Types of kayaks and how to Choose a quality kayak

Fact Checked By:Samuel Carter

Post Updated On:



As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Kayaks are small and narrow watercraft boats that are usually propelled by the use of double-bladed paddles. Kayaks come in different sizes where some are designed for a single person use while others fit more than one person also refrred to as tendam kayaks.


INTEX 68307EP Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak Set:...
  • ✔ EASY TRANSPORT – Lightweight and compact, this kayak is easy to assemble and, with the Boston valve, it inflates and deflates in minutes; paddles come apart and the pieces can be conveniently stored with the boat in the included carrying bag allowing you to take the fun of kayaking wherever you go.Grab line on both ends. Streamlined design for easy paddling.
  • ✔ READY FOR ADVENTURE – Explorer K2 Kayak is great for experiencing lakes and mild rivers with a friend, this kayak is sporty and fun with a streamlined design for easy paddling, with the bright yellow color and sporty graphics this makes the kayak highly visible in the water
  • ✔ STABILITY – Made with rugged vinyl construction and built for performance, this sturdy kayak has an inflatable I-beam floor, a low-profile deck, and high-buoyancy side chambers for stability, comfort, and function; the removable skeg provides exceptional directional movement
  • ✔ 2-PERSON CAPACITY – The Explorer K2 is a two person capacity kayak with a 400 pound maximum weight capacity. When fully inflated the kayak measures at 10.3 feet X 3 feet X 1.8 feet
  • ✔ ADVENTURE ACCESSORIES – Includes two 86 inch aluminum oars, two inflatable seats with backrests, heavy-duty grab handles with grab lines, two quick-fill Bonston valves, high-output pump and one repair patch

If you feel a kayak is not for you, have a look at our guide and reviews of the best sit on top fishing kayak for beginners or top rated touring kayaks.

best kayak

What to look for when choosing a kayak

The following are crucial factors to consider when selecting a kayak

Where to use it

Unlike with other boats, one needs to be extra careful when selecting a kayak based on the areas to use it. The major areas that people like to kayak include in lakes, flowing rivers, oceans, and even river lakes. Due to the nature of the kayak designs, you need to make sure that the kayak you choose is safe for that area. For example, if you want to kayak at the ocean, you should choose a kayak that can withstand high ocean tides and waves. If you need a compatible lake kayak, choose a kayak that can easily float on the top of the lake.

For those who need a kayak to use a flowing river, choose a sturdy kayak, have a high power of floating, and that you can easily turn around in case you need to go back.

The type of kayak

There are three major types of kayaks, which are the sit on top, sit in, and lastly, inflatable kayaks.

Sit-on kayaks are suitable for people who want to enjoy recreational water activities such as fishing. This is because these kayaks are designed with a seating area a bit raised from the floor. They are quite long to offer enough legroom and also come with multiple storage spaces.

Sit-in kayaks are similar to the sit on kayaks only that the sitting area is a bit lower. Half of the body is covered in such kayaks while seated. They are ideal for people who don’t want to come to contact with wetness while kayaking. They also fit areas that frequent tourists and comes with a foot peddle too.

Inflatable kayaks are ideal for people who enjoy kayaking occasionally. These kayaks are mainly recommended for use in shallow areas as they are relatively light in weight and thus can easily be carried by heavy tides or waters.

Your needs

Do you need a fishing kayak, a kayak that you can exercise with while in waters, or just a simple recreational kayak? The kind of experience you want to achieve with the kayak will influence your needs. For example, if you need a kayak to fish with, you ought to choose a large kayak that is stable and easy to control as well.

The size

Kayaks come in different sizes where some are designed for a single person fit while others can fit up to four people. Therefore, if you need a kayak that you can use with your family or friends, check out the number of people it can accommodate.

The kayak accessories

Kayaks are equipped with different accessories that vary from drift anchor, storage bags, the straps, and even pumps ideal for inflatable kayaks. So, choose a kayak that has all the accessories you will require while in the water.

Types of kayaks

Sit on a kayak

    This is a kayak designed in a way that the user sits on the top area. You are bound to get wet or remain wet for the rest of the kayaking time, as this design does not prevent you from water splashes. This type of kayak is ideal for areas with warm tropical waters.

    Pelican Sentinel 100X EXO Angler Fishing...
    • Upgraded Features: Additional storage in this kayak includes a front storage platform and a tank well both equipped with bungee cords. The EXOSHELL 13 L removable storage compartment included with this kayak allows you to pack everything up at home and just drop it into the tank well when you hit the water. It's also equipped with molded footrests a bottle holder and two paddle tie-downs to keep your hands free when necessary. It's also ideal for bringing your pet on board!
    • Stable: The twin-arched multi-chine hull offers excellent stability giving you a secure and steady ride. It also makes it incredibly easy to get in and out of the kayak.
    • Safe: Our unique manufacturing process allows us to include additional flotation inside the hull of all of our sit-on-tops in order to meet or surpass ABYC standards. Holds a maximum capacity of 275 lb. Don't worry, the added scupper holes at the bottom of the kayak are completely safe and help drain any excess water that might get into your watercraft. Along with a flatter hull design, it ensures you peace of mind during your ride.
    • Comfortable: Paddle in comfort with the adjustable ERGOLOUNGE seating system. It provides extra-thick cushioning and an extra high and wide padded backrest.
    • Lightweight: Our kayaks being made with exceptionally durable high molecular density polyethylene, less material is needed to produce each boat. At 9 ft 6 in, and weighing only 42 lb, it makes the perfect kayak for those looking for easy storage and transportation.


    1. Getting in and out of this type of kayak is relatively straightforward.
    2. The kayak does not restrict one from doing other activities like yoga.

      Sit in a kayak

      If you need a kayak that will protect your body from getting to contact with wetness, sit-in kayak is the perfect option. This type of kayak ensures to keep the lower body parts free from the water splashes. This type of kayak works best in areas with cold waters.

      Pelican - Sprint XR - Sit-in Kayak - Lightweight one...
      • Performance: The deep V-chine hull and 10-foot-long design increases secondary stability and offers better tracking so choppy conditions won’t be a problem. It also provides better responsiveness to shifts in body weight and position. Each stroke will be maximized for a better return on effort.
      • Comfortable: The adjustable ERGOFLEX G2 seating system is thoughtfully designed to provide you with extra back support and offers a more breathable cushion to help you stay comfortable.
      • Premium Features: This performance kayak conveniently features a rear quick-lock hatch, a front storage platform with bungee cords, adjustable footrests, premium knee pads and a built-in bottle holder. Its cockpit table comes equipped with 4" day hatch and second bottle holder. There is also a keel extension to help your kayak stay straight as you paddle.
      • Safe: This performance kayak comes equipped with a stern bulkhead for extra floatation and to ensure you're able to bail out water and get back in to continue your adventure. Added foam blocks on each side of the kayak also provide safety and peace of mind during your ride. This kayak can hold a maximum weight capacity of 300 lb.


      1. The kayak ensures you remain warm while on the water.
      2. The kayak protects your body from coming to contact with wetness.

        Crossover kayaks

        These types of kayaks are ideal for people who like to experience water recreational activities in different waters. They have advanced features and designs such that you can use them when fishing, and even running the whitewater.

        Pelican - Maxim 100X Recreational Kayak - Sit-in -...
        • Upgraded Features: Additional storage in this kayak includes a front hatch with bungee cord and a rear tank well with mesh deck cover to give you plenty of space to store your personal items. Features also include a cockpit table with compartments and a bottle holder as well as molded footrests for your comfort.
        • Stable: The shallow V-chine hull offers better manoeuverability and tracking while giving you increased secondary stability. This kayak is made for the recreational paddler looking for better performance.
        • Safe: Added floating blocks on each side of the kayak along with a flatter hull type ensures you safety and peace of mind during your ride. Holds a maximum capacity of 275 lb.
        • Comfortable: Paddle in comfort with an adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest with ERGOBASE seat cushion.
        • Lightweight: Our kayaks being made with exceptionally durable high molecular density polyethylene, less material is needed to produce each boat. At 10 ft and weighing only 36 lb, it makes the perfect kayak for those looking for easy storage and transportation.


        1. They are versatile in terms of use.
        2. These kayaks can be used in different waters.

          Inflatable kayaks

          The majority of the inflatable kayaks are recommended for recreational water activities, although there are brands that work for white waters. They come with a pump for inflating them and can be deflated for easy storage or carrying around.

          Intex 68309EP Excursion Pro Inflatable 2 Person Vinyl...
          • Made with profile Polypropylene to maintain color and structural strength when in contact with oil, salt water, or other chemical agents, ready for use in rivers or lakes
          • Kayak with built-in footrest and adjustable seats for comfort, able to hold maximum weight capacity of 396.8 pounds; Ideal for adventurous water enthusiasts
          • Featuring 2- 86 inch aluminum oars, 2 detachable fishing rod holders, 1 adjustable GoPro camera and mobile phone mount, high-output pump, and one repair patch
          • Inflatable and foldable kayak comes with US Coast Guard ID and TUV certifications, guaranteeing top-notch safety standards, bringing utmost peace of mind when fishing
          • Lightweight and equipped with carrying handles on the front and back for easy transport even when inflated; Dimensions (L x W x H): 151 x 37 x 18 inches; Weights 39 pounds


          1. They are easy to store and carry since they can fold to a smaller size.
          2. They are stable and easy to carry around.

            Whitewater kayaks

            Driftsun Rover 120 Inflatable Kayak - 1 Person Adult...
            • 1 PERSON KAYAK: The Driftsun Rover 120 single rider kayak features a front & rear rocker profile, so you can maneuver & navigate through calm or rough water with less tracking. The foldable kayak inflates fully in 9 mins & seats 1 adult (300lbs max)
            • WHAT’S IN THE BAG: Rover 120 inflatable kayak, adjustable EVA padded seat, adjustable aluminum kayak paddle, double action inflation hand pump, removable tracking fin & a spacious travel backpack for all included kayaking equipment
            • ULTIMATE COMFORT: Constructed with reinforced double layered PVC, this enables the 1person kayak to handle obsticles in rough waterways without puncturing. The high-pressure dropstitch floor boosts stability & extremely sturdy
            • ADVENTURE READY: Folding kayak delivers unmatched stability in rough water compared to low-pressure kayaks for adults. Handles class III & IV rapids with speed & control. Features 8 self-bailing ports, tie-down points & front action camera mount
            • SIT IN TANDEM KAYAK SPECS: Exterior: 8.5’(L) x 36”(W) x 13”(H) / Weight: 22 Lbs. / Capacity: 300 Lbs. / Inflation Pressure: 3 PSI (side tubes) & 6 PSI (floor)

            These kayaks are ideal for professional kayakers who can maneuver and control its movement on fast-moving waters. These types of kayaks are designed in larger sizes as the length range from 7 to 10 ft long. They are further classified into two categories, which are the playboats and the creakboats.

              Playboat whitewater kayaks

              Sevylor QuickPak K1 1-Person Inflatable Kayak, Kayak...
              • 5-minute setup lets you spend more time on the water
              • Easy-to-carry backpack system turns into the seat
              • 21-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use
              • Tarpaulin bottom provides durable protection from punctures
              • Multiple air chambers allow another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured

              They are smaller in length and fit best in areas that are steep and have fast-flowing waters.


                They are relatively more spacious and suitable for use in narrow regions with low water flows.

                INTEX 68305EP Challenger K1 Inflatable Kayak Set:...
                • ✔ SUPER-STRONG – SuperStrong enhanced molecular formulation PVC provides superior strength and durability, ensuring high impact and abrasion resistance
                • ✔ LOW PROFILE DESIGN – The Challenger K1 has a streamlined low-profile design that is perfect for easy paddling in lakes and mild rivers
                • ✔ COCKPIT SEATS – Built with removable and adjustable seats, the cockpit design is spacious and comfortable, providing plenty of room for your legs and gear
                • ✔ REMOVABLE SKEG – Attached to the underside of the kayak, the removable skeg provides directional stability, making it easier to maintain a straight and steady course while paddling
                • ✔ 1-PERSON CAPACITY – Inflated size is 9 feet x 2.6 feet x 1.1 feet with a weight capacity of 220 pounds and easily foldable to be put in the carry bag that allows for easy transportation


                1. These kayaks are quite durable.
                2. Some brands (playboat) work great in areas with fast-moving waters.

                  Fishing kayaks

                  These kayaks are designed specifically for fishers. They have all the kayak accessories required by a fisherman. For example, they consist of a pole holder, flatter hull ideal for stability, and peddle water wheel for enabling you to focus on fishing while the kayak floats or moves in the water.

                  Perception Pescador Pilot 12 | Sit on Top Fishing Kayak...
                  • Pedal Drive Efficiency: The Perception Pescador Pilot 12 offers a unique pedal drive system for sit-on-top kayaks. This innovative design allows you to focus on the catch, leaving propulsion to your feet. Designed for the angler at heart, this fishing kayak is a fantastic addition to your fishing trips.
                  • Comfort and Convenience: Fitted with an adjustable frame seat, it ensures optimal comfort for lengthy fishing adventures. This kayak also boasts designated tackle storage areas, ensuring quick and easy access to your gear right when you need it.
                  • High Capacity and Durable: With an impressive maximum capacity of 475 lbs, this kayak comfortably supports various paddler sizes and gear. Despite its high capacity, it maintains a practical weight of 85 lbs, facilitating easier transport and maneuvering.
                  • Angler's Dream: The Pescador Pilot 12 is crafted specifically for fishing enthusiasts. Its pedal drive system enhances your fishing experience by allowing hands-free movement, whether you're navigating calm coastal waters, slow-moving rivers, or serene lakes.
                  • Quality Craftsmanship: Made in the USA, the Perception Pescador Pilot 12 stands for superior craftsmanship and material quality. Its robust construction assures durability, promising countless successful fishing adventures and making it a reliable choice for your outdoor activities.


                  1. They are relatively light in weight for comfortable transportation.
                  2. They have storage spaces where you can keep your fish after catching.

                  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

                  What kind of things can one do with a kayak?

                  Kayaks of today are used for a variety of activities, ranging from leisurely paddling on calm waters to sophisticated racing and maneuvering in swiftly flowing rapids to ocean fishing and extended paddling journeys over great distances.

                  Is kayaking safe?

                  Kayaking is something that, even while it could seem like a pleasant sport to perform with your family over the course of a vacation, can be quite risky if it is not done under the guidance of an experienced person. The breaking of even the most fundamental safety standards pertaining to kayaking results in a significant number of incidents being reported on an annual basis.

                  Are kayaks simple to use?

                  Learning how to kayak is not nearly as difficult as one would first believe. To paddle efficiently, you need just a few fundamental abilities at your disposal. You will need the assistance of a knowledgeable guide or teacher to learn how to get into and out of a kayak, how to do the forward stroke and the sweep stroke for turning the boat, and you will also need to take a few lessons on how to be safe while paddling.

                  Why is kayaking fun?

                  Paddling a kayak for fun is a simple and accessible method for everyone to explore new waters. It provides a relaxing form of transportation to explore an inlet and enables the paddler to pause and take in the beauty of the surrounding waterscape while they are out discovering a new area. Watching whales, learning about wildlife, and navigating new territory are some of the things that may be done.

                  The Bottom Line

                  Kayak is a great water gadget for people who enjoy fishing or carrying out recreational water activities. They come in different types and designs for customers to choose from depending on their needs and uses. So, if you are planning to buy the right kayak for summer or winter use, the above are the available types of kayaks on the market. Follow the above buying guide to help you choose the right kayak for your water activities.

                  Photo of author

                  Samuel Carter

                  This is Samuel Carter. I have been online product reviewing for the last 7 years and owns many product samples from different companies. I love online product reviewing and reviewing is my hobby. I know, choosing a product is very difficult for newbies and that is why I have created this blog to help the newbies. I think might be useful for you. Thanks - Carter

                  Leave a Comment

                  For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

                  I agree to these terms.

                  error: Alert: Content is protected !!