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Apr 9, 2024  •  12 min

Best Kayak Motors: The Only Guide You Need (Updated 2024)

Choosing the best kayak motors have been a popular decision since electric kayak motors were born. Now more and more kayakers put on a motor to help them fish more and stay longer on the water. Want to be “that guy” with a motorized kayak?

Read this complete buying guide to get useful insights and find the best kayak motors.

We’ve included our top 2 kayak motor recommendations if you are in a hurry. Both are powerful, lightweight, easy to operate, and can be quickly installed in all kinds of kayaks.

Table of contents:

ePropulsion Kayak Motor

Is a Kayak Motor Worth It?

A kayak motor is by no means a cheap addition.

For some kayak purists, a kayak motor even seems to be defeating the purpose of having a kayak.

Indeed, kayak outboards make sense in a lot of ways.

Learning the benefits can help determine if purchasing a trolling motor for a kayak is worth it.

Here are the top 5 benefits of owning a kayak motor that makes it such a popular decision.

#1. Go Further with Kayak Motor

With a kayak motor, you don’t need to paddle around all day.

That’s to say, you are not limited by the coverage (or your stamina), wind direction, or the failing daylight. Sometimes, the wind can be outrageous.

Imagine that you’re constantly getting beat up by the wind, sunlight, and current.

A kayak motor can save you from that desperate situation and allow you to go further effortlessly!

It’s especially useful when you plan to hit large lakes. If you want to cover a lot of mileage on the coast with strong wind and current, you should definitely think about getting a kayak motor.

#2. Time Saving & Energy Saving

Having a kayak motor doesn’t mean you need to use it all the time. It’s not all about being lazy. It’s more about covering more areas quickly and efficiently.

A lot of kayak fishermen simply troll upstream with the kayak outboard and then float and fish downstream.

Some anglers still paddle around and stealthily move into position. (Or you can simply rely on an electric kayak motor to approach the fishing spot silently)

For many people, kayaking is a way to bond with the family, and a kayak motor can add a lot of fun to the journey. For example, kids can operate on the motor.

#3. It Helps Get More Fish

Some people fish in some hard-to-get-to spots, making kayak motors appetizing for them.

Also, a small kayak motor allows you to focus more on fishing than paddling. You can’t fish if you are constantly paddling to keep from getting blown out of position.

However, some might worry about the vibration and sound that can ruin a quiet approach to the fishing spot. That’s where the electric kayak motor shines.

For example, the ePropulsion eLite kayak motor runs silently without any noise, so it won’t spook the fish. Click here for more information.

#4. Age Friendly

There are also health and mobility benefits in terms of getting a kayak motor.

A lot of kayakers are 55+ years old, and a kayak outboard can make things much easier for them.

At some point, the human body just doesn’t respond like it used to. For example, people can develop bad backs or tendinitis, etc. In that case, a kayak motor would be your day saver.

Or if you are not in shape, the kayak motor on board will be a piece of mind since you know you can always make it home safely.

#5. Better On-Water Experience

A motorized kayak can also save you from getting wet (compared with paddling), which can be a huge plus in winter days.

If you go with electric kayak motors, you can experience even more benefits. For example, you can just press the button to start the engine effortlessly and go around quietly without any vibration or smell.

Also, you can just twist the throttle to change your trolling speed.

There are definitely other benefit not mentioned on the list. If you have more brilliant ideas (or concerns with the kicker motor), you are welcome to share in the comment below.

Best Kayak Motor Buying Guide: Top 5 Things to Consider

If you’ve decided to get a kayak motor, be sure to take the following things into consideration so that you can make a wise choice among the endless options on the market.

#1. Lightweight

The extra weight of a kayak motor is probably the biggest concern for those who want a motorized kayak. That’s why you need a lightweight kayak outboard.

The modern kayak motors are designed to be lightweight and portable with built-in batteries. So there is no worry about the extra weight, storage, and installation of batteries.

For example, the ePropulsion eLite kayak motor weighs only 6.7 kg / 14.7 lbs (including its integrated battery) with a compact design so you can easily carry it around.

Lightweight Kayak Motor with Carry Bag

That being said, everything is a tradeoff. If a kayak motor allows you to be out in the water and traveling twice as far and getting half as wet (especially in winter), it’s still a good choice.

#2. Easy to Use and Install

Anyone will love a kayak motor with easy operation and installation process.

Make sure your kayak outboard comes with a tiller handle that is easy to access.

Some more advanced kayak motor kits feature a height and length adjustable tiller. That way, you can extend the tiller and adjust its angle to fit your mounting position and fishing styles.

Also, remember to check out the installation process of the kayak motor.

Some kayak motors feature smart designs to simplify the process. For example, the one-click removal/installation (available in the ePropulsion eLite model) allows even green hands to install the kicker motor in seconds.

Smart Designs on eLite Kayak Motor

Special Tip: How do you fit an electric motor on a kayak?

If you are not sure about the mounting position, it’s suggested to install the kayak motor in the back, since transom mounted kayak motor is the most efficient for steering and propulsion.

#3. Powerful & Long Range

When it comes to a motor, you will always wonder how fast would it be and what’s the ideal size for your kayak. The rule of thumb is that you should always go for a powerful and reliable one.

Note that both electric trolling motors and outboards are popular options as kayak motors.

A typical kayak trolling motor can go around 4mph, and a decent outboard motor for kayaking can reach about 7mph. So if you want faster speed and more reliability, an outboard motor would be a better choice.

However, if you want more functionality, such as spot lock or auto cruise, you will need a trolling motor instead.

#4. Quiet & Clean

Having a quiet motor is important, especially for fishing kayaks, and electric kayak motors are the way to go.

Compared with internal combustion engines, electric kayak motors provide a much better experience with zero noise to spook the fish. That way, you can approach and stay over fish silently.

More than that, there’s no fuel or oil to leak out, so there’s no risk of spillage or stains on your boat, car or clothing. Electric kayak motors are also better for the environment.

Best Kayak Motors (with Battery)

A motorized kayak allows you to stay out longer, explore new waters, and get home effortlessly.

Getting an electric kayak motor is the easiest way to motorize your kayak.

If you want a simple and reliable kayak motor conversion, here are our top 2 solutions to help you make the switch quickly (both with worldwide shipping to the UK, US, Australia, etc).

#1. eLite

Looking for a kayak motor kit with a battery? Check out the ePropulsion eLite.

ePropulsion eLite Kayak Motor

It’s a compact, lightweight, efficient, and easy-to-use motor designed especially for small boats such as kayaks.

This 500W electric outboard motor for kayak redefines your on-water experience with a lot of innovative features and impressive power and range:

  • It weighs only 6.7 kg / 14.7 (with a built-in battery, excluding bracket). So it’s easy to carry and lift. There is also a carrying bag inside the package for easy storage and transport.
  • Everything is digitalized, so you can simply push a button to start, control the motor at your fingertips, and access real-time operational data anytime via a screen.
  • It requires significantly less maintenance than combustion engines.
  • Height and length adjustable tiller allows you to control your kayak more easily.

In terms of performance, it is top-of-the-line for kayak motors. According to our test, this motor can drive an 8ft aluminum dinghy (total weight 117 kg) to go at 5.2 mph. You can expect faster speed and runtime if you put it on a kayak.

Half Power (250W)Full Power (500 W)Sport Mode (750 W)
Speed (km/h / mph)6.0 / 3.77.5 / 4.78.3 / 5.2
Running Time (hh:mm)01:300:45**
Range (km / mi)9 / 5.65.6 / 3.5/
*The data above is for a single person driving an 8ft aluminium dinghy (total weight 117 kg), in calm conditions. Range and run time may vary with different boat or load, wind, and waves, etc. ** Sport mode can last up to 1 minute subject to battery SOC and temperature.

Besides that, its innovative one-click removal/installation design makes it possible to install and remove the motor in seconds literally.

That means the motor can be lifted on/off (for charging etc) at the touch of a button, with a clamp left on the transom. No connections to make, no tools needed.

#2. Vaquita

Vaquita is an electric motor designed for paddle boards and kayaks. It’s super light weighing just 4kg in total (1.5 kg for the motor and 2.5 kg for the battery).

Vaquita Electric Kayak Motor

If you want a cheap and reliable kayak motor kit with an electric drive, don’t miss out on the Vaquita electric kayak motor.

It comes with so many brilliant designs to make your kayak motor conversion quickly and smoothly:

  • The kayak motor itself weighs just 1.5 kg, making it easy to install and transport.
  • It comes with a separate battery so you don’t need to spend extra time and money on the batteries.
  • Capable of propelling your kayak up to 11 km/h*.
  • It’s easy to install (can be set up in 4 mins), perfect for those new to kayaking and electric motors.
  • Compatible with most kayak models.
  • It’s space-saving with a compact design and can easily fit into a backpack.

*The actual speed can vary depending on your specific use cases. Here is a performance chart for your rough reference (data collected on a typical inflatable kayak):

25% throttle8 hours
50% throttle5 hours
Full throttle1 hr 10 minutes

Moreover, this kayak motor is controlled by a wireless remote. So you can adjust its speed with a simple press on the remote control (8 forward speed available) or stop the motor immediately if there is any emergency.

If you prefer to control the kayak motor remotely instead of using the tiller, Vaquita would be the best kayak motor choice. It’s your good helper in an island-hopping trip, a downwind ride, and a lake tour.

Check out the video for more information about how to use and install this kayak motor kit:

FAQs About Best Kayak Motors

Here we also gathered some frequently asked questions concerning kayak motors with quick answers. Hopefully, it will clear your mind. If you have other confusions, please leave them on the comment and I will get back to you ASAP.

1.What kind of motor can you put on a kayak?

If you’ve searched around, you will find two types of electric kayak motors, including trolling motors and outboard motors. The major differences lie in their power range, companion battery types, and installation.

Click to learn more about the comparison between outboard motors and trolling motors.

2.Can I add a motor to my kayak?

Yes, you can add a motor to your kayak. There are a lot of electric motors designed for kayaks, such as the ePropulsion eLite and Vaquita. However, make sure you follow the rules if you decide to put on a kayak motor. For example, most states require that you register your kayak if you use it in public waters. Otherwise, you will risk getting a fin.

3.How fast is a kayak motor?

It depends on the type of kayak motor you are talking about. A typical kayak trolling motor can go around 4 mph at top speed, while the top speed for an outboard can reach 7 mph.

Take the popular Vaquita kayak motor as an example. At full speed, it travels 9 km in 1 hour. At a low speed of around 5 km/h, it lasts 9 hours, extending the travel range to 45km.

4.What size motor do I need for my kayak?

The size of the kayak motor depends on many factors, including the boat weight, the weather conditions, water types, etc. Generally speaking, the 330 W Vaquita and 500 W eLite electric kayak motors are the most popular sizes among the kayaking community.

5.Are motors safe for kayaks?

The short answer is YES, if you choose a reliable brand with comprehensive safety measures. For example, ePropulsion eLite uses safe and reliable Lithium-ion batteries and emergency magnetic kill switches to keep you safe onboard. And the ePropulsion Vaquita features an emergency stop function on its remote, so you can stop the motor if there is any urgent issue.

Final Thoughts About Best Kayak Motors

“Getting a motor was the best thing I ever did for my kayak.” This is the feedback we got from one of our customers. However, whether a kayak motor is worth it eventually depends on what you are looking to do with the kayak and what kind of water you fish in.

For example, if you are a kayak purist who takes kayaking as a way to be active and exercise, the kayak motor is definitely not your type of thing. If most of your interest is just in fishing, a kayak motor will be a nice addition to your boat.

If you are experiencing any trouble finding an ideal kayak motor or any confusion in mind during your research, you can click here and talk to a specialist for professional advice immediately.

Or simply fill out our form so that we can get back to you with a kayak motor solution tailored to your specific needs.

Join the discussion!

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