How To

How to Choose the Best Trolling Motor for Kayak?

When it is useful to place them. How and in what part of the boat to do it. What are the disadvantages that should be considered?

In recent years appeared in our country small engines -mainly electric type or outboard after- that can be used to drive a kayak. It is an innovation that allows longer routes without having to exhaust ourselves in the use of oars. It should be clear that the strength of the arms will continue to be the primary propulsion of the boat and the use of an impeller has to be secondary when we are exhausted or plan long trips. It will depend on the type of kayak and its application to choose the best option when adapting it to the boat.

Types of engines

There are three that we can attach to our kayak: the electric ones of removes and put, like the famous and archiprobado Minn Kota that, for a kayak, by a question of stability and security it should not surpass the 1,35 / 2,5 HP; the traditional two-stroke gasoline, 1 or 2.5 HP and, finally, the compact electric-turbine type, which, being submersible, can be attached to the bottom of the kayak. All these propellers demand the installation of mirrors and fittings on the roof, as well as a small space for the battery, in the case of the electric ones. It is fundamental that the modifications do not harm the regular paddling of the kayaker and even less the water lines of the boat when we sail. In the case of the leg motors, this has to be short and the assembly mounted in the mirror, with the center of gravity as low as possible. You can read our best selling outboard engines to buy the best one. 

Personal experience

Some 25 years ago, I installed an electric motor with an excellent result in a touring kayak – an SDK 510 -. The mirror and anchor, handmade, I placed it at the height of the cockpit, almost in the stern. They were two aluminum pipes with a piece of wood in the middle that served as a mirror, all subject with small bolts to the deck of the kayak. Today a small mirror kit is sold for this. The battery, something big, almost occupied the rear hatch. The cable system ran through the cover with seals to the battery terminal. My kayak, of 0.60 m of the beam, managed to sail almost three hours at a rate of 4 to 5 km / h, although the autonomy was subject to the size and charge of the battery. You can also read our trolling motor battery for the money article to buy the best one.

Sit on top

In case of mounting them on open boats, a right mirror should be placed aft. In any case, the performance will be less since the helmet can exceed 0.90 of the sleeve, which means higher friction.

The pro

The navigation is very silent and the kayak moves at high speed and with excellent stability; It is a real pleasure to feel the electric propulsion that allows great routes with zero effort. Also, the engines are transported in the trunk of a car or a backpack, since they weigh about 6.5 kg, has excellent performance in calm waters and where the wind does not blow much. 

The cons

The position in the cockpit to hold the engine rod is a little uncomfortable. The Achilles heel is the weight of the battery, which is around 10 kg and occupies a large part of the aft cabin. We must also take into account the difficulty of carrying the battery on land for recharging. It is always preferable to use marine type batteries that have a good seal; It does not hurt to put them in a sealed box. Special care must be taken to isolate the electrical system and the battery from the waves so as not to suffer a short circuit or electric shock.


While the best outboard motor 2 HP are used, the removable electric motor is the best system for a kayak. The first ones have more drag and acceleration power, but they pose a risk of tipping or some bad maneuver, with the consequent lack of control of the boat. The noise of the engine explosion is annoying, especially in users who value silence in navigation. We must always go with the rope of man to the water subject to the wrist to avoid wounds of the propeller in case of an immediate rollover.

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