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7 Best Motorized Kayaks of 2023: Your Guide to Powered Kayak Fishing

Creative Commons "Hobie_Fishing_Worlds_2014" by Hobie Kayak and Hobie Fishing is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Motorized kayaks are, without a doubt, the newest frontier in recreational watercraft development. Since the popularization of the fishing kayak, anglers and other serious paddlers have schemed, plotted and planned ways to free valuable space, save energy and get to that prized fishing hole faster.

Of course, you could just buy a fishing boat with an outboard engine. But what fun is that, really? Unlike bulkier boats, a fishing kayak with a motor offers speed, efficiency and maneuverability unmatched by bigger vessels, saving your energy for casting, snapping photos or whatever else your heart desires.

Of course, most kayak motors won’t give you the raw power or muscle of a powerboat, but you don’t need that. Electric kayaks — or even kayaks with a gas motor — are more than capable of towing you and your gear around the lake for hours on end.

Which Kayaks Come with a Motor?

Some of the best kayak brands on the market, including Hobie, Wilderness Systems and Old Town, offer models that can be outfitted with kayak motor mounts to make installing and uninstalling a breeze. Even inflatable kayaks can be outfitted with a trolling motor. Below are American Paddler’s picks for the best motorized kayaks of 2023.  (Click links below to see prices on


Wilderness Systems Radar 115Wilderness Systems Helix MD Motor DriveRemote throttle; inboard console can be swapped with pedal drive system, or removed for lightweight traditional paddling
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14Hobie Evolve V2 Motor KitInboard console can be swapped with Hobie MirageDrive pedal system; Bluetooth compatible for pairing with iPhone app
Old Town Predator MK(No photo available)Minn Kota Motor Console (included)Powerful removable electric Minn Kota motor console; foot-controlled rudder for hands-free fishing
Feelfree Lure 13.5Feelfree Overdrive Pedal System (Motordrive console sold separately)Seamless switching between pedal and motor drive in same system; lightweight unit can be swapped out while on the water
Native Slayer Propel 10Minn Kota Endura C2 Trolling MotorLightest premium fishing kayak on market; versatility of motor mount allows for use with wide range of trolling motors
NuCanoe Frontier 12Minn Kota Endura C2 Trolling MotorGas or electric motor can be bow-mounted or transom-mounted with hand-operated controls; kayak features wide open deck
Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable KayakWatersnake Asp T24 Trolling MotorInflatable kayak for easy storage and transport; transom-mount motor rated for saltwater and freshwater
MACraft Power Ski Jet Powered Kayak(No photo available)Four-stroke, 152cc, 20-horsepower gas engineSimply put: Speed

Best Motorized Fishing Kayaks

If you’re a kayak fisherman looking for a little more oomph, these popular kayaks with a built-in trolling motor can be swapped out with pedal-drive systems — offering you the best of both worlds depending on your fishing needs.

Wilderness Systems Radar 115/135 (with Helix MD motor)

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Check out latest price on AmazonWilderness Systems is among the first major kayak brands to play to anglers’ diverse needs by designing a kayak capable of being powered by paddle, pedal or motor. The groundbreaking Radar series — which comes in two sizes — is fully compatible with both Wilderness’ Helix MD motor drive system and its patent-pending Helix PD pedal drive. Switching between the two is as easy as lifting one up and locking the other in.

For those considering the power option, the Helix MD motor drive features German-engineered Torqueedo technology with speeds reaching up to 6 mph and a range of 20 miles — which is pretty solid for a kayak motor. The lithium battery lasts up to 8 hours, and the entire unit weighs just 15 pounds, so transporting the motor when not in use is a breeze. The Helix MD also features a remote throttle that displays your current speed, remaining battery life and expected range so you know when it’s time to turn around.

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Helix MD motor drive

The throttle on the Helix MD can be set to different speeds in both forward and reverse for hands-free fishing, which is a nice feature. And if battery life does become an issue, you can also purchase a solar charger to keep your afternoon going.

Apart from the motor, the Radar itself offers plenty of prowess for a fishing kayak, including a comfortable AirMax seat, SlideTrax gear rails, a performance-style hull and super-stable fishing platform — not to mention plenty of gear storage space.

While the Radar is Wilderness Systems’ only kayak with motor and pedal drive capabilities, the Helix MD motor can also be used with the paddle-powered A.T.A.K. 120, A.T.A.K. 140, Thresher 140 & 155 and Tarpon 130X kayaks.

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 (with Evolve V2 motor)

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Check latest price on AmazonThere’s a reason Hobie is considered the cream of the crop when it comes to high-end fishing kayaks — and it’s because they’ve figured out how to cater perfectly to the kayak angler’s every desire. The Pro Angler is already among the best fishing kayaks on the market — and then they added a motor option.

From its luxury, fully adjustable stadium-style Vantage seat to its myriad options for storage, gear mounting and steering capabilities, the Hobie Pro Angler 14 is one of the most customizable fishing machines out there. Hobie’s award-winning MirageDrive pedal system comes standard for the Pro Angler, but it can be upgraded with the versatile Hobie Evolve kayak electric motor kit.

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Hobie Evolve V2 Motor Kit

If you do spring for the Evolve motor, you won’t be disappointed. German-engineered with Torqeedo technology, the Evolve motor operates with a lightweight lithium-manganese battery that gives you up to 8 hours of battery life and three variable power options. At full power, you’ll achieve speeds up to 5.8 mph, and at the lightest power option, you’ll have almost 22 miles of use.

The LCD Hobie Evolve control unit mounts to your gear rail and displays information about your battery life, speed, range and power use. For even greater functionality, you can pair the unit with the Torqeedo TorqTrac adapter, which pairs via Bluetooth to your iPhone or iPad to turn your phone into a real-time map tracker to see visually how much farther you can go.

While the Pro Angler 14 is Hobie’s flagship fishing kayak, the Evolve motor is compatible across Hobie’s other pedal-powered kayaks. The unit easily lifts in and out of place so you can switch back and forth between foot and gas power.

Best Kayak Electric Motor

While the kayaks above offer groundbreaking versatility allowing both pedal- and motor-drive systems in the same kayak, plenty of other top-quality kayaks offer easily installable electric motor options. Two of these — the Old Town Predator MK and the Feelfree Lure 13.5 — offer unrivaled thrust and control with motors fitting seamlessly into what are already excellent kayaks. If you’re looking primarily for ease-of-use and versatility in a motorized fishing kayak, check out these much-heralded boats.

Old Town Predator MK (with Minn Kota motor console)

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Check latest price on AmazonWith features rivaling bigger bass boats and shallow-water skiffs, the best-in-class Old Town Predator MK powered kayak is the result of what happens when trolling motor experts team up with kayak fishing experts.

At the heart of the Predator MK a specially designed Minn Kota onboard motor console that delivers 45 pounds of variable-control thrust, adjustable forward and reverse speeds, and a saltwater-grade kayak electric motor and prop built to withstand any fishing conditions. The entire unit weighs just 22 pounds and easily lifts in and out of the kayak for quick transport. A rechargeable, sealed marine battery is mounted behind the seat and pre-wired into the kayak — which also makes removing for storage and reattaching a literal snap.

The entire unit is designed to provide stealthy, quiet power that gets you where you’re going without scaring the fish — all while leaving your hands free for casting and adjusting gear. A foot-controlled rudder means you never have to take your hands off your fishing rod, except to adjust your speed.

The motor unit includes displays indicating battery life, dual kill-switches for safety, gear storage and USB ports for charging smaller electronics. Atop the unit, you can mount fishfinders and sonar tranducers, or any other marine electronics to help you with your catch.

On the kayak itself, you’ll find many of the top-quality features loved by loyal Old Town enthusiasts, such as an adjustable high-back seat, wide and stable fishing platform and customizable gear options. Like its sister kayak, the Predator MX, the Predator MK motorized kayak is loaded with options designed to make fishing easy and enjoyable.

Most Versatile Powered Kayak

FeelFree Lure 13.5 (with Overdrive/Motordrive system)

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Check latest price on AmazonWhat’s better than a kayak that can switch between pedal drive and motor drive? A kayak that can accommodate both at the same time! Enter the FeelFree Lure series, a top-of-the-line fishing kayak series that makes use of FeelFree’s patented Overdrive propulsion system, a two-in-one forward-and-reverse unit that can be paired with a motor add-on.

As far as we can tell, FeelFree is the only major kayak brand to offer both pedal drive and motor drive in the same system. In other motorized kayaks such as Hobie or Wilderness Systems, the drives must be swapped out (usually on shore, as the motor units are quite heavy) to switch between the two; not so for the FeelFree Lure. To add motor capability to the Overdrive pedal system, simply slide the Motordrive power unit into the open slot on the console, and away you go!

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Overdrive Pedal Drive System (Motordrive sold separately)

For such a small unit, the Motordrive packs a powerful propulsive punch. Powered by a 12-volt marine battery, the Motordrive unit is capable of delivering up to 40 pounds of forward thrust controlled by a one-hand remote. The unit also displays information such as battery life and speed on a large LCD screen.

The Motordrive power unit is sold as an optional add-on to FeelFree’s Overdrive pedal system, but the unit can be swapped out and used with any compatible FeelFree kayak. In addition to the Lure series, the FeelFree Dorado also makes use of the system.

In addition to the convenience of being able to easily switch between the two systems, anglers can also lift the entire Overdrive unit out of the water and lock it into place to navigate shallow waters, weeds or to bring the kayak ashore.

Best Kayak Motor Mount

Native Slayer Propel 10 (with Transom Motor Mount)

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Check latest price on AmazonWhile the idea of a kayak with a built-in motor is relatively new to most kayak manufacturers, there are many ways to add an aftermarket motor to a traditional fishing kayak. Most manufacturers offer some type of kayak trolling motor mount — whether inboard or outboard — or at least can recommend accessories to make installing a motor easier.

Native Watercraft has made this easy with its Transom Motor Mount, which comes in two sizes to fit its Propel kayaks in the Slayer, Ultimate FX, Manta Ray and Titan series. The mount can be attached and detached in less than 30 seconds, allowing you to drop a trolling motor such as a Minn Kota into the slot where the Propel pedal drive system goes. When you’re done, simply remove the mount and drop the pedal drive back into place (or, do what this guy did and keep both systems).

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Transom Motor Mount

As far as the kayak itself goes, Native boasts that the Slayer Propel 10 is the lightest premium fishing kayak on the market, weighing in at just 62 pounds before the Propel drive or motor is added. The kayak’s comfortable seating, hand-controlled rudder system and true-tracking, stable hull make the Slayer a great choice for those looking to bring in a big haul without dishing out huge bucks.

While installing an aftermarket motor is easy with the Propel 10, anglers who want to use the built-in pedal drive system will find superior control, since the pedal drive system works in both forward and reverse. Add in other feature-rich amenities such as easy-to-install rail accessories and generous storage space, and you’ve got a kayak worth its weight in goldfish.

NuCanoe Frontier 12 (with Minn Kota trolling motor)

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Check latest price on AmazonFounded in 2006 by Ocean Kayak creator Tim Niemier, NuCanoe’s innovative kayak designs revolutionized the way people approach recreational paddling. By designing a vessel that defies the traditional categories of kayak, canoe or paddleboard, NuCanoe’s hybrid boats led the way toward anglers asking for more from their fishing vessels.

The spacious and agile NuCanoe Frontier 12 is designed for anglers and hunters, which includes the ability to add either a bow-mount or transom-style electric motor to the kayak. If mounted to the squared-off transom, a lightweight kayak electric motor can be easily controlled from the seated position with NuCanoe’s telescoping, handheld Tiller Extension Handle. If mounted on the bow, the motor’s speed and direction can be controlled with a handheld remote for superior control and maneuverability.

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Minn Kota Endura C2 Trolling Motor

For transom-mounted motors, NuCanoe recommends electric motors with 30 to 55 pounds of thrust and a 24- to 36-inch shaft. For ideal performance with a bow-mounted motor, the Minn Kota PowerDrive V2 or RipTide trolling motors are recommended. And if you want a little more power, both the NuCanoe Frontier and its equally acclaimed Pursuit kayak models can be outfitted with outboard gas motors rated up to 2.5 horsepower.

NuCanoe offers motor mount plates, brackets and extensions for any of these setups. And thanks to NuCanoe’s spacious deck and generous legroom, the battery box can be stored safely out of your way.

Best Inflatable Kayak Motor

Sea Eagle 380x (with Watersnake Asp T24 kayak motor)

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Check latest price on AmazonIf you thought inflatable kayaks were just for kids’ pool parties, you haven’t been paying attention to the kayak scene lately. Today’s inflatable kayaks are mean, lean fishing machines and tough enough for even the harshest of fishing conditions.

But adding a motor? Is that even possible?

Well, yes, actually. It is.

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Watersnake Asp T24 motor

So it should come as no surprise that Sea Eagle, long a leader in inflatable kayak design, has been among the innovators in the motor-powered inflatable kayak game.

The highly rated Sea Eagle 380x and 420x inflatable kayaks, which can be used for fishing, recreational boating, calm-water paddling and even light whitewater, each can be outfitted with the Watersnake Asp T24 inflatable kayak motor, which is specially designed for both fresh and saltwater fishing and boating.

The lightweight Watersnake motor features a 24-inch shaft and 24 pounds of thrust, easily mounted to the transom of most Sea Eagle Explorer or FastTrack inflatable kayaks (excluding the 300x). The motor features forward and reverse capabilities and an anti-corrosive exterior.

The Asp isn’t the only inflatable kayak trolling motor compatible with Sea Eagle kayaks; the Watersnake Venom SX offers better thrust (34 pounds) and more speed options for a little more money. And for a cheaper option, the Minn Kota Endura 30 offers a little better performance as well — although it’s rated for freshwater only. All three options offer portable chargers and battery packs.

Sea Eagle also offers inflatable kayak motor mounts to outfit any of these setups.

Best Jet Ski Kayak Motor

MACraft Power Ski

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MACraft Power Ski (Click to see price on Amazon)

Trolling motors just not doing it for you?

If you’re the “Tim the Toolman Taylor” type, maybe you’re looking at the kayaks above and thinking, “That’s it? I want more power!

Although not recommended for casual anglers or recreational weekend paddlers, there are kayaks out there that can satisfy your need for speed. American Paddler isn’t comfortable recommending any particular model, but if you’re checking out options, the MACraft Power Ski claims to offer speeds up to 24.9 mph with its four-stroke, 152cc, 20-horsepower gas engine. Aquanami and Mokai are two other brands offering jet-powered kayaks with speeds up to 25 mph.

motorized kayak
“Kayak with a motor?” by WalkingGeek | CC-BY-2.0

For those wondering, that’s really fast for a kayak. Adrenaline junkies looking for a kayak with a jet ski motor would be well-advised to check local boating laws to make sure all safety regulations are met before taking one of these vessels out on local waterways. And if you do decide to spring for one, be advised they’re not cheap! (See the latest price on Amazon)

These vessels are basically small speedboats with the capacity to keep up with bigger vessels on the water. But if you’re headed on a long fishing excursion and just want to get there quicker, a jet ski kayak might be just your speed.

Tl;dr (Too long; didn’t read)

Though your options for adding an electric kayak motor to just about any rig are almost limitless, the motorized kayaks above offer a seamless blend of efficiency, power and fishing features that will make any outing a roaring success.

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