle or marine battery (not included). There’s a battery meter to keep an eye on the levels while on the water. The included Digimax Digitizer Energy Saver helps to minimize battery usage to get every last drop of juice out of the fitted battery.

The shaft is shorter than with boat trolling motors but it’s ideal for smaller craft on the water. The telescoping handle has 10 positions and is flexible enough to go upwards by 45-degrees or point right down too.

Saltwater use is fine with this trolling motor, but as with the other Saturn, model reviewed previously, washing out the motor after saltwater use is highly recommended.

PROS:
  • Powerful 65-pounds of thrust from the brushless motor
  • 50-amp maximum drawdown on the battery
  • Telescoping handle out to 12-inches
  • Move the handle up at 45-degree angle or pointing down to the water
  • Light at 10-pounds
  • The shorter shaft suits kayaks, canoes, and inflatables equally well
  • Digitmax Digitizer Energy Saver system provided for use with this 600-watt power output to extend battery life
  • 12-volt marine or deep cycle battery needed (cables provided)
CONS:
  • 65-pounds of trust is more than most power people will require
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Features of Best kayak trolling motor

There are a few different features to consider with a kayak trolling motor:

  • Water Compatibility – Trolling motors for kayaks and other tiny floating vessels tend to be set up for both saltwater and freshwater. This is important because using a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater can seriously damage the internal components and cause them to rust quickly.
  • Thrust – The amount of available thrust from the engine makes a big difference to the power that feeds down to the propeller. Most products come with several speed levels to adjust how much thrust is being used to contain battery usage when speed isn’t as important.
  • Shaft – The shaft goes into the water and has the prop on the end of it. Most are made from fiberglass or another composite material to better withstand a few knocks while underwater and hopefully not chip away or break off.
  • Propeller – The propeller attaches to the shaft which turns and makes the prop turn as well. Most propellers are three-blade varieties and designed to make minimal noise during operation.
  • Controls – There are different control systems depending on the model of trolling motor you select. Some have controls built into the head; others are wireless or managed with one or more foot pedals.
  • Foot Pedals – Foot pedal controls with a trolling motor are more common with larger models designed for boats.
  • Handle – The tiller handle tends to have a telescoping feature to pull it out to a greater length, in stages. This suits people who are trying to sit more in the center of their kayak or canoe to keep better balance in the water.
  • Noise – Some trolling motors are noisy and scare away the fish. Other models are whisper quiet and while they’ll still disturb the water, they do so far less and aren’t very audible at the water line.

  • Mounting Options – The transom mount is the most popular with fitting to inflatables, canoes, and kayaks. Other mounting systems also work and there are universal options that make mounting more predictable. Some trolling motors for kayaks even come with special kayak mounting systems.
  • Battery Indicator – A LED battery indicator system which reads the connected battery to check its charged level is used to have out on the water. It prevents a sudden loss of power and having to resort to paddles to get back to shore when the batteries die on you.
  • Battery Voltage – The battery voltage with trolling motors for kayaks tends to be 12-volts. On the most powerful trolling motors used on mid-sizes boats, you may see a 24-volt system with two batteries in use side-by-side. But with kayak or canoe usage, only a 12-volt system is usually required. This is a good thing because there’s far less space to house two batteries inside the kayak anyway.
  • Battery Usage – The amperage use is often fixed at a maximum for a trolling motor. The amp drain depends on the speed selected and most models offer several forward and reverse speeds. Not only does this moderate the rate of travel across the water, but also the battery drain too. Also, there are a few models that come with energy-efficient battery systems to reduce the battery drain both during use and when idle.

Conclusion

There’s aren’t too many brands to choose from with a trolling motor designed more for a small craft than a small or mid-sized boat. The shafts are naturally shorter to make them more usable in the water and not get hung up on plant life. Choose the required pounds of thrust necessary. More is often better because you can always move at a slower speed through the water whilst having power in reserve with a more powerful motor. When choosing a lower-powered trolling motor, that’s not necessarily the case.

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