Best Kayaks for Beginners – Stable Starter Kayaks

Here you have our list of the best kayaks for beginners of 2019.  Now, if you’re new to the sport of kayaking, buying your first kayak can be a confusing task, especially with so many different types of kayak on the market. If you want the best starter kayak, then you should know that not all kayaks are suitable for beginners. As such, we have compiled this buyer’s guide – designed to give you valuable advice on how to find the most stable kayak for you.

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In a hurry? This is our winner!

Our rating:
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Nimble, durable kayak is made of durable welded material with eye catching graphics for added safety on the lake or slow moving river
  • Cockpit is designed for comfort and maximized space, and inflatable I beam floors add stability
  • Cargo net to store extra gear, and grab line on both ends of kayak; inflatable seat with backrest
  • Comes with 84 inch aluminum oar, repair patch and Hi output manual hand pump; Rugged vinyl construction
  • Measures 30 by 15 by 108 inches (W x H x D), with 27.2 pound weight and 220 pound maximum capacity

Best Kayaks for Beginners – Comparison Table

Best Kayaks for Beginners – Reviews

Our Pick
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
Our rating:

1. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

The best-value and most-portable beginner kayak for recreational kayaking.

The Intex Challenger K1 is the best-selling and best-value kayak for beginners. In fact, this inflatable kayak is one of the most popular kayaks on the market, and for very good reason.

Whilst there will be a few wobbles when climbing aboard, the Intex Challenger is stable and will not tip over. Well, unless you really rock the boat!

Unlike hard-shell kayaks, the Intex Challenger is easy to store and light enough to carry short distances, meaning you’ll be able to get to the water with ease. In fact, the kayak takes a mere 10 minutes to inflate and 2 minutes to deflate.

To sum up, if you want a low-cost kayak for recreational kayaking, this is the one for you.

  • Length – 9’
  • Width – 30”
  • Weight – 27lbs
  • Capacity – 220lb
Pros
  • Due to the inflatable nature of this kayak, the Intex Challenger is very comfortable. The kayak features a large cockpit that allows you to sit and feel comfy while learning the ropes.
Cons
  • Whilst most inflatable kayaks are made with PVC material, the Intex Challenger is made with a welded vinyl construction. Now, even though this is a quality material, it is more susceptible to punctures and scrapes. Although this is only a concern if you are kayaking near sharp rocks in rough waters, which beginners should be avoiding.

SUNDOLPHIN Aruba Sit-in Kayak (Citrus, 10-Feet)
Our rating:

2. Sun Dolphin Aruba Kayak

The SunDolphin Aruba kayak is stable enough for beginners, but also allows for higher speeds.

The SunDolphin Aruba kayak is best for people who are just getting to grips with paddling. In fact, many experienced kayakers started and graduated with this exact model.

Every good beginner kayak must be stable on the water. With a flat bottom and width of 30inches, the Aruba is one of the most stable beginner kayaks. But don’t worry, the Aruba also has a narrow stern and bow, meaning it slices through the water and allows you to pick up speed as you gain confidence.

Overall, the Aruba kayak is an affordable option for those who want to learn the basics before graduating to a more expensive, performance kayak.

  • Length – 10’
  • Width – 30”
  • Weight – 40lbs
  • Capacity – 250lbs
Pros
  • Unlike low-cost inflatable kayaks for beginners, the Aruba can withstand the occasion run-in with rocks and surface debris, thanks to a high-density polyethylene construction.
  • SunDolphin offer a two year warranty which allows for protection, should the kayak somehow get damaged.
  • The Aruba kayak is comfortable to paddle in – The kayak features high back support and adjustable foot braces.
Cons
  • We would prefer if the seat had more padding, which would provide more comfort for those longer paddles.

Lifetime Tamarack Sit-On-Top Kayak, Tan, 120', Model:90237
Our rating:

3. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

Built especially for fishing, the Lifetime Tamarack is the best beginners kayak for fishing.

When shopping for a kayak, you will want one that allows you to store all your essential pieces of fishing equipment. Luckily, the Tamarack has enough storage to carry tackle bags, nets, coolers, and more.

Unlike other kayaks that aren’t built especially for fishing, the Tamarack features three rod holders: two flush-mounted holders on each side of the kayak, with one swivel-top-mounted rod holder on the side.

The LifeTime Tamarack Angler Kayak also comes with a paddle. Oh, and the kayak even features bungees to hold the paddle when it is not in use. Which is especially useful to those who are new to kayaking.

So, this kayak has many features, but what about comfort? The kayak features a small cushion on the seat. It is soft, but not the comfiest on the market. Basically, you get what you pay for. With that said, the Tamarack does offer plenty of leg room.

When looking for the best beginners fishing kayak, you need confidence in the quality of your purchase. Fortunately, the LifeTime Tamarack Angler has a 5 year Limited warranty.

  • Length – 10 feet
  • Width – 31inch
  • Weight – 52lbs
  • Capacity – 275lb
Pros
  • Stable and with plenty of features, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler is perfect for all fisherman who are new to the world of kayaking.
Cons
  • None!

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
Our rating:

4. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

With better paddling ability than a family raft, this tandem kayak is ideal for recreational kayaking with your family or friends.

As you can see from the picture, the Intex Explorer K2 is similar to the Intex K1. As such, it is also one of the best selling beginner kayaks. In fact, we believe the K2 is the best tandem kayak for beginners.

The Intex Explorer K2 is crafted with a welded vinyl construction. Now, even though this is a quality material, it is more susceptible to punctures and scrapes. Although this is only a concern if you are kayaking near sharp rocks in rough waters, which beginners should be avoiding.

Much like the Intex K1, the K2 Explorer is very comfortable and a joy to sit inside. The kayak features a large cockpit that allows you for two people to feel comfy while learning the ropes.

Usually, inflatable kayaks aren’t the best at tracking, but the K2 Explorer is a different story. With a removable skeg, the K2 stays exactly on the intended path and does not go off course.

Unlike hard-shell kayaks, the Explorer K2 is easy to store and light enough to carry short distances, meaning you’ll be able to get to the water with ease.

To sum up, if you want a stable tandem kayak for recreational kayaking, this is the one for you. The kayak is easy to manoeuvre, fast to assemble, and offers great value for money – making it ideal for newbie’s.

  • Length – 10’ 3”
  • Total width – 3’
  • Weight – 35lbs
  • Capacity – 400lbs
Pros
  • With better paddling ability than a family raft, this tandem kayak is ideal for recreational kayaking with your family or friends. The bright yellow color of the kayak also allows parents to see their children easily against the scenery.
Cons
  • We can’t recommend this kayak for choppy waters.

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak with Paddle, 6 Feet, Green
Our rating:

5. Lifetime Youth Wave 6 Foot Kayak with Paddle

With a length of 6 feet, this is our best beginners kayak for kids.

If we’re talking about the best starter kayaks for kids, the Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak is our choice. It has a length of six feet and is ideal for children that are 5 years old or older.

With a weight of 18lbs and molded finger handles located on either side, the kayak can be carried by a single person or multiple children. Furthermore, kids can use these handles for more balance when on the water.

This brings us to the next feature: stability. Thanks to an ergonomic design, the Youth Wave Kayak is regarded as one of the most stable kayaks for kids on the market. The wide build gives a stable paddling platform, while the addition of reverse chine boosts the stability even more.

Overall, we love the features of the Youth Wave – The kayak is stable, affordable, easy to use, and highly-portable.

  • Length – 6′
  • Width – 18lbs
  • Weight – 18lbs
  • Capacity – 130lb
Pros
  • Made from high-density polyethylene of HDPE, the Youth Wave is durable and built to last. Furthermore, the kayak has UV protection, guaranteeing that the coating won’t crack or fade.
Cons
  • Not many cons – this one has some great features