10 Best Recreational Kayaks in 2020

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If you are interested in purchasing a recreational kayak but are unsure where to start looking or what features your new purchase should have, then keep reading. All the different features of kayaks can be incredibly confusing when you are just beginning to research this topic. With so many brands of kayaks to choose from, all ranging in terms of features and price, it can be a difficult task to narrow it down to one choice that is the best for you.

Here we have compiled a list of ten of our favorite kayaks for recreational purposes. If, after this, you are still confused, we have also included a brief list of the main things you need to think about before purchasing your new kayak! Each mention on this list ranges in price, and therefore quality, allowing you to narrow down your choice based on your economic preferences. Each of these will depend on your particular needs and wants, but we are sure there is a perfect choice here for everyone. Good luck with purchasing your new kayaking boat!

View The Best Recreational Kayaks Below

1. Old Town Vapor 10 Kayak

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First up on our list, and the kayak that we believe is the best overall choice in terms of quality and price, is the Old Town Vapor 10 kayak. This recreational kayak includes a very comfortable leather seat, which ensures that you can kayak all day and not feel any pain or discomfort in your body. It is, therefore, perfect for anyone who wishes to purchase a kayak for fishing purposes.

The seat is also adjustable for maximum comfort. The Old Town Vapor kayak also includes an adjustable glide track foot brace system. This ensures you can have a secure grip and much more control, enhancing the safety of this kayak. There is enough space to safely and securely store your valuables and supplies for the day in the Old Town Vapor.

There is even a water bottle holder! You won’t have to worry about being too dehydrated while out all day long on this kayak. The kayak comes with an integrated paddle rest, which means you can take a rest, take photos, or concentrate on fishing while your paddle is safely secured. There are carrying handles built-in with the Old Town Vapor, making the kayak very easy to transport to and from the water.

+ Best Overall Choice
+ Adjustable seat and foot brace
+ Store valuables securely

Why We Like It – The Old Town Vapor 10 Kayak is the best overall choice, in our opinion, as it has everything you would need for a kayak, and at a pretty reasonable price.

2. Wilderness Systems PUNGO 120

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Number two on our list of best recreational kayaks is the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 kayak. This particular kayak is perfect for those who are looking for the most premium quality kayak on the list provided here. This recreational kayak is an amazing 12 ft in size. Even though it’s large, it is very easy to steer and paddle, which makes it perfect for beginners. This particular kayaking boat rivals even some of the best Australian Kayaks.

This boat includes a sit inside seating system, which is extremely comfortable and adjustable to suit your own needs and preferences. As the seating system includes lower back support, this is perfect for those who tend to get backache from being out on the paddle all day long. The dashboard on the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 comes with two cup holders and a removable dry box to ensure you can safely secure anything you need.

There is a deck bungee that gives you plenty of space to secure your bags. There is also space on the dashboard to mount your phone or your camera. This is perfect for those who love taking photos and videos while out on the lake! The rigid and durable handles allow you to comfortably and easily carry the kayak to and from the water.

+ Premium Quality
+ Easy to steer
+ Comfortable Seating

Why We Like It – We have named the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Kayak as premium quality for many reasons. With added features, such as space to secure your bags, phone, and camera mounts, you have everything you would need and more with this kayak.

3. Lifetime 10 Foot Two Person Sit-on Kayak

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The Lifetime kayak is perfect for those who are looking for a budget choice. This recreational kayak is 10 ft in size and is extremely stable, making it very easy to use. You can paddle this kayak alone, or it has space for an additional two people. The tunnel hull design of the Lifetime boat has a weight capacity of 500 lbs and is so stable that it boasts it’s impossible to tip over!

Two padded backrests are included with this kayak, making it more comfortable while you are paddling. It’s possible to purchase and additional electric motor to be used with the Lifetime kayak. It is a sit-on-top kayak and, unfortunately, does not have compartments to store valuables to keep them dry.

+ Budget Price
+ Easy to Use
+ Impossible to tip over

Why We Like It – The Lifetime kayak is perfect for beginner kayakers who are searching for their first, budget kayak to take out onto the water.

4. Sun Dolphin Aruba Kayak

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Number four on our list of recreational kayaks is another sit inside product. The Sun Dolphin Aruba kayak is 10 ft in size and is very easy to steer and use. This makes it a great choice for beginners or young adults. The Sun Dolphin Aruba boat has a weight capacity of 250 lbs, making it suitable for the average kayaker. The design of this kayak makes it great for numerous water environments. It’s not only great for taking it out on lakes, but it’s also is easy to steer in rivers.

It includes a storage compartment to safely secure your valuables so they will not get wet while you are out on the water. The cockpit is open and much larger than other kayaks, making it easier to move around while in the kayak, and also to get in and out of the kayak. The Sun Dolphin Aruba kayak is tip-resistant, making it great for beginners and learners. The Sun Dolphin is made from high-density polyethylene, which makes it a lot stronger than many other kayaks on the market right now. It is also affordably priced!

+ Budget Price
+ Strong and stable
+ Compartment to store valuables

Why We Like It – Due to the tip-resistant feature and the general build of this kayak, it’s perfect for those learning or just beginning their kayaking journey.

5. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

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Number five on our list is inflatable, making it very easy to store and transport. This is perfect if you have to drive a long distance to reach the water. This Advanced Elements inflatable product includes a new and easy to use spring valve, which is compatible with most pumps. You do not have to worry about the setup time with this boat! This recreational kayak is reinforced with an aluminum frame that allows you to safely and gracefully move through the water.

It includes enough storage room to store your valuables so you can stay out on the kayak all day long! It’s made from durable, triple-layer polyester with a PVC coating giving it a puncture-resistant feature. The seats that come with the Advanced Elements kayak are removable, adjustable, and inflatable. There is also a backrest to maximize your comfort! There are rubber carrying handles which allow you to carry this kayak easier.

+ Inflatable
+ Easy to transport and store
+ Durable

Why We Like It – This is the best recreational kayak if you are worried about transporting it or storing it.

6. Ocean Kayak Recreational Malibu

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Next on our list of recreational kayaks is another sit on top choice. The shape of the Ocean Kayak is a proven hull shape, making it easy to steer and control while out on the water. There is space for three kayakers on this particular kayak, or you can choose to kayak solo with the ocean kayak. This also makes it a great choice if you are planning to take your family or friends kayaking!

This sit-on-top kayak is also a great affordable choice. The Ocean Kayak is best used on slow-moving rivers or calm lake water. The seats are comfortable, and there’s even a seat back included so that you won’t suffer from backache! This recreational kayak comes with molded-in cup holders and footwells. It boasts a tri-form hull to ensure stability and maneuverability.

+ Budget Price
+ Easy to steer
+ Cup holders

Why We Like It – This sit on top kayak is perfect for group kayaking with your family or friends.

7. Sun Dolphin Bali SS Sit-on top Kayak

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Number seven on our list of kayak boats is the best recreational kayak for beginners or learners. It’s a sit on top recreational kayak and is perfect for use on a lake or river. It is very lightweight, making it easy to carry to and from the water. You can paddle with this kayak easily and enjoy the scenery without worrying about it tipping over. The Sun Dolphin Bali kayak rivals some of the other kayaks on the market, like the seak kayaks. However, it’s much cheaper than the seak kayak!

It is made from high-density polyethylene and comes in a variety of colors for you to choose from. It boasts a large, open cockpit, making it easy to get in and out of the boat. There are paddle holders so you can stop and take in the view or take pictures without worrying about your paddle going overboard. The seat on the kayak is adjustable and extremely comfortable. It even includes adjustable foot braces, making it a great choice for taller users.

+ Budget Price
+ Lightweight
+ Comfortable seating

Why We Like It – This is one of the best recreational kayaks to purchase for a beginner or learner as it’s incredibly lightweight and easy to steer.

8. Lifetime Sport Fisher Angler

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The 10 ft lifetime sport fisher angler kayak is a great budget choice. It includes tiered seating so you can kayak alone or with an additional two other people. It has a tunnel hull design, which makes it very stable while kayaking out on the water. The weight capacity is 500 lbs, and it also boasts a tip-resistant feature. This makes it a great recreational kayak for beginners.

The Lifetime kayaks are also some of the best recreational kayaks for fishing. They include very comfortable and adjustable seating with backrests. This particular kayak includes three mounted fishing-rod holders. There is an additional storage compartment underneath the deck so you can securely place all your valuables there, including a water bottle holder. You can also purchase an additional electric motor to use with the Lifetime Sport Fisher Angler Kayak.

+ Budget Price
+ Additional Storage
+ Comfortable Seating

Why We Like It – We believe the Lifetime Sport Fisher Angler is the best recreational kayak if your purpose is fishing. With fishing rod holders and a design which makes it easy to sit on the water for long periods, this is a great choice if you’re looking for the best recreational kayak for fishing.

9. Old Town Heron Junior Kids Kayak

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Number 9 on our list of recreational kayaks is for the kids. It’s so lightweight and easy to maneuver that your little one will not have any problems paddling with the Old Town Heron Junior Kids kayak. This is the best recreational kayak on the market for children. It even includes a Tag-Along Two system so you can tow your child along when they get tired.

The comfortable seat is perfect for supporting a child’s body. The contoured seating with extra padding makes it comfortable for your child to kayak all day long. This recreational kayak has bow and stern handles, which make it easy for them to transport it to and from the water. The budget price makes this one of the best choices for recreational kayaks for your children!

+ Budget Price
+ Perfect for Kids
+ Tag-Along System

Why We Like It – This recreational kayak is the best choice for children who love recreational kayaking.

10. Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Kayak

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Last up on our list of kayaks for recreational purposes is the Driftsun Voyager inflatable boat. This tandem kayak inflates to the size of a regular, full-sized kayak on the market today. In less than five minutes, you can be ready to take this recreational kayak out on the water. As it’s inflatable, the Driftsun is the best choice if you’re worried about storing or transporting your kayak.

This is a great kayak to buy if you also live far from the water, as it can easily be transported in the boot of your car! It also boasts a very durable design with PVC Tarpaulin material making it puncture – resistant. It includes double-threaded Boston valves, which are tough enough not to tear or leak. This recreational kayak includes adjustable padded seats, two aluminum paddles with ergonomic grip handles, and a reliable hand pump. These kayaks give you everything you could need or want while out on the water!

+ Inflatable
+ Best for transporting
+ Budget Price

Why We Like It – As these kayaks are inflatable, they are perfect for transporting in your car or storing it in your garage when you’re not out on the water.

Recreational Kayaks Buyer’s Guide

If, after reading our list of top ten recreational kayaks, you are still confused, then keep reading. We know how confusing it can be when deciding which recreational kayak is the best choice for you. With so many different features to choose from, it can be a difficult task. Below, we have compiled a brief list of the main features you should think about before you make your purchase.

Sit in or Sit on Top

Empty red plastic recreational kayaks for rent or hire, stored on sandy beach after hours on a rainy day. Crescent Beach, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

The two categories of kayaks allow you to either sit in the boat or sit on the boat. This is the first thing you should think about before buying your recreational kayak. Sit on Top kayaks are best for versatility and are a great option for beginners.

If you are going to be paddling in a cold environment, then this is not a great choice as you will get splashed a lot! Sit-in kayaks are a great choice in cold environments as they provide some shelter from the wind and cold. These types of kayaks also offer a lot more storage space, so are the best choice if you will be out on the water for long periods.


man preparing his kayak at the beach

Inflatable kayaks are a great choice if you are worried about storing or transporting your new product. As they are inflatable, they can be easily deflated and stored in a cupboard in your garage! However, these types of kayaks are not as durable as other non-inflatable kayaks, so they are best suited for kayaking on lakes or calm water. This is something that you will have to think about before looking into inflatable kayaks.

Weight Capacity

Confident young caucasian couple kayaking on river together with sunset in the backgrounds. Having fun in leisure activity. Romantic and happy woman and man on the kayak. Sport, relations concept.

The weight capacities of certain kayaks differ immensely, and it’s an important consideration before you make your purchase. All kayaks on sale will give the information about the weight capacity, so ensure you look at this carefully and buy the appropriate weight for you and other users.

Length and Width

Generally, kayaks that are longer and narrower will travel a lot faster than shorter kayaks. However, shorter kayaks are much more stable and easier to steer but generally travel a lot slower. If you are a beginner, then you should look into shorter kayaks as they will help you get used to kayaking while learning out on the water. Kayaks for recreational purposes are usually around 8-10 ft long, and this makes them perfect for beginners and using on calm water.

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