Kayaks serve various purposes, ranging from easy and slow tours on the calm waters to racing in fast-moving whitewater and lastly fishing on long-distance trips.
Traditionally, the paddle has been used to steer and propel kayaks for centuries and it is by far the most popular way to enjoy your kayaking experience.
However, some kayakers might seek alternative ways to propel a kayak and that is because paddling for a long time causes aches in the arms and shoulders as well as overall exhaustion which can definitely ruin your kayak trip.
To make your kayak experience much easier, modern kayaks evolved from the traditional designs and paddling methods and you can now install a motor in your kayak or you can buy a kayak with a built-in motor.
These kayak motors are mainly powered by fuel or electricity, depending on the design of the manufacturer. Some of them also include a battery that can last for long hours.
A motorized kayak will offer you the speed, efficiency, and maneuverability you need to enjoy your trip. But, with many motorized kayaks in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one that suits your need.
To narrow down your options, here’s a compilation of some of the best motorized kayaks in the market as well as a detailed breakdown and review of all the features each kayak has to offer.
|Old Town Sportsman 106 Kayak||High-Density Polyethylene||Minn Kota Electric Motor||10’6” X 37”||Kayak: 75 lbs.Motor: 17 lbs.||390 lbs.|
|Wilderness Systems Radar 115 Kayak||High-Density Polyethylene||Helix MD Electric Motor||11’8” X 34.5”||Kayak: 85 lbs.Motor: 15 Ibs.||450 lbs.|
|Old Town Predator MK||High-Density Polyethylene||Minn Kota Electric Motor||13’2” X 36”||Kayak: 95 lbs.Motor: 22.5 lbs.||600 lbs.|
|Fissot 1-Person Folding Fishing Kayak||Low-Density Polyethylene||Electric Motor and a 12V battery||10’8” X 33.5”||Kayak: 61 lbs.Motor: 40 lbs.||572 lbs.|
|Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 Kayak||High-Density Polyethylene||Evolve V2 Electric Motor||13’8” X 38”||Kayak: 128 lbs.Motor: 18 lbs.||600 lbs.|
The 5 Best Motorized Kayaks in 2021
Old Town Sportsman 106 – Best Overall
The first recommendation on our list is the Sportsman 106 kayak from Old Town. It comes with several premium features that make it ideal for kayak anglers.
The sportsman 106 kayak is manufactured from a durable polyethylene material that’s highly resistant to impact. It’s excellent when it comes to tracking and maneuverability as it’s designed with a large rudder and a hand-controlled throttle handle that provide more control.
The design is very comfortable as it includes an adjustable seat made from breathable materials and a stand-up platform for fishing padded with a non-slip EVA foam material as well as adjustable foot braces.
It’s powered by a 45-pound thrust electric motor from Minn Kota that’s compatible with lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries.
The motor can be operated in reverse and it’s suitable for use in saltwater. It also comes as a separate console, so it can be removed if you want to convert your kayak from motorized to traditional paddling.
The kayak weighs about 75 pounds while the motor weighs 17 pounds. It has extra storage space and can carry up to 390 pounds of gear.
It comes with 4 built-in accessory tracks that allow you to mount a fish finder without drilling any additional holes and multiple rod holders. It also comes with an anchor mount for shallow water.
Pros Vs Cons
- It’s durable and resistant to impact
- It has excellent tracking capabilities
- It’s powered by a Minn Kota that’s suitable for use in saltwater
- It can a converted to a regular kayak
- It comes with adjustable ventilated seats and foot braces
- It has 4 built-in tracks for mounting fishing accessories
- It comes with a non-slip standing platform for fishing and multiple rod holders
- The paddle and battery are purchased separately
- The weight capacity is not very high
This Old Town Sportsman 106 kayak is the ideal choice if you’re anglers looking for a high-quality motorized kayak with many premium features to make your fishing trip much more comfortable.
Wilderness Systems Radar 115 – Most Versatile Motorized Kayak
The Wilderness Systems Radar 115 kayak is one of the best motorized kayaks in the market with its S.M.A.R.T. hull technology which is short for Stability, Maneuverability, Acceleration, Responsiveness, and Tracking.
The Radar 115 is tri-powered as it can be driven by a paddle and it’s also compatible with a pedal drive or a motor drive. It comes with a Flex console system that allows you to install other electronics such as a GPS or a fish finder.
The motor doesn’t make much noise and can reach up to 6 mph in speed. It’s equipped with a lithium battery that can last up to 8 hours and also features a remote-controlled throttle that displays your GPS-calculated speed and the remaining battery runtime.
It’s manufactured from a high-density polyethylene material which increases its durability and it comes with a comfortable Air Pro MAX seat that can be adjusted to 3 positions as well as padded footrests.
It’s ideal for fishing as it offers a flat standing platform that allows for more stability and provides freedom of movement to improve your casting accuracy.
The kayak weighs 85 pounds while the motor weighs 15 pounds. It has a high weight capacity of 450 pounds and it comes with extra storage compartments that are watertight and easily accessible.
Pros Vs Cons
- It’s excellent when it comes to stability, maneuverability, and tracking
- It comes with a comfortable adjustable seating area
- It’s tri-powered (paddle, pedal, and motor)
- It’s compatible with a powerful motor that comes with a long-lasting battery and a display screen
- It features a standing fishing platform for better casting
- It has a high weight capacity and comes with extra storage space
- It comes with a console system to install additional electronic equipment
- It doesn’t come with rod holders
- The motor is sold separately
- It’s relatively heavier in weight
This kayak is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a high-tech versatile kayak that can be paddle, pedal, or motor-driven.
Fissot 1-Person Folding Fishing Kayak – Best Motorized Fishing Kayak
This one-person folding kayak from Fissot comes with a unique design that sets it apart from the average sit-on-top kayak and versatile capabilities. It’s ideal for fishing and performs well in the ocean as well as still waters like lakes and ponds.
The Fissot kayak is manufactured from low-density polyethylene material. It comes with an electric motor that’s capable of 7 mph in speed that can operate in reverse. It also comes with a battery that lasts up to 3 hours which is safely kept in a built-in battery box.
It’s designed with pedals and adjustable stabilizer wings which provide more balance and support for fishing while standing or sitting. The design features a rudder controller and a speed controller to improve the maneuverability and tracking of the kayak.
The kayak is relatively light in weight, weighing 61 pounds, while the motor weighs 40 pounds. It has a weight capacity of 552 pounds and it comes with multiple storage compartments which allows you to carry all the fishing gear you need as well as a fishing rod holder.
Pros VS Cons
- It has adjustable side arms that provide high stability
- It has excellent tracking as it comes with a rudder controller
- It allows for fishing while standing or sitting
- It comes with a built-in fishing rod holder
- It has a high weight capacity and additional storage space
- It’s capable of considerable speed and comes with a speed controller
- Some of the storage compartments are not water-resistant
- It can be difficult to transport without purchasing a specialized holder
This kayak would be the ideal choice if you’re looking for a user-friendly motorized kayak for recreational use and fishing.
Old Town Predator MK – Most Stable Motorized Kayak
Another excellent model from Old Town is the Predator MK kayak. It bridges the gap between traditional fishing kayaks and motorized boats.
It’s manufactured from a high-density polyethylene material which increases its durability and it has a tri-hull design that makes it resistant to heavy impact.
The design provides more stability as it comes with a non-slip Exo-Ridge padded deck and the Element seating system provides extra support to ensure your comfort when paddling for a long time.
It’s powered by a Minn Kota motor and features a foot-controlled rudder system which allows you a hands-free kayaking experience to focus on casting your rod with accuracy and reeling in fish.
The Minn Koto motor is manufactured from anodized zinc-coated metal. It comes with a solar mounting plate and delivers 45 pounds of silent thrust with variable speed options. It also features a dual kill switch for safety, USB charge ports, and a LED indicator of the remaining battery time.
The kayak weighs 117.5 pounds (including the motor) and has a weight capacity of 600 pounds which allows you to carry all the equipment you might need.
It comes with multiple storage options including a tank well for storing a cooler or a gear box as well as a large bow hatch with a sealed cover, a rectangular sealed hatch located under the seat, and multiple storage pockets designed for easy access to tackle.
It also features a built-in paddle rest, rod holders, and several removable mounting plates for installing additional accessories mounting without needing to drill into the kayak.
Pros VS Cons
- It’s made from durable impact-resistant material.
- It has a foot-controlled rudder system to improve tracking.
- It comes with a comfortable seating area and non-slip padded deck
- It’s powered by a Minn Kota motor that comes with USB ports and a LED display.
- It has a very high weight capacity and comes with multiple secure storage options.
- It comes with a built-in paddle rest, accessory mounts, and rod holders.
- It’s heavy in weight which makes it harder to transport
The Predator MK kayak is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a stable motorized kayak that’s suitable for fishing comes with multiple benefits and accessories.
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 – Best for Professional Anglers
The Mirage Pro angler kayak is considered one of the best when it comes to high-end motorized kayaks. It offers many benefits that cater to the needs of all anglers.
This kayak is manufactured from a durable polyethylene material. It’s designed with a high-quality pedal drive system with ST Turbo Fins that provide excellent control when steering the kayak as well as a retractable rudder system to improve tracking.
It’s can also be powered with the Evolve electric motor with a sealed waterproof lithium-manganese battery that lasts up to 8 hours that also comes with its own charger. It’s engineered with Torqeedo technology which can achieve up to 5.8 mph speed.
The evolve motor features a control unit that displays the remaining battery life, speed, and power used. It can also be paired via Bluetooth to your mobile device to turn into a real-time navigation system and tracker.
It comes with an adjustable Vantage seat with lumbar support to maximize your comfort level and a non-slip deck to allow you more stability to fish while standing.
The maximum weight capacity of the kayak is 600 pounds and it has many storage options that include a large rectangular hatch with a tackle management system, horizontal rod storage, and a sealed bow hatch with a removable liner, and a large rear cargo area bungee tie-downs to increase security.
It also comes with a two-piece paddle, 2 vertical rod holders, and multiple mounts to install any additional accessories.
Pros Vs Cons
- It’s made from a highly durable
- It’s excellent when it comes to maneuverability and control.
- It comes with a built-in pedal drive system and retractable rudders
- It’s compatible with a powerful electric motor
- Its motor comes with a control unit and a display screen
- It has a very high weight capacity and several storage options
- It comes with a paddle, rod holders, and mounts for additional accessories
- It’s very heavy in weight compared to other motorized kayaks
- The motor is purchased separately
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler kayak is the perfect choice for professional anglers looking for a high-end motorized kayak that combines an efficient pedal drive system and a powerful motor.
Everything You Need to Know About Motorized Kayaks
Buying a motorized kayak, whether it’s electric or fuel-powered, is a very innovative way to get more out of your kayaking.
To help choose the best motorized kayak, let’s break down everything you need to know about motorized kayaks in detail.
Types of kayak Motors
Electric-powered motors are the most popular type used to power a kayak, however, they’re not the only option available.
Let’s take a look at the two main types of kayak motors:
Electric Trolling Motor
Electric trolling motors consist of three units: the engine, a regulator, and the propellor. They are usually smaller and take up very little space on the kayak.
They are lightweight, usually weighing between 25 pounds to 80 pounds not including the battery. So, they can be easily mounted on a kayak safely without adding more weight to the kayak.
These motors vary in HP (Horse Power) and the newer models offer some advantages such as a built-in display screen, GPS, and an auto-pilot feature. Some models even allow you to monitor your battery level.
Fuel-Powered Outboard Motor
Gas-powered motors are considerably heavier and bulkier than electric motors.
If you’re going to mount a gas motor on your kayak, you need to keep in mind the additional weight both the motor and the gasoline will add to your kayak, especially if you choose a more powerful motor.
These motors have very limited HP. So, to keep the weight low and still be able to carry enough fuel, the gas motor shouldn’t be bigger than 2 HP.
A gas motor bigger than 2 HP will take up significantly more space in an already small kayak and it will be too heavy for a lightweight kayak to handle.
Factors You Need to Consider Before Buying a Motorized Kayak
Before you commit to a specific kayak brand or motor model, it’s essential to consider your needs and set your priorities.
The bigger the HP of a motor the more powerful the thrust will be.
The thrust of kayak motors is measured in pounds and generally, it is better to maintain 2 pounds of thrust per 100 pounds of weight.
It is also important to keep in mind that a motor with a more powerful thrust doesn’t necessarily increase your kayak’s speed, instead, it may actually make your kayak more unstable and uncontrollable.
While electric kayak motors usually make less noise than fuel-powered motors, there’s still some variation in how much sound they produce from one model to another.
If minimizing the amount of noise is high on your priority list, try to choose the kayak motor with the lowest decibel level.
You need to consider the overall weight capacity of your kayak including your own weight and/or any fishing equipment you might take on board.
When it comes to electric motors, you need to consider the weight of the battery while with fuel motors you need to consider the weight of the fuel.
If you have a kayak with a low weight capacity, it’s recommended to choose a low-profile motor to avoid excessively overloading your kayak.
it’s important to find a motor that can handle the type of water you plan to kayak in whether it’s saltwater or freshwater.
Not all motors can be used in saltwater because of the materials used to manufacture them. However, some brands offer motors that can be used in both freshwater and saltwater.
Motors manufactured from non-corrosive materials, like stainless steel, can be used in saltwater while motors manufactured using materials like aluminum are more suited to freshwater.
You need to determine where you want your motor to be mounted and shop accordingly. In some cases, you might need to purchase additional hardware or brackets for mounting.
There are a few locations on a kayak where a motor can be mounted. Some motors are specifically designed for mounting on the bow, the stern, or even the middle of the kayak.
The most common mount for a kayak motor is the transom (stern) mount. Each location has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Bow-mounted motors are usually larger than transom motors. They provide better handling and maneuvering capabilities. Their downside is that they are more expensive and require more space.
Transom-mounted motors, on the other hand, are cheaper and smaller compared to bow-mounted motors which makes them an ideal choice for small kayaks as they don’t take a lot of space. They can also be easily attached using simple clamps.
Almost all electric motors require purchasing a separate battery. However, keep in mind that a separate battery will increase the overall price of the motor and also add more weight to your kayak.
The more powerful your kayak motor is, the more electricity it will consume. Batteries are mainly available in a range from 12 V to 36 V (in increments of 12 V).
There are also some electric motors that are designed to run on a dual battery, however, and these are not suitable for a small vessel like a kayak.
When buying a battery, it’s recommended to go with whatever mind the motor manufacturer recommends for that model. You also need to make sure to charge your battery after each use to maintain longer battery life.
Propeller Shaft Length
Since Kayaks sit low in the water, need to make sure not to get an overly long propeller shaft on the motor. However, you still need the propeller to stay underwater at all times.
So, you need the length of the shaft to be long enough to do the job effectively. It’s recommended to go for a shaft at about 24 inches in length.
There are several motor controls options to choose from in the market.
It’s recommended for kayakers to go for something with either a tiller handle with extension or a remote-control mechanism. This will allow you to easily adjust the trim and speed while remaining seated and facing forward in your kayak.
Motorized kayaks vary significantly in price, ranging from budget-friendly to luxury. Typically, motor prices range from about $150 to over a thousand dollars.
In most cases, you get what you pay for. You can invest in a high-priced motor for higher performance, however, several motor brands manufacture relatively high-quality motors for a price under $200.
So, it’s very important to set your budget before shopping. Try to find the motorized kayak that suits your needs and offers the best value for your budget.
If Budget is the deciding factor for you, you can check my guide to the best Cheap Kayaks here. These are just the best value for the money you can find anywhere on the market today.
Why Choose a Motorized Kayak?
Here are some of the advantages of motorized kayaks:
- Motorized can cover longer distances further with more speed.
- They’re nimbler and more maneuverable so they reach places that are inaccessible if you depend only on manual paddling.
- Electric motors are eco-friendly and better for the environment.
- Motorized kayaks are ideal for fishing. Since your hands will be free paddles, they allow for more casting accuracy.
- Motorized kayaks are helpful if you’re facing severe conditions such as strong currents or injuries that prevent you from paddling manually.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Difference Between Pedal Driven Kayaks and Motorized Kayaks?
The main difference between Pedal Driven Kayaks and Motorized Kayaks is their mechanism. A pedal kayak’s mechanism is similar to that of a bike. It works by manually pedaling to rotate a propellor through a transmission or to operate two fins that move back and forth and also sideways. A motorized kayak, on the other hand, is powered by an electric engine to rotates the propellor and it comes with a controller to determine the speed of rotation according to your choice
Can You Install a Motor to A Regular Kayak?
Yes, you can install a motor in a regular kayak. However, the motor needs to match the kayak. That is because not all kayaks have the ability to support a battery and a motor. So, you need to ensure that the kayak is compatible with the add-on motor before purchase.
How Fast Does a Motorized Kayak Go?
The average speed of a motorized kayak is about 2-4 mph. They can go fast as the average paddler can paddle for an extended period of time depending on the model of the motor. Some electric motors can even go as fast as 25 mph, but they would a lot higher in price.
How Long Does the Battery Life of Electric Motor Last?
Electric motors can provide an average of six to eight hours of paddling time. It mainly depends on the battery life. More powerful kayak motors require batteries that are higher in voltage as they consume more electricity. You need to make sure to charge your battery after each use to maintain a long battery life and paddle for a long time.
Recreational Kayaking: The Ultimate Guide By Ken Whiting (you can get this book on Amazon here)
Kayak your way to Freedom
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