How Fast Is a Trolling Motor?

How Fast Is a Trolling Motor?A trolling motor is a popular choice for anglers and boating enthusiasts, as it allows for precise and slow-speed maneuvering while fishing. The maximum speed of a trolling motor is typically 5 mph, making it ideal for trolling techniques in recreational fishing. Trolling motors are primarily electric, with a maximum voltage of 12V. They offer efficient and quiet propulsion, but they are not designed for high-speed performance like gas motors.

Understanding Trolling Motor Thrust

Thrust is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a trolling motor for your boat. It refers to the amount of power the motor can generate to propel the boat through the water. The measurement of thrust is typically in pounds (lbs), and it directly affects the performance and maneuverability of the motor. An insufficient thrust level can result in poor performance, reduced run time, and strain on the motor.

The appropriate amount of thrust for your boat depends on various factors, including boat weight and hull design. Generally, heavier and larger boats require more thrust to achieve satisfactory performance. Boat weight should be calculated considering the maximum potential weight, including passengers, gear, and fuel. The size and shape of the boat’s hull also play a role, as hulls with more drag, like Deep V hulls, require additional thrust.

To determine the ideal thrust for your boat, it is crucial to consider its weight, hull design, and intended use. Matching the thrust of the trolling motor to your specific boat and fishing conditions will ensure optimal performance on the water.

Trolling Motor Thrust Guide:

Boat Weight Recommended Thrust
Up to 1,000 lbs 30-40 lbs
1,000 – 1,500 lbs 40-55 lbs
1,500 – 2,500 lbs 55-80 lbs
2,500+ lbs 80+ lbs

Trolling Motor Speed and Voltage

The speed of a trolling motor depends on several factors, including boat weight, water conditions, and voltage. Trolling motors typically come in three voltage ratings: 12V, 24V, and 36V. Higher voltage motors offer more thrust and, consequently, higher speeds. A 12V motor is suitable for speeds up to 55 lbs. of thrust. A 24V motor can provide thrust between 55 lbs. and 80 lbs., while a 36V motor can provide thrust over 80 lbs. up to approximately 115 lbs. However, it is important to note that the speed achieved by a trolling motor is not solely determined by voltage. Boat weight, hull design, and other factors also come into play. It is crucial to consider these factors when selecting the appropriate voltage and thrust for your trolling motor to achieve the desired speed and performance.

In addition to voltage and thrust, the relationship between voltage and speed is not linear. Increasing the voltage from 12V to 24V will not necessarily double the speed. Boat weight plays a significant role in determining speed, as a heavier boat will require more thrust to achieve higher speeds. Hull design is also a factor, with more streamlined hulls achieving higher speeds compared to hulls with more drag. Water conditions, such as wind and current, can affect speed as well.

To help understand the relationship between voltage, thrust, and speed, the table below provides a general guide for the speed ranges achievable with different voltage ratings and boat weights:

Voltage Thrust Range (lbs.) Boat Weight Range (lbs.) Speed Range (mph)
12V 30-55 0-150 2-5
24V 55-80 0-250 3-6
36V 80-115 0-400 4-8

It is important to note that these speed ranges are approximate and can vary depending on the specific trolling motor, boat setup, and environmental conditions. It is recommended to consult the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations for the trolling motor you are considering to ensure optimal performance and speed on your boat.

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

When it comes to kayak propulsion, a 55-pound thrust trolling motor can offer impressive speed. In smooth water conditions, this type of motor can propel a kayak at speeds ranging from 4 to 5 mph. However, it’s important to note that the actual speed achieved may vary depending on several factors.

The speed of a kayak with a trolling motor can be affected by factors such as the weight of the kayak, the design of its hull, and the current water conditions. Lightweight kayaks tend to be more responsive to the power of the trolling motor, allowing for higher speeds. On the other hand, heavier kayaks may require more thrust to achieve the same speed.

Hull design also plays a role in the speed of a kayak with a trolling motor. Kayaks with sleeker and more streamlined hulls tend to have less drag, allowing for faster speeds. Flat-bottomed hulls, on the other hand, may experience more resistance, resulting in slightly slower speeds.

Kayak Speed Factors Affecting Speed
4-5 mph Smooth water conditions, lightweight kayak, streamlined hull design
Variations Kayak weight, hull design, water conditions

In conclusion, a 55-pound thrust trolling motor can provide a satisfactory speed of approximately 4-5 mph for most kayaks. However, it is important to consider the weight of the kayak, the design of its hull, and the current water conditions to determine the expected speed. By selecting the right combination of motor power and kayak characteristics, kayakers can enjoy an efficient and enjoyable propulsion experience.

Gas Motors vs. Electric Motors for Kayaks

When it comes to choosing a motor for your kayak, there are two main options to consider: gas motors and electric motors. Both have their advantages and it’s important to understand the differences to make an informed decision.

Advantages of Electric Trolling Motors:

  • Lightweight: Electric trolling motors are generally lighter in weight compared to gas motors. This is especially beneficial for kayaks, as it helps maintain the kayak’s stability and maneuverability.
  • Quiet and Smooth Operation: Electric motors produce minimal noise and vibration, allowing for a more peaceful and enjoyable fishing experience. They also provide smoother acceleration and deceleration, making it easier to control your kayak.
  • Low Maintenance: Electric trolling motors require less maintenance compared to gas motors. There is no need to deal with fuel, oil changes, or spark plug replacements. This saves both time and money in the long run.
  • No Emissions: Electric motors are environmentally friendly as they produce zero emissions. This is particularly important for anglers who want to minimize their impact on the environment and maintain the serenity of their fishing surroundings.

Advantages of Gas Motors:

  • Higher Speed and Power: Gas motors generally provide more speed and power compared to electric trolling motors. This can be advantageous if you need to cover long distances quickly or if you’re fishing in areas with strong currents.
  • Longer Runtime: Gas motors have a longer runtime compared to electric motors. With a full tank of gas, you can fish for extended periods without worrying about battery life.
  • Quick Refueling: Gas motors can be refueled quickly and easily, allowing you to get back on the water faster. This is especially beneficial for anglers who fish for long hours or participate in tournaments.

Ultimately, the choice between a gas motor and an electric motor for your kayak depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize lightweight, quiet operation, low maintenance, and environmental friendliness, an electric trolling motor is likely the better option. However, if you require higher speed, more power, longer runtime, and quick refueling, a gas motor may be the more suitable choice. Consider your fishing style, the waters you’ll be navigating, and the overall experience you want to have before making your decision.

Advantages Gas Motors Electric Motors
Weight Heavier Lighter
Operation Noisy, vibration Quiet, smooth
Maintenance Requires regular maintenance Minimal maintenance
Emissions Produces emissions Zero emissions
Speed and Power Higher speed and power Lower speed and power
Runtime Longer runtime Limited runtime
Refueling Quick and easy No refueling needed

Choosing the Best Electric Motor for a Kayak

When it comes to selecting the best electric motor for your kayak, there are several factors to consider. One popular option is a bow-mounted trolling motor with foot pedal control. This type of motor offers a hands-free operation, allowing you to focus on fishing without the need for constant manual control. It provides precise maneuverability and is particularly favored among anglers.

Another option is a transom-mounted motor, which is suitable for all types of kayaks. This type of motor offers versatility and can be easily mounted and removed as needed. Whether you prefer a bow-mounted or transom-mounted motor depends on your personal preference, fishing style, and budget.

When selecting an electric motor, it’s important to consider the thrust, voltage, and battery type. The thrust determines the power of the motor and should be appropriate for the weight of your kayak. As a general rule, 10 pounds of thrust per 100 pounds of weight is recommended. Additionally, consider the voltage rating of the motor. Higher voltage motors offer more thrust and, consequently, higher speeds. Lastly, choose a battery that matches the motor’s requirements. Lithium-ion batteries are lightweight and offer a higher energy density, making them an ideal choice for kayak applications.

To summarize, when choosing an electric motor for your kayak, consider your preferred control method, the type of motor (bow-mounted or transom-mounted), and the appropriate thrust, voltage, and battery type for your kayak’s weight and desired performance. Taking these factors into account will help you select the best electric motor to enhance your kayaking experience.

Motor Type Control Method Thrust Voltage Battery Type
Bow-mounted Foot pedal Varies 12V, 24V, 36V Lithium-ion
Transom-mounted Manual Varies 12V Lithium-ion

Choosing the Right Motor and Battery for Your Kayak

When it comes to outfitting your kayak with a motor, selecting the right motor and battery combination is crucial for optimal performance. The size of the motor and battery you need will depend on the weight of your kayak and the level of power and runtime you desire. Finding the right balance ensures a smooth and efficient boating experience.

As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to have 10 pounds of thrust per 100 pounds of weight. Considering that most kayaks weigh between 75 and 150 pounds, a motor with 50-55 pounds of thrust is usually sufficient. This provides enough power to propel your kayak at a respectable speed without compromising maneuverability.

When it comes to the battery, it is important to consider factors such as motor draw and desired runtime. A single 100Ah lithium battery is typically enough to provide a full day of power for most users. Lithium batteries are preferred for kayak applications due to their light weight, high energy density, and longer runtime. It is essential to ensure that the battery capacity matches the motor’s requirements to avoid running out of power during your fishing or boating trip.

Motor Weight Battery Capacity
50-55 pounds of thrust 100Ah lithium battery

In summary, selecting the right motor and battery combination for your kayak involves considering the weight of your kayak, desired speed, and desired runtime. A motor with 50-55 pounds of thrust and a 100Ah lithium battery is a good starting point for most kayaks. However, it is important to evaluate your specific needs and requirements to ensure the best performance on the water.


Choosing the right trolling motor for your kayak is essential for an optimal boating experience. Electric trolling motors offer a range of options, from bow-mounted motors with foot pedal control to transom-mounted motors, catering to different preferences and fishing styles. These motors provide precise maneuverability and quiet operation, enhancing your fishing experience while eliminating the hassles associated with gas motors.

When selecting a trolling motor, consider factors such as thrust, voltage, and battery type. The appropriate motor thrust depends on your kayak’s weight, with a general recommendation of 10 pounds of thrust per 100 pounds of weight. Lithium-ion batteries are preferred due to their lightweight nature and longer runtime, ensuring you have enough power for a full day of fishing.

Motorized kayaks offer numerous benefits, including ease of maneuverability and the ability to explore hidden fishing spots. With a maximum speed of 5 mph, trolling motors are perfect for trolling techniques and recreational fishing. They provide anglers with control over their speed and allow for precise and slow-speed maneuvering. Whether you prefer hands-free operation with foot pedal control or the versatility of transom-mounted motors, motorized kayaks offer a convenient and enjoyable boating experience.

Investing in a trolling motor for your kayak is a wise choice for any fishing enthusiast. Enjoy the benefits of quiet and efficient propulsion, explore new fishing grounds, and take your fishing experience to the next level with a motorized kayak.

Richard Dodds

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