The 8 Best Motorized Kayaks in 2021 – Guide to Fishing Kayaks with Motors (Get a Move On!)


Kayaks have been used for fishing for thousands of years, powered by nothing more than paddles – and some old-fashioned elbow-grease.

But things are a little different today.

As well as pedal drives, more anglers are turning towards electric motors, to save time and effort when out on the water.

So, check out the best motorized kayaks in 2021 in the review below, and give yourself the edge when it comes to stalking those lucrative best fishing spots.

Note – not all kayaks in the review come with a motor at the point of sale, but they have been specially selected to be compatible with such aftermarket accessories.

Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.

Motorized Kayaks – What to Look For

It might come as no surprise that kayaks that have been designed for use with a motor are generally packed with more features than your average, basic craft.

As such, you should arm yourself with a bit of knowledge on what to look out for when reading through the reviews.

Pay attention to:

  • The type of kayak.
  • The motor compatibility – and if it comes with a motor as standard or sold separately.
  • Pedals and Paddles.
  • Size and weight.
  • Weight capacity.
  • Cockpit and seating.
  • Fishing friendly features.
  • Storage options.
  • Cost.

We’ll explore these factors in more detail in the buyer’s guide that follows the reviews.

Additionally, I thought I’d include a couple of options that I would purchase myself, right off the bat.

And while I’d be happy with any of the kayaks in this review, my two favorites are the Old Town Sportsman 106, and the Vibe Shearwater 125, both of which are coming up first.

There’s also an honorable mention for the FastTrack Angler from Sea Eagle, as an inflatable option, which – if you choose the whole package – is a great price point for what you get.

Without further ado, let’s power on through, and see if you can find your favorite among the products, below.

The 8 Best Motorized Fishing Kayaks in 2021

Old Town Sportsman 106 Powered by Minn Kota

My number-one favorite kayaking brand has got to be Old Town – the oldest manufacturer of canoes and kayaks in the world. You can follow that link to see some more top kayak companies, or you can stay and look at this beautiful piece of craftsmanship.

The Old Town Sportsman range offers some of the finest kayaks in the business, and the 106 is powered by a Minn Kota motor that comes as standard.

Saltwater ready, it provides 45 lbs of thrust, which is more than enough for a peppy trip up river.

And even without the motor, the kayak itself is packed with features, including a stable deck with cushioned floor pads, a premium, dual-layer Textilene mesh seat, adjustable foot braces, and more storage and gear-track options than you’ll ever know what to do with.

It’s probably one of the finest fishing kayaks ever, period.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Outstanding build quality.
  • Extra-large rudder.
  • Through-hull wiring kits and a universal transducer mount.
  • Custom tackle box included.
  • 525 lbs maximum weight capacity.
  • Rod holders galore.

Cons

  • Regularly sold out.

Takeaway

It’s hard to fault this kayak, save for the fact that it might be challenging to actually get hold of it – as the quality speaks for itself. Snap it up when you can, and be the envy of all your mates on the water.

Vibe Shearwater 125 Fishing Kayak

Vibe Shearwater 125 Fishing Kayak

If small boats had sex appeal (they do, don’t they?) then the Shearwater 125 from Vibe is surely the Marilyn Monroe of kayaks.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think this boat is stunning, designed to be the most complete fishing kayak that ever set sail, with a highly customizable loadout that offers versatility and performance on the water.

Three pod options are available for the midships section, including awesome tackle storage solutions, or pedal power, but you might be wondering where the motor comes in.

It’s an ingenious, cutting-edge device (sold separately), called the Bixpy Jet, which attaches to the Vibe’s gravity rudder, and offers a lightweight, powerful, and super-subtle punch if you need to get anywhere in a flash.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons – but let me tell you – I don’t have enough room for all the good stuff this kayak can boast.

Pros

  • Beautiful design.
  • Five seating positions.
  • Highly versatile loadout.
  • Bow and stern tank wells.
  • Premium, fully adjustable foot braces.
  • Gear accessory tracks.
  • Four flush-mounted rod holders.

Cons

  • The Bixpy Jet motor doesn’t come cheap.

Takeaway

Arguably one of the most complete, and stunning fishing kayaks ever invented, the Vibe Shearwater is probably my overall favorite. This is largely thanks to its undeniable quality, versatility, and abundance of fishing-friendly-features, but in the end, I think it’s simply the sexiest-looking kayak on the market.

And if the Bixpy is a little outside your price range, you can always check out this article on the best kayak trolling motors to find something that will be just as compatible and effective.

Jackson Kayak Big Rig FD Kayak

Jackson Kayaks Big Rig FD

Tennessee-based Jackson Kayak might be more synonymous with freestyle and whitewater-craft, but they have been hard at work in recent years creating some truly world-class fishing vessels to boot.

The Big Rig FD is exactly that, a kayak fit for larger guys and girls (more at that link), that is also perfect for use with a trolling motor.

I would suggest this Newport Vessel’s option (link to Amazon.com) with 45 lbs of thrust as a compatible product, but the pedal drive can be switched out for a central trolling motor if you’d prefer – the Flex Drive E.

There are also four bolt-holes at the stern for easy motor installation to keep things simple. The Big Rig offers a hefty weight capacity of 550 lbs, and boasts probably one of the best rod-management systems on any fishing kayak, in order to help keep you organized and tangle-free.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality throughout.
  • Oversized transducer scupper.
  • Integrated rudder system.
  • MOLLE compatible seating.
  • Paddle parks.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Gunwale gear tracks.
  • Highly stable on calm waters.
  • Choice of colors.

Cons

  • It’s on the pricey side.

Takeaway

Jackson Kayak has definitely gone “big” with this rig, a super-solid battleship of a boat that is packed with features, highly-compatible with a choice of powerful motors, and ideal for anglers who are on the larger, heavier side themselves.

Alas, that’s also reflected in the big price, but you’ll probably never need another kayak in your life. If it’s still too steep, check out this review on the best budget fishing kayaks on the market.

Sea Eagle FastTrack Angler Kayak

Sea Eagle FastTrack Angler Kayak

I’m a big fan of Sea Eagle boats, not least because they offer unbeatable portability and storage solutions, due to the fact that they manufacture some of the best inflatable fishing kayaks in the world.

This new model – the FastTrack Angler – is aptly named, given the fact that it’s highly compatible with a suitable trolling motor. And if you opt for the full package, the reputable Watersnake Asp T24 comes as standard, including the motor mount specifically designed for this craft.

As if that wasn’t enough to entice you, this is also one of the most complete fishing kayaks available, with a wealth of practical features too numerous to mention here.

And the super-durable construction and high-pressure drop-stitch floor offers peace-of-mind, and the ability to enjoy standing casts and reels all day long.

Pros

  • Name to trust in inflatables.
  • 360-degree swivel chair.
  • Built-in fish ruler.
  • 18 D-rings.
  • Nylon carry bag, repair kit & printed instructions.
  • Paddle and pump included.
  • Two drain valves.
  • Large, 635 lbs weight capacity.
  • Suitable for class II whitewater.

Cons

  • None to speak of.

Takeaway

You’re getting a lot of bang for your buck with this loadout from Sea Eagle – just be sure to select the full motor package. And not only that, it’s highly versatile, so you can take up to three people for a kayaking trip if you remove the single seat.

I seriously don’t have the space here to write all the plus points of the FastTrack Angler – so you’ll just have to pick one up to find out for yourself.

Old Town Predator MK Fishing Kayak with Motor

In the interests of fairness, I decided to include a selection of kayak companies in this article, when in truth, it could just as easily have been filled with Old Town products.

Here’s their second entry, the indomitable Predator – one of the finest fishing kayaks in the world. This is a beast of a craft, designed to offer the complete kayak angling experience, built to rival just about anything else out on the water.

This MK model comes with a Minn Kota motor, with a foot-controlled rudder system that provides the very best in hands-free fishing.

12 feet in length, the Predator features a generous 600 lbs weight capacity, as well as plenty of on-board storage space for all your tackle and gear. And the seating system alone should be enough to convince you to get out there and pilot this fish-hunting monster.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Outstanding performance.
  • Side mounted paddle storage and rest.
  • Large stern tank well.
  • Click-seal storage hatch.
  • Tackle storage.
  • Near silent 45 lbs thrust.
  • Non-slip deck standing pads.

Cons

  • Expensive – when available.

Takeaway

The Old Town Predator range has been specially designed to “bridge the gap” between bass boats, kayaks, and shallow water craft. As a result, you have one of the boldest, baddest, angling machines ever to grace the water.

And when it’s paired with the Minn Kota motor, it’s almost unstoppable. Unless you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger, maybe.

Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K 140 Fishing Kayak

Famed for their beautifully-designed recreational and touring kayaks, Wilderness Systems also dabble in fishing craft. I say dabble, but these things win awards, so they’re obviously pretty good at it.

The iconic A.T.A.K range (Advanced Tactical Angling Kayak) is one such example, which is compatible with their Helix Motor Drive – one of the best products in its class.

This particular model is the 14-foot option, which offers plenty of room for storage, as well as a super-stable, roomy deck for standing casts and reels.

Designed to seamlessly marry comfort and performance, the A.T.A.K 140 does just that, with a customizable loadout, streamline hull for superior tracking, and a suspension-style seat.

Ideal for larger paddlers, fully adjustable foot-braces offer extra support, while high, low and recline seating positions allow for excellent visibility and stability out on the water.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Accessory gear tracks.
  • Paddle park.
  • Walkable deck.
  • Plenty of storage options.
  • 550 lbs weight capacity.

Cons

  • Might be too large and heavy for some.
  • The Helix Motor Drive is pricey.

Takeaway

As far as performance fishing kayaks go, it’s often difficult to strike a balance. Not so when it comes to the A.T.A.K range. If speed and tracking are important to you, then look no further than the 140, which is a force to be reckoned with when paired with the right motor.

But as it’s on the heavy side, you might also want to check out this review on the best kayak carts out there, and the WS product is particularly recommended and designed specially to work with this range.

Pelican CATCH PWR 100 Fishing Kayak

Pelican CATCH PWR 100 Single-Person Fishing Boat

Noted for their accessible, affordable recreational kayaks, Pelican are responsible for bringing many fledgling paddle sports enthusiasts into the fold.

And this new option in their popular Catch range is no exception, a cracking little boat that’s destined to become a hit among anglers – beginners and experts alike.

With a compact size at just under 10 feet, the PWR 100 is lightweight and maneuverable, yet capable of a maximum weight capacity of 450 lbs.

And some of that weight can be a gas or electric motor up with up to 2.5 horsepower, with the specially-designed independent transom mount at the stern, and pre-wired dedicated forward battery compartment.

Not only that, but it’s loaded with attractive features, including handles with integrated rigging tracks, flush-mounted rod holders, and a large, anti-slip deck pad for standing casts. I think I want one.

Pros

  • Great price point for what you get.
  • 360-degree, sliding comfort seating.
  • Spacious storage options.
  • Stable, solid performance on the water.
  • Eight-inch day hatch.
  • Recessed area for transducer.
  • Rugged, durable construction.
  • Premounted eyelets.
  • Super lightweight.

Cons

  • Might be a bit too small for some anglers.

Takeaway

I predict great things for this kayak – so get it while you can. And with that outstanding 360-degree sliding seating system, this is one Pelican that’s going to be catching a serious amount of fish.

If you’re looking for similar compact craft, check out this article on the best 10-foot fishing kayaks on the market – and I definitely need to add the PWR 100 to that review.

BKC PK11 Angler Fishing Kayak with Trolling Motor

BKC PK11 Angler Fishing Kayak with Trolling Motor

The Brooklyn Kayak Company is another budget-friendly bunch bringing affordable craft to get the masses moving.

The PK11 Angler is a 10.5 foot sit-on-top vessel that comes with a trolling motor as standard, positioned within easy reach of the fully adjustable comfort seating.

Flush-mounted rod holders can be found in convenient locations, with accessory mounting tracks, and a generous amount of storage space for all your tackle and gear.

Capable of a maximum weight capacity of 420 lbs, the body is rotomolded and UV protected for durability, with a compact, yet streamlined design to maximize performance.

Large storage options are to be found at the bow and stern, including a bungee tank well and watertight hatch, with plenty of space to add one of these practical kayak fishing crates or tackle bags.

Pros

  • Excellent price point including the motor.
  • Durable construction.
  • Scupper holes.
  • Paddle included.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Choice of colors.

Cons

  • None immediately apparent.

Takeaway

When you consider everything that comes with this kayak – not least the built-in trolling motor – and all the features, it’s one heck of a deal. For a superfast, affordable, and fully motorized kayak experience with minimum fuss, you could do a lot worse than BKC’s PK11 Angler.

How to Choose the Right Fishing Kayak with Motor

I’m sure you’ll agree that understanding a bit about kayaks and motors is important if you’re in the market to buy one.

You don’t need to be an expert, but following our handy, bite-sized guide below should be more than enough to get you started.

fisherman kayaking and fishing on lake

Type of Kayak

So, the hard work may or may not have been done for you when it comes to the type of kayak you should choose.

Most of the time, when it comes to motorized craft, it’s going to be a sit-on-top design.

However, that’s not to say sit-inside kayaks are not compatible with trolling motors – far from it.

But as you can see from the review above – and many other reviews like it – sit-on-top kayaks are overwhelmingly the most popular type of kayak for this sport.

Feel free to check out this article on sit-inside kayaks versus sit-on top models for more information.

Next, you need to decide if you would like an inflatable or a hardshell.

Again, hardshells are generally more popular, but inflatables have some notable advantages.

They’re lighter, more portable, and easier to store, and – contrary to popular belief – they’re not likely to get as damaged or scraped up as hardshell kayaks.

The main disadvantage of an inflatable is that it doesn’t come close to a hardshell for speed, tracking, and overall performance.

Still, the type you choose will depend on your own needs and circumstances, and I would heartily recommend owning one of each if space and budget allows.

Motor Compatibility

If you’re interested in adding a motor to your kayak – and it’s not listed here – then please make sure it’s going to be compatible before you start drilling a bunch of holes.

Not all kayaks are suitable for adding a motor – hence the reason for this review.

Some of the kayaks listed above come with motors already built-in, while others are specifically designed to be upgraded at a later date.

The advantage of buying the full package, is that the manufacturer has done the hard work for you – and you don’t need to worry about choosing a compatible setup, because it’s already there.

If the kayak you’re interested in doesn’t come with a motor installed, then you need to think carefully about which product it’s going to be compatible with.

This guide to the best kayak trolling motors will go into more detail about the types of motor available, as well as the level of thrust you need depending on your kayak and loadout.

But generally speaking, a kayak that is 10-12 feet long will need a 35 lbs thrust motor, minimum. A 13-14 foot kayak should choose a 45 lbs thrust motor.

Remember – the heavier the kayak (including occupants, gear, and any potential catches), the more thrust you’re going to need. For the most part, anything over 45 lbs is going to be overkill – and potentially dangerous.

Either way, the maximum speed of a small trolling motor is going to be around five miles per hour, given optimum conditions – so don’t set your heart on breaking any records.

fisherman in sit-on-top kayak with multiple fishing rods

Pedals and Paddles

Just because you’re packing a motor onboard, doesn’t mean you need to ditch the other forms of propulsion.

Batteries can easily fail, run out of juice, or the motor itself might break down, get damaged, or become inoperable in some way.

As such, kayak anglers aren’t getting rid of their paddles – just yet. Take a look at this review on the best kayak fishing paddles on the market, to see the latest, cutting-edge options.

But you need to decide if you want your kayak to have a pedal drive – which is going to be located in the center of the craft, within reach of your feet and legs.

It’s entirely possible – and popular – to have all three – pedals, paddles, and a motor.

But if that’s the case, then you’ll need to choose a kayak/motor that can be attached to the transom, at the base of the rudder (if there is one), or with a suitable mounting system within easy reach.

If you’d prefer not to have pedals, you might be able to add a compatible motor where you would usually find a pedal drive.

Some anglers prefer to have a trolling motor in the center console, rather than behind them – but this is more for personal preference rather than a performance-related choice.

Take a look at this article for more of the best pedal-powered fishing kayaks, to see what’s out there – many of which will also be motor-compatible.

Size and Weight

When it comes to motorized kayaks, the craft’s weight is arguably more important than its size.

The heavier the kayak, the more pounds of thrust you’ll need in the motor to propel it forward.

Aside from this, you should keep an eye on how much gear and equipment you’re adding to the kayak – as when you factor in pedals, and/or a battery and motor – the weight will soon add up.

Remember, you still need to get it to the water’s edge. If you haven’t already, I would suggest taking a look at this article on kayak carts to help you do that.

As for size (length), the usual adage applies – the longer and slimmer the kayak, the faster and straighter it will go.

Shorter kayaks are more maneuverable and ideal for whitewater and negotiating obstacles, whereas longer craft are preferable for touring, distance kayaking, and racing.

For fishing, therefore, a kayak of around 10-12 feet is ideal, usually around 34-36-inches wide for improved stability. Some anglers prefer a longer craft for more storage space.

And don’t forget tandem kayaks – many of which can be used with a motor setup. Tandem kayaks are often piloted alone, as they can also be useful for offering extra storage – or the ability to bring a furry-friend along.

two man kayak fishing in summer

Weight Capacity

As previously mentioned, the heavier a kayak, the more pounds of thrust required to successfully propel it forward.

A kayak’s weight capacity is how many pounds a craft can safely carry before getting into difficulty. It’s important you adhere to this figure and never overload your kayak.

Heavier items like trolling motors and battery packs will add weight to your loadout. And you need to factor them in when including yourself, your tackle and gear, any other humans or pets, and any potential catches.

Furthermore, never overload, or poorly load your kayak.

Even if you’re not at the weight limit, you might be off balance, struggle to navigate waterways safely, and you could easily capsize following an over-zealous paddle stroke.

Cockpit and Seating

Motorized kayaks, or motor compatible kayaks, usually come with some seriously impressive seating technology.

Because let’s face it, if you’re at the level of kayak angling where you want to add a motor, you should be as comfortable as possible in the cockpit, too.

It’s important that your cockpit is set up to give you easy access to all the necessary controls, depending on where your motor is mounted.

Seats that offer 360-degree swivel action can be invaluable if the motor handle is located behind you, making it less awkward to turn from a fixed position.

Fishing Friendly Features

Aside from all the wonderful benefits of motorized technology, these fishing kayaks shouldn’t neglect the basics when it comes to angling.

It’s no good adding a top-of-the-range motor drive if you don’t have a rod holder, for example.

Thankfully, all the kayaks in this review are packed with an abundance of fishing friendly features to keep fisher people happy.

In fact, kayaks that are motor compatible are often the flagship models of a company’s range, and as such contain just about everything but the kitchen sink.

Look out for rod holders, gear accessory tracks, transducer mounts, fish rulers, tackle trays, and more.

If you’re not satisfied with what’s there, you can always add one of these rod holders for kayaks, aftermarket.

And check out these awesome kayak fish finders that would compliment your setup and improve your chances of success.

Pay attention to how customizable a kayak is. The very best kayaks with motors will offer almost inexhaustible scope for pimping your ride just how you like it, designed to fit your fishing style.

And here’s a great piece on even more kayak fishing accessories to help inspire you.

Storage Options

Wow, with all that stuff on board, you’d better have somewhere to put it all, right?!

One of the most important aspects of any good fishing kayak is its storage options. How does it make use of the space, where you can stash your stuff, is your gear going to be in a conveniently accessible location?

And this is especially true when you’re adding a potentially large battery and motor setup.

You need to make sure that this new acquisition isn’t going to take the place of something important, and/or it’s stored out of the way.

A quality fishing kayak with motor will offer a specific space in which to house a battery, as well as having pre-drilled holes for wiring and other such gadgetry.

At the very least, you should have a large stern tank well for one of these sweet fishing coolers.

Because beer.

And sandwiches. Don’t forget the sandwiches.

Just make sure to leave the bananas at home.

Cost

As you might have noticed, motorized fishing kayaks aren’t exactly budget-friendly, and they can set you back a fair bit of coin.

Aside from that, purchasing a separate motor setup can be just as expensive as the kayak – sometimes even more so.

I would heartily recommend you buy the best you can afford, and perhaps consider purchasing a kayak you can upgrade with a motor at a later date – to give you a chance to save for it.

Alternatively, if you feel you can’t quite stretch this time, you can check out this excellent review of the fishing kayaks under $1000, or even the best fishing kayaks under $500 – if money is really tight.

man kayak fishing in river

FAQs

Do I need a motorized kayak for fishing?

No, you do not. You can fish adequately without one.

Motorized kayaks are something of a luxury, and are generally preferred by tournament anglers, folks of advancing years, less mobile individuals, and/or anyone who is keen on a more relaxing, almost effortless fishing experience.

There are paddlers out there that decry motorized craft, citing that it defeats the very notion of kayaking in the first place.

Take a look at this article on choosing a fishing kayak for more information. You don’t need to keep up with the Joneses if you don’t want to.

What type of motor do I need for my kayak?

It depends on the size and weight of the kayak, and whether the kayak is compatible with a motor in the first place.

Make sure you check with the manufacturer’s specifications to find out if a kayak is designed to handle a motor, and if so – how powerful that motor needs to be.

Again, as a rule of thumb, a 12Volt, 35 lbs thrust motor should be more than enough for a 10-12 foot kayak.

Are motorized kayaks good?

Yes, they are. Motorized kayaks, or kayaks that are capable of handling motors, are commonly some of the best fishing kayaks on the market.

Just check out the products in the review above – every single one is a doozy.

Is there a motorized kayak?

Kayaks that come with motors built-in are actually not as common as you might think. At the time of writing, there were only a few available on the market – and most are included in the review above.

Thankfully, kayaks that are compatible with motors are in plentiful supply, and many anglers enjoy the freedom to customize their own setup with aftermarket accessories.

Can I put a motor on any kayak?

No. While it’s possible to add a motor to most decent kayaks, many cheaper models (such as budget recreational play boats and poor-quality inflatable) will not be able to handle one.

Hence, the reason for this article.

When in doubt, check with the manufacturer directly, or an experienced paddler/kayak angler.

How fast does a motorized kayak go?

With optimum conditions, you’re probably looking at no more than five miles per hour.

What is the best motor for a kayak?

Again, it depends on the type of kayak, the design, and its overall weight. Plus, where you’re mounting the motor on the kayak itself.

There isn’t a definitive answer to this question. What works for my kayak, might not work for yours. Thankfully, there are plenty of products out there to suit every loadout.

How do you put a trolling motor on a kayak?

There are multiple ways to add a trolling motor to a kayak, and how you do so will depend on the type of motor you’re using, as well as the kayak design.

If you want to have a go at a spot of DIY for a basic, but popular set up, check out the video below.

For other mounting options, I would suggest researching the type of rig you’re most interested in, and go from there.

Summary

There’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of pep in your step, and you will certainly do that with the best-motorized kayaks in 2021.

Let me know which model you’re interested in and why. Bonus points if it aligns with any of my personal picks.

Stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy kayak fishing!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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