Pedal Kayak vs Trolling Motor

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Some kayakers prefer to use pedal kayaks, while others opt for trolling motors. Each has its advantages, but which is “better”?

In this post, we’ll examine each style of kayak, as well as a few factors to consider when it comes to making your final decision. A fishing boat can be used with a trolling motor or pedal-powered boat if you’re out for some sport fishing or want to go on an adventure.

Pedal Kayak vs Trolling Motor

Pedal Kayak vs Trolling Motor
Pedal KayakTrolling Motor
Drive by pedalDrive by motor
Less expensiveExpensive than pedal kayak
Portability is greatPortability is not that great
Slow than trolling motorFast than a pedal kayak

Here are some points for each which will hopefully help you decide:

Activity Level

Pedal-powered boats are great for those who want to get a good workout in. If you’re looking for a way to get out on the water, but also like to stay fit, pedal kayaks might be your thing. As an added bonus, you can feel good about not polluting the water as much if you choose this option.

Trolling motors, on the other hand, are perfect for those who love to get out on the water but don’t care to work up a sweat. Some people enjoy fishing from a kayak and would prefer to go on an outing without getting all worked up. If this sounds like you, then consider buying a trolling motor for your kayak and go about your business.


Pedal boats typically cost less than trolling motors. At the time of this writing, pedal-powered sea kayaks are available for anywhere from $200 to $3,000+. Trolling motors can be bought for $100 or less at many online stores.

If you’re on a budget, we’re sure you’ll be able to find a pedal-powered kayak that has all the bells and whistles you want at a lower price point than most trolling motors.

The downside to this approach is that you may not be able to buy the most expensive motor if you’re on a tight budget. You’ll also be limited in what options you’re able to choose from in terms of accessories since most trolling motors are like little tanks.


Pedal-powered kayaks are more compact than most trolling motors and can be easily transported from place to place. This can be a drawback for those of you who don’t have an extra vehicle to transport your boat in.

Trolling motors are usually more cumbersome, so you’ll probably be car-topping them. If this is something that you’re comfortable doing, then it doesn’t really matter which approach you choose. But if not, pedaling may be the way to go due to its portability.

Safety & Capabilities

Because pedal kayaks can move slower than trolling motors, they are considered safer by some people. Pedal kayaks also generally allow for greater maneuverability, which can give you a better ability to react if something unexpected happens.

Safety & Capabilities

Trolling motors are often thought to be safer than pedal kayaks because they can operate at higher speeds, and with the help of a fish finder or GPS, you can move around pretty accurately and in a straight line. You’ll also be able to go on longer outings without having to worry about getting tired out in it.

Technology and Accessories

A wide variety of accessories are available for both of these options. Pedal-powered kayaks can be outfitted with a depth finder, fishing rod holder, rod holders, trolling motor, fish finder, and GPS. Trolling motors have fish finders and GPS in their list of accessories as well. Both types also offer many different items to choose from when dealing with electronics.

Pedal-powered boats are also more likely to be made specifically for the water than most trolling motors. This makes them stand out when it comes to performance, as well as being very capable in the water.

Which Kayak Is Right For Me?

If you’re looking for a boat that is great for fitness, a family outing, or an adventure, pedal kayaks may be what you’re looking for. If you don’t mind working up a sweat and are willing to invest in a boat that will last several years, then look no further than your local kayak shop to find what’s best for you.

If you’re more of a casual kayaker, then a trolling motor may be better for you. If you are interested in keeping your boat under $250 and spending less time on the water, then a pedal boat could be the way to go.


If it seems like you are constantly tinkering with your kayak fishing rig, look into pedal kayak vs trolling motor. The first is by far the most affordable of the two and has the advantage of being able to be operated anywhere. The second, while more expensive is much easier to start and can take you 10 times further at a time than any pedal kayak.

You may now feel more comfortable choosing pedal or trolling boats! If you have any thoughts or experiences, please share them in the comments section below.

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