Picture this: You want to take your kayak out to a nice, scenic, secluded place up your local river. You’ve been there once before, and the experience was nothing short of magical.
The weekend is now fast approaching. But, the thought of paddling all the way there, and then back again, isn’t appealing. There’s only one place you can launch your boat – which is miles away from the destination.
Now, if you had a motorized kayak, you wouldn’t have to think twice about it. You would just get in and go. If you’re in the market for one, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s the best-motorized kayak for 2020, along with other top contenders you might like.
If you’re on the hunt for a motorized fishing kayak that comes with large storage capacity, you need to check out the Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat. It offers anglers the perfect combination of comfort, functionality, agility, and adventure.
It has a two-position weatherproof and waterproof motor mount for trolling. Depending on what feels comfortable to you, you can mount the motor on the left or right side. The great thing about it is – the Colorado XT isn’t as heavy as some of the other models you might come across. So, it’ll work with small and mid-sized motors.
The package also includes a transport wheel for moving the boat. The inflatable side tubes make it easy and convenient to pack up and haul. All in all, it’s a winner in our books.
Comes with a two-position motor mount
Has adjustable footrests
Has a rod holder that can be mounted in 3 different positions
The anchor rope is quite thin
2. Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Drive (Best Kayak With Pedal Drive)
Perception is no stranger to the kayaking industry. After all, they’ve been around for roughly four decades. So, they know their stuff.
The Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Drive uses a pedal propelling system to give you the hands-free movement and stability you need to fish all day long. It is quite fast and remarkably silent, allowing you to approach your quarry without worrying that you might scare them away.
The captain’s chair has an ergonomic design to give you ample support and comfort for long days spent out on the water. Although the Pescador Pilot does not have a built-in motor, it does have a console at the back to allow for easy installation.
In addition to this, it also comes with stern and bow tank wells, dry hatches, transducer scupper for electronics and gear, and turbo flaps to minimize noise and turbulence.
Comfortable ergonomic captain’s chair
Supports motor installation
It is built to withstand impact and abrasion
May not be suitable for use in whitewater or anywhere with strong currents
3. Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K 140 Fishing Kayak (Best Kayak for Fishing)
If fishing is your forte, then you’re going to love the Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K 140 Fishing Kayak. It comes fully outfitted with tons of amazing features, including gear tracks, rod holders, and plenty of storage space for all your fishing equipment.
The most outstanding feature of the A.T.A.K is, no doubt, the different power options it supports. You can pedal, paddle, and propel the vessel using a kayak motor. Although the package doesn’t include a built-in motor, it comes with a console in the middle for easy installation.
It is compatible with the Helix MD motor drive, which has a runtime of about 8 hours and a 20-mile range. This motor will propel the A.T.A.K at speeds of up to 6 miles per hour.
It comes with the patented AirPro Max seat that has three adjustable levels for maximum all-day comfort. It also features plenty of device mounts, gear tracks, and rod holders that make it every angler’s dream.
Has three power options – paddling, pedaling, and motor trolling
Compatible with the Helix HD kayak motor drive
Comfortable AirPro Max seat
The boat weight is slightly higher than the average
4. Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 120 (Best Kayak With Built-In Motor)
The Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 120 takes motorized kayaking to a whole new level. It is loaded with premium features that allow you to get the most enjoyment out of your fishing experience, with the least amount of effort.
It is powered by a highly-responsive built-in 12V Minn Kota trolling motor that delivers a 45-pound thrust. It integrates Spot-Lock technology to ensure that your kayak holds its position even in windy conditions and strong currents.
For a truly hands-free fishing experience, the kayak is designed to allow for foot brace steering for exceptional maneuverability.
Other notable features it comes with include built-in accessory tracks, non-slip padded EVA foam decking to allow anglers to fish while standing up, a universal transducer, along with three through-hull wiring kits for mounting it without having to drill through the kayak, and lots more amazing features. Keep in mind, though that all these premium features carry a premium price tag. But, if you can afford it, there’s truly no better motorized kayak to have.
Has a powerful thrust
Uses life-assist technology for easy deployment
Compatible with both lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries
Packed with loads of amazing features
It is quite expensive
5. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 (Best Value Motorized Kayak)
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get a good motorized kayak. There are several worthwhile options out there worth exploring.
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak is one of them. It is the perfect embodiment of stability, versatility, and affordability. Although the Tamarack doesn’t have a dedicated mount for a motor, the shape of the stern means that you can upgrade if you wanted to.
One of the great things about this particular boat is just how lightweight it is. At a little over 100 lbs. you can get away with installing a small or mid-sized electric motor if you intend to bring lots of gear along for the ride.
It also comes with loads of useful features, including three rod-holders, multiple molded-in footrests, excellent UV-resistance, an adjustable backrest, and several other outstanding features. Overall, it delivers a lot of value for its price.
As fishing kayaks continue to get bigger, the smaller and more compact ones are still in high demand. The Pelican Sentinel 100X is one great example.
At only 10 feet long and 45 lbs. heavy, this vessel has a lot to offer in functionality and performance, despite its size and weight. It can comfortably handle loads of up to 300 lbs. while maintaining a surprising level of stability.
The great thing about it is that the shape of the stern allows you to add a universal trolling motor mount. That way, you can install a small to a mid-sized electric motor to provide the thrust needed to propel the boat.
Compatible with standard motors
The hull design offers plenty of stability
Best Premium Choice
7. Hobie Mirage Oasis Tandem Kayak (Best Tandem Kayak)
If you’re looking for a kayak that provides the level of stability, speed, maneuverability, and quality that serious anglers demand, then you’ll quite like what the Hobie Mirage Oasis Tandem Kayak brings to the table. It is designed to provide superior comfort and exceptional performance.
While many of the tandem kayaks you’ll come across are usually cramped, the same cannot be said for the Oasis. Its 33-inch beam guarantees enough leg and elbow room for even the largest of anglers.
The Oasis can be propelled using the two built-in MirageDrive pedal systems. However, if you’re looking for more power, you could always install a trolling motor at the back to speed things up, if peddling and paddling both don’t appeal to you.
Overall, this beauty was built for tandem-style kayakers who aren’t willing to compromise on performance or quality.
Ample leg and elbow room
Has three power options – paddling, pedaling, and motor trolling
Offers a high degree of stability and comfort
Given that it is a high-end kayak, the price is reflective of this fact
Best Budget Choice
8. Catch 100 Angler Kayak (Best Kayak for Any Skill Level)
Last but certainly not least is the Catch 100 Angler Kayak from Pelican. This kayak adds a new dimension of comfort, quality, and utility. Its small yet simple design packs a punch when it comes to performance.
It has ample storage in the form of a compartment located at the front that runs to the back of the vessel. It can hold up to 350 lbs. while remaining exceptionally stable. Although it does not feature a built-in trolling motor, it is possible to adapt one for use with this particular model.
All in all, for its size and price, the Catch 100 is a true catch.
It is compatible with most standard motors
Small and compact
Comfortable and adjustable seat
Maneuverability might be a bit of a challenge for some
How to Choose the Best Motorized Kayak – Buying Guide
Before you go off and buy the first boat you come across, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure you pick the right one. Here’s everything you need to know.
Unlike boats with outboard engines, motorized kayaks rely on electric motors. And what generates electricity? You guessed it – batteries.
Some models usually come with a battery included in the purchase. But, more often than not, you’ll need to buy one yourself.
You also need to think about where you’ll store the battery. You want to choose a motorized kayak that comes with a dedicated built-in battery compartment, where it can stay dry, protected, and, more importantly, out of the way.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the size and weight of the motorized kayak will have a significant impact on the kayak’s performance, particularly in terms of its agility and stability.
While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for beginners, keep in mind that even with a motor installed, it still won’t whizz through the water the way a jet ski would. But, you’ll certainly go faster than you would if you were paddling.
If you have some experience on the water, and you crave the adrenaline rush that comes from blasting through it with speed, then a long and narrow model is what you want.
When buying a motorized kayak, you’ll likely face two options. On the one hand, you could pick a vessel that already has a built-in motor installed. On the other hand, you could opt for a motor-ready vessel and purchase a motor separately for a DIY installation.
Now, while a kayak with a built-in motor may cost significantly more than one without, the great thing about it is – it eliminates the hassle of having to choose one from the wide range of motors available. Here’s why the selection process is a lot harder than it seems.
All electric motors that are pre-installed on kayaks have a thrust rating. This is the figure that describes the power used to propel your boat forward.
But, the motor won’t be powering an empty kayak, now will it? The thrust rating also applies to your weight, that of anyone else with you, as well as that of your equipment and gear.
Generally, the motor you choose needs to generate 2 lbs. of thrust for every 100 lbs. of the cumulative boat weight. So, you can see why choosing the right motor to install on your kayak can be a bit of a hassle.
Storage is always a matter of great concern when it comes to kayaks and any other boat types in general. Motorized kayaks are no exception. Since most of them are used for fishing, they need to have enough room to haul all your fishing gear in addition to any fish you catch!
Moreover, it is always a great idea to buy a kayak that has some form of dry storage. That way, you can keep water-damage-prone items safe from splashing. Look out for models that come with spacious tank wells. These allow you to carry full-size crates with equipment and/or gear.
Unlike paddle-dependent kayaks, the motorized variants can be quite expensive. The ones with sophisticated features and built-in motors come with a hefty price tag attached to them. This may be out of reach for some kayakers.
So, if the cost of a shiny new motorized kayak is way out of your budget, you might want to consider getting a standard angler kayak instead. Then, in time, you can outfit it with an electric motor.
After all, the whole point of a motor-powered boat is to save on the energy you would have otherwise used to paddle your kayak from point A to B and back.
Now, before you go off and modify your angler kayak by installing a motor, you need to be very careful. Check if the specific motor you plan on getting is compatible with your kayak model.
You also need to explore the mounting options that exist – like if you have to drill holes or attach a motor mount instead.
Also, check the power rating of the motor. You’re going to need a stronger one if you plan to haul more equipment and gear with it.
The best-motorized kayak comes with built-in features designed to make your time on the water even more pleasurable. One of the things you need to consider is how you’ll control the motor.
For most standard trollers, you would have to turn around to use the motor handle. Sophisticated models, however, come with a remote control console to operate the motor.
On a side note, although most motors typically have 10+ hours’ worth of runtime, it doesn’t hurt to have a backup just in case you find yourself stranded in the middle of the lake – for whatever reason. Some manufacturers include paddles with the purchase.
Other useful features that come in handy in a motorized kayak include anchor trolleys, gear mounts, and rod holders. If you come across one with all these accessories and its price fits your budget, you should go right ahead and buy it.
Speed up Your Adventure
Getting a motorized kayak is a perfect way to propel your vessel with no energy expenditure whatsoever on your part. You get to your destination faster and explore more waterways that would otherwise be too far to paddle to.
It’s a win-win either way you look at it.
Although they are pricier than your standard yaks, the investment is well worth it. Use the information in this guide to help you pick the best motorized kayak. The models listed here would be a great starting point.
Are you looking to buy a non-motorized kayak? Check out our in-depth review of the 10 best ones of 2020 worth checking out.