Best Trolling Motor for Canoes and Kayaks

You’ve got yourself all ready for a fun fishing expedition in your kayak or canoe, but have you secured the perfect trolling motor? All fish get easily spooked by loud noises, and as soon as they hear a loud sound, they resort to swimming away—that won’t do you much good, even if you’ve got the perfect rod on hand.

Serious anglers will also disregard the typical outboard, which is quite noisy to crank up when maneuvering. That’s where the best trolling motors for canoes and kayaks come in. They’re easy to operate and solve the noise problem because they help you maneuver silently through the water.

 

 

At a Glance – Our 7 Best Trolling Motors for Kayaks and Canoes

  1. Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Transom Mount
  2. Newport Vessels NV-Series 36lb. Saltwater Transom Mount
  3. Minn Kota Endura Max Freshwater
  4. GoPlus Electric 46lb. Freshwater and Saltwater
  5. Watersnake ASP Salt Water Transom Mount
  6. Trophy Strike 36lb. Transom Mount
  7. Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lbs. Transom Mounted and Saltwater

 

Editor’s Choice – Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Transom Mount

Our top choice is a real powerhouse. Choosing a troller is very subjective, dependent on so many factors, like whether you’re mostly fishing in fresh or saltwater, but this troller has tried to meet all a kayaker’s needs.

It’s quiet, transom mounted, easy to install, has excellent battery life, and excellent depth control, recording some of the highest consumer satisfaction among the best trolling motors for kayaks, canoes, and dinghies.

It’s light enough for kayaks and canoes, with a 24-inch adjustable shaft perfect for shallow and deep waters. We love how it integrates all the features needed for of a top-notch kayak or canoe trolling motor, and at an affordable price too.

 

 

The Top Trolling Motors Reviewed

With so much choice out there, which is the best trolling motors for canoes, kayaks, or boats to buy? Below is our review of the seven best trolling motors for kayaks and canoes that will help you make an informed decision.

 

Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Transom Mount Trolling Motor

This affordable best-selling troller is pretty fast and lightweight, with an easy-to-fix lever bracket. It consists of a 30-inch, corrosion-proof shaft, ideal for canoes and kayaks. With a run-time of up to 4 hours on high speed, it stills has ample power charge leftover, making it suited for long-haul fishing.

 

Main Features

  • thrust
  • weight
  • 30-inch adjustable shaft
  • 6-inch telescoping handle with eight speeds
  • Lever-lock bracket

 

The 6-inch telescoping tiller maneuvers like a dream—tilting it by only 45 degrees, rotates the lower unit by an impressive 180 degrees. Coupled with its excellent depth control, and effortless tilting, it makes for an easy-to-use, easy-to-fish-on trolling motor. The C2 30 has a unique build, as well as being incredibly lightweight and quiet.

It is an overall excellent troller complete with a superb build, convenient steering, and eight-speed controls, providing a genuinely stellar user experience. It is not, however, recommended, for use in saltwater, but overall it does the job well, and with a two-year warranty and affordable price, won’t break the bank.

 

Pros

  • Remarkably quiet
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Easy to install
  • Short shaft ideal for canoes and kayaks

 

Cons

  • Reverse action can be unresponsive
  • Not suitable for salty water

 

Minn Kota is a trusted name among anglers, and at only $85, this C2 30 troller does not disappoint. It was an easy choice for our top pick.

 

Our Rating: 4.9/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Newport Vessels NV-Series 36lb. Saltwater Motor -Best Saltwater Trolling Motor

The Newport troller has saltwater corrosion-resistant materials like stainless steel, a zinc anode, and fiberglass, making it suitable for problem-free, fresh and saltwater fishing.

 

Main Features

  • thrust
  • weight
  • 30-inch, corrosion-proof shaft
  • 6-inch telescopic handle with eight speeds
  • Five-point LED battery indicator

 

An adjustable 24-inch shaft warrants easy installation to your kayak, making it easy to maneuver in both deep and shallow waters. Crucially, its composite shaft is extremely hardy and won’t corrode easily.

This versatile troller comes with a generous 2-year warranty. Users report helpful, responsive customer care when their motors broke down or needed repair or replacement.

Built to withstand the corrosive elements of saltwater, using zinc, magnesium, and stainless steel, this troller is excellent if you regularly fish in both fresh and saltwater. However, you’ll need to purchase the battery separately, an extra expense to bear in mind.

 

Pros

  • Suitable for saltwater fishing
  • Excellent battery life
  • Short adjustable shaft

 

Cons

  • Does not click to indicate changes in speed level
  • The battery is purchased separately

 

The NV-Series 36lb this ranks well, guaranteeing simplified quiet trolling and ranking it among the best trolling motors for canoes and kayaks. It’s also fitted with a 6-inch extendable telescopic handle that fosters simplified and efficient steering as you cruise along the waters.

 

Our Rating: 4.8/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Minn Kota Endura Max Freshwater Motor -Best Long-Haul Fishing Troller

The Endura Max trolling motor has a robust digital minimizer that increases its battery life by delivering only the power needed for propulsion, making it ideally suited for long-haul fishing.

 

Main Features

  • thrust
  • weight
  • 36-inch shaft
  • 6-inch telescopic handle with eight speeds
  • Digital minimizer for longer battery life
  • Power prop for power trolling

 

The power prop feature safeguards your motor and provides extra power to cut through dense underwater foliage while expending minimum electricity to avoid draining the battery. Like most of its counterparts, this troller has an extendable 6-inch telescopic tiller for smooth trolling and maneuvering, as well as an adjustable boat clamp that allows for repositioning to meet your different maneuvering demands.

Keep an eye on the battery indicator, though. It has been known to give inaccurate readings. This troller is also not suitable for saltwater fishing.

 

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Remarkably quiet
  • Great craftsmanship
  • Easy to maneuver

 

Cons

  • Freshwater use only

 

This trolling motor will give you long hours of quality fishing, because of the excellent power conservation thanks to its digital maximizer. It also has a superior power prop to help you cut through dense underwater foliage. If you love angling for hours on end, this trolling motor is your best bet.

 

Our Rating: 4.8/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Goplus Electric 46lbs. Fresh Water and Saltwater Troller – Best Value Troller

The Goplus troller goes to a whole new level when it comes to its adjustability. The propeller depth is adjustable, the boat clamp is adjustable, the shaft height is adjustable, and so is the shaft angle! The result is a high-quality trolling motor that caters to every fisher’s need.

 

Main Features

  • thrust
  • weight
  • 36-inch adjustable shaft
  • 6-inch telescopic handle with eight speeds
  • 10-point LED battery indicator
  • Unique 3-blade propeller

 

Gliding is smooth and very quiet, thanks to the unique three-blade propeller which cuts through stubborn underwater foliage. With the 6-inch extendable telescope tiller, an angler can comfortably multi-task steering and trolling without strain.

This unique motor is made with high-quality and durable materials to increase its lifespan and enhance performance. Adjust propeller depth, boat clamp, shaft height, and shaft angle with ease. However, this troller can be slow to respond.

 

Pros

  • Excellent adjustability
  • Durability assured
  • Low on power consumption
  • Excellent value for money

 

Cons

  • Can be slow to respond while trolling

 

Fishing can be complicated, and to ensure success, you may need to adjust various factors to reach optimal fishing conditions. If this ability matters to you, this is your troller.

 

Our Rating: 4.8/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Watersnake ASP SaltWater Transom Mount Motor  -Best Lightweight Troller

This Watersnake troller is perfect for dinghies, kayaks, and inflatable boats. Corrosive-resistant paint, stainless-steel material, and high-quality, durable components enhance its performance in harsh salty waters.

 

Main Features

  • thrust
  • 7lbs. weight
  • 24-inch shaft
  • High and low-speed variation, with a forward and reverse switch
  • Two-blade weed propeller

 

Its small motor is equipped with a two-blade weedless propeller to cruise through dense vegetation with ease. Don’t let its small size fool you, though. It moves at a faster speed than expected, in spite of the limited two-speed variations, with a forward and reverse option for smooth steering.

It uses up less energy than other trollers out there and is quiet in the water. Even better, it’s very price friendly. However, it does lack a slow speed variation, which can be inconvenient.

 

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Excellent for saltwater fishing
  • Very quiet
  • Affordable

 

Cons

  • It lacks a slow speed variation.

 

Lightweight trollers work well in kayaks and canoes. If you regularly fish with a small craft and need a troller with decent speed, then this is the best troller for you.

 

Our Rating: 4.8/5

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Trophy Strike 36lb. Transom Mount Trolling Motor -Best Low-Cost Troller

The Trophy Strike troller is made with corrosive-resistant materials to withstand the harsh effects of fishing in saltwater, and it comes in at a fantastic price point—making it our pick for the best low-cost option.

 

Main Features

  • thrust
  • 1lbs. weight
  • 30-inch shaft
  • LED battery indicator
  • Two-blade, all-aluminum, marine-painted propeller

 

The high-quality, durable material aluminum propeller used in the Trophy Striker’s construction, guarantees longevity. It’s also very affordable, so if you’re looking for a troller that won’t break the bank but still performs, this troller is the perfect fit for you.

One thing to note is it doesn’t perform that well in rough or densely vegetated waters. Keep your desired fishing location in mind when considering this model.

 

Pros

  • Suitable for saltwater fishing
  • Very affordable
  • Long battery life
  • Remarkably quiet

 

Cons

  • Unsuitable in rough water

 

Saltwater is extremely corrosive, and this troller combats those effects perfectly. What’s more, it comes with a 2-year warranty, giving you peace of mind, and is an excellent low-cost option.

 

Our Rating: 4.7/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Newport Vessels Kayak Series Troller -Best Combo Fresh and Saltwater Troller

The Newport Kayak Series offers the best of both worlds in a durable combo fresh and saltwater trolling motor. It’s affordable and offers spectacular handling.

 

Main Features

  • thrust
  • weight
  • 24-inch adjustable shaft
  • Five-point LED battery indicator
  • 5ft long battery cable
  • Eight-speed levels

 

This troller is built with high-quality saltwater compatible materials that warrant safe movement in salty waters. Its motor comes in five-speed variations for forwarding movement, and three-speed alterations for reverse motion, and provides several speed variations. It is quiet, even at the highest speed level to avoid spooking fish, perfect for a kayak or canoe.

Just like the Newport Vessels NV Series, this trolling motor comes with a generous 2-year warranty should you need repairs or dedicated customer support. The head isn’t waterproof though, so be careful in wet weather, and it can be uncomfortably heavy.

 

Pros

  • A versatile troller for both fresh and saltwater fishing
  • Easy to install
  • Excellent maneuvering and versatility in placement
  • Affordable

 

Cons

  • The motor is not waterproof
  • Slightly heavier.

 

With 8-speed levels in both forward and reverse action, this troller is best if easy speed adjustment and versatility in placement on the kayak matters to you. These options are quite impressive! They also function in both fresh and saltwater without many hitches.

 

Our Rating: 4.7/5

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON AMAZON

 

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Trolling Motor for Your Kayak or Canoe

Now that you have a nice sampling of the top trolling motors available, let’s explore what makes a motor good and why you want one in the first place.

 

About Trolling Motors

Trolling motors are tiny electric motors attached to a propeller by a shaft and mounted on the stern, bow, or engine of any fishing vessel. This quieter alternative to outboards eases the maneuvering of tight spots on the water. They’re low-priced, easy to install and provide power backup in case the standard outboard fails, and allow fishers to make noise-proof adjustments on the water.

 

Who Needs a Troller?

Trolling motors are ideal for avid fishers who are after that prize catch. They make fishing more relaxed and quieter, improving anglers’ success rates. Serious fishers shouldn’t go fishing without a trolling motor.

 

Benefits of Using a Trolling Motor

Trolling motors allow for complete control of your kayak. They possess the power needed to mitigate against windy conditions that could jeopardize your fishing expedition. They allow you to move quickly to where the fish are without spooking them, while also helping to hold the boat in a specific position as you fish. Fishing in a kayak or canoe without a trolling motor is remarkably harder than fishing with one.

 

 

7 Critical Factors to Consider When Buying a Trolling Motor for Canoes or Kayaks

Mounting Systems

Your new motor has to attach to your boat somehow—and that’s where mount types come into play.

 

Bow Mounting

Most trolling motors are designed for bow mounting, featuring foot pedal control that allows for flexibility to troll, and a sliding hinge that allows you to quickly raise and dip the motor into the water. However, for kayaks and canoes, this mounting system isn’t that suitable.

 

Engine Mounting

This mounting system is the least favorite of the three options for two main reasons: cost and maneuverability. The only advantage is that it doesn’t use up as much space on a boat.

 

Transom Mounting

The most suitable mounting system for canoes, kayaks, and other light vessels like dinghies. The motor is mounted at the stern with a clamp-on bracket and features hand controls. This mounting features a solid bar onto which you can mount your trolling motor.

 

Thrust

Thrust is the amount of power required to propel your kayak. As a general rule of thumb, for every 100 pounds of loaded boat weight, 2 pounds of thrust is needed, and most trolling motors are designed to move boats that weigh 1,500 pounds or more. A smaller 12-foot boat can run on as little as 30 pounds of thrust.

For your kayak or canoe, you’re well within this limit, so you won’t have to worry. If you usually fish in windy or high-tide conditions, aim for a slightly higher thrust than is required for your boat.

 

Weight

For kayaks or canoes, it’s best to go for lightweight trollers. Heavy trolling motors will weigh your kayak down, which is risky as your stern needs to be above water at all times.

 

Control

Kayaks don’t work with foot pedal control trolling motors; it’s just not convenient to stand in a kayak or canoe, there isn’t a lot of space. You’ll need a troller with hand or remote controls, that’ll allow you to fish, and control the trolling motor comfortably.

 

 

Battery Power

Trolling motors are electrical engines. The bigger a trolling motor is, the more power it uses. Trolling motors take up power systems from 12V, 12/24V, 24V, and up to 36V.

Generally, a 55-pound thrust boat will require a single 12V battery, while a 68-80 pound thrust boats use 24V batteries. A single 12V battery is sufficient for your kayak to function well.

 

Shaft Length

The ideal shaft length recommendation is 12 inches (1 foot), long enough to keep the propeller submerged. Since the distance between the bow or stern and the water level varies depending on boat size and mounting used, you’ll need to measure your boat to get the perfect fit, but always ensure the shaft dips in 12 inches from the water level.

For kayakers or canoeists its recommended that you go for trollers with the shortest shafts, keeping in mind the 1-foot rule, then add 3-6 inches to cater for fishing in rough waters. Long shafts will restrict your movement in shallow waters, but shorter ones will cavitate or suck in air from the surface, producing that unwanted fish-spooking noise.

 

Fresh or Saltwater Fishing

Most trolling motors in the market are made for freshwater fishing and don’t function well in salty waters. If fishing in salt water, select a troller covered with less metal or one specially coated with alloys that can mitigate the corrosion effects of salt water.

 

Legal

Most states require that you register your boat with your local wildlife and fisheries agency if it has an engine. Trollers are electrical engines and will need to be registered for you to comply.

Check out this video to learn more on how to choose the best troller for you

 

Final Thoughts

Fishing is a rewarding and relaxing activity, and a trolling motor should considerably ease this fun activity for you.

The trolling motors covered in our in-depth review are among the best trolling motors for kayaks and canoes. Our top choice – the Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount – ticks all the boxes! We’re confident it’ll make your fishing expedition successful and downright fun, and it’s quite affordable too!

We hope this guide will help you make an informed decision the next time you are out shopping for a trolling motor, and should you happen to use any of these motors, and we’d love to hear about your experiences with them.

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