best kayak for beginners
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Are you a beginner eager to explore the world of kayaking? Finding the right kayak can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on the water. With a multitude of options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best kayak for beginners.

In this article, we have carefully evaluated and compared various kayaks to help you make an informed decision. Whether you’re looking for stability, ease of use, or versatility, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover the top contenders for the title of the best kayak for beginners.

The best kayak for Beginners 2023

  • Pelican Sentinel 100X 
  • Intex Excursion Pro
  • Intex 68310VM Dakota K2 
  • Lifetime Youth Wave – Best for Beginners
  • Wilderness Systems ATAK 120Best Overall
  • Perception Flash 9.5
  • Sun Dolphin Aruba Runner-up
  • Intex Challenger 

Pelican Sentinel 100X 

Pelican Sentinel 100x
  • Product Dimensions – 114″D x 30″W x 13.25″H
  • Item Weight – 44 Pounds
  • MaterialPlastic

I am a huge fan of Pelican products, and the Sentinel 100X EXO is no exception.

It’s great value for the money, and the extra features make it a perfect choice for the active person. The seats are comfortable, and it’s easy to get in and out of. The backrest is adjustable, which is great for paddling or just relaxing.

I’ve had mine for almost a year now, and it’s still in great condition. It’s a great little kayak for the price and is perfect for paddling in lakes, rivers, or even around the house.


  • Upgraded storage
  • excellent stability
  • enhanced safety
  • comfortable seating.


  • Limited color option
  • weight capacity limitations.

Why Buy:

The Pelican Sentinel 100x Exo kayak offers a range of features that make it a desirable choice for paddlers seeking convenience, comfort, and stability. With upgraded storage options, including a front storage platform, tank well, and removable storage compartment, you’ll have ample space to store your gear and essentials.

The twin-arched multi-chine hull ensures excellent stability and easy maneuverability, making it effortless to get in and out of the kayak. The added safety features, such as additional flotation and scupper holes, provide peace of mind during your paddling adventures. The adjustable ERGOLOUNGE seating system guarantees a comfortable experience, while the lightweight design allows for easy storage and transportation. If you’re looking for a versatile kayak that combines convenience, stability, and comfort, the Pelican Sentinel 100x Exo is a great choice.

Intex Excursion Pro

Intex Excursion Pro
  • Product Dimensions – 151″D x 37″W x 18″H
  • Item Weight – 44.67 Pounds
  • MaterialPolypropylene (PP)

This is the perfect kayak for those who like to fish and/or enjoy watersports. It’s great for both beginners and experts alike, and it’s really versatile. It’s small enough to be taken anywhere but big enough to handle all your needs.

It’s very easy to assemble and there’s no complicated setup or maintenance. If you want to learn how to paddle, you don’t need any lessons, because it’s already equipped with the necessary equipment. It’s also safe to use in shallow waters, and you won’t have to worry about falling in, because it has two removable skegs.

It’s very stable, and its inflatable tubes are thick and sturdy. The paddles are comfortable and they’re made of high-quality materials. The floor and seat are wide and comfortable, and you’ll get the best possible view. The paddles are adjustable, and you can adjust them to fit your height and paddle style. This is a great all-around kayak. It’s durable and reliable, and it’s perfect for those who enjoy kayaking.


  • Durable laminate construction
  • high-pressure inflation
  • versatile skeg options
  • convenient features.


  • Relatively heavy weight
  • potential valve issues

Why should you buy this product:

The versatile and durable inflatable kayak is perfect for both fishing enthusiasts and those who enjoy watersports. Its easy assembly, stability, and safety features make it suitable for beginners and experts alike.

The kayak’s tough construction and high-pressure inflation system ensure durability and stability on the water. With adjustable bucket seats, integrated rod holders, and ample storage space, it offers comfort and convenience during long hours on the water. Despite some minor considerations like weight and valve issues, this kayak is a reliable and versatile choice for enjoyable kayaking experiences.

Intex 68310VM Dakota K2 

Intex Dakota K2
  • Product Dimensions – 130″D x 30″W x 18″H
  • Item Weight – 16.96 Kilograms
  • MaterialVinyl

When it comes to lightweight, versatile, and durable kayaks, this is one of the best models on the market. It’s a great kayak for both beginners and experts alike. It has a nice shape that makes it easy to maneuver in the water, and the long skegs help it track straight in the water.

The inflatable seats are very comfortable, and they fit securely into the kayak. You can adjust the seat height to accommodate taller or shorter users, and you can also remove them completely if you want.

The kayak comes with a carry bag and two dry bags, which are designed for storage and easy transport. The carry bag has a strap that fits easily over the back of your shoulder, and the dry bags have straps that fit around your waist.

It’s also great for fishing since it has a small compartment for storing your tackle. The large bow hatch allows you to store and access all of your gear inside the kayak. The kayak is made of heavy-duty, puncture-resistant vinyl, which is durable and easy to clean. It’s also designed to be strong and stable, so it won’t collapse easily.

The kayak is also easy to fold and store, making it convenient for storage and travel. You can take it on the beach, lakes, rivers, or anywhere else you go, and it’s easy to transport because it’s lightweight. Overall, this is a great kayak that’s ideal for beginners, but it’s also suitable for experienced paddlers too.


  • High weight capacity
  • versatile skegs
  • durable construction
  • easy handling.


  • Potential durability issues with vinyl material
  • additional maintenance is required for inflatable kayaks.

Why should you buy this product:

The Intex Classic inflatable kayak is a versatile and affordable option for outdoor enthusiasts. With its impressive weight capacity and comfortable seating for two, it offers a great opportunity for shared adventures on the water.

The kayak’s design focuses on speed and agility, with long and short skegs for efficient tracking and maneuverability. The tough vinyl construction and multiple air chambers ensure durability and safety. Easy handling features such as grab lines and carry handles make transportation a breeze. Plus, the included seats, dry bags, and carry bags add extra convenience. Enjoy water adventures with this reliable and accessible kayak from Intex.

Lifetime Youth Wave 

Untitled design 3 1
  • Product Dimensions – 72″D x 24″W x 9″H
  • Item Weight – 19 Pounds
  • MaterialHard Shell

If you want to paddle a kayak but don’t want to shell out a ton of money, the Lifetime Youth Wave is the perfect solution. It’s sturdy, lightweight, and affordable.

The cockpit is ergonomically designed to enhance balance and motor skills, and the molded finger handles are comfortable for paddling. The molded step also provides a stable transition for standing up.

The reverse chine makes the kayak incredibly stable and allows you to ride smoothly forward and backward. The kayak weighs in at about 18 pounds, which is less than half the weight of a typical adult kayak.

And if you’re worried about being able to stand up in the kayak, you don’t have to. There’s a step attached to the rear, which you can step into and stand up easily. The step has a handle for easier access.

It’s a great choice for kids who want to learn how to paddle a kayak, as it’s easy to pick up and maneuver. And it’s also great for kids who want to spend time outdoors with their friends or family, as it’s safe, fun, and exciting.


  • Ergonomic design
  • easy transport
  • enhanced stability
  • lightweight.


  • Limited weight capacity
  • small size.

Why should you buy this product:

The Lifetime Blue 6 ft. kayak is a fantastic option for introducing young adventurers to the world of kayaking. Its ergonomic cockpit design promotes balance and motor skills development, while the molded finger handles ensure easy transportation. The reverse chine and swim-up step enhance stability and safety.

With its lightweight construction and included paddle, it offers convenience and accessibility. However, please note the weight capacity and size limitations. Overall, this kayak provides an excellent opportunity for children aged 5 and up to enjoy exciting and supervised kayaking experiences.

Wilderness Systems ATAK 120

Wilderness ATAK 120
  • Product Dimensions – 147″D x 37″W x 18″H
  • Item Weight – 89 Pounds
  • MaterialPolyethylene (PE)

This kayak was purchased to replace my old 14′ Wilderness Systems fishing kayak. I was able to find this kayak at a local kayak store and bought it sight unseen. I have had no problems with the kayak, however, I would recommend that if you are going to purchase one of these, you should do your research beforehand. I did not research the kayak before I bought it and it ended up being very difficult to get into. This is not a problem, but if you are looking for a quick and easy kayak to use, then this is not the kayak for you.


  • Advanced design
  • motor compatibility
  • compact size
  • stability


  • limited color option
  • complexity for beginners
  • additional investment.

Why Buy:

The Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 is an advanced tactical angling kayak designed to meet the needs of avid fishing enthusiasts. With compatibility with the Helix MD motor drive, it offers convenient motorized propulsion for effortless fishing trips. Despite its compact size, the kayak maintains excellent manageability and performance, thanks to its award-winning design. The customizable platform and unmatched stability make it a reliable choice for anglers seeking an optimal fishing experience.

The wind-shedding deck design ensures stability even in challenging weather conditions. The patented suspension-style seat provides all-day comfort and performance, with adjustable positions for great visibility and stability. The adjustable foot braces with padded footrests offer support and comfort during paddling.

The kayak offers ample storage space with a large rear tank well, circular stern hatch, and gear security straps. The Sidetracks allow for easy attachment and removal of accessories. While the weight may be a consideration, the Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 compensates with its sturdy construction and high maximum capacity. If you’re a dedicated angler looking for an advanced, customizable, and stable fishing kayak, the Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 is a top choice to enhance your fishing adventures.

Perception Flash 9.5

Perception Flash
  • Product Dimensions – 114″D x 28.5″W x 12.5″H
  • Item Weight – 41 Pounds
  • MaterialPolyethylene (PE)

If you’re looking for a stable, versatile kayak, look no further than Perception.

This kayak is incredibly stable and has great maneuverability, making it perfect for beginners and leisurely paddling.

It’s a simple design and there are no complicated features or extras. Just a comfortable ride, easy handling, and good looks.

It’s made from Polyethylene (PE), so it’s lightweight and easy to store. It can be used for fishing too, and it has some nice features like rod holders and storage space.

It’s also really stable, so you can be confident when you’re going for longer paddles.

It’s great value for money, so you can get a quality kayak for a fraction of the price of some of the other brands out there.


  • Stability
  • craftsmanship
  • maneuverability
  • comfort


  • Limited color option
  • limited suitability for advanced paddling.

Why Buy:

If you’re a beginner or someone looking for a leisurely kayaking experience, the Perception Kayaks in the Classic style is an ideal choice. It’s extreme stability and easy paddling characteristics ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride, making it perfect for beginners venturing into kayaking or those seeking a relaxed afternoon on the water. The kayak’s short length enhances maneuverability, allowing you to navigate easily through various water environments.

The adjustable foot braces and zone comfort seating with a high seat back ensure a comfortable fit for paddlers of all sizes, promoting a pleasant paddling experience. The kayak’s convenient features, such as the easy access dashboard with cupholder and small gear storage, molded-in rod holders, rear storage hatch, and paddle park, provide added convenience and functionality.

Ergonomically optimized handles make transportation hassle-free, while the drain plug facilitates easy cleaning and maintenance. While the color option is limited to Earth, the kayak’s performance and durability outweigh this potential drawback. With its reliable construction and made-in-the-USA quality, the Perception Kayaks Classic style is a trusted companion for lakes, ponds, slow-moving rivers, and calm coastal environments.

Sun Dolphin Aruba

Untitled design 7
  • Product Dimensions – 120″D x 30″W x 13″H
  • Item Weight – 40 Pounds
  • Material – Hard Shell

This kayak is designed to float and provide protection for a user. It has an adjustable padded seat back that provides comfort and support. It has a storage compartment for your gear and personal items.

This kayak is suitable for recreational use, including fishing, swimming, and boating. The SUNDOLPHIN Aruba 10-foot sit-in kayak is the ideal kayak for beginners and intermediate kayakers. It’s ideal for paddling around lakes, rivers, and small bodies of water.

The Aruba is lightweight and easy to maneuver. It has a flat bottom for stability. It has a storage compartment for storing your gear and personal items. This kayak is designed to float and provide protection for a user. It has an adjustable padded seat back that provides comfort and support. It has a storage compartment for your gear and personal items.

The SUNDOLPHIN Aruba 10-foot sit-in kayak is the ideal kayak for beginners and intermediate kayakers. It’s ideal for paddling around lakes, rivers, and small bodies of water. It has a flat bottom for stability.


  • Versatile
  • comfort
  • lightweight
  • warranty


  • Weight limit

Why Buy:

If you enjoy exploring rivers and lakes, the SUNDOLPHIN Aruba 10 kayak in tangerine color is a great option for you. Its recreational style design strikes a balance between stability and maneuverability, providing an enjoyable experience for both beginners and experienced kayakers.

The adjustable and padded seat back ensures comfort throughout your paddling journey, while the storage compartment offers a convenient space to keep your personal belongings and essential gear. With a weight of 40 pounds, this kayak is lightweight and easy to transport.

The vibrant tangerine color adds a stylish touch to your kayaking adventures. The generous weight limit of 250 pounds accommodates a wide range of users. The limited lifetime warranty provided by the manufacturer reflects their confidence in the product’s quality and durability.

The SUNDOLPHIN Aruba 10 model is suitable for both men and women, making it a versatile choice for unisex-adult users. The manageable package dimensions and weight make it convenient for transportation and storage. Whether you’re kayaking, boating, or fishing, this kayak is designed to enhance your outdoor activities on the water.

Intex Challenger 

Intex Challenger 
  • Product Dimensions – 108″D x 30″W x 13″H
  • Item Weight – ‎11.15 Kilograms
  • MaterialPlastic

This is our favorite kayak. We had a canoe before this one, but it was very low quality and it wasn’t sturdy. This kayak is built like a tank. It’s very light and easy to handle. It has a lot of storage space and is comfortable to use. The inflatable floor is great for when you want to do some fishing or exploring, and the skeg is great for when you want to paddle on rivers or lakes. If you’re looking for a kayak that’s good for fishing, exploring, camping, and day trips, then this is the one for you.


  • Nimble
  • safe
  • comfortable
  • stable


  • weight limit
  • durability.

Why Buy:

The Intex K1 Kayak is a nimble and durable option for your kayaking adventures. Made of welded plastic material, this kayak provides added safety on the lake or slow-moving river. The eye-catching graphics not only enhance its appearance but also improve visibility. The cockpit is designed for comfort and maximized space, allowing for an enjoyable paddling experience.

The inflatable I-beam floors add stability, ensuring a steady ride on the water. The removable skeg enhances directional movement, allowing for greater control. With a cargo net, you can easily store extra gear for your excursions. The grab lines on both ends of the kayak make it easy to handle and transport. The inflatable seat with a backrest provides added comfort during long paddling sessions.

The kayak comes with an 84-inch aluminum oar, repair patch, and high-output manual hand pump, ensuring you have the necessary equipment. With its rugged vinyl construction, this kayak is built to last. The Intex K1 Kayak measures 108 by 13 by 30 inches (W x H x D), weighs 27.2 pounds, and has a maximum weight capacity of 220 pounds. While its lightweight construction and plastic material has some limitations, this kayak offers a great option for recreational paddling in calm waters.


What type of kayak is best for beginners?

A sit-on-top kayak is often recommended for beginners due to its stability, ease of use, and self-draining capabilities.

What is the best Old Town kayak for beginners?

The Old Town Vapor 10 is often considered a great kayak for beginners. It offers a stable and comfortable paddling experience, with features such as adjustable seating, ample storage, and easy maneuverability.

What is the best kayak to buy?

The best kayak to buy depends on individual preferences and specific needs. Factors to consider include intended use, budget, skill level, and desired features. Researching and testing different models can help find the best kayak for your requirements

What is the most popular type of kayak?

The sit-on-top kayak is one of the most popular types of kayaks, especially among recreational paddlers and beginners.


Choosing the right kayak as a beginner is crucial for building confidence and enjoying your time on the water. After thorough research and evaluation, we have identified several top contenders for the best kayak for beginners. From their stability and maneuverability to their durability and ease of use, these kayaks offer a great starting point for novice paddlers.

Remember to consider your personal preferences, budget, and intended use when making a final decision. With the right kayak, you’ll be well on your way to embarking on exciting adventures and discovering the joys of kayaking. So, grab your paddle and get ready to embark on an incredible journey with your new kayak!