Best Trolling Motors for Kayaks in 2021: Reviews and Buying Guide

(featured image credit: https://newportvessels.com)

Having a trolling motor on your kayak greatly increases the range of water you’re able to fish and, best of all, you have to put very little effort in getting to the best fishing spots on any given lake or river. 

If you’re looking to add a trolling motor to your kayak, we’ve put together a list of the best trolling motors for fishing kayaks. 

7. Haswing Protruar Electric Kayak Trolling Motor

The Haswing Protruar kayak trolling motor is especially popular due to the fact that it’s virtually maintenance-free and has excellent battery life. This particular model was developed by Haswing to have less motor usage with more service life, meaning users will get many good years from this trolling motor if it’s taken care of properly. 

The Haswing Protruar is very easy to adjust and steer while moving, which is a welcome trait for users who are familiar with the headaches of complex trolling motor systems. This motor allow users to adjust into a particular level of speed and control, which can greatly reduce the level of power usage when you need to preserve battery life. 

Once mounted, this motor can be adjusted to sit at up to a 100-degree angle and it can easily be lifted up while moving to avoid underwater structures or debris that might typically damage a trolling motor. 

The Haswing Protruar offers 55 lbs of thrust and operates on a 12V battery. It has 24.4 inches of adjustable shaft height and can also easily be adjusted using a quick locking system should the user decide. 

What we like:

  • Ergonomic handle 
  • Dial up speed and control
  • Adjustable height and angle 
  • Aluminum alloy shaft

What we don’t like:

  • Battery life is sometimes less than advertised
  • Louder than other brands 

See Haswing Protruar on Amazon

6. Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted Motor

Minn Kota Endura C2 30 trolling motor

This transom-mounted motor is powerful enough to propel any size kayak for several hours without draining the battery. While it has only 30 lbs of thrust, it is perfect for anglers who are less concerned about speed and more interested in getting the benefits of using a trolling motor with their kayak. Its 3 ¼” propellor diameter helps give this motor extra power despite having less thrust than most premium brands. 

It has a 30-inch shaft and can easily be adjusted to fit a wide variety of kayak models. It offers five forward speed settings and three different reverse speeds. One of the most popular characteristics of the Minn Kota Endura C2 30 is that it is much quieter than most other models, making it ideal for anglers who prefer stealth over power and speed. 

What we like:

  • Quiet operation
  • Good battery life
  • 6-inch telescoping tiller

What we don’t like:

  • Lacks speed and power

See Minn Kota Endura C2 30 on Amazon

5. Seamax 12V PowerMax 2HP Brushless Trolling Motor

Seamax 12V PowerMax trolling motor

This brushless trolling motor has an overall length of 35 inches and offers 65 lbs of thrust, which is enough to get full-size kayaks anywhere an angler needs to go on the water. The Seamax 12V PowerMax is surprisingly quiet for its overall propeller diameter and thrust. 

This motor offers an extended handle that allows users to have a greater amount of control without having to twist and turn in their kayak to steer or lift the motor out of the water to avoid debris or underwater structure. 

Its extremely lightweight design means this motor helps an already fast kayak have excellent speed and control with less drag. This model is especially popular as it is capable of withstanding saltwater conditions without risk of corrosion. 

It offers a stepless speed control system that allows users to easily adjust the level of speed they want, as well as keep track of their battery life thanks to a built-in power monitor. It’s recommended that this trolling motor be used with a marine deep cycle battery. Best of all, the Seamax 12V PowerMax comes with a 2-year warranty. 

What we like:

  • Saltwater rated 
  • Quiet operation 
  • Battery-life monitor 
  • Extended handle

What we don’t like:

  • Lower battery life than advertised 

See Seamax 12V PowerMax on Amazon

4. Cloud Mountain 8 Speed Trolling Motor

Cloud Mountain 8 Speed Trolling Motor

The Cloud Mountain 8 Speed Trolling Motor is among the most popular for kayak fishing enthusiasts for a number of reasons. It’s rated for use in both freshwater and saltwater, and is made with several premium features, including 5 different forward speed settings and 3 reverse speeds. 

This trolling motor is available in thrust ratings of 36 lbs up to 86 lbs, which might be considered overkill for most kayaks. It’s not quite as stealthy while in operation like some of the other models on our list, but the Cloud Mountain 8 Speed is functional enough to work with kayaks. 

Many users report that this would easily be one of the best trolling motors for kayaks if it were constructed with better mounting brackets and offered a shaft that was made of stronger material, but the Cloud Mountain 8 Speed’s versatility and overall control options make it one that will appeal to most kayak anglers. 

What we like:

  • Saltwater rated 
  • Great speed and power 
  • Smooth operation 

What we don’t like:

  • Lacks durable components 
  • Heavier than most models 

See Cloud Mountain 8 Speed Trolling Motor on Amazon

3. Watersnake T18S 24-Inch Asp Motor

Watersnake T18S 24-Inch Asp Motor

For compact kayak owners, using a large trolling motor with a high level of thrust just doesn’t make sense. The Watersnake T18S 24-Inch Asp Motor is the perfect choice for kayaks that are considered compact or lightweight. This trolling motor weighs just under 5 lbs, which means it is very easy to transport along with other gear. 

While it only offers up to 24 lbs of thrust, this trolling motor has enough power to get most kayaks around any body of water with relative ease. It is extremely durable thanks to its alloy shaft construction. Users report that this trolling motor certainly earns its namesake since it is quiet and stealthy in the water, much like a watersnake. 

It offers high or low forward speed settings and one reverse speed. The extended ergonomic handle makes this model very easy to steer or raise up out of the water when it’s necessary to avoid debris or structure that might otherwise damage the propeller. 

What we like:

  • Solid, durable construction
  • Extremely quiet
  • Lightweight 
  • Compact design 

What we don’t like:

  • Low speed
  • Limited power

See Watersnake T18S on Amazon

2. Newport Vessels 55-Pound Thrust 8-Speed Electric Motor

This trolling motor is perfect for both freshwater and saltwater use as the Newport Vessels NV-Series 55 is capable of handling both. Users report that this trolling motor is quieter than many other models while still offering 55 lbs of thrust. 

The trolling motor features 5 standard forward speed options and 3 reverse speed settings, which helps to maintain consistent speeds for anglers who like to troll for specific types of fish. The Newport Vessels NV-Series is lightweight, which is ideal for kayak fishing. 

One of the only downsides to this trolling motor is that it might lack the durability that some other models have as it is composed of a composite fiberglass shaft instead of aluminum. It features a 6-inch telescoping handle that’s ergonomic and easy to grip, as well as a built-in battery life indicator which helps users keep track of how fast their power is being used. 

What we like:

  • Saltwater rated 
  • Lightweight 
  • Battery life indicator 
  • Quiet operation 

What we don’t like:

  • Composite shaft

See Newport Vessels NV-Series 55 on Amazon

1. Watersnake FWDR54-48 Shadow Bow Mount Foot Controlled Motor

Nothing is more convenient than a hands-free operating system when it comes to kayak fishing. The Watersnake FWDR54-48 Shadow is easily one of the best trolling motors on the market in 2021 for kayak fishing thanks to its seamless foot-pedal operation and versatility. 

This trolling motor’s shaft is slightly too long for most kayaks compared to other trolling motor models, but it offers 54 lbs of thrust, which is more than enough to power it across any body of water. It is said to be very quiet, which is also extremely important when it comes to kayak fishing. 

The shaft is constructed from corrosion-resistant composite material, which isn’t as durable as some other models. Best of all, Watersnake offers a satisfaction guarantee with this model. 

What we like:

  • Hands-free operation
  • Smooth propeller operation
  • Optimal power

What we don’t like:

  • Freshwater use only recommended 

See Watersnake FWDR54-48 Shadow on Amazon

What to Consider When Buying A Kayak Trolling Motor?

Whether you’re looking to get a kayak trolling motor to decrease the amount of physical exertion required to get to your favorite spot, or if you’re an accomplished kayak angler looking to take their performance to the next level in one of the many kayak fishing tournaments throughout the world, having a trolling motor is a true gamechanger. 

It’s best to keep a number of specific characteristics in mind when shopping for a trolling motor. 

Construction and Composition

Having a trolling motor that’s well-made from quality materials will go a long way to ensure that your motor works properly and doesn’t incur damage easily, especially if you’re a dedicated angler who spends lots of hours on the water each month. Look for trolling motors that are made of stainless steel or aluminum alloy material to get the most durable product available. 

These materials might be heavier than composite or other motor models, but it ensures that you’ll get more life out of your trolling motor and likely smoother operation. 

Battery Power

Regardless of the features on your kayak trolling motor, if you don’t have it connected to a quality battery, you won’t be able to enjoy its full potential. Using a cheap battery will mean risking battery failure or overall lack of power when it counts. 


Nearly all trolling motors that are designed for kayak use operate on a 12V battery, which is typically more than enough juice to get you where you want to go on any body of water when kayak fishing. When shopping for a trolling motor, it’s smart to look for models that offer a battery life indication system which will help you keep track of your battery life and avoid having to paddle long distances in the event your charge runs out. 

Thrust 

Most novice anglers assume that having a trolling motor with more thrust means their kayak will travel faster than one that offers less thrust. This is not always true, but it’s best to go for a higher amount of thrust if you’re using a larger, heavier kayak as opposed to a lightweight, compact model. Your trolling motor’s speed capability is directly tied to its propeller pitch. 

Mounting 

Having a trolling motor that uses universal mounts or brackets will usually work with nearly any kayak, but you’ll get better performance from having a trolling motor that’s properly mounted to your kayak using a bracket system. There are a few reputable companies that make trolling motor mounts for kayaks and having one can make all the difference in great performance and poor output. 

Shaft Length 

Most anglers never worry about shaft length with full-size boats unless they’re aiming to make sure the propeller is well under the water surface. Kayaks have a much lower profile, which means you’ll need to be more concerned with having a shaft that’s too long and might put you at risk of hitting underwater structure and damaging your motor. When shopping for kayak trolling motors, it’s usually a good idea to stick to a shorter shaft when possible. 

Corrosion Resistance 

If you ever plan to use your kayak trolling motor in saltwater, you’ll certainly need to make sure you’re using a model that’s saltwater rated. These types of motors are built to withstand the corrosion levels that are common with saltwater usage. It’s recommended to look for a saltwater rated motor in general because these are typically made to a higher standard than freshwater-only models. 

Donny is a writer from Carrollton, Georgia. His work has been published in magazines, newspapers, and many websites. As an avid outdoorsman, Donny enjoys writing about his adventures afield and on the water. He is a contributing writer for Georgia Outdoor News, and is co-founder of Man Can Outdoors. Donny is also a columnist for 1788 Sports, and co-founder of College Nation Tailgate Time where he covers college football.

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