When you want to get on the water on a budget, choosing the best inflatable kayak under $500 is a perfect solution that won’t compromise your boating experience. Inflatable kayaks are very versatile when it comes to their usage purposes. Whether you want to go out on a leisure kayaking trip, do some fishing, or hang out with your family on the water, an inflatable kayak can handle it.
Before we share our best kayaks under $500, let’s touch on what you should be looking for in the kayak of your choice.
How to Pick The Best Inflatable Kayaks Under $500
You should consider several factors when it comes to choosing an inflatable kayak on a budget.
Single or Tandem Kayak
Depending on your planned use case, you might have to decide between a single-paddler or two-paddler kayak. If you’re going on your trips alone, single is the better choice. Tandem kayaks, on the other hand, are more versatile. You can go out paddling with your kid, but you can also go solo and take out the extra seat for additional storage space.
Types of Use
Kayaking is mainly broken down into four categories: whitewater, touring, recreational and inflatable kayaks for fishing. It would be best to consider each of these uses in order to pick the best inflatable kayak for you.
Each type of inflatable kayak has its supporting features. For example, fishing kayaks usually offer raised seats to provide a better view of the water surface. On the other hand, Whitewater kayaks are made of the best materials to sustain rough waves and turbulence – but come at a higher cost.
There are two types of inflatable kayak floors: i-beam and drop-stitch. Drop-stitch floor type has an advantage over i-beam because the surface allows your kayak to hold higher air pressure that translates into rigidity. The higher the rigidity of your kayak is, the better its stability on the water.
Body Height and Weight
The kayak you choose should have a larger carrying capacity than you, plus everything you want to carry on the water. If you plan on using your inflatable kayak with someone else, please take that extra weight into account.
You should also consider your height when buying a budget inflatable kayak. Most kayaks on the market will be able to carry you on the water, but choosing an inflatable kayak with enough legroom is also crucial for your comfort while paddling.
Choosing The Best Inflatable Kayak Under $500
Now that we’re done discussing the factors you should be looking for in your new inflatable kayak, let’s talk about the best inflatable kayak under $500. Here are our recommendations and inflatable kayak reviews.
1. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
Best for: Recreational Paddling; Lakes; Mild rivers
The Intex Explorer K2 is one of the best inflatable kayaks under $500 that you can buy on the market right now. It offers a simple yet practical design that allows the boat to carry 400 pounds of weight.
This inflatable kayak is a tandem design, so it comes with two adjustable and inflatable seats. Since it has an i-beam floor design, it’s very rigid and stable even when carrying two paddlers. The Intex Explorer K2 is a sit-inside kayak, so it’s an excellent recreational kayak – but not so much a fishing kayak.
2. Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak
Best for: Recreational paddling; Fishing; Sea; Rough rivers
There is a reason why Intex has more than one product on our list of the best inflatable kayaks under $500 – they have proven that they deliver top-grade kayaks. While the Intex Excursion Pro was initially designed for experienced paddlers, it also works perfectly for a recreational kayak.
This boat also has robust PVC material that will provide you with a comfortable paddling experience without worrying about punctures or damages. In the package, you’ll get two adjustable bucket seats – which means you’ll be ready to go paddling with a partner. The Intex Excursion Pro also comes with two removable fins, one for shallow water and another one for deep water, so you won’t have to worry about having the wrong fin.
3. Sea Eagle 370 3-Person Inflatable Kayak
Best for: Recreational paddling; Fishing; Any water
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The Sea Eagle 370 3-Person Inflatable Kayak is the largest among our recommendations for the best inflatable kayak under $500. As the name says, this inflatable kayak can hold up to 650 pounds of weight on it.
Sea Eagle is famous for making durable and rugged inflatable kayaks that can handle even class-5 rapids and ocean adventures. The Sea Eagle 370 is UV and salt water-resistant, so you can take it anywhere you want.
It comes with a carrying sack, spray shields, a foot pump, and a pair of paddles, so you’re ready to get on the water as soon as it arrives at your door. Even if you’re not planning on going kayaking with two other people, the extra space that you’ll get from the Sea Eagle 370 is something nice to have.
4. Intex Challenger K1 Inflatable Kayak
Best for: Touring; Solo-paddling; Rough rivers; Lakes
The Intex Challenger K1 is another one of the best inflatable kayaks under $500. It’s a one-person kayak that offers comfort, speed, agility, and durability. The small stature of this kayak only allows it to carry up to 220 pound of weight, which is plenty for a one-person adventure on the rivers or lakes.
However, a smaller kayak means better portability. You can carry around this kayak easily to avoid overly dangerous rapids. The closed-deck on this kayak also protects your lower body from water (unless you tip over) – so you can safely store some gadgets under there to avoid water damage.
5. Sevylor Coleman 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
The last entry of our recommendations for the best inflatable kayaks under $500 is the Sevylor Coleman 2-Person kayak. It can support up to 470 pounds of weight, which should be more than enough for two average-sized people plus some equipment.
The features on this kayak indicate that it is intended for fishing: quick-set rod holders, motor fitting, paddle holder, mesh storage pockets, large carrying capacity. Its tall design also allows you to get a better position for angling and a clearer view of the water surface.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use this kayak for other purposes. The Sevylor Coleman is a stable and versatile kayak made with durable materials that can last for years. It’s a great choice if you want to paddle safely without worrying about your kayak leaking, but even if one air chamber gets punctured, it has multiple air chambers that can keep you afloat.
When it comes to making a perfect selection of budget inflatable kayaks, limiting what you want to spend will help narrow down the choices. We hope that our recommendations of the best inflatable kayaks under $500 can help you make the right purchase.