Where to find the Best Brands of Kayaks

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When it comes to choosing the best brands of kayaks, it is difficult to know where to begin. You want one built to last. One that is durable, comfortable, stable, and has the quality you need.

It can be a bit confusing when starting your research to find one that fits your specific needs.

But guess what? 

We did the hard work for you! So you don’t have to. Because the last thing you want to do is find one that does not fit your needs. Every kayak is unique in its own way.

This is our own personal opinion. Choose the one that fits your personal needs.

Here are our top picks.

  • Best Kayak Brands Under $1500: Perception Crank 10.0 Sit-On-Top Kayak
  • Best Kayak Brands Under $600: Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5 Sit-On-Top Kayak
  • Best Kayak Brands Under $200: Intex Challenger Kayak Inflatable Set
  • Types of Kayaks For Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers
  • Tips and Tricks
  • FAQs
  • Conclusion

Best Kayak Brands to Check Out

Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links. If you decide to click and buy something, I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you!) This helps our blog create more cool content! 🙂

Best Kayak Brands Under $1500: Perception Crank 10.0 Sit-On-Top Kayak

*REI inventory changes frequently you can check out their latest kayaks here


  • Recommended: Flatwater Kayaking, Fishing
  • Weight: 75 lbs
  • Capacity (Weight):350 lbs
  • Seat Type: Padded/Foam
  • Length: 10 ft 
  • Width: 35 in
  • Material: Rotomolded Polyethylene Plastic

Best Kayak Brands Under $600: Ocean Kayak Malibu 9.5 Sit-On-Top Kayak

*REI inventory changes frequently you can check out their latest kayaks here


  • Recommended: Flatwater
  • Weight: 50lbs
  • Capacity (Weight): 325lbs
  • Seat Type: Padded/Foam
  • Length: 9’6” 
  • Width: 33 in
  • Material: Rotomolded polyethylene plastic


  • Molded on footwells
  • YakLock Locking bar offers secure storage
  • 3-molded in cup holders
  • Molded-in paddle rests
  • Bow and Stern handle grips

Best Kayak Brand Under $200: Intex Challenger Kayak Inflatable with Aluminum Oars


  • Length: 9ft
  • Width: 2ft 6in
  • Material: heavy-duty vinyl-construction
  • Weight: 23.9lbs
  • Weight (capacity): 220lbs


  • Removable Skeg
  • 1 set of Collapsible Oars
  • Repair kit
  • Inflatable seat
  • 1 Carry bag
  • 1 Pump with hose attachment

Types of Kayaks for Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers

There is an array of different kayaks for the avid kayaking enthusiast. Keep in mind that we merged all possible kayak brands to give you the best out there.

Though they are a mix of different kinds of kayaks, make sure you choose one that will fit your specific needs. As a side note, here are the most common kinds of kayaks.

Inflatable Kayak– portable, light, sturdy and perfect for people on the go. You can easily carry an inflatable kayak wherever you go. They also save a lot of space because they are easy to put away. One of the downsides is that they don’t go very fast, but are perfect for the shore and rivers. 

Recreational Kayak– Typically are slower in speed, but perfect for getting in and out. They are generally used for flat water such as rivers.

Touring Kayak– Typically perfect for long-distance and speed. They have the ability to deal with wind and currents. Some are built with a rudder or skeg specifically for this purpose. 

Fishing Kayak– Stable, durable, perfect for people fishing. Some can even be bought as inflatable kayaks.

Pedal-powered Kayak– allows you to be hands-free and use your feet for pedaling. Typically these are faster and allows you to arrive at destinations quicker.

One pro with pedaling is that it reduces overhead splashing and keeps your hands free to an extent.

Furthermore, keep in mind that some of these kayaks can be broken down into a sit-on-top kayak or sit-inside kayak. Which have several differences as to how stable a kayak is or whether you’re looking for speed in the water 

Sit-On-Top: This allows you to literally sit on the top of the kayak. You are bound to get wet since water can easily splash inside.

The bottom of the kayak has supper holes allowing for the water to drain. They are ideally more comfortable and easy to get inside and out.

In addition, the cockpit is larger. Sit-on-top kayaks are more stable. On the other hand, they tend to be slower, so you can only go so fast in these. 

Sit-Inside: With these kayaks, there is more protection from the sun, wind, and water.  You are more likely to stay warm in cold weather.

They are typically built for speed. Touring is especially good in these. Most of the sit-inside have a dry storage area.

It does take more practice to learn how to efficiently maneuver it. Water does not self-drain. You can buy a kayak skirt to keep the water out.

The cockpit is typically smaller and enclosed.As a general rule of thumb, a sit-on-top kayak is one where you can generally adjust the seats, move, and you are bound to get wet since you are sitting on top.

On the other hand, sit-inside kayaks are restrictive with movement and your chances of getting wet are slim. They tend to be faster in speed. 

Tips and Tricks when Kayaking

  • There is no right or wrong kayak to buy, each one is unique to your own preference
  • When kayaking wear a rashguard which is lightweight and dries quicker
  • Bring a PFD (Life Jacket)
  • Waterproof Phone Case or zip lock bag for your phone and other items
  • Bring sunscreen, you will need it
  • Bringing a dry bag to store some things may be a good idea
  • A water bottle or something to drink and stay hydrated
  • Pick a day to kayak when the wind speed is less than 12mph
  • Always kayak with a friend or tell someone where you are going
  • Bring extra pair of clothes to change into
  • Make sure you have waterproof seat covers when driving home


Kayaking is perfect for leisure spending time in water such as lakes, rivers, and oceans! When it comes to choosing the right kayak, keep in mind there are different factors to consider. 

However, there is no best solution overall. Everyone is different when it comes to finding them right now.

What may be right for you could change and be totally different for someone else. All in all, there are a lot of great kayak brands out there.

However, keep in mind to look more into quality, functionality, durability, warranty, and other key factors before purchasing the right one for you.

If you need any more help, I highly recommend you look into REI as they have many experts which can help you find and purchase the correct kayak for your needs.

They will be more than happy to help you choose the right one to fit your needs! 

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Jess & Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette, two sisters who founded Unseen Beaches, were inspired by their family’s beach vacations while growing up.

Their passion lies in guiding you toward the most remarkable beach destinations across the U.S., while also protecting and preserving these beautiful coastal treasures! 🌊❤️

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