best kayaks for beginners [Answered]


As a beginner kayaker, choosing the right kayak can make all the difference in your paddling experience. With so many different types of kayaks with varying features and designs on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best for you. In this post, we’ll provide you with tips for selecting a kayak that matches your skill level and intended use, and recommend some of the best kayaks for beginners based on customer reviews.

Additionally, we understand that some beginners may be hesitant to make a commitment to buying a kayak. To cater for these individuals, we’ll also recommend alternative options such as inflatable kayaks, tandem kayaks, and kayaks rentals that beginners can choose to test the water with, so to speak.

By the end of this post, you’ll have the knowledge necessary to select a kayak that will suit you or alternatives if you are not ready to commit. Let’s get started!

Tips for Choosing a Kayak

  1. Consider the intended use of the kayak – Think about the type of water you will be paddling in such as calm lakes, whitewater rapids, or open ocean. This will help determine factors like the size, shape, and features that you’ll want in your kayak.
  2. Determine your skill level and preferences – As a beginner, you will want to choose a kayak that is easy to use and doesn’t require advanced paddling skills. Choose between sit-in or sit-on-top kayaks depending on the level of comfort and control you desire.
  3. Determine the size and weight of the kayak – The size and weight of a kayak are important because it determines its portability and storage. If you plan to transport the kayak frequently, you’ll want to choose a lightweight model.
  4. Consider the kayak’s stability and maneuverability – Look for a kayak that offers a good balance of stability and maneuverability depending on your intended activities. Generally, wider kayaks are more stable, while narrower kayaks are more maneuverable.
  5. Look for additional features such as storage compartments and paddle holders – Depending on the type of kayaking you plan on doing, you may need additional features like storage compartments for snacks or gear and paddle holders to keep your paddles secure when not in use. Consider these features when shopping for a kayak.

The Best Kayaks for Beginners

After researching and reading through customer reviews, here are some of the best kayaks for beginners:

  • Perception Tribute 12.0 Kayak – Great for beginners with a bit of experience or who want room for growth, this kayak is lightweight, stable and versatile, and can handle varying water conditions.
  • Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak – This recreational kayak is great for beginners who want an easy-to-use sit-in kayak. It is lightweight, durable, and provides ample storage space, making it perfect for peaceful day trips on the water.
  • Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak – This inflatable kayak is perfect for beginners who want to experience what the water has to offer. It has a unique design and high-quality materials that make it durable and sleek, with the added bonus of easy storage and transportation.
  • Pelican Premium Enforcer 120X Kayak – This sit-on-top kayak is great for beginners as it is easy to paddle and has a comfortable design for a long day on the water. It also has ample storage space and is designed for enhanced stability, great for beginners who want to build their confidence.

These kayaks have been chosen with beginner paddlers in mind as they offer the balance of stability, maneuverability, and ease of use to make the most of the paddling experience while growing their skills. Consider your preferences and skills before making any one choice.

Alternative Options for Beginners

Aside from purchasing a kayak, there are alternative options that beginners can try out:

  • Inflatable kayaks – These kayaks provide the convenience of portability and ease of storage, making them ideal for beginners without a lot of space. They are also typically cheaper than hard-shell kayaks.
  • Tandem kayaks – For beginners who want to paddle with a friend or family member, tandem kayaks are a good option. They offer the added benefit of spreading the workload between two people, making paddling easier for all involved.
  • Kayak rentals – Renting a kayak is a great way for beginners to try different types of kayaks before committing to a purchase. Rentals are also available at most popular kayaking locations and often offer guided tours.

Whichever option you choose, ensure to do your research, consider the intended use, and carefully choose a kayak that fits your skill level.

Related: Jackson Kayaks Coosa: The Ultimate Fishing Companion for Paddlers!


What is the best type of kayak for beginners?

It ultimately depends on your preferences and intended use, but sit-on-top kayaks are generally considered more beginner-friendly.

How long should my kayak be?

The length of your kayak should align with your intended use. Recreational kayaks are typically 10-12 feet, while touring kayaks can be 14 feet or longer.

How heavy should my kayak be?

The weight of your kayak should align with your strength and ability to transport it. For beginners, we recommend kayaks that are 50-60 pounds or lighter.

Is it necessary to have storage compartments in a kayak?

While not necessary, storage compartments can be beneficial for day trips or longer excursions, as they offer a secure place to store gear and supplies.

Can I try out a kayak before buying it?

Yes, many stores and rental facilities offer demo days or allow customers to try out kayaks before purchasing them.

How much should I expect to pay for a beginner kayak?

Beginner kayaks can range from around $300 to $800, depending on the features and quality.

What is the difference between a sit-inside and a sit-on-top kayak?

Sit-inside kayaks offer more protection from the elements and are better for colder weather, while sit-on-top kayaks offer more stability and are easier to get in and out of.

Do I need to wear a life jacket while kayaking?

Yes, a life jacket is a necessary safety precaution while kayaking.

How should I transport my kayak?

Securely fasten the kayak to a roof rack or trailer and make sure it’s stable before driving.

Can I kayak alone as a beginner?

It’s recommended that beginners paddle with a partner or in a group until they feel comfortable and confident on the water.

Real experience

Lena had always been fascinated with paddling and the thought of exploring new waterways. But, she was also intimidated by it. As a beginner, she had no clue what kind of kayak would be best for her. She pondered over this for a while, and finally decided to do some research on her own.

One fine day, Lena stumbled upon an article about ‘Best Kayaks for Beginners’ and she quickly went through it. It gave her insight into the different types of kayaks, their features, and what would suit her the best. She decided to give it a try and went to her local paddling store.

When Lena arrived, she was welcomed by an experienced paddler who understood her needs and recommended a couple of kayaks for her to try. Lena tried a few kayaks around the shop and got an idea of what felt most comfortable for her. The storekeeper advised her to take some classes and understand the techniques of paddling. Lena felt excited – she had already found a kayak that she liked and was now eager to begin her paddling journey.

Days turned into weeks and Lena finally felt comfortable in her new kayak. She started exploring the nearby waterways and was amazed by the beauty that surrounded her. Lena felt free and alive in the water, and all her fears melted away.

Now, Lena is a proud owner of a kayak and spends most of her weekends on the water. She has even formed new friendships with other paddling enthusiasts along the way. Lena couldn’t be more grateful for that article she found – it gave her the confidence and direction she needed to start her paddling journey.


Choosing a kayak can be an exciting but daunting experience, especially for beginners. However, with the right tips, research, and guidance, choosing a kayak that matches your intended use and skill level can be an enjoyable process.

We’ve provided tips on how to choose a kayak that suits your preferences and recommended some of the best kayaks for beginners based on customer reviews. We’ve also given alternative options for those who prefer not to commit to a kayak purchase at the onset.

Remember, your comfort, safety, and paddling experience should guide your decision making. Take your time, do your research, and try different models before committing to one that is right for you.

We hope that this post has offered helpful insight into selecting your ideal kayak, and we wish you all the joy and adventure of paddling in the beautiful outdoors.

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