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How Much Is a Kayak? Here’s What to Know Before Buying


Updated December 27, 2021

Typically, a kayak sits at least one person and has a double-ended paddle attached to it. Seems simple enough, but what about the frills and the cost – how do you decipher value? If you are reading this, you are most likely interested in kayaking but you have no idea how much is a kayak supposed to cost.

This article aims to remedy that by providing detailed information on how much a kayak costs. 

how much is a kayak

How Much Is a Kayak on Average?

It is possible to purchase a kayak on the lower end for about $160, while a higher-end craft can cost more than $2000. How much you pay for a kayak typically depends on many variables, such as the brand, type of kayak, construction material, and of course, where you buy it.

A simple kayak made from injected plastic can cost anything between $1000 and $2000, while you can expect to part with about $2000 to $4000 for a brand new fiberglass kayak.

The price of a carbon fiber fabricated kayak can cost as much as 35% more than that of a fiberglass model. You can also get a transparent kayak with a clear bottom. This can cost anything from $1500 to over $3000.

Types of Kayaks and their Price Range

Recreational Kayaks

These kayaks are for calmer waters. They promote casual paddling as their design leans towards stability rather than efficiency or maneuverability.

Recreational kayaks are a good fit for beginners, helping them feel comfortable in the water, which is why they favor a generally wide design.

A recreational kayak constructed from durable plastic can set you back anything from $500 to $1,500.

Pelican Maxim Recreational Kayak

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Ocean Kayaks

These kayaks are generally sleeker and longer. They’re for long-distance paddling in various open water conditions, and you can use them in the ocean due to their ability to handle rough water.

Since they are mostly for long trips that can span days, they are constructed to hold a significant amount of gear. You can store gear in the hull or the stern without negatively affecting the kayak’s efficiency or speed. These kayaks tend to cost anything from $400 to $1500 due to their more forgiving design.

Riot Kayaks Brittany 16.5

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Fishing Kayaks

Fishing kayaks are stable and tough. From their name, you can tell that they are designed to be stable fishing platforms. These kayaks typically have wide beams to offer users the required stability to stand up when casting off. Some have rod holders and other accessories that come in handy when kayak fishing.

A fishing kayak built for anglers looking to fish in smaller water bodies can cost anything from as low as $260 to as high as $1,300.

Fishing kayaks have to hold plenty of fishing gears, trolling motors, reels, and rods. The additional stability and weight ensure that you can catch and reel in larger fish without the fear of capsizing.

Vibe Sea Ghost 130

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Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are a viable option for individuals searching for a lightweight and highly portable kayak that you can carry around in large duffel bags.

You can purchase an inflatable kayak for around $150 to $900. Inflatable kayaks do not require a rack, as you can simply blow them up using a pump.

A non-inflatable kayak, on the other hand, costs anywhere from $300 to as high as $1600 on average. A smaller kayak created for children under the age of 12 can cost anything from $130 to $350.

All inflatable kayaks are not the same as they tend to differ widely in overall quality, features, and design, which is why you get the widest range of prices in the inflatable kayak category.

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible

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Tandem Kayaks

Tandem kayaks are named so because they are designed to support two people. These kayaks can either be sit-on-top or sit-in designs. They are generally much wider and longer than single-occupant kayaks. By design, the kayaks are typically as long as 12 feet or more, and that means they are going to have a larger weight capacity compared to other kayaks.

A tandem kayak can typically cost anything from as low as $100 (for inflatable tandem kayaks) to as high as $1500 or more.

Old Town Twin Heron

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Bottom Line

While you can always purchase a plastic kayak as it is typically the cheapest option, it’s better to go with a kayak made with fiberglass. They usually have a longer lifespan compared to plastic.

Before you buy a kayak, you need to take into account where exactly you plan to kayak. A kayak created for open rougher waters is bound to be different from one built for a small lake or calm river.

For the most part, plastic kayaks are lightweight and are meant for use in smaller lakes, while ocean kayaks handle ocean tides and waves.

Taking a plastic kayak out into rougher water in the ocean could only spell danger as it can easily be damaged or flipped. You should also consider how long you intend to have your kayak for. If you are a once-in-a-while kayaker, you might be better off with an inflatable kayak. On the other hand, if you want to create a new lifestyle where you kayak as much as you can, you might want to invest in other types of kayak.

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