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. Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top
- 1.0.2 Pros
- 1.0.3 Cons
- 1.0.4 2. Old Town Heron 9XT
- 1.0.5 Pros
- 1.0.6 Cons
- 1.0.7 3. Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak
- 1.0.8 Pros
- 1.0.9 Cons
- 1.0.10 4. Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable 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
|Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top||8 feet||29 inches||Check Current Price|
|Old Town Heron 9XT||9 feet, 6 inches||28.5 inches||Check Current Price|
|Intex Challenger Kayak||9 feet||29 inches||Check Current Price|
||Intex Explorer K2||10 feet, 3 inches||36 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. Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top
The Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top lasts the distance, with UV-protected, high-density polyethylene construction. Furthermore, a molded paddle cradle ensures you don’t lose the most important piece of equipment.
For comfort, you’ll find an adjustable, quick release seat back and multiple foot rest positions to suit different sized kayakers.
To keep your stuff safe, there is tankwell storage with bungee cord lacing for extra security.
A center carry handle, along with front and rear T-handles make for easy transport down to the water.
- Paddle Included
- UV-Protected High-Density Polyethylene construction
- Molded paddle cradle
- Adjustable quick release seat back for comfort
- Center carry handle for easy transport to waterfront
- Hull design provides ultra stability and great tracking
- Front and rear T-handles for easy transport
- Self-bailing scupper holes to drain water from the cockpit and tankwell
- Multiple footrest positions for different size paddlers
- Kayak paddle included
- 5-Year limited warranty
- Tankwell storage with bungee cord lacing to secure loose items
- Great stability
- Good tracking
- UV protected hull
- Adjustable seat
- Minimal extra features
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. Again, this provides excellent stability in the water for kayakers.
The Heron 9XT comes in at a solid 9.6 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
- 9.6 feet
- Recreational Kayak
- Adjustable foot braces
- Thigh Pads
- May struggle tracking
This kayak is easily one of the best inexpensive inflatable kayaks. Intex has designed the K1, which is also great for paddling for beginners.
Made from durable material, you can paddle this kayak in slow-moving rivers with safety. The cockpit is designed for comfort and I beam floors contribute to stability.
Store your gear in the cargo net to keep it secure.
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 a paddle 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.
- 9 feet 29inches
- Bright safety colors
- Very stable
- Easy to travel with
- Average tracking
- Can puncture easily
The Intex Explorer K2 offers a great-value price for a two-person kayak. It’s made from 30 gauge vinyl to ensure durability, with I beam floors for a stable ride.
Grab handles, grab lines and a removable skeg are added bonuses for convenience. To top it off, two aluminium oars are included with the package. Furthermore, a high output air pump makes inflation and deflation super easy.
You can expect comfort while you’re out on the water, with adjustable backrests on the inflatable seats.
This is a lightweight kayak that packs up into a bag for easy storage and transport.
- Portable Carrier
- Adjustable backrests
- Tandem kayak
- Two paddles included
- Average tracking
- Can puncture easily
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 backrest
- 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!