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Best Sit on Top Kayak

A sit on top kayak is a great tool to get outdoors, connect with nature, and get exercise. Whether you’re looking to purchase your first watercraft or invest in an upgrade, there are a lot of factors to weigh.

Best Sit on Top Kayak

At, we paddled through the sea of customer reviews and feedback to find the best boats on the market. From top-of-the-line products like Brooklyn Kayak Company to affordable options to help you break into the hobby, we put together the best hard-shell sit on top kayaks available.

For the avid anglers, you can find kayaks that are specifically designed to make your fishing trip relaxing and successful. If you want to get off the beach and into the water, you can find kayaks for ocean paddling with greater stability and balance.

Maybe you have a special someone that you don’t want to leave behind, or a younger child that asked to come along your most recent river trip. There are tandem kayaks with plenty of storage, so you can bring along an extra paddler and still have room for enough drinks and snacks to satisfy the both of you.

Related: Best Kayak Paddles

Our top pick: Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak

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You want to feel comfortable when you’re out on the water. That’s why the Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-on-Top Kayak, with an adjustable backrest, spacious legroom, and the best sit on top kayak seat available, is such an excellent choice. There are two styles: a recreational model and an angler/fishing model, both about $500. Simply put by a reviewer, “It has everything and it’s sturdy in the water.”

The angler/fishing model has rod holders on either side and a bungee mount where you can hold your paddle while wrangling a fish. Add in the rod tie-downs to assist while paddling, and you’ve got the best sit on top fishing kayak on the market.

Affordable option: Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle

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The Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak is the best sit on top kayak for beginners who are looking to start a new hobby without overspending. You won’t find too many quality hard-shell kayaks around $400, but the feedback on this model is consistently positive. “We are new to the sport and didn’t want to spend much money since we are newbies…these kayaks are wonderful and the perfect size.”

Most popular: BKC PK13 13′ Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

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Paddle in a pair with the Brooklyn Kayak Company PK14 Tandem Sit On Top Pedal Drive Kayak. This is the best sit on top tandem kayak set you can find, with two paddles, aluminum frame seats, and a rudder system for around $2,000.

You can even make your legs do the work with the pedal drive system. This model also handles choppy water better than other designs, and is the best sit on top kayak for ocean or lake paddling where you may encounter rough waters. If you’ve got a need for speed, one reviewer points out “you can really get this kayak moving with the pedals and paddles through winds and currents.”

Related: Best Inflatable Kayak

What to look for in sit on top kayaks


Depending on what you enjoy, you may want to consider different styles for your sit on top kayak. Do you plan on taking this fishing? Look for an angler model that comes with rod mounts, tie downs, and paddle holders to free up your hands. If you know that you want to head into choppy waters, you need a model that offers great stability. For long days on the river, look for added cushioning and back support on the seat.


Many hard-shell kayaks have storage compartments, but you should consider how much space you need for your planned activities. Desk lashing is the process of strapping materials to the boat itself, and exposes these items to water throughout your trip. A hatch is commonly waterproof and will protect your goods from the elements. Think about what you bring aboard and how much room it takes while you explore different storage options.


Before you can get on the water, you have to get there. From the size of your vehicle to the weight you can carry, consider the effort it will take to transport your sit on top kayak. Think about whether you’ll need a roof rack on your vehicle, or if you can fit the kayak in a trunk or truck bed.

Why trust us

A day on the water will improve the health of your mind and body, but we also turn to the experts to avoid unexpected injuries or problems. We rely on advice from Physical Therapist Ignacio Suárez, Postural Reeducation Specialist. He recommends choosing a kayak that not only supports your back, but provides enough room to move your legs comfortably throughout your journey. This will help you to avoid long term issues with your back and spine. Greater mobility will also improve the catch of your paddle when you pivot your body from side to side.

Always know the weight and height limits of the kayaks you are considering and pick one that fits your body type. For those who have chronic pain in their upper body, consider a model that includes pedal power. This will allow you to rest your upper body if necessary and avoid straining or worsening any existing problems.

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