10 Best Fishing Kayak Under $500 – 2023 A Detailed Guide

Curious about getting into the deep waters without having to cough out thousands of dollars? It’d certainly be a good idea for you to invest in a kayak rather than a traditional boat.

Yaks are quite stable, spacious, and powerful. Most importantly, they’re pretty rugged and dependable besides being quite affordable.

But why are some kayaks so affordable? You might be wondering. Well, the recent advancements in technology have meant that so many new factors have come into play.

And that way, you can find so many awesome features even without having to spend too much. Indeed, that’s the kind of good news that we’d like to share with you today.

Best Fishing Kayak Under $500

Best Fishing Kayak Under 500 in 2023 Comparison Chart

Before we jump to more details, here’s a quick summary of the 10 watercraft included in this guide. In other words, you don’t have to read the complete reviews if you don’t have the time for that. Simply cut to the chase; if you so wish.

RankingNameDimension Weight
1Sun Dolphin Journey Fishing Kayak120 x 30 x 11 inches108 pounds
2Emotion Fishing Kayak Renegade120 x 36 x 14 inches55 pounds
3Sea Eagle 370 Pro Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak34 x 19 x 11 inches54.6 pounds
4Brooklyn Kayak108 x 33 x 18 inches44 pounds  
5Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak120 x 31 x 14.1 inches57.5 pounds
6Sun Dolphin SS Bali Sit-on-top 10-Foot Kayak120 x 13 x 30 inches44 pounds
7Lifetime Lotus Kayak Sit-On-Top96 x 30 x 10 inches69 pounds
8Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak30.1 x 11.6 x 19.2 inches40.5 pounds 
9Sevylor-Colorado Kayak Combo Two-Person20 x 12 x 35 inches41.9 pounds
10Sun Dolphin-Excursion Fishing Kayak114.5 x 29.5 x 15.8 inches48 pounds

1. Sun Dolphin Journey Fishing Kayak 10-Foot Sit-on-top

Sun Dolphin Journey is among the best kayaks priced under $500. It is quite a stable watercraft and rugged enough for lake and river kayaking.

It is light in weight and, therefore, incredibly easy to transport. It is also maneuverable and suitable for accessing hard-to-reach areas.

The Journey is a 10 foot long sit-on-top watercraft designed from HDP, Fortiflex for a sturdy construction. It has an adjustable backrest for your comfort.

The yak comes with ample storage space. There is a compartment for your dry stuff at the back of the yak and also between your knees in the dock area. It has a paddle storage. In addition, it has one swivel rod holder and two flush mount rod holders.

It comes with retractable carrying handles.


  • For use in lakes and rivers
  • Maneuverable because of its lightweight
  • Stable
  • Budget kayak
  • Ample storage
  • Durable design


  • The seat is not padded
  • Limited weight capacity of 250 pounds, for one-person

2. Emotion Fishing Kayak Renegade XT, 90259 Forest Green

Emotion Fishing Kayak is a one-person sit-on-top hard-shell kayak. Its dimensions are L x W 10ft x 36 inches.  The dock is spacious enough to accommodate a small child or a dog.

It weighs 49lbs, making it lightweight for easy maneuverability in the waters and also for portability because one person can carry it.

This watercraft is manufactured from High-Density Polyethylene, and it is therefore strong and suitable for lake and river kayaking. The yak is designed with enough storage space to accommodate your fishing gears and equipment. It comes with two flush mount rod holders.

The kayak has a strong backrest and a removable seat in addition to molded footwells for all-day comfort.

It is fitted with front and back carrying handles for easy transportation.

It is affordable and backed by the manufacturer’s three-year warranty on the hull.


  • Three-year limited warranty on hull
  • It is constructed from strong materials for durability
  • Ample storage space
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable


  • It is not so wide, and therefore it is less stable than wide yaks, and strong winds can spin it.

Also read: Best Kayak Helmet – Top 10 Rated Models

3. Sea Eagle Inflatable SE370 KayaSport Pro Package

Sea Eagle Inflatable kayak is perfect if you are looking for a kayak for a small family. It is a three-person watercraft.

It weighs 26lbs, and it comes with a weight capacity of 650 pounds. The kayak is perfect for both lake and river kayaking because it is designed for Class III white waters.

It is an easy to inflate and deflate yak, requiring less than 10 minutes to set-up ready for paddling. It is manufactured from sun and saltwater resistant materials. It has an open and close drain valve and five inflation/deflation valves.

It is quite convenient to carry and store it. It deflates to a small package that fits easily in the carry/storage case.

A package includes the kayak, two paddles, a foot pump and carry bag with a shoulder strap.


  • Suitable for lake and river kayaking
  • It is a three-person person
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Lightweight
  • Made to resist tearing and puncturing
  • Very portable
  • Easy to store
  • Carry case, foot pump and two paddles included


  • All inflated kayaks come with a high risk of getting punctures

4. Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC Sit-on-Top UH-FK184 9 Single Person Fishing Kayak

Do you desire a quiet time in the waters? Brooklyn Kayak Company kayak is a solo person sit-on-top kayak that will take you right where the fishes are. It can hold up to a maximum weight of 250 pounds. It is perfect for both newbie anglers and veterans.

The kayak is 58 pounds and light enough for one person to carry it.

It is very stable and best for maneuvering over rough waters and handling big catches without the risk of tipping over.

It is a well-equipped watercraft. As far as storage is concerned, the watercraft has more than enough for your fishing gear and equipment and tools.

It has five-rod holders, four flush mounted and one articulating rod holder for easy transportation of rods. It also has paddle holders, which are held securely by elastic bungee cords.

In addition, it has two waterproof storage for keeping your personal items like keys, wallet, book, and snacks. It also has a special cargo area for carrying your cooler, tackle box, and fishing gear. The cargo area is hollowed and has bungee straps.

The kayak also comes with four carrying handles.


  • Enough storage space
  • Very stable
  • Comfortable seat
  • Five-rod holders and a paddle holder


  • It is a one-person kayak

5. Lifetime-Tamarack 100 Angler Fishing Kayak

Lifetime kayak will give you an excellent and economical way to enjoy water adventures. It has various comfort features. It has an adjustable padded seat, seat pad, front, and back shock cord straps, and several footrest positions to suit persons of different sizes.

It has a weight capacity of 275lbs.

All the components of this watercraft are well constructed with durability. It is made from UV-Protected, High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). The kayak has a flat bottom for stability, deep Hull Tracking Channels, and Stability Chine Rails.

For storage, you get two flush mounting rod holders, one top fishing rod holder, and a paddle keeper. For your other fishing gears, you get two storage compartments, one in the center and one at the rear.

It is fitted with T-handles for ease of carrying. There are two models to choose from, one has a paddle, and the other comes without a paddle. It is quite an affordable kayak that has a five-year limited warranty.


  • Quite affordable
  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Ample storage
  • Five-year limited warranty
  • Constructed from durable materials


  • One person kayak

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

Sun Dolphin SS Bali will give you a great kayaking time either in the river or lake. It is a sit-on-top kayak that paddles and tracks with ease.

The watercraft is comfortable for all-day kayaking. The yak is designed with an open cockpit that makes entry and exit easy. In addition, it has adjustable foot braces and protective thigh pads.

The watercraft is constructed from rugged High-Density UV-stabilized Fortiflex Polyethylene. It is fitted with carrying handles, and it is light enough to be carried by one person.

It comes with two waterproof storage compartments to secure your personal items like car keys and enough storage places. It has a PAC (Portable Accessory Carrier) which can be used for additional storage space. It also has a secure molded-in paddle holder.


  • Suitable for lakes and rivers
  • Various colors to suit different tastes
  • Designed with enough storage space
  • It is comfortable
  • Affordable


  • Each kayak color is priced differently
  • The seat is not padded

7. Lifetime Lotus Kayak Sit-On-Top

Lifetime Lotus kayak is a watercraft made in the USA. It is designed for enhanced performance, comfort, durability and has ample storage facilities. The hull is designed for superior stability for excellent tracking.

There are two models. One for a solo kayaker and the other one is a two-person kayak.

It is 38lbs in weight. It is constructed from high-density Polyethylene (HDPE) that has UV protection. It has scupper holes for draining the cockpit area.

It also has carry handles and a molded paddle holder. The yak has a tank well storage which is secured with bungee cord lacing to secure items.

It has multiple footrests to suit different riders. In addition, it has an adjustable backrest.


  •  Five-year limited warranty
  • Paddle included
  • It won’t fade, crack or fade because of the UV-protection.
  • Easy to transport due to its weight and carry handles
  • Two options on offer, single person and two-pack.


  • It is less convenient than an inflatable kayak regarding storage and carrying

8. Sevylor-Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak Two-Person

Take along a kayaking buddy in the Sevylor Coleman kayak. The two-person kayak comes with a 470lb maximum weight capacity.

The watercraft has a rugged construction and designed for lake use which often presents many challenges like broken branches and sharp rocks.

What’s more, the yak is constructed from 18 gauge PVC. The bottom has a 1000 D Tarpaulin construction with 840 D nylon. This is to ensure a puncture-proof kayaking experience.

But just in case of a puncture, the watercraft has multiple air chambers to keep the yak inflated and enable the riders to paddle to the shore safely. It also has an airtight system to prevent leaks.

It is an easy to set up unit. It is fitted with double threaded Boston valves that facilitate easy inflation and deflation.

The kayak is fitted with paddle holders and Berkley rod holders. D-rings makes it easy to attach other equipment.

It has additional mesh storage pockets where you can keep snacks or anything you want within your reach when paddling. You can also mount a trolling motor on it.


  • A rugged construction suitable for lake kayaking and to prevent punctures
  • Carry bag and pressure gauge
  • Two people kayak
  • Ample storage
  • A trolling motor can be mounted on it


  • A pump and paddle are not included.
  • It is not stable in windy conditions
  • It is not so spacious.

9. Sevylor-Colorado Kayak Combo Two-Person

Sevylor-Colorado kayak comes with a lot of conveniences that you won’t find in a hard-shell kayak. The kayak is designed for both river and lake kayaking. It is a two person kayak that has a 470lbs maximum weight.

You will appreciate that this watercraft is quieter than a hard shell kayak, and therefore it won’t scare fishes away easily. It is also easier to store and carry.

It has a rugged construction to try and make it puncture proof. It is made from 18-gauge PVC with a tarpaulin bottom.

In addition, it has an airtight system and multiple air chambers. The air chambers will keep it inflated if one air chamber gets punctured.

The Boston valves make inflation and deflation easy and fast. You can use the D-rings to attach your fishing equipment. An order includes two paddles, a pressure gauge, a carry bag, and a pump.


  • it is a two people kayak
  • One-year limited warranty
  • Affordable
  • Easy to inflate and deflate


  • It is inflated and still prone to punctures

10. Sun Dolphin-Excursion Sit-in SS 10-Foot Fishing Kayak

Sun Dolphin-Excursion is a one-person sit-in kayak that will take you cruising in rivers and lakes. The watercraft paddles with ease all thanks to its stable base. 

It comes with a large cockpit area for easy boarding and exit in addition to having an adjustable padded seat. The Excursion also comes with protective thigh pads and adjustable foot braces all for your comfort.

It is lightweight, weighing 40lbs, and therefore it is quite portable.  It also has carrying handles. It has a weight limit of 250lbs.

It is constructed with enough storage space. It has one swivel and two flush mount rod holders. It comes with a PAC (Portable Accessory Carrier) which can also be used for storing your items. It also has an area where you can put your dry bags.

For your convenience, it has a water bottle holder, shock cord deck rigging and a paddle holder.


  • Affordable
  • Ample storage space
  • Suitable for lakes and rivers
  • It is comfortable


  • One-person kayak

What Type of Kayak Should You Go For?

This is easily the first question likely to dominate your mind especially if you’re a first-time yak shopper. Basically, one factor that should determine the kind of watercraft you settle for is your height.

You basically want to make sure that the height of your yak can accommodate you, comfortably. Also, you want to consider your weight. If you weigh close to 300 pounds then you’re better off going for a kayak with a 400-pound weight limit and above.

That way, you’ll have the freedom to carry extra gear and paddlers with you. Further, this can come in handy in case of an overnight fishing trip whereby you’d need to camp.

The Right Dimensions to Go For

Do the dimensions of the yak matter? The short answer is yes. A wide kayak tends to be extra stable and, therefore, convenient for beginner fishers.

It goes without saying that a wide base goes a long way to provide you with extra stability. But even then, thinner and streamlined kayaks are generally best suited for experienced anglers.

Generally, a narrow, streamlined design reduces drag and also makes it easily possible to paddle faster. So, if you’re looking for fast speeds, you certainly want to keep that consideration in mind.

Which Kayak Color to Go For

In the real sense, does the color of a kayak matter? Well, the answer to that question may vary depending on who you ask. However, a majority of fishing gurus seem to agree that it indeed, matters.

First and foremost, if you’re a beginner angler we’d recommend choosing a kayak that’s easily visible. For instance, it should be brightly colored in yellow, orange, fluorescent green or red. Such colors would make it easier for other anglers to spot you from a distance.

The downside to choosing a bright colored kayak is that it can reduce your chances of catching fish. That’s because the bright color would warn the fish of your presence.

In that regard, if you’re looking to double or quadruple your catch, we’d recommend going for a blue boat. You can also go for any other color that blends in with the water.

However, scientists have confirmed that fish don’t see as many colors as humans do. They are, however, attracted to particular shadows.

The Hull Design

The name hull when it comes to kayaks simply refers to the bare bones of the structure. It’s the skeleton that holds your yak together. Without it, it wouldn’t be possible to attach bungees, pedal drives, seats, mounts, and so forth.

For that reason, you should always focus on getting the best hull available. Worth noting, however, is that hulls are shaped with specific purposes in mind.

Our general recommendation is that if you’re planning to fish on shallow and calm waters, a short, rounded hull would do. However, if you’re a sea angler, you’d be best placed to use a kayak with a long and pointed bottom. Of course, the bottom should be flattened.

Just to give you a rough idea on what to expect as far as hulls are concerned, here are some quick nuggets of wisdom.

Rounded Hulls

A rounded hull typically comes with rounded edges. It almost has a torpedo shape. This shape is ideal for high speeds as it reduces water resistance.

V-Shaped Hulls

The V-shaped comes in handy it cutting through the water. Therefore, these kinds of hulls are ideal when one wants to navigate in a straight line. They’re, however, tippy and are best used by experienced anglers.

Flat Hull

Flat hulls are the best bets for beginners who look for primary stability. They’re also ideal for long hours of fishing especially by anyone who prefers to do so from one spot. Their primary advantages include great maneuverability as well as stability.

The Storage Features

Each trip to the waters is bound to come with its fair share of surprises. And for that reason, you need to have an adequate storage capacity.

Of course, you need a larger storage capacity if embarking on a longer ride than if starting a short on.

There are two types of storage and these are – dry storage and wet storage.

Dry storage kayaks come in handy in providing you with room to keep your precious items without them getting wet. Wet storage, on the other hand, would come in handy especially when you need to store your catch.

That said, most kayaks found within this price range tend to come with the dry storage space only. Unfortunately, there are some which don’t come with it!

Safety and Comfort

It’s essential to think about those two elements before buying a kayak. It basically should be comfortable. In particular, it should have an ergonomic seat.

For instance, it should have a well-made backrest. It also should be made from a cushioned surface for long-term comfort.

The kayak should, further, come with all the convenient holders meant to help enhance your level of comfort. And besides that, there should be lots of spaces to keep your handy accessories.

Ultimately, you want your safety to be well taken care of at all times. And that way, you can enjoy the ride with extra confidence.

Important Tips for Caring For Your Kayak

In order for your kayak to serve you for long and provide you with an enhanced value proposition, you need to take good care of it. The only way to do that is by adhering to the following simple tips.

  • Always inspect your kayak to check for any hairline cracks, hull damage or signs of water leaks. Get a professional to fix those.
  • If you want to clean your kayak, we’d recommend doing so using clean water and a mild dishwashing soap.
  • If you own a fiberglass or plastic watercraft, be sure to spray it with UV protection at least thrice per year.
  • If you’d like to eliminate some minor scratches, we’d recommend using a 600 to 800-grade sandpaper along with a fine polish abrasive.
  • To get rid of stubborn stains on kayak, consider using a mild automotive polish, abrasive

Which One Is The Best?

The Emotion Fishing Kayak Renegade XT Model 90259 seems to tick all the right boxes as far as the search for the best rig is concerned. That’s because of its highly durable body, enhanced hull, solace storage space, and lightweight design.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a clue what a good, affordable kayak looks like, it’s our hope that you’ll gain confidence in decision-making. We look forward to hearing your wonderful fishing stories soon. Cheers to a new chapter in your fishing hobby or career.

Leave a Comment