3 Best Trolling Motors for Kayaks Reviews 2019

While some kayak fishing purists may frown upon the addition of a trolling motor, let's face it: if you want to spend less time paddling and more time fishing, a trolling motor is the way to go! For this reason, we searched for and reviewed several different trolling motors for kayaks, but in the end determined that these 3 were the best bang for your buck.

The Easiest Way to Install a Trolling Motor on Your Kayak

Technically, with a little DIY ingenuity, you can install any boat trolling motor on your kayak. But if you don't want to hassle with crazy modifications and the potential to cause irreparable damage to your kayak, it's best to choose a trolling motor that’s proven to be kayak-friendly.

To help make your search for the best trolling motor for your kayak as easy as possible, here are three models that have solid reputations for being kayak-compatible.

best trolling motors for kayaks 2

This kayak-specific trolling motor is made by Saturn Inflatable Boats, a company that specializes in both human-powered and motor-driven inflatable watercraft.

They make several different trolling motors to accommodate the wide range of inflatable watercraft styles they offer, and this 55-pound short-shaft model is perfect for all types of fishing kayaks, including hard-shell sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks, as well as inflatable fishing kayaks.

The most unique aspect of this trolling motor is that it has one of the shortest shafts, measuring only 26 inches.

This reduces the overall height of the trolling motor, making it much more compact than traditional trolling motors — ideal for use on a kayak.

With the shorter shaft, the throttle is positioned within close reach for easy operation while sitting in your kayak. The throttle handle is also adjustable with ten tilt positions available, giving you plenty of options to operate the motor comfortably.

The shaft on the Saturn Short-Shaft trolling motor is made of composite material that reduces the weight of the motor making it easier to transport to and from the water.

The motor is also fully saltwater compatible, and only a quick rinse of freshwater is needed after each use to keep the motor running smooth and to increase its lifespan.

The Saturn 55 lbs short-shaft electric trolling motor runs on a standard 12v deep cycle battery which can be purchased from most auto supply, marine supply, or hardware stores.

On average, the motor will run for three to four hours on a single charge, depending on the amp-hour rating of the battery.

Mounting the Saturn trolling motor on a kayak is usually accomplished by installing a board across the back of the kayak behind the seat. Then, the motor is mounted to the board close enough to the seat so that you can reach the throttle handle while sitting in the kayak.

If you're searching for a trolling motor to mount on your kayak and want to know with certainty that the motor you choose is kayak-compatible, go with the Saturn 55 lbs short-shaft electric trolling motor.

Saturn 55 Lbs Short-Shaft Electric Trolling Motor 3

The VariMAX series of trolling motors made by MotorGuide have been favorites of both boaters and kayakers alike. This particular model of the VariMAX is the saltwater version which is made with extra corrosion-resistant components for use in the ocean.

But even if you plan on only using the motor in freshwater lakes and rivers, the extra corrosion-resistance will give you greater durability and less worry about the components rusting.

Unlike the Saturn Trolling motor, the VariMAX has a 36-inch shaft which positions the throttle handle slightly higher off the deck. This may be troublesome for shorter users, but likely won't be much of an issue for average-sized or tall users.

Thanks to precise digital variable speed adjustment, the VariMAX is known to give you three times the battery life of a traditional 5-speed trolling motor.

The digital variable speed control minimizes amperage draw, resulting in a longer battery life. This gives you the option to use a smaller battery or simply stay out fishing for longer.

The MotorGuide VariMAX features a BluVis display that shows battery voltage, travel speed, and direction. It also features a stainless steel shaft and a tapered hub weed-free propeller.

Saturn 55 Lbs Short-Shaft Electric Trolling Motor 4

Another great trolling motor that's ideal for use on small vessels, especially kayaks, is the NV-Series 36 pound trolling motor from Newport Vessels.

With 36 pounds of thrust compared to the Saturn's 55 pounds, this trolling motor is perfect for smaller kayaks in the 7.5- to 8-foot range, and will get you going up to 4 miles per hour.

Like the Saturn, the NV-Series 36 lb trolling motor has a short shaft that measures 30 inches, allowing for comfortable use from the seat of your kayak.

It runs off a 12v deep cycle battery just like the other trolling motors on the list, and a battery with a 50 amp hour rating will keep the Newport running for 1.72 hours.

While that seems like a short running time, you can buy a battery with a higher amp hour rating for longer battery life and more time on the water.

The NV-Series 36 pound trolling motor has 8 speed settings (5 forward, 3 reverse) that are adjustable by the throttle handle.

Like the other trolling motors we reviewed, the NV-Series is also saltwater-friendly, and a quick rinse of freshwater after each use will keep the motor in top shape for all its life.


We hope our review of the three best trolling motors for kayaks was informative and helped you in your search for the model that's right for you. If you have any doubts and need a final recommendation, go with the Saturn 55-pound trolling motor.

You'll find that the shorter shaft and lightweight composite construction is perfect for use with a kayak and requires the least amount of modification to your kayak.

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