Most of us have an affinity for the water, and a day out paddling around in a kayak can be one of the most relaxing ways to spend your free time. It’s great exercise if you want to push yourself, or you can toss out a line and just chill on the water while waiting for the fish to bite.
But, what’s the best sit on top kayak to take to the waterfront?
To help you determine which one of the many options available is worth purchasing for your next water adventure, we have put together a list of the best sit on top kayaks on the market.
So, let’s go through them and find the perfect sit on top kayak for you…
Top 9 Best Sit On Top Kayak For The Money 2023 Revews
1 Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
Sit-on-top kayaks come in a range of shapes and sizes, and your intended use will help determine which of these you want to add to your garage full of outdoor sports gear.
Be comfortable in calm waters or playing in the surf.
The one-person Frenzy model from Ocean Kayak is responsive and stable enough to allow you to play in the waves at the beach, while still providing the comfort you’d expect when gliding across still waters. The Tri-Form hull combines primary and secondary stability, and the long center keel keeps you on your heading with minimal drift.
Is it comfortable?
The Comfort Plus seat has four-way adjustability, allowing it to conform to any body-type. This makes for a seat that you won’t make you feel trapped as the day progresses, so you can keep enjoying your time on the water.
What about storage?
The 9-foot long kayak can hold up to 325 lb. That’s plenty of capacity for you and some gear or food packed into the stern tank well and the bow deck with the ability to secure it all in place via removable bungees. The Frenzy kayak is also easy to transport using the molded-in side handles (and bow and stern carrying handles) with its minimal weight of only 43 lb.
- Carry capacity of 325 lb.
- Length of 9-foot.
- Tri-Form hull for improved stability.
- Long center keel helps you move in a straight line.
- We found the seat a bit narrow for larger users.
2 Wilderness Systems Tarpon One-Person Angler Kayak – Best Sit on Top Kayak for Fishing
For the fishermen (and women) out there, our next entry is specifically designed by Wilderness Systems as an angler kayak. So, if you’re looking for a kayak to use on a fishing trip, this may be the best fishing sit on top kayak.
Go fishing in style…
The 12-foot design is 30-inches wide with a super-comfortable Phase 3 AirPro ergonomic seat constructed from 3D foam, for hours on the water without discomfort. The unique seat design offers back and leg support, and makes the Tarpon one of the most comfortable sit-on-top kayaks for sale.
Keep your gear dry or at hand…
The Orbix bow and midship hatches provide dry-storage for those items you don’t want getting wet, while the self-bailing tank well has a bungee to keep other items in place, and smaller storage pockets are easily reachable for those items you need to keep at hand. There’s even a strategically placed cup holder, so you can have that hot coffee at hand while waiting for a nibble on the line.
Need more accessories?
We really like the SlideTrax™ accessory system on the bow allows you to quickly and easily add and remove accessories with no need to drill holes in the kayak. You can just reconfigure things based on the days’ conditions or the gear needed.
- Carry capacity of 350 lb.
- Length of 12-foot.
- Self-bailing scupper holes.
- SlideTrax™ Accessory System.
- More expensive than many options reviewed here.
3 Old Town Twister One-Person Sit-On-Top Kayak – Best Sit on Top Kayak for Beginners
Dropping marginally in both price and features, the single person Twister kayak from Old Town is considerably more basic for those looking for a cheap sit on top kayak.
With fewer parts and features than most…
The Twister by Old Town Canoes and Kayaks is composed of a rock-sold, single-layer polyethylene hull. The backrest is molded-in to fit most body types comfortably, offering a sturdy design you can count on to track well while still offering maneuverability.
What are the numbers?
This particular kayak measures 11-foot and weighs 46 lb., and it can hold up to 275 lb. of you plus gear. The large tank well features a bungee to keep gear in place, and the molded-in footwells increase stability and handling on the water. Yes, there are also side grab handles for transportation.
Best beginners sit on top kayak…
The Twister is designed for those just beginning their kayaking adventures through intermediate paddlers. As Old Town is the world’s oldest and largest manufacturer of canoes and kayaks, we expect you to be impressed with the quality of craftsmanship they produce.
- Carry capacity of 275 lb.
- Length of 11-foot.
- Rock-sold, single-layer polyethylene hull.
- Not the cheapest kayak for beginners.
4 Sundolphin Bali SS One-Person Sit-On-Top Kayak – Best Recreational Kayak
Are you looking for an entry level kayak?
If so, take a good look at the Bali SS kayak from Sundolphin, which comes in as the least expensive option on our list with one oddball exception.
The Bali SS is basic, and some have commented that it’s not the best tracking kayak out there, but for the price, it’s hard to compete. This is one of the best recreational kayaks sit on top style options for those wanting to feel the sport out without breaking their budget. Or for those who plan to only use occasionally on calm lakes and slow flowing rivers.
Keep reading; our next review is the least expensive option of them all…
There is a dry storage compartment with shock cord rigged up on the deck, as well as, protective which pads and adjustable foot braces. This gives a degree of comfort and storage that is hard to beat for the low price.
We didn’t find this to be the most stable kayak, so we wouldn’t recommend it for ocean use. Still, it’s a great kayak for the price.
- Least expensive solid construction kayak featured here.
- Large seating area.
- Carry capacity of 250 lb.
- Length of 10-foot.
- Not the best tracking kayak.
- There are more stable options reviewed here.
5 Intex Explorer K2 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
The only inflatable kayak on our list of the best sit on top kayak reviews is designed by Intex as a great option that takes a bit of a detour in design and function. The Explorer K2 comes with two folding aluminum oars, a carry bag, and a high output air pump for transportation convenience.
Is a blow-up kayak likely to pop?
The heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl wraps the three separate air chambers to help to keep you afloat. Equally, the floor is constructed with an inflatable I-beam for rigidity, and Intex uses Boston valves for quick inflation and deflation. This all comes together for about what you’d expect for what is by far the cheapest kayak on our list.
But is it comfortable?
You’ll be more comfortable moving it around out of the water, that’s for sure. It’s much lighter and less likely to leave bruises from bumping into things when moving it around on land. The seats come with a backrest, and the cockpit is designed for comfort and space. There is, however, no great storage spot.
But, there is a removable skeg…
At the end of the day, you can’t expect too much for such a low price point. But, if you’re happy to keep a bit of patching tape at hand, this is a great way to enjoy some relaxing time on the water. Just watch those fishing hooks…
Did we mention it’s a tandem kayak, so you get to share the paddling?
- Least expensive kayak reviewed here by a wide gap.
- Easy to transport with a carry bag.
- Quick and easy inflate/deflate design.
- Holds two people.
- Carry capacity of 400 lb.
- Length of 10-foot.
- Far easier to puncture than other kayaks reviewed here.
- For less serious adventures than other kayak styles.
6 Perception Kayaks Pescador Pro 10 Sit on Top Fishing Kayak
Jumping well and truly up the range in price, and kayak design standards, the Pescador Pro 10 by Perception Kayaks is nowhere near the most expensive kayak on our list. This is, however, a kayak purposefully designed for river and lake fishing.
The lawn chair style mesh seat breaths well for comfort without stickiness, and the 2-level seat adjustment helps you get comfortable for a long day casting lines. We really like this feature of up for casting, and down for a relaxed paddling position.
Top rated sit on top kayak for fishing…
Measuring in at ten and a half feet, this kayak tracks better than some shorter options, but is by no means the longest kayak featured here. We really like the large front and rear open storage, as it works perfectly with a cooler, tackle box, or any other gear you want easily accessible.
Did we mention it has moss-camo coloring?
The Pescador Pro 10 has a leak-proof one-piece construction and built-in buoyancy control, all of which is designed, folded, and hand assembled in the USA for quality you can count on.
- Carry capacity of 325 lb.
- Length of 10-feet and 6-inches.
- Integrated accessory rails for rod holders, fish finders, etc.
- The fish won’t see you coming.
- The only real complaint we could find was related to regular cosmetic damage during the shipping process.
7 Lifetime Tioga One-Person Sit-On-Top Kayak – Double Pack
Yes, this is a double pack. You’ll receive two Tioga one-person kayaks from Lifetime, so you get to head out for fun with a friend without being stuck in the same boat as them. We all need a bit of space after all.
Double the pleasure for a great low price…
Formed from UV protected high-density polyethylene, this kayak has multiple footrest positions so anybody can comfortably head out for a paddle around. The flat bottom design and comfortable folding seat backs provide a stable kayak with a reasonable amount of comfort.
Designed with deep hull tracking channels…
We will note that if you split the price, these would be among the cheaper options, so don’t expect too much in the way of features. There are, of course, easy carry handles on the front and rear, as well as front and rear shock cord straps for gear. You even get a 6” rear storage compartment.
Two for less than the price of one?
- One of the least expensive options (per kayak) here.
- Carry capacity of 275 lb.
- Length of 10-foot.
- The skipper plugs are low enough to cause minor flooding.
8 Lifetime Two-Person Tandem Fishing Kayak – Best Sit on Top Tandem Kayak
For those with a spouse or close friend that likes to join the waterborne adventure, then a tandem kayak is just what you need. Lifetime makes a wonderful kayak for two with a total weight capacity of 500 lb., though you could possibly squeeze a third younger person in there due to the design/hull layout.
Is this the best tandem sit on top kayak?
The high-density polyethylene is blow bolded for a more durable and longer-lasting kayak. Something we feel you can count on, as this kayak is backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. We love this, as it gives you a feeling of quality you can trust, and that is nice when you’re floating a long swim from the shore.
Are there any special features or storage?
Minimal, but they are there. With a couple of padded backrests, paddle clips, and three fishing pole holders, the tandem kayak from Lifetime does provide some space to organize your gear, but the double seat design does limit you to a single rear storage hatch. Just remember a two person kayak doesn’t mean double the space for beer.
- Tandem design for double the fun.
- Carry capacity of 500 lb.
- Length of 10-foot.
- Check your scupper plugs for leaks before heading out.
9 Malibu Kayaks Two-Person Pro 2 Tandem Fishing Kayak – Best Sit on Top Kayak for Ocean Going Pairs
One of the best two people sit on top ocean kayaks available, but also our most expensive option reviewed. This is a great kayak for two that tracks well for less of a fight to keep in a straight line.
Longer kayaks track better…
Measuring a whopping 13-feet long, this is a great kayak for long days out, and the 550 lb. capacity means that two grown men and some gear can head out fishing. And it doesn’t matter where you’re headed, as the all-around design takes to the ocean just as well as flat water paddling.
The best ocean going pairs sit on top kayak…
We really like the 8-inch round rear hatch, which uses a bucket style storage for easy access. There are also six flush-mounted fishing rod holders, so you should be able to catch something no matter how new at kayak fishing you may be.
If you’re looking for quality, look no further…
The Pro 2 Tandem is constructed with stainless steel hardware and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty from Malibu Kayaks. So, you should be nice and confident when entering the water that you won’t sink. We also rather like this peace of mind.
Need more features?
How about a front dive well for a dive tank? Yes, we said a dive tank. There are also eyelets, drain plugs, nylon hooks, bungee tank cords, and a molded-in insert that acts as a mount for the best trolling motor for kayaks. Yes, you get a lot of bang for your buck on this kayak
- Room for two.
- Carry capacity of 550 lb.
- Length of 13-foot for great tracking.
- Lots of high-quality features.
- The most expensive option on this list of reviews.
Now that you’ve read through our best sit on top kayak reviews, you should have a pretty clear understanding of the various options available on the market. And to help you to narrow down which of these features you need in your best kayak, our buyer’s guide should help in sorting out your priorities.
The first thing to consider…
How many of you are headed out for a day on the water? Yes, this is an obvious one, but it’s also followed up by a second question. Do you want to have anyone else in your kayak?
We like the idea of tandem kayaks. They help elevate some paddling exhaustion and can make searing a touch smoother. It’s also often more fun to share the experience with someone. However, two people in a kayak just doubles the chances of flipping.
It’s always someone’s fault when you flip the kayak…
For this reason, we also like having our own kayaks. So, the question remains. How many kayaks do you need? If you’re looking for more than just one for yourself, then you may need to take price into consideration.
There is a wide variation in the price of the kayaks reviewed here.
The wide price range is due to a number of things that we will break down below, the first of which is the hull design. Kayaks can be inflatable, and that option does have its advantages.
Inflatable kayaks are easier to transport to the water, especially without a trailer.
They also are less reliable. So, if you are paddling around anywhere with a high probability of bumping into something pointy, maybe a solid construction hull would be wiser.
Speaking of hulls, you have options in design here as well.
Hulls range from the more popular flat hull kayaks that offer greater stability when flat on the water, but then tip more easily once on an edge, to rounded (or V) hulls that offer greater maneuverability but are more difficult to enter and exit. In the middle of those two options is a pontoon hull that many anglers prefer as a great balance for stability when casting and reeling, while still providing better maneuverability into those good casting spots.
How does the kayak’s length affect the purchase decision?
Another aspect to take into consideration when choosing the best kayak for you is the length of the kayak. Longer kayaks track better, which means that it’s easier to keep them in a straight line while paddling. They also tend to glide across the water better, making them better for longer trips on the water.
These longer kayaks also generally have a larger storage capacity, so you’ll be able to stay out longer, and still have all you might need. However, if you have to navigate any turbulent waters, a shorter kayak will be more maneuverable.
Getting back to the hull of the matter…
You also need to understand options in the materials used in construction before making a purchase, as not all kayaks are equal. Many of the less expensive above are made from polyethylene, as it’s cheaper for production purposes. However, it is also heavier and is more susceptible to UV damage when left in the sun.
The other most common material used in sit on top kayaks is ABS plastic, which is lighter and more resilient to sun damage. It is also generally more expensive, though worth it for many users due to the increased efficiency in the water.
Don’t forget the kayak features and storage…
One of the advantages of sit on top kayaks over sit inside options is the storage, and many of the kayaks reviewed here have additional features that many users would like to have. Especially those heading out fishing. If you want to know more about the differences between both Kayak types, please check out our Sit on Top vs Sit In Kayak feature.
Fishing rod holders are almost a must if you’re looking to catch something. If nothing more, it’s somewhere to keep your rod when not in use, so you don’t need to worry about it slipping off the boat, and disappearing into the water below.
Keep reading to better understand how the kayak rocker affects your steering…
Carrying handles are a boring feature, but their placement can be rather important if you have to walk far to the shore. Or, around turbulent water, if you’re floating downstream.
What’s better than a day on the water fishing?
If you want to be out there long enough to shake off the work week, then you’ll need to have a comfortable seat. The various kayaks above have seats that are built-in, pop-up, adjustable, and/or a mixture of the lot. To each their own, but we’d recommend sitting in one, and checking for comfort prior to purchase.
If you want to know more, please check out our Best Kayak Seat reviews.
And finally, don’t forget the rocker…
The final factor of kayak design that affects which may be the best kayak for you is the rocker. The rocker refers to how much the stern and bow lift out of the water. The greater the rocker lift, the easier it is to turn.
However, a smaller rocker will aid in tracking, so you’ll be more easily able to keep yourself traveling in a straight line. It’s a trade-off that’s great for touring trips, but not as stable in rougher waters.
Oh, we forgot to mention…
You should also note the presence of scupper holes/plugs. The number and placement of these can affect the amount of water that sits in the kayak while you’re out paddling around. If you want to find out more about them, please check out our informative What are Scupper plugs? feature.
That completes our list of the best sit on top kayak reviews and our buying guide. Hopefully, this has answered all your questions and narrowed down your options. However, if you are still hesitant to make a decision, we would recommend the…
…for individual kayakers due to the number of excellent features.
If there’s two of you headed out, the
…is another excellent option.