Best Trolling Motor for Kayak

Best Value

MotorGuide X3 Freshwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor

Our Pick

MotorGuide Xi5 GPS Saltwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor

Budget Pick

Minn Kota Endura C2 Freshwater Transom

Trolling motors come pretty handy for people who love to kayak or take out their inflatable boats. It’s efficient, fast, and gets you where you want to be.

Today, we’ll review some of the best trolling motors for kayaks in the market. You don’t have to keep paddling anymore!

Top 4 Kayak Trolling Motors

1. MotorGuide Xi5 GPS Saltwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motors Review – Best Overall

Motorguide Xi5

Key Takeaways

  • Wireless handheld steering control
  • 12V deep cycle battery
  • 36V motor voltage

Best Saltwater Kayak Trolling Motor

We can confidently say that nothing beats the MotorGuide Xi5 trolling bow mount saltwater. Even professional open water anglers will love this bad boy.

Impressively enough, this kayak motor sports a powerful 105 pounds of thrust and measures a 72-inch shaft. That’s pretty massive and powerful.

It’s the ideal type of motor you’d want to use for a larger v-hull kayak. Thanks to its powerful motor and precision steering control feature, you’re all set for the day.

That being said, the MotorGuide Xi5 is a pretty versatile kayak trolling motor.

You’ll have complete control over your kayak, as long as you keep the weight a little less than 5,500 lbs. It’s a limitation for some people, but it’s something we can forgive.

This kayak trolling motor comes with a ton of impressive things you never thought of having:

  • Pinpoint GPS;
  • Anchor mode;
  • Autopilot and cruise control; and
  • Route recording.

Attractive and Lightweight Design

Let’s talk a bit about the design of the MotorGuide Xi5.

Out of the box, we already notice how sleek and lightweight it is. The body sports an attractive white finish, and the motor weighs approximately 49 pounds!

You’ll find the mounting area to be as sleek as the product itself, thanks to its low-profile and elegant design.

Installation should also be a breeze. You won’t have to worry about getting things wrong! And once you’ve put all the pieces together, you’ll have one powerful and durable kayak trolling motor.

We especially love the fact that the shaft of this trolling motor is made of corrosion-resistant material. It feels pretty strong on the hand, yet perplexingly flexible. We didn’t have a hard time setting it up!

Believe it or not, MotorGuide guarantees that their shafts should last you for life. It’s pretty much an investment you won’t regret!

Now let’s talk a little bit about the battery of this kayak motor. It uses three 12 volt deep cycle batteries. More or less, we can say that it’s powerful enough for anyone.

Motor Control

The Xi5 saltwater trolling motor impressed us with its wireless handheld remote. It’s unlike other products we’ve found so far, which makes it stand out for us.

But if you’re someone who wants the traditional foot control, you’ll need to buy the part separately. Not bad, right?

You can easily switch things up in an instant. And regardless of what you choose, MotorGuide guarantees that you’ll have absolute control over your motor.

We’re sure you’re wondering whether a powerful motor such as this is noisy. You’d be happy to know that it’s not.

You can enjoy using this trolling motor even in deep rough waters without any noise and problem. Expect a quiet and smooth operation, coupled with your powerful motor and convenient motor operations.

Is the MotorGuide Xi5 for You?

The MotorGuide Xi5 is one of the best trolling motors for kayaks. Whether you’re off to catch some fish or enjoy an afternoon in the waters, this kayak motor won’t disappoint.

Despite having an electric trolling motor, you’ll be surprised by how quiet the whole operation is. You’ll barely hear a whisper.

So if you’d ask us, the MotorGuide Xi5 is a companion worth having by your side.

Best Overall
MotorGuide Xi5 Trolling Motor with Sonar and Pinpoint GPS


  • Wireless pro-style foot pedal
  • Durable and reliable
  • Precise steering and control
  • Quiet on the water
  • Easy to use
  • Manufacturer's 2-year limited warranty



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Pros

  • Very durable shaft
  • Powerful and high thrust rating
  • Comes with a two-year warranty

Cons

  • GPS tends to get disconnected

2. MotorGuide X3 Freshwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor – Best Value for Money

Best Value For Money
MotorGuide X3 Freshwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor


  • Precise steering and control
  • Durable and reliable
  • Quiet on the water
  • Variable Ratio Steering
  • Aircraft-grade-aluminum mounting bracket for minimal flex and enhanced precision
  • Ergonomic heel-toe pedal
  • Composite locking pins
  • Locking bearing collar
  • 2-blade weedless prop


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Key Takeaways

  • Ideal for small to medium sized hulls
  • Wireless controls
  • Freshwater trolling motor

Durable and Reliable

Durability and reliability are the two main things we’re looking for in a kayak trolling motor.

As much as possible, we want to go experience the least hassle once we’re out with our kayaks in the open water. Glad to say, this is something which the MotorGuide X3 did.

The X3 provides great control, even at full thrust of up to 70 pounds. We were able to glide smoothly, and the motor remained upright all throughout our adventure.

What we particularly loved about this kayak trolling motor is its digital power management system.

We were able to smoothly operate our kayak, and even save up on battery life consumption. On the system, you can already key in the exact speed of your kayak, and head straight to your destination with no trouble.

Small to Medium Sized Hulls

Do note that the X3 is ideal for small to medium sized hulls only. The 55 lbs thrust is powerful enough to bring you to your destination, even for kayaks weighing 2,750 lbs.

However, if you’re using larger hulls, you might find the power of the X3 to be a bit lacking. Although the motor of the X3 is powerful, you won’t be able to enjoy this on larger hulls.

We highly recommend sticking to the recommended hull size, to prevent motor damage in the long run.

Is the MotorGuide X3 Freshwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor for You?

The X3 packs a ton of power, whether you plan to use the motor or marine battery. You can enjoy up to 20 hours of adventure, provided you’re running on a slow speed.

But with the motor at full throttle, expect the X3 to last a good 2-3 hours maximum.

If you’re just planning to go on a simple fishing adventure, the X3 is definitely more than enough.

Pros

  • Precision steering
  • Adjustable depth collar
  • Awesome battery power

 Cons

  • Needs to be drilled on the boat

Pros

  • Configurable foot pedal
  • Quiet operations
  • Awesome battery power

 Cons

  • Very pricey
Best Value For Money
MotorGuide X3 Freshwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor


  • Precise steering and control
  • Durable and reliable
  • Quiet on the water
  • Variable Ratio Steering
  • Aircraft-grade-aluminum mounting bracket for minimal flex and enhanced precision
  • Ergonomic heel-toe pedal
  • Composite locking pins
  • Locking bearing collar
  • 2-blade weedless prop


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3. Minn Kota Endura C2 Freshwater Transom Mount Trolling Motor – Best Budget Pick

Best Budget
Minn Kota Endura C2 Transom Mount Trolling Motors with Lever Lock Bracket


  • Minn Kota lever lock bracket with unbeatable performance
  • Resists flexing, warping, and UV damage
  • Telescoping 6" handle
  • Ergonomic design—greater comfort and steering convenience
  • Indestructible composite shaft


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Key Takeaways

  • 30 pounds of thrust
  • 12-volt transom-mounted motor
  • 6-inch telescoping handle

Indestructible 30-inch Shat

Believe it or not, but the shaft of this trolling motor is made of indestructible composite. Now, how’s that for an investment?

If you’re new to trolling motors, you need to know that shaft lengths play an essential role in your kayak.

Ideally, you’d want to make sure that the shaft is long so that the propeller remains submerged underwater.

Just imagine how ridiculous it would look like when the propeller isn’t even submerged in water. You’ll barely move!

But be careful because you don’t want to overdo it as well. The shaft can’t be too long, such that it will hit the bed of the water. When it does, you’ll risk getting stuck on the same spot for a reasonably long time.

And the solution? You might just have to dive for it and fix the problem. And nobody wants that.

6-Inch Telescoping Handle

We enjoyed using the telescopic handle because of the easy and comfortable it was on the hand. Thanks to its ergonomic design, we didn’t feel any discomfort handling the grip.

You’ll be able to steer your kayak in any direction without any problems! It’s that simple.

On the handle, you’ll conveniently find the cruise control. And with that, you have the power and control in your hands.

The handle also sports an on and off button for you to power your motor whenever you want to once you’ve found the perfect fishing spot.

Forward and Reverse Variable Speed

If you want to have variable speed control, you’ll most likely enjoy the Endura’s forward and reverse speed feature.

There are forward speeds and three reverse speeds. Put in simpler terms, you can control how fast you want to travel the waters.

If you’re planning to relax and slow roam around the waters, then switch the speed to low. If you want it fast, toggle the switch, then go.

And whenever you find yourself stuck in a tight spot, the reverse control will come in handy. You won’t have to jump off your kayak and manually maneuver your way out of any tight situation.

Durable and Tough Material

Safe to say that the Minn Kota Endura is relatively durable. That’s if you use it only in freshwater. You can’t use this trolling motor on saltwater, or you’ll risk damaging the materials.

For freshwater use, you’ve got nothing to worry about! The motor is made of highly tough and durable materials.

All parts are designed to resist UV damage, flexing, and warping. You’re sure to enjoy this trolling motor for a very long time.

And if you aren’t satisfied with its durability, this trolling motor comes with a two-year warranty. Not bad, right?

Is the Minn Kota Endura for You?

If you’re looking for a trolling motor that comes with excellent value for money, the Minn Kota Endura won’t disappoint.

Some might say that the price is a little higher than other trolling motors for kayaks out there. For all the impressive things that come with this trolling motor, we say the price is worth it.

It sports a 12-volt mounted motor, thrust level of 30 lbs, and sports a telescoping handle! Not bad!

Best Budget
Minn Kota Endura C2 Transom Mount Trolling Motors with Lever Lock Bracket


  • Minn Kota lever lock bracket with unbeatable performance
  • Resists flexing, warping, and UV damage
  • Telescoping 6" handle
  • Ergonomic design—greater comfort and steering convenience
  • Indestructible composite shaft


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Pros

  • Long shaft size
  • 6-inch telescoping handle
  • 5 forward 3 reverse speeds

Cons

  • Only for freshwater use

4. Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra Saltwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor

Key Takeaways

  • 60-inch shaft length
  • Strong battery power
  • Two options for steering control type

Perfect for Large Bass Kayak

People who own a large bass kayak tend to have some difficulties when looking for trolling motors. It’s either not powerful enough, or even if it is, performance becomes underwhelming through time.

With the Minn Kota Ulterra, you won’t have to worry about any of that. The motor was meant to be for anglers who frequently run a large kayak!

This saltwater trolling motor sports one of the greatest wireless bow mounts. Not just that, but the motor comes with two thrust options: 80 or 112 pounds.

We recommend the 80lbs thrust for kayaks or boats that weigh a maximum of 4,000 pounds. You should be able to get to your destination without experiencing any problems swiftly.

But for a kayak that measures 5,500 pounds, the 112lbs thrust should get the job done correctly,

So regardless of how heavy your kayak is, you can choose between two thrust options! And this is a feature we enjoy because of the amount of control it gives us.

Hands-Free Steering

Another thing we enjoyed with the Minn Kota Ulterra is its hands-free steering feature. How is this possible?

The motor comes with either an i-Pilot GPS or i-Pilot link program, which you can conveniently access on your device. Sounds pretty high-tech, right?

Using a compatible device, you can easily make your way from one destination to another! That’s next-level convenience and control.

Modern and Clean Design

Right of the box, we noticed how modern the Minn Kota Ulterra looks like. It sports a black finish, which gives the whole motor a modern and clean look.

We also noticed that this trolling motor is slightly heavier compared to other motors out there. But did that put us off? Definitely not.

You see, the added weight can be linked back to the extra equipment on this motor for stowing and deploying. Because of that, we can easily forgive the weight of this trolling motor.

Installation was relatively easy and straightforward. Although we did encounter some complications in the process because of all the things this product comes with.

But for a veteran boater, we’re sure they’ll be able to get the installation done with no problems. If you’re a first-timer, we recommend asking for help from your local shops.

Corrosion Resistant Motor

What makes the Minn Kota one of the best kayak trolling motors for saltwater is its corrosion-resistant materials. The whole motor remains intact, even exposed under saltwater for a long time.

The motor sports a grit-blasted aluminum body, powder-coated to have that extra layer of protection. The shaft is just as durable as the motor itself because of its tough composite material.

That being said, consider the Minn Kota Ulterra as a good investment. You can get your money’s worth.

Auto Stow/Deploy and Power Trim

Let’s talk about the insides of this trolling motor. Is it as significant as its design and external features? Yes, of course!

One of these trolling motor highlights is its “Auto Stow/Deploy and Power Trim” innovative feature. It makes sure you enjoy an effortless adventure on your kayak.

The system power lifts the motor, and you’re all set! You don’t have to worry about mustering all the strength you have just to lug your engine.

GPS Features

Like most Minn Kota motors, this one comes with the i-Pilot GPS features. If you haven’t tried this GPS feature yet, then now is the best time for you to do it.

You can control the steering and enjoy all other features right in your hand. Think of it as you’ve got all the powers you’d want right in the palm of your hand.

Let’s go through some features you’d enjoy.

First is the Anchor Mode, which keeps you and your kayak in place. This feature comes very handy if you’ve already found a spot to enjoy, and you don’t want the water currents to drive you to a different location.

Whenever your kayak shifts its direction, the motor automatically kicks in and brings you back to your original spot.

The second feature we’re sure you’ll enjoy is the iTrack Record or Playback Route. You can trace and save your route and come back whenever you want.

We enjoyed this feature because it was a lot easier for us to navigate back to our favorite hot spots. Just imagine the amount of convenience this feature gives us!

The third and final notable feature is Autopilot. Set a destination, and your kayak will steer directly to the area. It will make sure you get to where you want without drifting in the wrong direction.

If you’re someone who frequently gets lost in open waters, then this feature comes in pretty handy.

Is the Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra for You?

We recommend this trolling motor for anyone who owns and uses a large bass kayak. It’s a convenient motor to use, especially if you’re always out fishing by yourself.

Furthermore, its auto stow and deploy features make it a lot easier for you to maneuver your way around.

Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra Bow Mount Bluetooth Trolling Motor with i-Pilot


  • The most advanced Riptide Ulterra trolling motor to date
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Pre-installed i-Pilot integrated GPS
  • Industry-leading combination of proven yet modern design
  • Wireless remote with fully redesigned layout, 33% larger LCD screen, expandable menus, and intuitive navigation
  • Auto Stow and Deploy
  • Remote also controls motor, Spot-Lock, iTrack Record/Playback, Backtrack, Cruise Control


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Pros

  • Perfect to use on Humminbird electronics
  • i-Pilot wireless steering
  • Durable materials ideal for saltwater exposure

Cons

  • Heavier than most trolling motors

Features of the Best Kayak Motor

The first thing you’ll notice when you look for trolling motors is the multitude of brands and types available. With a ton of choices, finding the very best can be a challenge.

Nevertheless, regardless of the decision you end up with, you need to keep an eye out for some essential features and functions. Consider these features and functions to be your non-negotiables.

What exactly are these? And are they essential and essential for your kayak motor? Let’s find out.

Mount

The first thing you’ll notice is that the trolling motor comes in two kinds: bow and transform kayak motor mount. Which of the two should you get?

Bow Mounted Motors

In general, we consider bow kayak mounts to be pretty versatile. You can control the motor either by hand or foot. Today, some kayak mounts even let you wirelessly control the motor for ultimate convenience!

In that sense, you’ll have better control over your kayak, and you’ll be able to maneuver your way through the water with no problem.

However, the only drawback with bow kayak mounts is the price. They’re relatively more expensive than transform mounted ones. But that’s the price you’d have to pay for convenience these days.

Transform Mounted Motors

You’ve most likely seen a transform kayak mount before. It’s the ones mounted on the back of a kayak, which is usually operated by hand.

We recommend the transform motor for anyone who uses a boat or a flat back kayak. So if you have any of those, then you ought to try this type of mount.

Power Consumption

One of the most important things to watch out for is the battery power of your motor. Does it use a deep cycle battery? Or your standard marine battery? Does it have a battery indicator?

Usually, you’d find a 12-volt marine battery mount that provides sufficient pounds of thrust.

If you’re looking for a more powerful battery, there’s also the 24 and 36 volts marine battery variety. And with these two, you can enjoy up to 5,000 pounds of thrust as if it’s nothing!

So, how much battery power do you need, and how many pounds of thrust do you want it to have?

In general, we recommend choosing a trolling motor that has a long battery life and capable of holding heavy loads. That way, we don’t have to worry about switching our engines in the future!

You might want to consider looking for motors that sport a battery indicator. That way, you won’t have to guess when it’s finally time to change the battery or not.

Do note that you’ll need to make sure your kayak has enough space for the battery. Once you’ve bought the battery, you’ll need to put it in place securely. You’d want to put it close to your motor, and it would cause the least inconvenience to you.

As a tip, if you want to extend your motor’s battery life, you need to find a balance between thrust and the amount of power you use.

If you choose a weak battery to thrust up to 5,000 pounds, you’ll risk overusing your battery, which doesn’t always sound good.

But you might also be using a significant battery voltage to thrust lightweight things, which would be a waste of power in the long run.

Materials

Trolling motors are usually made of stainless steel material. It provides excellent durability and longevity.

You can expect stainless steel to last you a long time and get your money’s worth for sure. Stainless steel also helps prevent any corrosion, especially if you plan to use the motor on saltwater.

Top Picks

Today we’ve listed some of the best kayak trolling motors we could find. And no doubt all of them are worth your time and attention.

If you frequently take your kayak for a ride, and you’re tired of all the paddling involved, then having the best kayak trolling motor would come in handy.

But of all the products we’ve mentioned today, there are two which stood out: the Lowrance Ghost and the MotorGuide Xi5.

Runner Up: Lowrance Ghost Trolling Motor

Coming in second place is the Ghost by Lowrance. We crown it as the second placer for this roundup review and the title of the best value for money.

Lowrance is one of the best go-to brands out there, and they never disappoint, which is why we’re pretty happy to find the Ghost and report to you how reliable and innovative it is.

Yes, it comes pretty pricey, but think of all the awesome things you can enjoy from this trolling motor!

Winner: MotorGuide Xi5 Trolling Motor

Today, our clear winner is no other than the Xi5 of MotorGuide. We just love how versatile their product is, which is why it wasn’t hard for us to award it as having the best trolling motors for kayaks.

You can install it on your kayak, regardless if you’re using it for fresh or saltwater. It’s that versatile.

You can even enjoy absolute control from anywhere in your kayak. Thanks to its handheld remote control, you can easily make your way around water with no problem.

Conclusion

For this review, we can say that we found a ton of kayak trolling motors. We made sure only to give you the very best.

Some people wanted me to review the Lowrance Ghost, come on! You want to fly or stay on the water with your kayak.
So I wrote a quick Lowrance Ghost Trolling Motor Review and it will be a bigger one since it deserve it.

All that’s left for you is to get straight to the store, get yourself a kayak, and pair it with the best motor.

You can even try using it on your inflatable boats!

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