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Best Trolling Motors For Kayaks Reviewed
With kayak fishing becoming more and more popular, it was only a matter of time before some crazy genius rigged a trolling motor onto their fishing kayak, and the world became a better place.
If only we could find that crazy genius.
If you want to spend more time fishing and less time paddling, taking a close look at some of the best trolling motors for kayaks can transform your kayak into a mean fishing machine.
Kayak trolling motors are the real deal, and manufacturers are really answering that demand with trolling motors specifically designed for use on kayaks.
Grabbing any old trolling motor and trying to run it on your kayak won’t necessarily work out in your favor. If you’re luck, maybe. But most of the popular models that are used on bass boats and sport fishing boats are not advantageous for use on your kayak.
There are some features that really should be optimized to make a trolling motor ideal for the specific demands of kayaks. And which trolling motor will give you the performance and features you are looking for is going to hinge on your preferences. Brand quality is one important detail, but how and where you plan on using your kayak motor is equally, if not more important. Saltwater will destroy trolling motors in short order if they’re not rated for ocean use.
Top Trolling Motors For Kayaks Features To Consider
- Reputation – With fishing being such a wide spread and popular pastime, trolling motors gather a reputation quickly. Nothing speaks to the quality of a product like a group of anglers who have years of personal experience and offer a first-hand trolling motor review. You’ll also get an excellent sense for long term durability if you are interested in a particular model.
- Mounting – Along with considering some of those important details, you’ll also need a reliable trolling motor mount. Brocraft makes one of our favorite kayak trolling motor mounts that you can pick up on Amazon here.
- Shaft Length – Unlike other boats, kayaks float right near to the surface and don’t sit very deep in the water. Most conventional trolling motors are going to have fairly long shafts that place the propeller 30-40 inches below the motor. You can make one of these models work, but they have some significant downfalls. If the shaft protrudes too far below the boat the propeller will strike rocks and debris on the bottom, leaving you only with a paddle in shallows. In our testing, the best trolling motors for kayaks have short shafts around 2 – 2 1/2 feet long.
- Thrust – Where a larger boat designed for fishing will only be moved very slowly by a trolling motor, kayaks are pushed through the water much faster. For still waters like lakes and ponds, most trolling motors that offer 35-45 lbs of thrust will generally move smaller kayaks in the 7 foot range at a little under 4 mph. Most fishing kayaks aren’t that small. In fact, many popular models are over 10 feet long, so making the step up to 50-60 lbs. of thrust is very common. Kayak anglers who want to move quickly, like those fishing in tournaments, find jumping right up to the 86 lb. thrust models suits their needs best.
- Power Consumption – The trade-off with more foot pounds of thrust is more consumption of electricity. It’s easy to forget that these trolling motors run on 12V batteries, and if you want your power to last then it’s important to strike a balance between thrust and power use.
- Corrosion Resistance – It’s absolutely vital that you purchase a saltwater-rated model if you plan on using your kayak trolling motor while fishing in saltwater. Otherwise your motor will be destroyed. Saltwater trolling motors are built to withstand the rigors of corrosive salts that lay waste to conventional trolling motors. In our testing, saltwater rated motors are just built to a higher standard in general when compared to freshwater-only designs.
Top Kayak Trolling Motors Comparison Chart
Best Trolling Motors For Kayak
The Newport Vessels Kayak Series Trolling Motor is a welcome addition to the Newport lineup of trolling motors for kayaks. With a choice of either 36lb or 55lb thrust, you have a bit of choice in regards to how powerful you want your kayak trolling motor to be.
With competition from other brands such as Cloud Mountain and Minn Kota, Newport manages to set itself apart thanks to its reliable saltwater resistance.
Surprisingly, this isn’t something that is available for most trolling motors, perhaps because not everyone uses their trolling motor in saltwater conditions. However, if you plan to, then Newport is arguably one of the only brand choices you have available to you.
That said, it’s also an excellent trolling motor when used in freshwater as well. Its variable speed makes it easy to control your kayak, giving you complete control over your speed and course with no effort. It’s also got some extra-long cables which makes it easy to place your battery in a convenient place on your kayak.
You’ll also be glad to hear that the Newport Vessels Kayak Series comes with a 2-year warranty, a testament to how confident Newport are in their trolling motors.
Overall, we can certainly recommend both the 36lb and 55lb thrust motors from Newport. If you’re looking for a simple way to add a trolling motor to your kayak then Newport offers value, flexibility and that all-important saltwater resistance. It’s simple to install, you get a choice of different thrust options and you’ll have a smooth ride thanks to its 8-speed control system.
Here is an excellent video on the Newport Vessels Kayak Series Trolling Motor:
Cloud Mountain offers a surprisingly good 8-speed trolling motor that comes in many different thrust options from 36 all the way to 86. This is great if you’re looking for a bit of extra power and we were surprised to discover that they’re also saltwater resistant thanks to the stainless steel hardware.
It handles surprisingly well and there’s a power reader on the trolling motor itself that shows some basic information about your battery status. It’s well-protected and mounts easily to any kayak motor mount, making it a versatile solution no matter what you use your kayak for.
The telescopic handle didn’t feel the best, but it served its purpose and allowed us to steer our kayak without much hassle. You can definitely tell that it’s not made from premium-feeling materials, and that brings us to an important point with the Cloud Mountain.
Despite having so many varieties thanks to the thrust options and a high-quality engine to give you a smooth riding experience, it feels like Cloud Mountain cut a few corners to help keep the price low. The mounting mechanism felt a bit cheap, the handle didn’t feel nice to the touch compared to other well-known brands, and the power reader looks very dated.
While the Cloud Mountain is a great trolling motor for kayaks, it might be difficult to cope with its lack of quality in some areas. The motor itself works fine, but if you’re looking for a complete package then you may want to look somewhere else.
That said, if the feel of the handle and the somewhat wonky mounting mechanism don’t bother you, then you’re staring at a fantastic deal for a kayak trolling motor.
The second Newport item on this list, the Newport Vessels NV-Series Trolling Motor is an efficient alternative to the Kayak Series Trolling Motor that offers the same level of quality and durability. The main difference with the NV series is that it balances power with efficiency.
The NV series provides long-lasting performance as opposed to raw power, giving you more use out of a full battery charge.
This is a great choice if you plan to go on long fishing trips out on the water or simply don’t want to worry about running out of battery. It still comes with the same durable construction as the Kayak Series Trolling Motor and still has the 8-speed telescoping handle that offers excellent ergonomic support.
As expected, the Newport Vessels NV-Series Trolling Motor packs quite a punch and will easily be able to push your kayak even with all of your gear in it. We can’t recommend Newport highly enough especially if you’re looking for a long-term solution that comes with excellent customer support and a long warranty period.
Newport is known for offering some of the industry’s most effective and efficient customer service, often replacing parts or even the entire trolling motor when there’s an issue with your product.
The problem comes when trying to compare the NV-Series with the regular Kayak Series. Both of them are going to offer you excellent control, ergonomic handling and durability. However, we find that the NV-Series does offer a considerably longer run time than the Kayak series. We suggest taking a look at both to see what you can pick up for cheaper and then decide from there.
GOPLUS’s electric trolling motor is a welcome addition to the industry, offering a choice of 46, 55 and 86 LBS thrust in an affordable package that offers easy handling, smooth movement a variety of features that could even rival Newport in terms of usability.
The adjustable shaft handle gives you an easy way to freely change the position of the trolling motor and the depth control can also help ensure that the propeller is at the right depth to help you adjust your speed. The telescoping handle works fine but isn’t quite as ergonomic or comfortable in the hand as a Newport trolling motor.
With that said, we find that the GOPLUS can offer a smooth ride, much like the NV series. It offers a fantastic kayaking experience that is smooth, powerful and easy to control while also offering excellent low amp draw. This means that you can easily get many hours of use depending on how large your battery is.
We found that it was capable of rivalling the NV series in terms of efficiency, so that should give you a rough idea of how well-optimized this trolling motor truly is. You’re also going to get saltwater resistance with the GOPLUS, helping it stand out in terms of practicality.
If you’re looking for a smooth trolling motor at a fantastic price, then the GOPLUS Electric Trolling Motor is a surprisingly good option. It manages to rival the NV series from Newport despite a few rough edges. It still manages to disrupt the industry a little, giving consumers more choices to pick from and giving Newport a worthy competitor.
We can certainly recommend it despite a few little quirks that make it feel like a less “finished” product than any of the Newport trolling motors, but if you’re fine dealing with a few rough edges in exchange for a ridiculously smooth and powerful ride, this is the one to pick.
The Minn Kota Endura trolling motor is an iconic option to pick for kayaking. Praised among many for its excellent performance and low price, the Minn Kota Endura has almost reached a legendary status in the world of kayaking.
However, with other companies like Newport and GOPLUS catching up, does the Minn Kota still represent excellent value for money, or are we just blindsided by its status in the kayaking community?
It goes without saying that, on paper, the Minn Kota is an excellent deal. With a choice of several different thrust levels, an ergonomic telescoping tiller and surprisingly quiet operation, the Minn Kota deserves its status as legendary trolling motor that almost everyone has tried at some point in their lives.
It offers a smooth ride, 8-speed settings and incredibly durable materials that will guarantee its long lifespan. It’s simple to install, it’s accessible and it’s surprisingly energy efficient.
Whether you’re planning to fish on your kayak or just want to ride around on the water, the Minn Kota is going to be a brilliant choice regardless of your interests. All of the positive comments about the Minn Kota are true and there’s a reason why it has so many positive reviews.
As an affordable option, you can’t go wrong with the Minn Kota Endura and despite there being fantastic offerings from both Newport and GOPLUS, it’s still common for people to lean towards the Minn Kota just because it’s what a large majority of people in the kayaking and fishing community uses. Bundle this with excellent customer service from Minn Kota and a two-year warranty and you’ve got a trolling motor deal that you simply can’t ignore.