Best Sit-On-Top Kayak In 2022: Top 9 SOTs That Are A Cut Above The Rest

Sit-On-Top Kayaks are a popular choice when it comes to types of kayak and it’s easy to see why.  They offer a variety of positive benefits over their Sit Inside siblings which makes them a more attractive option in many kayaking situations.   But, how do you know if a Sit-On-Top ...
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Sam OBrien

Founder, Kayaking & Paddle Boarding Expert

Sam is the founder and editor of WaterSportsWhiz. With over 20 years of experience across various water sports, he provides trusted reviews and expert advice to help others pursue their passion for getting out on the water. When not working, you can find him kayaking, paddle boarding, or planning his next water-based adventure with family and friends.

Sit-On-Top Kayaks are a popular choice when it comes to types of kayak and it’s easy to see why.  They offer a variety of positive benefits over their Sit Inside siblings which makes them a more attractive option in many kayaking situations.  

But, how do you know if a Sit-On-Top Kayak is right for you? 

And if it is, what are the Best Sit-On-Top-Kayak available to buy on the market today?

Well…. These are the questions that this article will look to answer. 

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In A Rush? The Winner After 40 Hours Of Research:

Perception Crank 10 Sit-On-Top Pedal Kayak

Perception Crank 10 Sit on Top Pedal Kayak

Best Sit-On-Top Kayak

Our Rating: ★★★★★

Check Price on Amazon

Why is it better?

  • Agile and easy to maneuver in lakes, ponds, calm coastal waters, and slow-moving rivers 
  • Efficient, easy-to-use pedal drive system with the ability to go forward and reverse and one-handed rudder control 
  • Fitted with a comfortable Captain’s Chair lawn-chair-style seat that’s removable and foldable for transportation 
  • Has front and rear cargo areas with bungee rigging and small, side-storage trays 
  • Two molded-in Solo Mount recesses are included to make adding aftermarket accessories as straightforward as possible 
  • Has a transducer scupper for installing a fish finder
  • Rear skid plate included for preventing hull damage when dragging the kayak

What is a Sit-On-Top Kayak?

riends Having Fun on SIt-On_Top Kayaks on Beautiful River or Lake at Sunset

Traditional kayak design, by the Inuits, saw kayaks created with a wood or whalebone skeleton that was covered with animal skin.  The paddler then sat inside of the vessel, protecting them from the outside elements.   This intuitive design allowed the Innuit people to cover vast areas hunting for food.

Due to the development of synthetic and composite materials, kayak design has developed and evolved. 

Consequently, modern kayak design can be categorised into two distinct types; Sit-Inside (SIK) and Sit-On-Top (SOT)  

So, what’s the difference between a Sit inside and Sit-On Kayak?

At the risk of sounding facetious, the clue is in the name!

The underside of the hulls on both types of kayak will be relatively similar in shape and design.  The major difference is the open or closed cockpit.

Sit-Inside kayaks – Closed Cockpit, the paddler sits inside of the hull of the vessel with their legs and body covered up to the middle of the torso.  

Sit-On-Top kayaks – Open Cockpit, the hull is sealed, as a result, the paddler cannot sit inside of the kayak. The paddler sits on top of the deck in specially modelled depressions.  

Sit-On-Top Kayaks Vs Sit-in Kayak

Girl in sit-on-top kayak wearing a life jacket and holding a paddle

Being asked to choose your favourite Kayak type is a little like being asked to pick your favourite child, it’s an imaginary line which morally shouldn’t be crossed.  

Nonetheless, I will approach this topic with the tact and decorum that it deserves…. mainly not to upset the Sit-In kayak traditionalists, they are a sensitive bunch. 

Of course, I am joking and trying to make light of a debate you will hear passionately discussed on kayak forums, at your local kayak club or kayak meet. 

When it boils down to it, kayak type is a personal choice and is based on personal need and experience. 

After all, there is a little point buying a sit-in kayak if you are 350lbs with limited mobility. 

Getting in and out of a closed cockpit isn’t going to be much fun, regardless if some believe sit-in kayaks are better than sit-on-top.

However, there are some clear advantages and disadvantages of both kayak types. 

I will list them below so you can decide which type best fits you.

Sit-in Kayaks

Couple in Sit-In Kayaks on a lake
  • Generally lighter than Sit-On-Top Kayaks. 
  • Harder to enter and exit due to having enclosed cockpits.
  • Provide better protection from the elements.  You will stay drier, warmer and less exposed to the sun.
  • Stereotypically narrower in shape, they glide through the water faster but are less stable.
  • Can be prone to capsizing if the cockpit is not protected with a spray skirt.
  • Offer less storage.  


Man on lake in SIt-On-Top Kayak
  • Typically, heavier than Sit-in Kayaks.
  • Larger and fully open cockpit; provides more room for the taller or larger person
  • A great option for those with reduced mobility or bad knees.
  • Easier to enter and exit. 
  • Higher max weight capacity 
  • Simpler to climb back in from the water.
  • Difficult to capsize and near on impossible to sink due to the closed hull design.
  • Open to the elements so it can be difficult to stay dry and warm, especially if wet.
  • Ability to easily accommodate a pet, such as a dog.
  • Able to support a higher weight load than a sit-in kayaks (subject to design) 
  • Characteristically wider than Sit-in Kayaks.  As a result, they are more stable.  
  • Good if you need to repeatedly sit and stand, such as with fishing. 

Why should you buy a Sit-On-Top Kayak?

Young lady paddling the Sit-in kayak in the calm bay with limestone mountains

The major issue with a closed cockpit, as seen on sit-in kayaks, is that it is a reasonably elaborate process to enter or exit the craft.  Sit-on-tops kayaks do not share this issue, the open top means the paddler can step on to the kayak.  

The fact they are almost impossible to sink means that getting back into the kayak, from the water, is also a simpler task…note I didn’t say it’s easy.  I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to do the funky salmon to get back into my yak. 

The fact that the cockpit is open is the deciding factor for those who are fearful of being trapped in a sit-in kayak should it happen to roll over.  It’s a fear that many people have, it was one of mine too. 

They tend to be wider than their Sit-in counterparts, which makes them super stable.  As a result, they roll less making for a far smoother paddling experience.  This plus the ability to stand easily, are the major reasons why anglers prefer this type of kayak over the more traditional sit-in.

Moreover, if you are slightly larger than the average human being in a Sit-On-Top kayak allows a little more space to breathe.  Being comfortable in your kayak is a major factor that determines your level of enjoyment out on the water, don’t overlook it.

Although you are more exposed to the elements, this can be a massive bonus during the warmer summer month.  The fact that air can move over the craft can feel like a breath from heaven on a hot summer’s day.

And for those paddlers who wish to take their four-legged family member on days out on the water, a sit-on-top kayak is an excellent option. Your little, or big, pup will love sitting at the bow of the craft keeping a watchful eye on events.

Sit-on-top yaks are created using moulded thermoplastic or composite materials, this allows them to be formed in a variety of shapes.   Not only can they be made to economically support the paddler, it allows for excellent in-built storage, gear-pods, rod holders or mounting points for a GPS and fish finder.  

They are an excellent option for introducing children to the world of kayaking, I know it’s what I will be buying my son when he is old enough for his own craft.  Until then, he can ride at the head of my kayak.

Overall, sit-on-top kayaks have all-round ability and provide a great entry point for a beginner, or someone considering their first solid hull kayak.  

What to consider when buying a Sit-On-Top Kayak?

The key points when buying a kayak are the same regardless of what type of kayak you buy, i.e. comfort, material, length, width etc.  So not to bore you covering old ground I will skip over this point and assume you already understand the basics.

However, below are 4 Sit-On-Top kayak specifics that well worth making of note of;

Scupper holes

Scupper Holes; A Common Sit On Top Kayak Leak Location: Episode 160

There is no getting away from the fact that if your kayak has an open cockpit then you are getting wet, it’s just an unavoidable fact of life as a Sit-On-Top Kayak owner.  

But what is avoidable is sitting in a puddle of water for the duration of your Kayak Trip .

How?...  By ensuring that any Sit-On-Top you purchase has a good number of scupper holes.

Supper holes allow the water that accumulates on the deck to drain.  When not in use, the scupper hole is filled by a scupper plug.

Word of warning, make sure you maintain your scupper plugs by keeping them clean and ensuring the plug ribs or o-ring gasket are in good health.  If you don’t then you may find that leak which defeats the object of a self-bailing scupper hole


Fat man in Kayak

Though this point is not exclusive to Sit-On-Top kayaks, it’s an error I’ve seen quite a few people make due to a lack of understanding of what maximum weight capacity means.  And I don’t blame people for getting it wrong as it’s not 100% clear.  Dare I say, it’s slightly misleading. 

Maximum weight capacity or maximum load refer to the amount of mass that a kayak can support and still remain floating.  Typically, this value is set at the weight just before the deck takes on water.  This no means a practical target, as at this level of the load the kayak would lose stability and manoeuvrability.

So, what is an approximate guide that safeguards stability and manoeuvrability?  Although there is no official guideline of practical load in relation to maximum capacity, it’s good practice to leave a sensible buffer between the two figures.   

To air on the safe side, I would say maximum weights capacity is about 40% more than the total load weight.  I.E. sum weight of all paddlers and their gear.  So a 200-pound paddle with 20-pounds of gear (220 total) would need a 310+ pound capacity Kayak.


Kayak with comfortable seat

Comfort in king when out on the water, especially if you plan to spend an extended period of time in your kayak.  Don’t underestimate the value of an adjustable padded seat.  Trust me you back and backside will thank you for it.

Sit-on-top kayaks don’t necessarily come equipped with a removal seat as standard, often the seat is moulded into the deck. Depending on how to wish to use the kayak, recreationally or fishing, you might like to purchase an upgraded seat.  

With this in mind, it is important to check that any Kayak you purchase has suitable mounting points to support an aftermarket seat.

Although it’s still possible to retrofit a seat to kayak, it might mean modifying the deck by installing anchor points or wrapping support straps around the hull.  Neither option is recommended unless absolutely necessary. 

Check out our article on picking the best kayak seat, along with the top kayak seat recommendations.


2-men-fishing-in-a-kayak with loads of storage

For many newbies’ storage is one of the buying factors that is often overlooked.  Which is kind of funny as later it becomes the sole reason for them looking to upgrade.  

Storage is an important commodity on a Kayak and it comes in a number of forms.  Built-in cubby holes with fitted, lockable, lids that can accommodate a medium dry-bag or clothes and/or snacks.   

Open plan storage with a supporting cargo net that allows a bag or item such a tent to be secured to the boat yet remains easily accessible during your trip. 

Lastly, on-kayak storage.  These are boxes or crates that can be removed from the kayak, filled then reattached.  Commonly seen with kayaks built for kayak fishing such as Kayak bait crates or kayak tackle boxes.

One last piece of advice, don’t assume that your built-in storage is waterproof. More often than not, it isn’t!  Always place valuables or water-sensitive items into a dry bag.  

For this and other helpful tips and tricks, check our Top kayaking tips article.  

Man, I am so good to you!

Mountings, Holders and Handles

Fishing Kayaks on the bank

Yes, I know the title of this section sounds like a team of accountants or a large law firm. But, it’s important to ensure your sit-on-top kayak meets the needs of intended use.  

This is especially important that you intend to use the kayak for fishing.  Don’t underestimate the amount of gear you may accumulate over the life of your kayak fishing obsession. 

And I am sure you want to show off …sorry I mean use all of this paraphernalia out on the water.

If you only intend to use your kayak for a recreational leisurely paddle down the local river or lake then you will have little need for the level of extra accessories, rod holders, or mounting points that a seasoned angler would expect as standard. 

But regardless if you need fishing rod holders, a fish finder or GPS mounting point, you will always find a secondary use for the space.  I personally use the space for a fish finder, or to mount my go-pro, and the centre console box to store cold drinks.

What I am trying to say is, don’t discount a good sit-on-top kayak just because it has fixtures for fishing.  Some of the best kayaks out there have been developed for the fishing market.

The only thing I would suggest is that you make sure any sit-on-top kayak you purchase has a decent set of handles.  Lifting a kayak in and out of the water without them is not much fun…although funny to watch. 

Top 8 Sit-On-Top Kayaks – Reviews & Recommendations 

1. Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Recreational Kayak

Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Recreational Kayak
  • Best Sit-On-Top Pedal Kayak
  • Rating:  ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★☆
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Ocean Kayak’s Malibu Pedal is an excellent choice for those tired of paddling – as long as you’re ready to pay a pretty penny for it. 

It utilizes the PDL Drive system and a hand-controlled rudder for a care-free on-water experience, even for novice kayakers. I mean, why paddle when you can pedal – and at a speed of 5.5 miles per hour, too? 

Granted, at 100 pounds and 12 feet long, Malibu Pedal is a massive kayak – enough to compromise portability. 

However, the ample onboard storage – including front and rear cargo areas with bungee straps, three cup holders, two 8-inch accessory tracks, a sealed under-seat hatch, and 450-pound capacity make up for it. 

You can even bring your child – or pet – on board for a family outing; the tank well jumpseat allows for one more, tiny passenger.

Technical Specs 

  • Polypropylene hull 
  • Measures 12 x 2.9 feet
  • Weighs 100 pounds 
  • 450-pound capacity 


  • Easy to maneuver, agile, and stable 
  • Fitted with a removable PDL Drive system
  • Adjustable seating system that makes it easy to find the perfect padding position
  • Front and rear carry handles makes it easy to transport from and to the water
  • Excellent capacity and onboard storage 
  • Rear tank well acts like a kid- or pet-friendly jump seat


  • Not everyone can handle the 100-pound weight 
  • It’s one of the most expensive SOT options 
  • The carry handles aren’t molded-in and may come unscrewed 

S Ocean Kayak’s Malibu Pedal is built for a care-free day on the water, with reliability and stability that make it an excellent choice regardless of your experience level.

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2. Perception Hi Life 11

[aPerception Hi Life 11
  •  Best SOT-SUP Hybrid
  • Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Price: ★★★★☆
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The stand-up paddleboard hype doesn’t show signs of slowing down, so Perception decided to join in on the fun with a rather unique, award-winning solution – a hybrid of a SUP and a sit-on-top kayak, known as the Hi Life 11.

Seriously, this thing is a kayak version of a Swiss Army knife:

The 11-foot, 55-pound polyethylene hull boasts a sit-on-top design that you can paddle as a standard kayak. The actual paddle isn’t included, though. 

At the same time, it’s stable enough – with soft-but-grippy cushioning across the top surface – to allow you to stand up and use it as a paddleboard.

It’s also equipped with a built-in cooler space beneath the elevated seat, a gear track for accessories, front and rear swim decks, and a 280-pound capacity. 

Storage options are limited, but that’s understandable considering the design. 

Technical Specs 

  • Polyethylene hull 
  • Measures 11 x 2.8 feet
  • Weighs 55 pounds 
  • 280-pound capacity 


  • A stable, easy-to-enter hybrid that acts as a kayak or a SUP 
  • Soft-but-grippy surface cushioning 
  • A cooler space beneath the seat 
  • Front and rear swim decks 
  • Gear track for accessories 


  • The Hi Life convertible paddle is sold separately 
  • Lacks storage options found in a traditional kayak 
  • Doesn’t track that well without the fin attached 

If you can’t decide between a SUP and a SOT kayak, maybe you don’t have to – the Perception Hi Life could be the fun and versatile hybrid solution for you! 

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3. Ocean Kayak Trident 15 Angler Kayak

Ocean Kayak Trident 15 Angler Kayak
  • Best Sit-On-Top Kayak For Fishing
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★☆
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Another Ocean Kayak watercraft that deserves mention here is the Trident 15 Angler – a well-made kayak with cockpit upgrades designed with modern fishers’ needs in mind.

The 15.5-foot long hull weighs a not-so-light 91 pounds, but the 28.5-inch width lends it an overall sleek appearance. And despite the trim waistline, it still boasts an impressive 455-pound capacity to accommodate a large angler, plenty of gear – and the fish caught along the way. 

Trident 15 is equipped with two flush-mount rod holders, accessory tracks, an oversized tank well with bungee cords, and click-seal hatches. What’s more, you get the Mod Pod console, with a smartphone compartment, magnetic tackle holder, accessory plate, and transducer-compatible scupper.

The feature-rich design comes at a cost, though – and the fact that you don’t get a paddle doesn’t help the case, either.

Technical Specs 

  • Polyethylene hull
  • Measures 15.5 x 2.4 feet 
  • Weighs 91 pounds 
  • 455-pound capacity 


  • Tons of onboard space for gear 
  • Fully rigged for fishing with a Mod Pod II console
  • Unmatched capacity for a one-person kayak
  • Side mounted carry handles make transporting this beast easy
  • Fast and tracks well over long distances 


  • It’s not exactly a lightweight one-person kayak
  • A paddle isn’t included in the package
  • It might not be ideal for anglers on a budget 

Ocean Kayak’s Trident 15 Angler is a high-performance, well-made kayak designed to meet the modern angler’s needs. It’s somewhat pricey, but its performance characteristics are worth it.

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4. Solstice by Swimline Durango Kayak

Solstice by Swimline Durango Kayak
  • Best Budget Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak
  • Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Price: ★★★★★
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Hard-shells are nice and all, but they’re not exactly the most portable – or easiest on the wallet – kayaks out there. That’s why a budget-friendly inflatable Sit-On, like the Durango, may be worth considering.

This Solstice by Swimline 11-foot kayak boasts a triple-layer bottom with a 600-denier nylon top cover, and an I-beam floor for added rigidity yet weighs a mere 29 pounds. 

How’s that for toughness on a budget? 

Durango transforms from a single to tandem and has a 440-pound capacity. The bow and stern covers with elastic cords act as cargo spaces, and there are multiple D-ring tie-downs for securing gear.

You’ll also get a carrying bag, a repair kit, and a detachable skeg, but you’ll have to get the paddles separately. Consider replacing the seats while you’re at it; the ones included are far from supportive. 

Technical Specs 

  • 600-denier nylon hull 
  • Measures 11 x 3.1 feet 
  • Weighs 29 pounds 
  • 440-pound capacity 


  • Converts from a single to a tandem kayak 
  • Robust, sturdy but lightweight construction 
  • Tracks better than expected 
  • A carrying bag, detachable skeg, and repair kit included 


  • The seats don’t provide enough back support 
  • You have to buy the paddles separately 
  • Takes a while to dry 
  • Doesn’t handle wind that well

If you’re a recreational paddler who can’t afford to haul around a conventional tandem kayak, the Solstice by Swimline Durango kayak might be a good alternative!

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5. Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Recreational Touring Kayak

Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Recreational Touring Kayak
  • Best Inflatable Sit-on-Top Kayak
  • Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Price: ★★★★★
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Again, not everyone needs a traditional hard-shell. For some, an inflatable kayak is more than enough – as long as it’s built to last and doesn’t compromise on-water performance. 

First off, Driftsun Almanor is one good-looking inflatable kayak. Besides the good looks, the 11-foot hull boasts rugged, UV-resistant, 600-denier polyester construction and weighs a mere 23 pounds. 

You’re still getting a 300-pound capacity and bungee-rigged splash guards for gear storage. It has the capacity for larger paddlers, but I’m not sure if those with fuller hips would find it as comfortable. 

It comes as part of an adventure-ready package that includes an adjustable EVA-padded seat, paddle, pump, detachable fin, footrests, and carrying bag. 

Technical Specs 

  • 600-denier polyester hull
  • Measures 11 x 2.8 feet
  • Weighs 23 pounds 
  • 300-pound capacity


  • Extremely lightweight but durable and roomy
  • Well-padded, comfortable seats 
  • Adjustable foot and backrest make dialing in that prefect padding position a dream 
  • Handles well, even in choppy waters 
  • Comes as part of a complete kayaking kit


  • Paddlers with fuller hips may find it a bit snug 
  • The top side takes longer to dry 
  • You should invest in slightly longer paddles 

If you want a vessel that you can bring along on all your outdoor adventures, the 23-pound, easy-to-inflate Driftsun Almanor is the way to go.

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6. Perception Crank 10 Sit on Top Pedal Kayak

Perception Crank 10 Sit on Top Pedal Kayak
  • Overall Best Sit On Top Kayak
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
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You don’t see many 10-foot kayaks with a pedal drive system, but Perception’s Crank 10 is one of them. The modest length makes it agile, easy to maneuver, and a joy to be in, as it’s comfortable and moves through the water effortlessly. 

The kayak weighs 78 pounds, so it’s easy enough to manage single-handedly. I’m not too fond of the back handle position, though; it throws off the weight distribution. 

The lawn-chair-style seat – Captain’s Chair – is removable and allows you to stand up and reap the benefits of the 35-inch broad hull’s stability. What’s more, it can handle serious loading, boasting a 350-pound capacity.

There’s a large rear tank well and bow storage area, both with bungee rigging, and small side-storage trays. You can also add aftermarket accessories, as it comes with two Solo Mount recesses.

Technical Specs 

  • Polyethylene hull 
  • Measures 10 x 2.9 feet 
  • Weighs 78 pounds 
  • 350-pound capacity 


  • Pedal-drive system with one-hand rudder control
  • Two Solo Mount recesses for accessories and transducer scupper
  • Front and rear bungee-rigged storage 
  • Adjustable, removable, and foldable lawn-chair-style seat 


  • The kayak doesn’t feature any rod holders
  • The back handle is moved to the side and messes with weight distribution when loading and unloading

There aren’t many 10-foot kayaks that can compete with Perception Crank 10 in performance, maneuverability, comfort, or layout. If you want a sleek-looking pedal-powered kayak, this is it.

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7. Wilderness Systems Ripper

Wilderness Systems Ripper
  • Best Beginner SIt On Top Kayak
  • Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Price: ★★★★☆
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Wilderness Systems’ Ripper is a short, 8-foot kayak that weighs a comfortable 39 pounds. So, you can expect it to be portable and manageable – both in and out of water. 

Considering the dimensions and the limited, 225-pound capacity of this little kayak, you can’t expect it to compete with others in terms of storage. That doesn’t mean that you don’t get any! 

Ripper features a round dry-storage hatch behind the seat, a relatively large rear tank well with bungee lashes, and tie-down loops. 

There’s not much to discuss regarding the seat; you’re getting a decent enough backrest, but no bottom cushioning. 

Technical Specs 

  • Polyethylene hull 
  • Measures 8 x 2.5 feet 
  • Weighs 39 pounds 
  • 225-pound capacity


  • Lightweight and easy-to-transport kayak
  • Stable and maneuverable enough for beginners
  • A dry-storage hatch and rear tank well with bungee rigging
  • Six scuppers for drainage 


  • There’s no bottom cushioning on the seat, which reduces the overall comfort
  • The hatch lid came off several times in rougher coastal waters 
  • Has a somewhat limited weight capacity

Beginner kayakers will appreciate a reasonably priced, maneuverable, stable, and easy to transport kayak more than anything – and the Wilderness Systems Ripper fits the bill.

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8. Perception Zip 9.5

Perception Zip 9.5
  • Best Cheap Sit-On-Top Kayak
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
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If this one doesn’t sound familiar, maybe you know it under a different name – Perception Access 9.5. Either way, Perception’s Zip can offer quality at an affordable price by simplifying the construction. 

With a 9.5-foot hull that weighs no more than 45 pounds, the Zip – aka the Access – is a simple, versatile, and easy-to-use hard-shell kayak for beginners or intermediate paddlers. 

It doesn’t feature bells and whistles, or a paddle, for that matter. You’ll get a molded-in seat – you’ll have to get the cushioned clip-in version separately – footrests, and self-draining scupper holes.

The kayak has a limited 250-pound capacity, with storage options including a rear tank well area with bungee lashes and an open front cargo area. 

Technical Specs 

  • Rotomolded polyethylene hull 
  • Measures 9.5 x 2.7 feet 
  • Weighs 45 pounds 
  • 250-pound capacity 


  • Simplified, beginner-friendly construction
  • Molded-in seat and footrests 
  • Has rear tank well and open bow cargo area
  • Molded-in carry handles also help secure the kayak 


  • You’ll have to purchase the Harmony Clip-In seat separately 
  • A paddle isn’t included in the package
  • Limited weight capacity and no dry storage options

Perception Zip 9.5 makes just entering the kayaking world and aren’t ready to drop four digits on a new vessel, Perception Zip 9.5 makes for a perfect entry point!

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9. Sun Dolphin Bali SS

Sun Dolphin Bali SS
  • Best Recreational Sit-On-Top Kayak
  • Rating:  ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★
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No sit-on-top kayak review would be complete without the Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10 – the perfect sit-on kayak for outdoor adventures. This American manufactured and assembled SOT kayak is one of the best selling kayaks in America – it’s easy to see why.

The Bali SS weighs just 44-pounds, this lightweight kayak is easy to carry; and quick to access, with a large open cockpit design and multi-chine hull that boosts stability. Though it may be short at 10ft long, this boat still performs admirably well in the water.

With adjustable foot braces and a padded seat, this kayak is designed to make it easy for you to dial in your perfect paddling position.  And did I mention it comes with a paddle?

Considering its small size, you might be surprised at how much storage space the Sun Dolphin Bali has. It comes with a sealed compartment located in the foot well, which is useful to store keys or your cell phone. At the front of it there are two open compartments that could be used to secure a dry bag with bungee cords. It also has a portable accessory carrier that can be used as extra storage when you’re out on-the-go – you can even tow it behind you to save space on-board.

The only thing that let this super little sit on kayak down is its weight capacity, 250-pounds. So not the best choice if you are a larger kayaker like me. The included paddle is not the best, but for the budget it’s good enough.

Technical Specs 

  • High Density Polyethylene
  • Measures 9.5 x 2.5 feet 
  • Weighs 44 pounds 
  • 250-pound capacity 


  • Suitable for lakes and rivers
  • Lightweight, easy to carry and transport
  • Come with a paddle included
  • Tracks and paddles well for maximum stability
  • Generous on-board storage 
  • Large cockpit, thats easy to enter and exit,
  • Comfortable padded seat and adjustable foot braces


  • Limited weight capacity
  • Paddle isn’t the greatest

The Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10 is a great recreational sit-on kayak. It’s affordable, lightweight, easy to carry and quick to access. Plus, with its generous on-board storage capacity this little kayak has plenty of room for all your essentials. The only downside? This SOT kayak does not come equipped with enough weight capacity so may not be suitable for larger individuals; however, overall it’s still a fantastic buy!

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Conclusion What Is The Best Sit-On-Top Kayak?

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker looking for a sit-on-top that will fit right in your active lifestyle or a novice who’s only giving kayaking a shot, there’s a SOT kayak for you somewhere on my list. 

The trick to picking the best sit-on-top kayaks almost always comes down to determining where and how you’ll use it, what features matter most to you, and how much you’re comfortable spending. 

That said, some SOT kayaks are more versatile than others. 

The Perception Crank 10, for example, is an outstanding all-around kayak fitted with a pedal drive system for effortless propulsion and maneuverability, a seat that’s beyond comfortable, impressive weight capacity and ample onboard storage. 

If you want a blend of value, design, comfort, and ease of use, that is the kayak worth considering!

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Sam OBrien

Sam is the founder and editor of WaterSportsWhiz. With over 20 years of experience across various water sports, he provides trusted reviews and expert advice to help others pursue their passion for getting out on the water. When not working, you can find him kayaking, paddle boarding, or planning his next water-based adventure with family and friends.

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