Traditionally, canoes are meant to be paddled. But if you’re looking for a little more power and speed, outboard motors for a canoe are a great option.
Outboard motors can be attached to the stern (back) or any of the sides of your canoe and provide propulsion when paddling becomes too difficult or when you’re trying to cover a lot of ground quickly.
There are a few things to consider when choosing an outboard motor for your canoe.
First, think about how you’ll be using the canoe. For example, a small motor will suffice if you’re only going on short trips. You might even be serviced by a small trolling motor for traversing calm waters.
But if you’re taking longer trips or venturing into rougher waters, you’ll need a larger motor with more power.
Second, consider the weight of the motor. The lighter the motor, the easier it will be to transport and maneuver.
And finally, think about your budget. Outboard motors can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, so it’s important to find one that fits your needs and budget.
Types of Outboard Motors You Can Install On a Canoe
One of the biggest factors influencing your purchase decision is what powers your outboard motor. A gas or oil-powered motor, for example, are excellent for long expeditions and trips that require hauling a lot of equipment.
On the other hand, an electric trolling motor is the outboard motor of choice for fishing boats because it’s silent and can adequately sustain trolling speeds.
Gas and Oil-Powered Motors
Gas and oil-powered outboard motors are the most common type. They offer a lot of power and range, making them ideal for long trips or hauling heavy loads.
For multi-day camping trips and jungle exploration, therefore, these types of motors would be your best bet.
However, they’re also the heaviest and most difficult to transport. And because they use fossil fuels, they’re not as environmentally friendly as electric trolling motors.
Generally, these types of canoes are installed on the stern of larger canoes as these can stay stable despite the significant weight.
Typically, you’ll find these motors on touring and recreational canoes that are both designed for more weight-bearing work.
Electric Outboard Motors
Electric trolling motors are powered by batteries, making them much lighter and easier to transport than gas or oil-powered outboard motors.
They’re also much quieter, so if you’re planning on doing any fishing from your canoe, an electric trolling motor is a good choice as they won’t scare away the fish as you arrive at your favorite fishing spot.
However, don’t mistake an electric outboard motor with an electric trolling motor as the latter does not have much power or range as they’re not designed to be the primary propulsion motors of the canoe.
Outboard Trolling Motors
Trolling motors are a type of electric outboard motor that’s designed for fishing boats.
As mentioned, they’re much quieter than gas or oil-powered outboard motors, so they won’t scare away the fish as you arrive at your favorite fishing spot. They also have enough power and range to sustain trolling speeds, making them ideal for canoe fishermen.
Things to Consider When Purchasing an Outboard Motor for Your Canoe
But, the power source isn’t the only thing you need to consider in your quest for the best outboard motor for a canoe.
Other factors such as range, power, and price are also going to play a huge part in your enjoyment of your new motor.
The range of an outboard motor is going to be one of the biggest factors in your decision.
If you’re only planning on using your canoe for short trips around the lake, then you won’t need as much range as someone who’s planning on taking their canoe down a river or across a bay.
Similarly, the horsepower of an outboard motor is going to be another big factor to consider.
A higher horsepower engine is going to give you more speed and power, but it’s also going to use more fuel or battery, so keep that in mind if you’re planning on using your outboard motor for long trips.
The total power of an outboard motor you should purchase, therefore, should be proportional to the weight of the boat. Generally, you need 2HP to move 100lbs of total weight. So, choose your motor’s horsepower according to your needs.
Finally, you’ll need to consider your budget when choosing an outboard motor for your canoe. Outboard motors can range in price from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand, so it’s important to find one that fits your needs and budget.
What’s the Best Outboard Motor for a Canoe?
Now that you know the different types of outboard motors available, it’s time to choose the best one for your canoe.
As a general rule of thumb, the best outboard motor for a canoe is one that fits your budget and meets your needs.
If you’re only going on short trips or plan to use the canoe in calm waters, a small trolling motor will suffice. But if you’re taking longer trips or venturing into rougher waters, you’ll need a larger motor with more power.
Now, if you’re in the market for the best outboard motor for your canoe, look no further! We’ve compiled a list of the five best outboard motors available.
Whether you’re looking for a small motor to take on short trips or a larger motor to use for longer excursions, we’ve got you covered.
Best Overall Outboard Trolling Motor: Minn Kota Endura C2
Minn Kota Endura C2 is really a great option for a canoe. It’s very quiet and enjoyable, and you just sit in the boat and then move gently on the water.
It just works super well and is easy to turn. You can also just use the tiller leave and this straight on.
Thrust Levels: 30lbs, 40lbs, 45lbs, 50lbs, 55lbs
Shaft Lengths: 30″, 36″, 42″’
Different motors feature different tiller handles. However, normally the handle is designed in the manner of telescopes.
It has a lever right, fold it up out of the water and you can adjust the height of it. It also has five forward gears in three reverse gears like other engines.
With five different speed settings, you can easily adjust the speed with just a gentle turn of the hand.
Normally speed one is equivalent to one mile per hour (1.7 km/h), speed 2 shows about 1.2 mph (2 km/h), speed 3 shows 1.6 mph (2.7 km/h) , speed 4 is 2 mph (3.5 km) /h), and top speed at 5 is 2.5 mph (4.5 km/h).
Every lower unit of Minn Kota runs cool, thereby increasing the life of the engine. They also operate very smoothly and stay quiet.
In particular, the Endura’s composite shaft does not break, kink, or corrode for life.
Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted Trolling Motor
Best Value Outboard Trolling Motor: Newport Vessels NV-Series
If you want a primary engine that’s powered by batteries, the Newport Vessels NV-Series is a great option.
It has a max thrust of 86lbs and a runtime of up to three hours at half throttle on a 150AH deep-cycle battery, making it superb for leisurely traversing placid freshwater lakes or even in inclement weather.
Thrust Levels: 36lbs, 46lbs, 55lbs, 62lbs, 86lbs
Shaft Lengths: 36″
It’s also a standout trolling motor when you need it to be, with five different speed settings, a reverse function, and an LED battery indicator.
Anti-corrosion materials – Built with a mixture of stainless steel, a sacrificial zinc anode, a fibreglass composite shaft, and a fiberglass-reinforced nylon propeller, the NV-Series can definitely stand the test of saltwater corrosion.
Powerful motor – With the option to go all the way to 86lbs of thrust, you can haul as much gear as you want worry-free.
Lighten the load a little bit, and you can translate some of that hauling power into speed for faster performance. The 86lbs of thrust is also strong enough to use as a primary motor in calm waters.
Quiet and vibration-less operation – Since it’s electric, vibration is and noise is basically zero.
Coleman Powersports 2.6 hp Outboard Motor
Best Gas-Powered Motor for Canoes: Coleman Powersports
The Coleman Powersports is a great option for those who want the power of a gas engine without breaking the bank. It’s a reliable and budget-friendly motor that will get the job done without any frills.
Engine Type: 4-Stroke Gasoline
Range: 31 Gallon Gas Tank (Integrated)
If you don’t have the budget to splurge on modern electric outboard motors, then this Coleman is the best bet for you. It’s not only easy on the budget, but it’s also easy on the ears as it’s one of the quietest gas-powered motors available.
Ignition – TCI ignition means that it’s so much more convenient and reliable than traditional CDI.
EPA and CE Standards Compliant – Coleman’s Powerstroke is a 4-stroke motor that has passed the Environmental Protective (EPA) and the much more stringent Conformité Européenne (CE) certifications.
Low-noise operation – With its vibration reduction measures, Powersports ensures that it’s one of the quietest gas-powered motors around.
Easy throttle control – The twist-grip throttle on the tiller makes it extremely easy to manoeuvre.
Newport Vessels NV-Series
Overall Best Outboard Motor for a Canoe: Spirit 1.0 Plus
The Spirit 1.0 Plus is the best outboard motor for a canoe on the market. It’s an electric engine that’s powered by batteries, so you don’t have to worry about gas or oil.
You can also fit it with solar panels and a charger, so you can literally go on an expedition or keep fishing from sun up to sundown.
Engine Type: Electric
Power: Equivalent to 3HP
Range: 1276 Wh
It’s also one of the most powerful electric options out there with 3HP. It can reach speeds of up to 10 kph for 75 minutes.
So, if you suddenly find yourself in choppy waters, you’ll be glad to have this powerful engine to help you navigate your way back to safety.
Real-time battery diagnostics – The Spirit 1.0 Plus has real-time battery diagnostics on the tiller which makes it convenient to forecast how long you have left to be out on the water.
Space-saving battery – One of the most critical aspects of an electric motor is the battery. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most delicate and space-consuming items you need to bring.
Spirit 1.0 Plus has a compact and water-proof battery housing with positive buoyancy. This means it doesn’t minimize the space taken up by the battery, it also makes sure that it’s safe and dry even if does fall overboard.
Easy to carry around – At a total weight of 19 kg including the 1276 Wh battery, it’s a relatively lightweight system especially if you take into consideration its power and range.
It also comes with a carrying bag set that makes it easy to carry around by just one person.
Fully saltwater ready – With its propellers being made from composite materials and the shaft and main motor being crafted from high-quality aluminum alloy coated with a corrosion-resistant anode, you can definitely take advantage of the Spirit 1.0 Plus in saltwater and freshwater.
Zero maintenance needed – Since it’s an electric outboard motor, there’s basically no need for maintenance beyond keeping the batteries charged.
Just rinse it with freshwater after using it in saltwater and you’ll be ready to get into the water at a moment’s notice.
Less Expensive Alternative to Spirit 1.0 Plus: Torqeedo Travel 603
If the Spirit 1.0 Plus is too expensive for you, the Torqeedo Travel 603 is a great option. It’s an electric engine that can reach up to 7.3 kph for 50 minutes with the integrated 500watts battery.
Engine Type: Electric
Power: Equivalent to 2HP
Range: 500 Wh
While it doesn’t have as much power as the Spirit Plus, it’s still a powerful motor that can help you traverse dangerous waters.
And since it’s not as powerful as the Spirit 1.0 Plus, it can sustain a 5+ hour runtime despite having a much lower battery capacity. If you fit it with Torqeedo’s solar charger, then you can basically be out in the water the whole day.
Space-saving integrated battery – the battery is built into the motor itself, so there’s no need to carry multiple bags to transport the whole rig.
Additionally, if you think you’re going to need more range out of your motor, you can also bring a spare battery that conveniently slots into the motor module.
Option for anti-corrosion Aluminum Anode – If you plan to use the Travel 603 on saltwater, you can opt for an Al anode coated set.
Zero maintenance – The electric engine makes it painless to maintain with zero emissions and gunk buildup common to gas-powered motors.
Powerful 2HP-equivalent Motor – Many canoeists prefer 2HP as it offers plenty of power yet none of the additional weight of more powerful motors.
Wrapping Things Up: The Best Outboard Motors for a Canoe
Just a few years ago, gas and oil-powered motors dominated the outboard motors market. They were much more powerful, relatively more efficient, and a lot less expensive than electric motors back in the day.
However, you’ll notice that the best outboard motors on this list are primarily electric-powered.
This is because electric motor technology has seen rapid improvement in recent years, and they’ve become more powerful and efficient than their gas-powered counterparts. They’re also much quieter, so you won’t disturb the peace and tranquility of your surroundings.
So, whether you’re fishing, exploring, or canoeing leisurely at the local lake, an electric motor will be your best bet if you don’t want to paddle. Its quiet operation means you won’t scare the fish away by the noise.
For explorers, an electric motor’s power, range, and the option to use solar chargers will help you navigate through choppy waters even for long prolonged periods.
And if you’re paddling leisurely, an electric motor will save you a lot of energy so you can enjoy your time on the water even more.
If you’re looking for the best outboard motor for a canoe, we highly recommend the Spirit Plus or the Torqeedo Travel 603. Both are powerful motors that can get you out of tough situations.
Of course, the Spirit Plus is the more powerful option, but the Torqeedo Travel 603 is a great option if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly.
Sure, electric motors are generally more expensive than other types. However, the low cost of operation, ease of maintenance, power, and range of an electric motor makes it an absolute joy to use.
So, if you’re looking for an outboard motor for fishing, exploring, or simple recreation, we recommend considering an electric one.
2 thoughts on “The 5 Best Outboard Motors for a Canoe”
I’ve been canoeing for decades, but only by paddle. As I’ve gotten a bit older, I’ve begun to think about some mechanized help–an outboard motor for my canoe. But I know nothing about motorized canoeing. That’s where I’ve found your website so helpful. In an organized, straight-forward manner, you’ve described the pros and cons of canoeing with a motor and summarized the most highly rated of electric, trolling and gas powered motors. Thank you for your assistance!