So you’re looking at starting kayaking? Good news! It’s a great way to get out into nature and enjoy the waterways of the United States and Canada.
The bad news? It’s expensive to start with the sport. The PFD, fishing gear, anchor, and accessories are reasonably priced. However, you’re going to have to part with some serious money when buying the kayak.
We’re not talking jet ski money here, but kayaks aren’t cheap. Depending on what you want to do on the water, a kayak could cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. So, how much does a kayak cost?
- How Much Do Kayaks Cost? – A Quick Glance
- Factors Influencing Kayak Prices
- Kayak Model Pricing Guide – How Much Does a Kayak Cost?
- Buying a Kayak – New or Preowned?
- Do Kayaks Depreciate in Value?
- Wrapping Up – Tips for Buying a Kayak
How Much Do Kayaks Cost? – A Quick Glance
We decided to give you a guide to kayak pricing. Let’s get right to it. Here are the industry averages for kayak pricing across different models. The prices will vary between manufacturing brands, with some being more expensive than others.
- Recreational Kayak – $300 to $1,600
- Inflatable Kayak – $1500 to $1,000
- Folding Kayak – $1,100 to $2,500
- Whitewater Kayak – $750 to $2,000
- Playboats – $1,200 to $2,000
- Creekboats –$1,200 to $2,000
- Touring Kayak – $1200 to $2000
- Fishing Kayak – $300 to $2,500
- Ocean Kayak – $1,000 to $2,600
- Tandem Kayak – $400 to $3,500
- Pedal Kayak – $2,200 to $4,000
- Kids Kayak – $100 to $700
Factors Influencing Kayak Prices
Materials, Design, and Construction
The materials play the largest role in deciding the price. Entry-level recreational kayaks feature roto-molded polyethylene designs offering the most affordable options.
However, top-end fiberglass designs are pricey, and carbon-fiber racing kayaks come with steep price tags. Beginners should consider an inflatable kayak as an affordable choice.
Inflatables feature design and construction with PVC and thermoform materials. They’re not as durable as fiberglass or carbon models, but they come with a competitive price tag.
Manufacturing Brand and Quality
The manufacturing brand plays a role. Like cars, some brands have more weight in the market and command higher prices for their kayaks.
Stealth fishing kayaks are a good example. They are at the top of the premium market and an expensive model. However, plenty of other brands offer fishing kayaks at more affordable prices.
Load and Storage
The more load the kayak can carry and the better the onboard storage, the pricier the kayak. That’s not always the case, but bigger kayaks with more room typically sell for more than smaller boats. Features like bungee rigging will also affect the utility, and the price, of the kayak.
The bigger the boat, the more expensive the price tag. Tandem models will cost more than single-person kayaks, and multi-seater boats typically retail for more than tandems.
Racing kayaks need a lightweight design. The lighter the kayak, the more glide, acceleration, and speed offered to the rider. Lightweight materials like carbon fiber and fiberglass add to the price tag in competitive models.
Propulsion and Steering Systems
Some kayaks come with motorized electric propulsion systems, increasing the price tag. The addition of steering systems like rudders or foot pedal-operated rudders and propellors increases the price.
Accessories and Fittings
Most kayak models come in standard packages, and you’ll have to upgrade them with accessories. If you want to kit out a fishing kayak, you can expect to spend money on accessories like rod holders, coolers, gear racks, and tackle storage.
Kayak Model Pricing Guide – How Much Does a Kayak Cost?
The utility of the kayak also plays into the sticker price. Some kayaks are more expensive than others, but they might not be suitable for what you want to do in the water. Let’s unpack the differences in price across kayak categories.
Recreational “Rec” Kayak Price
Recreational kayakers are for the on-and-off kayakers who enjoy their boat’s seasonal use. They are good all-rounders and have a balance of performance and price. Rec kayaks can retail from $300 to $1,000, depending on the capacity, features, and brand.
Recreational kayaks are the ideal beginner choice, and entry-level models are around the $300 mark for a decent kayak.
Typically, you get a paddle included with your purchase. If you want more storage or accessories, you’ll have to spend a few hundred dollars more, depending on your requirements.
Inflatable Kayak Prices
Inflatables are the most affordable option for entry-level kayaks. You can find single-seater models for as little as $150.
Even the top-end inflatables that seat four people retail for less than $1,000. However, plastic means puncture risk. So, you’ll only use these kayaks in in-shore applications where they are no sharp sunken objects presenting a puncture risk.
However, some inflatables are more expensive than others due to the quality of the construction. You can expect to pay more for inflatable features and design components like multiple air chambers, drop-stitch floors, and whitewater-friendly ratings.
The issue with inflatables is that they come with flat bottoms. This design means less performance and more drag, resulting in a boat that’s hard to accelerate, track, and maneuver.
Inflatables also come in a range of utility options. You get dedicated fishing and whitewater kayak designs, models for touring, and many more to suit whatever you want to do on the water.
Folding Kayak Prices
The folding kayak is a hybrid between the traditional hard-shell design and an inflatable model. Like the inflatable, they fold away for compact storage, making traveling with your boat easy. However, they have better stability and performance than the standard inflatable.
The folding kayak sits lower in the water and has a better hell design for carving through the choppy water.
You get better turning and maneuverability than the inflatable but at a higher price point. If you’re an intermediate kayaker and want a compact model that’s easy to carry and store, consider a folding kayak.
Folding kayaks are expensive. They are a relatively new design technology and retail for anywhere from $1,100 to $2,800.
Touring Kayak Price
Touring kayaks have a design built for long-distance traveling. They are long, sleek, thin, and stable. You get a good glide through the water, improving your paddling efficiency.
Typically, they are sit-in designs, with options for onboard storage and mounting accessories to record and enjoy your kayak adventure.
However, they have steep price tags. Some models can cost more than $2,500 when fully-kitted out. Typically, you can expect lightweight hull materials like fiberglass or carbon fiber.
Touring kayaks, also known as “sea kayaks: are suitable for longer journeys and carrying heavier loads, but they come with a hefty price tag to boot.
Whitewater Kayak Price
Whitewater kayaks come in several models. River Runner kayaks are the most common for navigating rapids and downstream adventures. Some of the top river runner models retail for up to $1,400.
Playboat and Creekboat Price
Playboats and creekboats are a subdivision of whitewater kayaks. They have a short six to eight-foot length, and they have plenty of volume in the body.
They can feature construction with ABS plastic or carbon fiber and range in price depending on the brand and design. Entry-level models can cost as little as $750, while top brands can charge up to $3,000 for a carbon fiber kayak.
Fishing Kayak Price
Fishing kayaks come with additional accessories designed to enhance the fishing experience. Entry-level fishing kayaks can cost around $750 to $1,000, with top-of-the-line models fetching up to $1,500.
Adding accessories like fishfinders and GPS can add another $500. Pedal drives and trolling motors will likely add another $500 to the price tag.
Tandem Kayak Price
Tandem kayaks are more expensive than single-seater models. You can expect to pay 20% to 30% over the single-seater model when purchasing a tandem kayak.
Entry-level tandem kayaks can retail for as little as $750, while the premium models can sell for over $3,000.
Racing kayaks are long and sleek with a slimline profile. They feature deep V-hull designs and construction with lightweight fiberglass and carbon fiber materials.
As a result, they come with astronomical price tags. You can expect to pay up to $6,000 for a professional racing model.
Kids Kayak Price
Inflatables are the ideal first kayak for kids. They are affordable, and you can pick one up for as little as $150. When they grow and decide they want to take kayaking seriously, they can transition to a more expensive, hard-shell design.
Buying a Kayak – New or Preowned?
So, do you go with a new kayak or a pre-owned model? A pre-owned kayak is always the better choice if it’s in good condition.
Since there are no motors on kayaks, they don’t require as much due diligence as inspecting a jet ski or boat. Check for obvious signs of repairs to the hull and look for creases and cracks.
There are dozens of places to buy pre-owned kayaks. Check with kayaking clubs in your area and search on websites like Craigslist.
Depending on the time of the year and the buyer’s motivation, you could score a great deal on your kayak.
Do Kayaks Depreciate in Value?
Yes, like your car, your kayak will depreciate in value. You can expect to lose 10% when you take it off the dealer’s floor.
You’ll lose another 10% every year for the next five years until you reach around 50% of its value in five to seven years, depending on how well you take care of the boat.
These depreciation figures are just generalities, and it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve more for your kayak in the secondary market.
The demand also plays a huge role in kayak prices. If there is no new stock, prices in the secondary market will rise.
How much you get for the sale of your second-hand kayak depends on its condition and how you take care of it throughout ownership. Sellers need to consider the following when setting a price in the secondary market.
- Storage conditions for the boat. Is it out of the sun and the elements, like hail?
- If you store your boat in the open, use a tarp to protect the color and prevent it from fading.
- Keep the kayak maintained, and remember to rinse it after each use.
- The physical wear and tear of the boat and the damage incurred over ownership also affect pricing in the secondary market.
- Damage and repairs to the hull or side of the kayak will affect pricing in the secondary market.
Wrapping Up – Tips for Buying a Kayak
There are a few market dynamics that affect kayak pricing. When you buy your kayak is as important as where you buy it.
Buy During the Off-Season
You’ll find kayak prices are highest in the spring and the summer and cheaper in the fall and wintertime. Demand plays a role in kayak pricing, and the offseason is the perfect time to score a great deal on a new kayak.
Dealers have inventory, and they need to sell it in time for the holidays. August or early September. These are the best times of year to buy a new kayak.
Look for Seasonal Sales and Special Deals
August and September are great times of the year for buying a new kayak. However, look out for deals over Christmas and during January.
Dealers will begin to update their product lines with new models. Companies are also looking to increase sales as much as possible before closing their financial year-end. As a result, you could find some insane deals.
During Thanksgiving weekend, vendors, big-box retailers, and dealers will usually offer great deals around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Check your kayak dealer to see what they have on offer. Black Friday and Cyber Monday also offer great specials on kayaking gear like GoPro cameras, storage units, fishing gear, and safety gear.
Check out the Previous Years Models
Dealers start replacing the old stock with new models in February and March. As a result, you might find they offer discounts on the previous models to clear them from the sales floor. You could pick up a great boat for a 10% discount.
Buy a Demo Model
Some dealers may offer discounts on demo models on the showroom floor. They may be replacing them with an updated demo model, allowing you to score on your kayak purchase.