Originating in Greenland, the “qujaq”, a narrow and small watercraft used by the indigenous Inuit is the basic origin of the kayak as we know it. This indigenous handcrafted boat has now evolved into kayaks and canoes which are distinctly apart. The original means of propulsion was a double-bladed paddle. That still survives as it is a highly regarded sport included in the Olympics in the form of Canoe sprint.
Imagine a serene lake. You paddle out on a dawn to the dusk fishing mission. Your little boy and the pooch are along for the day keeping you company. It is calm, quiet, and utterly relaxing. You return ashore, with your catch and some random aches. You are not going kayaking for a couple of days for sure.
Some clever John Doe decided to motorize his kayak and went about it. The results were faster speed, hands-free propulsion, and reduced fatigue. This, in turn, has given rise to a whole host of diverse activities: fishing, leisure, surf play, ocean kayaking, and more. This sport is enthralling and has spawned a large number of motorized kayaks. There are those that are pedal-driven also.
Our studied guide will explore a few of these products we have reviewed so that you get sound advice that fetches you max dividends in shelling out your bucks for the best motorized kayak.
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Our professional experience with numerous kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, hybrid boards, bodyboards, and skimboards put us in an advantageous position to share our knowledge, insights, and preferences with our audience.
We have no financial affiliation with any brand or manufacturer, so we don’t use this platform for promotional campaigns. Instead, we stick to facts and our research framework brings out the most authentic and useful product information. Our core mission is to serve our readers with the most authentic information so they can make an educated buying decision of their own.
Our Product Selection Process
We walked the extra mile to come up with our final list of top motorized kayaks. Initially, we spent over 30 hours doing rigorous online research to sort 25 most advanced motorized kayaks with the highest number of positive consumer reports and reviews.
Once the primary list had been made, we took help from a group of community-based volunteers to manage all the models at our disposal. The next session was to test each model thoroughly from our end. We took them out on different water bodies to test how they performed. We also took apart the motors and scrutinized their design and fittings. We closely monitored the build quality, design, ease of installation and use, ergonomics, advanced features, corrosion resistance, and durability. Based on these points we were able to champion 7 kayaks from the rest.
The quest didn’t end there. We consulted with other top mechanical engineers and marine watercraft designers of the country and asked for their insights into our selections. They shared their valuable knowledge and suggestions regarding our final models. Based on all the information and test data, we proceeded to write full reviews on each of the final 7 models.
Our Top 7 Best Motorized Kayaks List
So, let’s have a look at the in-depth reviews on our top 7 fishing kayaks with motors available today. We’ve carefully chosen each model to meet specific requirements of our audience.
Our Top 7 Best Motorized Kayaks List
Other Notable Brands & Tested Models
Let’s take this space to mention some other reputable brands and their popular motorized kayaks and motor systems:
MACraft (Jet Powered models), Newport Vessels (36lb), Old Town Canoes & Kayaks (Predator MK, Predator MX), MINN KOTA (Predator XL), Haswing (Winix), Torqeedo (Ultralight 403, Ultralight 403c), Mokai, Skimmer, Watersnake (ASP T24, T18s, 24lb, 18lb, ASP T18), Sun Dolphin (Journey 10 SS), Hobie (Mirage I14T, Evolve V2, Pro Angler 17, fits Bixpy Jet motor), Lifetime Sport Fisher, Electric Kayak Company LLC, Ocean Kayak (Torque), and Hawaii.
Other hot sellers:
Waterblade, Brocraft, FunWater, Saturn, Brocraft, LEADALLWAY, U-BCOO, Crack of Dawn Paddle Sports, SEA DOG WATER SPORTS, BRIS, Intex, VGEBY, Feelfree Overdrive (known for their Lure, Sevylor (Colorado), Sonar Pod & motor), ClearYup, Solo Skiff, STIK, Honda, Field and Stream (Shadow Caster), Jackson (Big Tuna, Big Rig), Classic Accessories, Kaku (Voodoo), Dragon, Ascend (128T, 10T, 12T Mod, H12), Pelican (Catch 100), Bassyak, Native Watercraft (Slayer Propel 13, Titan), and Aquanami USA (Models with Jet Ski motor).
Other models we also tested:
Motorized Kayak: A Buying Guide
Choosing the right size is a big deal when getting a kayak. The first thing to address here is whether you plan on going solo or otherwise. If you are going to take along the company, you will need a larger kayak. The size directly reflects on the stability as also its agility. The larger the kayak, the more the stability provided the width of the kayak is sufficient. This is a big advantage for beginners.
The most common materials for such kayaks are Polyethylene and fiberglass. However, you can also find other materials like wood, graphite fibers, ABS, Aluminum, and Hypalon (for inflatable models).
2. Ease of Exit & Entry
It can be tricky to get in and out of a kayak. For that reason, a kayak must have safe access to exit or enter the water regardless of whether they are heavier than the standard ones. A sit-on-top kayak is a lot easier to embark or disembark from and haul it out as it has a bunch of grips. But on the other side, if the boat flips and you need to tighten it, that would take some effort. A sit-on-top kayak is easy to board when upright.
3. Mounted motor
The electric motor for kayaks is also called a trolling motor. It moves in slow-speed approximating the average speed of a paddler. You can take professional help for mounting a trolling motor on a kayak or apply DIY methods. Usually, trolling motors are silent so fish will not be scared away. If you choose the right models, they are also eco-friendly as there are no gasoline or petrol fumes, smoke emissions, or sound pollution. That’s why putting a trolling motor on a kayak is popular among fishermen. In fact, most motorized kayaks are custom made.
You can choose from an inboard or an outboard motor installation depending on your preference. Apart from kayaks, these motors can also be mounted on paddle boats. There are two types of electric motors: a built-in motor and a mounted motor. The latter is mostly preferred as the likelihood of damage by bottom obstacles is much reduced. Advanced motors come with wireless remote controls (or joysticks) for elevated user experience. Some high-end models also use two-stroke (2 stroke) and four-stroke engines for propulsion.
4. Adjustable Seat
Adjusting the seat to different positions spells more fun when fishing on a kayak. It’s an important feature on the specs sheet. The seat must conform to your body shape. The seat should be such that it can be positioned upright or recumbent. The main focus is to avoid backaches or prolonged pressure on the sit bones. If you are on a paddler, the legs should reach just right. The adjustability of the seat adds to the convenience of both regular and inflatable kayaks.
5. Ability to Stand in the Kayak
In the quest for the right kayak, there exist additional concerns that are not mentioned by manufacturers. Of importance is the ability to stand up on a kayak. The capability to stand and stretch your legs cannot be bypassed. This reflects directly on the time you can spend fishing comfortably. You should always set an outrigger to your kayak to make it more stable on the water.
A secondary consideration in standing is to sight the fish so that you can cast your line in the right direction. A kayak that has good stability will work on your side.
Your choice of a kayak also needs to figure in the space available to store gear. If it is insufficient or positioned improperly, you need to rethink your choice. A kayak normally has two storage options; a dry hatch and one with a bungee system. All kayaks come with one of each. It’s a different story with sit-on-top kayaks. Here, owing to the flat deck space, more storage is accorded.
With a bungee system, you can strap a backpack that is waterproof, on deck. All your essentials can be accommodated in one bag amazingly. A tent can also be strapped down if you plan to set up base camp someplace.
For electronic devices, a dry hatch is perfect even if the boat tips over as they are watertight. The dry hatch should be positioned within reach of the paddler so that he can easily access any gear he might need.
Out there on the water, your exhilaration can swiftly turn into agony if the seat is not right. This could result in a sore back or other spinal complications. Humans come in a wide hue of sizes and shapes so the seat has to be adjustable. Make sure you have that facility even if you are on a 2-person or a tandem kayak.
The solution lies in getting a seat that moves back and forth or alternately has footrests so that your feet are in the right position. If your seat is uncomfortable, you have the option of removing it and mounting a good, comfortable chair of your choice.
Having a budget is the starting point in purchasing a kayak. They can vary a lot depending on the price based on the features and overall build quality. Also the handling quality is factored in. It is best to go for a kayak which is not at the top of the price range. The reason is that the pricier ones are tough to handle.
Experienced kayakers lean towards more speed and smooth handling capabilities. If this is what you have in mind, the cost of the motor will inflate the price. Another option is to add a motor at a later date in which case, make sure that there will be no compatibility issues.
If your yak is motorized, you cannot compromise on the quality of the battery. Go for the best. When you are not using it, protect it with a high-grade cover. The same goes for the kayak itself. Kayak racks with a hoist are available specifically to protect your boat. You can use it for a great number of years by protecting it.
The consideration of safety cannot be overemphasized especially if you are heading for open waters. Using a kayak flag is a sound idea as is having a bilge pump. The requirement of an anchor, though not mandatory, is recommended. Also, don’t forget to register your kayak before putting a motor on it, check out local legal compliance issues. Some states of the US require registration.
The list of accessories available is exhaustive. As a minimum, invest in good quality kayak shoes, kayak gloves, a safety helmet, and of course a life-jacket.
Why Choose a Kayak with A Motor?
The main idea in a motorized kayak is to do away with paddling so that your hands are free to focus on fishing. There is a limit on arm power and besides that, a motorized kayak can reach places that are restricted if you are relying purely on manual paddling. A motor also enables positioning of a kayak exactly to your advantage and the kayak itself can be propelled forwards or backward. Kayak trolling is a great approach to fishing. Adding a mud motor or a weed wacker motor to your kayak would open up new opportunities for you to cruise through numerous bogs and shallow waters that are generally considered hazardous. To accomplish it correctly, you first need to install a fishing kayak motor.
A trolling motor consists of three units: the motor, a controller, and the propellor. Kayaks usually do not come with preinstalled motors. The mounting location can be either at the bow or the stern. The most popular mount for a kayak motor is the transom mount. It is more common to see motors located at the stern.
The type of water, whether fresh or saltwater where you will be deploying your kayak is another consideration. Saltwater can affect the propellor over time so their durability and working efficiency come into play. Lastly, the size of the kayak will determine the motor rating: 12V, 24V, or 36V. In most instances, fishing kayaks need only 12V.
Care & Maintenance Tips
- Examine the hull carefully and thoroughly for damage
- Carry out a thorough rigging inspection
- Old parts and worn down accessories should be renewed
- Restock emergency gear. Check your first-aid kit
- If the kayak’s hull material is wood, keep it dry
- Use a special kayak cart for transportation. Dragging it on the ground can hole it.
- Keep the kayak clean
- Protect it from direct sun- shield the kayak from damage due to UV rays by spraying it with 303 Protectant.
- Keep the cockpit covered
Off-season preparation for storage
- The kayak must be cleaned and dried
- Rigging components must be cared for
Safety & Usage Tips
- Be mindful of the weather conditions and the temperature of the water
- Don appropriate clothing suitable to the climatic conditions
- Keep a lookout for off-shore winds that would prove to return to shore difficult
- Local boating rules must be heeded to
- Do not mix drugs or alcohol with boating
- The weight range of your kayak should not be exceeded.
- Before taking to the water, examine your gear for wear
- You should be qualified in first-aid, correct paddling technique, and water safety
- Revise the procedures regarding self-rescue first in calmer waters and then in rougher conditions
- Always don your flotation device and do not remove it as long as you are in the water
- Keep a responsible person informed about your paddling plan
- Always stay hydrated. Keep your larder well stocked.
- In new areas, familiarize first with prevailing local conditions such as currents, rip tides, weather patterns, and so on
Being out on the water in a regular, normal kayak is exhilarating and liberating but using the best motorized kayak is being on cloud nine. The extra thrust that you have is a high that hugely ups the enjoyment and thrill of being waterborne. In order to procure a decent motorized kayak, there are a bunch of factors that come into play which we have addressed in this guide.
Our top 7 product list has explored what we consider the best-motorized kayaks in the market and have evaluated these thoroughly to the extent possible. All of them are great buys depending on your needs and budget. If you don’t already own a kayak, you should give it a serious thought. It is a great sport, keeps your fitness level up.
Before you do make a purchase, be well-informed which is the main intention of this guide. We recommend that you scour the net, seek the advice of other regular kayakers, and gather all the information about kayaks and fishing kayaks which will hold you in good stead to make a great buy.
Q. 1: What is the difference Between Pedal Drive and Motorized Kayaks?
Ans: A kayak with a pedal drive is very akin to the drive of a bicycle. When you pedal, this either rotates a propellor through a transmission or operates two fins that move back and forth and also sideways. A motorized kayak has an electric motor powered by a battery as the prime mover that rotates a propellor. A speed controller varies the speed of rotation according to your choice
Q. 2: Can a Motor Be Added To My Regular Kayak?
Ans: In general yes but it comes with some reservations. First of all, the motor has to match the kayak. Not all kayaks have the ability to support a battery and a motor. Before you purchase a kayak, ensure that it is compatible so that you can add-on a motor at a later stage
Q. 3: How can I hook up an electric motor to my kayak?
Ans: It is fairly simple as there is no propellor shaft penetrating the hull. All you require is a mounting bracket that is clamped on the stern and a motor. The arrangement is somewhat like an outboard only that here you have an electric motor powered by a battery that rotates the propellor.
Q. 4: How fast will a kayak go with a trolling motor?
Ans: A trolling motor can propel a kayak at 5 mph maximum irrespective of the thrust. But if you add a jet ski motor, your kayak can run up to 27 mph.