Best Kayaks under 500 - thumb

Best Kayaks Under 500 Dollars for 2021 – Our Top Picks

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I think we can both agree that kayaking is one of the most interesting water sports. However, the quality of your kayak determines how nice, comfy, and interesting your kayaking expedition will be. This necessitates the need for a kayaker to buy yaks of very high-quality.

Like all other products, you get what you pay for when buying a kayak. The best yaks are usually near or even over the $1000 mark. So what happens if you have a budget of less than $500? Does that mean you have to settle for mediocre kayaks?

The answer to the above question is no. There are a number of kayaks that I refer to as ‘hidden gems’ that cost less than $500. These yaks are truly hidden gems as I said and you’ll be impressed with their performance.

I selected these kayaks for their straightforward practicality, performance, thoughtful features, and good ratings. So continue reading to find out the very best kayaks under 500 dollars.

The 7 Best Kayaks Under 500 Dollars for 2021

Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 Kayak

Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 Person Inflatable Kayak

$379.99
$311.26
 in stock
4 new from $299.00
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 11:46 am

The Advanced Elements Lagoon 1 kayak is one of the best yaks you can get under $500. It has everything you need to have a nice time on the water. Starting from the appearance of the Lagoon 1, this yak has a unique shape that’s attention-grabbing. People will come to you asking where you got such an attractive vessel from.

But this kayak isn’t all about aesthetics. For one, it’s an inflatable kayak, and thus, extremely easy to store and transport. Inflation is very fast and you are just minutes away from being on the water.

The bow and stern have fixed rigid forms that help this vessel cut through the waves and keep you on course. There is also an inner tube cover which enhances the durability and rigidity of the vessel.

The padded seat, foam floor, inflatable seat rest, and paddle loops are all there to bring you optimum comfort while on the water. There’s also a zippered mesh storage bag where you can store items securely and safe from water. High-quality materials make this kayak durable and long-lasting.

 Specifications

  • Type:  inflatable kayak / sit-inside kayak
  • Kayak size:  8’4” ft x 34 in / 254 x 86 cm
  • Kayak weight:  23 lbs / 10 kg
  • Weight capacity:  250 lbs / 113 kg
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to carry and store.
  • Eye-catching design.
  • Quick inflation and deflation times.
  • Padded seats make this yak very comfortable.
  • Sturdy and long-lasting.

Cons

  • Only suitable for flat water.

Other Buying Options:

Pelican Sentinel 100X KayakOur Top Pick

Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak - Sentinel 100X - 9.5 Feet - Lightweight one Person Kayak (EXO Neptune White, Recreational) (MEF10P100-00)

$489.99
$389.52
 in stock
5 new from $389.52
2 used from $819.90
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 11:46 am

Made from high-quality polyethylene, the Pelican Sentinel 100x is one of the most sturdy and durable kayaks you’ll find under $500. This kayak is ideal for kayakers that want to enjoy a stable and relaxing kayaking experience on calm or slow-moving waters during the warm season.

Being a sit-on-top kayak, it is very easy to get in and out of this kayak. And the roomy cockpit allows you to move around freely when you are on the water.

The excellent maneuverability of this vessel makes it ideal for beginner kayakers. I also like the tracking of this kayak as it allows you to travel long distances with minimal effort. This kayak will not topple over when you are on the water thanks to the excellent stability.

There are several accessories included in the package such as bottle holders, molded footrests, anti-slip carpet, and so on. I must also mention that this kayak has really comfortable seats which make your kayaking more enjoyable.

 Specifications

  • Type:  sit-on-top kayak
  • Kayak size:  9’6” ft x 30 in / 289 x 76 cm
  • Kayak weight:  41.8 lbs / 19 kg
  • Weight capacity:  275 lbs / 125 kg
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Very rugged and strong.
  • Roomy cockpit makes it easy to enter and exit this vessel.
  • Excellent maneuverability.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Good tracking and stability.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Sevylor Quikpak K5 Kayak

Sevylor Quikpak K5 1-Person Kayak , Gray

$299.99
$278.22
 in stock
32 new from $278.22
3 used from $248.53
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 11:46 am

This kayak is about the size of a backpack when deflated thereby making it very easy for you to store and transport it. The inflation process is fast and straightforward and you’ll be paddling under five minutes.

The 24-gauge PVC material makes this kayak very tough and rugged. This makes this kayak resistant to punctures, tears, leaks, scrapes, and UV. Special attention is paid to the bottom of this yak as it’s going to endure more abuse than other parts of the vessel. And should there ever be a leak in the yak, the vessel will not sink thanks to the multiple air chambers. You can safely paddle back to shore and use a repair kit to repair any damages.

There are two locking points on the double lock valves of this kayak and this makes inflation and deflation super easy and fast. The airtight system makes sure that this yak will not leak making sure it remains inflated after inflation.

This yak also has secure storage bags with bungees where you can keep your items.

 Specifications

  • Type:  inflatable kayak / sit-inside kayak
  • Kayak size: 10 ft x 36 in / 304 x 91 cm
  • Kayak weight: 25.5 lbs / 56 kg
  • Weight capacity:  250 lbs / 113 kg
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Portable and lightweight.
  • Easy to inflate and deflate.
  • Super tough and durable material.
  • Multiple-air chambers to prevent kayak sinking should there be a puncture or tear.
  • The air-tight system keeps the yak inflated.

Cons

  • The included paddles work fine but aren’t the most comfortable.

Perception Flash 9.5 Kayak

Perception Kayaks Flash 9.5 | Sit Inside Kayak for Fishing and Fun | Two Rod Holders | Multi-Function Dash | 9' 6" | Blaze (9331900189)

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 11:46 am

The Perception Flash 9.5 is a high-quality kayak designed for beginner and seasoned kayakers. Thanks to the stable hull and dual tracking channels, this kayak performs excellently on water. It also keeps you straight-and-narrow when you set out on the open waters. The short length of this kayak also makes it extremely easy to maneuver.

Fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the molded-in rod holders and a 10-inch storage hatch. The spacious cockpit also makes it very easy to enter and exit this kayak. I like the high-back seat as it is very comfortable and allows you to paddle for extended periods without feeling any pain or aches. There are also the adjustable foot braces that can accommodate kayakers of different sizes.

The Flash 9.5 has an easy access dashboard with cup holders. The yak also has a storage place where you can keep your gear. Thanks to the ergonomically designed front and rear handles, this kayak is easy to transport.

 Specifications

  • Type:  sit-inside kayak
  • Kayak size: 9’6” ft x 28.5 in / 289 x 72.4 cm
  • Kayak weight: 41 lbs / 18 kg
  • Weight capacity:  325 lbs / 147 kg
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Excellent performance on water.
  • Excellent maneuverability.
  • Comfortable seat with high back support.
  • Includes rod holders for angler kayakers.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • The included seat may not be too comfortable for larger paddlers.

Lifetime Tioga Kayak

Lifetime Tioga Sit-On-Top Kayak, Lime, 120"

$398.00  in stock
6 new from $398.00
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 11:46 am

The Lifetime Tioga kayak is made from high-density polyethylene that makes it resistant to UV, punctures, scrapes. This kayak can take a lot of abuse without getting damaged. The deep hull tracking channels makes this kayak very stable on water.

I also like that the Tioga isn’t bulky and is easy to transport weighing only 50 lbs. Storage should be an issue if you have a bit of space in your home. There’s a carry handle that makes this kayak easy to transport.

The seat of this kayak is very comfortable and allows you to paddle for a long time without feeling any pain or aches. Overall, Lifetime Tioga is an excellent kayak that will provide value for your money.

 Specifications

  • Type:  sit-on-top kayak
  • Kayak size: 10 ft x 31 in / 254 x 79 cm
  • Kayak weight: 50 lbs / 23 kg
  • Weight capacity:  275 lbs / 125 kg
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Excellent value for money.
  • Easy to transport.
  • Very stable on water.
  • Very comfortable seat.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Perception Sound 10.5 Kayak

Perception Kayaks Sound 10.5 | Sit Inside Kayak for Fishing and Fun | Two Rod Holders | Large Rear Storage | 10' 6" | Grasshopper

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 11:46 am

This Perception kayak is designed to accommodate kayakers of different sizes. Larger kayakers will fit into the Perception Sound with ease. The tri-keel hull confers excellent stability on this vessel and also makes the maneuverability easy and smooth. As a result, this kayak performs excellently on lakes, slow-moving rivers, and calm coastal waters.

The ergonomic zone seat comes with extra cushioning for added comfort. The adjustable backrest even makes this kayak more comfortable. As a result, you can paddle for as long as you want without feeling any pain in your hands or legs. There are also the quick-adjust footrests which can be used by paddlers of all sizes.

There are two mounting points on the dashboard. Angler kayakers will love the two molded-in fishing rod holders and the large rear open storage area which can accommodate a fishing crate and gear.

The rear and front molded-in handles make it easy to transport this kayak.

 Specifications

  • Type:  sit-on-top kayak
  • Kayak size: 10’6″ ft x 29.5 in / 320 x 75 cm
  • Kayak weight: 46 lbs / 21 kg
  • Weight capacity:  335 lbs / 152 kg
  • Person Capacity: 1 person

Pros

  • Can accommodate paddlers of different sizes.
  • Excellent stability on water.
  • Performs well in different water conditions.
  • Extra cushioned seats make this yak very comfortable.
  • Fishing rod holders and large rear open storage area make this yak ideal for fishing.
  • Rugged and durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Sea Eagle 370 Pro Kayak

Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat w/ Paddles

$399.99
$327.81
 in stock
7 new from $327.81
1 used from $295.00
Amazon.com
as of October 17, 2021 11:46 am

The Sea Eagle 370 is very lightweight and portable. This makes it very easy to transport this kayak. But don’t be fooled by the lightweight design of this kayak as it is a very powerful vessel. With a whopping weight capacity of 650 lbs, this kayak can comfortably accommodate two adults and a child or pet.

Set up is straightforward, easy, and fast. You are less than 10 minutes away from the water.  The efficient hull shape and design make it easy to paddle this kayak. This kayak is very stable on the water and can easily withstand class III rapids. There are also two skegs at the bottom of this kayak for better stability and tracking.

Thanks to the deluxe seat with improved back support, this kayak is very comfortable. Inflation and deflation are easy. And there is a large storage space at the rear where you can store your gear.

 Specifications

  • Type:  sit-on-top kayak
  • Kayak size: 12’6” ft x 34 in / 381 x 86 cm
  • Kayak weight: 32 lbs / 23 kg
  • Weight capacity:  650 lbs / 295 kg
  • Person Capacity: 2 persons

Pros

  • Easy to transport.
  • Stunning weight capacity.
  • Easy setup.
  • Easy to paddle.
  • Can withstand class III rapids.
  • Very durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcoming.

Best Kayaks under $500 – The Guide 

Now that you know the best kayaks under $500 available on the market, I’ll be taking you through a buying guide. There are a number of things that one must consider before buying a kayak in order to choose a yak that best meets your needs. Below are factors you should consider when getting a kayak.

Sit-Inside vs. Sit-on-Top Kayaks

As the name implies, you sit ‘on top’ of a sit-on-top kayak. The open design of this type of kayak makes entry and exit easy. Also, there’s a lot of storage space to keep your gear. On the other hand, sit-in kayaks are the conventional type of kayaks. They have an enclosed cockpit and you actually ‘sit inside’ the kayak.

Both types of kayaks have their advantages and disadvantages. The open design of sit-on-top kayaks means you are exposed to the elements and water splashes inside the yak as you paddle. This is actually a good thing in hot climates as you are exposed to more wind and thus get cooled. The water that occasionally gets splashed on you also keeps you cool.

But this quickly becomes a disadvantage in colder climates as water splashing on you in such weather conditions is totally undesirable. It’s also easy to enter and exit a sit-on-top yak. Sit-in kayaks on the other hand have enclosed cockpit and thus protect you from water splashes as you paddle your way across the water. They can be used in both hot and cold climates.

Rigid vs. Inflatable Kayaks

You inflate an inflatable kayak using a pump. When inflatable kayaks are not in use, they are deflated and pack up to the size of a backpack. This makes it very easy to store and transport inflatable kayaks. You can bring them on a car, train, bus, bike, and even a plane.

As for storage, you can store an inflatable kayak under your bed, in your closet, or a corner in your room. Inflatable kayaks are also cheaper than rigid kayaks. However, inflatable kayaks require a bit more maintenance as you have to air them properly to prevent foul smell and algae growth. Inflatable kayaks are also more easily affected by the elements than rigid kayaks.

Rigid kayaks on the other hand are made of plastic, wood, fiberglass, and so on. This type of kayaks are generally sturdier than their inflatable counterparts and are not easily affected by the elements. However, they are bulkier and not easy to transport especially if you don’t own a car.

They also require more storage space as you’ll need to have some space in your home. However, they require less maintenance than inflatable kayaks.

Ease of transport, storage space, price, and maintenance should be the main factors you should consider when deciding between an inflatable and a rigid kayak.

Best kayaks under 500 - guide

How to Choose Your Kayak

Materials – Durability

The type and quality of material used to manufacture a kayak will determine how durable the kayak will be. Polyethylene is a common material used to manufacture kayaks because it is durable and affordable.

However, the material tends to degrade when exposed to UV (from sunlight). It’s now becoming common to see polyethylene kayaks that come with UV protection. This type of kayaks are more resistant to UV and thus more durable.

PVC is another material used to manufacture kayaks and it is very tough and resistant to puncture and tears. However, this material isn’t as sturdy as polyethylene. Rotomold is another very sturdy and affordable material. However, rotomold is susceptible to UV damage. ABS is more expensive and resistant to UV damage than polyethylene.

Comfort

The advice all seasoned kayakers give to beginners about kayaks is always the same. And that’s for beginner kayakers to invest in comfort. Your kayaking expedition will only be enjoyable when your vessel is comfortable.

As a result, only buy kayaks with comfortable seats. Some kayaks have back support, adjustable footrests, foot braces, and so on. Comfort is one aspect of a kayak you shouldn’t compromise on.

The worst thing that can happen to a kayaker is to sit on an uncomfortable kayak for hours. Well, comfort is one thing you don’t have to worry about the kayaks on this list as I selected only comfortable kayaks.

Weight & Portability

You have to consider how easy it is to store and transport a kayak before buying it. Inflatable kayaks are usually the size of a backpack when deflated and can be easily carried anywhere. This makes this type of kayak ideal for those who do not own a car. Inflatables are also easy to store and are great for people that don’t have much space in their homes.

If you have storage spaces like a garage, barn, shed, etc. and transport isn’t a problem (own a car, truck), you can buy rigid kayaks. You also have to consider the distance from your car to the shore. If the distance is long, you might consider an inflatable as they are easy to carry. But you can also easily transport a rigid kayak from your car to the shore if you have a kayak cart.

Weight Capacity

All kayaks have a weight capacity which you shouldn’t exceed if you don’t want to sit too low in the yak or make the yak wear out faster. Some kayaks are suited for one person, some for two persons, while there are models that can seat three persons, or two adults and a child/pet comfortably.

Always consider your weight, that of your partner if any, and your gear when buying a kayak, Then get one that can easily handle the combined weight.

 Length of The Kayak

As a rule of thumb, longer kayaks are faster and perform well on calm water. ]They also do not require a lot of paddling and are more comfortable. This makes longer kayaks perfect for long kayaking adventures. On the other hand, shorter kayaks have increased maneuverability and can handle water rapids better. However, they are not ideal for longer kayaking expeditions.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the best kayaks under $500 available on the market. These kayaks are proof that you don’t need to break the bank to get a quality kayak. For a budget under $500, you can get a high-quality kayak with superb performance that will convince you that kayaking is the best water sports of all time.

Use the buying guide to choose a yak that best suits your need and start paddling your way to fun, adventure, and glory!

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