The Best Trolling Motor for Kayak Users

Trolling Motor

This is the Ultimate Boat Priority Guide to the Best Trolling Motor for Kayak on the market for 2021.

Leveling up your kayak angling game with a trolling motor could be quite tricky, what with all the things you have to consider- such as the size of your Kayak, power, and your goal distance among many others.

That’s why…

…we’ve researched hard and narrowed down our choices to the four best options available. We tested these out in the water according to our set of predetermined metrics just so you won’t have to.

In our review, we’ve included:

  • Pros and Cons of each of the Top 4;
  • Key Takeaways for each;
  • Specifications;
  • Where we think these products excel and where they fall short;
  • Lots more…

So, if you’re thinking of investing your hard-earned cash in one of these handy little motors to take your Kayaking to the next level, then you might as well read on.

Get ready to throw out that paddle once and for all.

Now, off we go.

Top 4 Kayak Trolling Motors

1. MotorGuide Xi5 GPS Saltwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motors

Review – Boat Priority Best Overall Award Winner

Motorguide Xi5

Key Takeaways

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

Best Saltwater Kayak Trolling Motor

Nothing beats the MotorGuide Xi5 GPS Saltwater Bow-Mount in versatility and power.

A great trolling motor for newbies and seasoned kayakers. Even professional-level open water anglers will love this bad boy.

Impressively, this kayak motor has a superb 105-pound thrust and 72-inch shaft.

Powerful enough for even the heaviest kayak.

It’s the ideal type of motor for your larger V-hull kayak.

Thanks to its powerful motor and precision steering control feature, you’re all set for the day without any difficulty maneuvering, controlling, and adjusting.

That said

… the MotorGuide Xi5 is a pretty versatile trolling motor.

You’ll have complete control over your kayak, as long as you keep the weight to a little shy of 5,500 lbs.

Shouldn’t be an issue for most anglers.

This kayak trolling motor comes with a ton of other impressive features:

  • Pinpoint GPS;
  • Anchor mode;
  • Autopilot and cruise control; and last but not least
  • Route recording.

Attractive and Lightweight Design

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

Out of the box

We can’t help but immediately notice its sleek design and lightweightness.

The body sports an attractive white finish, and the motor came in at just around 49 pounds!

You’ll find the mounting area as sleek as the product itself, thanks to its low-profile and elegant design, which were made with ease of set-up in mind.

Installation was also a breeze.

Once we’d put all the pieces together – just a few minutes, in this case – we had one powerful and durable kayak trolling motor.

We especially loved the fact that the shaft of this trolling motor is made of corrosion-resistant material – a big plus for the longevity of the motor. So you’re not only sure that you’re using a durable kayak trolling motor but you also know that you’ll be able to use it for a long time.

It felt pretty strong to the touch, yet still flexible enough to take the elements.

Believe it or not

… MotorGuide focuses on the longevity of its shafts, making it a risk-free investment.

Now let’s talk a little bit about the battery.

It uses three 12-volt deep-cycle batteries.

Three of us took turns – from novice to experienced and from 70 to 95 kg.

Needless to say…

… this was a win for us all. No ride cut short and not even a sign of failing.

Motor Control

We loved the Xi5 saltwater trolling motor’s wireless handheld remote.

It’s unlike anything else we tested.

But

… if you’re a kayaker who’s looking for traditional foot control, you will need to buy the extra part separately.

We didn’t bother, because the handheld unit is pretty intuitive so we didn’t feel the need to.

You can easily switch things up in an instant.

It’s powerful – but what about the noise level?

We enjoyed using this trolling motor – even in some pretty deep and choppy waters – without any noise issues.

You can expect a quiet and smooth operation, coupled with a powerful motor and convenient user-friendly motor controls.

Is the MotorGuide Xi5 for you?

The MotorGuide Xi5 was, for us, the best trolling motor for kayaks.

Whether you’re off to catch some fish or you just want to enjoy an afternoon in the waters, this kayak motor is the business.

Despite being an electric trolling motor itself, you’ll be surprised by how quiet the whole operation is.

You’ll barely hear a whisper.

So if you’d ask us here at BoatPriority, the MotorGuide Xi5 is a worthy companion on any kayak adventure.

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



Check Price Learn More

Pros

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

Cons

  • GPS can 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


Check Price Learn More

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 that the MotorGuide X3 also focuses on.

The X3 provides great control, even at the full thrust of up to 70 pounds. We were able to glide smoothly, and the motor remained upright all throughout our 4-hour kayak fishing 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-pound 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 at a slow speed.

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

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
  • Configurable foot pedal
  • Quiet operations
  • Awesome battery power

 Cons

  • Needs to be drilled on the boat
  • A little 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


Check Price Learn More

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


Check Price Learn More

Key Takeaways

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

Indestructible 30-inch Shaft

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’ll hit the bed of the water. When it does, you’ll risk getting stuck in the same spot for a reasonably long time.

And the solution? You might just have to dive for it and fix the problem.

6-Inch Telescoping Handle

We enjoyed using the telescopic handle because of how 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 all the power and control in your hands.

The handle also sports an on and off button for you to power your motor 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 Endura’s forward and reverse speed features.

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 off you 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.

Now that’s cooler than you, I tell you.

Durable and Tough Material

The Minn Kota Endura is relatively durable – that’s if you use it in freshwater only. You can’t use this trolling motor on saltwater or you’ll risk damaging the materials. And you wouldn’t want that, for sure!

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, a thrust level of 30 lbs, and 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


Check Price Learn More

Pros

  • Long shaft length
  • 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. The options are usually not powerful enough – or even if it is, performance becomes underwhelming over 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 brags about having one of the greatest wireless bow mounts.

Not only that

… the motor also comes with two thrust options: 80 or 112 pounds.

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

But for a kayak that measures 5,500 pounds, the 112-pound 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.

I’m sure you would too!

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 an i-Pilot link program that 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 off the box, we noticed how modern the Minn Kota Ulterra looks. 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!

Actually…

…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 seasoned boaters, 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 after being exposed to saltwater for a long time.

The motor has 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 said, consider the Minn Kota Ulterra as a good investment that can give you more than what you paid for.

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 easily and conveniently. Think of it as having 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 lets you and your kayak stay in place. This feature comes in 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’s 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’ll 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


Check Price Learn More

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. Now, the question boils down to which of the two you should 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 be able to maneuver your way through water without any problem at all.

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 life and 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 with longer battery life, there’s also the 24 and 36-volt marine battery variety. And with these two, you can enjoy up to 5,000 pounds of thrust as if it’s nothing!

It’s a total bargain if you ask me!

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

In general, we recommend choosing a trolling motor with long battery life and is capable of holding heavy loads. That way, you won’t have to worry about switching your engines!

Additionally…

You might want to consider looking for motors that sport an indicator for their battery life too. 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 down the best trolling motor for kayak we could find. There’s no doubt that all of them are worth your time and attention.

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

But…

…aside from the 4 best kayak trolling motors we’ve listed today, there is also another one that performed exceptionally well. Read on for our runner-up.

Runner-up: Lowrance Ghost Trolling Motor

Coming in second place is the Ghost by Lowrance.

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

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

True to its name, the Ghost is indeed pretty quiet, which makes it best for anglers.

Winner: MotorGuide Xi5 Trolling Motor

Today, our clear winner is none 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 the best trolling motor 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: Best Trolling Motor for Kayak

Doing this review let us see just how many kayak motors there are on the market today! Without any guide, it’ll be kind of impossible to get the right one on first try.

Narrowing it down to a list of 4 was certainly not easy. But determining the best one was absolutely a no-brainer! Versatility is a very important quality for us and that’s just what made us stick with the MotorGuide Xi5.

But if you’re on a tight budget, you can still enjoy excellent quality motor, thanks to the Min Kota Endura C2 motor!

Overall, we’re just satisfied that we’re able to find these gems that make a kayaker’s life a breeze.

And we hope you’ll be as satisfied, too.

Feel free to share this article or leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.