Ultimate Guide To How Much Is A Kayak

Like most things in life, the “cost” of the things we invest in differs depending on the value you put on them, just like kayaking and deciding to get a kayak of your own.  

The biggest question for me before buying was, How much am I really going to use this thing? I could just rent or borrow one, but I’d have to rely on others and couldn’t use it when I wanted.  

So, if you’re like me and decide to buy instead of rent, you want to know how much is a kayak. Take a look at all the types of kayaks, the cost differences, and what’s really included in that price tag!  

A Quick Glance at How Much Kayaks Cost

Kayak TypePrice Range   
Recreational kayak$300 - $1000
Fishing kayak$500 - $2000
Touring kayak$1000+
Inflatable kayak$100+
Pedal kayak$1000+

Why are kayaks so expensive? 

People tend to associate cost with the size or personal value of the product. A marketing team for manufacturers knows that increased value means increased costs. 

A sailboat should cost more because it’s big and takes you out into deep waters. A kayak is much smaller, and you can take it to the lake, sea, or down the river, so why should they cost so dang much?  

Consider the following things before judging the price tag too much.  

A. Material  

A kayak is not made out of cheap plastic, and you wouldn’t want it to be. They need to protect you from the water, what’s in it, and your surroundings. It needs to take the hits your body wants to avoid.  

Companies use hard plastics, fiberglass, and polyethylene for the hard-shelled kayaks. Wood is another option but is costly when you think about all the work involved with carving and shaping out the wood.  

Think of what and where you want to use your kayak. Then choose the material and design best suited for your needs.  

B. Purpose and Type 

Your journey’s purpose also affects the price and type of kayak you need to buy. How many people are going in one kayak? A two-seater is more expensive than a one-seater.  

Are you taking it out on the high seas with winds and whitecap waves? White-water river rafting? or in a calm lake with little chance of hitting rocks and crashing against waves? 

When you search the shelves for the coolest looking kayak, while still wondering how much is a kayak, don’t be disappointed if the salesperson steers you in another direction when you tell him what your plans are. 

Be sure you buy for safety and purpose, which could mean spending more than you thought.  

Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle (2 Pack), Blue, 8'

C. Features 

A plain jane- no added features kayak will cost much less than one with comfortable seating, pedals, or a place specifically designed to hold a deep-sea fishing rod.  

Most kayaks start with a basic model but have upgrades like storage places, cup holders, and seats for more people. Price changes are also based on the style.  

For instance, someone who wants to paddle around in a lake will pay for features like side-by-side seating, peddles, and maybe a cup holder or paddle attachments.  

A sea-bound fisher might need one that can easily attach a heavy fishing rod, a sail, and storage for the fish they catch.  

D. Accessories  

Finally, what a kayak doesn’t come standard with are the things you might pay most for to enjoy long hours sitting. That plastic seat won’t feel good after a few hours, so now you need a cushion. 

The kayak’s shape may accommodate a fishing rod and sail, but you have to BUY the rod and sail, and probably the straps to attach it to your kayak and store them later.  

And don’t skip the MOST IMPORTANT accessories: the paddles and life jackets! The price of a kayak typically does not often include paddles. You need to buy either 2 or 4 paddles before launching, and safety is vital, so don’t skip the life jackets.  

What is the cheapest kayak I can buy? 

The word cheap doesn’t just mean price. What about the quality of the craft you’re buying? Don’t confuse cheap with poorly made.  

You can snag a great quality inflatable one-seater for around $100, like the Intex Challenger K1 or the two-seater version here, and still be under $200, paddles and pump included! 

“Cheap” comes down to your basic needs: 

  • number of seats per kayak  
  • preference of material 
  • storage 
  • features and accessories 

What kayak is better for beginners? 

Before you grab the bright-colored kayak off the first shelf you reach, make sure you know what you want. As a beginner, it’s best to get some professional guidance.  

A sit-on kayak is a great option. They provide a stable surface, and it’s easier to get off the top of something rather than stand inside, balance, and get out. 

Tandem, or two-seaters, are a great way to learn from a friend if you are also new to paddling. You can paddle together or do a watch and learn session.  

A pedal kayak is another excellent option for newbies. No ores are needed, and you control your speed and direction with your feet, leaving your hands open to hold on and provide more stability and balance. 

How much should you spend on a kayak? 

Prices can range anywhere from $100 for an inflatable to over $1,000 for long-distance use. Take a look at this quick pricing breakdown to help you make a final decision.  

A. Recreational kayaks  

Typically made of fiberglass, these flat bottom types range anywhere from $300-$1,000.  

B. Fishing kayaks 

Perception Pescador 12 | Sit on Top Fishing Kayak with Front Storage Well | Large Rear Storage and Dual Rod Holders | 12' | Dapper

This type is usually a sit-on-top version allowing for better mobility when fishing and runs roughly $500-$700 but can get upwards to $2,000.  

C. Touring kayaks 

These long, sleek models start at $1,000 and go up, easily the most expensive types for long all-day voyages.  

D. Inflatable kayaks  

It’s still a durable option but more cost-efficient in the $100 range; however, the price tag can quickly rise with accessories and features and double the base price for a two-seater. 

E. Pedaling kayaks 

Like the touring models, pedal models start at no less than $1,000 to $1,200 and can climb to $2,000 rapidly.  

Our Final Thoughts On How Much You Should Spend On A Kayak

Overall, buying a kayak sets you back $100 up to well over $1,000, so even after knowing how much is a kayak you should ask yourself before buying:  

  • How often will I use it? 
  • Where will I store it? 
  • What kind do I need? 
  • Could I rent or borrow instead?