10 Best Beginner Kayak [2023 Review and Buying Guide]

So, you want to get started in kayaking, right? But while that might sound like a good idea, it is often a tricky proposal given issues such as safety, functionality, and cost.

Therefore, before you make a final verdict, it is important to keep factors such as the following in mind.

  • Materials
  • Width & depth
  • Length of the kayak
  • Accessories & additional features

In that regard, we would like to share a list of the best beginner kayak. Hopefully, this will provide you with the much-needed reference points so you can make an educated choice.

Best Beginner Kayak

Top Rated 10 Best Beginner Kayaks 2023 – Comparison List

It’s now time to jump straight into the details. Here is our comprehensive list of the 10 popular beginner-friendly kayaks.

1Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak103 x 36 x 30 inches21.9 pounds
2Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set108 x 30 x 13 inches25.8 pounds
3Sea Eagle-SE370 Inflatable Kayak34 x 19 x 11 inches54.6 pounds
4Lifetime-Fishing Kayak 9015710 Foot120 x 36 x 19 inches82.3 pounds
5SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-in Kayak120 x 30 x 13 inches40 pounds
6Advanced Elements-Advanced Frame Kayak180 x 32 x 12 inches55.3 pounds
7Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Kayak120 x 30 x 11 inches56 pounds
8Ocean Kayak-Malibu Sit-On-Top Kayak144 x 34 x 20 inches 64 pounds
9Sun Dolphin-Bali SS Inflatable 10-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak120 x 30 x 11 inches47 pounds
10Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak72 x 24 x 9 inches20 pounds

1. Sevylor-Quikpak Inflatable Kayak K1 1-Person

Enjoy the convenience of an inflatable kayak.The Sevylor Quikpak Inflatable Kayak is a one person kayak. It packs basic features, including durability and ease of use making it ideal for mostly beginner kayakers.

The good thing is that though it is ideal for lake use, it is durably constructed to withstand rocky waters too. Its construction keeps it stable on waters.

Product Description

The bottom of the kayak is constructed from a blend of rugged tarpaulin and 21-gauge PVC for sturdiness. Its highlights include a backseat, footrests to keep you comfortable while paddling.

There is also a drink holder for your convenience.  Apart from that, it also has a storage area where you can keep your food and personal items.

This kayak is designed to hold a weight of not more than 400 pounds (181.43 kg). An order includes a paddle and a high-pressure hand pump.

Other Features and Benefits

The kayak is constructed with multiple air chambers which will help you to get back to safety incase of a puncture.

The kayak is moderately priced.

Additionally, it has double lock valves which make inflation and deflation a breeze.Besides that, it has lift handles for conveniently carrying the kayak from one point to another. It comes with straps which converts it to a backpack when it is not being used, for portability and ease of storage.


  • It has a substantial weight capacity
  • It is very portable
  • It is durably constructed to withstand the rigors of the lake
  • It has footrests and a back seat for comfort
  • It has multiple air chambers to prevent it from sinking when punctured
  • The bottom is reinforced to withstand the rigors of the lake
  • Bungee storage area
  • It is easy to inflate and deflate in as little as five minutes because of having double lock valves


  • It only has basic features that may not be attractive to seasoned kayakers

2. Intex-ChallengerInflatable K1 Kayak, 68306EP1-Person

Kayak fishing is a great way to relax the mind and body. The Intex Challenger inflatable K1 Kayak is a budget-friendly kayak. This inflatable kayak is manufactured by Intex recreation which has been manufacturing kayaks for over 40 years. It is a one person kayak perfect for lakes and slow moving rivers.

Product Description

This kayak boasts of various features.  The design is for the sport and fun minded paddlers. It is designed in bright colors which improves its visibility while in the waters. The kayak has a weight of 27.2-pound which is light for easy transportation. The lightweight also makes maneuvering it in water easy.

It has an inflatable seat that has a backrest for comfort when you are in the waters.

This inflatable kayak is crafted with the Dura-Beam technology for longevity. The technology utilizes thousands of high-quality polyester fibers which don’t stretch with time.

Included is an aluminum oar that is 84-inches, a repair patch, and a hand pump.

However, its weight capacity of 220 pounds is a bit on the lower side.

Other Features and Benefits

This kayak is an inflatable unit which makes transporting and storing it convenient. It is devised with ample storage space where you can keep your fishing gear. It also comes with a grab line for easy transportation of the unit.

It is easy to inflate and deflate it, thanks to the provided accessories namely a pump and Boston valves.

Furthermore, it has two separate air chambers which helps the device to stay afloat when it is punctured. The good thing is that a repair patch kit is also provided.

It is certified by the NMMA, for safety assurance.


  • Durably constructed from welded material
  • Easy and fast to inflate and deflate
  • It is durably constructed
  • It is very portable
  • It is popular with customers
  • It is very affordable
  • For visibility, it has a bright color
  • Included are a hand pump, a carrier bag, and a paddle


  • It has a limited weight capacity

3. Sea Eagle-SE370 Inflatable Kayak Sport Pro SS-SMS-4014325Package

Explore the waters with the Sea Eagle-SE370 Inflatable Kayak. The Sea Eagle-SE370 is designed to hold three persons. The kayak has a weight limit of 650 lbs. With a length of 12 feet, it is long enough with ample space for the paddlers.

This kayak is ideal for using in waters that are up to Class three whitewater. The kayak is a product of Sea Eagle that has been manufacturing Kayaks since 1968.Sea Eaglestarted with a similar kayak model in 1968.

Gradually they haveimproved the features of inflatable kayaks to the modern inflatable kayak. Inflatable kayaks combine lightweight and sturdiness for performance and durability.

Product Description

The Sea Eagle-SE370 is professionally designed with a drain valve, inflatable seats, two stabilizing skegs and spray skirts. The features improve its stability while enhancing its speed. It has three air chambers on different parts of its body, namely its floor, port and starboard wall which will keep the vessel afloat in case of a rupture.

The hull is constructed from a 38 mil PVC, which is a sturdy material that that is sun and salt resistant for durability. The hull shape design keeps the kayak efficient on waters. The kayak is certified by NMMA which assures you of safety.

The seat in the unit makes the kayak comfortable for paddling.

When you order this product you will receive the kayak, two paddles, a foot pump, a carry bag, and a repair kit.

Other Features and Benefits

This kayak is easy and fast to inflatable and deflate, making it easy to set up and also pack, the process takes less than 10 minutes.It is small enough and convenient to carry the kayak. Because it is inflatable, it is easy to store it too, actually, it fits in a small carry bag.

To clean it, you simply need a soap solution and a rag.


  • It is light in weight for portability
  • The hull is made from a saltwater resistant and sun resistant material
  • It has three air chambers for safety
  • It is durably constructed
  • It is comfortable


  • Because it is an inflatable kayak, it will still get ruptured at some point

4. Lifetime-Fishing Kayak 9015710 Foot, Two Person Tandem

Did you know that paddling is a great physical exercise for the body? The Lifetime-Fishing Kayak is olive green in color. It is 10 foot in length. Moreover, the kayak weighs 60lbs, which is a bit on the heavier side for convenient portability if it is being carried on the back.

It is a two-person kayak but it is designed in a way to suit solo paddling too. Additionally, the middle can accommodate a small passenger.

The kayak is constructed with a hull design which gives the unit stability for no tip overs and great tracking. The design of the kayak allows an electric trolling motor to be added to it.

Product Description

This unit is constructed from high-density polyethylene material for durability. An order includes the kayak and two paddles, three-rod holders, and two backrests.

The kayak has a weight capacity of 500lbs which is sufficient to accommodate at least two people with the third person being a small passenger. The weight capacity makes it possible to accommodate kayaking gears and personal items.

The kayak has storage design features including three-rod holders and a rear storage hatch.

In terms of ergonomics, the kayak has multiple footrests to keep you comfortable while paddling and to accommodate paddlers of different sizes.

Other Features and Benefits

The seats are designed high to keep the paddlers dry while paddling. In addition, it has drain holes to keep the kayak dry. It is also compact making carrying and storing it convenient.


  • It is a low-risk product backed by the manufacturer’s five-year warranty
  • Ample storage weight capacity and storage compartments
  • It is constructed durably
  • It has three fishing pole holders
  • You can add an electric trolling motor to the unit


  • The storage compartments are not waterproof
  • It is a bit heavy for carrying over long distances

5. Sundolphin-Sit-in Kayak Aruba 10-Foot

The Sundolphin-Sit-in Kayak is designed to be tip-resistant and for that matter, it is great for rivers, lakes and calm bays. The design of the hull and its low weight makes it easy to maneuver and turn and therefore suitable for newbie paddlers. It is a 10-foot one person kayak, weighing 40lbs.

Product Description

The kayak is constructed from a UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene which is a rugged material and durable. The kayak has a capacity of 51 pounds which is substantial for one person and their gear.

For ergonomics, it comes with adjustable foot braces, an adjustable seat, a padded backrest, and a large open cockpit. It has enough leg room to keep you comfortable while paddling.

This is a cockpit kayak which comes with an adjustable seat, unlike a sit-on-top kayak. Moreover, the adjustable seat accommodates a wide range of kayakers. Apart from that, it has protective thigh pads to enhance your comfort level.

The design includes a dry storage compartment for protecting your important personal items. The water bottle holder and storage hatch are provided for your convenience. What’s more, it has a paddle holder.

Other Features and Benefits

It is aesthetically appealing in bright colors for visibility. There are various color models available. Besides that, it has carrying handles at the front and back which makes it easy to transport. Moreover, the lightweight also makes transporting it convenient.


  • It is constructed from a rugged material for durability
  • Its design accommodates different sizes of people
  • The design makes it easy to maneuver in different types of waters
  • It is ergonomically designed for comfort
  • The kayak has ample storage space
  • It comes in six different conspicuous colors for visibility
  • It is easy to transport and store it


  • Not ideal for extreme whitewater paddling
  • A paddle is not provided

6. Advanced Elements-Advanced FrameInflatable Kayak Convertible AE1007-R

Inflatable kayaks are more affordable than traditional kayaks. This is a perfect kayak for a small family because of it being able to accommodate three persons, one being a passenger.It is a 15 ft kayak.This kayak is easily convertible into a tandem or solo kayak.

You can remove one seat and then move the remaining seat to the center for solo paddling. Worth noting is that it is quite big for solo paddling. It takes a little bit of getting used to it and it slows you down.

In comparison to a hard shell kayak, an inflatable sits low in the water, which makes it easy to paddle and maneuver it.

Product Description

The kayak is constructed from rip stock durable materials.It is crafted with three layers of materials to improve its puncture resistance features. A package includes a user manual, a carry bag, a repair kit, and two folding seats.

The included paddles are breakable for easy storage and transport. The stern and bow have built-in aluminum ribs which enhance the trackability of this unit. The kayak has six inflatable chambers which will keep the kayak afloat in case of a puncture.

The seat is cushioned and adjustable which accommodates different sizes of paddlers.

It weighs 52 pounds which is a little bit heavy making carrying it by a single person inconveniencing. Its weight carrying capacity is 550 pounds which is sufficient to carry goods and passengers.

Although it has space for dry goods, the space is small.

Other Features and Benefits

There is an option to add decking on this kayak to protect it from the elements. The deck closes it and leaves only the cockpit area.


  • It is convertible to a solo or tandem
  • Its length is long
  • It is durably constructed with three layers of materials and a sturdy material
  • It is great at tracking
  • Padded and adjustable seats for comfort
  • There are two colors to choose from


  • It is heavier than other kayaks
  • It has limited storage space with no cup holder

7. Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Kayak Fishing 5194510-Foot

Kayak fishing is a wonderful way to appreciate nature. The Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Kayak is stable on the waters and tracks with ease without tip-overs. It is a good entry level kayak for beginner kayakers but good for expert kayakers on a budget too.

It is 10 foot in length and therefore, small. The kayak weighs only 44 lbs which makes it lightweight, small and easy to maneuver in rivers, lakes and to get to excluded fishing spots that other vessels cannot access.

It is a one person kayak. The kayak comes with a weight capacity of 250 pounds.

Product Description

The Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Kayak is manufactured from rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene for longevity.

It is designed with various ergonomics. First and foremost it has a large sitting area. Secondly, the adjustable padded seat ensures that you paddle in comfort. In addition, the adjustable foot braces accommodate persons of different sizes. Besides that, it has protective thigh pads.

The kayak has ample storage space. It has two main storage compartments one behind the seat and another at the bow, both compartments have a bungee cord rigging. Noteworthy, one is a dry goods compartment. It also has other additional small storage compartments.

That is not all, the kayak is designed with one swivel rod holder and two flush mount rod holders. Moreover, it has a water bottle holder too.

Other Features and Benefits

Its light in weight makes carrying it easy too. The good thing is that it has retractable carrying handles for your convenience.

It has an open cockpit design which makes entry and exit hassle free.


  • Two color choices
  • It is ergonomically designed
  • It has enough storage space
  • It is manufactured from a durable material
  • It is light in weight and therefore portable
  • The open cockpit makes entry and exit easy


  • You are likely to get water splashes on your body while paddling

8. Ocean Kayak-Malibu Sit-On-Top Kayak Two Tandem Recreational

Paddling with a partner is fun. The Ocean Kayak-Malibu Sit-On-Top Kayak will give you an opportunity to enjoy surfing with a friend or loved one. It features a convertible kayak which allows for solo, tandem and or paddling with your child or pet. It is 12 ft long and 34 inches wide.

However, it has basic features.

Its maximum weight capacity is 425 pounds which is sufficient for three passengers and their gear and personal items.

Because it is a sit on top kayak, it is comfortable especially for persons with large bodies.

Product Description

For ergonomics, the seats are designed as four-way adjustability to custom fit the size of different kayakers. The foot-rest surfaces make sitting in any of its seats quite comfortable.

The kayak has a skid plate and gear straps which keeps the bottom of the boat intact on rocky shores. It has an open cockpit sit on top hull for convenient boarding and getting off the kayak.

It has a weight of 57lbs which is a bit heavy if it is to be carried on the back.

Noteworthy, it has only one dry bag for keeping personal items. The three gear straps are also for storage of your items. The lack of storage may limit its use for long family trips that require a lot of gear.

Other Features and Benefits

It has carrying handles to make transporting it easy.Please note that you have to purchase a repair kit and paddles when you buy this kayak.


  • Ideal if you are looking for a simple kayak
  • It is convertible and therefore it can accommodate two adults and a child yet flexible for solo kayaking
  • The hull has a lifetime warranty
  • It is a sit on top kayak
  • Two color choices
  • Large and adjustable tandem seats


  • It doesn’t have ample storage space
  • Passenger seat has no backrest or padding

9. Sun Dolphin-Bali SS Inflatable 10-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak

A small kayak is easier to maneuver than large ones making them ideal for beginners. The Sun Dolphin-Bali SS Inflatable is a 10 ft inflatable kayak.

It is an easy to paddle kayak that remains stable on the waters. The short length makes the boat easy maneuver and to change direction.

Product Description

It is crafted from UV stabilized high-density polyethylene which is rugged for durability. The material is sun-resistant and therefore it doesn’t discolor. It is also light in weight which makes the kayak maneuverable and also very portable.

The hull design is flat bottom to keep the kayak stable and resist strong winds.

The kayak has a large seating area for comfort. The backrest is also padded for added ergonomics. It has footwells which make kayakers of different sizes customize it to their needs.

What’s more, it comes with protective thigh pads and adjustable leg braces to keep your feet comfortable. You can adjust the leg braces to your height fit.

Other Features and Benefits

This yak has a dry storage compartment in the back with shock cord deck rigging. More so, it has additional storage space in the front of the kayak, the Portable Accessory Carrier can be used as extra storage space.Moreover, it has a paddle holder.

Moreover, it comes with an open cockpit for easy boarding and exit.

The kayak weighs only 44 pounds which is lightweight for easy paddling and also easy transportation.

It has a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds which is enough for one person.

It features carrying handles for ease of transport. For aesthetic appeal, there are various colors to choose from. It is designed in bright colors which makes it visible.


  • It is durably constructed with a lightweight material
  • The open cockpit makes entry and exit convenient
  • Ample storage
  • It is ergonomically designed
  • Various colors available


  • A purchase doesn’t come with paddling accessories

Also read: Looking For the Best Ice Fishing Lures? Read Our Unbiased Reviews

10. Lifetime-Youth Wave Kayak 90097(Paddle Included), Blue, 6′

How nice to gift your little one with their first kayak as you make kayaking a family activity. The Lifetime-Youth Wave Kayak 90097 is designed for little ones ages 5 and up. It weighs only 18lbs which is light. It is a one person kayak with a length of 6 feet. It comes with a weight capacity of 130lbs.

Product Description

The Lifetime-Youth Wave Kayak 90097 boasts many functional features to recruit your child into kayaking and keep them kayaking for life. Firstly,the kayak is made from high-density polyethylene for durability. The material has UV-protection to keep it looking good and prevent it from peeling, or cracking.

Secondly, the kayak is well balanced and it stays stable to prevent it from tipping. Actually, it has a reverse chine which improves the stability of the kayak.Furthermore, the kayak has a swim-up step for safety incase of a tip over.

The light weight makes it possible for your kid to manage it effectively.The step-up design makes getting into the kayak convenient.

The cockpit area is ergonomically designed for comfort. In addition, the kayak comes with multiple footrests which fit kids of different sizes. A purchase includes a double-sided paddle.

Other Features and Benefits

The weight of the kayak makes it possible for kids to manage it conveniently. It has a self-draining system with the scupper in it.

Additionally, it has molded finger handles for easy transportation of the kayak. What’s more, this kayak is budget friendly and it has the manufacturer’s five-year warranty.


  • It is tailored for kids 5 years and up
  • It is light in weight which makes paddling it easy and also transporting it
  • Durably constructed with sun-resistant features
  • It is stable and safe
  • It is covered by the manufacturer’s five-year warranty
  • The cockpit area is ergonomically designed
  • A paddle is included


  • It may not fit very tall teenagers

The Criteria for Choosing the Best Kayak for Beginners

So, what are the key factors to pay attention to when you need to make an informed choice? Well, you don’t have to scratch your head trying to brainstorm for this. The following guide has all the details for you.

Material Used To Make It

This is the first and probably most important factor to keep in mind. That’s because a poor material would easily mean that your kayak won’t last long. Also, it would make it less secure to use on the water and rocks.

The two most common materials can be categorized as either hardshell materials or inflatable ones. Hardshell materials are the most common ones and include polyethylene and ABS (also known as Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene).

Polyethylene is known to be the most affordable one of the two. And should it be UV treated, then it can last quite long. But even with that said, they tend to be fragile in case they’re punctured.

The ABS material, on the other hand, is known to be quite durable yet lighter in weight than polyethylene. So, if you’re looking for something that offers mechanical superiority, we’d suggest spending more on ABS yaks.

The Ideal Length

You might be thinking that this isn’t important but it really is. Short boats tend to be easier to maneuver and control because they typically have wider hulls to make up for it. As such, we’d recommend them to beginners.

Longer boats are preferred when speed and professionalism are the top priorities. They, however, tend to be a little difficult to control especially since they also tend to come with smaller hulls.

The ideal length in our view is the one that falls between 7 and 14 feet long. At the end of the day, consider the capacity you need and your level of experience.

SOT Beginner Kayaks vs Sit-In Ones

The debate pitting these two against each other never seems to end. So, which one of them is truly the best one? Well, it all depends on your comfort and preferences.

Sit-in kayaks are more comfortable in our view. They also tend to be more stable thanks to their lower centers of gravity.

Sit-on-top yaks, on the other hand, are cheaper and more fun to use if you’re the adventurous type. That said, we wouldn’t recommend using them if you are a complete beginner.

What Do You Intend To Use It For?

It’s important that you begin by understanding exactly why you need a yak in the first place. That’s because there are different kinds of watercraft designed to suit different preferences. Some of these include:

Recreational Kayaks

They are meant to be used in non-demanding situations e.g. through flat lakes and gentle rivers.

Touring Kayaks

Ideal for long journey trips. Most of them have enough room for carrying camping gear.

Fishing Kayaks

These are made with fishermen (and women) in mind. They are generally meant to be highly stable enabling you to stand and make a cast.

Whitewater Kayaks

Whitewater kayaks are meant to be agile and, therefore, ideal for paddling through rough water surfaces.

Which One Is The Best?

Now that we have had this conversation, it’s time to settle for one of our favorites. Which one is it? As a beginner, we’d suggest going for an inflatable kayak.

These types of yaks are light in weight, stable, and quite easy to manage. Most importantly, they are quite affordable meaning they provide you with a cheap way to explore this passion.

One kayak that we’d highly recommend to beginners is the Intex-Challenger Inflatable K1 Kayak.  It is nimble and durable. Most importantly, it comes with a creative cargo net storage space. Its eye-catching graphics make it highly visible for extra safety.

Final Thoughts

Want to give you new-found kayaking passion a try? Well, the only thing you need to make sure is that you do that on a safe and reliable kayak. Still not sure which one to go for? Make good use of the guidelines above.

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