The 8 Best Inexpensive Kayaks of 2020 | Cheap Kayaks Reviewed
Are you looking for the best inexpensive kayak? You’ve come to the right place!
A lower price doesn’t always mean lower quality. Especially, if you enjoy kayaking just for recreation on calm water.
We’ve put together a list of kayaks that really give you the best bang for your buck.
Table of Contents
- 1 Choose the Best Inexpensive Kayak for You
- 1.0.1 1. Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 12 Sit-in Kayak
- 1.0.2 Pros
- 1.0.3 Cons
- 1.0.4 2. Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Heron Recreational Kayak
- 1.0.5 Pros
- 1.0.6 Cons
- 1.0.7 3. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2, Person Inflatable Kayak
- 1.0.8 Pros
- 1.0.9 Cons
- 1.0.10 4. Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak
- 1.0.11 Pros
- 1.0.12 Cons
- 1.0.13 5. Dagger Kayaks Zydeco Kayak
- 1.0.14 Pros
- 1.0.15 Cons
- 1.0.16 6. Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak
- 1.0.17 Pros
- 1.0.18 Cons
- 1.0.19 7. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
- 1.0.20 Pros
- 1.0.21 Cons
- 1.0.22 8. Sun Dolphin Aruba
- 1.0.23 Pros
- 1.0.24 Cons
- 1.1 How to Find & Buy the Best Inexpensive Kayak
- 1.2 Our Final Say on the Best Inexpensive Kayak
8 Top Inexpensive Kayaks on the Market in 2020
|Sun Dolphin Aruba SS||12 feet||29.5 inches||Check Current Price|
|Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Heron||9 ½ feet||28.5 inches||Check Current Price|
|Intex Explorer K2 Kayak||10 feet, 3 inches||36 inches||Check Current Price|
|Sun Dolphin Journey||10 feet||30 inches||Check Current Price|
|Dagger Kayaks Zydeco||9 feet, 1 inch||28.5 inches||Check Current Price|
|Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak||11 feet, 2 inches||33 inches||Check Current Price|
|Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100||10 feet||31 inches||Check Current Price|
|Sun Dolphin Aruba||8 feet||30 inches||Check Current Price|
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a great paddling experience.
What you do need to do, is choose the best inexpensive kayak based on the activities you love to do.
Things to consider include the stability, durability and length of your kayak. Also, will you be taking it in fast-moving rivers? In the surf?
Make a list of your requirements and it’ll be easy to find one to suit you and your budget.
Choose the Best Inexpensive Kayak for You
1. Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 12 Sit-in Kayak
The Sun Dolphin Aruba SS is a sit-in kayak which comes in at a length of 12 feet. The SS model is one of the most popular, low price point kayaks on the market today.
To begin with, the Aruba SS has a beam of 29.5 inches. This is decently wide for a kayak.
This wide beam, combined with a 12-foot length, means that it’s extremely stable in the water. Therefore, it would be quite difficult to tip this kayak.
Though it’s quite wide, the light weight of the Aruba preserves its ability to track.
One of the major perks of the Aruba is its durability. The hull is UV protected and it’s made from very durable polyethylene. It’s certainly hard to damage this yak.
Some added bonuses are an adjustable seat, adjustable foot braces, thigh padding, and a small storage compartment. The key feature here is the storage compartment. It’s a small, 6-inch compartment, but it is waterproof.
- Multiple length options
- UV protected hull
- Adjustable seat
- Adjustable foot braces
- Thigh padding
- Wide beam
- Minimal extra features
- Very small storage compartment
Old Town is another phenomenal kayak builder. Their Heron is a recreational kayak, which means it is not specifically designed for just one activity.
The beam on this yak is 28.5 inches, which is decently wide like the Aruba SS. Again, this provides excellent stability in the water for kayakers.
The Heron 9XT comes in at a solid 9.5 feet. This leaves the kayaker with less speed, but more stability.
Other features on this kayak are an adjustable seat, adjustable foot braces, and thigh pads. As you can tell, there are not many bells and whistles on this boat. But Old Town Canoes and Kayaks is not a company especially known for lots of extra features. Their goal as a company is to provide quality yaks at reasonable prices, and they succeed.
- Adjustable Seat
- Wide Beam
- 9.5 feet
- Recreational Kayak
- Adjustable foot braces
- Thigh Pads
- Heavier (39 pounds)
- May struggle tracking
This kayak is easily one of the best inexpensive inflatable kayaks. Intex has designed the K2, which is a tandem kayak, or allows two people.
An additional feature for this inflatable kayak’s stability is an unshakable 36 inch beam. It also offers a removable skeg. A skeg is a piece which attaches to the bottom of a kayak and helps counteract the currents.
Tracking is about as good as can be on an inflatable kayak. The material tends to drag a little more, however, as it measures just over 10 feet, you get a little extra freedom when paddling.
Some extra features on this kayak are an adjustable seat, bright colors for safety, and the fact that it stores incredibly easily. The boat comes with paddles and a pump, so all you need to do is carry it to the water’s edge, plug the pump into the boat and voila. You have a kayak.
- 10 feet 3 inches
- Bright safety colors
- Very stable
- Easy to travel with
- Comes with paddles
- Two adjustable seats
- Average tracking
- Can puncture easily
This cheap angling kayak is a sit-on -top kayak, which means the kayaker literally sits on top of a plastic hull.
As far as stability is concerned, a beam width of almost 30 inches is great. Even if this kayak did tip, the fact that it is a sit-on-top allows kayakers to escape easily.
Tracking is decent in this kayak. It can be a little tricky because of the 30 inch beam and only 10 feet of length, but overall it handles pretty well.
Because this is a kayak designed for angling, it has a lot of great perks. First, there are three rod holders on this kayak. Two are mounted directly to the kayak, called flush mounts. The third is a swivel rod holder near the cockpit.
There is also a waterproof storage compartment and extra storage with shock cord rigging. A final storage option is the PAC, or Portable Accessory Carrier. These can be popped out of the kayak and used as a backpack or pulled behind the kayak.
The PAC is a key feature of many Sun Dolphin kayaks. The extra storage afforded by them is priceless, especially if towed behind the kayak. If the storage is towed, it does not add to the weight capacity of the yak.
- Portable Accessory Carrier
- Waterproof storage
- Adjustable foot braces
- Three rod holders
- 30 inch beam
- 10 feet of length
- Average tracking
If the best inexpensive kayak for you means one that’s small in size, take a look at the Dagger Zydeco.
The Zydeco is very similar to the Heron 9XT. With a length of just over 9 feet and a width of 28.5 inches, this boat is going to be very stable in the water. However, it will not as stable as the kayaks with a beam of 30 inches or more.
That being said, the length and width of this kayak allow it to track a little better in the water. When you add in the fact that the Zydeco weighs approximately 48 pounds, it ranks pretty high as far as stability and tracking are concerned.
Dagger’s Zydeco only has rigging storage, but it does have adjustable foot braces and an adjustable seat. There are not quite as many bells and whistles on this little yak, but it does show up as one of the best cheap kayaks on the market today.
This kayak is ideal for rapids kayaking, unless you need to take a lot of gear with you.
- Decent tracking
- Decent stability
- Adjustable seat
- Adjustable foot braces
- 9 feet long
- 28 ½ inches wide
- Very little storage
- 48 pounds
In terms of light, very portable kayaks, the Sea Eagle 330 might be the best inexpensive kayak for you.
For one thing, it weighs only 26 pounds. It also packs down small enough to fit in a tiny trunk.
For recreational paddling, the Sea Eagle will fit an adult and child or two smaller adults. Even though it’s light, it can hold up to 500 pounds and is also easy for solo paddling.
This kayak offers a lot of versatility. You can use it on flat water, whitewater up to class III and ocean surf.
It’s also very durable, as the hull features high-frequency welded seams. Adding to that, it’s sun resistant and suitable for both fresh and salt water.
Some added features include lashed down inflatable spray skirts, two skegs to improve stability and bow and stern carry lines.
As a beginner kayak that’s quick and super easy to transport, the Sea Eagle 330 is an excellent choice.
- Light and portable
- Easy to store
- Sun resistant
- Limited storage
Do you love fishing while you’re paddling?
For the best inexpensive kayak to suit fishermen and women, check out the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100.
This is a sit-on-top fishing kayak that takes comfort seriously. You’ll find an adjustable padded seat and backrest, plus multiple footrest positions, for long days on the water.
Safety and stability are also perks of this kayak, with deep tracking channels and stability chine rails.
In terms of durability, the Tamarack Angler is UV-protected and made from blow-molded high-density polyethylene. To transport it, front and rear carry handles make the job easy.
Extra features of this kayak include two flush mounted fishing rod holders and one that’s adjustable. For storage, there are two hatches beneath the deck.
- Comfort features
- Sit-on-Top Kayak
- Added storage
- Three fishing rod holders
- Quite heavy (52 pounds)
The Aruba by Sun Dolphin is a sit-in kayak similar to the SS 12. However, the standard Aruba 8 is a little more simplified than the SS.
That being said, the 8 is quite popular, as it’s very reasonably priced and great quality.
The Aruba is very stable and tip-resistant. Made from UV-protected, high-density polyethylene, it’s also virtually indestructible.
In terms of design, the Aruba 10 is sleek and lightweight. This means that it’s easy to paddle across calm lakes and rivers, with the ability to turn quickly.
For comfort, there are adjustable foot braces, protective thigh pads and a padded seat with a backrest. A paddle holder makes it easy to store your paddle. Storage is covered with dry rear storage and a front storage net.
Other features on this boat include shock cord rigging over all storage areas and a water bottle holder close to the cockpit.
- 8 feet
- 30-inch beam
- Adjustable back rest
- Shock cord rigging storage
- Day well
- Adjustable foot braces
- Water bottle holder
- Wider than the SS
- Heavier than the SS
When buying a cheap kayak, you must consider what the most important features of your kayak will be. If you know you’ll be participating in a specific activity, it’s important to choose a kayak that can accommodate them.
However, if activities are not of special importance to you, there are several other features to consider. One is the stability of the kayak. You want to make sure that the kayak will not easily tip in the water.
A more important feature is the tracking of the kayak. Tracking simply means the kayak’s ability to turn in the water and be steered by the kayaker. Finally, a risk of purchasing any inexpensive item is that they will not last a long time.
However, choosing a kayak made of the appropriate materials can provide excellent durability.
When choosing the best inexpensive kayak, you may want to decide on the activity you will be doing most often. For instance, if you plan on kayaking rapids, you want to consider the Zydeco.
If you primarily spend your time fishing, purchase the Tamarack Angler, as it’s outfitted with some extra features for fishermen. Some DIY-ers feel they can modify their kayaks themselves, but this often proves to be challenging. It’s worth a little extra money to know your kayak can handle the angling.
Finally, if you hope to do a blend of all kayaking activities, or you hope to mainly just tour with your kayak, purchase a recreational kayak.
When considering the stability of your kayak, pay attention to the width, length, and weight.
A kayak of a width more than 30 inches will almost always provide excellent stability for the kayaker. If the beam width is under 24 inches, it becomes much more difficult to keep the kayak balanced.
Additionally, the length plays a large role in this, depending on where you’re kayaking. If you’re planning on ocean kayaking, your kayak really must be longer than 12 feet. If it’s not, the kayak may not handle the waves well enough. For standard lakes and rivers, a length of 9 or 10 feet should be just fine.
Finally, the weight of the kayak definitely adds extra stability. If a kayak is between 35 and 50 pounds, you can rest assured that the kayak will be fairly stable. However, when kayaks get much heavier or much lighter, they can become unstable in the water.
Tracking is another word used to describe how the kayak steers. For best steering scenarios, kayakers want their boat to have the least possible resistance.
Obviously, a wider beam creates more resistance, so typically boats which are very stable are not going to track as well. For a boat to track very well, the beam must be right at or under 28 inches. Much wider and the boat begins to cause too much friction in the water.
As with most objects, the heavier something is the harder it is to control. This is the same for kayaks. If your shorter kayak, meaning under 12 feet, weighs much more than 50 pounds, it can become difficult to steer in the water. Keep this in mind as you are considering a kayak to purchase.
Many kayak owners worry about their kayaks springing leaks or, in the case of inflatables, deflating. That being said, there are a few key elements to look for when shopping for a kayak.
If you truly want to ensure your kayak will last a long time, you want to purchase a fiberglass hulled yak. However, these are among the most expensive boats on the market.
Instead, a good method to follow is the “poly” test. Most hulls are made from a material which begins with “poly”, such as polyethylene. The poly in these words simply means that the ethylene (or other base ingredient) has been paired with many other compounds to create a durable hull.
Additionally, for those of you who are inflatable kayak owners, kayak companies are excellent at designing and preserving their kayaks. If you truly run into an issue with your kayak, you can always purchase a repair kit to keep your boat working perfectly.
Considering which activities you’ll be involved in, the stability of your kayak, the tracking ability of the kayak and the durability of the kayak are all key features.
When you do that, you can go ahead and comfortably purchase the best inexpensive kayak for you, and enjoy your time on the water!