Trolling Motor for Kayak – Review and Buying Guide

With kayak fishing becoming more popular these days, the demand for trolling motors designed for kayaks soared high. If you’re a beginner or seasoned angler, you probably know the number of advantages and how having one will transform your kayak into your main fishing machine and improve your overall fishing experience. 

In this article, we will cover how to replace your paddle with a trolling motor and the things to consider when buying one. For sure, no one wants to spend more time paddling to get where the fish are. Every angler’s goal is to get to the right fishing spot as easily and as fast as we possibly can.

What Is a Kayak Trolling Motor? And why would you need one?

The kayak trolling motor is designed with kayak anglers in mind. It is a small electric motor mounted to your kayak to making it move to your desired location without the need for manual paddling. It can be used both in saltwater and freshwater angling.  Most of it operates using an external deep cycle battery.

Kayak Trolling Motor Components

Here are the main components of your trolling motor that you should be familiar with to use more effectively.

The motorhead located on top of the motor assembly houses the electric circuit board. It controls the functions of the motor.

The shaft is a long stanch that connects the motorhead and propeller hub.

Propeller hub/power motor –  houses the electric moto and is inside a sealed watertight compartment located at the bottom. It is submerged during operation to prevent overheating. The skeg is also part of the casing structure. 

The propeller looks like a fan and it is attached to the back of the power motor. 

Controls can be of different types: hand tiller, foot pedal, and remote control. The top of the line models includes electronic controls.

Why You Need a Kayak Trolling Motor?

Fast and quiet. Trolling motor is especially useful for anglers who need to cover a lot of distances.  It also allows anglers to get into creeks bigger boats can’t. It’s fast, powerful, and very quiet. Unlike gas outboards, trolling motors are very silent. You can use a trolling motor to approach fish without scaring them away. Trolling motors cause less motion in the water with virtually no waves or splashes. 

Convenience. Without needing to paddle, it is more convenient to access your favorite fishing spot and spend the day fishing and not paddling. Also, it frees up both hands from paddling, allows you to focus more on holding your fishing rod.

What to look for Kayak Trolling Motor?

Freshwater vs. saltwater. Trolling motors are categorized by the environment they will be in. For saltwater used, mechanical and electrical components are sealed to protect against corrosion. 

Mount location. There are 3 ways to mount a trolling motor. On the bow, transom, and the engine. Bow-mounted motors are designed to be used on boats with flat, raised forward decks. Transom-mounted motors have 1 or 2 clamps built into the mounting bracket to hold the motor in place and are attached as close to the center of the stern as possible where it can be operated by a tiller. Lastly, the engine mount motors are attached on top of the engine’s anti-cavitation plate, with the motor up.

Shaft. The standard shaft length of trolling motors is 42 inches. To know what’s the right length for your boat, measure the distance from the mount location to the water, then add the manufacturer recommended measurements. A longer shaft is recommended for rough water. 

Thrust. Trolling motors are offered in 12V, 12V/24V, 24V, and 36V versions. The power equation is the higher the voltage, the higher the thrust. Maximum thrusts at different voltages are approximately 12V/55lb., 24V/75lb. and 36V/109lb.

Power consumption. Consider the size of your boat and the amp draw of the motor model you want to get. A 24V model with 54lb. of thrust can draw 28 amps, while a 12V model with 44lb. of thrust can draw 36 amps.  In short, the larger the motor consumes more power. 

Controls: For transom-mounted motors typically have tillers for steering and controlling speed. Bow-mounted motors are equipped with a mechanical or electrical foot pedal that allows hands-free operation. And the remote-controlled motor can be operated without any cords or wires.

Top Pick Trolling Motor for Kayak Reviews

The table above compares the most important specs of the top 5 models side by side. Now let’s take a look at each model in more detail.

1. Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor

Key Features:

  • Telescoping Handle
  • Lever Lock Bracket
  • Tilt Twist Tiller
  • 5 Fwd/3 Rev Speed Settings
  • Indestructible Composite Shaft
  • Cool and Quiet Power


  • Maximum thrust: 30lb
  • Shaft length: 30″, 36″, 42″
  • Mount: Lever Lock Bracket
  • Control: Telescoping Handle

The Minn Kota Endura trolling motor has been an excellent choice among anglers for its performance and affordability. This transom-mounted 12V trolling motor is easy to install and surprisingly energy efficient. Good enough for wide distances and long hours of fishing. It features 5 Fwd/3 Rev speed settings, different thrust levels, and a 6-inch telescoping tiller, which gives you more control over speed and steering.  It also has an adjustable 30-inch shaft to easily fit a wide variety of kayak models.

This trolling motor is ideal for freshwater use only, and it runs surprisingly smooth and quiet. You can spend hours on the water without scaring the fish away.

2. Newport Vessels NV-Series Trolling Motor

Newport Vessels NV-Series Trolling Motor

Key Features:

  • 8-speed control system
  • Saltwater rated
  • Lightweight
  • Premium cork grip
  • Battery life indicator
  • Quiet operation


  • Power: 55lb Thrust
  • Total Weight: 23lbs
  • Total Height: 42″
  • Max Amp Draw: 52 Amps
  • Shaft: 30″ Fiberglass Composite
  • Battery Meter: 5 Point LED
  • Handle/ Tiller: 6″ Extension
  • Stock Propeller: 3 Blade

The Newport Vessels NV-series is a transom-mounted trolling motor that can be used both in freshwater and saltwater. It features 36 lb, 46 lb, 55 lb, 62 lb, and 86 lb thrust versions and 8-speed settings (5-forward, 3-reverse).  It has a 6-inch telescopic handle handy to give you more control over speed and steering. Also has a built-in battery life indicator that comes very handy to help you track how much battery you have left. 

The NV series provides is known to provide long-lasting performance giving you more use out of a full battery charge. This is a great choice if you plan to go on long fishing trips. 

3. Newport Vessels Kayak Series Trolling Motor

Newport Vessels Kayak Series Trolling Motor

Key Features:

  • 8-speed control system
  • Saltwater rated
  • Lightweight
  • Battery life indicator
  • Quiet operation


  • Power – 55lb Thrust
  • Total Weight – 23lbs
  • Total Height – 37″
  • Max Amp Draw – 52 Amps
  • Shaft – 24″ Fiberglass Composite
  • Battery Meter – 5 Point LED
  • Handle/ Tiller – 6″ Extension
  • Propeller – 3 Blade

The Newport Vessels Kayak Series Trolling Motor is built with saltwater corrosion-resistant materials. It is specially designed for saltwater use, but it is excellent to use in freshwater as well. It comes with either 36lb or 55lb thrust options and an 8-speed control system for a very smooth and incredibly quiet ride. The 55lb thrust option offers more than enough power to get you around quickly even for a long day of fishing. 

The adjustable 24” shaft allows for proper depth placement on any kayak allowing you to get into shallow water easily. It is easy to install and comes with extra-long battery cables that allow for versatile battery placement for optimal weight distribution.

4. Watersnake Venom Swet 12V Electric Trolling Motor

Watersnake Venom Swet 12V Electric Trolling Motor

Key Features:

  • Quiet and lightweight trolling motor
  • 5 Forward/3 Reverse speeds
  • 3-blade propeller with weedless design
  • Telescopic tiller control
  • Adjustable alloy transom bracket


  • Power: 34lb Thrust
  • Total Weight: 6.5lbs
  • Max Amp Draw: 54 Amps
  • Shaft: 48-54″
  • Stock Propeller: 3 blade weedless design
  • Speed Options: 5 Forward/3 Reverse speeds

The Watersnake Venom Swet electric motor is made of durable materials making it efficient in both freshwater and saltwater fishing. This transom-mount motor runs on 12V power and operates with 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds. The circuit board is fully protected and waterproof, and the propeller is made of high-quality steel. It includes a sturdy composite shaft and telescopic tiller control, which makes it efficient in controlling the speed and direction.

This trolling motor is lightweight, powerful, and is ideal for small boats and kayaks. This becomes more popular among anglers due to its efficiency, performance, and high-quality construction at an affordable price.

5. Cloud Mountain Thrust 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor

Cloud Mountain Thrust 8 Speed Electric Trolling Motor

Key Features:

  • Saltwater rated
  • Great speed and power
  • Smooth operation


  • Material: Reinforced nylon, composite fiber glass and aluminum
  • Power: 36 – 86 lb Thrust
  • Shaft: 28″
  • Speed Options: 5 Forward/3 Reverse speeds

The Cloud Mountain trolling motor is among the most popular among anglers for its tough and dependable features. It is made of stainless steel hardware making it an excellent trolling motor for kayaks in saltwater as well as freshwater locations. It features 8 speeds options (5 forward & 3 reverse), 36-86 thrust options, and a 6-inch adjustable handle for a smooth and easy controlled ride. The battery indicator comes in handy as well to know the battery level. 

Many users report that this would easily be one of the best trolling motors for kayaks for its overall versatility and control options. However many find that the plastic parts like the handle and mounting mechanism are not made from premium materials but serves their purpose. If it doesn’t bother you, this still can give you a smooth riding experience with its thrust options and high-quality engine.

The main reason people gravitate towards trolling motors for kayaks is because of fishing. Undoubtedly it makes fishing a pleasant and effortless experience. We hope this buying guide and review has been helpful for you. You don’t need the most expensive, top-of-the-line trolling motor. But don’t cheap yourself out of quality equipment for the right price.

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