Best Cheap Kayaks

Are you dreaming of hardcore paddling adventures without draining your savings? Look no further, frugal water warriors! We’ve scouted the Best Lightweight kayaks so you can stop window shopping and start enjoying the splash dance! Finding a quality vessel for less than the price of a downtown studio apartment can feel as rare as stumbling upon a unicorn kayak rental.

 But fear not! We promise top-notch floats that won’t require you to sell off prized possessions or beg your extended family for loans. 

Best Cheap Kayaks

We’ve steered clear of questionable plastic and wobbly inflatables, vetting rides that deliver both adventure and savings. From sturdy solo trippers to family-sized options approved by focus groups, our guide previews affordable kayaks that compete easily with pricier brands.Some kayaks for Best Kayak Canopies and Bimini Sun Shades.

 Say goodbye to budget blues and bid farewell to the depressing ramen noodle life. Start daydreaming about being waterside again! Affordable and awesome kayaks are within reach, thanks to insider insights on snagging great deals without sacrificing performance. After all, adventure stands for ‘accessible fun‘!

Best cheap kayaks under $500  for 2024

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get into Best Cheap Kayaks. There are plenty of affordable kayaks on the market that will get you started. Recreational kayaks are a good option for beginners and those who are on a budget. They are typically less than $500.

The following cheap kayaks have received the highest star ratings from reviewers in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. See and review all cheap kayaks here

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Perception KayaksSound 10.5
At Amazon $651.10At Scheeels$579.00
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6 Top Best Cheap Kayaks

  Best Sit-Inside: Pelican Argo 100X

Pelican Argo 100X
10′28″36 lbs275 lbs

The Pelican Argo 100X kayak lets new paddlers dip their toes without drowning savings thanks to a focus on simplicity and featherweight portability.

Weighing under 40 pounds keeps costs down but often results in flimsy builds and wobbly rides. However, the Pelican agro kayak’s specially shaped twin hull keeps things tipped right and balanced. It confidently tackles calm lakes without screaming. For some kayaks, 3 people can travel These kayaks are called Best 3-Person Kayaks.

The compact design slides through tight spaces with ease, perfect for exploring those tucked-away lagoons. Although improved tracking would allow this recreational ride to cover longer distances on overnight trips, it lacks speed and power when winds and waves kick up.

Big and tall riders may find things cramped due to the snug cockpit and low clearance. However, smaller beginners have room to stretch out and work on skills. It’s advisable to stick to protected waters that match this starter ‘yak’s strengths


  • Ultra lightweight for solo hauling
  • Nimble handling best for newbies
  • Built-in hatch keeps essentials dry Best Cheap Kayaks


  • Built-in hatch keeps essentials dry
  • Tight squeeze for larger frames of Best Cheap Kayaks

Best Sit-on-Top: Pelican Sential 100X EXO

Pelican Sential 100X EXO
9’6″30″42 lbs275 lbs

The Pelican Sentinel 100X EXO allows you to navigate lakes and rivers without capsizing your budget. This sit-on-top kayak keeps costs low but still delivers balanced handling and ample storage space.

Built using Pelican’s patented mega-durable Ram-X material, it dispels fears of shattered plastic fantasies with triple-layered protection. Extra foam reinforcements prevent unexpected mid-paddle plunges too!

Despite its small size, the Sentinel doesn’t skimp on function. Its specially shaped twin hull cuts through water while keeping your posture upright. Molded foot braces and a padded seat work diligently to battle soreness, ensuring smiles till the end.

For generous cargo room, abundant bungee rigging, and a dedicated dry compartment handling essentials during long journeys. However, with only 10 feet to share, the Sentinel works best in calm waters—steer clear of stormy seas!

Yes, a few upgrades existed in pricier brands, but for affordable access to nature’s medley, the Sentinel 100X EXO checks out. Its stability, Kayak size comfort-focused touches, and rugged Ram-X build cart you confidently from a serene lagoon to awakening river rapids.


  • Unique multi-arch hull keeps stable while paddling of Best Cheap Kayaks
  • Beefy triple-layer Ram-X material can withstand abuse
  • Adjustable seat and foot braces prevent soreness
  • Surprising cargo room for a small kayak
  • Special dry hatch carries essential gear


  • Best suited for lakes and calm rivers only
  • No idea if you want ocean adventures

Best Tandem: Ocean Kayak Malibu Two

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two
12′34″63 lbs425 lbs

The Malibu Two tandem kayak from Ocean Kayak offers stable, streamlined fun for pairs or solo riders. Its wide, flat hull design creates exceptional steadiness when balancing atop calm waters. The impressive length also keeps this sit-on-top paddle board gliding straight – no zigzagging across the lake!

Use it for tandem teamwork, flying solo, or squeezing in a kiddo or pup for family bonding. The open layout and adjustable chairs make seating arrangements flexible. Molded foot braces ensure proper stability too for any size crew.

Storage-wise, there’s limited space when maxed out with two paddlers. But multiple bungees allow for stashing smaller waterproof bags securely.

Could some fancy add-ons exist? Sure, but that’d up the cost. Because as-is, the Malibu Two provides reliable tracking and ample stability without spending big bucks,


  • Mega-wide hull keeps things tip-proof
  • Solid length and flatness tracks straight
  • Fits 2 paddlers or converts solo Best Cheap Kayaks
  • Adjustable seats prevent sore tushes
  • Makes room for a kiddo or pup


  • Minimal gear room when tandem team rows Best Cheap Kayaks

Best For Fishing: Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100
10′31″51 lbs275 lbs

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is an affordable fishing kayak made from durable plastic that stands up to sun and water. It has a flat bottom for stability but tracks straight. This kayak is designed for fishing. It has rod holders to keep your lines in the water and space to store gear. You can lash down a bag on the back deck.

On the downside, at 51 pounds it is heavy to carry alone. It does not have built-in mounts for accessories like fish finders.

Overall though, for a Best Cheap Kayak the Tamarack Angler 100 packs a lot of function. It’s a great choice if you want a stable, affordable kayak to help you catch more fish.


  • Hull shape keeps balanced and paddles straight
  • 3-rod holders to maximize your catch
  • Good storage space for all fishing gear
  • UV-resistant polyethylene handles years of sun


  • Heavy at 51 lbs for one person Best Cheap Kayaks
  • No built-in tracks for extras like fish finders

Best Inflatable: Intex Challenger K1 

Intex Challenger K1
9′30″28 lbs220 lbs

The Intex Challenger K1 is a fun, portable solo kayak for calm waters. Made from puncture-resistant vinyl, it inflates for use. The inflation creates an I-beam floor and sides for stability. The cockpit is spacious with a comfy seat and backrest.

A front cargo net stores some gear. It comes with a pump and paddle too. On the downside, it is very short and hard to paddle straight. Also, larger paddlers may find it too small.

But for an easy-to-store inflatable Best Cheap Kayaks at a great price, the Challenger K1 is lots of fun for floating down rivers or lakes. It’s a nice choice for casual adventures.


  • Durable vinyl won’t puncture easily
  • Inflates to create a stable I-beam floor
  • Roomy cockpit with comfortable seat
  • Includes paddle and pump


  • Hard to paddle straight over long distances
  • The low weight limit leaves some paddlers out

Best Inflatable Tandem: Sea Eagle 370

Sea Eagle 370
12 feet 6 inches34 inches32 pounds650 pounds

The rugged Sea Eagle 370 carries up to 3 paddlers across rivers and lakes with ease. Durable vinyl construction and I-beam floor provide reliability, while 650-pound capacity hauls plenty of gear.

Incredibly portable at just 32 pounds, it packs down small to fit in most cars. The space inside fits expedition equipment with room to spare.

Tracking could be better with its curved hull, and the seats lack adjustability. But for on-the-go paddlers needing an affordable, rugged tandem, the 370 is a transportation transformer ready to deliver aquatic action.


  • Lightweight at 32 lbs
  • Packs down small
  • Durable puncture-resistant vinyl
  • 650 lb capacity
  • Stable I-beam floor


  • Seats not adjustable
  • Curved hull hard to paddle straight

5 Kayaks Under $300 Reviewed: Are They Worth It?

Cheap Kayak Comparison Table

Kayak ModelLengthWidthWeightCapacitySeatingCockpit TypeStructure
Pelican Argo 100X10 feet28 inches36 lbs275 lbs1Sit-InsideHardshell
Pelican Sentinel 100X EXO9 feet 6 inches30 inches42 lbs275 lbs1Sit-on-topHardshell
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two12 feet34 inches63 lbs425 lbs1, 2, or 3Sit-on-topHardshell
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 10010 feet31 inches51 lbs275 lbs1Sit-on-topHard shell
Intex Challenger K19 feet30 inches28 lbs220 lbs1Sit-InsideInflatable
Sea Eagle 37012 feet 6 inches34 inches32 lbs650 lbs1, 2, or 3Sit-on-topInflatable

Cheap Kayak Buying Advice: Cut Costs, Not Quality

Finding a great kayak without breaking the bank is doable! You don’t have to compromise on Best Cheap Kayaks. Knowing what to look for and having realistic expectations is key.

Here’s a quick guide to help you while shopping:

  • Different Kayaks for Different Uses: Understand the type of kayak that fits your needs.
  • Strong and Long-lasting: Check the durability and materials used in the kayak’s construction.
  • Extras Matter: Look out for features and accessories that add value to your kayaking experience.

What’s the Difference Between a Best Cheap Kayak and an Expensive Kayak?

Kayak makers battle balancing budget, performance, and features. When prices dip, paddling power or bonus add-ons also shrink.

But float your hopes downstream! Affordable doesn’t mean poor quality. Just gear expectations to match your wallet.

A cheap fishing kayak will still reel in adventure and fun. You may simply forgo built-in rod holders and slick accessories. Or deal with sluggish speed while gaining sticker savings.

The water wanders no less wonderfully, though! With reasonable hopes, even budget boats boogie with glee across rivers and lakes.

Don’t expect royal treatment at peasant prices. But plenty of playful paddling potential still 

makes affordable options a precious catch.

Type of Kayak & Intended Use


  • Recreational Kayaks
  • Touring Kayaks
  • Sit-on-Top Kayaks
  • Whitewater Kayaks
  • Sea Kayaks

Before buying a budget-friendly kayak, think about how you’ll use it. Different types suit different activities like calm lake paddling or fishing. At a reasonable price, you can find various options: sit-in hardshell or sit-on-top inflatable kayaks, and even some for fishing.

The most affordable kayaks are best for calm waters like lakes. A few cheaper ones are for sea, touring, or whitewater, where performance matters more and might cost a bit extra.

Durability & Materials

People often think Best Cheap Kayaks won’t last long, but that’s not always true. While some low-cost kayaks might be of lower quality, you can still find a durable and reliable one without spending too much.

Many inexpensive hardshell kayaks are made of polyethylene, a strong plastic, instead of pricier materials like fiberglass or kevlar. Polyethylene is tough, although these kayaks might be heavier compared to the expensive ones

Cheap can still crush it with polyethylene plastic hulls tougher than fiberglass. A few extra pounds make for muscle building anyway.

Kayaks Durability

Inflatables skimp slightly on fabric thickness but still float fine. Unless you play bumper boats off jagged rocks, that is – but really, who does that?

But if what you want is durable fun on the water rather than status symbols, affordable options have you covered better than a spray skirt.

So don’t believe the tales of woe and leaks. Plenty of Best Cheap Kayaks out there are gems ready to carry you happily along for years at a price your wallet will surely love.

Features & Accessories

Think about the extras and special features your kayak might have. While cheaper kayaks may have fewer fancy add-ons, they can still offer cool things like rod holders or adjustable seats.

It’s essential to be realistic about what you’ll get with a Best Cheap Kayak. Make a list of features you want and rank them by importance.


  • Perception Kayaks Sound 10.5
  • Sevylor Colorado
  • Sevylor Quikpak K1
  • Sun Dolphin Aruba 12 ss
  • Pelican Pulse 100X
  • Sun Dolphin Marquette 10 Angler
  • Pelican Clipper 100X

Kayaking can be a fun and affordable way to enjoy the outdoors. Kayaks can range in price from $250 to $2,500, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started. You can rent kayaks from outfitters if you live near one, or you can buy a simple model that won’t break the bank. Kayaking can be a great workout, but you don’t have to be in tip-top shape to enjoy it. 

The best kayak for a beginner is one that is stable, easy to maneuver, and affordable. Some good options include:

  • Perception Kayak Sound 10.5
  • Pelican Pulse 100X
  • Sevylor Quikpak K1
  • Sun Dolphin Aruba 12 SS

For beginners, a “Best Cheap Kayak” means one that costs less than $500. But remember, cheap is relative. As you move up in performance and quality, prices go up too. A basic touring kayak can be found for $1,000 or less, and a sea kayak for under $1,500.


Affordable Best Cheap Kayaks offer lasting quality and enjoyable experiences on the water without breaking the bank. Despite fewer extras, they provide reliable performance and durability, making them a great choice for budget-conscious adventurers seeking value and fun.

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