Are you a beginner who isn’t sure if they are into kayaking? Do you need a kayak for recreational purposes or weekend trips? Do you not want to pay a considerable sum of money for something that you’ll rarely use? We have a solution!
With less than $200, you can buy an excellent kayak with some additional features. The most important factors to consider are durability and stability, among others mentioned in our short buying guide.
Because we know that searching for such yaks might be difficult and time-consuming, we have decided to make you a list of the best kayaks under $200 on the market.
Are you ready to meet your future relaxation source?
The 5 Best Kayaks Under $200
1. Intex Explorer K2 - Best Overall
Intex Explorer K2
Intex Explorer K2 earned its place on the top of our list for various reasons besides being affordable.
Coming at 30 pounds only, transporting this inflatable yak is a breeze. Plus, it comes with built-in carry handles, which makes carrying it around even more effortless.
If you are hesitant about buying inflatable kayaks for fear of having a hard time inflating or deflating them, this is not an issue with Intex Explorer K2. It features two Boston valves, ensuring quick inflation and deflation.
Usually, light kayaks have low maximum weight capacity and vice versa. However, our two-seater negates this concept with its 400-pound weight capacity. This means that you can bring along whatever gear you need without worrying about leaving anything on the shore.
Explorer K2 is not only durable because of its 30 gauge vinyl construction, but also because of its reinforced bow and stern. They protect it against collisions with objects, and they also allow it to move in choppy conditions.
For this reason, you can use it on oceans and slightly faster rivers. However, we don't recommend this with inflatable kayaks.
What’s more, its 36-inch hull and large air chambers play an incredible role in increasing the yak’s stability. On top of that, it features a removable skeg that increases directional stability.
The model comes with two adjustable inflatable seats with a backrest, ensuring you stay comfortable for many hours. Plus, its I-beam floor offers rigidity and comfort.
In case of an emergency, the yellow color will make you visible enough in the middle of the water.
At such an affordable price, Intex Explorer K2 comes with a repair kit, a high-output pump, two long aluminum oars, and a storage bag.
- Portable and light
- Comfortable seats
- High weight capacity
- Adjustable backrests
- Easy inflation and deflation
- Comes with many accessories
- Can be used in oceans
- Limited storage
- Might leak
Intex Explorer K2 is an excellent tandem with an impressive weight capacity. It is especially perfect for paddlers who are looking for optimum stability even in rough water conditions.
2. Intex Challenger K2 - Runner-Up
Intex Challenger K2
Intex Challenger K2 would have been our first pick had it not been for its slightly higher price, heavier weight, and less stable nature due to its 30-inch hull and smaller air chambers.
However, this narrow hull gives Challenger K2 the edge over Explorer K2 because it helps it glide better through the water. Thus, improving its performance.
What's more, Challenger K2’s smaller profile allows you to paddle with more ease in windy conditions because there is less surface area for the wind to push against.
Made of damage and puncture-resistant vinyl, this kayak is super durable. Plus, it comes with a patching kit.
Like Intex Explorer K2, this two-person yak is pretty comfortable thanks to its adjustable inflatable seats that come with backrests. What's more, it offers more legroom as it is one foot longer than the former yak, allowing the rear passenger to slide his/her legs on either side of the front passenger’s seat.
Besides, this kayak offers ample storage with a built-in cargo storage net. You can use this net for securing food or clothes without worrying about them falling in the water. We don't like that it is three pounds heavier than Intex Explorer K2, but we love its 400-pound weight capacity.
Similar to Intex Explorer K2, this yak comes with two aluminum paddles, a high-capacity pump, and repair kit. Plus, its green color makes you visible in case of any emergency.
Sadly, if you want to use the kayak in open water, stay away from this one; it is only safe to use in mild rivers and lakes.
- Extra legroom
- Excellent performance
- Comfortable seats
- Ample storage area
- Easy to inflate and deflate
- Comes with accessories
- Can’t be used in oceans
- Low-quality paddles
Intex Challenger K2 is the go-to when it comes to impressive performance. Its small profile allows paddlers to enjoy smooth sailing in windy conditions. However, make sure not to use it in the oceans.
3. Intex Challenger K1 - Budget Choice
Intex Challenger K1
If you want what Intex Challenger K2 offers, but you don't need the extra seat, go for Intex Challenger K1. Especially that it comes at an incredibly low price, so you really won't lose anything.
Made of rugged and puncture-resistant vinyl, this kayak knows how to stay in good shape for years to come. Plus, it comes with two air chambers, ensuring you stay afloat until you reach the shore in case of accidents.
What's more, the yak is pretty comfortable as it features an inflatable seat with a backrest and a separate inflatable footrest.
As for the storage, it comes as no surprise that the Challenger K1 offers a bit less space than that of K2. However, we believe that it offers enough room for your gear with its cargo net on the front as a one-seater.
Intex Challenger K1 is pretty light at 27.2 pounds only. And it accommodates up to 220 pounds, striking an excellent balance between its weight and maximum weight capacity.
If you’re searching for a kayak that doesn't take up much space when stored, this one is precisely what you’re looking for. Aside from the fact that it is truly compact, it comes with a carry bag and a hand/foot pump.
What does this mean? It means that you can quickly deflate it and put it in its bag. Besides, you’d be surprised how small the bag is with the full kayak, the paddle and the pump inside.
For excellent stability, it comes with a removable skeg. However, we don't recommend using it in lousy weather conditions. It is made for kayaking on mild rivers on warm days.
- Comfortable seat
- Easy to store
- Comes with paddles, oars, pump and a carrying bag
- Not suitable for saltwater
- Too small for large people
Intex Challenger K1 is an excellent kayak for beginners looking for a cheap, yet durable one-person kayak. Plus, its compact size will help you maneuver it easily and store it with no problems.
4. Lifetime Youth - Best For Kids
Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak with Paddle
Best for kids
If your kids are not younger than five years old and have started nagging about having their own kayak, Lifetime Youth is a perfect option.
First of all, it is only 18 pounds, so it is effortless for a kid to transport. Plus, it features molded finger handles, facilitating transportation even more.
Secondly, it features an inclined area on its rear part, allowing kids to easily re-enter the kayak after swimming in the water for a while. Plus, it accommodates up to 130 pounds, which is more than enough for a one-seater kids kayak.
Thirdly, it is truly durable, thanks to its high-density polyethylene construction. Parents can rest assured that this product features a wide body and a reverse chine, boosting stability, and consequently, safety.
Moreover, you needn't worry about water getting in because it has scupper holes that drain the deck.
Lifetime Youth comes with adjustable footrests to accommodate different-sized kids, but it has no backrest. Having a kayak with no backrest might be a dealbreaker to lots of grownups, but kids? Not really.
- Durable construction
- Comes with paddles
- Five-year warranty
- Suitable for kids of five years old and above
- No backrest
As the name suggests, Lifetime Youth is the kayak to buy if you want your kids to have the safest adventure of their lifetime. Its affordability, stability, and durability are one of a kind.
5. Sun Dolphin Aruba - Adult Hardshell Kayak
Sun Dolphin Aruba
Affordable hardshell kayak
If you want an affordable hardshell kayak, Sun Dolphin Aruba is an excellent choice. It is a one-person yak that accommodates up to 260 pounds, so you can bring on board all you need.
Further, it offers an ample front and rear storage area with cord rigging to keep your equipment safe and dry. Plus, you can secure your paddles in the paddle holders and enjoy your drink that you can later secure in the cup-holder near the cockpit.
For comfort, the yak comes with a padded seat with protective thigh pads and a backrest. Plus, it features adjustable foot braces that you can alter until you find the position that best suits you.
Made of high-density fortiflex polyethylene, Sun Dolphin Aruba is impact and UV-resistant. Besides, its green and orange color options are a great plus because they make you visible enough in case of emergencies.
It is quite portable, given that it is only 27 pounds. Furthermore, it comes with carrying handles on both sides, making it even easier for you to carry.
Some complaints are claiming that the sides are higher than usual and thus make paddling a bit awkward.
- Impressive storage
- Adjustable backrest
- Comfortable padded seat
- The sides are high
Sun Dolphin Aruba is an excellent hardshell option for adults looking for a one-seater with huge storage. Plus, it is lightweight and has a high maximum capacity, so what is not to like?
How to Choose a Kayak That Costs Less Than $200
If you’re on a budget, you need to make sure that you invest in the right kayak. To find the perfect one for you, there are some factors you should consider. Down below, you'll find such factors with a brief explanation as to why they are essential.
Buying a cheap kayak doesn't mean that you must sacrifice durability. Most inflatable cheap kayaks are made of sturdy heavy-duty vinyl; whereas, most hardshell ones are made of high-density polyethylene.
So if you’re looking for something to last a long while, go for a hardshell one. Otherwise, you can opt for inflatable ones for portability and affordability.
Purchasing a portable and lightweight kayak is a huge plus because it helps you transport it without needing any help. This factor is of great help, especially if you are close to the shore. In case you’re far away and need a means of transportation, portability becomes less critical.
One of the key factors to consider before buying a kayak is whether it is stable or not. You could know this by checking the reviews. Also, note that the shorter the kayak, the less stable it is.
Whether you’ll spend extended hours or a few hours on the kayak, you’ll love feeling comfortable. Pick one with an adjustable padded seat and adjustable foot braces, so that you can find the position at which you're most comfortable.
Maximum Weight Capacity
If you are a solo paddler, buy a solo kayak. In case you love having company, go for a tandem yak. However, some solo-paddling lovers go for tandems with removable seats. This way, they can remove the extra seat and enjoy the additional storage space and the higher maximum weight capacity that tandems offer.
In case you love having a lot of gear and equipment on board, you must go for a kayak with spacious storage. Plus, having a huge storage area is extremely important for anglers because it offers enough room for tackle, cooler and fishing rods, for example.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who Should Buy a Kayak That’s Less Than $200?
Cheap kayaks are perfect for newbies and those who go kayaking every once in a while. If you’re a beginner, you should definitely get a $200 kayak because it will provide you with the basics you need and won't confuse you with all the extra features.
Is Kayaking Easy for Beginners?
Learning how to kayak is exactly like learning how to cycle. All you need is practice and perseverance.
Do Cheap Kayaks Come with Their Accessories?
Some cheap hardshell kayaks come with accessories such as a paddle. Inflatable ones come with extra accessories, including a pump, a repair kit and a carry case. You can even find some models with fishing rods, paddle holders and built-in cup holders.
As we have seen throughout the article, you can pay a low price and still get an excellent kayak in return. Hopefully, one of the above products has caught your attention and proved that it is the best purchase.
However, if you’re still mixed up about it, we will help you more by highlighting some products.
If you’re looking for stability, Intex Explorer K2 is the one, thanks to its 36-inch wide hull and large air chambers. Plus, its removable skeg boosts directional stability like never before. What’s more, you’ll love its 400-pound weight capacity where you can bring all your gear. Besides, if you want to bring company along, you absolutely can!
Intex Challenger K1 and K2 are quite similar except for the fact that the former accommodates one person, and the later accommodates two. If you love having company or want to have a kayak with high weight capacity, go for Intex Challenger K2. If you are looking for something that won't break the bank without sacrificing anything, Intex Challenger K1 is an excellent bargain.