List of Top 7 Kayak Brands Who Manufacture High Quality Kayaks

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: May 25, 2021
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It doesn’t matter whether you are buying your first, second, additional, or last Kayak! What matters most is the purpose of your purchase, the environment you are planning to kayak, and the amount you are willing to spend. Look for kayak brands that will offer a suitable kayak that suits your needs.

There are several companies competing day and night to come up with a unique item with the latest technology possible. We have all heard of those incidences where customers buy things based on the manufacturer of the item rather than its features.  It’s just because they are accessible and have a good reputation in the market for their products hence gaining loyalty and trust from their widespread customers.

So, a brand can be a determinant factor for many people who want to make a purchase. That’s why we see companies working hard to build, enhance, and protect their brands throughout because they know its benefits and consequences.

What are the best kayak brands?

For sure, the best kayak brands are the ones that fulfill your needs. Though we can’t rebuke claims of some quality kayak brands like Old Town, Ocean kayak, Vibe kayak, Sun Dolphin, Intex Advances Element, Perception kayaks just to name a few, yes, you can’t go wrong with these brands. Still, there are many factors to put into consideration before making your final pick. Those companies specialize in a specific type of Kayak, such as recreational, fishing, inflatable, touring, sea and ocean kayak, etc.

Purpose, environment, and price should guide you as well as the blending build quality, availability, materials used, style and design, warranty, popularity, among others. Perception kayaks are popularly known for its affordability, suitable Kayak for beginners, and its ability to produce products in all different types of water apart from white water.

We know, it’s time-consuming for busy persons, tiresome and confusing tasks to research various brands available for kayaking before the purchase. Rest your worries; we are glad to take your in-depth and explain further on the best kayak brands.

Old Town Kayaks

The Company was founded over a century ago and is known to be the world’s biggest and oldest manufactures dealing with canoes and Kayak. Their craftsmanship is one of its kind and truly unforgettable watercraft around. If you are looking for a kayak for touring, fishing, tandem, recreational, sit-on-top, or hunting, look no more; you’re on the right track. Old Town is a severe brand manufacturing different quality products to fit our needs. Old Town Heron Junior kayak, Heron 9XT, and Dirigo 106 are some of their popular products.

Ocean Kayak

Located in Old Town Maine, the Company is known as the biggest manufacturer of sit-on-top kayaks in the world.

It all started back in 1971 when the original owner took an old surfboard in his backyard and carved out places. One to sit in while the second place carved was for his scuba gear, and that’s how it started. Since then, tens of thousands of boats have been manufactured by the Company. Ocean kayak products include; Ocean Kayak Frenzy Review, Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Tandem Beginner kayak, among others.

Vibe Kayak

Just like the name suggests, Vibe manufacturers have the most relaxed and fresh product design envied by many people. The Company started back in 2013 and specialized in products such as sit-on-top, fun, fishing, and outdoor living. The affordability of its unique quality product has pushed its popularity even higher. Vibe known products available in the market includes Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost Angler, among others.

Sun Dolphin

It started as a family-owned business back in 1982 but has turned out to be the leading recreational items and kayaks manufacturer in North America. Sun Dolphin Company is in Muskegon town, Michigan. The two-person pedal boat was their first, and now the Company has come up with innovative, quality yet affordable products in the market. The exciting part of Sun Dolphin is their established team in charge of customer support when needed. The Company focuses more on recreational, fishing kayaks and canoes, pedal boats, paddleboards, dinghies, and more. Known products in the market include; Sun Dolphin Excursion and Sun Dolphin Aruba10-foot sit-in-kayak.


This Company, based on the USA, was established forty years ago. Their primary aim is to manufacture affordable, quality, comfortable, fun, and secure products. They are also looking forward to being the famous and trustworthy brand around the world. Company products are selling in the market thanks to its excellent reputation. They have numerous positive feedback from the customers. The Company has been working nonstop to cut their carbon footprint with the suppliers to reduce the number of fossil fuels used. So, if you want pocket-friendly inflatable Kayak, consider this brand.

Advanced Elements

The Company has been in existence for over a decade. They aim to come up with a unique product with the latest technique and innovation possible as well as improve their customer experience. If you are coming up for the best brand in the industry, remember to add advanced elements. The Company was the first one in the world to manufacture Hybrid inflatable Kayak. Since then, the Company has paved the way for a lot of innovative inflatable Kayak that we see around. Have you first seen Advanced Element Advanced Frame Inflatable kayak from the Company or not? If not, we advise you to check it out, so you don’t lose a lot in this sector.

Perception Brands

What can we say about this brand other than the fact that they are the top brand who have to introduce many people to paddling than others? These forty years of the Company are passionate kayakers who gladly design, mold, and hand-assemble each of their product. The personal touch in its models makes its product exceptional and worthy of it. They are suitable for kayak beginners and experienced people too.

What is the best Kayak to buy for beginners?

For beginner’s the best Kayak will be the one that is affordable, comfortable, built with quality sturdy materials and serve the purpose. We know, kayaking might not be easy to learn, but if you are passionate and determined about it, you will eventually become a pro. Kayaking is an excellent outdoor activity for many people regardless of whether you are doing it for fun, sport, enjoying your quality time with your loved ones or solo, energizing, admiring, and touring the nature around us. You have to look for something that has a smooth learning curve, provides you with a steady and flexible ride on the water.

Putting into consideration all the factors stated before, beginners will feel worthy of their money if they can go for a Sun Dolphin sit-in-inside kayaks. The brand has impressive quality yet pocket- friendly products at our disposal. To add on that, the models have the storage options available in case you want to bring along with you some refreshment, electronic extra. Advanced Element Inflatable kayak and Intex ChallengerK1 Inflatable kayak has gained a lot of positive feedback from beginners as useful models for first-timers.

But if you are planning, kayaking in an environment with water terrain with a lot of curves, this will not be the best option for you. Consider other kayak brands that can withstand the terrain as this brand might not maneuver to your ability. Even though you are a beginner, you can go for a kayak based on personal interest or top-of-the-line Kayak if money isn’t a problem.

What is the best cheap Kayak?

We do have several kayaks out there that are affordable and do their primary job correctly. Some of us have that mentality that expensive things are always the best than the cheaper ones should stop. Yes, we agree to a certain level that some products are costly due to the material used to construct. Still, they are other factors that can make them expensive, like the availability of materials, etc. The Company can also price its product otherwise, i.e., affordable based on various factors like availability of materials cheap labor, just to mention a few. The most important thing to consider is if the Kayak will serve the purpose and its durability.

Should I buy a kayak from Walmart?

Absolutely yes! Walmart is one of the kayak brand retailers, and they have big-box behemoth brand plus kayaks and its accessories. Be it a beginner, seasoned, or experience kayaker; you will always get the right product in Walmart that will fit your budget. Let s give you a brief history of this retailer brand. It was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton and later incorporated on 31st October 1969.

Headquarter of this American multinational retailer in Bentonville, Arkansas. As of now, the Company has over eleven thousand plus stores and clubs spread in more than twenty-eight countries. If you live nearby, their stores just check-in start window shopping.

How do I choose the right Kayak?

To choose the right kayak you need to consider the factors explained below:

1.      Type

Generally, kayaks come in two styles, i.e., sit-on-top, and sit-inside kayaks are it singles or doubles. The two forms can come as inflatables or hard shells. Even though the two have different, they share similar parts. For both, the top is known as a deck, while the bottom is known as hull.

Sit-on-top kayaks are:

  • Stable, more comfortable to balance and broader compared to sit-in models
  • The top is open, allowing water to splash in.
  • Best for kids and beginners
  • Suitable for still waters and flowing rivers
  • Great for fun in hot water, plus you can quickly get back on it if you fall off.

Sit-in-kayaks are:

  • It’s narrow and lengthy than the sit-on models
  • Your bottom half stays dry as the model has a capsule one can sit.
  • Keeps you warm and dry in cold water
  • Perfect for sea kayaking and paddling in rapids
  • It suitable for solo kayaking and its good for fitness

Inflatable kayaks can:

  • Be deflated to fit in your car.
  • Be used on still water like small lakes.
  • When you want to use it, you have to inflate it with a manual pump.
  • It’s not durable and nor fast and is hard to steer compared to hard kayaks.
  • Double or tandem Kayak

2.      Use

For one to consider buying a kayak s/he is planning to use it for a particular purpose. Be it fishing, touring, racing, or recreational purpose. They are manufacturing design models to suit a different purpose. Other brands are known for their unique kayaks meant for a different use. For fishing, go for a lightweight, durable, and a kayak that you can easily maneuver. Recreational ones need to be steady, easy to steer, and comfortable. So, each Kayak has a unique differentiating factor depending on its use.

3.      Shape

The shape of your Kayak tells more about you than you can imagine, it needs to suit purpose and experience. Short kayaks are more stable and more comfortable to control, while longer ones are faster. In terms of width, the full Kayak is permanent, though harder to steer as the slim Kayak offers less stability although fast. Lightweight kayaks are quicker, and you can maneuver easily and vice versa. Hull can either be v-shaped, flat, or a bend. Rocker determines the maneuverability of a kayak, the one that curves are slow but more comfortable to maneuver while the less curve moves faster but hard to maneuver. Backrest ensures the comfortability of an individual.

4.      Materials

The materials used vary from one model to another based on the use, durability, and price, and company’s brand. Each material used has its advantage and disadvantages. Common materials used to build boats include; plastic or aluminum, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and inflatable materials. The plastic and aluminum models are highly recommended for beginners since they are durable and affordable even though they can be cumbersome and cold during winter.

While the light fiberglass one is suitable for seasoned paddlers, they are sturdy and long-lasting. Carbon fiber materials are most robust compared to all other elements. If you want to use your many years to consider the carbon ones, they are also light. Inflatable kayaks are customarily made of sturdy PVC and the latest Kevlar materials to help reduce the puncture. Some models have built-in-wheels to make it easier for you to get in and out of the water quickly while others come without, and you have to buy them separately.

5.      Paddle

Kayaking is more comfortable and more fun when you get the best paddle. The right paddle depends on your paddling style, as well as your strength and trip length. To paddle, one uses arms, back and stomach muscles. If you plan to go for a long trip, you should consider the lightest paddle so that you can go faster, and your hands will not tire quickly. For padding style, it can either be slow or fast.

Beginners and kids should paddle slowly by using an asymmetrical blade with straight sides with non-feathered edges that face the same direction. Experienced or sporty kayakers like to paddle in speed. So, they have to ensure their boat blade is asymmetric in shape, curved slightly to cut through the water quicker and feathered blades that face different ways. For paddle, safety ensures you have an extra one, especially if you plan to paddle in rapid waters. Also, your paddle is always attached to the wrist or leg using a paddle leash.

6.      Quality

When it comes to different product quality is everything even though the cost might be crucial too. But it’s good to get the quality product as this will ensure its primary work done correctly.AS the saying goes, you get what you paid for, so cheap kayaks might not last for long compared with the costly ones. Beginners and kids should consider the excellent quality boats that are affordable but can later spend extra money on extra accessories and different features when they are pro. Yes, plastic and aluminum paddles cost less but might be heavy on your body.

On the other hand, the carbon fiber paddle is lighter and easy to use though they are costly. Sit-in and fishing Kayak cost more than the sit-on-top recreational boats. If you need a durable and functional quality kayak to be ready to spend a coin more, but it will be worthwhile in the long run.

What is the best fishing kayak to buy?

Nowadays, more fishers are turning to fish kayaks than any other boat type. They prefer their comfortable size and flexibility that allows them to go to rivers, lakes, and ocean whenever they want. If they’re going to go alone or hook up with their loved ones, it will be much convenient with portable Kayak. Which can fit into a small car easily?

Many fishing kayaks come with rod holders, which are helpful, especially if you want more lines or want to free up your hands and grab a drink. Paddle hold in these kayaks also helps one free their hands when there is a catch. For fishing, you need a boat that can accommodate more weight since fishing requires a lot of gears. Fishers sometimes carry along with them, sleeping bags (or gear bags to keep your accessories dry), tents, and coolers, among other things. These need space, so you have to look for one with space to store all of your stuff.

Some of the best Kayak for fishing that we have in the market includes:

  • Life Tamarack Angler 100
  • Old Town Fishing kayaks
  • Hobie Fishing Kayak
  • Eddyline fishing kayaks
  • Bonafide kayaks

What is the difference between an ocean kayak and a regular kayak?

Ocean kayaks have a slight difference compared with a regular one. For a fishing adventure to the open water, one requires a boat that can withstand ocean currents and other challenges. An excellent example is their shape that is designed in such a way that it can be able to handle the unforeseen current and ocean swells. The length of a fishing model vessels ranges from 15 to 20 feet that is long compared to others. Make sure it offers stability to enable you to maneuver easily in water. A rounded hull is much preferable for smooth surf.

Since traveling to and from the shore, is a hustle, consider a spacious boat that you can store everything you need for fishing. Lastly, you will want a durable kayak. Metal ones are durable but not suitable for saltwater because they corrode quickly. Go for a plastic one that can withstand and give your service for a more extended period.

Is a sit-in or sit-on Kayak better?  

Sit-in kayaks are suitable for cold weather as it will shelter your lower body from getting wet and from the wind. They are considered stable and easy to use but limits you the freedom of getting in and out of water. So, if you flip accidentally in the water recovery process will be complicated due to water that will likely fill up your boat.

On the other hand, sit –on top kayaks is the best choice for kids who love to swim, nervous paddlers, and suitable during warm weather. These models are user friendly as they offer stability, and you can get in and out quickly. Yes, there is a likelihood that some water will sprinkle into your boat while kayaking, but the scupper holes allow the water to drain back. With this kind of a vessel getting wet is one hundred percent guarantee.

Kayak brands to avoid?

Before you make a purchase, it is right for you to have a better understanding of different models designed to suit different needs. Brands specialize in boats with different sizes and shapes to suit certain water conditions. Here are key points to keep in mind before your pick:

  • Your body type in terms of weight, height, and size
  • Its purpose, i.e., fishing touring, etc.
  • Your kayaking terrain
  • Transportation
  • If you want stability in the water look for a full kayak
  • For speed, go for longer kayaks, but if you need one to navigate easily, consider the shorter length.

Final Thought

They are so many reasons that lead many people to kayaking. Whatever your reason might be, just keep in mind your terrain you will use, purpose, body type, transportation, and stability. Remember having the right Kayak from reputable brand will make your day memorable, thank us later and have fun.

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