Best 6 Cheap Kayaks

Kayaking on the river

Imagine getting all the necessary paddling gear, including a kayak, without breaking the bank. The good news is that you can do just that. Numerous best cheap kayaks are available, provided you know where to look. We understand how frustrating it can be to shop for a new kayak only to find that the best ones on the market are too expensive. We have compiled a list of the best low-cost kayaks to save you from this dilemma. For further details, look at our comparison chart and buying advice.


Our Topmost Picks


Best Sit-Inside Pelican Argo 100X

Most Popular

Best Sit-Inside: Pelican Argo 100X

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Best Sit-on-Top Pelican Sentinel 100X EXO Best Sit-on-Top: Pelican Sentinel 100X EXO See at Amazon


Best Tandem Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Best Tandem: Ocean Kayak Malibu Two See at Amazon


Best for Fishing Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Best for Fishing: Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 See at Amazon


Best Inflatable Intex Challenger K1 Best Inflatable: Intex Challenger K1 See at Amazon


Best Inflatable Tandem Sea Eagle 370 Best Inflatable Tandem: Sea Eagle 370 See at Amazon


Best Sit-Inside: Pelican Argo 100X

Most Popular

Argo 100x

Ratings Star


  • The twin-arched multi-chine hull offers excellent stability for a safe and steady ride. It also makes getting in and out of the kayak incredibly easy.
  • Additional floatation in the form of foam blocks inside the kayak and a flatter hull ensure safety and peace of mind when you’re out on the water. This kayak holds a maximum weight capacity of 275 lb.
  • Made of exceptionally durable high molecular weight polyethylene, our kayaks require fewer materials to be built.
  • At 10 ft and weighing only 36 lb, the ARGO 100X is incredibly easy to transport, carry and store.
  • RAM-X material is known for its high-impact resistance and will make your kayak last through time.
  • Paddle in comfort with our adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest with seat cushion.

With its lightweight frame, simple design, and impressive stability, the Pelican Argo 100X is a fantastic budget-friendly option for those looking to dip their toes into kayaking. Measuring 10 feet in length, 28 inches in width, and weighing only 36 pounds, it boasts a twin-arched, multi-chine hull that allows for easy maneuverability and access to hard-to-reach areas.

While its tracking and speed may differ from higher-end kayaks, the 100X can handle calm lakes, protected bays, and mellow rivers. It offers a load capacity of 275 pounds, standard for budget kayaks of its class. Its bow features a small watertight hatch, and the stern provides a more significant, open-air storage space.

Above all, the seat is well-cushioned and made of a breathable material that keeps you comfortable on hotter days. However, individuals with larger feet or bodies may struggle to fit into the cockpit due to its lower deck and narrower beam. As a result, the Pelican Argo 100X is an excellent recreational kayak but unsuitable for longer overnight adventures.


Reasons to Buy:

  • A lightweight kayak that is easy for solo paddlers to move
  • Excellent maneuverability and easy to paddle
  • A small amount of dry storage space

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Poor speed and tracking in wind or waves
  • Cramped fit for large paddlers

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

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

Customer Review


  • The unique manufacturing process allows us to include additional flotation inside the hull of our sit-on-tops to meet or surpass ABYC standards.
  • It holds a maximum capacity of 300 lb. Don’t worry; the added scupper holes at the bottom of the kayak are entirely safe and help drain any excess water that might get into your watercraft. Along with a flat hull-type design, it ensures you peace of mind during your ride.
  • The twin-arched multi-chine hull offers excellent stability giving you a safe and steady ride. It also makes getting in and out of the kayak incredibly easy.
  • Kayaks are made with exceptionally durable high molecular density polyethylene; less material is needed to produce each boat. At 10 ft and weighing only 40 lb, it makes the perfect kayak for easy storage and transportation.
  • RAM-X material is known for its high resistance to impacts and will make your kayak last through time.
  • Paddle in comfort with an adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest with seat cushion.

At 9 feet 6 inches in length, 30 inches in width, and weighing 42 pounds with a capacity of 275 pounds, the Pelican Sentinel 100X EXO is a sit-on-top kayak that provides an affordable and comfortable option for leisurely paddling on calm waters.

The kayak is constructed with Pelican’s RAM-X material, which has a triple-layer structure and high molecular weight, providing enhanced durability without adding excessive weight. Additionally, foam float blocks are included in the kayak to improve buoyancy and performance.

The Sentinel 100X EXO boasts a twin-arched multi-chine hull with superior paddling stability. The kayak also has a fully adjustable ERGOFORM padded seat and molded footrests, ensuring Comfort during your water excursion.
Despite its short length, the Sentinel 100X EXO has a spacious deck that provides ample gear storage, including a large rear ExoShell 13L storage compartment for your essential equipment.

It is worth noting that the Pelican Sentinel 100X EXO is explicitly designed for calm waters and is not recommended for ocean paddling. However, the Sentinel 100X EXO is an excellent choice for those seeking a cost-effective sit-on-top kayak.


Reasons to Buy:

  • Twin-arched multi-chine hull for durability
  • Decent amount of gear storage space
  • Durable RAM-X polyethylene material
  • Molded footrests and an adjustable seat

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Not plentiful in choppy waters

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Best Tandem: Ocean Kayak Malibu Two

Best Cheap Kayaks Tandem Ocean Kayak Malibu Two

Rating 4


  • The capacity of one, two, or two plus a child, 375-425 lbs. maximum capacity, perfect for a couple with a child
  • Three seating positions, bow, stern, and middle, for paddling solo, tandem, or tandem with a child
  • 2 Comfort Plus seats, three molded-in seat wells, gear straps, patented overlapping foot wells, molded-in handles, skid plate
  • Hull and deck design allow easy stacking of multiple hulls for easy on-dock storage. Comfortable, whatever your leg length may be
  • Overlapping foot wells allows a center-seated paddler to have comfortable foot bracing with side carry handles. Weight 57 lbs

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is a sleek, stable, sit-on-top tandem kayak offering a streamlined family adventure. With a width of 34 inches, a length of 12 feet, a weight of 63 pounds, and a capacity of 425 pounds, the Malibu Two boasts a unique hull design that ensures remarkable stability on calm lakes and streams.

In contrast, its length provides good tracking over long distances. The kayak is versatile and can be paddled solo and tandem, with enough room for a small child or a dog in the center.

Also, the Malibu Two features adjustable Comfort Plus seats and gear straps for securing waterproof bags. It also has molded-in footrests useful when paddling solo or in tandem. However, the kayak offers limited gear storage space when paddled as a tandem. Despite this, the Malibu Two remains one of the best-performing tandem kayaks on the market.

Reasons to Buy:

  • Can be paddled tandem or solo
  • The wide, long, and flat hull is stable and tracks well
  • Enough room for a dog or small child
  • Includes adjustable Comfort Plus seats

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Limited gear storage space when paddled as a tandem

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Best for Fishing: Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

Best Cheap Kayaks Tamarack Angler 100

Rating 5


  • Constructed of UV-protected high-density Polyethylene. Multiple footrest positions for different-size riders. Stable flat bottom
  • Adjustable padded seat back and seat pad for comfort. Two flush-mounted fishing rod holders. One top-mount fishing rod Holder
  • Front and rear shock cord straps. Two 6″ storage compartments in the rear and center. One paddle keeper, one adult black paddle
  • Front and rear t-handles for easy transport. Deep hull tracking channels
    Stability chine rails. Durable high-density Polyethylene (HDPE) construction

Looking for an affordable kayak that’s perfect for fishing? Check out the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100. Built with blow-molded high-density polyethylene, this kayak is durable and UV-protected, ensuring it can withstand years of use in the sun. Moreover, its flat hull with chine rails also provides excellent natural tracking and stability on the water.

As a fishing kayak, the Tamarack Angler 100 has various features to enhance your angling experience. These include two flush-mounted rod holders, one top-mounted rod holder, a paddle keeper, and plenty of gear storage space. In addition, there are two small hatches for storing smaller gear items and a rear deck space where you can secure a dry bag or kayak crate.

Although it is slightly heavier than other solo kayaks, weighing in at 51 lbs, the Tamarack Angler 100 is still easy to transport and maneuver. One potential downside is that it needs to have built-in gear tracks for attaching accessories like fish finders or GoPros. Overall, if you’re looking for an affordable fishing kayak, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is an excellent choice.

Reasons to Buy:

  • The hull design offers good tracking and stability
  • Includes three fishing rod holders
  • Great gear storage options
  • Features a UV-protected polyethylene hull

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Relatively heavy for a solo kayak
  • No gear tracks included for mounting accessories

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Best Inflatable: Intex Challenger K1

Best Cheap Kayaks Inflatable Intex Challenger K1

Rating 6


  • The nimble, durable kayak is made of durable welded material with eye-catching graphics for added safety on the lake or slow-moving river
  • The cockpit is designed for comfort and maximized space, and inflatable I-beam floors add stability. The removable skeg provides exceptional directional movement
  • Cargo net to store extra gear and grab line on both ends of kayak; inflatable seat with backrest
  • Comes with an 84-inch aluminum oar, repair patch, and Hi output manual hand pump; Rugged vinyl construction
  • Measures 108 by 13 by 30 inches (W x H x D), with 27.2 pound weight and 220 pound maximum capacity

The Intex Challenger K1 is a single-person inflatable kayak that delivers an enjoyable paddling experience. It measures 9 feet in length and 30 inches in width, with a weight of 28 pounds and a capacity of 220 pounds.
Constructed with Intex’s durable vinyl material, the sleek Challenger K1 provides improved puncture resistance, making it suitable for rocky waters. It also features an inflatable I-beam floor and high-buoyancy side chambers that enhance stability during paddling.

The kayak’s spacious cockpit and adjustable seat with a backrest offer optimal Comfort during adventures, while the integrated cargo net on the bow provides gear storage. In addition, overall, the package includes a high-output pump and an aluminum paddle for your convenience.

However, the Challenger K1 could be better for long-distance tracking, despite the included skeg and its low maximum weight capacity. Nonetheless, it remains one of the most budget-friendly inflatable kayaks on the market, providing excellent value for your money.

Reasons to Buy:

  • Made from durable vinyl for puncture-resistance
  • Inflatable I-beam floor and side chambers provide stability
  • Spacious cockpit with adjustable seat for Comfort
  • It comes with a paddle and an inflation pump

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Low maximum weight capacity
  • Doesn’t track well over long distances

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Best Inflatable Tandem: Sea Eagle 370

Best Inflatable Tandem Sea Eagle 370

Rating 7


  • Open and close the drain valve
  • Five deluxe one-way valves
  • Sun & saltwater resistant hull material
  • Lashed-down inflatable spray skirts
  • I-beam construction floor
  • Two skegs on the bottom for better tracking & speed
  • Bow & Stern Grab Line

The Sea Eagle 370 inflatable kayak is an excellent choice for those on a budget who want to get out on the water. Made from rugged 38 mil PolyKrylar PVC and featuring high-frequency welded seams and an inflatable I-beam floor, this kayak is built to last through various water-based activities.

With a weight capacity of 650 lbs, the Sea Eagle 370 can hold 1-3 paddlers, making it versatile for different group sizes and perfect for longer kayaking trips with plenty of gear. Additionally, its lightweight design, weighing only 32 lbs, and ability to pack down into a small carry bag makes it easily portable and fit in most vehicles’ trunks.

The only downside is its limited tracking ability due to its highly rockered hull and non-adjustable seats, which may make getting the proper lumbar support challenging. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly inflatable tandem kayak, the Sea Eagle 370 is an excellent choice.

Reasons to Buy:

  • Can be paddled by either 1, 2, or 3 people
  • Lightweight and highly packable design
  • Made from durable materials for puncture resistance
  • High weight capacity is great for overnight camping trips
  • Very stable construction for use on flat water

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Included seats aren’t adjustable
  • Limited tracking ability due to highly rockered hull

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Cheap Kayak Comparative Table


Cockpit Type
Pelican Argo 100X
10′ 28″ 36 lbs 1 275 lbs Sit-Inside Hard shell
Pelican Sentinel 100X EXO 9’6″ 30″ 42 lbs 1 275 lbs Sit-on-top Hard shell
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two 12′ 34″ 63 lbs 1, 2 or 3 475 lbs Sit-on-top Hard shell
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 10′ 31″ 51 lbs 1 275 lbs Sit-on-top Hard shell
Intex Challenger K1 9′ 30″ 28 lbs 1 220 lbs Sit-Inside Inflatable
Sea Eagle 370 12’6″ 34″ 32 lbs 1, 2 or 3 650 lbs Sit-on-top Inflatable


Cheap Kayak Buying Advice: Cut Costs, Not Quality

You don’t have to compromise on the quality of your kayak to avoid spending all your savings on it. You can find a dependable and high-performing kayak without breaking the bank. The trick is to know what to search for when you’re shopping and have realistic expectations about what you can get within your budget. To assist you in your search, we’ve compiled a brief guide highlighting the key factors to remember while shopping.

What are the distinctions between a cheap and expensive kayak?

  • Type of Kayak & Intended Use
  • Durability & Materials
  • Features & Accessories

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

Most importantly, Kayak makers typically aim to balance three primary factors while designing their watercraft: cost-effectiveness, functionality, and additional attributes. You often have to trade between sacrificing performance or some extra features when looking for more affordable kayaks.

For instance, while you can find a low-cost fishing kayak, it may lack certain features, such as gear tracks, with more expensive kayaks. On the other hand, many of the more affordable kayaks may offer different levels of performance on the water. For example, while paddling can be enjoyable, it may need to be more speedy and agile than its higher-priced counterparts.


Does a Lower Price Range Mean a Subpar Kayak Purchase?

Not! There are numerous outstanding and reasonably priced boats available in the market. The crucial thing is to have practical expectations regarding your kayak’s performance and extra features.


Type of Kayak & Intended Use

To ensure a successful and affordable kayak-shopping process, it is essential to engage in some introspection. First, ask yourself what you plan to use your kayak for, as this will determine the type of kayak that best suits your needs. You can find a range of kayaks at a reasonable price, from hardshell sit-in models to inflatable sit-on-top kayaks. In the meantime, some fishing-specific models are also available at a reasonable cost.

As well as It is worth noting that most of the affordable kayaks currently available are recreational boats designed for use in calm waters like lakes and small streams. While some inexpensive sea kayaks, touring kayaks, and whitewater kayaks are available, these are rare. Therefore, if you plan to tackle coastal waters or navigate through rapids, you may need to increase your budget, especially if performance is a top priority.


Durability & Materials


Kayaking is not a destination, it's a journey

Many people believe that a cheap kayak is synonymous with a poorly constructed kayak and that a budget-friendly boat will only provide a few seasons of use. However, while some low-quality inexpensive kayaks are on the market, it is possible to find a durable and dependable boat that won’t break the bank. Most affordable hardshell kayaks are constructed using polyethylene, a type of plastic, instead of fiberglass or kevlar found in higher-end models. While polyethylene is more robust than fiberglass, it does mean that your boat will likely weigh more than its pricier counterparts.

Inflatable kayaks produced today are predominantly made with vinyl or PVC. Therefore, any variation you notice will likely be in the thickness of the fabric utilized. In cheaper inflatable kayaks, some manufacturers may use slightly thinner fabrics. However, the difference in this material is usually insignificant and will only impact your paddling experience if you frequently paddle into sharp rocks. Nevertheless, even in such instances, at this point the risk of puncturing an inflatable kayak is low if you swim responsibly.


Features & Accessories

When purchasing a kayak, it is crucial to consider the available accessories and features. While inexpensive kayaks may not have as many features as their pricier counterparts, you can still find valuable additions such as fishing rod holders and adjustable seats.

Above all, having reasonable expectations regarding the features you will receive when buying a budget-friendly kayak is essential. To assist with purchasing, you can create a list of desired accessories and parts in order of importance. You can also establish a list of non-negotiable features to eliminate kayaks that do not meet your needs.


The Verdict

For a long time, the cost of kayaking has been viewed as a hindrance to entry. Finally, however, we’re delighted to announce that there is an array of affordable kayaks available. Upon investigating and evaluating the most outstanding economical kayaks on the market, it’s evident that there’s a kayak to suit every paddler’s needs.

For instance, the Pelican Argo 100X is ideal for paddlers searching for an agile but uncomplicated sit-in kayak. On the other hand, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is an excellent option for avid anglers looking to minimize expenses while still enjoying their fishing activities.


Quick Answer: Best Cheap Kayaks


Best Sit-Inside: Pelican Argo 100X 32 lbs 10′ 275 lbs Sit-Inside Check Price Now
Best Sit-on-Top: Pelican Sentinel 100X EXO 42 lbs 9’6″ 275 lbs Sit-on-top Check Price Now
Best Tandem: Ocean Kayak Malibu Two 63 lbs 12′ 475 lbs Sit-on-top Check Price Now
Best for Fishing: Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 51 lbs 10′ 275 lbs Sit-on-top Check Price Now
Best Inflatable: Intex Challenger K1 28 lbs 9′ 220 lbs Sit-Inside Check Price Now
Best Inflatable Tandem: Sea Eagle 370 32 lbs 12’6″ 650 lbs Sit-on-top Check Price Now


What to Look for When Purchasing the Best Cheap Kayak

kayak on the river in the summer

Kayaking is an exciting outdoor activity that allows you to explore serene waterways, enjoy nature, and do physical exercise. Investing in the best cheap kayaks is wise if you want to start kayaking without breaking the bank. Cheap kayaks can provide excellent performance, durability, and functionality, making them ideal for beginners or those on a budget. However, with a wide range of options available, knowing what to look for when purchasing a budget-friendly kayak is essential. In this guide, we will outline the key factors to consider to ensure you select the right cheap kayak for your needs.


Kayak Size and Weight

Consider the size and weight of the kayak, as this will affect its stability, maneuverability, and ease of transport. Longer kayaks have better tracking and strength, making them suitable for longer trips. However, they can be harder to maneuver in tight spaces. Shorter kayaks offer increased maneuverability but may sacrifice some stability. Additionally, check the kayak’s weight capacity to support your weight and any additional gear you plan to bring along.


Stability and Maneuverability

Stability and maneuverability are vital factors to consider, especially for beginners. Stability refers to the kayak’s ability to remain upright in various conditions, while maneuverability refers to how easily it can turn or change direction. Recreational kayaks generally offer better stability, making them suitable for beginners, while narrower kayaks provide increased maneuverability. Test the stability and maneuverability of the kayak whenever possible or refer to online reviews to gather insights from experienced kayakers.


User Reviews and Recommendations

Before finalizing your purchase, reading user reviews and seeking recommendations from experienced kayakers is beneficial. Online platforms and forums dedicated to kayaking can provide valuable insights into the performance and durability of various cheap kayak models. Take note of any regular positive or negative feedback regarding specific brands or models. These reviews can help you make an informed decision and avoid issues with specific kayaks.


Wrapping Up

Choosing the best cheap kayak requires careful consideration of various factors. You can select a budget-friendly kayak that meets your requirements by determining your specific needs, considering the type of kayak, assessing size and weight, evaluating materials and features, and seeking recommendations. Remember to prioritize stability and maneuverability, and don’t compromise durability and quality. With the right cheap kayak, you’ll be ready to embark on countless adventures on the water without breaking the bank.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide,

where we have tasked our Review Team with a singular objective: to identify and review the top-rated and most sought-after products on the market today. We take great pride in the quality and reliability of our reviews, which are carefully crafted with your satisfaction in mind.

Our team of experts always takes into account key factors such as durability, price, quality, and overall value when conducting their assessments, so you can rest assured that you are getting the most accurate and relevant information possible.

Where to Buy


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