Presenting the best budget Kayaks with Pros and Cons

Buying Guides

Pleasant sun, cool breeze, and the shining blue waters, there is nothing like a day out on the sea. Do you know that kayaking is beneficial to mind, body, and soul?

Exercising the paddles will juice up your body, the calm water is a great remedy for a troubled mind. And when your mind and body are relaxed, the soul will be at peace Kayaking has gained a lot of traction in recent years. Those looking for some thrill take their kayaks to the roaring waters. Some choose to just explore the shorelines and travel around gazing upon sea life.

But whatever you be prepared for your adventure. Buy some good sunglasses, use sunscreen, and take precautions if you want to go for fast water kayaking.

You will find a whole wide range of best budget kayak out there. But the key is to buy the one which will give you the required features and that too under budget. You can choose from the best budget fishing kayak or even some other niche kayaks. Listed below is the list of top 15 best kayaks that won’t punch a hole in your pocket.

Various types of Kayaks

But before we dive into the many awesome kayaks available in the market, you must know about its kind. Kayaks are basically divided into two categories, depending on the type of waters they can cruise through. These are Flatwater and Whitewater kayaks. Flatwater is the one found in lakes and ponds. While whitewater is present in fast gushing river bodies. Let’s discover more about the kayaks that can traverse these waters.

Five types of Flatwater Kayaks:

#1. Sit-on-top kayaks

Sit on top kayaks are without any closed cockpits. These are a great choice if you are planning a fishing excursion with the family. Since it is wide, your fishing equipment will stay handy, and it also provides good stability. However, the same feature will allow water into your kayak, so you may end up getting wet. Thus, to have the most optimal experience with this ride, you’ll need some practice.

#2. Touring kayaks

These narrow kayaks are the best to tour into unknown waters and discover nature at its best. These are designed to have small cockpits so that the user can use his thighs to get upright, even when the kayak rolls over. These are also longer than other kayaks with around 12 feet long. Besides, you may also find this variant fast in the water, though a bit expensive.

#3. Recreational kayaks

Recreational kayaks feature closed cockpits with generously large openings. Neither as fast nor as long as the touring kayaks, these are easy to carry and store. Recreational kayaks also don’t fare well in terms of tracking, due to their short length. For similar reasons these are less expensive, and use by on and off kayakers for leisure.

#4. Inflatable kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are more suitable for gentle and shallow waters like that in lakes and ponds. This will be a great buy, especially if you have a lake near your house, for some quality fun time with friends or family. Storing them is never a problem, while most of them inflate quickly. You can easily use them for paddling and are also easy on your pocket. In fact, if you are looking for the best kayak under 300, you’ll get plenty of options in this category. This is the best budget fishing kayak, you can get your hands on.

#5. Pedaling kayaks

Pedaling kayaks are a good buy for those who wish to strain their backs and arms the least, during kayaking. Moreover, these are generally sit-on-top kayaks, which are easy to paddle on for up to long distances. Pedaling kayaks are more like riding a bike and are great fun for family outings in the sea.

The four whitewater kayak variants

#1. Playboats

One of the shortest white water kayaks, that chart high when it comes to maneuverability and robustness. Moreover, these have a good damage resistance as these are crafted with rotomolded plastics. However, if you are a naive rider, you might find it hard to keep it upright through crannies.

#2. Creek boats

Creek boats or Creekers are designed to make them easier for the rider to resurface when tossed off by mighty waves. Better for shallow waters, these can be a bit hard to handle for beginners. However, their good buoyancy allows them to stay on top and thus have good stability.

#3. Old School / Longboat Kayaks

These kayaks might never go out of fashion. Typical longboats from the late 1980s are still popular among many kayakers. With around 10 to 12 feet length, these are great river runners. At the same time, you might not prefer these if your route has loads of curves and twists, as you will probably get stuck.

#4. Inflatable white water kayaks

Unlike their flatwater counterparts, the white water inflatable kayaks are good rides on the sea. They get extra stability features from their wideness, besides, you can fill in loads of gear. Besides, users generally term these as more comfortable than the other kayaks as they get some room to change their posture.

Choose the best budget kayak

Sun Dolphin Aruba SS10

This kayak is an amazing model for beginners, and especially for those who are occasional kayakers. The Aruba SS10 has an adjustable seat along with easy to adjust foot braces.

Sun Dolphin Aruba SS10
Sun Dolphin Aruba SS10

This best budget kayak weighs only 40 pounds with handles to carry it conveniently. As it’s hull is made with polyethylene, you can rack it up on the car and ensure maximum safety. Some of the features of this best cheap kayak include back support, water bottle holder, storage space with hatch.

✅ Pros

  • Well under the budget
  • Spacious seating and paddling area, easy to lift.

⛔️ Cons

  • For basic use
  • You need to buy paddles separately and the rudder system is absent.

Challenger K2

This best budget Kayak is designed and manufactured by Kayak. The Challenger K2 can also be considered as the smartest and coolest kayak. If you like some adventure, then this kayak is the right buy for you. To add style with safety, this kayak has an extra layering that will keep you secure.

Challenger K2
Challenger K2

The vinyl material is damage resistant and you won’t need to buy some extra paddles. Other than this, you will also get a pump and one patching kit with your purchase.

✅ ✅Pros

  • style statement
  • additional features
  • hardened vinyl material
  • can carry up to 400 pounds of weight.

⛔️ Cons

  • the joints are not that strong;
  • susceptible to damage

Explorer K2

Another one of the best budget kayak by Challenger, the Explorer K2 is an inflatable kayak. It is easy to store, inflate and deflate. Plus, the color schema of this kayak is specifically noticeable in the water. It further has a unique design that makes the kayak tread water smoothly.

Explorer K2
Explorer K2

You can take it to nearby lakes, or even small streams nearby. It is added with a skeg for better navigation and driving. You will also get a patching kit with your purchase. And if you are looking for cheap kayaks for sale under 200, this is it.

✅ Pros

  • Affordable and easy to pack and unpack

⛔️ Cons

  • Risky to take into whitewater;
  • Soft seams are vulnerable to rupture or breakage.

Lifetime Manta (Sit On Top)

If you are looking for stability, this Lifetime Manta has to be there on your list of the best budget kayak. It is not only a good looking kayak but is also embedded with features like backrests, smaller size, spacious cockpit, and it won’t tip over. And that is why it is the best buy for a family kayaking experience.

Lifetime Manta (Sit On Top)
Lifetime Manta (Sit On Top)

What you will find even more appealing in this kayak is its storage area. And the reason why you may call it the best budget kayak for beginners is due to its versatility and great value for money.

✅ Pros

  • sit on top;
  • stable;
  • enough storage;
  • easy to store and carry

⛔️ ⛔️Cons

  • A bit heavy than other versions;
  • best used in calm waters

Heron 9XT

Created by Old Town this amazing kayak is a robust and best budget kayak which is made for some of the best thrilling experiences that you will have on whitewater. You will get adjustable seats, a strong hull and this is also one of the best boats for a family.

Heron 9XT
Heron 9XT

Strong hull means that you will be shielded from the bumps and the weight is also not too much to handle. All in all, you will be enjoying a kayak that will take you to the shoreline or even in the roaring water. The extra handles and support system ensures the comprehensive safety of everyone who is sitting in it.

✅ Pros

  • Has a storage box;
  • seats have some extra padding;
  • affordable price

⛔️ Cons

  • The drink holder is not ideal;
  • susceptible to color fading

Zydeco 9.0

With the Zydeco 9.0 kayaking will never be the same for you. This kayak is built to experience the thrill that comes with gushing water splashing on your face. For going into uncharted waters and to experience the best of whitewater kayaking. The best thing about Tandem’s best cheap kayak is its comfortable seating inside the cockpit.

Zydeco 9.0
Zydeco 9.0

Some other features include a slide lock and foot brace system, you will get to place stowing gear in the bungee deck. All the more it can accommodate more passengers than an average best under the budget kayak.

✅ Pros

  • Enhanced with stability;
  • Easy to carry around;
  • can also be used as a playboat

⛔️ Cons

  • No separate storage space;
  • you won’t get paddles with your buy

Wave Kayak

Kayaking is not something only the adults can experience. This kayak by Lifetime is one of the cheap kayaks for sale under 200 and is made for kids. If your kids are above 5 years of age and weight less than 59 Kgs, this kayak is suitable for them.

Wave Kayak
Wave Kayak

There are scupper holes on this best budget kayak for water drainage and keeping in mind the height of the riders you will get multiple footrests. There is no doubt that this is an amazing kayak for your kids to learn and begin kayaking.

✅ Pros

  • Enhanced with additional stability;
  • light-weighted;
  • made especially for kids

⛔️ Cons

  • no backrest;
  • the drainage holes are not that efficient, they are vulnerable to be misplaced

Quikpak Kayak

Designed and developed by Sevylor, this inflatable kayak has amazing looks and a streamlined body. This is a sit on top kayak and will fold into a backpack when not in use. The cockpit is spacious enough to let you wiggle around your legs and you can also store your food in the cargo net on the front of the kayak. It is a multipurpose kayak with some amazing features and not to mention, this one’s also one of the best budget kayaks.

Quikpak Kayak
Quikpak Kayak

The solid bottom of the kayak protects it from snagging, plus the three-chamber design provides additional security and strength. The fear of air leakage from the inflated kayak is put to rest by the thick PVC material and the airtight system provides yet another level of security and efficiency.

✅ Pros

  • Easy to pack and carry around;
  • cost-effective;
  • mesh storage space

⛔️ Cons

  • Cannot handle much weight;
  • limited activity to flatwater paddling

Journey 10 Foot Sit on Top

This kayak by Sun Dolphin will solve a paddler’s core issue of hardened maneuverability and spin casting. With features like easy paddling and low water traction, this kayak will give you an amazing experience. This kayak is also considered as the best budget fishing kayak and also has three pole holders.

Journey 10 Foot Sit on Top
Journey 10 Foot Sit on Top

The Sun Dolphin Journey weighs less, so it effectuates easy portage in narrow streams. The base is strong enough to protect you with all kinds of bumps and shocks. Some additional tweaking in this kayak like bottle holder, adjustable seat back, footrests and knee pads further amplifies the securitization of the user in this best budget kayak.

✅ Pros

  • Large capacity hatch;
  • enhanced for more stability in water

⛔️ Cons

  • You need to buy paddles additional to the kayak;
  • seat bottoms are not padded

Excursion 12

Yet another masterpiece by Sun Dolphin, this sit-in best budget kayak with plenty of features. Starting out, it has a large weight capacity and two hatches for additional storage. It is further equipped with rod holders and has bungee support to make fishing easier and approachable.

Excursion 12
Excursion 12

This longer size of this kayak won’t affect your maneuverability as the extra height is compensated for with its weight. All the more, you will get the best results with the Excursion 12 best budget kayak on calm waters and when you want to go fishing.

✅ Pros

  • Enough Storage space;
  • bungee deck;
  • extra seating space

⛔️ Cons

  • Winds and rough waters do not sync well with this kayak;
  • susceptible to a few holes in the body.

Sea Eagle 330

One of the best budget kayaks out there is the one by Sea Eagle and this one is better than the Sea Eagle 370. Easier to carry comes with the pump and the manufacturing materials are best in the industry. The front bow is designed to divert the rushing water in the other direction. Plus, it won’t compromise on your comfort levels, with its padded seatbacks.

Sea Eagle 330
Sea Eagle 330

The highly efficient skeg system of Sea Eagle 330 provides additional comfort in terms of maneuverability. Performance-wise, this kayak has got some amazing reviews and can sit two individuals.

✅ Pros

  • Durability is its best feature;
  • easy tracking and comes with several performance-enhancing features

⛔️ Cons

  • Since this kayak rises from the bottom of the platform, it can be a bit complex to handle in windy conditions.

Ookpik

When it comes to touring kayaks, the price may spike up a bit due to the extra comfort and features that come with it. The Boreal Ookpik Kayak is specifically made for touring purposes. The rudder underneath this kayak can be removed to reduce some weight.

Ookpik
Ookpik

Touring kayaks have additional storage space, and the Ookpik best budget kayak has dual hatches for storage on either side of the kayak. Even though this is a touring kayak, you can also take it on rough water without worrying about maneuverability and safety. The extra lean on the front end makes for better turning and offers additional acceleration.

✅ Pros

  • Best cheap kayak with amazing performance and handling;
  • comfortable seating

⛔️ Cons

  • The cost is not justified according to some users.

Advanced Elements

Most of the time, we think that inflatable kayaks are not made for sturdier performance. But wait till you experience kayaking in this Advanced Elements kayak. Seeing to additional supportive features, the price is justifiable and we can call it the best budget kayak.

Advanced Elements
Advanced Elements

It is built with the most advanced technology and combines the strength of a hard boat and the easy handling of an inflatable. You will be riding in a triple-layered puncture-resistant kayak. The padded back support will allow long hours of paddling without tiring. You can even take it on rough waters without risking a puncture. The best part, every kayak that you will find in the market will be inflated and tested for pressure limits. So, you can say that quality is not something that you will need to worry about.

Malibu Two

This is one of the best under the budget recreational kayaks out there. You will get to explore the calm and mildly fast waters. This kayak features some of the best amenities you can get in a kayak. With a two-person seating capacity, this kayak also has comfortable back support that is held high.

Malibu Two
Malibu Two

Further, it can handle weight up to 190 kg with easy which also adds another dimension of its versatility. This kayak is incredibly spacious, but if you want more room, it also has another variant with XL size.

✅ Pros

  • Comfortable seats;
  • spacious cockpit;
  • can be used for multiple types of kayaking

⛔️ Cons

  • The style and frame have not changed for the past 20 years, this makes it vulnerable.

Big Basin

Another masterpiece by Sevylor, this kayak can take up to 3 people on an amazing ride through the water. The bottom side of Big Basin is reinforced to provide additional support and security against the harsh rock bed. Due to this, you can also take it for a ride on whitewater.

Big Basin
Big Basin

There are multiple layers of heavy-duty PVC which makes up the whole structure of the kayak. This means that you will reach the shore safely, even if one layer is damaged or punctured. Add to it, the adjustable & comfy seats and spray covers, everything is built to allow you the best experience while riding.

✅ Pros

  • Stability in water is easily achieved;
  • the tracking fin is there for convenient navigation

⛔️ Cons

  • The seat in the middle has reduced leg space;
  • fewer storage facilities.

Here are some frequently asked questions that might be helpful in your buying decision

Which is better, a sit-in Kayak or sit-on-top Kayak?

Both types of kayaks feature their own set of pros and cons. For instance, if we talk about the water getting into the cockpit, A sit-in kayak might become a menace. While you won’t face the same issue with sit on top kayaks. Similarly, sit-in kayaks are a little less comfortable that sit on top kayaks, since you have to fit inside the cockpit.

At the same time, sit in kayaks can give you a better movement in the water than sit on kayaks. Besides, the close cockpit will keep you warmer than sit on top kayaks. So the better variant might depend on personal choices. However, if you are a beginner, you must go for sit on top kayaks, as they are easier to handle and get upright when turned.

Does the size of kayak matters while riding?

Yes, it probably will. Different sized kayaks need a different level of handling. For instance, narrow and long kayaks are fast on the water. While wider kayaks are good on stability. So you must match your skills with the kayak you are getting on your hands on.

Conclusion

Kayaks are a great way to sooth the adventure rush in your bloodstream. Besides, great views of nature are free eye candy while kayaking. And now that you know all about the different types and styles of kayaks, along with some amazing ones that are available online, you are sure to make a great buy. Good luck!

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