Kayak Prices – How Much Does A Kayak Cost?

Ready to invest in your own kayak but not sure how much to budget? Kayak prices can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on factors like kayak type, size, materials, and features. We break down the typical cost ranges for recreational, touring, fishing, and inflatable kayaks, as well as additional gear expenses to anticipate. Discover how much to spend for your perfect paddling setup!
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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.

Are you wondering how much you should budget for a kayak? The cost of a kayak can vary significantly depending on factors such as the type of kayak, materials used, brand reputation, and included features.

On average, kayak prices fall within the following ranges:

  • Recreational Kayaks: $300 to $1,000
  • Fishing Kayaks: $500 to $2,000
  • Whitewater Kayaks: $700 to $1,400
  • Touring Kayaks: $1,000 to $2,000+
  • Ocean Kayaks (Sea Kayaks): $1,000 to $1,800
  • Inflatable Kayaks: $100 to $1,000
  • Folding Kayaks: $1,800 to $2,500
  • Tandem Kayaks: $500 to $2,500
  • Kids Kayaks: $100 to $500
  • Pedal Kayaks: $1,200 to $2,000

While it’s possible to find kayaks for less than $100, these are often cheaply made and may not provide the best performance, durability, or comfort. To get the best value for your money, it’s essential to do your research, buy from a reputable brand, and look for models with positive reviews.

In this guide, we’ll explore the various factors that influence kayak prices and help you understand what to expect when making your purchase. We’ll cover:

  • The impact of kayak type and intended use on pricing
  • How materials and construction affect the cost of a kayak
  • The role of brand reputation and included features in kayak pricing
  • Tips for finding the best value for your budget and needs

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer understanding of kayak prices and be better equipped to make an informed decision when investing in your own kayaking adventure.

The Cost Of A Kayak – Key Takeaways

  • What influences kayak price; Brand, type, weight, load capacity, construction material and propulsion method are all factors that directly influence the price of a kayak.
  • Average kayak cost; Kayak prices vary considerably, ranging from low-end youth models at $100 to high-end fishing yaks and top-of-the-line composite kayaks at $2000.
  • How much should you spend? If you’re a beginner, you should expect to spend around $500 for a decent entry-level kayak. For a mid-range hard-shell, anticipate spending between $700 and $900. And if you want the best of the best, be prepared to spend at least $1000 or more
  • Depreciation; After two years, a kayak will be worth around 40-50% of its original purchase price, and it will continue to depreciate at an average rate of 10% each year thereafter.
  • Best time to buy; Timing is important when looking to purchase a kayak, discounts are typically available at the end of a session, during holiday sales, or when new models come out – these are the best times to buy if you’re looking to bag a good deal.
  • Used kayaks cost; If you’re looking to get into kayaking on a budget, the secondhand market is a great place to start. Used kayaks typically cost 50% to 75% less than their original purchase price, depending on age and condition.
  • Are cheap kayaks worth it? When it comes to cheap kayaks, you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice quality, but there is a difference between ‘affordable’ and ‘cheap’. To get the best value for your money, do your research, buy from a known brand, look for a model supported by positive reviews – and be prepared to give up some bells and whistles.

What Influences The Price Of A Kayak? 

Colourful kayaks and canoes on sale outside sports shop

In the process of choosing a new kayak, if you had a chance to browse the market a little bit, you probably noticed something interesting about kayak prices:

They can vary – and drastically so, might I add.

Why do some models cost next to nothing while others cost a not-so-small fortune, though? And what’s the difference between cheap and expensive kayaks?

Or, to sum it up in a straightforward question:

What exactly influences kayak prices?

It generally comes down to the kayak’s construction and features – but that would be the overly simplified version of the answer.

For a more detailed take on what influences the prices of kayaks, check out the factors listed below:

  • Brand – Big-name brands often come with a hefty price tag attached to them; smaller brands tend to keep the pricing in the easy-on-the-budget range.
  • Construction & Material – Roto-molded polyethylene kayaks are usually the cheapest available option. On the other end, you have kayaks made of composite materials. And right in the middle, bridging the gap both in pricing and performance, are thermoform kayaks. Oh, and don’t forget inflatables; they’re the definition of portability on a budget.
  • Weight – If you want a lightweight hard-shell kayak, you’ll likely have to pay more to get it. Ultra-light ‘yaks made from composite materials, such as Carbon fiber or Kevlar, also happen to be the most expensive ones.
  • Load Capacity & Onboard Storage Options – Increased storage space and a higher load capacity will typically cost you more, especially when paired with a lightweight hull design. Even the most basic kayaks will feature onboard storage, such as a tank well or bungee rigging, but water-tight hatches are usually found on mid-range and higher-end models.
  • Solo & Tandems – Two-person, or tandem, kayaks will cost more than one-person ‘yaks. They are longer, have a higher capacity, and need at least two of everything – paddles, seats, cup holders; you name it.
  • Specialized Gear & Accessories – A stripped-down, bare-necessities ‘yak that includes no additional accessories will, understandably, cost less. A fully-rigged kayak, with seats, paddles, rod holders, gear tracks, and other extras – might cost more upfront, but you’ll save money in the long run.
  • Steering System – Included steering systems, such as rudders and skegs, tend to add to the kayak’s cost but can be a worthwhile investment in terms of improving its tracking performance.
  • Propulsion Method – Paddle-propelled kayaks are cheaper because they don’t require any additional equipment propulsion-wise. But once you add the pedal drive system into the equation, you can expect the kayak’s price to go up – by a lot. Motor-powered ‘yaks are another giant leap in cost. 

Another thing to note here is that different types of kayaks – and all the performance and design characteristics and features they offer – will also have varying price tags attached to them.

Average Cost Of A Kayak: How Much Are Kayaks?

Various kayaks lined up for sale

By now, you’re probably aware that, when it comes to kayak prices, it’s hard to speak in definite terms – but how much do kayaks cost on average?

Here’s an overview of the average cost of a kayak by type to give you an idea – albeit a rough one – of what does a kayak cost.

Recreational Kayak Prices

Recreational kayak prices are much more palatable than other specialized kayaks and generally stick to a $300 to $1000 price range.

Beginner recreational kayaks – easy-to-use all-around performers with a generic design – are reasonably priced, starting at around $300. If you want more storage, comfort, and something a bit less generic, expect to pay a bit more than that, though.

Fishing Kayak Prices

If you’re buying a fishing kayak, you should set aside at least $500 to $750 for a decent sit-on-top fishing kayak. Once you start adding kayak fishing-specific features and outfitting, such as extra storage options, fish finder and GPS consoles, and rod holders, the cost goes up, too.

High-end fishing kayak prices can hit the $2000 mark – especially if you opt for a pedal-drive kayak.

Whitewater Kayak Prices

Whitewater kayaks start at around $700 to $850, but that depends on the type of whitewater kayak you’re getting. Some of the best whitewater kayaks tend to run closer to the $1000 mark, with some models going up to $1400.

Touring Kayak Prices

Touring kayaks are generally the most expensive type of kayak you can get your hands on; their prices start at around $1000 to $1200 and go up to $2000 – or more – for high-end models.

You are getting a longer, sleeker, more efficient, and highly durable kayak that’ll handle rougher waters and long, multi-day trips, though. The cost is justified by the performance these types of kayaks bring to the table. 

One might think that touring and sea kayaks are the same thing – and people use the terms “touring” or “sea-kayaking” interchangeably in conversation; however, there are significant differences between these two types of boats.

For example: even though both can paddle on open water like large lakes or coastal waters, but only one is meant to explore inland waterways while also being able to carry heavier loads (such as camping gear) – but their pricing is similar.

Inflatable Kayak Prices

Inflatable kayaks are generally affordable – for the most part, anyway. You’ll find inflatables that cost next to nothing – as in, less than $100 – but you’ll also find some that can reach the $1000 mark.

A higher price point brings about more puncture-resistant materials, drop-stitch floors, multiple air chambers, and, in the case of ducky kayaks, whitewater-friendly ratings.

Tandem Kayak Price

The average price range of tandem kayaks can vary because they’re available as hard-shells and inflatables. The more affordable ones can cost between $500 and $800, but they can go well over the $2500 mark, depending on the type.

Tandem touring kayaks, for example, tend to be the most expensive.

Folding Kayak Prices

Folding kayaks are awesome, but they don’t come cheap.  They are a great choice for people who like to travel, take long trips into remote places, camp and hike because you can take them with you wherever you go, due to their small size. Simply unfold it when it’s time to use the boat – once finished, fold it up and put away until next time!

But this flexible comes at price, with models staring around $1800, going up to $2500

Kids Kayak Prices

Youth or kid-sized sit-on-top kayaks can cost as little as $100 for the most basic models. The good news for parents of aspiring paddlers is that kids kayaks – even the more “advanced” ones – usually don’t go over the $500 mark.

Used Kayak Prices: How Much Should I Pay For A Used Kayak?

The average cost of a used kayak will depend on several factors – including the current state of the kayak and its original retail price. In that sense, I can’t provide a definite price range for used kayaks.

But here’s a rule of thumb for deciding how much you should pay for a used kayak – roughly 50 to 75 percent of the kayak’s original price.

So, when it comes to used kayak prices, find out what the model in question costs new – and go from there.  

Check our handy guide for some tips on buying used kayaks

Why Are Some Kayaks So Expensive?

man watching money fly out of his wallet

Wait, two grand for a tiny plastic boat? These kayak manufacturers must be out of their minds!

But that’s the thing with expensive kayaks:

You’re not paying for a tiny plastic boat – far from it.

So, if you can’t help but wonder why some kayaks are so expensive, here’s a quick overview of what you’re getting when you decide to spend a few extra bucks:

  • Higher level of precision construction-wise and performance-oriented design
  • Higher-quality materials, including more durable blends of plastic or composite materials, such as fiberglass and Kevlar, that improve the kayak’s UV- and impact-resistance  
  • Enhanced comfort and convenience, provided by the adjustable cockpit outfitting, a better seating system, and more attention to details
  • Better range of accessories – both included and optional – and additional features, such as gear tracks, rod holders, skid plates, cup holders
  • Improved weight capacity and more onboard storage options, paired with a lighter hull  
  • Additional steering systems, like skegs and rudders, and alternative propulsion methods, such as pedal drive systems 

“You get what you pay for,” goes the saying – but, with high-end kayaks, you also pay for what you get.

Could you go without some of these features and save a few bucks?

Yes, you could – which brings me to my next point. 

Are Cheap Kayaks Worth It?

You get what you pay for – or do you?

I have nothing against affordable kayaks. I’d say that, as long as you know what to look for, you can find some fantastic kayaks on the budget-friendly side of the market. This round-up of best budget kayaks proves my point: 

Getting into kayaking doesn’t necessarily have to cost a small fortune.

There’s a subtle – but oh-so-vital – difference between “affordable” and “cheap,” though, and it’s a difference you’re going to notice the second you set foot in the kayak.

When I say “cheap,” I mean cheaply made kayaks you’d often find at local discount department stores for less than $100. You can’t expect much in terms of performance, durability, or comfort from a kayak that costs next to nothing.

And it likely won’t foster your love of kayaking, either – which is a real shame.

But that doesn’t mean that all inexpensive kayaks are a waste of money. Play your cards right – choose wisely and be prepared to give up some bells and whistles – and you’ll be surprised by what the lower price range has to offer. 

Do Kayaks Hold Their Value? 

Kayak price over time

The answer depends on several factors.

Yes, generally speaking, most kayaks tend to hold their value pretty well over the years and will avoid rapid depreciation – if they’re well taken care of, that is.

Depreciation is inevitable – but the actual rates might vary. You can generally expect your kayak to depreciate at a rate of about 30 percent during the first year and then drop to a 10-15 percent depreciation rate with each following year.

That’s merely a rough estimate, though.

Type of kayak, construction, and materials, high demand, current state, maintenance effort; it all plays into how well a particular kayak would hold its value over time.

For example, a high-end kayak made of Kevlar that wasn’t used much and was well taken care of will hold its value and depreciate a lot slower than a polyethylene – or “Tupperware” – kayak.

Certain factors can affect the kayak’s depreciation rate, causing it to lose value much faster than it should – factors such as: 

  • Inadequate storage and exposure to extreme temperatures and the elements
  • Prolonged and direct exposure to UV rays
  • Poor or irregular maintenance 
  • Physical wear and tear
  • Dragging and improper handling during transportation 

What Is The Best Time To Buy A Kayak?

Kayak sale at the end of the season

Timing your purchase right and lining it up with the seasonal sales and discounts ensures that you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

So, what time of year do kayaks go on sale, exactly? And what is the best time to buy a kayak?

It would be best if you generally kept an eye on the latest offers year-round, as some of the larger kayak stores and online retailers run constraint promotions – with new sales and discounts popping up all the time.

But here are examples of the best times to find great deals and buy a kayak:

  • Off-Season – Prime kayaking season typically ends in late August or early September. Retailers are hoping to get rid of their last season’s stock during the off-season, and many kayaks will be on sale.
  • Holiday Deals – Vendors, big-box retailers, and dealers might offer deals on Memorial Day and during the Christmas holidays in December. Also, don’t forget about Black Friday; it can be a fantastic opportunity to get a kayak at a discounted price. Make sure to check out our post on this years best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
  • Buying Last Year’s Models – Whenever new kayak models get released, there’s a pretty good chance that retailers will put the last year’s stock on sale, offering the earlier model at a discounted price.
  • “Demo Sales” – Some stores will sell new models used as showroom display kayaks or demo kayaks at a slightly lower price. 

How Much Do Kayaks Cost: Quick Summary

Collection of kayaks for sale

For those wondering, “How much should I spend on a kayak,” the answer isn’t as simple as you might’ve hoped. In fact, it depends on a lot of different factors – and it’s a call you should make for yourself.

As for how much do kayaks cost, here are some general price guidelines for each of the different types of kayaks:

  • Recreational Kayaks – $300 to $1000
  • Fishing Kayaks – $500 to $2000
  • Whitewater Kayaks – $700 to $1400
  • Touring Kayaks – $1200 to $2000
  • Ocean Kayaks (Sea kayak) – $1000 to $1800
  • Inflatable Kayaks – $100 to $1000
  • Folding Kayaks – $1800 to $2500
  • Tandem Kayaks – $500 to $2500
  • Kids Kayaks – $100 to $500
  • Pedal Kayaks – $1200 to $2000
Photo of author

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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