Top 10 Best Trolling Motors 2018 – Tested For Fishing Boats, Kayaks

Paddling a kayak the whole day is such a tiring job that even if done correctly often ends up disturbing the fish. Installing a normal motor on your kayak may sound like a good idea until you realize that the rattling noise will only make getting the elusive fish twice as difficult. So, how do you retain the traditional benefits of kayaks but without having to paddle your way around? Well, this is exactly where an investment in the best trolling motor for fishing kayaks comes in handy.

Unlike traditional motors, trolling motors operate quietly, allowing you to approach still waters without causing a scare. Besides that, unlike paddling, you only need to sit comfortably on your selected fishing kayak and do what other anglers do – catching the fish.

Unfortunately, though, finding the perfect trolling motor for your fishing escapades requires you to go through long and sometimes empty reviews. And because you really want to get good value for your money, you might even give up along the way – due to an informational overload.

But it doesn’t have to be like that always. In this comprehensive discussion, we are going to break things down for you so you have an easy time finding a motor that has just the right amount of torque. This review talks about:

  • The top 10 trolling motor for fishing kayaks
  • Features that make differentiate good ones from not-so-good ones
  • Pros and cons of each model
  • Some essential buying tips
  • Our thoughts regarding the best model(s) overall

Top 10 Trolling Motors on the Market for Kayaks - Compare Table

Would you like to have your kayak glide over the water without the need for paddling? One of these 10 could just be the boost you need to achieve that feat.

10 Best Trolling Motors for Freshwater and Salt in 2018

1. Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Transom Mounted Trolling Moto

When it comes to trolling motors for fishing kayaks, Minn Kota is one of the biggest brands that you are going to come across. They have many trolling motor models and their Endura C2 stands out as one of their best inventions. It is designed for use in freshwater and powered by a 12-volt motor that provides a thrust level of 30. This makes it ideal for use on fishing kayaks measuring 12 to 16 feet.

What we particularly love about the trolling motor multiple speed settings. It is fitted with five forward speeds and three reverse speeds which make controlling the motor much easier. On top of that, the trolling motor comes with a six-inch ergonomic telescoping handle. The handle is designed to tilt and twist thereby giving you better control over the trolling motor’s speed and steering. 

To top it all up, it features a 30-inch composite shaft that is built to be indestructible and tough for long-lasting performance. Similarly, the shaft is backed by a lifetime warranty for your peace of mind. In addition to this, it is equipped with lever-lock brackets that make installing and mounting the motor a piece of cake.

As if that’s not enough, the trolling motor is made to be energy efficient to ensure you get a good life out of its battery. This is definitely a nice addition especially if you are planning on spending just a couple of hours out on the water. 

Pros

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    Offers great performance
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    The motor is covered by two years warranty
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    Runs quietly without spooking fish
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    Built to last for many years

Cons

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    Reverse speeds don’t offer the best performance

2. Newport Vessels 8-Speed Electric Trolling Motor

Next up, we have this model from Newport Vessels brand that boasts a whole 55 pound of thrust power. As such, maneuvering your kayak through the water and especially tough conditions like high waves is definitely going to be easy with this trolling motor.

What makes this trolling motor one of the best options available on the market is its durable construction. For instance, its shaft is made of high-strength fiberglass to offer you the best performance for years to come. In addition to this, all the hardware that holds it together is constructed of durable stainless steel. And the best part is that all these materials are designed to be corrosion resistant which makes the trolling motor perfect for saltwater use. 

Additionally, this 8-speed trolling motor features five forward speeds and three reverse speeds. This ensures you have total control of the product for the smoothest ride ever. It also comes with six-inch telescoping and extendable handle made from lightweight aluminum to offer you a comfortable grip. To top it all up, it is fitted with a six-inch shaft that is fully adjustable depending on the height you feel comfortable to operate at.

Last but not least, it features a five-point LED battery meter that lets you know how much battery power is remaining. This way you never have to worry about the trolling motor running out of power when you least expect. 

Pros

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    Powered by 12V motor to provide you with plenty of power
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    Can be used with inflatable boats, canoes, fishing boats, kayaks and much more
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    For use on both freshwater and saltwater
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    Inexpensive and easy to use

Cons

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    Vibrates a little bit when at maximum thrust

3. Minn Kota Edge 45 5-Speed Trolling Motor

Featuring a 45-inch composite shaft that is built to last for life, this trolling motor does not disappoint when it comes to durability. The shaft is designed to flex on impact and will not corrode or even break with extended use. Needless to say, the motor comes with a two-year warranty for maximum durability.

In addition to this, it boasts an ergonomic foot pedal to help you control the speed of the motor without necessarily manually steering it. This ensures your hands are free for other important tasks like fishing. However, it will take a bit of getting used to especially if you have never used a foot-pedal controlled trolling motor. 

Further, the trolling motor is fitted with a latch and door mount for easy removal of the motor. All you need to do is unscrew the mount and store the motor safely. The mount features anodized-aluminum arm for rock-solid performance. On top of that, it comes with five forward speeds that provide precise control for ultra-responsive steering.

Also, the Minn Kota Edge 45 is equipped with a directional illuminated indicator that is easy to read. The indicator helps you focus on fishing by providing you with information about where you are headed. Besides, it features flared blades with a swept-back design for reliable and unrelenting prop performance. 

Pros

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    Includes a powerful, strong and reliable blades
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    Mounts with ease
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    Offers smooth operation
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    Extremely durable and super strong

Cons

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    Suitable for use on small boats only

4. Minn Kota Endura C2 55 Trolling Motor

If you are looking for a durable trolling motor that will withstand the test of time, you should consider the Endura C2 55 by Minn Kota. Minn Kota has proven itself to be a reputable and reliable brand over the years so you have nothing to worry about as far as the craftsmanship of the motor is concerned. The trolling motor features a very powerful composite shaft that is made from nearly indestructible materials for maximum durability. Needless to say, the shaft is corrosion resistant and is designed to flex on impact to ensure it does not break.

You know what else? Despite having a very powerful motor, it runs quietly without spooking fish thanks to its unique bearing system. The system works by producing low and high torque in order to cut down on noise so that the fish will never hear you approaching. Also, it features a powerful weedless 2-Prop that produces up to 55 of thrust power to ensure you don’t spend most of your time fighting weeds. This is because it is able to take on the heavy vegetation easily without even draining the battery. 

In addition to this, the trolling motor comes with a six-inch telescoping handle to provide you with the most comfortable steering and hand control you can ever find. The result is you get to spend more time on the water and enjoy convenient steering. Likewise, it is fitted with flared swept-back blades that have been reported to deliver reliable performance throughout the life of the motor.

Like most of Minn Kota’s trolling motors, this too comes with a lever-lock bracket for a much stronger and solid mount. The bracket also makes it easy to dismount the motor for storage when your day is over. 

Pros

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    Made of materials that resistant to UV damage, flexing, and warping
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    Delivers ultra-sturdy mount
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    Motor runs quietly and does not overheat
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    Includes 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds for maximum control

Cons

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    May come with a few manufacturer’s defects

5.Intex Trolling Motor, 36-inch Shaft

This trolling motor is designed for most of Intex boat models including the Excursion 3,4, 5, Challenger 3, Mariner 3, 4 as well as the Seahawk 2, 3 and 4. Besides, it is compatible with various inflatable kayaks featuring inbuilt motor mount fittings. The trolling motor runs on a 12-volt battery with a minimum rating of 60-ampere hours. However, you will need to buy the best trolling motor battery because it is not included with the purchase which should not be a big deal since the motor itself is inexpensive.

Moving on, the Intex Trolling Motor is fitted with a quiet motor with a thrust power of 40lbs. The motor features a water cooling system to ensure it does not overheat as well as a digital maximize control-module for efficient performance. On top of that, the motor comes with a Soft Start function that helps you choose the desired speed for longer running times. Similarly, thanks to its weed escape mode, getting out of tough weed tangles is a breeze. 

The Intex Trolling Motor is equipped with an adjustable handle that extends up to six inches depending on your needs. The handle can tilt 45, 30, 15, and 0 degrees upward as well as 0 to 75 degrees downwards for added comfort. It also comes with five forward speeds and three reverse speeds that makes control a lot easier. 

Pros

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    Perfect for saltwater and freshwater adventures
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    Adjustable mounting bracket for easy installation and removal
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    Includes a steering tension knob for better control
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    Comes with a tilt-lock lever for efficient mounting

Cons

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    Poor customer service from the manufacturer

6. Newport Vessels NV-Series 36lb Transom Mounted Trolling Motor

Featuring the famous transom mount design, this trolling motor will fit in almost all types of inflatable kayaks, fishing boats, dinghies and tenders available on the market. It is constructed using highest-quality materials to provide you with a long-lasting performance for years to come. On top of that, it comes with five-forward and three reverse speeds to ensure you enjoy a smooth ride with better control.

As if that’s not enough, the motor features a five-point LED battery meter on its head that lets you know exactly how much battery charge is remaining. The meter is well illuminated for ease of use during the day and night and provides accurate readings. In addition to this, it is equipped with a durable motor head that can withstand the different rigors of hardcore boating even after years of use. 

Additionally, the Newport Vessels NV-Series spots a 30-inch shaft made of composite and high-strength fiberglass. This makes it super strong, impact-resistant and at the same time lightweight for ease of carrying. Also, its mount is constructed from heavy-duty nylon for maximum durability while its other components are made of stainless steel, zinc and aluminum material. Consequently, the trolling kayak will perform great in both saltwater and freshwater.

You know what else? Well, the motor includes a 6-inch telescoping handle that is both ergonomic and lightweight. The handle makes controlling this trolling motor a breeze and you don’t have to worry about hand-fatigue. Besides, it is powered by a 12-volt Marine battery or Deep Cycle battery which unfortunately is not included with the purchase. Included with the package is also a two-blade propeller that ensures better performance.

Pros

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    Backed by one-year warranty from the manufacturer
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    Its components are made of corrosion-resistant materials
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    Relatively inexpensive
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    Lightweight construction for ease of transportation

Cons

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    A bit slow if used on a big a kayak

7. Minn Kota Riptide 70 SP Trolling Motor

With a massive 70lbs of thrust power, this trolling motor has the ability to pull both medium and larger vessels with ease without compromising on speed. Featuring corrosion-resistant materials, the motor is built specifically with saltwater in mind. However, unlike some other saltwater trolling motors, this model can also be used in freshwater.

To get the best control over your kayak, you need a trolling motor with decent shaft length. This motor comes with a 54-inch shaft for optimal performance especially in the deepest of water. The long shaft also makes it easy to operate the kayak in rough waters or during the harshest weather conditions. However, you may experience some problems operating your boat in shallow water due to the shaft being a bit too long. Of course, this should not be a big issue if you only fish in deep waters.

As if that’s not enough, the Riptide 70 SP features a CoPilot hand control that makes piloting the trolling motor an absolute breeze for anyone including beginners. It also includes an optional foot pedal in case you prefer controlling the motor’s speed via your feet rather than your hands. In addition to this, it features a deploy-assist lever makes it much easier to put the motor down to use.

Additionally, it features a digital-maximize functionality to allow more fishing time per battery charge. It does this by delivering only the precise amount of power needed to ensure there is no wasting of energy. This in return helps to extend the battery life of the motor.

Pros

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    Allows you to add an optional i-Pilot
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    Boasts bow mount design for better control and maneuverability
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    Optional foot pedal can help free your hands for other tasks
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    Impressive thrust power

Cons

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    May not work with small kayaks because of its bow-mount design

8. Goplus New 55lbs Transom Mounted Trolling Moto

This little powerhouse is specifically designed for small to medium-sized boats up to 16-feet long including kayaks with brackets, inflatables, canoes, Jon boats, Gheenoes, and tenders. It features a welded three-blade propeller that allows for the motor’s smooth navigation, especially through underwater marsh and grass. It should also be noted that this trolling motor is only ideal for freshwater use.

For the most part, people have raved about its high-performance battery indicator that is built into the trolling motor; a feature that you may not find is some expensive models. The indicator boasts 10-points LED lights to let you know when the battery is running low so that you don’t end up with a drained battery when you least expect. On top of that, it runs on a 12-volt battery to provide you with sufficient power throughout the day.

Another feature worth noting is the six-inch telescoping handle it comes with to help you control the motor easily and comfortably. The handle can be adjusted to the height you feel comfortable operating the trolling motor at. When it comes to speed options, like with most trolling motors it features five forward and three reverse speeds. The different speed settings allow for better control in different conditions it exposed to.

Additionally, the Goplus New 55lbs is equipped with a 36-inch shaft that is made from nearly indestructible materials for maximum durability. Since the shaft is neither too long nor too short, you can operate your kayak in the shallow water and relatively deeper or rough waters. 

Pros

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    Comes with an instruction manual for ease of use
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    Navigates smoothly through thick vegetation
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    Includes a transom mount for quick installation
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    Plenty of power for the price

Cons

9. Haswing Protruar 110lbsTransom Electric Trolling Motor

The Protruar 110lbs Electric Trolling Motor is yet another excellent option that is fitted with a very powerful motor. It is powered by a brush-less 2HP 24-volt motor with a 630rpm when its propulsion speed is at full power. This makes it suitable for use on a wide range of kayaks and waterways. In addition to this, it features corrosion-resistant materials and components, therefore, can be used in both saltwater and freshwater.

On top of that, it comes with a 38.5-inch shaft made from durable materials to offer you peak performance even after years of use. Similarly, the shaft makes it easy to use your kayak in both shallow and deep waters. As if that’s not enough, the trolling motor is equipped with a LED battery indicator that provides you with details of how much charge the battery has. 

Haswing Protruar Electric Trolling Motor

While most trolling motor models come with an eight-speed setting, the Protruar 110lbsTransom Trolling Motor boasts double that. Simply put, it features eight forward and eight reverse speeds for enhanced control of the motor in different water conditions. To top it all up, it boasts a folding handle that can be tilted up to 100 degrees depending on your personal preferences. Also, it is fitted with a tilting lever holder with up to six settings to help you adjust the trim height via a quick lock.

Last but not least, this trolling motor spots an auto-propeller cut-out system for added safety in the event there is a collision. The product is also backed by a two-year warranty for the motor for your peace of mind. 

Pros

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    Performs well with different types of kayaks
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    Lightweight for ease of carrying
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    Durable construction
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    Plenty of speed control options

Cons

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    Motor is a little bit noisy

10. Haswing and Aquos 20lbs Transom Mounted Trolling Motor

This is probably the most inexpensive trolling motor in this guide. However, just because it is cheap does not mean it is of inferior quality compared to the rest. In fact, it has some great features and that is why this list of the best trolling motor options would not have been complete without us mentioning it.

Although it does not have those fancy features on some expensive models including multiple speed settings, it can be a great purchase if you are working on a very tight budget. 

Featuring 20lbs of thrust power, this trolling motor is only ideal for the smallest of kayaks and boats. Therefore, if you are going to be using larger vessels, you have to consider another model. It also comes with an adjustable handle that makes controlling the motor in different conditions a breeze. Despite its budget-friendly price, it still manages to come with a LED display to ensure you are always aware when the battery charge is running low. 

Additionally, it boasts two forward speeds and a single backward speed setting that allows for optimal control. Although the speed settings are limited, we have to agree that for the price it is decent enough. And the best part is that it is backed by a two-year warranty that goes a long way to prove the durability of the motor. It also features a 23.6 inches shaft thereby making it suitable for use in shallow waters. 

Pros

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    At only 8.5lbs it is very light in weight
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    Powered by a 12-volt battery 
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    Designed for saltwater and freshwater use 
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    Just enough power for operating small kayaks

Cons

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    Some of its parts especially the mounting bracket are made of flimsy plastic

Buying Guide- Which is the Best One for Fishing Kayaks for Freshwater and Saltwater?

With many different trolling motor models available, all of which come with different features and prices, choosing the best one can be confusing. In fact, most people usually end up with the wrong one. This guide seeks to help you cut through those trolling motors that are not ideal for your needs. All you need is to consider these specs when making your next purchase:

Trolling Motor

Thrust Power

One of the factors to consider is the thrust power of the trolling motor which is measured in pounds/lbs. The thrust power usually depends on the size of your vessel. For instance, if you are going to use the trolling motor on a kayak under 12 feet, you will need at least 32 pounds of thrust to achieve maximum performance. However, if your kayak is more than 14-feet long, then you will need a trolling motor with the most thrust power you can find. 

Length of the Shaft

The length of the shaft plays a major role when it comes to the control you will have over your kayak. Shafts that are too long make it easy operate your boat in rough and deeper waters but difficult or even impossible to operate in shallow water. On the other hand, too short shafts are designed for use in shallow waters. As a rule of the thumb, always try to find a trolling motor that strikes a balance between short and long shaft for maximum performance. 

Saltwater vs Freshwater

If you plan to fish in saltwater, you will definitely need to invest in a trolling motor that is made of corrosion-resistant materials. But the best trolling motor should allow for saltwater and freshwater use just in case you wake up one day and decide to fish in saltwater. 

Bow or Transom Trolling Motor

There are two types of trolling motors including bow and transom. A bow mount motor is usually installed at the front of the kayak while a transom mount motor to the back of the boat. Bow mounted trolling motors allow for optimal control and easy maneuverability hence are best suited for larger vessels. Transom mounted motors, on the other hand, are best suited for small to medium-sized kayaks.

Hand or Foot Control

Generally, transom mounted trolling motors are limited to hand control while bow-mount motors allow you to choose between foot control and hand control. With foot control trolling motors, you will have your hands free to do other tasks hence are best suited for beginners. However, hand control motors are easy to operate especially when there are a lot of people on the kayak. This is because there won’t be a foot pedal on your way making the deck less cluttered.

Final Verdict

The winner of the best trolling motor for fishing kayaks in this review is the Minn Kota Endura C2 55. We love the fact that it can be used in both saltwater and freshwater. In addition to this, it has great thrust power, strong shaft, tons of speed settings and runs quietly. However, the rest of the trolling motors can also be a great buy depending on your unique needs.

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