For many anglers, motorized kayaks provide a perfect marriage of ease and comfort. They’re easily maneuverable, lightweight, and powerful enough to take you to all the hidden fishing spots. But exactly how fast is a motorized kayak? And will this minimal setup be worth the investment? In this article, we explore all there is to know about kayak motors, including their top speeds, cost, and the best type of motor for you. Let’s dive in!

Kentucky Lake, TN

What Is a Motorized Kayak? 

A motorized kayak is a kayak that’s specifically designed to be propelled by a motor. Usually, they are wider than paddling kayaks, they have increased stability as the motor propels them through various types of water. Some standard kayaks can be converted to motorized versions as well.

Not only that, but many motorized kayaks are great for fishing. They can hold a motor and typically have space for fishing rods and mounts, a cooler for fish, and other equipment. As these are single-person boats the motor makes getting around with all the gear much easier.

How Fast Does a Motorized Kayak Go? 

The speed of your motorized kayak will vary depending on how heavy the kayak is, its overall design, and the condition of the water. To reach an ideal speed of 2-4 miles per hour, you’ll generally want about 10 pounds of thrust per 100 pounds of weight.

If the waves aren’t too rough, you’ll find yourself easily gliding through the water at top speeds of 4 or even 5 miles per hour. However, in choppy water, you’ll move a little slower and feel thankful for all the power you have. If you plan to operate in rivers or swift currents you may need more thrust to overcome the water.

Keep in mind that most trolling motors used for kayaks have relatively fixed speeds and shallow props that are designed to provide thrust not speed.

fishing from electric kayak boat
Justin Patrick fishing from his electric kayak setup

What Is the Fastest Kayak Motor? 

While the vast majority of motorized kayaks top off at a maximum speed of 5 miles per hour, there are much faster kayak motors out there. Some kayaks are designed for a higher power motor like the WaveWalk kayaks and Nucanoe. There are many others that have a square transom that can mount larger outboard motors.

Utilizing a more powerful motor between 6 and 9 horsepower some of these kayaks can get on a plane and exceed 10MPH. Keep in mind that these small boats are not really designed to plane and may become less stable when operating at high speeds.

Take a look at our electric dinghy article if you are interested in learning more about electric outboard options.

How Fast Will a 55-Pound Trolling Motor Go on a Kayak?

A 55-pound thrust electric trolling motor, such as the Newport Vessels Kayak Series, will go approximately 4-5 miles per hour in smooth water. This is assuming that you’re following the weight guidelines. And like we said before, the lighter your boat, the easier it will be for the motor to reach top speeds. 

Can I Put a Gas Motor on a Kayak?

Yes, it’s absolutely possible to use a gas motor on a kayak. However, there’s a reason why the vast majority of motorized kayaks have electric motors. Primarily when on a kayak the user is looking for a quiet smooth experience which elctric motors provide. But perhaps equally important, they require much less maintenance and don’t require you to lug around heavy and flammable gas. Small outboard engines are notorious for unreliability and problems, especifally if let sit for a while.

An electric trolling motor and lithium battery setup are bound to give you far fewer headaches and save you money in the long run. If you want gas power that is achivable in electric as well however with higher power motors like the Elco outboards.

What Is the Best Electric Motor for a Kayak?

In our opinion, electric trolling motors are the best option for kayaks for several reasons. First, they’re extremely lightweight, with an average weight of between 20 and 27 pounds. There are also various types of trolling motors. This makes it easy for you to tailor your setup to your specific needs.

For example, if you’re an angler, you might decide to choose a bow-mounted trolling motor with a foot pedal so you can remain hands-free. Ultimately, it all depends on your boating style and priorities while out on the water. 

Best Electric Kayak Motor Batteries

What’s one of the most important things when it comes to choosing a battery for your kayak motor? Weight, of course! The last thing you want is to lug around a massive, heavy battery that gives you nothing but problems.

This is why LiFeP04 lithium batteries are ideal for kayak trolling motors. They’re on average 55% lighter than lead-acid batteries, have a much higher energy density, require less maintenance, and even have shorter charging rates. Lithium-ion batteries also have a much greater depth of discharge (up to 99%) compared to lead-acid at 50%, allowing you to use nearly the battery’s total capacity. 

battery on motorized kayak

Our Battle Born Batteries have been widely tested on motorized kayaks and small boats with exceptional success. With longer runtime, no maintenance and no concern for deep discharges our batteries are a great choice for kayaks of all types.

What Size Motor and Battery Do I Need for My Kayak?

The size of the motor you’ll need for your motorized kayak will depend on its overall weight. Remember, the general rule of thumb is 10 pounds of thrust per 100 pounds of weight. And since most kayaks are relatively lightweight (75 – 150 pounds), an average 50 – 55 pound thrust motor will serve you just fine. 

In terms of batteries, a single 100Ah lithium battery will provide most users all-day power with this size motor. However, it will depend on how much you use it. Most 50 lbs motors draw around 40 amps at full speed meaning a 100 amp hour battery would last 2 hours at full speed. Many dont need this much power so even one of our 75 amp hour batteries would be a great choice for a kayak.

75 amp hour group 24 battery
the 75 amp hour group 24 batteries we manufacture are an exceptional choice for motorized kayaks

How Much Does a Kayak Motor Setup Cost?

Electric kayak motors vary in price depending on their power and brand. On average, you’ll probably find what you need within the $200 – $700 price range. And assuming that you’ll only need a 100Ah battery, you’ll probably end up spending around $900 for the battery itself. Thus, you’ll be able to walk away with a complete kayak motor set up for anywhere between $1,100 – $1,600. 

Is a Motorized Kayak Worth It?

Ask any avid angler with a motorized kayak, and they’ll say it’s totally worth it. There’s a reason why these minimal setups are becoming more and more popular. They’re relatively inexpensive and lightweight. Plus, they can mount on your rooftop and are excellent for fishing. Many people find motorized kayaks much more feasible than investing in a larger fishing boat. They’re also a lot more fun.

Do you have any questions about motorized kayaks and their electrical systems? Drop them in the comments below!

fishing from kayak with lithium batteries
Kentucky Lake, TN

Want To Learn More About Electrical Systems and Lithium Batteries?

We know that building or upgrading an electrical system can be overwhelming, so we’re here to help. Our Reno, Nevada-based sales and customer service team is standing by at (855) 292-2831 to take your questions!

Also, join us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more about how lithium battery systems can power your lifestyle, see how others have built their systems, and gain the confidence to get out there and stay out there.

Share this