Best Budget Kayak

In the market for a new kayak? Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, there are a whole range of options out there that will not break the bank. It’s easier than ever to get your hands on a decent kayak and we are here to help you find one.

Kayaking is one of the most enjoyable activities you, your family, and friends can partake in. It's fun and exciting with some kayak models also being easy to transport.

Therefore, the world is your oyster when heading out on your kayak. While they are generally safe, a kayak’s price tag is not always as low as we would hope. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great budget options on the market waiting for you right now.

Some cheaper options can compete with the best of the best in terms of construction and longevity. When you compare some budget options with the most expensive, you’ll wonder why anyone would spend thousands of dollars on a kayak.

To help you get out on the open water and kayak to your heart’s content, we have scoured the entire market and found the top 5 budget kayaks.

We will be taking a detailed look at each model and weigh up the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision on which one is right for you.

So, let’s not wait any longer! Here are our top 5 budget kayaks.

OUR TOP PICK

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After many hours of research, our number one budget kayak is the Perception Joyride 10. This kayak’s 10-foot top-quality polyethylene hull may be pretty cumbersome at 50 pounds.

However, its molded, built-in carry handles make it extremely manageable to transport. These handles also serve as locking points when required. 

This model is a sit-in kayak, designed for stability, comfort, and maneuverability, especially over lakes, slow-moving rivers, ponds, and coastal waters. What clinched the top spot was the Joyride’s variety of features.

There is ample onboard storage such as an easy-access rear hatch, bungee deck rigging, and a useful drink holder. Combine this with 275 pounds of storage and you can take all you need for a long weekend trip.

The Perception Joyride 10 features Zone Deluxe seating and thigh pads to ensure supreme comfort as well as two molded recesses. These make attaching further accessories that much more convenient.

And, if you want to capture your trip on Instagram, this kayak comes with a unique selfie slot for your phone. 

Pros

  • Molded-in handles - Comfortable to hold for easy transportion and the handles can be used as locking points
  • Extremely comfortable padded seats - Allows you to sit back and relax as you drift down the river
  • Adjustable foot braces - Suits all sizes of paddlers

Cons

  • No paddles and accessories - You will need to buy these separately

EDITORS CHOICE

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Next up is one of the most attractive kayaks on the market. This is a twin seated cousin of the K1 kayak but with an upgraded design.

Its sporty, rugged image means this looks more like a professional kayak than a kid’s kayak (which many cheaper models do). Not only does the design look great but it helps the kayak become more visible for improved safety on the water.

Measuring 11.5 feet in length, this kayak’s vinyl, two-chamber hull weighs 39.6 pounds meaning it’s pretty easy to carry. It can support up to 400 pounds (2 passengers) including whatever gear you need to store in its front cargo net.

The only drawback is the amount of time it takes to dry. You may need to leave it overnight to dry somewhere before storing it at home. 

Nevertheless, this is the ideal beginner’s kayak. It certainly offers value for money as it comes with two paddles, a carry bag, a hand pump, a repair kit, and a detachable skeg. All you need for a fun, safe trip!

Pros

  • Two air chambers - Designed for extra safety in case of a rare puncture
  • Front cargo net - Sizeable storage net to keep your valuables securely in
  • Aesthetically pleasing - Has a sporty, rugged design that looks great but is also highly visible for other water users to see

Cons

  • Flimsy carrying bag - May need to replace it in a short amount of time 
  • Takes a while to dry - Its material requires a lengthy amount of time to dry completely

BEST VALUE

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If you want to get your family involved with a spot of kayaking, the Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak could be a perfect choice. Constructed from PVC with a multi-chamber design, this 12.3-foot inflatable kayak is made for up to three people. 

That’s right, this model is inflatable meaning it’s lightweight even for its spacious build. Ideal for family trips away. With a 490-pound weight limit, the weight capacity isn’t the greatest.

For larger people, you may need to consider another kayak. Otherwise, the weight limit can work wonders for many people. Just be prepared to share your cockpit with some of your items.

If overall size isn’t that much of a deal-breaker, this Sevylor kayak is wonderfully portable weighing only 34.8 pounds. Integrated carry handles make it very easy to carry from your vehicle to the water and, best of all, they fold down when they are not needed.

We love the features such as its pressure gauge and carrying bag, however, you will need to purchase a pump and paddles separately. 

Pros

  • Multiple air chambers - Results in a very safe kayak
  • Adjustable padded seat - Very comfortable and can suit most body shapes
  • Lightweight - Very easy to carry and transport to the water

Cons

  • No paddles or pump included - Will need to pay extra for some additional items 

RUNNER UP

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Intex Excursion Pro is the second model from Intex to impress the world of low-cost inflatable kayaks. Its three-chamber hull is built from three-ply PVC and is extremely lightweight yet durable.  

12.6 feet long, the Excursion Pro weighs just 39 pounds resulting in easy portability. The only drawback to its lightweight construction is that you may struggle to battle against strong winds or strong currents at times.

However, compared to the first incarnation of Intex inflatable kayaks, this is better equipped. It features useful onboard storage (bow and stern storage), a 400-pound weight capacity, and D-rings.

If you want to do a spot of fishing, this kayak also comes with rod holders and an adjustable mounting bracket.

Also included is a pump, two paddles, a pressure gauge, floor-mounted footrests, a carry bag, and two skegs. The paddles are not the longest so you may feel like different models are required at some point.

Pros

  • A good amount of storage - Bow and stern storage keeps your items secure the entire time
  • Two removable segs - These help to track the kayak through shallow or deeper waters
  • Lots of accessories included - No need to purchase additional accessories as this comes with all you need

Cons

  • Short paddles - Not the best-made paddles and are a little too short for this kayak

RUNNER UP

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Last but certainly not least is the highly impressive Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3. Although slightly more expensive than our previous options on the list, the additional hundred or so dollars is so worth it when you consider its features and build. 

A stand-out feature of the Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 kayak is its large weight capacity of 650 pounds. This can easily seat up to 3 people and still store a decent amount of cargo if required.

As well as this, the kayak comes with a robust I-beam and a sturdy PVC construction. Combined, you get top-quality protection against possible punctures and other kinds of damage. 

This kayak also boasts a double-skeg configuration. This means you can enjoy excellent tracking which is up there with some of the pricier kayak models.

And, don't worry about being uncomfortable as the Deluxe Kayak seats will mold to your back perfectly. Yes, no back pain! And, we can’t forget the 5 deluxe valves that make inflation of this kayak a breeze. 

Pros

  • I-beam construction - Very durable build and heavily protracted against possible damage
  • Sports 2 skegs - Provides supreme tracking on calm waters
  • Great value for money - You enjoy some high-class features for a fraction of the usual price

Cons

  • Little hard to steer - Some paddlers have found this kayak somewhat difficult to steer in certain situations so you may need to use some extra force 

Best Budget Kayaks Buying Guide

Now you have seen our top 5 budget kayaks, we want you to consider some key factors. When buying a new kayak, you need to make sure it has certain features and aspects that suit your needs.

Below are some of the most important factors to look out for so you can go ahead and choose a kayak with peace of mind.

Best budget kayak

Material

These days, even budget kayaks are constructed from pretty sturdy materials. However, this can vary from one boat to the next. 

Most budget kayaks are inflatable so puncture protection is vital. As well as taking this into consideration, you should also look for a kayak with UV and chemical resistance.

The safest picks are usually HDPE kayaks as they are relatively resistant to the elements and are unlikely to be affected by long periods of intense sunlight. 

Of course, an inflatable kayak is a great choice if weather is not a concern for you. PVC boats are more durable than they have been given credit for.

Also, the majority of these will simply bounce off hard surfaces and remain undamaged, even in a low or mid speed collision. 

Size

Whether you're looking for a budget or high-end kayak, you should always keep the size of the boat in mind. The length of your kayak usually depends on where you will be using it most. 

Longer kayaks are best suited for open-water cruising as they offer more stability and move at much faster speeds. They are typically a good choice for fishing or spending a great deal of time on the water too. 

On the other hand, river kayaking is best with a kayak measuring below 10 feet long. Shorter kayaks tend to turn quicker and allow for more room for error in narrower stretches of water. 

Of course, longer doesn't always mean more expensive but, on the whole, this is usually the case. 

Use Of Kayak 

Some kayaks are designed with specific uses in mind. If you intend to use yours for fishing, you should consider a model that features adjustable seats and rod holders. It should also support quite a lot of weight in case you get the catch of the century!

If you just want to paddle casually along a lake or pond, then features are not as important. You will just end up spending more than you have to on components that you just wouldn’t need. 

Best Budget Kayaks - FAQ's

What Is Included In The Price Of A Kayak? 

This differs from kayak to kayak. However, in general, you should expect paddles, a pump, and a carat bag for inflatable models. Some kayaks do not come with these features but the online advertisement will always clearly state this. 

If you’re looking to spend a little more on a kayak, you should at least expect paddles. But, if not, they can be picked up for pretty cheap if you shop around. 

What Do I Need When Owning A Kayak? 

This depends on the type of kayak you own. Firstly, you will need a few hundred dollars. You’ll be pretty hard-pressed to find a new kayak for anything less than $100. If you do, it’s probably worth spending a little extra for better builds and features.

For hardshell kayaks, you will need a vehicle to either tie it to or tow in a trailer. You will also require a dedicated storage unit, such as a garage, to keep a hardshell kayak securely in. 

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