9 Best Electric Trolling Motors for Small Craft

best electric trolling motors

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Rowing a rowboat or paddling a kayak all day can become exhausting — especially when you’re trying to make the most of your day on the water and have no time to lose. An electric trolling motor is a simple and affordable way to give your small craft a serious boost without the hassle of complicated motor installations or bringing fuel on board.

The thrust, battery life, noise output, and overall dependability of modern trolling motors have become quite impressive. There are motors compatible with just about every type of small craft — even kayakers have begun incorporating simple motor mounts onto their boats. For fishing, the added benefits go on and on — it’s a big game changer for both covering more water and keeping your hands free.

Our top list has been compiled to point you in the direction of the trolling motor that’s best for you no matter what you’re up to on the water!

What Are The Best Electric Trolling Motors?

Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Several options available with variable thrust from 46 to 86 pounds
  • 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds
  • 10 point LED battery life indicator
Price: $249.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
minn kota, trolling motor, rowboat, kayak, electric motor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very reasonable price
  • Warranty on both the motor and hardware
  • Runs quietly
Price: $153.70 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
newport vessels, trolling motor, electric motor, saltwater trolling motor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Excellent value!
  • LED display on the motor head
  • Eight speeds for precision trolling!
Price: $179.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
newport vessels, trolling motor, electric trolling motor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Saltwater rated
  • LED battery display on the motor head
  • Eight speeds
Price: $199.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
newport vessels, trolling motor, kayak motor, electric motor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 24 inch shaft ideal for use with kayaks
  • Extra long battery cables
  • Saltwater rated
Price: $139.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Watersnake - ASP Salt Water Transom Mount Trolling Motor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 18 and 24 pound thrust models are both 12V
  • 24-Inch alloy shaft built for the toughest, most corrosive conditions
  • Designed for kayaks, small dinghies and inflatable boats
Price: $134.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
MinnKota Edge Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Array of different thrust motor strengths available
  • All models are 12V except the 70 pound thrust model which is 24V
  • Heel-toe cable-steer foot pedal
Price: $419.71 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
AQUOS Haswing Cayman B Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 55 pounds of thrust
  • Wirelessly control the motor with the remote from a 164 foot distance
  • Fresh and saltwater approved
Price: $659.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
ideaz, kayak motor, drill motor, trolling motor, canoe motor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Compatible with any watercraft
  • No power source required (other than your drill!)
  • Super affordable!
Price: $77.60 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Goplus 8-Speed Electric Trolling Motor

    Pros:
    • Several options available with variable thrust from 46 to 86 pounds
    • 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds
    • 10 point LED battery life indicator
    • 6-inch telescoping handle
    • Reinforced nylon bracket ensures high strength, corrosion resistance and dimension stability
    • Fiberglass composite shaft ensures high tensile strength and corrosion resistance
    • 46 and 55 pound thrust options are 12V, and the 86 pound thrust option is 24V
    • Affordable price point
    Cons:
    • Two-blade propellor design is better for moving smoothly through weeds and vegetation, but does not provide the same propulsion as a three blade option
    • Propeller is cast plastic, and therefore has questionable integrity if you run aground on something solid
    • Longterm integrity of the hardware is questionable

    The Goplus 8-Speed Electric Trolling Motor is an excellent value buy for those seeking an affordable option with impressive performance stats for the cost!

    This unit offers durability and integrated features more indicative of the top-performing options, so it’s an excellent buy considering the more than reasonable price point. With several options available featuring variable thrust from 46 to 86 pounds, there’s furthermore a Goplus trolling motor that’s perfectly powered for your small vessel.

    This model offers five forward speeds and three reverse speeds, enabling pretty precise control over trolling speed, as well as an impressive top speed for when you want to cover some water and move between spots.

    The six-inch telescoping handle conveniently extends for easier steering, and the reinforced nylon bracket ensures solid dimension stability. The fiberglass composite shaft furthermore ensures high tensile strength and corrosion resistance – Goplus has built this motor to both take a beating and effectively handle the elements for years of use.

    The only real downfall when it comes to integrity is the cast plastic prop, so be mindful not to damage it when you’re moving over skinny water, and when putting in/taking out your boat. The hardware, brackets and adjustment points are also perhaps not as robust as the bigger brand names build their units, so keep an eye on the smaller moving parts if you’re particularly hard on your gear.

    This option conveniently has a 10 point LED battery life indicator so you can keep a super close pulse on how much juice you have left out there. A simple, but underrated feature that allows you to maximize your motor use without any ignorance of your remaining power.

    All things considered, this is an excellent quality option for the cost that offers an array of awesome features across multiple different strength models. No doubt a stellar value buy from Goplus that won’t disappoint!

  2. 2. Minn Kota Endura 30 Pound Thrust Freshwater Trolling Motor

    Pros:
    • Very reasonable price - this motor is a steal!
    • Minn Kota offers a warranty on both the motor and hardware
    • Five forward speeds and three reverse speeds gives you some great precision for your speed control
    • The mount is an absolute breeze for mounting to a rowboat transom
    • Runs quietly
    Cons:
    • You’ll need to get creative if you want to mount this motor to a kayak or canoe
    • With 30 pounds of thrust this won’t get a 12 foot or larger boat moving too quickly — plenty of fishermen still pair this with 14 foot rowboats, just don’t expect to rip too fast if your boat is that large!
    • Cables could be a bit longer

    The Minn Kota Endura 30 Pound Thrust Freshwater Trolling Motor is an exceptional value and super reliable option from one of the top respected brands in the industry. 

    I have owned a Minn Kota Endura for about 10 years now, and mine is still going strong. My father and I have mounted an older model of the Endura to the transom of our 10-foot johnboat for years and we’ve never found a reason to upgrade – we LOVE this motor. After about a decade the performance is equal with the day we purchased it!

    The newer model by Minn Kota looks seriously awesome – this 12-volt unit has 30 pounds of thrust and a 30-inch shaft. It’s great for smaller sized rowboats, jon boats, dinghies or sailboats. This motor runs seriously quiet, so it’s an excellent choice for fishing purposes.

    You’ll need a 12-volt battery to power this bad boy and a ton of fishermen reviews rave about further pairing their battery with the Minn Kota Trolling Motor Power Center. There are five forward speeds and three reverse speeds giving you pretty excellent control for finding that perfect trolling speed.

    There’s also a two year warranty on the motor and a lifetime warranty on the “indestructible” shaft so Minn Kota has you covered. For the cost, this motor is an AWESOME value. If you like the Endura but need a bit more thrust, then check out Minn Kota’s 55 pound thrust version of this model for some better boost.

    I got my money’s worth out of mine about eight years ago and the thing just won’t quit! For zipping around your favorite lakes and ponds, this is no doubt the go-to unit.

  3. 3. Newport Vessels NV-Series 36 Pound Thrust Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor

    Pros:
    • Excellent value! This motor is very reasonably priced and provides some solid thrust
    • LED display on the motor head tells you when your battery is running low
    • Eight speeds for precision trolling! (5 forward, 3 reverse)
    • Stainless Steel hardware makes this a great choice for saltwater use
    • 2 year warranty
    Cons:
    • 4 foot battery cables might be a bit short for some vessels
    • Some customer complaints that water can leak into the motor head and damage it in a heavy rain or due to wave splash
    • Fairly loud option for an electric motor

    Here’s a great little motor for saltwater use. The NV-Series 36 Pound Thrust Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor by Newport Vessels is equipped with stainless steel hardware and a nylon mount for maximum resilience to the corrosive effects of saltwater.

    This is an eight-speed motor (five forward and three reverse speeds) that will definitely get your dinghy or small sailboat moving.

    If you need something for zipping out to your larger boat or want a motor for cruising around the lake, this unit will perform great in both contexts. There’s a five-point LED battery meter on this model so you know when your charge is running low. The Newport Vessels Smart Battery Box Power Center is an awesome item to pair with this motor – it’s a versatile and practical piece of gear that fishermen and boaters alike absolutely love!

    The shaft is 30 inches and the mounting system couldn’t be any simpler – just twist the washers tight to the transom of your craft. This is another excellent 12-volt motor at an excellent cost, if you want just a touch more power than the previous motor listed (Minn Kota Endura) this is the most economical option to get a few more pounds of thrust without breaking the bank.

  4. 4. Newport Vessels 55 Pound Thrust Electric Trolling Motor

    Pros:
    • Hardware is built to endure both fresh and salt water
    • Excellent price for such a high powered trolling motor
    • LED display on the motor head showing battery life
    • Eight speeds on this motor provides great trolling control
    Cons:
    • Fairly loud for an electric motor
    • This motor although tough is not built to last like some other comparable motors (the Minn Kota Endura for example)…. you get what you pay for with this one
    • Newport Vessels doesn’t list a warranty for this product, but offers excellent customer service

    This 55-pound thrust model will really get you moving if you have a larger vessel that could use a little more oomph than a 30-pound thrust motor provides. There are also some even higher-powered options available through this same link.

    The power of this motor is definitely enough to move larger rowboats and john boats upwards of 14 feet and would power a small sailboat just fine as well. I really like the prop design on this unit – it’s simple but effective. Like the previous motor by Newport Vessels listed this is compatible for saltwater use due to the corrosion-resistant stainless steel, zinc, and magnesium hardware employed in the design.

    There’s an LED display on the motorhead showing battery life as well as a telescoping handle for some added convenience when at the helm. Considering a lot of motors with comparable thrust are far more expensive, for the cost, this motor is an excellent value.

  5. 5. Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb Thrust Trolling Motor

    Pros:
    • All the features of a regular trolling motor scaled down for kayak use
    • Extra long battery cables and a short, 24 inch shaft for ideal pairing with kayaks
    • There is also a 55 pound thrust model available for particularly heavy kayaks/canoes
    • Saltwater rated
    • Newport Vessels offers a one year warranty on this product
    Cons:
    • There is no kayak mount included for this motor - check out this side mount with attached rod holders for an easy to set up and effective option
    • The motor head is not entireliy waterproof - don't let this one get submerged
    • A bit heavy for some model kayaks

    The Newport Vessels Kayak Series Trolling Motor is a 12-volt, 36-pound thrust motor designed with compatibility for kayak mounting.

    The short, 24 inch shaft coupled with extra long battery cables (5.5 feet) makes this motor a great companion for any larger sized kayak. The extra cable length enables you to place your 12-volt battery wherever you need to onboard so the weight displacement doesn’t get thrown off. Here’s a link to a really neat kayak mount by Brocraft for effectively securing this motor — it even has a few attached rod holders! For mounting this motor to a canoe check out this easy to install side saddle mount by Old Town.

    Like most other models by Newport Vessels this unit has an LED display of battery life and is built with corrosive resistant hardware. This motor runs super quiet so you can sneak right into your favorite fishing spots without spooking any fish.

    Although this motor is super compact and scaled down for kayak use, it’s still an eight speed motor with some pretty decent thrust — don’t rule this one out for use on smaller rowboats. Additionally, there is a 55 pound thrust version of this motor if your kayak is particularly heavy once fully geared up.

     

     

  6. 6. Watersnake ASP Salt Water Rated Transom Mount Trolling Motor

    Pros:
    • 18 and 24 pound thrust models are both 12V
    • 24-Inch alloy shaft built for the toughest, most corrosive conditions
    • Designed for kayaks, small dinghies and inflatable boats
    • High and low speed control, a forward and reverse switch
    • Saltwater rated and built with maximum corrosion resistance in mind
    • 2-Blade propeller design is intended to remain weedless through the heaviest of underwater grasses and marsh
    • 1 year warranty
    Cons:
    • 2-Blade propellor will not provide the same level of thrust as 3-blade options
    • Only two speed controls
    • Tilting this motor is possible although a bit intensive - it's intended to stay in the water once attached to your vessel

    The Watersnake ASP Salt Water Rated Transom Mount Trolling Motor is a killer affordable option for smaller boats, inflatable vessels, kayaks, and dinghies that features impressive strength and integrity for its compact size. 

    Both the 18 and 24-pound thrust models are powered by a 12V battery and feature a 24-inch alloy shaft built for the toughest, most corrosive conditions. You can use this little motor out in the salt and rest assured it won’t eat up the exterior finish or interior components of the motor – it’s built for no-nonsense corrosion resistance.

    There is a high and low speed control, and a forward and reverse switch with this option, so you’re not able to precisely adjust speed. Customer reviews furthermore insist that the two speeds are in fact, fast, and really fast, rather than slow and fast, so those seeking an option for low-speed trolling might want to look elsewhere.

    For ripping around your favorite lakes and ponds, fishing in saltwater bays and estuaries, and applications like running your dinghy out to your motorboat, this is a killer unit that will perform with flying colors.

    Keep in mind that the adjustment to tilt the motor up and out of the water is a bit intensive to use – the prop is intended to stay in the water with this design. If you typically run over a lot of skinny water, or sometimes need to portage your small vessel over dry land, this could become frustrating so keep this in mind. The 2-blade design of the prop, however, is designed for maximum vegetation and weed resistance, so it fares well when moving through even dense cover.

    The brand offers a one year warranty on this product so you can purchase in confidence and see if it’s a fit for your vessel. Those seeking a compact but powerhouse little trolling motor for a wide array of both fresh and saltwater applications will be delighted by this unit’s performance and price point – no doubt a great value buy from Watersnake!

  7. 7. MinnKota Edge Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor

    Pros:
    • Array of different thrust motor strengths available
    • All models are 12V except the 70 pound thrust model which is 24V
    • 5 variable forward speeds
    • Heel-toe cable-steer foot pedal is ultra-responsive, including speed control, and momentary and constant on/off
    • Easy-to-read directional indicator is built into the top of the trolling motor head
    • Latch and door bracket gives you a rock-solid hold while stowing your trolling motor and allows for easy removal at the end of the day.
    • Hold down strap and mounting hardware included
    • Indestructible composite shaft is guaranteed for life
    • Built with extruded, anodized aluminum for rugged, unrivaled strength
    • 2 year warranty
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive option
    • No reverse speeds - must rotate the motor 180 degrees to move backwards
    • Install is a bit more intensive than standard stern mounted trolling motors

    The MinnKota Edge Bowmount Foot Control Trolling Motor is an impressively capable, highly advanced system for serious anglers seeking a top-quality trolling motor.

    There are multiple strength motor options through this link, all of which are compatible with 12V batteries, except the 70-pound thrust option which runs on a 24V battery.

    The Edge motor offers 5 variable forward speeds, so you can creep up on cover, as well as quickly shoot between spots. Remember that this is a bow-mounted trolling motor, so there are no reverse speeds – simply rotate the prop all the way around in order to be propelled backward. Fortunately, an easy-to-read directional indicator is built into the top of the motorhead so you can easily keep a pulse on where you’re pointing the prop.

    The heel-toe cable-steer foot pedal is ultra-responsive, including speed control, and momentary and constant on/off capabilities. It’s a brilliant system for fishermen who want to get up on the bow and make adjustments while moving through cover and between points of interest. Foot controls keep your hands free to cast and your body in the ready-position, so saying foot pedal steering is awesome would be a tremendous understatement.

    The latch and door bracket furthermore gives you a rock-solid hold while stowing your trolling motor and allows for easy removal at the end of the da, so despite this units intensive capabilities, it’s a breeze to pop on and off.

    Built with extruded, anodized aluminum for rugged, unrivaled strength and MinnKota’s indestructible composite shaft which is guaranteed for life, you can rest assured this trolling motor set up is built to perform and last for many seasons. The brand also offers a 2-year warranty on all the other components so you can buy in confidence.

    A bit on the expensive end yes, but more than worth the cost if you’re a serious angler and own a boat that’s compatible with a bow-mounted option.

  8. 8. AQUOS Haswing Cayman B Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor

    Pros:
    • 55 pounds of thrust
    • 48-inch stainless steel shaft
    • Fresh and saltwater approved
    • Wirelessly control the motor with the remote from a 164 foot distance
    • Stow and deploy 14.7 ft cable wired foot control pedal can be depressed with a single hand or foot and keeps your hands free to fish
    • Quick release bracket allows for instant, easy attachment and detachment of the motor to your vessel
    • Cruise control keeps your boat at the desired speed
    • Integrated LED battery indicator
    • 9.3 inch three blade propeller with high shock resistance engineering-plastics material
    • Comfortable to carry with the ergonomic lifting handle
    • Suitable for boats weighing up to 2750 pounds, or up to 18 feet
    • Comes standard with a wireless hand controller, wire foot controller, and quick-release mounting plate
    • Supplied standard with all the necessary stainless steel nuts and bolts
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive option
    • Bow mount setup is a bit more intensive than standard, stern mounted trolling motors
    • No reverse speed setting - must fully rotate the motor head 180 degrees to go backwards

    The AQUOS Haswing Cayman B Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor is a highly advanced option for anglers and boaters seeking a remote-controlled capable, high powered trolling motor that is both fresh and saltwater approved.

    This unit features 55 pounds of thrust and a 48-inch stainless steel shaft, so it’s a pretty powerhouse option that can move larger vessels as well as personal watercraft. In fact, this model is rated for boats up to 2750 pounds, or 18 feet, so it’s a solid option for full-sized bass boats, inflatable pontoon boats, john boats, and everything in between.

    The 9.3-inch, three-blade propeller featuring high shock resistance furthermore pairs nicely with the 55-pound thrust power when it comes to hitting high top speeds. It may not offer the same level of vegetation/weed resistance as 2-blade options, but it will certainly MOVE your vessel.

    This package deal comes standard with a wireless hand controller, wired foot controller, and quick-release mounting plate, so AQUOS so truly set you up with all the bells and whistles here.

    Wirelessly control the motor with the remote from an impressive 164-foot distance, or utilize the stow and deploy 14.7-foot cable wired foot control pedal in order to steer and control your speed while keeping your hands free to fish. Serious anglers will love the freedom to move around their boat and make adjustments to the motor with ease from wherever they are – there are even cruise control options and a full spectrum of variable speeds! 

    The quick-release bracket furthermore allows for instant, easy attachment and detachment of the motor to your vessel, and it’s quite comfortable to carry with the ergonomic lifting handle. This is truly a highly capable, intensive trolling motor option, yet it sets up and breaks down with remarkable ease for a full-feature, no-hassle boating experience.

    The brand even includes all the necessary mounting hardware and wiring for the various added components. Getting this trolling motor initially set up will take a bit of patience and elbow grease, but once you get this bad boy mounted and equipped with the variable controllers, you’ll love the versatility, power, and convenience it provides on the water for years to come!

  9. 9. Best Low Power Motor For Kayak and Float Tube Use: Ideaz Drill Paddle

    Pros:
    • Super affordable!
    • Compatible with any watercraft because it’s handheld!
    • Decent power for such a compact unit - this motor can even move larger boats
    • No purchase of a 12-volt battery required, but you will require a cordless drill
    Cons:
    • Short battery life at around 45 minutes on full power
    • Keeps your hands engaged - I suppose you could build a mount easy enough to resolve this issue
    • Does not come with a drill included

    The Ideaz Drill Paddle is an innovative and highly unique motor great for pairing with a kayak or even a float tube. This motor operates incredibly easy and doesn’t even mount to anything – you hold it yourself! The unit is only one and a half pounds and mounts to any 3/8 or larger cordless drill.

    This motor won’t send you ripping across the lake by any means, but it’s a pretty awesome alternative to paddling when you want to move a little quicker in your kayak or just give your arms a break. I would love to have one of these bad boys on board for heading back to the landing after a long day of paddling.

    The thrust isn’t specified but a few users claim this unit moves their boat better than their 30 pound thrust motor – so it’s got some decent power. The lithium-ion batteries won’t run for more than 45 minutes on full power, so this motor isn’t in it for the long run.

    I find this unit to be super cool and really practical for a lot of purposes. You, unfortunately, don’t have your hands free with this motor so you’ll need a rod holder in order to troll with it – but for some relief from rowing/paddling, this thing is sweet!

    It’s well worth the cost to impress your friends and be the envy of everyone on the water with this radical little motor

Trolling Motors Are Great For a Variety of Applications

Whether you're a fisherman, hunter, or just a lover of the great outdoors, owning a trolling motor can be a lot of fun. Catch more fish, shoot more game, and enjoy the beauty of nature with some extra boost for your boating experience this season.

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