Kayaking is one of the most exciting water sports, to freely explore rivers, lakes and oceans.
However, not all kayaks are budget-friendly. If you’re looking for the best kayak under $500 to fulfil your paddling fantasies, you’ve come to the right place.
Other than the price, choosing the right kayak depends on where you’d like to take it and what you love to do.
Recreational kayaks are versatile and fun for families, pets and casual days on the water.
For rapids, you’ll need a yak that handles the challenge. Do you love fishing or photography? The kayak to suit you will need extra storage capabilities and decent weight capacity.
Let’s take a look at some of the top options on the market today.
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5 Best Kayaks Under $500
|Image||Product Name||Kayak Weight||Weight Capacity||Price|
Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak
|40 pounds||220 pounds||Check Current Price|
Dagger Kayaks Zydeco Kayak
|49 pounds||220 pounds||Check Current Price|
PERCEPTION Sound 10.5 Kayak
|49 pounds||335 pounds||Check Current Price|
Perception Pescador 10.0 Kayak, Sea Spray
|52 pounds||325 pounds||Check Current Price|
Sevylor Colorado 2-Person Kayak Combo
|40 pounds||470 pounds||Check Current Price|
Choose the Best Kayak Under $500
Sun Dolphin makes one of the most popular, well-priced kayaks. The Aruba SS is short enough to gain excellent speed. However, at 10 feet in length, it’s long enough to fit taller kayakers, making it a versatile choice.
A great addition to this kayak is the Portable Accessory Carrier. This is a compartment that you can pop out to tow behind you, leaving the area free to use as storage. Plus, you can wear it or use it in the cockpit as waterproof storage, along with the electronics console. You’ll also find extra rigging space for your gear.
For a basic kayak, the Aruba is very comfortable. The adjustable seat is padded, with a high back for support. The large cockpit offers room to move and adjustable foot braces allow you to customize the space. Thigh padding ensures comfort when you’re leaning into sharp turns.
If you’re looking for the best kayak under $500 for weekend paddles on the lake, or for teaching kids how to kayak, the Aruba is a solid choice.
- Comfortable paddling
- Electronic console
- Stable in the water
- Good storage
- Large cockpit
- Recommended use on flat water only
Much like the Aruba 10 SS, this kayak is incredibly stable in the water.
It has a rather short deck height of only 14 inches, so if you love whitewater this one’s for mild rapids only, however it is certainly versatile enough to handle challenges.
The Zydeco is very lightweight, at only 40 pounds. This is a major perk, because a solo kayaker can carry it easily to the water’s edge.
It’s also incredibly comfortable for tall kayakers. The cockpit has a large opening and offers an adjustable slide lock brace system. Further comfort comes from thigh and knee pads.
Other adjustable features on this kayak are the seat, the seat base, and the foot pedals.
- Very stable
- Adjustable foot pedals
- Adjustable Seat
- Knee pads
- Thigh Pads
- Does not come with paddles
- Not great for speed
- Short deck
3. PERCEPTION Sound 10.5 Kayak
The Perception Sound 10.5 is designed for fishermen, but this adds some nice features many kayakers look for.
First and foremost, this kayak has a stabilizer hull, creating a smooth, stable ride with excellent tracking.
Nothing says comfort quite like Perception. This kayak, like the Zydeco, has a foot brace system, which means kayakers of varied heights fit with ease. You’ll find thigh pads and knee pads too, which allow for comfort when taking sharp turns and riding rough water.
It also has an adjustable seating system which is usable while paddling.
Some additional features on this kayak are meant specifically for fishermen, but are helpful to all kayakers. First, it offers molded in rod holders.
A storage compartment behind the seat is just for tackle boxes, in a position that’s easy to reach.
If you don’t plan on bringing a tackle box or are not a fisherman, this is still an excellent storage compartment for you.
- Molded fishing pole holders
- Adjustable foot brace
- Adjustable seats
- Thigh pads
- Knee pads
- High weight capacity
- Stabilizer hull
- Excellent tracking
- Great storage
- No waterproof storage
4. Perception Pescador 10.0 Kayak
The Perception Pescador 10.0 is a unique kayak on this list, as it is a sit-on-top kayak.
As far as stability goes, it can be difficult to keep sit-on-top kayaks steady as they require a little more balance. However, the Pescador has a 29-inch beam, which makes it a fairly balanced boat.
For your paddling comfort, this kayak has amazing features. Knee pads and thigh pads line the inside, meaning if the water gets rough or you takes tough turns, you can lean against the pads.
Additionally, the seat and the seat brace are adjustable while kayaking. This is an especially good feature for taller kayakers.
Tracking is great on this kayak. The weight, combined with the beam and the length of the kayak, allow it to turn smoothly in the water.
It’s also excellent for getting up to a high speeds. Therefore, if you love racing, this might be the best kayak under $500 for you.
- Very comfortable
- Adjustable seat
- Thigh Pads
- Knee Pads
- River & lake friendly
- Good speed
- Good tracking
- Heavier than other kayaks
- Does not come with paddles
5. Sevylor Colorado 2-Person Kayak Combo
Love whitewater? This kayak can handle up to class 3 rapids. Due to the tarpaulin bottom on this kayak, it can withstand some serious challenges.
If this kayak does spring a leak, it has multiple inflated chambers. This means that only one chamber will deflate in the case of a leak. Therefore, this should put any worries about purchasing an inflatable kayak at ease.
Other features are a pump for inflating it and a pressure gauge. The pressure gauge is viewable while you’re in the kayak. The pump is extremely lightweight and easy to use.
The kayak also comes with a storage bag that fits the pump and the deflated kayak inside of it.
As far as comfort goes, riders of all sizes will enjoy the Colorado. The weight capacity is 470 pounds, which means it is very difficult to weigh it down so much that it tips over.
Because this kayak deflates and comes with a storage bag, it’s easy to keep it in your car at all times or store it in small spaces at home.
Most inflatable kayaks are not known for tracking well, due to the lack of rigidity in the hull. However, the Colorado is among the best for inflatable kayaks.
- Stores well
- Can hold two riders
- Solo kayakers can use
- Rive- friendly (up to class 3 rapids)
- 1 year warranty
- Pressure Gauge
- Storage Bag
- High Weight Capacity
When choosing a kayak under $500, the most important thing to ensure is that you can use it on the types of water you love paddling on. Check to see how it handles rough water, if you like to kayak in the ocean or ride rapids. Here are some tips on what to look for, in order to make the right choice.
It is rare to find paddles included with a kayak, but some kayaks like the Sevylor have this feature. If your kayak does not come with paddles, remember that paddles will be an additional cost, as in anywhere from $25 to $125.
Most kayaks are lake friendly. However, if you’re hoping to use your kayak on the ocean, it’s recommended you purchase a kayak meant for ocean kayaking.
Often ocean kayaks are more expensive, so keep this in mind as you shop.
For river kayaks, you want a beam which is a little more narrow and you want to purchase a kayak which has an excellent reputation for tracking and speed.
This is similar to ocean kayaks. You often want an ocean kayak to have a high deck or to have a kayak skirt which can be purchased with it.
A kayak skirt is a piece which covers the cockpit entrance and adheres to the kayaker’s waist. This prevents water in difficult currents from flooding the kayak.
If family and friends are using the kayak too, make sure the one you buy is adjustable, in order to fit various heights and sizes.
Also ensure it has the right padding for how you intend on using it. If you hope to use it for rough water, you probably want to have thigh and knee padding.
If you plan on taking sharper turns, knee padding is a must.
Finally, tracking is important for any kayak. Tracking is the way a kayak turns and handles in the water.
As stated previously, it is crucial that kayakers who want to kayak in the ocean or on rivers have a boat which has superior tracking. In rough water situations, it can be important to be able to maneuver quickly.
Even if you do not plan on using your kayak for speed or for rough waters, it’s important to be able to turn well and guide your kayak where it needs to go.
If an obstacle suddenly appears in front of you, good tracking means those objects can be quickly avoided.
Have you narrowed down your options? As long as you know exactly what you want from your kayak, the decision will be easy. The kayaks on this list offer a range of features to suit family paddling, fishing and even rapids, so chances are one of them will be the best kayak under $500 for you.
Once you’ve purchased your yak for a great price, get out on the water and into some paddling fun!
Looking for paddling spots? Check out Amazing Kayaking and Camping Trips in the USA