How to install an electric motor in a kayak?

electric motor on a kayak

Is a trolling motor, an electric outboard motor, or a factory-installed motor the best option for installing a motor in a kayak?

Trolling Motor

An electric trolling motor is the simplest way to add a motor to your kayak. A 45-pound thrust trolling motor and a 12-volt deep-cycle battery can be installed in most kayaks for a few hundred dollars.

Installing an electric trolling motor on the side of the kayak and powering it from the tiller is the most cost-effective option. Choose a motor with a 36-inch shaft and a transom mount. Mount the motor to the side of the kayak with a bracket. Aftermarket mounts are available from several companies, or a shade tree engineer can bolt a 24 board to the oil well. Connect the motor to the bracket and place the battery in the tank.

To improve maneuverability and performance, a remote trolling motor can be attached to the stern of the kayak. The motor deck can frequently be attached to the kayak’s existing anchor points. You can control the direction and speed of the vehicle from your seat using a remote control.

Trolling motors are not as efficient or fast as electric outboard motors, but they are more maneuverable, according to users. For maximum control, a trolling motor’s GPS can be programmed to follow a course and maintain the boat’s position.

Dakota Lithium Ion Battery 170A

When kayaking without access to a reliable power source, this is a significant advantage.

To be more mobile while fishing, some anglers choose to mount an electric trolling machine on the bow of their kayak. Cody Milton, a tournament pro and the 2018 Kayak Angler of the Year, uses a 36-inch shaft MotorGuide Xi3 on the bow of his NuCanoe Pursuit kayak.

Milton used a MotorGuide bracket to mount the motor and added a mounting platform. Dakota’s 100-amp lithium batteries deliver ten hours of motor power in a small package.

When adding a trolling motor to a kayak with paddles and pedals, the two anglers emphasized the importance of weight distribution. This gives you more room to stand and fish while using the pedals to control the motor. Both anglers recommended that when installing a trolling motor in a kayak, the battery, motor, and seat be adjusted to balance the boat.

Some anglers prefer a bow mount, while others prefer a stern mount, and still others have the motor installed on both ends of the kayak. You can turn it into a small boat for bass fishing by adding an electric outboard motor to the stern and a trolling motor to the bow. “Many people are switching from boat to kayak fishing and want the same power as a boat.”

Factory Power

Most kayaks can be equipped with electric outboard motors and trolling motors. Some manufacturers have launched their own electric boats in response to the growing popularity of electric boats.

Kayaks designed for the installation of electric motors are known as factory-built motor boats. Paddles, pedals, or a motor are all options on some models. The motor is usually mounted in the center of the cabin on a shaft. The throttle controls the kayak’s speed, while the rudder controls its direction.

The motor is easily removed, and the iPilot can run on either a 12 V deep cycle battery or a lithium ion battery. To improve the kayak’s stability, the battery is mounted under the seat. All connections are weatherproof, and electrical cables run through the hull. If the propeller is exposed or the angler falls into the water, two switches turn off the motor.

Mr. Butler simply connects the battery under the seat, runs the motor unit through the deck drain, and the boat is ready to go when he arrives at the launch site.” According to Mr. Butler, “It’s simple to charge the boat; simply plug it in and go. Because the motor is in the middle of the kayak, you can raise it as you approach shallow water to reduce the boat’s draft. A remote control is used to control the speed and direction of travel. The boat is more maneuverable thanks to the large rudder, especially at cruising speeds.

It’s never easy to power a small plastic boat, whether an angler builds his own trolling motor for his kayak, installs an electric outboard motor, or buys a real electric kayak. You can fish farther, faster, with less effort, and with more confidence with electric propulsion.

How do I install a trolling motor on my kayak?

Kayak anglers frequently choose to install a trolling motor on their craft. It’s also a good choice for those who want to cover more ground in less time without having to lift their kayak’s paddles.

Even the best kayak paddles are out of commission one out of every ten times when using the best kayak trolling motors. It’s safe to leave the paddle in the kayak in case of an emergency, but with a trolling motor, you’ll have both hands free to do anything you want in your kayak, from fishing to photography.

Trolling motors come in a variety of styles to fit different kayaks. Some trolling motors come with all of the necessary mounting brackets and fittings.

If you bought a ready-made trolling motor, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. A trolling motor, on the other hand, rarely comes with everything you’ll need to set it up.

The motor mount, battery, and mounting hardware must all be purchased separately. As a result, when explaining how to install a trolling motor in a kayak, we must walk you through the entire process.

Choosing a location for the installation You must first decide where you want to mount your trolling motor on your kayak before purchasing it and its accessories. Kayak trolling motors are designed to be mounted on the kayak’s bow, stern, or side.

The advantage of mounting the motor on the side of the kayak is that it is easier to access the motor while sitting comfortably in the kayak seat.

If you want to mount a motor on the bow or stern of the best fishing kayaks, you’ll need a remote motor or the ability to mount it on the foot bracket of the kayak so you can change the direction of travel in the water.

However, mounting the motor on the side of the kayak can sometimes cause navigational issues.

Because the motor exerts a lot of force on one side of the kayak, adjusting the motor so that the kayak moves in a straight line or in the desired direction takes some practice.

Choose a compatible motor mount

A compatible motor mount is required to attach a trolling motor to your kayak. A trolling motor mount is a device that attaches to your kayak and keeps it in place.

There are numerous types of mounts available on the market. Some are designed to be mounted on the kayak’s bow or stern, while others allow you to mount the trolling motor on the side.

However, compatibility with the trolling motor and the kayak is the most important consideration when selecting a motor mount.

If you want to mount your motor on the side of your kayak, for example, you’ll need a bracket that’s the same width as the kayak.

If you want to mount a motor mount on the bow or stern of your kayak, make sure the brackets or bolts are compatible with the design of the bow or stern of your kayak.

Kayaks with a fixed handle or edge on the bow or stern, for example, are uncommon on the inside. This means that if you want to set up your kayak on the inside, you’ll need a bracket to attach the motor to the kayak’s side.

Some sit-on-top kayaks, on the other hand, are designed with the option of mounting the motor on the bow/stern or on the side. This allows the kayak to mount the motor in various locations throughout the kayak.

propeller to motor mount

Most trolling motors, unfortunately, do not come with a propeller. Most trolling motors, unfortunately, do not come with a propeller, primarily for safety reasons and to protect the propeller from damage during transport to the customer.

Installing the propeller is relatively simple once you’ve chosen a trolling motor with the appropriate propeller. Following the engine manufacturer’s instructions is the best way to ensure proper installation.

Not all engines, however, come with a propeller, so you’ll have to find a compatible aftermarket propeller and install it yourself.

To be honest, having a spare propeller on deck is always a good idea in case you get stuck in shallow water and damage the existing propeller.

A good propeller will not necessarily allow the engine to propel the kayak faster, but it will increase the engine’s overall thrust. See this article for more information on choosing a propeller for your kayak motor.

Installing a motor in a kayak

You’ll need to attach everything to your kayak once you’ve got a motor and a suitable mount. If you choose a stand with a clip, you must secure the clip to the side of your kayak to keep it in place.

You can use the clip to attach to the molded handle if you chose a stand that attaches to the bow or stern of your kayak. However, it’s more likely that you’ll have to drill a hole in the kayak to attach the bracket.

If you choose this method of attachment, you’ll need to use a rubber gasket or liquid sealant to keep the holes from leaking once they’re in place.

Once the brackets are in place, mounting the motor with the appropriate screws is relatively simple. Most brackets allow you to turn the trolling motor and lift it into shallower water.

The motor should be held in place by a pin when you install and start it up. Before launching your kayak and towing with the motor, always leave this pin in place.

It may be necessary to lift the motor while it is still on the water in some cases. You’ll need to remove the bolt in this case.

This can be dangerous if you’re paddling in deep water. As a result, if you drop the pin, attach a buoy or buoyant device to keep it from floating away.

Build a steering system

The next step is to decide where the kayak motor will be mounted, either at the bow or at the stern. Because the motor can be operated by hand if you choose tower mounting, you won’t have to worry about installing a steering system.

It is best to mount the motor on the bow or stern of the kayak if you want to operate it hands-free, such as when kayak fishing. This, however, necessitates the creation of a suitable steering linkage.

The direction of travel of the trolling motor can be controlled by the kayak’s pedals using this steering linkage.

As a result, this unique installation is only possible on kayaks that already have pedals for using rollers or oars.

The installation of the control is a little more difficult if your kayak does not already have stern pedals. As a result, muzzle mounting is recommended for kayaks that do not have oars or fins.

If your kayak already has a rudder on the stern, however, you can simply replace it with a kayak motor. Check the location of the rudder joints in the stern of the kayak first.

To secure the rudder to the back of the kayak, you’ll need some kind of attachment at each end of these joints. Before they can be removed from the kayak, these attachments must be removed from the existing levers.

Two metal lugs can then be attached to the elevator shaft after the motor has been installed. The length of the bolts will be determined by the location of the link in the kayak.

You’ll need to add a small extension to each link if the existing links aren’t long enough and are a little loose when mounted to the eyebolts on the motor shaft.

Before continuing, double-check that the motor is operating normally. Placing your kayak on a portable kayak stand and connecting the motor to a battery is a good way to test the operation of your trolling motor on land. Fortunately, the wiring for these motors is simple.

To expose the wiring and other electrical components, first remove the cover on the top of the motor. Depending on the motor you choose, the color of the internal wiring will change.

You’ll also need to consult the manufacturer’s instructions to figure out where the two wires that connect to the ship’s battery are located. The ground wire is one, and the heat wire is the other.

The ground wire is usually black, and the heat wire is usually red, but these colors can vary significantly from one manufacturer to the next. As a result, educate yourself on the most important aspects of electrical issues.

You must ensure that there are no leaks after you have connected the cables and checked the motor’s function.

Thankfully, most trolling motor cables have a waterproof coating, and high-quality marine batteries have a cover that protects the terminals from water damage.

However, depending on the type of vessel in which they are used, marine batteries have different functions and applications. Read our review of the best trolling motor batteries for kayaks to help you choose the right battery for your kayak motor. Buying a Trolling Motor If you’re unsure how to choose the best trolling motor for your kayak, here are some of the most important factors to consider.


This is a common way to figure out how powerful a trolling motor is. It’s usually measured in pounds, but a kayak weighing about 100 pounds can be moved with 2 pounds of thrust.

Because most kayaks are designed for trolling motors, which can be quite heavy, this is critical. Then add your weight, as well as the weight of your kayak fishing gear and other items.

The larger the trolling motor, the more thrust it produces. However, the good news is that most trolling motor manufacturers do not specify how much thrust their motors can deliver.

The combined weight of the kayak and your weight determines the minimum weight a motor can move.

A motor pulling a 150-pound person behind a 70-pound kayak, for example, must be able to push at least 220 pounds.

Returning to our original calculation of how much pushing force is required to move 100 pounds, we can say that moving 220 pounds requires at least 4.4 pounds of pushing force (220 x 0.02 = 4.4).

However, we recommend adding at least 50 pounds to the total weight of the kayak and body (100 pounds is preferable).

This allows you to keep track of the fishing box, kayak cooler, dry bag, and other items you usually bring with you in your kayak.

Remember to take into account the weight of your new trolling machine. The weight of the motor (along with the motor mount and battery) will add to the overall weight of your kayak.

12v deep cycle batteries are used to power most trolling motors. These are the most common batteries for this application, but different motors may require different amounts of power.

storage capacity

Storage capacity is also measured, usually in milliampere hours, in addition to voltage (mAh).

A battery with a rated capacity of 250 mAh, for example, will last about 125 hours if discharged at an average current of 2 mA.

So you need to know not only what voltage your tractor requires, but also how many amps it will consume at full power. This will give you an estimate of how long the battery will last while submerged.

We want you to be aware that the right battery is required to operate your trolling motor.

In order to do so, you must strike a balance between a battery that is large enough to meet the motor’s power requirements while also being light enough not to add to the kayak’s weight.

The space available for other items in the kayak fishing accessory kit will be influenced by the size of the trolling motor, motor mount, and battery. If it is mounted in the ideal configuration on the stern of a kayak, for example, it may take up space in the stern storage compartment where other kayak fishing accessories would normally be stored.

The size of the motor shaft has an impact on performance as well.

Best kayak motors for trolling

Here are some of the best trolling motors for kayaks now that you know how to install a trolling motor in your kayak and how to choose a quality trolling motor for your kayak.

The Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Trolling Motor

This motor has a 30 pound thrust and eight speed settings. The motor also comes with a retractable tiller and a classic composite shaft, making it ideal for use in fishing kayaks.

The Newport Vessels Kayak Series Saltwater Trolling Motor

With up to 36 pounds of thrust, this is an excellent choice for offshore anglers.

This motor has a short 24-inch fiberglass shaft that’s ideal for shallow water fishing, as well as a 6-inch telescoping handle that’s perfect for muzzle mounts.

The Watersnake Venom SXW Fresh and Saltwater Trolling Motor

Kayaking on freshwater lakes, rivers, and inland lakes is ideal for those who live near the ocean but enjoy kayaking on freshwater lakes, rivers, and inland lakes.

It’s ideal for larger kayakers and taller people, with a draft capacity of up to 54 lbs.

It’s not difficult to install a trolling motor in a kayak. It is the best way to fish hands-free and make traveling in a kayak easier for those who like to travel long distances.

You can enjoy the outdoors for longer and fish in more places if you know how to attach a trolling motor to your kayak.

You can also venture further inland to explore the more remote parts of your local lakes, rivers, and protected waterways along the coast.

Electric vs. gas trolling motor

For canoeing, there are two types of propulsion: gas and electric. Each has its own set of benefits, and once you’ve done your research on the best motor for your canoe, it’ll come down to personal preference.