Best Cheap Kayaks of 2019 – 30 Affordable Kayaks Rated and Reviewed

Cheap Kayaks

Best Cheap Kayaks : For the Money


In our previous article Best Kayaks we reviewed what we thought were the best kayaks for each class (Fishing, Inflatable, Sit On Top, Touring, Tandem and Recreational). These Kayaks are all fantastic and have favourable user reviews but a lot of them can get pricey. We realise not everyone has $2,000 + dollars just sitting around in their giant mansion waiting to be spent.

The good news is there are a lot of good quality kayaks that are very affordable.

So we decided to come up with a Best Cheap Kayaks article that balances quality, performance and price all in one to allow you to choose what best suits your needs! We will categorise them in the same order only this time will only display the affordable options that blend the quality, performance and reasonable price qualities you would expect.

Kayaking is a fantastic way to spend time in the outdoors with the cool breeze on your face, sun on your back and a sense of freedom that you get floating on the water. I’m sure I don’t have to convince you further, as you are on this page looking for the best cheap kayak that you can get your money’s worth.  Before you do that though, you have to ponder a few questions to yourself.

  • How Much Space do I have?
  • Where am I Paddling?
  • How Often am I Paddling?
  • What Purpose am I using my Kayak for?

Once you answer these questions we can go into the best cheap kayak categories and have a better idea of what you are looking for.


What are the Best Cheap Kayaks for the Money?

To jump to each category for a full detailed explanation click the Best __ Kayak Category. If you are in a hurry click on the recommended kayaks below to go to Amazon.


Best Cheap Fishing Kayak


Best Cheap Inflatable Kayak


Best Cheap Touring Kayak


Best Cheap Recreational Kayak


Best Cheap Sit-on-Top-Kayak


Best Cheap Tandem Kayak


Why a Budget Kayak?

The best way to get your feet wet (yes they will get wet) in kayaking is getting a budget kayak. Budget kayaks are a great way to start this wonderful hobby because they give you the feel for paddling and are very forgiving. Budget Kayaks are usually

  • More Stable
  • More Maneuverable
  • Less Money (Well thats obvious :))
  • Have Less Features
  • Wider
  • More Basic in terms of Usability
  • Not as Comfortable for a long period of time

The majority of these kayaks (touring excluded) are meant to be paddled for a few hours to a day. Starting out me and my family started off with two sun dolphin kayaks. They are pretty good for what they are but there is no way I would paddle more than a couple of hours on them. If you are looking to paddle for a longer period of time check out our best kayaks section.

Having said that budget kayaks are still a fantastic way to get out on the water and explore your surroundings and there are ways around it. Such as getting a upgrades seat, bringing extra cushions or towels.

To find completely in depth kayaking criteria and explanations that explain which kayak is best for you check out The Ultimate Kayak Buying Guide.



Best Cheap Fishing Kayaks


Here are some questions you must ask yourself.

Cheap Kayaks


What is the ideal Length, Width and Weight of the kayak?

Wider kayaks are usually the norm for fishing kayaks. Especially if you plan on standing up to cast or spot fish. Keep in mind wider kayaks do not always track or manoeuvre as well so if you plan on travelling longer distances you may want to look into a thinner boat.

Length is usually a factor for determining for how tall you are and how well you would like to track in the water.  Longer kayaks as a rule of thumb generally track better meaning you go a greater straight line distance but at the cost of some manoeuvrability. If you are paddling down a windy river or body of water that needs manoeuvrability I would get a shorter kayak. If you are ocean fishing along the coast and want to get greater distances than a longer kayak is more favourable. As a rule of thumb
Longer: Tracks Better
Wider: More stable
Shorter: Manoeuvres better


Sit in or Sit On Top?

This is a bit more of a preference to the angler but in generally most preferred kayaks are sit on top because they are generally more stable, have more room and some are more customisable . Many Sit on top kayaks have self bailing scupper holes in them to drain water out.


Where will you be fishing?

This is a particularly big factor in not just the best fishing kayaks but most kayaks. What bodies of water do you plan on paddling on? If you are in a tight turning river, creek or nook you would want to get yourself a kayak that manoeuvres well. If you are in an open body of water and want to stand you look for stability IE a wider kayak. Lastly if you plan on going great distances along a big lake or coastal waters you would probably prefer something more narrow and longer. For these reasons when selecting a fishing kayak it is usually best to select designated fishing kayaks for fishing because they usually keep all of these factors in mind.


Here are the Best Quality Cheap Kayaks for Fishing

KayakTypeDimensions(L X W)Weight and Max CapacityRating
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 (Hunter Camo Deluxe Seat) 9' X 32" 46 Lbs and 300 Lbs 9/10
Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan 10' X 31" 52 Lbs and 275 Lbs 8.5/10
Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak 10'9'' X 39" 41 Lbs and 470 Lbs 8.5/10
Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-in Fishing Kayak Olive 12' X 29 1/2" 47 Lbs and 395 Lbs 8/10
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 10 Angler Fishing Kayak, Brown Camo 10' X 28.5" Lbs 49 Lbs and 275 Lbs 8/10

1. Vibe Skipjack 90


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Two Sealed hatches
  • Four Flush-mount rod holders
  • Four carrying handles
  • Rear cargo storage with bungees
  • Mounting Point for accessories
  • Adjustable seat and rear pouch

This is your go to go at it alone type of kayak where you do not require a whole lot of gear and want a good quality kayak. Weighing in at 46 lbs and a length of 9 feet it is an extremely manoeuvrable kayak. This is a kayak ideal for fishing in shallower bays and manoeuvring into tighter areas. With it’s V shaped front and rear hull it also tracks pretty well for a 9 footer. What is equally as impressive is the fact that it has ample storage space which you do not typically see for a boat of it’s size. It features 2 dry hatches, one in the middle just in front of the seat and and one at the bow of the boat. It also has a rear tank well that you can put a small cooler or customise it with your own rigging!

You can bring a potential amount of 5 fishing rods with you with it’s 4 flush mounted rod holders and a mounting point to have the option to hold another one. Many Kayaks in this category do not come with scupper plugs but this one does! Not that they are terribly expensive but it is just nice to have the option to have them instead of having to contact and order direct from the manufacturer. This kayak can also handle a wide variety of conditions with relative ease so it is a good multi purpose kayak to boot!

Pros: Very Manoeuvrable, ample storage room and can handle a wide variety of conditions. Well made and durable

Cons: There are not too many bad things I can really say about this kayak other than the tracking compared to longer boats but that is to be expected. Has ample room for gear but would not recommend putting another person or child on it.

Bodies of Water:
Can handle both calm and choppy waters. Can be used in coastal waters, Bays, Lakes Rivers and especially recommended for tighter waterways because if it’s manoeuvrability .


See The Full Review Here!

Cheap Kayaks for Fishing Rating: 9/10



2. LifeTime Tamarack Sit On Top 120 Angler Kayak


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Padded Seat Back
  • Front and Rear Bungees
  • Two 6” Storage hatches
  • Two Flush Mounted Fishing Rod Holders
  • One top mounted rod holder
  • Paddle Cradle with Bungee
  • Front and Rear Carry Handles
  • Molded in footwells


The LifeTime Tamarack Sit on Top 120 Angler That is a great affordable option for a beginner kayaker! It features A padded seat back that is comfortable for a few hours and four position molded in footwells. Some accessories that it features that are features in more expensive models of kayaks are it’s two 6” Storage compartments, Two built in rod holders and a top mounted rod holder as well as side carry handles.

Many fishing kayak companies always have the option to have top mounted rod holder but this one actually includes it, and it’s in a pretty good position! It does not get in the way of paddling. It also features the two rear rod holders at the back of the seat for if you have multiple lines going or simply just want the option to change fishing rods.

This budget kayak provides good tracking ability on the water thanks to its V shaped Hull in the front. It also tackles waves pretty well in swells and rougher conditions as well as good overall wind performance! This is a bit of a narrower kayak and has a bit of a rounded hull at the bottom making it ok for smaller people to stand on but not as good for taller folk.

Some of the common complaints of this kayak is that it is not well suited for taller individuals. Also there are a few complaints about the comfort of the seat for long periods of time.


Pros: Great quality kayak that is at a great price. Tracks well for a budget kayak! Handles rougher waters and wind well. Good amount of space and customisability available on this kayak as well as the built in rod holders.

Cons: The seat could be designed better for longer fishing trips. This may not be the best kayak to buy if you are a taller person. There are kayaks that have better stability out there.


Bodies of water:
To be taken out on a warmer day. Sheltered coastal waters, large lakes as well as various sized rivers as inlets.


Cheap Kayaks for Fishing Rating: 8.6/10


See The Full Review Here:



3. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2 person fishing Kayak


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Eighteen Gauge PVC Rugged Construction
  • One Thousand D Tarpaulin bottom and 840 D Nylon Cover
  • Berkley Quick Set Rod Holders
  • Paddle Holders
  • Sevylor Trolling motor fittings
  • Boston Valves
  • Mesh Storage Pockets
  • D- Rings
  • Two Adjustable Seats
  • Carry bag and pressure gauge
  • One year limited warranty

You may be puzzled to find an inflatable kayak on here and frankly I don’t blame you. However this kayak is actually built better than many budget fishing kayaks out there!

For one it has a maximum capacity of 470 lbs and can actually be used in many different types of water conditions! Sevylor also seem pretty confident with their boat as they provide a 1 year limited warranty.

This kayak has many bells and whistles that you would not expect from an inflatable kayak including Berkley Quick Set Rod holders, mesh storage pockets, adjustable seats with pockets and it even has Sevylor trolling motor fittings if you don’t feel like paddling and want to get a motor!

Probably the best selling feature of this kayak is that it’s inflatable meaning you can just pack it up and store it without worrying about clearing out the dining room table! The Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2 Person fishing kayak can seat Two people , One person or even One person and a dog! In fact this is one of the best kayaks you can get to have your furry friend keep you company while you fish! It’s snug design helps your pet feel secure and it’s stability is very good!

Being a 10 foot kayak it is a bit of a tight fit and the rod holders and other doo dads can get in the way of paddling so it is recommended that you elevate yourself higher up if you are a shorter person and you don’t want to be buried within the kayak.


Pros: Needs very little space for storage which is optimum for storage and transportation. It is One Person ,two people and Rover friendly!  Lots of options for accessories and is made of super durable material. Can handle a variety of calm and tough conditions, it is very hard to tip!


Cons: It being an inflatable boat the tracking is alright but there are better out there. Like many inflatable kayaks it can be a real pain to paddle in windy conditions. Would not recommend this as purely a leisure boat because the rod holders get in the way of the paddles.


Bodies of Water:
This Kayak can handle most kinds of water from rougher coastal oceans to calm lakes. Just keep in mind it is an inflatable kayak. Therefore you will have to spend a bit more effort to keep up with your hard shelled kayak friends.


Cheap Kayaks for Fishing Rating: 8.5/10


See The Full Review Here:



4. Sun Dolphin Excursion 12 SS Sit In Fishing Kayak


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Two flush mount Rod Holders
  • One Swivel Rod Holder
  • Adjustable Padded Seat
  • Portable Accessory Carrier
  • Front and Rear Bungee Deck Rigging
  • Carrying Handles
  • Bow Hatch
  • Thigh Pads
  • Adjustable Foot Braces
  • Water Bottle Holder


This is the first Sit in Fishing kayak we have reviewed! One of the best features of the Sun Dolphin Excursion  is that it features plenty of storage space!

If you are a fisherman who likes bringing a good amount of gear this would be a good kayak to use. Be wary of it’s 395 Lb Capacity though. It has a giant Portable accessory carrier that allows you to store items that you would want a limited amount of water on. It also features two smaller dry hatches in the bow and stern for smaller items that you would like to store.

Now for actual fishing it has 2 rear flush mounted rod holders and a full swivel rod holder at the front of the boat that is easily out of the way of your paddle. It also features a bungee for holding your paddle when you want to fish!

Besides storage room one of the real strengths of this boat is that it tracks well and it is also pretty manoeuvrable for a 12 foot boat! It is manoeuvrable because of it’s lightweight build at 47 lbs! Because of this I would use this kayak for clear days on calm lakes and rivers. This kayak does have some difficulty handling trickier wavy conditions.


Pros: Lightweight, tracks well, has lots of storage space and has an adjustable seat! Bungee Deck lacing gives it extra room for smaller items along with it’s 2 smaller dry hatches.  The kayak has plenty of room to sit in and a decent sized open space to play with. Recommended for taller fellows. Tracks and Manoeuvres well in calm waters!


Cons: Has some trouble handling choppier waters and windy conditions. It’s Plastic construction could be better as there have been some odd complaints about customers receiving the product with holes. 


Bodies of Water:
Calm Lakes and rivers. Not really great for the ocean unless you are in an isolated river.


Cheap Kayaks for Fishing Rating: 8.0/10


See The Full Review Here:


5. Old Town Vapor 10 Angler Fishing Kayak


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Front Bungee Deck Lazing
  • Adjustable Comfort Flex Seat
  • Molded in Cock Pit Tray
  • Cup Holder
  • Molded Carry Handles
  • Stern Daywell Storage
  • Skid plate
  • Drain plug
  • Anchor and trolley system


The Old Town Vapor 10 Angler Fishing Kayak is another sit inside kayak that offers good quality from a respected manufacturer.

The kayak is very roomy and has some compartment space in the front for a beverage (essential for every fisherman) as well as a small tray for things such as tackle. It also features a paddle holder which is handy for when you want to just stop paddling and cast a line out.

The Old Town Vapor 10 Angler Fishing Kayak features two flush mounted rod holders at the back for up to two fishing rods as well as a Stern daywell for storage of things such as a backpack or a small cooler.

Because it is a sin inside there is plenty of room to put additional items in the cockpit of the kayak as there is more than enough room. The foot pedals are also adjustable to fit a paddler of most sizes. This is a good kayak for bigger and taller people because of the roomy space inside.

What is exclusive to this kayak than any other on the list is the fact that it comes with an anchor and a trolley system! This is great if you want to fish in one spot and not drift off into oblivion! The Kayak is well made and sturdy and it’s tracking is ok.

The Hull of the boat is a little bit more rounded for stability and less so for tracking. I would keep this boat in calmer waters. This kayak  doe have the ability to put another party inside like a small child or dog!


Pros: Very roomy, has a lot of options for space and gear. Built for bigger and taller folk to feel comfortable in. Comes with Anchor (basically unheard of). This is a good beginner’s fishing kayak because of it’s stability.


Cons: Tracking is OK due to it’s rounded V Hull and it is not the particularly the fastest on the market. The seat can get a bit uncomfortable after a long period of time. Would not recommend for rougher waters.


Bodies of water:
Calm Lakes and Bays of Coastal waters, Handles decently in bigger rivers as well.


Cheap Kayaks for Fishing Rating: 8.1/10


See The Full Review Here:



Best Cheap Inflatable Kayaks

These are the cheapest kayaks you can buy, however we at Floating Authority don’t want to recommend you buy a pool toy that breaks after 3 uses. We have compiled a list of functional inflatable kayaks that are tough durable, perform fairly well and have an affordable price tag. Inflatable Kayaks have come a long way in the past 30 years and have improved in all areas including functionality, durability as well as tracking and design.  Many of the Kayaks on this list can be inflated in less than 10 minutes and can be stored in portable bags.

Similar to our Best Kayaks article here are some factors before finding the best cheap inflatable kayak for yourself.

Cheap Kayaks

Portability and weight
Many inflatable Kayaks are come in a wide range of different sizes and shapes to suit the different needs of the paddlers. If you are looking for something that is longer or is a tandem chanced are it will be a heavier boat than a single.

Speed and Manoeuvrability 
In general most Inflatable kayaks are more manoeuvrable than hard shelled kayaks because of their lighter build and the fact that they sit in the water as opposed to rocking. That also means that they do not possess as much speed simply because of what was previously stated. If you are looking for a high quality inflatable kayak I suggest looking at the Best Kayaks Page.

These kayaks are made with good quality materials at an affordable price.

Here are the Best Cheap Kayaks that are inflatable

KayakTypeDimensions(L X W)Weights and Max CapacityRating
Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package 11' X 34" 26 Lbs and 500 Lbs 9.5/10
Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Kayak, Yellow 11' 2" X 37" 31.5 Lbs and 400 Lbs 9/10
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump 9' X 30" 23.9 Lbs and 220 Lbs 8/10
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump 10' 3" X 36" 31.12 Lbs and 400 Lbs 8/10
Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak 8.5' X 36" 19.75 Lbs and 400 Lbs 7.5/10

1. Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Two Paddles
  • Two Seats
  • Spray Skirts
  • Foot pump
  • Carry Bag
  • Repair Kit
  • Thick K-80 Polykrylar Hull Material


This is the more affordable cousin of the Sea Eagle 370 that we reviewed in the best Kayaks page. Sea Eagles is a great company that has been around since the 60’s, infact they are one of the pioneers of the inflatable kayaks. They also feature a limited 3 year manufacturer warranty which is almost unheard of with Inflatable Kayaks.

Now about the kayak. It is a Two person kayak (That comes with 2 paddles and seats) that can hold up to 500 lbs! However it can also be comfortably used as a solo.

It features two spray skirts at the front which help the kayak hold it’s shape and deflect water off of it’s bow for rougher conditions. Speaking of conditions  I would classify this as a more performance inflatable kayak as it can take on class III rapids and is more than comfortable in coastal lakes.

It is made of K-80 Polykrylar material which is very durable and allows Sea Eagle to have the confidence of saying it can handle these white water rapids.

A bit about the  Sea Eagle 330’s features, it has a double durable skeg system to help with tracking along with an uplifted floor that allows you to get better paddle strokes in.

The uplifted floor also helps take the weight off of the sides of the boat. Overall if you want a bit of oomph out of a kayak in terms of performance and durability I would highly recommend this one. It can be a good day/ weekend trip kayak for 1 person as there is ample room in the bow and the stern.


Pros: Durability is what highlights this kayak, it can be used as a tandem or a solo kayak very effectively. And can take on Class III rapids. It also tracks fairly well for a budget inflatable kayak thanks to it’s uplifted floor and double skeg system.


Cons: The only con I can really think of for this kayak is that since it is more uplifted it can be harder to paddle in heavier winded conditions.


Bodies of Water: Feel free to take this thing down rapids (Class 3) , Coastal oceans, lakes and rivers


Best Cheap Kayaks that are Inflatable Rating: 9.3/10


See The Full Review Here:


2. Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 Inflatable Kayak


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Removable Tracking Fin
  • -Two High back seats
  • -Rear Drain Plug
  • -Front and rear grab handles
  • -Side grab handles
  • -Three Boston Valves
  • -D Rings for attached seats
  • -Bow and stern splash guards


You can’t have an inflatable kayaks section without mentioning the Big Two, Sea Eagle and Advanced Elements! I decided to take on this kayak for the spirit of competition and see how it would stack up against the Sea Eagle 330.

Both kayaks are 11 feet long and can be paddled solo or tandem. What differs from this boat to the Sea Eagle is that there is only one skeg on this kayak and it is longer than many removable skegs out there on inflatable kayaks.

The nose on this kayak wobbles a little but when paddling but overall it has good tracking and is about equal to the sea Eagle in that regard.

Where the Sea Eagle 330 and the Advanced Elements Island Voyage 2 differ is that the Island Voyage has a more pointed bow and stern and while it does have splash guards they simply are not as effective as the 330 in deflecting water.

This kayak is also made for calmer water ways and is rated at Class II rapids. Overall this is a durable high quality kayak I would use for calmer water ways like Lakes and rivers as it handles better in those types of conditions.


Pros: The Island Voyage 2 is very durable and made from a reputable brand. It can track pretty well for an inflatable kayak. Ideal for a solo kayaker with gear or kayaker with a small child and dog. Works will with tandem set up as well but not recommended for two taller heavier people. This Kayak is easy to enter and exit out of.

Cons: 400 Lb Weight limit. If you are a bit shorter you have to be set up for a higher paddling position. You may want to look else where if you are a taller couple.


Bodies of water:
Calmer Lakes and Rivers. Can be in the chop but does not handle as well.


Best Cheap Kayaks that are Inflatable Rating: 9/10


See The Full Review of Island Voyager 2



3. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Removable Skeg
  • Removable Seat
  • Cargo Net for storage
  • Grab line
  • Heavy Duty Puncture resistant Vinyl
  • Two Separate Air Chamber
  • Inflatable I -Beam floor
  • Repair Kit
  • 86” Aluminum Oars
  • High- Output Air Pump


This little boat is a fantastic starter kayak for anyone that is getting into kayaking. It’s best feature is probably it’s price as it is a very inexpensive kayak for the quality you get.

It is made of heavy duty puncture resistant vinyl which is very durable! Infact I have seen many pictures of people having their dogs accompany them on their kayaking adventures!

Having said that I would not test this kayak with full blown winds and surf as it is an inflatable meaning full blown wind pushes it around.

Being an inflatable kayak tracking can really be an issue, luckily the folks at Intex included a removable SKeg to allow it to cut through the water to improve tracking. It’s stability is pretty good and can hold up to 220 lbs in weight.

With the skeg the kayak actually tracks fairly well and can handle chop fairly well. The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak has some decent storage room in the back of the seat where you can place a cooler or a back pack. It’s front netting also helps store smaller miscellaneous things that can be easily accessible.

The Intex Challenger K1 kayak comes with a lot of different accessories including a paddle, repair patch, removable skeg and a hand pump. All you really need is an air matress!  Intex is a highly trusted brand that sells other products such as air mattresses, paddleboards as well as really anything that is inflatable.


Pros: Has a very affordable price tag associated with it, Comes with a bunch of accessories including a paddle (many kayak manufacturers do not include one!) an air pump, retractable skeg as well as the seat, net, safety line and kayak! Only weighs 27.2 lbs total! Pretty good stability.

Cons: Is not meant for heavier or taller people, that have been where the majority of the complaints have been on this kayak. Heavy Winds can make paddling with this kayak quite difficult. Definitely recommend using the retractable skeg because without it tracking is a bit of a nightmare.


Bodies of Water:
Kayak can handle some chop so Coastal Oceans (not too windy), Lakes rivers, ravines.


Best Cheap Kayaks that are Inflatable Rating: 8/10


See The Full Review of the Intex K1



4. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Heavy Duty Puncture Resistant Vinyl
  • 2 Separate Air Chambers
  • Boston Valves
  • Repair Kit
  • Two Seats
  • Two Aluminum Oars
  • Air Pump
  • Removable Tracking Skeg


I had a hard time choosing between The Intex Explorer and the K2 so I went with the Explorer for a variety of reasons. It’s uplifted bow allows the boat to be completely glide on top of the water instead of getting submerged in surf.

It is also about 2 Lbs lighter than the Challenger K2 as well. It’s reinforced Bow and Stern Covers help the kayak keep it’s shape and it’s higher sides allow you to sit higher out of the water giving it a dragon boat kind of feel. There are a couple advantages to sitting higher up. You get more of your paddle in the water and as a result a better push!

The seats are fully adjustable by simply adjusting the side straps that allows you to lean forward or back. Like many high quality kayaks the Intex Explorer K2 has 3 separate air chambers (2 on the sides 1 on the floor) so that if there is a leak you can safely paddle back to shore.

It can seat 2 people however the back is a little bit cramped so I would not recommend taking this kayak out for a full day trip. If you are just looking for a kayak to have a casual float in for some leisure time this would be a great fit for you!


Pros: Up lifted front that allows bow and stern to not get submerged. Priced very reasonably, comes with pump paddles and seat! Tough material that allows it to last for years. It’s high out of the water profile allows you to get more leverage per paddle.

Cons: It is a 2 person kayak but it is a bit cramped if you are in the back. It’s Up lifted profile is a pro and a con, it is a Con in that heavy wind is more likely to make paddling harder.


Bodies of Water:
Can handle some chop, coastal waters, Lakes, Rivers and Class I-II Rapids.


Best Cheap Kayaks that are Inflatable Rating: 8.4/10 (Modified)


See The Full Review Explorer K2:



5. Sevlyor Quikpak K1


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Easy Carry Backpack
  • Bungee Storage
  • Twenty One gauge PVC Construction
  • Double Lock Valves
  • Seat
  • Backrest
  • Multi Position foot rest
  • Middle Cup Holder
  • Hand Pump
  • Paddle

The Sevylyor Quickpak K1 is the most transportable inflatable kayak on this list. How you may ask? It doubles up as a backpack! You can simply carry it to the lake in the back pack and and put it back in when you are done with it.

This kayak is the lightest of the bunch weighing in at 16.5 lbs. This should not be too much of a problem as I’m sure you have carried way more when you were in school!

The extended support back rests do help with back support which is nice and there is a small amount of room in the front for bungee storage. It does feature small tracking skegs at the bow and stern of the boat which does help a bit. Overall this is a pretty basic kayak that is made of good quality material but does leave a bit to be desired in terms of storage space and performance.


Pros: Comes in a backpack, light weight at 16.5 lbs, lots of lumbar support.

Cons: Not enough storage space on this boat, Tracking is ok but other inflatable kayaks are better (Like the Intex K1)


Bodies of water:
Calm lakes, and ravines. You may have some trouble on coastal waterways.


Best Cheap Kayaks that are Inflatable Rating: 7.4/ 10


See The Full Review on the Quikpak:



Best Cheap Touring Kayaks

These kayaks are going to run you up a bit in terms of price because they are more specially designed to cut through the water and produce more speed thanks to their typically longer length. These kayaks are typically used for longer trips along the ocean or larger lakes and are sometimes used for multiple day trips to explore along the coast. When thinking about what is the best touring kayak for you it is important to consider these following things.

Cheap Kayaks


Rudder or Retractable skeg?
Manoeuvrability is sometimes sacrificed in touring kayaks so to combat this many come with or can come with a rudder. Typically the rudder can be moved by your feet to help direct the kayak while you are paddling. Many of these rudders are retractable and can pop up when you have a straight course ahead. Skegs as you may already know help with tracking ability to help the kayak stay in a straight line when paddling. If you feel that you will need to be doing a lot of manoeuvring a rudder is suggestible but if you are taking on a straight course a retractable skeg would be the best bet. Of course some kayaks even have both!

Here are the Best Cheap Kayaks for Touring

KayakTypeDimensions(L X W)Weight and Max CapacityRating
Boreal Design Ookpik PE Rudder Touring Kayak, White/Blue 13' X 24" 60 Lbs (with rudder) and 286 Lbs 9.5/10
Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145 Kayak 2017 - Mango 14' X 24.5" 56 Lbs and 350 Lbs 9/10
Riot Kayaks Edge 13 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak (Yellow/Orange) 13' X 25.1 58 Lbs and 300 Lbs 8.5/10
Perception Carolina 12.0 Kayak, Red/Yellow 12' X 26" 49 Lbs and 275 Lbs 8.5/10
WILDERNESS SYSTEMS Pungo 140 Kayak Mango Orange One Size 14' X 28" 58 Lbs and 350 Lbs 8/10

1. Boreal Design Ookpik Kayak


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Padded thigh braces
  • Small rudder system
  • Stern Hatch
  • Bow Hatch
  • Seat


A cross over of a recreational kayak and a lighter touring kayak the Ookpik kayak is a great kayak for exploring coastal bays and waterways. It is a good kayak to go out for the day because of it’s light weight design.

With the rudder the kayak weighs 60 lbs but the rudder can be taken off to make it lighter for single kayak use. It features a smaller bow hatch towards the front and a larger stern hatch in the back for larger gear. These are dry hatches because if the 2 bulkheads located within the kayak.

Performance wise this kayak tracks well and can cut through the water with relative ease. It can handle tougher conditions pretty well too!

This is one of the more manoeuvrable of the cheap touring kayaks because it has the small rudder and it also leans very well which make for quick precise turning. It’s speed is very surprising as a lot of the times it can keep up to the 16 foot kayaks! The up swept bow helps cut and ride over larger waves and does not compromise the kayaks handling. If you are getting more serious about Touring Kayaks but don’t want to break the bank this is the kayak for you.


Pros: Great performance and handling, pretty much does everything a Touring kayaks should do and more. Seat is comfortable, can be used for longer touring trips. Comes with rudder and is relatively light weight.

Cons: A bit pricier than some of the other options on this list.


Bodies of water:
Coastal Waters, Lakes and rivers, can get into some rougher conditions as well


Best Cheap Kayaks for Touring Rating: 9.5/10


2. Wilderness Systems 145 Tsunami


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Phase 3 Air Pro Tour
  • Adjustable thigh braces
  • Slidelock foot brace system
  • Bow, Midship, stern hatches
  • Bow and midship bulkheads
  • Bungee Deck Rigging with reflective static perimeter saftey line
  • Paddle Hpolder
  • Can have rudder attached


A little bit past the $1000 budge but often times you pay for what you get and this kayak is no different. This kayak is about as close as you can come to getting into the big league touring boats. It features a stern and bow hatch as well as an accessible day hatch located just behind the cockpit.

Similar to most Wilderness systems kayaks its features a Phase 3 Air Pro seating system that is fully adjustable and one of the best in the business.

This kayak has a bit of performance to it as it has a curved stern that that can ride over the waves instead of cutting into them which is comprising to tracking ability.

With this you can go into some tougher wavy conditions that coastal waters can throw at you. Similar to the Pugo 140 it has a V shaped hull that allows it to track very well.

Similar to a lot of the touring kayaks in our Best Kayaks Article this one can be fitted with a rudder for an extra $200 or so Dollars. Overall a good Kayak that fits kayakers looking to get into rougher waters and intermediate touring paddlers happy.


Pros: Great tracking even without a skeg or rudder, Great boat for bigger individuals, Pretty good for multi day touring. Can handles bigger waves and swells with ease thanks to it’s upward bow design. Seating system is very comfortable for longer journeys.

Cons: Hits over the $1000 mark. If you are a smaller person you might feel it’s a bit too big and spacious which compromises handling. A rudder is recommended with the 145 Tsunami.


Bodies of Water:
Rougher Coastal terrain, this kayak likes bigger waves and swells. Can be used in calmer lakes and rivers as well.


Best Cheap Kayaks for Touring Rating: 9/10


3. Riot Edge 13 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak

>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Track- Rite Retractable Skeg
  • Bow and Stern Hatches
  • – Front, Rear Bungee Deck Lacing
  • – Flush Mount Rod Holder
  • – Custom fit seating system
  • – Safety Straps
  • – Drain Plug
  • – Security Bar
  • – Rubber Handles
  • – Adjustable foot braces
  • – Paddle Hook


The Riot Edge 13 is very versatile for a touring kayak in that it has a range of features that can adjust to your height so the kayak effectively grows with you!

Starting at the front of the kayak it has a loose grip handles that allows some play when holding it in wavy water , perimeter deck lining that is reflective.

The Kayak is separated internally by 3 separate sections. The Hull and the Stern where you can put gear for dry storage, and then the middle which may get a bit wet (although you can easily buy spray skirts for this kayak.

Another key feature is it’s paddle rest. The paddle rest is located just at the front of the cockpit in a little groove where you can re-strap the bungee to hold the paddle in place.

Unlike many Ocean kayaks this is a little bit of a 3 in 1 boat in that that it can be used for fishing and recreation purposes as well (as seen with the rod holder located in the back) .

This kayak opted to go with a retractable skeg so there are padded thigh braces that allow you to steer the kayak by leaning to the right or left.

The fully adjustable foot rests allow you to be almost any size (within the 300 lb weight limit). The Seat is also fully adjustable height wise to allow you for an optimum paddling position based on your height. The front of the seat also allows you to adjust your leg height and position as well.

Some of the other features include a drain plug located at the rear of the cockpit, a security bar as well as another drain plug located at the back of the kayak.

On the side of the kayak is the retractable skeg lever to activate it when you need additional tracking abilities.

Performance wise the kayak operates well and is intended for newer to more intermediate paddlers in terms of stability and maneuverability. The boat handles wake and smaller waves pretty well but because the bow is pointed some water can seep into the cockpit. This can easily be fixed with a spray skirt


Pros: Very versatile kayak for anyone that is 300 Lbs and under. It’s adjustable foot pegs allows any paddler of any size to fit their legs comfortably. Can handle chop and waves pretty well and it’s skeg does it’s job. One of the few touring kayaks that can be used for fishing thanks to it’s flush mount rod holder and paddle holder molded into the kayak.

Cons: After reading some user reviews I heard a few complaints about the seat not being very comfortable because the seat back is not high enough. The Rubber Bow and Stern hatches doe leak from time to time as well. Weighing at 58 Lbs it is a bit on the heavier side so recommended to have a friend with you to put the kayak on the roof rack.


Bodies of water:
Coastal Waters, Bays, and larger lakes


Best Cheap Kayaks for Touring Rating: 8.5/10


4. Perception Carolina 12.0

>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Bow and Stern hatch
  • Bow and Stern Bulkheads
  • Zone DLX Seat
  • Zone Knee/ thigh pads
  • Bungee Deck rigging with reflective safety line
  • Loose Bow and Stern Handles


The Perception Carolina 12.0 is one in the Perception family that does not mind getting into rougher water. It is also one of the faster ones in the Perception family and is meant to be used on a touring basis.

It features loose grab handles on the bow and the stern as well as a smaller day hatch on the bow and larger hatch in the bow. These hatches live up to their name and virtually no water can get in making them some of the better ones in the market.

This kayak is good for people with some paddling experience who want to make the switch to at touring kayak.

At 49 lbs it is relatively light compared to other touring kayaks making it an ideal kayak for a roof rack! It’s seating system has also garnered it a lot of praise around the paddling community with it’s lumbar support system making it a good kayak to paddle for more than a couple of hours.

This is essentially a great boat for people who are smaller to average sizes as larger folks have complained it is a bit cramped in the cockpit.

Because it is a good all round boat it does not excel in any particular area but doe everything  average to fairly well. For a touring kayak the Carolina 12.0 tracks alright but there are better tracking budget kayaks out there. This is mostly because of its 12 foot length and the fact that there is no skeg that comes with the boat.


Pros: Good kayak for beginners getting into touring. Great “Budget kayak that excels with it’s dry hatch storage system and it’s speed (has been tracked at 6 knots!). A light kayak that you can put on the roof rack!

Cons: Handling is not particularly the greatest and it’s tracking ability is just ok for a touring kayak. It’s maximum weight capacity is at 275 so larger folks should probably look else where.


Bodies of water:
Coastal waters with a bit of rougher surf, lakes and rivers.


Best Cheap Kayaks for Touring Rating: 8.5/10



5. Wilderness Systems Pungo 140


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Phase 3 Pro Air
  • Thigh and Knee padding
  • Kayak Konsole
  • Bow and Stern Bulkheads
  • Orbix bow and stern hatches
  • Sidelock XL Foot Brace system
  • Bungee deck rigging
  • Bow and stern Carry handles


The Wilderness Systems Pungo 140 is a great boat for bigger guys in the 180- 250 lb range. Bigger gentleman I’ve got you covered! This kayak is a hybrid of a recreation and touring kayak because of some of it’s features.

One of the first things you may notice is the Console tray or Kayak Konsole in the front of the kayak. If you are not into it it can easily come off as well. This is great for storing smaller items or even a bottle of water (or beer!) that can be easily be covered by a spray skirt for more serious paddlers who want to tackle more serious conditions.

One of the things you may remember from previous Wilderness Systems kayaks I have reviewed is how great their fully adjustable Phase 3 Pro Air seating system is. It is made of a quick dry material that keeps your bum relatively dry. The Seat can be adjusted in the forward or back position and the seat back can be adjusted up and down to accommodate the paddler’s height.

I would recommend this kayak for day paddlers as it is technically a recreation boat due to the fact that it does not have reflective deck lining throughout the boat. Although this boat does not have a rudder or Skeg it’s bow and stern is well defined and the bottom of the kayak has 3 well defined lines helping with tracking. Overall one of the better made recreational/ touring hybrids.


Pros: Tracking performance is great for a hybrid boat. This is the boat for bigger people to get as it has a lot of leg room and a ton of adjustability features. Kayak Konsole is not seen too often in touring kayaks but it is helpful and can be removed at anytime. Edges pretty well.

Cons: Not your typical touring boat because it does not have full reflective bungee lacing on it. I would use this as a day boat in calmer waters.


Bodies of Water:
Coastal use in calmer waters, larger lakes and rivers


Best Cheap Kayaks for Touring Rating: 8/10




Best Cheap Recreational Kayaks

Recreational Kayaks come in a wide range of forms and sizes. Their use is usually for a casual paddle of a few hours on the lake. These kayaks are usually what people start off with when first discovering the sport of kayaking. For this reason these kayaks are usually wider and more stable to allow the kayaker to jump in and out with relative ease. In this section we go over what are the best recreational kayaks that balance affordability and quality because it’s one thing to recommend a really cheap kayak but if it breaks or handles like the titanic it really takes a lot of the fun away from the sport leaving people to walk away from kayaking forever! It is something that happens all too often so that is why we take it upon ourselves to to give you the best honest advice on what to be looking for. Here are some criteria below.

Cheap Kayaks


Sit On Top or Sit In?
This ultimately comes down to where you live and what you want to use the kayak for. Sit on Top kayaks are usually great for warmer conditions and you generally not minding getting wet. If you are interested in fishing and carrying a good amount of larger gear like coolers sit on tops are preferred. Sit In Kayaks are for colder conditions and while you still can put a good amount of gear inside it is favourable for those who want their feet covered as they paddle.


What are you using it for?
There are many uses that can be used for Recreational kayaks so you first have to picture in your head what you are wanting to use it for. Keep in mind the above criteria when asking yourself this question and keep in mind the climate you live in.


Other questions you have to ask yourself is how am I getting the kayak there and what is my living space situation? More and more people are downsizing and selling their bigger homes for condos and apartments.

While many people may think it is the end to their paddling dreams it really doesn’t have to be! If you do not have a lot of space check out our inflatable kayaks sections!


If you do have space and want a hard shelled kayak you have to ask yourself are you going to be heading down with someone else or just by yourself? If you are going by yourself you would want to get a roof rack and a lighter kayak to ease the burden of lifting and potentially injuring yourself.

Here are the Best Cheap Kayaks for Recreation

KayakTypesDimensions(L X W)Weight and Max CapacityRating
Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11 Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Envy 11'6.5" X 29.5" 47 Lbs and 350 Lbs 9/10
Sun Dolphin Aruba SS Sit-in Kayak (Lime) 12' X 29 1/2" 47 Lbs and 395 Lbs 9/10
Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Sport Kayak 10' 5" X 32" 26 Lbs and 250 Lbs 8.5/10
Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-in Fishing Kayak (Sand) 10' X 30" 41 Lbs and 250 Lbs 8/10
Emotion Glide Sport Kayak, Glacier Blue 9' 8" X 29" 37 Lbs and 275 Lbs 8/10

1. Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Comfort Plus Seat back
  • Molded in Seat Well
  • Stern and Bow Tank Well
  • Middle Dry Hatch located in front of the seat
  • Molded in Cup Holder
  • Build in Side Handles
  • Two Hull Drain Plugs
  • Skid Plate
  • Bow and Stern Handles


At first glance the Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11 looks like a fairly basic sit on top kayak but there is much more than what meets the eye. The Scrambler 11 features lots of space with it’s Bow and Stern Tankwell where you can put larger gear such as back packs and even coolers.

It also features a dry storage hatch in front of the seat to store smaller items. It features a cup holder for your favorite beverage as well as a molded in GPS/ Phone holder with a bungee to keep it snug and secure. It also features some customizability with the ability to install a bow hatch for additional dry storage.

The Scrambler 11 has a unique Tri-Form Hull Design that helps give the boat a good balance of stability and tracking. As a result this is a kayak you can play around in surf like conditions or a calm lake paddle. This kayak handles swells from larger boats well and excels in coastal conditions. If I were to give this kayak a label it would be “Reasonably Priced Recreational Performance Kayak” It’s stability and bigger storage areas also make it a pretty good fishing kayak as well although it would be a good idea to install flush mount rod holders.


Pros: Lots of room for storage as well as customizability options. This is a great “Play” Kayak that can handle some Ocean surf and be equally adapted in slow moving rivers as a fishing boat. It’s stability and tracking ability are very good.  This kayak is lightweight and easy to transport at 47 Lbs.

Cons: Some customers have warned about the Center hatch leaking water. Not the fastest boat due to it’s hull design.


Bodies of Water:
Coastal surf, large lakes, rivers, can easily be just as at home in marshes and winding rivers for fishing,


Best Cheap Kayaks for Recreation Rating: 9/10


Full Review Here



2. Sun Dolphin Aruba 12 SS


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • P.A.C. (Portable Accessory Carrier)
  • Adjustable Foot Braces
  • Adjustable Seat
  • Protective Thigh Pads
  • Bungee Deck Rigging
  • Bow and Stern dry hatches
  • Bungee Paddle Holder
  • Flush Mount Rod Holders
  • Stern and Bow Storage compartments
  • Centre Covered Console tray
  • Limited LifeTime Warranty


The Sun Dolphin Aruba 12 SS is a great quality recreational kayak with a good price tag. It features a lot of options for storage of both larger and smaller items and has efficient dry hatch storage space thanks to it’s P.A.C. (Portable Accessory Carrier).

It is one of the more impressive kayaks when it comes to storage space as there is also a smaller bow hatch and a centre console for things such as sunglasses and tackle that can be covered for the elements. The Aruba 12 SS also features 2 flush mount rod holders making it a decent fishing kayak to boot as there is a lot of room inside the cockpit.

Performance wise this kayak lives up to and exceeds it’s price point with it’s highly durable High density Polyethylene material which is covered with a Limited Lifetime warranty by Sun Dolphin.

Stability wise this kayak is great for both beginner and intermediate kayakers and it’s big cockpit allows getting in the kayak to be a relatively simple process. Amazingly the stability does not take away from its tracking ability or it’s manoeuvrability. For the price that you pay the tracking ability of the Sun Dolphin Aruba SS is impressive, especially for a recreational kayak this is thanks to it’s 12 foot length and V shaped bow and Stern


Pros: Great Stability, and tracking ability. Lots of storage space and had many possible uses including being an ample fishing kayak. Great kayak for beginner and intermediate paddlers.


Cons: Seat can be better but can be upgraded. Not the best kayak for going out into coastal surf.


Bodies of Water:
Calm Coastal Bays , Lakes and Rivers


Best Cheap Kayaks for Recreation Rating: 8.6/10


Full Review Here



3. Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Sport Kayak: AE1017-O


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Folding Seat
  • Built In Aluminum Rib stern and bow
  • Repair kit
  • Duffel Bag
  • D Ring Tie Downs
  • Skeg
  • Front Deck Lacing


You may remember the Advanced Frame Sport Kayaks cousin the Convertible in best kayaks page. This is the ideal budget kayak to get if you have space issues and you want an inflatable kayak that handles like a hard shelled.

Made of 600 Denier Polyester Laminate and diamond ripstop material it is very durable as well. The difference between the Advanced Frame Sport and Convertible is that this kayak has a bigger cockpit and is designed for recreational use. This is by far the lightest of the cheap recreational kayak section weighing in at 26 lbs. The Advanced Frame Sport does not offer a huge amount of storage space but there is some room towards the back and the legs area.

The Advanced Frame series offers some of the best inflatable kayaks to be had because of it’s aluminium ribbing in the bow and stern which helps it keep shape and track similarly to a hard shelled. The Advanced Frame Sport also can be customised with a backbone or drop-stitch floor to further the tracking ability of the kayak. Overall this is a good kayak to get if you do not have a lot of space available and want the benefits of a hard shell kayak performance wise.


Pros: Great kayak for people getting into the sport, the best kayak to get if you are short on space or don’t want to deal with lugging a big kayak everywhere. Very maneuverable and durable.

Cons: To maximize tracking you will need to get the backbone of the kayak. Sits higher off the water than hard shelled kayaks.


Bodies of water:
Can take Class II Rapids but is at home in calmer lakes, rivers and Coastal Bays.


Best Cheap Kayaks for Recreation Rating: 8.5/10


See the Full Review Here



4. Sun Dolphin Excursion 10


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Two Flush Mount Rod Holders
  • Water Bottle Holder
  • Swivel Rod Holder
  • Adjustable foot Braces
  • Protective Thigh Pads
  • Stern Storage Compartment
  • Bungee Paddle Holder
  • Loose Stern and Bow Handles


The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is technically classified as a fishing kayak I figured I would put it here because it still makes for a quality recreational boat.

It features a nifty dry storage compartment on the stern of the kayak and some room in the bow where your feet go. If you are a fisherman one of the highlights of this kayak is the fact that it has a swivel rod holder and 2 flush mount rod holders that allow you to go fishing for a good portion of the day.

It is also light weight weighing in at 41 lbs making it easy to carry for a one person trip. The downside is that it’s maximum capacity is 250 lbs so larger heavier gentleman or ladies may want to find a kayak that better suits their capacity. It does have adjustable foot pedals to adjust to your height though.

I wanted another Sun Dolphin in this category just because they are the epitome of good quality affordable boats, I looked at the Bali but so too many complaints on it’s tracking and steering.

Then I came across this kayak and it just seemed better adjusted to the quality that Sun Dolphin promise in their boats. Because it is a fishing kayak it’s stability is meant to be great and it’s 10 foot length allows it to manoeuvre in the water with relative ease. It also tracks relatively well for a 10 foot kayak!


Pros: Excellent Price point, Made with good durable high density polyethylene, tracks well for a 10 foot fishing kayak and is very stable. Good for the beginner to intermediate recreational paddler.

Cons: The seat is not very comfortable (although this could be fixed with a seat cushion ), Not a ton of storage room and there are some complaints from fisherman about the placements and quality of the rod holders.


Bodies of Water:
Coastal Bays, Lakes , Rivers of most sizes, and ravines. It’s maneuverability is an asset for tighter waterways with obstacles.


Best Cheap Kayaks for Recreation Rating: 8/10


See the Full Review Here



5. Emotion Glide

>>Check on Amazon<<>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Built in foldable CRS seat
  • Padded backrest
  • Built in Foam Blocks for flotation
  • Bungee Paddle Holder
  • Bungee Deck Lacing
  • Drain Plug
  • Bow and Stern Carry Handles


The Emotion Glide is a great kayak that offers all around abilities that you would expect from a recreational kayak. It has a pretty basic overlay where there are bungee deck lacing a seat, handles as well as padded thigh braces.

There is also some room in the cockpit for some extra gear as adjustable foot pedals for people with different heights.

While this kayak looks like nothing particularly special from the top the V shaped Hull is actually it’s headlining feature as it tracks well in the water but the protruded flat bottom helps with stability. This kayak is also very manoeuvrable because of it’s size which gives it the best of both worlds in terms of tracking and handling ability. Minus the Advanced Frame sport this is also the lightest hard shell kayak in this category.


Pros: Good all round blend of stability, speed, tracking and manoeuvrability. Very lightweight at 37 lbs. Good entry kayak to recreational water activities.


Cons: If you are a larger person I would veer clear of this kayak as it has a 275 lb weight limit. There is also not a lot of room for storage.


Bodies of water:
Lakes, Ponds, slow moving waterways Calmer coastal waters.


Best Cheap Kayaks for Recreation Rating: 8/10


See The Full Review Here




Best Cheap Sit-On-Top-Kayaks

Cheap Kayaks

Sit On Top Kayaks are becoming more and more popular because of their versatility. They come in many shapes and sizes and vary with their different purposes. The two most common categories for these kayaks are fishing and recreational.

Many fishermen prefer Sit On Top Kayaks because it gives them more room and customisability options. I have seen many videos where some folks turn their $300 Sit On Top Kayaks into master fishing crafts equipped with do it yourself rod holders, gadget holders as well as custom cooler and storage boxes to fit right into the kayak. If you are a do it yourselfer the good news is there are a lot of things you can do to a reasonably prices sit on Top kayak to make it your own. The same principles can go into building your very own custom recreational kayak.


In this section we will be going over what we believe to be the best Budget Sit On Top Kayaks available. Here are some Factors to consider:


So this is a big one and one of the main reasons why you are on this page! Unfortunately not all Sit On Top kayaks are created equal. Many places you can find “Big Box” Kayaks that are on for a reasonable price. While this may seem like a good purchase initially many fall short in quality and end up with an unusable kayak and ultimately PO’ed customers. Buyer beware


Most of the times when you buy something you want it to be a good value for your money right? After All we usually want value for our hard earned money! This will be one of our major factors when coming up with list. To make sure you get a good quality kayak that will last and you will be happy to purchase again if you had the chance to.


What do you want to use your Sit On Top Kayak for? Many buy Sit on Tops for purposes of pure recreational use or fishing. You can also get Sit On Tops for tandem, touring or Surfing use.

Here are the best Cheap Kayaks to Sit On Top

KayakTypeDimensions(L X W)Weights and Max CapacityRating
Perception R15 Pescadors 120 Kayak, Seaspray 12' X 28" 60 Lbs and 350 Lbs 9.5/10
Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Angler Sit-On-Top Flatwater Kayak, Forest, 12' X 30.3" 65.7 Lbs and 300 Lbs 9/10
Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, Sunrise 9' X 31" 44 Lbs and 325 Lbs 9/10
Emotion Spitfire 8 Kayaks 8" X 31.5" 39 Lbs and 240 Lbs 8/10
Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Blue, 8' X 30" 38 Lbs and 250 Lbs 7.5/10

1. Perception Pescador 12.0


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Comfort Seating System
  • Foot Brace system
  • Bow Hatch
  • Stern Hatch
  • Centre Day Hatch
  • Rear Tankwell with Bungee
  • Front and Rear Carrying handles
  • Side Carrying Handles
  • Paddle Park


A kayak with one of the highest overall reviews I have seen the Perception Pescador 12.0 is a pure quality kayak. If you are a fisherman check out the angler edition! It is similar to this one but has flush mount rod holders and and anchor .

It Features the standard carrying handles on the front, rear as well as the sides, it is a bit heavy weighing in at 60 lbs so you may want help with lifting it. It’s seat is one of the best in the business as it it very comfortable meaning you can be in the kayak for over 5 hours straight!

It features 8 Self Bailing scupper holes in case water gets in (Plugs are separate). Six of the Scupper Holes are located in the cockpit area (4 where your legs go 2 behind the seat) and Two in the rear Tankwell Storage.

This is a great kayak to haul a good amount of gear with as it has a very large rear tankwell area that you can fit a cooler (depending on size) as well as a back pack. It also features a Hull hatch that can access the entire kayak’s bottom and a mini dry hatch centre console .

This kayak has great tracking ability thanks to it’s 28” frame and it’s 12 foot length! What also helps it track so well is it’s multi chined hull which allows it to cut through the water as well as be stable enough to move around.

Even though this kayak is stable  I would not recommend standing so Anglers who like to stand may have a tough time. The Perception Pescador 12 can handle a variety of conditions from calm lakes to some coastal surf!


Pros: Comfortable seat with a ton of space for those longer journeys. It;s comfortable seat also allows you to be on the water for long periods of time. The tracking of this kayak is fantastic thanks to its narrower frame and long length. The Multi Chined Hull also makes all of this possible.

Cons: This kayak is a bit on the heavy side at 60 lbs and while it is stable I do not recommend standing on it if you are an angler.


Bodies of Water:
This boat is equally adapted to calmer lakes and rivers or can be taken out in the surf!


Best Cheap Kayaks to Sit On Top Rating: 9.5/10



2. Riot Escape 12 Foot Kayak


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Pilot Rudder System
  • Three Scupper Plugs
  • Bow Hatch
  • Water Bottle Holder
  • Stern Storage Well with Bungees
  • Sit High Back Seat
  • Centre Console

You may be thinking this kayak is not budget at all! And then you take a closer look at the kayak and see how well designed it is and then.. You see a rudder! Many Kayaks that are out there cost at least $1000 if there is a rudder feature on it but this kayak is almost half of that!

Considering you can get OK quality Sit On Top Kayaks for $400- $500 I would spend the extra $100 for the rudder and quality this kayak brings. The kayak features ample storage similar to the Pescador 12 but goes the extra mile with its center storage compartment that is a bit easier to access.

It also comes with two flush mount rod holders towards the back of the kayak. It’s rear tankwell storage gives it ample enough room to be outfitted with a cooler and what every else you may need.

The Riot Escape 12 is a bit of a slower kayak compared to the Pescador 12 due to its keel and it’s 30” width. However it is more stable and for this particular reason it may resonate a bit more with you if you are a fisherman. The tracking also gets a slight edge to the Pescador although with the rudder down it is close. The Riot Escape does get the edge in manoeuvrability because you guessed it! The Rudder.


Pros: Very manoeuvrable with the rudder. Has plenty of storage space and features good stability. Comes with 2 Flush Mounted rod holders. Center Console is well designed.

Cons: It is heavy weighing in a5 65.7 Lbs. It is also a slower boat thanks to this weight.


Bodies of Water:
Coastal Bays and Inlets as well as calm rivers and lakes.


Best Cheap Kayaks to Sit On Top Rating: 9/10

(Fishing Version)



3. Ocean Kayak Frenzy


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • Comfort Plus Seat back
  • Cup Holder
  • Front and Rear Carrying Handles
  • Skid Plate
  • Front and Rear Tankwells
  • Threaded hull drain plug
  • Four Scupper holes
  • Molded in Foot Wells
  • Side Carrying Handles


Featured in our Bets Kayaks Section the Ocean Kayak Frenzy is a smaller 9’ kayak that can handle the surf! It features a comfort plus seat back, ample storage in the bow and stern tank wells as well as Four self bailing scupper holes.  It features the same Tri-Force Hull design as the Scrambler.

The Ocean Kayak Frenzy is great for thinner people who don’t mind getting a bit wet and playing in rougher waters. It is a solid kayak to purchase if you are a beginner or an intermediate although I would not recommend it for longer touring trips because of the smaller length of the boat and the fact that it would take more paddling effort to attempt the distance that longer kayaks can accomplish.

This is a great kayak for recreational purposes that has supreme stability that you can have some fun in. For it’s size the Ocean Kayak Frenzy tracks well in the water thanks to the handy Tri-Force Hull design but just don’t expect to win any races against longer kayaks.


Pros: Great Surf kayak that you can mess around in. It has solid stability and good tracking ability compared to other 9 foot kayaks. It is also very well made.

Cons: No dry storage (So don’t bring valuables with you in this kayak!). Not the best kayak for calm waters due to the greater effort it takes you to paddle the boat.


Bodies of Water:
Takes on Rougher waves and Surf that the coastal Conditions can throw at you. Can be used in calmer waters but there are better kayaks for that.


Best Cheap Kayaks to Sit On Top Rating: 9/10



4. Emotion Spitfire 8


>>Check on Amazon<<


  • CRS Padded Backrest
  • Rear Tankwell with Bungee lacing
  • Molded in Paddle Ledges
  • Side Carrying handles
  • Front and Rear Carrying Handles
  • Six Self Bailing Scupper Holes.


Many of you who are reading this Category may be wondering where all the “Cheap Sit On Top Kayaks” have actually gone?  Well look no further than this kayak which features a good blend of good quality married with a very reasonable price tag.

This kayak is 8 feet in length and and features a CRS padded backrest, molded in paddle ledges and six self bailing scupper holes.

The most manoeuvrable kayak in this list it is ideal for the beginner kayaker who wants to explore and work on their paddling. This kayak is ideal for people that are 200 lbs and under and is very stable.

Because of its 8 foot frame the tracking is lacking but it gets you in the water. Of course the main selling feature is the price and considering that this is actually a pretty durable boat it exceeds the price expectations.

Another plus is that if you have a van or a hatchback you can easily fit this little kayak inside if you fold the seats over! It also has ample space to put some gear but just try not to over do it because it has a 240 lb weight limit!


Pros: Very affordable and manoeuvrable, can hold some gear as well. Can fit in a hatchback or SUV.

Cons: Does not track well, and cannot hold a heavy amount of gear unless you are a smaller person. Anyone over 200 lbs will have a bit of trouble with this kayak.


Bodies of Water:
Tight rivers and shallow beds. Can take sheltered coastal waters and calm lakes as well.


Best Cheap Kayaks to Sit On Top Rating: 8/10




5. Lifetime Lotus 8 Sit on Top Kayak


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  • Adjustable Seat back
  • Center Carry handle
  • Paddle included
  • Molded Paddle Cradle
  • Multiple Footrest positions
  • Five Scupper Holes
  • Front Carrying handle
  • Tankwell Storage with Bungee


Comparable to the Emotion Spitfire 8 the Lifetime Lotus 8 is also an 8 foot kayak (duh!) that has great manoeuvrability and is good for a quick recreational paddle.

It features a molded in paddle cradle that you can rest your paddle if you just feel like floating or even want to cast a line out! This Obviously is not the greatest fishing kayak but if you are on a budget you can make it work by having a custom crate behind or in front of the seat.

The stability is one of the greatest features about this kayak as you can even stand on it and use it as a platform for fishing or even a paddle board!

Being an 8 foot kayak the manoeuvrability is great but of course like the Spitfire 8 at the cost of speed and tracking. Like the Spitfire 8 it can fit inside SUV’s and hatchbacks with relative ease! The seat is also fully adjustable but it is a bit of an awkward kayak to carry around, especially with the one handle.


Pros: Very Manoeuvrable, and affordable. Great kayak for beginners

Cons: Handles are a bit awkward. Not for heavier folks because of it’s 250 lb weight limit


Bodies of water:
Calm Lakes, Bays and Rivers


Best Cheap Kayaks to Sit On Top Rating: 7.5/10




Best Cheap Tandem Kayaks

Tandem Kayaks are great if you want to start paddling in unison and want to save money while both having maximum enjoyment on the water. Many people who first start out with tandem kayaks have a bit of difficulty getting used to paddling in unison and working on steering but once done enough times it becomes second nature like walking. Before getting a tandem (or 2 person) kayak you have to think about two main aspects.

Cheap Kayaks

What is your combined weight?
No I’m not asking to sound inconsiderate or nosey but this is a main factor you must consider to get the maximum enjoyment out of your kayak. Something else to be considered is who are you going with and what would you be bringing? If you are planning on doing a day trip with lots of gear it is important to consider the weight capacity and our next set of criteria.


What are you using your tandem kayak for?
Similar to the main different types of kayaks that we have shown, tandem kayaks come in a variety of different styles and paddling purposes. There are sit on tops, recreational, fishing as well as touring kayaks that come in tandem styles. All of these kayaks have different handling capabilities and purposes so it is best to discuss what you are planning to use the kayak for before purchasing.

Here are the Best Cheap Kayaks for Tandem use

KayakTypeDimensions(L X W)Weight and Max CapacityRating
Sun Dolphin Bali Tandem Kayak (Lime) 13' 1/2" X 34" 70 Lbs and 500 Lbs 9/10
Advanced Elements Lagoon 2 Inflatable Kayak 12' X 34" 37 Lbs and 350 Lbs 9/10
Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak with Paddles and Backrest, Camouflage 10' X 36" 65 Lbs and 500 Lbs 9/10
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL Tandem Kayak Yellow, One Size 12' X 34" 57 Lbs and 425 Lbs 8.5/10
Emotion Spitfire 12' Tandem Sit-On-Kayak - Lime 12' X 35" 90 Lbs and 500 Lbs 8/10

1. Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 Tandem Kayak


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  • Versatile, can fit 1, 2 or 3 people (keep max capacity in mind)
  • Self Bailing
  • Adjustable seats with high backrest
  • Bow Storage hatch
  • Stern Storage hatch
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • Smaller day hatch in the middle
  • Stern Daywell
  • Bungee Paddle Holders
  • Front and Rear Carrying Handles
  • Side Carrying handles


It would be madness to not fit this kayak into this category as it is very reasonably priced and it features items that you would find in Kayaks that would cost $1000 or more.

Sun Dolphin has always been known for pricing their kayaks at a reasonably price point to make them more affordable for the everyday paddler with sometimes mixed results. This kayak however is built well and have seen mostly positive reviews from a variety of people.

It features four areas of storage on the boat including Three dry hatches (2 larger and 1 smaller) as well a smaller say well at the back from a small backpack or bag.

This kayak features a variety of versatility options and can be used as a 1, 2 or ever 3 person kayak! It’s adjustable foot pegs in the middle and bow of the kayak allow for riders of different heights to adjust to their liking and the 3 foot wells on the sides of the kayak allows for a third person or one person if you are paddling alone and want maximum manoeuvrability and tracking.

Speaking of the tracking ability this kayak tracks well in large part because of it’s 13.5 foot frame! It is mostly meant for calmer lakes and warmer days paddling because of it’s more basic shaped hull.

It can handle some swells caused by boats with relative ease though. The Sun Dolphin Bali 13.5 has a 500 lb maximum weight Capacity which would be ideal for 2 fair sized adults and a child. Overall solid all around kayak.


Pros: Fantastic Price, good tracking and can hold a decent amount of cargo. Comes with everything seen in the picture. This kayak also features solid stability.

Cons: Manoeuvrability is a bit suspect if you are tackling this kayak by yourself. The Seats are ok but could be designed better. Paddles are also not included.


Bodies of water:
Ideal for calm lakes and bigger rivers. Can be used on calm ocean days as well. Great kayak for when it’s sunny out


Best Cheap Kayaks for Tandem Use Rating: 9/10



2. Advanced Elements Lagoon 2 Inflatable kayak


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  • Rubber molded handles
  • Bungee deck lacing
  • Inflatable coaming for spray skirt
  • Paddle Holder
  • Mesh pocket
  • Spring Valve
  • Folding seats
  • Tracking fin
  • Carry Bag
  • Repair Kit
  • Owner’s manual


Putting a affordable inflatable tandem kayak on this list only made sense as it appeals to a greater demographic. The Lagoon 2 is the perfect blend of affordability mixed with portability and with some performance to boot.

I’m a big advocate of Advanced Elements simply because they make very high quality kayaks that perform almost as well as hard shell kayaks. In-fact but the additional backbone for this kayak and it will perform just as well as a hard shell kayak similar to it’s size. This kayak comes with paddle holders, mesh pockets as well as folding seats, tracking fin, carry bag as well as a repair kit in case there is a puncture!

This kayak is very suitable in a variety of different conditions. It is just as at home in the ocean surf as it is in calm bays and lakes. If you want this kayak to track as well as a hard shelled I would highly that you get the additional backbone or drop stitch floors.

It’s light weight also allows this kayak to be manoeuvrable and feel more stable than a lot of hard shelled kayak because it is an inflatable boat. If you are new to tandem kayaking and want a very portable boat to bring with you everywhere you go I would highly recommend the Lagoon 2. I would not use this as an expedition kayak but this is definitely a great kayak to take in the water for a few hours and have some fun!


Pros: Affordable, Portable, great for a variety of different waters. This kayak is very stable and manoeuvrable as well.

Cons: There are not too many cons other than you have to get a backbone and drop stitch floor for added performance and there is also as not as much room as it’s cousin the AE1007 in terms of storage space.


Bodies of Water:

Medium Coastal Surf, calmer Oceans Bays , rivers and lakes


Best Cheap Kayaks for Tandem Use Rating : 9/10



3. Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak.


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  • – Flush Mount Rod Holders
  • – Multiple Footrest Positions
  • – Scupper Holes
  • – Molded front and rear carrying handles
  • – Rear Storage hatch
  • – Two Cup Holders
  • – Front and Rear molded Paddle Holders
  • – Paddle Clips on both sides
  • – Two Paddles
  • – Two Seat backrests


I wanted to add a tandem kayak that was reasonably priced that can handle fishing capabilities. This one kept coming up and had a lot of rave reviews about it.  At first look it seems like a pretty basic kayak but as you may already know there’s a lot more to what meets the eye! This sit on top kayak is specifically built for fishing with it’s 36 inch width, tunnelled hull and it’s uplifted seating position! All of these characteristics make it very stable for a two person (or possibly three if the other person is smaller) fishing trip.

While it does not have the most storage space it is actually as roomy as you can get with a 10 foot kayak. It also has ample amount of space to place fishing rods thanks to its Two flush mount rod holders. It also features every fisherman’s second favourite accessory which is 3 beverage holders lined up on the deck.

Because the Lifetime Sport is set up as a fisherman’s kayak it will not be your starter kayak in a race. It’s speed and tracking are decent but not the best. What it lacks in speed and tracking it more than makes up for in manoeuvrability and stability.

The tunnelled hull even allows you to stand on the kayak to make a cast! This feature alone is seldom seen on budget fishing kayaks but this one does it with relative ease! It’s versatility is also great as it can transform into a single kayak which is a great feature for a lot of taller and heavier guys and gals out there. For it’s price it is one of the better fishing kayaks that you can get!


Pros: Great Budget fishing kayak that can ride as a tandem or single with relative ease! It’s manoeuvrability is rated as one of the better ones on this list thanks to its 10 foot frame. It’s stability is also fantastic for a kayak at this price point, can easily stand or sit high off the water.

Cons: Does not track very well but that is expected with 10 foot kayaks that do not have a skeg. While there is a lot of room if you are using it as a 1 person kayak, it becomes a tighter fit if you bring a lot of gear and decide to use it as a tandem


Bodies of water:
Would not use this kayak for Ocean fishing due to it’s lack of speed and tracking ability. It is best at home with calm lakes and rivers. It can also be used in tighter water ways thanks to its maneuverability.


Best Cheap Kayaks for Tandem Use Rating: 9/10


4. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem


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  • Two Comfort Plus Seats
  • Three Molded in Seat Wells
  • Gear Straps
  • Overlapping footwells
  • Molded in Handled
  •  Skid Plate


You may remember this one from our best tandem kayaks list! I was pondering adding this to the Cheap kayaks list but realistically you do get a lot more for your money spending $200. That and I wanted to add a kayak that could take on some waves! One of the features that pops out with this boat is how well it can handle a variety of conditions thrown at it.

It is also very versatile as I hear many people who use it as a tandem, one person kayak or even one person and a dog! My one complaint is that it does not come with enough storage hatches, they can be installed but they simply do not come with the kayak! Which in my opinion should be provided considering Bali 12 has ample enough storage hatches at about $150 less!

If you are looking to buy a tandem kayak that has good all around performance on the water that you can have fun with I would recommend this one.

Having said that it is not the kind of kayak that you can go on longer day trips with because there is limited cargo space and it’s maximum capacity is at 375 lbs. This is a kayak that favours the family type of scenario where you take a dog or a child and out of the water and hit some waves.


Pros: Versatile in terms of seating, Good for all around conditions and recreational use for a few hours. It’s maneuvers well if it is not over capacity.

Cons: More expensive than the above 2 options, Not very much room for a lot of cargo unless you install separate Gaspachi hatches . Not the best kayak to go for when going on excursions.


Bodies of Water:
Can handle a variety of swells coastal surf ut is equally at home with calm lakes, streams and rivers.


Best Cheap Kayaks for Tandem use Rating: 8.5/10



5. Emotion Spitfire 12’ Tandem


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  • Two Quick Release CRS Seats
  • Rear Tankwell with bungee storage
  • Skeg wheel
  • Storage hatch on deck
  • Molded in footwells
  • Front and Rear Carry Handles
  • Side carry handles
  • Five Year Limited warranty

The Emotion Spitfire 12’ Tandem is about as stable as they come! It features a 500 Lb maximum capacity as well as one dry storage hatch on the deck. It also features 2 seats , footwells and front and rear tankwell storage compartments for smaller items.

From the first looks it seems like a pretty ordinary kayak but it does have one defining feature that comes with it which is a Skeg wheel! What is a Skeg wheel you may ask? Well it is a tracking skeg that protrudes out of the rear stern of the kayak that has a wheel at the end of it! This wheel allows you to effectively drag the kayak in a variety of different terrains without worrying about damage being brought to the hull of the kayak!

This is a good feature to have for a kayak that weighs 90 lbs!

The actual tracking ability of the Spitfire 12 is pretty good, not the best but it fares well compared to other similarly prices kayaks in it’s category.

As stated in the beginning it’s stability is rated as it’s best feature as this is a wide boat at 35 inches! It’s 90 lb weight is pretty cumbersome so it is recommended that you have someone help you lift this boat if you loaded it on a roof rack. I will say that the Skeg wheel is a great feature to have especially if you have to travel a bit of a distance to get your kayak to your truck.


Pros: The Skeg Wheel makes for easy transportation on land to make up for it’s 90 lb weight. This kayak is great for stability so if you have children who like to move around a lot this is a good purchase. Affordable price tag.

Cons: Definitely need 2 people to lift this kayak onto a roof rack. Is not very versatile in terms of seating options. Can mostly be used as a tandem because there is no middle seat making a one person paddle trip a bit difficult. Not a ton of storage space.


Bodies of water:
Calmer lakes, bays and rivers. Can do calmer Coastal Waters as well.


Best Cheap Kayaks for Tandem use Rating: 8/10




The main purpose of this list is to find you the right affordable kayak that will fit your lifestyle. I always try to recommend products that get good feedback and are made from reputable companies. Feel free to join in the conversation below if you have other recommendations or if you agree or disagree! Many of you that have come to this page are new to kayaking and some of the language may be a bit confusing so I made a terms list below.

Bow: Front of the Kayak
Stern: Rear of the kayak
Hull: Shape of the bottom of the kayak
Skeg: The fin underneath the kayak that helps the boat go straight
Tracking: How straight the kayak goes (Good tracking =good straight line)
Bulkheads: A dividing wall between the compartments of the kayak
Chop: Short steep isolated waves that are caused by wind
Class I Water: Moving water with few obstacles
Class II Water: Rapids with wide clear channels, occasional maneuvering required
Class III Water: Rapids with moderate to irregular waves which can be difficult to avoid. Complex maneuvers and good boat control required.
Scupper holes: Pre Drilled holes usually located in the kayak footwells, tanks wells or cockpit that allow water to drain out by itself.