Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500 – (2021 Round-up)

| Last Updated June 13, 2021

If you are someone who enjoys fishing as a hobby to relax or a way to spend some time with friends and family, the fact remains that only with the right gear you can avoid being a victim of an accident and make the most from your trip to the water.

Whether you are someone who prefers to remain close to the shore or if the adventure of being in new waters is more exciting for you, fishing kayaks are essential.

Do you plan your fishing trips in a nearby pond or a lake, or is it the open ocean for you? Whatever your choice, a fishing kayak is something you would surely need to either paddle or pedal your way to the fish.

Comparison Chart of the Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Made from UV-protected and high-density polyethylene
  • Equipped with adjustable padded seats
  • Can handle pretty heavy loads effortlessly
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  • Can be used by up to 3 people at once
  • 2 skegs on the bottom allows for better speed ability
  • Seats offer very good back support
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  • Best for the Money
  • Comes with adjustable and removable mounting bracket
  • Features recessed fishing rod holders
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  • Best Sit on Top Fishing Kayak Under $500
  • Has effective front and rear shockcord straps
  • Rear T-Handles allows for easy transport
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  • Best Sit in Fishing Kayak Under $500
  • Attractive and ideal for larger paddlers
  • Tri-keel hull results in much smoother steering
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Can You Find a Quality Fishing Kayak Under $500?

There are a variety of fishing kayaks available on the market, which address different requirements of a diverse customer base and ­environments.

However, one thing is certain. When it comes to choosing the best fishing kayak, there is no one-size-fits-all. Therefore, before you proceed to purchase the one for your future fishing trips, it is wise to first list your needs and take stock of your plans.

The two major types of kayaks are Sit-On-Top (SOT) and Sit-Inside Kayak (SIK). While both types have their advantages, SOT kayaks are much safer and more user-friendly, particularly for beginners, as they can roll over without filling with water.

Meanwhile, SIK features a cockpit, and the rider sits at the waterline; therefore, the frame of the boat covers the rider almost to the waist, providing a much drier and warmer experience. SIKs are more suitable for moving waters and in colder environments.

Both these types of kayaks are available in a hard shell as well as inflatable materials and can accommodate single and multiple riders and provide space for housing other fishing gear as well.

The price range for recreational fishing kayaks also ranges from $200 to well over $1000. However, as the premium range usually comes with powered motors and other expensive equipment like GPS, you can definitely find a decent and safe kayak under $500.  

Review of the Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500

Now that we have established that finding a kayak under $500 is absolutely possible, let us get down to reviewing the pros and cons of the best fishing kayaks available on the market today. With the following review of top of the line fishing kayaks, you will be able to determine the one which best suits your requirements, without any compromise to your safety but saving a hit to your wallet.

Best Overall:
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

PROS

  • Strong and sturdy build
  • Has a low maintenance cost and needs
  • Spacious and has sufficient storage space
  • Cushioned folding seat and footrest positions for all heights
  • Flat bottoms and deep channels in the hull allow for great tracking

CONS

  • Storage hatches are not waterproof
  • Does not have a Designated Transducer Location

What Recent Buyers Report

The majority of the customers have been pleasantly surprised with this kayak. Its ability to track straight, store all your essentials and handle rivers and lakes alike are just a few of the features that won them over. It was mentioned that it doesn’t come with its share of bells and whistles; however, it was rightly pointed out that this can be modified to your preference, which is a lot more fun.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The overall build, performance, and its overwhelmingly positive reviews speak a lot for this kayak; however, what caught our attention was how well suited it was for different waters. You can take it out in rivers or lakes with boat waves, and it will work just as great. It’s a work of true magnificence.

Who Will Use This Most

Any angler who is looking for a worthy kayak but doesn’t want to spend a fortune can buy this one, and they will be in for a pleasant surprise. However, its extreme stability and tracking capabilities make it highly suited for people who try to test out different waters and want something that can handle the adventure.

Bottom Line

Overall, this model is strongly built, and the two mounted fishing rod holders have a comfort factor and ample storage space. As if that wasn’t enough, it has a limited 5-year warranty as well. What else are you looking for?

Runner-up:
Sea Eagle 370 Pro

PROS

  • Can handle up to Class III Whitewater
  • Open and close drain valves to help drain any water
  • Bottom has 2 skegs to allow for good tracking and speed
  • Comes with two paddles, two seats, a spray kit, and a repair kit
  • Built from PolyKrylar, a top of the line material for inflatable kayaks

CONS

  • For some, it rides a bit low in the water
  • Needs to be dried out before you can store it

What Recent Buyers Report

Customers have reported being extremely satisfied with this unit. Its ability to seat 3 adults comfortably has been lauded by many customers. Moreover, the storage bag and the paddles have also been appreciated widely. It is a solid and well-built boat and has been recognized by users as such.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The build of this kayak is what got our attention. The inflation gauge lets you attain the right pressure in the side tubes and gives a sense of relief. The foot pump is highly efficient, and it doesn’t necessarily require an electronic pump. Furthermore, the tow point on the bow and the drain plug just goes on to show how well designed and carefully planned this kayak is.

Who Will Use This Most

Anglers who want a kayak for which you don’t require car racks will find this one to their liking. Furthermore, people running low on storage places will also love it as after being deflated, it becomes highly compact. However, when it is inflated, it has ample space, and everyone likes to be comfortable.

Bottom Line

To sum up, this is a fantastic option that has wonderful features. Manufacturers have put in a lot of effort and thought into the production of this thing, and it has paid off. It’s definitely something worth buying.

Best for the Money:
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

PROS

  • Integrated fishing rod holders for 2 rods
  • High-pressure inflation to ensure stability
  • Accommodates 2 people and provides adjustable bucket seats for both
  • Price includes a repair kit, a carry bag, pump, and adjustable mounting brackets
  • Super-Tough laminate material with polyester core providing high strength and durability alongside lightweight and portability

CONS

  • Maximum capacity of 400lbs is low compared to other 600lb kayaks
  • Unplugging the pump to check the pressure releases some of the pressure before the gauge is inserted

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the recent buyers are not only satisfied with the product itself but also appreciate the other accessories included in the box. The simple and user-friendly setup instructions take no time to get it up for use and extremely easy to repack as well.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like that this unit provides additional storage space in addition to being a ride to accommodate two riders. It is specifically designed to provide optimal maneuverability in both deep and shallow water and can be used safely on the still waters of a lake and also in rivers and oceans.

Who Will Use This Most

Keeping in mind the durability and the portability of this kayak and its ability to be used in both shallow and deep water, we believe that this product is everything you need to start enjoying your next fishing trip.

Bottom Line

The material used in manufacturing this Kayak, combined with its double seating capacity, makes it an impressive product. Plus, with its impressive portability, we find this to be the best value for money product on our list. 

Best Sit on Top Fishing Kayak Under $500:
Lifetime Tamarack Angler

PROS

  • Chine rails on the hull to prevent tipping
  • Comes with storage compartments and rod holders
  • Flat bottom with deep-hull tracking channels for stability
  • 5-year guarantee for manufacturing faults and breakages
  • Multiple footrest positions to accommodate various-size riders

CONS

  • Chine rails and deep hull reduce the maneuvering capabilities of the craft
  • Although the seat is fully adjustable, it’s not as comfortable as other similar crafts have to offer

What Recent Buyers Report

The craft has mixed recent reviews from buyers. We have observed that the kayak is more popular among entry-level users as it provides an extremely stable platform and is certainly remarkably easy to handle. Combine this with the additional storage compartments, and the users are satisfied with their purchase.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The fantastic stability offered by this craft and the extremely stable platform it provides to the rider to cast from while fishing is certainly unmatched. More importantly, the 5-year guarantee, which is rare in the kayak market, provides additional peace of mind to the buyer.

Who Will Use This Most

With comparatively reduced maneuvering capacities and being classified as not the fastest vessel in the market, this kayak is targeted specifically for fishing expeditions for beginners. While professionals can use it as well, they might be better off with something that’s relatively faster.

Bottom Line

Being stable and having plenty of storage for the gear and the catch and combined with a 5-year guarantee, this model is definitely going to give the required peace of mind to the buyers while also confirming the belief of the manufacturer on the product.

Best Sit-in Fishing Kayak Under $500:
Perception Sound 10.5

PROS

  • Tri-keeled hull for additional stability
  • Increased comfort with extra cushioned pads for thighs
  • Spacious cockpit for a Sit-In-Kayak (SIK), allowing for easier access
  • Stable for a 10.5 ft. vessel and built with high-density polypropylene
  • Very light and not very lengthy, making it easy to carry, load, and launch

CONS

  • Low storage space
  • Built only for quiet and slow-moving water

What Recent Buyers Report

The recent buyers for the product have mixed reviews where some have appreciated the build quality, which increases the safety of this vessel. Increased stability is also another feature that has been appreciated by purchasers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Although it cannot be compared with the other Sit-On-Top (SOT) Kayaks mentioned on this list, in addition to the advantages provided by the Sit-In-Kayak (SIK), this craft also attempts to reduce some of the downsides of such kayaks.

Who Will Use This Most

Anglers seeking an entry-level kayak with the purpose of learning how to paddle around the local lake while also catching a few fish in the process are most likely to purchase and be satisfied with this craft. It’s not too much for professionals, but it’s great for beginners.  

Bottom Line

All in all, this is an entry-level vessel with a low price tag that does not compromise on the safety of the craft or its rider. At the same time, it provides increased comfort, stability, and durability to the purchaser.

Types of Fishing Kayaks Mentioned on Our List

In compiling and reviewing the types of kayaks, we have selected from both the major types, i.e., Sit-On-Top (SOT) and Sit-In-Kayak (SIK). These can further be categorized in different sub-sections as follows:

Inflatable or Hard Shell

As the name suggests, inflatable crafts are those that can be inflated for use with a pump and later deflated to be stored or for portability. Hardshell kayaks are made of different materials, including polyester cores and polypropylene.

Single or Multiple Persons

Most kayaks are designed for a single person, while some SOT kayaks have also been designed to accommodate two or, in some cases, three people.

Pedal or Paddle

Most basic and traditional kayaks are propelled with paddle power. However, with Pedal/Leg Powered Kayaks, the rider has their hand free for fishing and therefore are preferred more.

Stability  

Wide kayaks with hulls are more appropriate. Meanwhile, chine rails also increase stability and are also preferred by users who intend to use kayaks for fishing as it provides a more stable platform to cast for fishing.

Conclusion

Fishing is a great way to blow off some steam and serves as a passionate hobby for a lot of people. The gear you have determines greatly what your experience would be like, and a kayak is definitely at the top of the list. We hope this review helped you to find what you were looking for, and you leave informed and satisfied. Happy Fishing!

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My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at admin@biggamelogic.com. Read more about Big Game Logic.