What’s the Best Kayak Trolling Motor of 2020

best kayak trolling motor

A trolling motor is essential for any serious kayaker. It feels good to reach your destination faster without getting tired. Kayak trips will be fun because you can focus less on paddle strokes and more on enjoying the scenery. You also won’t have to wish you had four hands while fishing.

There are way too many trolling motors in the market; it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the options. No one will tell you that their product is substandard. Every manufacturer maintains that they have the best trolling motor.

The aim of this article to help you with this decision. Here are 9 of the best trolling motors you can find. I discuss their features, strengths, weaknesses and what users think.

1. Watersnake Tracer Transom Mount Trolling Motor

Watersnake Tracer Transom Mount Trolling Motor

The Watersnake is a budget trolling motor that is perfect for your kayak and any other inflatable boats. The best thing about it is the flexibility it offers.

Build Quality

The Watersnake FWTCS44TH is made using heavy-duty alloy and state-of-the-art components. It guarantees impeccable performance and longevity.

Usage and Performance

This Watersnake trolling motor offers a 44-pound thrust and runs on a 12-volt battery. It is designed for use in freshwater only. The fixed tiller features two reverse speed and five forward speed controls.

According to the manufacturer, this motor can be used with all kinds of small boats including canoes and inflatable boats. It allows you to choose between electric foot control and tiller steer.

Package

The package includes a wire with attached alligator clips.

Features and Specifications

  • Made with heavy-duty alloy
  • Mounting bracket is adjustable
  • Three-blade prop
  • 5 forward speeds, 2 reverse speeds
  • Made for use in freshwater
  • Super quiet
  • Tiller steer and foot control
  • Shaft length: 36″
  • Thrust level: 44 lbs
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weighs 27 lbs

Pros & Cons

  • Super quiet
  • Affordable
  • Great speed
  • For freshwater only

Customer Feedback

The Watersnake FWTCS44TH is highly rated. Going through the reviews, no one has given it a bad review. Users say that this trolling motor works just fine. A number of them have had it for some years and it is still going strong.

2. Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor

The Minn Kota Endura trolling motor is quite popular—for a good reason. It offers many options when it comes to the thrust level.

Build Quality

Minn Kota maintains that the composite shaft of the Endura motor is indestructible. Every other single part is made to last. The trolling motor comes with a two-year warranty.

Usage and Performance

As far as thrust level and shaft length are concerned, you have several choices: 30-pound, 40-pound, 45-pound, 50-pound and 55-pound thrust levels. The 30-pound motor has a 30-inch shaft and the 40-pound and 42-pound have a 36-inch shaft. As for the 50-pound and 55-pound motors, you can choose between a 36-inch shaft and a 42-inch shaft. They all use a 12-volt battery.

All except the 55-pound have five forward speeds and three reverse speeds. The 55-pound has ten forward speeds and three reverse speeds.

The Minn Kota trolling motor has a power prop and an ergonomic steering and speed control.

Package

This trolling motor comes with the necessary wires and gator clips. All you need to buy is a battery.

Features and Specifications

  • Indestructible composite shaft
  • Lever lock bracket for a solid mount
  • 6” telescoping tiller
  • Whisper quiet
  • Lifetime warranty on shaft
  • Power prop
  • Five forward and three reverse speeds
  • Shaft length: 30”, 36” and 42”
  • Thrust level: 30, 40, 45, 50 and 55 lbs
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weighs 17 lbs to 26 lbs (depending on the thrust level)

Pros & Cons

  • Conserves battery life
  • Indestructible shaft
  • Telescoping tiller
  • Different versions to choose from
  • No battery indicator
  • Freshwater use only

Customer Feedback

Going by the feedback, you can tell that the Minn Kota Endura is popular. Thousands of people have tried it and shared their experiences. The most praised thing about this trolling motor is how much it conserves energy. It is unbelievably efficient. Users also say that it is easy to install the Endura. A few anglers are having issues with the speed settings.

3. Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb/55lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor

Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb 55lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor

This trolling motor from Newport Vessels has been designed specifically for kayakers. It has features meant to give you a smooth experience, free of worries.

Build Quality

The 24-inch shaft on the Kayak series is made of fiberglass and offers a lifetime of amazing performance. All the other parts are made using corrosion-resistant materials such as stainless steel and aluminum.

Usage and Performance

The Kayak Series features two versions; one with a thrust level of 36 pounds and another 55 pounds. It requires a 12-volt battery. The speed is variable and you get eight speed settings—five forward and three reverse. It has a 2-blade stock propeller and a 6-inch tiller/handle.

You can use your Kayak Series trolling motor in saltwater and freshwater.

Package

This kayak trolling motor comes with a 40-amp circuit breaker to prevent electric damage. You also get battery cables.

Features and Specifications

  • Durable fiberglass shaft
  • Made with corrosion-resistant materials
  • Eight speed settings (5 forward, 3 reverse)
  • 2-blade stock prop
  • 6” tiller
  • Suitable for saltwater
  • Comes with extra-long cables
  • 5 LED battery indicator
  • Lithium-powered batteries not recommended
  • Comes with a circuit breaker
  • Shaft length: 24”
  • Thrust level: 36 lbs and 55 lbs
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weighs 20 lbs

Pros & Cons

  • Two thrust levels available
  • Suitable for saltwater and freshwater
  • Comes with a circuit breaker
  • Reliable shaft
  • May be damaged by a lithium-ion battery

Customer Feedback

Users say that installing this trolling motor is a piece of cake. They also agree that the Kayak Series has great speed and is amazingly quiet. Those who have had other trolling motors before say that the Newport Kayak Series has way better features. Some kayakers appear to have received defective products.

4. U-BCOO 8 Speed Saltwater Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor

U-BCOO 8 Speed Saltwater Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor

If you are looking for a trolling motor that is light and compact but performs impeccably, you should try the U-BCOO. Take a closer look.

Build Quality

The shaft is made using high strength fiberglass. To make it ideal for saltwater, it is built with stainless steel and has a long-lasting die-cast aluminum head.

Usage and Performance

There are four versions of this trolling motor, each with a varying thrust level—46, 55, 60 and 86 pounds. All of them use a 12-volt battery except the 86-pound one which requires 24 volts.

The U-BCOO has eight speed settings, five forward and three reverse. It comes with an LED power display that has a 1-10 scale. There is a 4-inch telescopic handle.

This motor’s full copper core generates less heat, is durable, minimizes noise and ensures outstanding performance.

Package

The U-BCOO comes with all the necessary wires.

Features and Specifications

  • High strength fiberglass shaft
  • Die-cast aluminum head
  • Built with stainless steel
  • Has eight speed settings
  • LED power display
  • 4” telescopic handle
  • Full copper core
  • Ideal for saltwater use
  • Shaft-length: 28.5”
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weighs 20 lbs

Pros & Cons

  • LED power display
  • Full copper core
  • Four versions to choose from
  • Shelf needed for inflatable kayaks

Customer Feedback

Buyers say that the U-BCOO is powerful yet efficient when it comes to conserving energy. The speed control is nice and so is the battery indicator. No one encountered issues when trying to install it. A majority of the customers highly recommend this trolling motor. They say it is the best they have ever owned.

5. GOPLUS Electric Trolling Motor 46/55/86 LBS Thrust Transom Mounted 8 Speed

GOPLUS Electric Trolling Motor 46-55 86 LBS Thrust Transom Mounted 8 Speed

Goplus is not a new name in the water sports industry. They have tons of awesome products. Including this trolling motor that you will love.

Build Quality

It has an aluminum head that boosts its service life. The shaft is made of fiberglass composite. In addition to having high tensile strength, it is also corrosion-resistant. There is a reinforced nylon bracket for dimension stability and ablation resistance.

Usage and Performance

Depending on the size of your boat, you can get a Goplus electric motor with a 46-pound, 55-pound and 86-pound thrust level. All of them have five forward and three reverse speeds. The 86-pound one requires a voltage of 24 volts while the rest will work with 12 volts.

There is an LED battery indicator with 10 points. The Goplus trolling motor is controlled using a 6-inch telescopic adjustable handle. The propeller depth and shaft angle are adjustable as well.

Package

The Goplus comes with all the necessary wires but no battery.

Features and Specifications

  • Aluminum head
  • Fiberglass composite shaft
  • Reinforced nylon bracket
  • Eight speed settings; five forward, three reverse
  • Has an LED battery indicator
  • Adjustable propeller depth and shaft angle
  • Three-blade propeller
  • Adjustable boat clamp and fixed ring
  • Shaft length: 36”
  • Thrust level: 46, 55 and 86 lbs
  • Voltage: 12V or 24V (depends on thrust level)

Pros & Cons

  • Many adjustable features
  • LED battery indicator
  • Solid construction
  • Ideal for saltwater use
  • Hard to find spare parts

Customer Feedback

The installation is easy, according to users. Most of them don’t regret their purchase. They say that the Goplus is well made and sturdy. While it is not the best for speed, they agree that it trolls well. Other than a few buyers who could not find spare parts, users agree that the Goplus trolling motor is great.

6. Watersnake T24 Asp 24-Pound Thrust 12V Electric Trolling Motor

Watersnake T24 Asp 24 Pound Thrust 12V Electric Trolling Motor

For the kayaker who prefers something compact and portable, here is a good option. Check out what it has to offer.

Build Quality

The Watersnake T24 may be light but it is made using heavy-duty materials. Regardless of how adventurous you are, you will be using this trolling motor for a long time.

Usage and Performance

This motor has a thrust level of 24 pounds which is enough for most kayaks and canoes. Its voltage is 12 volts.

You will not have many options as far as speed settings are concerned. However, you can choose between high and low speed. There is also a reverse and forward switch.

The steering handle is adjustable. This trolling motor has a two-blade prop with a weedless design.

Package

The Watersnake T24 comes with the necessary wires, attachment instructions and a universal bracket. The manufacturer claims that the latter is revolutionary.

Features and Specifications

  • Comes with a universal bracket
  • Low and high speed controls
  • Reverse and forward switch
  • Mount has an anti-impact clip system
  • Adjustable steering handle
  • Two-blade propeller
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Shaft length: 24”
  • Thrust level: 24 lbs
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weighs 4.9 lbs

Pros & Cons

  • Super lightweight and compact
  • Comes with a universal bracket
  • Poor quality mount

Customer Feedback

Everyone is praising the quality of the motor. They love that it is small and light while still being high-strength. Many buyers appreciate the ease of installation and amazing customer service. There are tons of complaints about the mount being cheap. You might have to explore other mounting options.

7. Minn Kota Endura Max in Shaft Thrust Trans MNT

Minn-Kota-Endura-Max-in-Shaft-Thrust-Trans-MNT

If you like to be out in the water for long periods, try the Minn Kota Endura. It claims to conserve energy five times as much as your normal trolling motor.

Build Quality

The composite shaft is indestructible and is backed by a lifetime warranty. Every other part is made with heavy-duty materials that ensure longevity.

Usage and Performance

The manufacturer advertises the Endura Max as an energy-efficient trolling motor. It has Digital Maximizer power that reduces heat damage and facilitates efficiency. The telescopic tiller is super responsive and you will be using very little effort.

There are three versions of the Minn Kota Endura Max depending on thrust level: 40 pounds, 45 pounds, 50 pounds and 55 pounds. The voltage for all of them is 12 volts. This trolling motor uses a two-blade power prop and is designed for freshwater use.

Package

The Minn Kota Endura Max comes with electric cables for connecting to the battery. It does not come with a fuse.

Features and Specifications

  • Indestructible composite shaft
  • Shaft has a lifetime warranty
  • Made for freshwater use
  • Responsive 6-inch telescopic tiller
  • Two-blade power prop
  • Digital Maximizer for energy efficiency
  • Lever lock bracket
  • Cool and quiet operation
  • Shaft length: 36” and 42”
  • Thrust level: 40, 45, 50 and 55 lbs
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weighs 23 lbs

Pros & Cons

  • Conserves energy
  • Cool and quiet
  • Indestructible shaft
  • Not ideal for saltwater use

Customer Feedback

The users agree that the Minn Kota Endura Max is indeed energy efficient—just as the manufacturer claims. It is easy to install and maneuver. The speed settings are responsive. The power is great and, for most people, this trolling motor met their expectations. Some customers appear to have received faulty motors, hence a few bad reviews.

8. Minn Kota Traxxis 45 Transom Mount Trolling Motor

Minn-Kota-Traxxis-45-Transom-Mount-Trolling-Motor

Here is yet another great product from Minn Kota. It has the same cool features as the one above and a few additional ones.

Build Quality

The Traxxis is no different from other Minn Kota trolling motors. It has an indestructible composite shaft that will remain solid for life. All the other components are super sturdy as well and come with a two-year warranty.

Usage and Performance

The Traxxis has the Digital Maximizer system that helps it conserve energy. This motor’s control system will make your experiences a whole lot better. The tiller’s angle and length are adjustable. It also has a digital battery indicator.

There are four thrust levels to choose from—45 pounds, 55 pounds, 70 pounds and 80 pounds. It has a voltage of 24 volts. This motor has forward and reverse speed settings.

Package

The Minn Kota Traxxis comes with electrical wires. For it to be operational, you need to buy two 12-volt batteries.

Features and Specifications

  • Indestructible composite shaft
  • Digital Maximizer system for energy efficiency
  • Life guarantee on shaft
  • Has a digital battery indicator
  • Adjustable tiller angle and length
  • Forward and reverse speed settings
  • Designed for freshwater use
  • Weedless Wedge 2 propeller
  • Shaft length: 36” and 42”
  • Thrust level: 45, 55, 70 and 80 lbs
  • Voltage: 24V
  • Weighs 24 lbs

Pros & Cons

  • Cool and quiet operation
  • Conserves energy
  • Has a battery indicator
  • Not made for saltwater
  • One-hand stow is a little tricky

Customer Feedback

A good number of buyers say that this is the most powerful trolling motor ever.  It is steady and operates smoothly. Anglers love that it is quiet—you can barely hear it. The energy-conserving system is outstanding. Most users highly recommend the Traxxis.

9. Watersnake FWTCS30TH-30 Tracer Transom Mount Trolling Motor with 30-Pound Thrust, 30-Inch Shaft, 12-Volt

Watersnake-FWTCS30TH-30-Tracer-Transom-Mount-Trolling-Motor-with-30-Pound-Thrust,-30-Inch-Shaft,-12-Volt

The manufacturer says that this is the best trolling motor for any fisherman with an inflatable kayak. Check out the features and see if that is true.

Build Quality

The high strength transom mount is made using an alloy for durability. The shaft is made of steel and plated with chrome. Its general design was achieved using quality materials and craftsmanship.

Usage and Performance

The Watersnake Tracer has a thrust level of 30 pounds and a voltage of 12 volts. Its telescopic handle allows you to operate it easily. The length of the shaft is adjustable so you can set it to your convenience.

This freshwater trolling motor features a two-blade propeller that will cut through any plants and weeds. The speed settings have five forward and two reverse speeds.

Package

The Watersnake Tracer has electric cables included. They have cable clips at the end for battery attachment.

Features and Specifications

  • Alloy transom mount
  • Steel shaft with chrome coating
  • Telescopic handle
  • Adjustable shaft length
  • Designed for freshwater use
  • Powerful two-blade propeller
  • Five forward and two reverse speed settings
  • Super quiet
  • Shaft length: 30”
  • Thrust level: 30 lbs
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weighs 17 lbs

Pros & Cons

  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Solid construction
  • For freshwater only

Customer Feedback

Many buyers describe the Watersnake Tracer as perfect. They didn’t encounter any issues while installing. In the water, it runs smoothly and does not get hot. There is one complaint about it being noisy. Other than that, there are no negative reviews.

Conclusion

You can never go wrong with any of the above trolling motors. When choosing one, you should consider factors such as the thrust level, voltage, control, speed settings, noise and water conditions. This article has considered the needs of every kayaker with respect to those factors. There are at least two trolling motors for you regardless of what you are seeking. Pick one and change how you kayak.

How to Choose a Kayak Trolling Motor?

Paddling is fun and healthy. But when on a long kayak tour or fishing trip, it can wear you out. You want to be able to go as far as possible without getting too tired to paddle back. Besides, you will fish better when both your hands are free. There is also the issue of scaring fish away with your paddle movement.

A trolling motor will make your life easier. Anglers, especially, will enjoy the freedom that it brings. You will be able to rest your hands and do whatever you want.

Now that you know a trolling motor is necessary, it is time to buy one. But what do you look for? What makes a trolling motor perfect for your kayak? That is the purpose of this buying guide. You will learn everything you need to about choosing a trolling motor in just a few minutes.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Kayak Trolling Motor

a. Mount Position

Well, you have to mount the motor somewhere. Kayak trolling motors are designed to be mounted either at the bow or stern (transom) of the boat.

Bow motors are typically made using advanced technology. They improve the maneuverability of a vessel. Some of them are remote-controlled. They are used for larger boats and are not suitable for kayaks.

Transom motors are ideal for all kinds of boats and especially kayaks. Not only are they easy to fit in the yak, but their operation is also simpler even when seated.

b. Thrust

The thrust of a trolling motor can be defined as its propelling power and it is measured in pounds. As you can guess, a bigger boat is heavier and will, thus, need a motor with more thrust. A smaller boat like a kayak can do with less thrust. Another thing, a vessel with a higher capacity will require more thrust. This is because you are likely to stuff it with more gear and have another passenger on board.

Since this guide is about kayaks, it is good to warn you that you should not get carried away. More thrust pounds will not necessarily affect the speed of your craft. You will waste money for nothing and probably end up with a motor that is too heavy for your kayak.

Many people usually recommend two pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of your boat weight.

For a kayak, you will be safe getting a 30-pound thrust motor.

c. Voltage

Generally, trolling motors have a voltage of 12V, 24V or 36V. The higher the thrust pounds, the more the voltage.

The voltage you should settle for is determined by two things. The first determinant is how often you fish. If your fishing trips are short and far between, a 12V motor will be enough. If you are always in the water and stay for long, a 36V may be ideal.

Bear in mind that a 36V motor means that you will have three batteries. (The batteries are 12V. A 12V motor requires a 12V battery so for a 36V motor you will need three 12V batteries). This may not work with a small kayak—where will you put three batteries?

The second determinant is the propelling power that your boat needs.

A 12V trolling motor is okay for a kayak. If you have space and capacity space for two batteries then you can get the 24V one; if you like.

d. Shaft Length

When it comes to choosing between a longer kayak and a shorter one, it is always wise to choose a long shaft.

A short shaft is likely to make noise which may be irritating. It also scares away fish. Since it is not fully submerged in the water, the propeller may hit the water surface hence the noise.

This also negatively influences the performance of your trolling motor. The propeller is not completely submerged and it will be hitting both water and air. Consequently, the thrust level is affected.

As a rule of thumb, let the top of the motor be submerged 12 inches underwater. And that is the minimum. You can go longer, especially if you have a deeper boat.

e. Controls

Would you like a trolling motor with hand, pedal or hand controls?

The main thing here is to consider your convenience and depth of your pockets.

Motors with hand controls are the cheapest. However, they will prove to be a little tricky for fishing adventures. Pedal controls may free your hands but you have to cough up extra bucks. The best motors are those with remote controls. They are the most expensive though.

f. Water Conditions

Where do you fish? Is the water fresh or salty?

Manufacturers always state whether their trolling motors are suitable for salty water or fresh water. The former facilitates corrosion and is not great for motors made with too many metal parts. Salty water motors are ideally made with rust-resistant material or have some kind of lubrication.

If you use a freshwater motor in salty water, you will regret it. The trolling motor won’t last long and its efficiency will be greatly affected as well.

g. Battery

Your trolling motor has to be powered by a battery as discussed above. Choosing a motor is one thing; choosing its battery is another.

First, check the space in your kayak then choose a battery that fits. Secondly, find out the weight capacity of your boat from the manufacturer. Estimate how much you and your gear weigh. It is also good to take into consideration the fact that you may want to bring your dog or child. Make sure you don’t go above the recommended weight limit.

Lastly, get a battery with a power indicator. It would be very unfortunate if your battery died while in the middle of nowhere. An indicator lets you know how much power you have left.

h. Speed

A trolling motor can either come with fixed speed or adjustable speed. The latter has speed setting levels that you can adjust as you see fit.

Although an adjustable motor is more expensive, its benefits cannot be overlooked. You can reduce the speed to conserve battery life. It allows you to go fast when you are feeling adventurous and slow when you want to relax. While fishing, you can speed on your way to the fishing spot and slow when you are approaching.

If you can afford it, buy a motor with adjustable speed.

i. Noise

This has been briefly mentioned above. Some motors make too much noise, some are quiet, while others are somewhere in the middle of the scale. If noise does not bother you then it’s all good. You can skip this point.

For anglers, a noisy motor will greatly reduce your chances of catching anything. To know whether a motor is quiet, check customer reviews on retailer sites. They will give you an insight of what to expect.

 

There is no reason why you should wear yourself out when kayaking. Trolling motors are here to make your kayak trips better. They will help you move faster and more quietly. Choosing a trolling motor is not exactly a difficult task. Now you have an idea of what to look for. Know the measurements and weight capacity of your kayak. This and your budget are the most important determinants. From there, you can narrow down further based on your preferences. It is as simple as that.