Best Starter Kayaks under $300 (2018)

The first thing you should realize is that there is large quality gap between kayaks under $200-$300 and kayaks around $500. When it comes to finding the best kayaks under $300 you are really looking for the best bang for your buck.

Personally, I recommend saving a couple dollars here and there to and then purchasing a higher quality kayak at the next price level (see Best Kayaks Under $500). They will most likely provide you a much better overall experience in the long run! While you’re saving money you can even try renting different kayaks to ensure your selecting the right one for you.

1. Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak

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If your planning on hanging out with the family on a calm lake or a slow river AND you’ve got a tight budget, this is one of the best kayaks you’ll find on the market. The Lotus is 8ft long and 30in wide with a maximum weight capacity of 250lb and is made of High-Density Polyethylene (HPDE). It’s stability makes it easy to get in and out of the vessel without worrying about falling in the water! Even though falling in the water might be exactly what you want on a hot day. In addition, it’s durability makes it great for learning and great for kids to play on.

1. Stable – This kayak has a wide base and a sit-on-top cockpit so it’s easy to get in and out of the boat.

2. Easy storage – These kayaks are short and easy to store. If you have multiple they are designed to be able to be stacked on top of each other.

1. Slow – Don’t try to win a race with one of these because they are not the fastest kayaks out there.

The little things that will affect your kayaking experience down the line. Here are a few additional details about the Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak to consider:

  • It has a great paddle holder that can be used while you need your hands for other things!
  • The grips are hard to hold for long periods of time. If you’re planning on carrying this kayak far you might have trouble
  • Multiple footrests
  • Adjustable backrest
  • Tankwell storage
  • UV protected

2. Sevyor Quickpak K1 KayakCheck Pricing

Inflatable kayaks are easier to transport than rigid plastic kayaks so if you’re someone that needs to easily transport your kayak, this is one of the nicest inflatable kayaks for the price. I’ve known people that have even used this kayak to go hiking! In addition, this kayak has great stability and the set up and break down time is relatively quick. The biggest downside to this kayak is its durability. These kayaks are known to rupture at the seams from time to time.

1Light weight – At 18lb this kayak is extremely easy to carry around and ideal for carrying to the water from your car.

2. Good stability – Many inflatable kayaks around this price do not offer the greatest stability. This kayak is definitely an exception.

1. Durability – Even when fully inflated this kayak can lack rigidity and durability. There have been reports of the kayak seams ripping from time to time.

2. Tracks Poorly – Hard to paddle in a straight line compared to other non-inflatable kayaks.

Here are a few details about the Sevyor Quickpak K1 that you might have overlooked.

  • Weak paddle – Paddle has been known to break.
  • Pump time – This kayak can be pumped or deflated under 3-5 minutes with the pump they include with the kayak.
  • Sun Faded – Don’t leave it out in the sun or it will fade over time.
  • Weigh rating is closer to 300lbs rather than 400lbs.
  • Multiple air champers – This kayak was designed so if one area of the kayaks pops the other ones will keep you a float!

3. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

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If your main concern with buying a kayak is price, this is probably the best cheap kayak on the market. The Intex Challenger K1 weighs in at 26.6lb which is great for easy transport. It’s length (9ft) and width (30in) is similar to the prior kayaks.


  1. Light weight – This kayak is slightly heavier (26.5lb) than the Sevyor Quickpak K1 but still much lighter than a plastic kayak.
  2. Great price – At around $70 this kayak has a lot of bang for your buck.


  1. Slow inflation and deflation – Compared to the Sevyor Quickpack, this kayak takes a couple minutes longer to inflate and deflate.
  2. Durable – Unlike the Sevyor, this Kayak seems to have a better track record for rupturing

Here are a few details about the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak that you don’t want to overlook!

  • Hard to dry out – Almost everyone says that it’s an ordeal when it comes to drying.
  • Seat is too high – The seat sits too high in the kayak which can bother some people.
  • Leans to the right – At first we thought it was in our heads but we’ve heard from many people that the kayak actually tends to lean right when paddling.



For kayaks under $300, we are confident that these are some of the best kayaks on the market. Still, if you have the patience and the means, we recommend that you save some additional cash and buy a kayak that will give you a positive experience every time you paddle.

Also, consider the possibility buying a used kayak (How to buy a used kayak). It can be risky but if you know what you’re doing and you’re careful you might just find a gem of a deal of craigslist.

See Top 3 Kayaks for Under $500

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