Top 7 Best Kayaks Under 500 | 2021 Reviews (Intex)

Kayaking is a different kind of fun. An activity that will get you paddling through a watercourse while exploring nature. Kayaks directly put you in an intimate connection with the outdoors because of a kayak good skills and interactions with your surroundings.

The two most common uses for kayaks are recreational boating and race sports. Recreational is for people who want to enjoy a leisure activity, and the race is for those who compete professionally. The difference between the two is how they are built. Racing kayaks need to be fast and properly maneuvered on river rapids. On the other hand, a recreational kayak is made for comfort.

Kayaks are like boats, but only a limited number of people can make use of it. It is often one or two at a time. If you are on a budget, listed below are seven best kayaks under 500 for you.

Top 7 Best Kayaks Under 500 Reviewed

  1. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak – Best Overall
  2. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – Best Value
  3. Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak – Editor’s Choice
  4. Driftsun Rover 120/220 Kayak
  5. Lifetime Lotus Kayak 
  6. Sun Dolphin Aruba Kayak 
  7. Emotion Spitfire Kayak 

#1. Intex Challenger K1 Kayak – Best Overall

Intex Challenger K1

Check Price on Amazon



  • Length: 9 ft.
  • Material: Heavy-duty vinyl
  • Type: Inflatable sit-inside
  • Weight: 23.9 lbs.
  • Person capacity: 1

This item is one of the kayak challenger series brought by Intex store made of a durable welded material, a cockpit designed for comfort and maximized space, a cargo net for storing extra gears, and a repair patch. 

You will not regret getting yourself one of these because it is easy to set up, and it is perfect for cruising speeds. 2 minutes is all you need to pump it up, then 5 minutes or less to finally get it going in the water. It also boasts excellent tracking! You will never have to worry about being off-track. This kayak offers good resistance against the wind, which will help you clear waves. As regards its comfortability, it has plenty of space for you to stow important gears. You can even let your dog ride.

Light and compactLimited size
Easy to assembleNot fast

#2. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – Best Value

Intex Explorer K2

Check Price on Amazon



  • Length: 10 ft.
  • Material: Heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl
  • Type: Two-persons sit-on
  • Weight: 30.6 lbs.
  • Person capacity: 2

You might be wondering what the best kayak is out there for two persons. Intex store has also produced a 2-person inflatable kayak for those who want to enjoy the outdoors with someone. The kayak that is comfortable for anyone! It includes adjustable inflatable seats with a backrest and cockpit for comfort and space.

One of the key features of this kayak is its bright yellow color because it increases visibility if an emergency happens. The SKEG is also removable for directional stability. Since it is made for small water bodies, this kayak is easy to bring along with you!

Exploring lakes and mild rivers with a friend will be fun with a streamlined design for both persons to paddle easily. It is lightweight and compact plus easy to assemble. Its sturdy construction will make the experience less rigid.

Comfortable in the waterNot that smooth
Easy setupHeavy

#3. Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak – Editor’s Choice

Pelican Sentinel 100X

Check Price on Amazon



  • Length: 114 in.
  • Material: Polyethylene Plastic
  • Type: Sit-on
  • Weight: 44 lbs.
  • Person capacity: 1

Pelican Sit-on-Top is the best one for if you prefer to enjoy a stable and relaxing kayaking experience, whether it is the cool or warm season. This boat is built for those who want to be on calm and slow-moving waters. It is sturdy in the water. You can also get in-and-out of the kayak easily!

It has comfortable seats plus a built-in bungee line for holding paddles. The Mid-console of the kayak serves as a good space for holding your valuables. It also has plenty of room in the back for other things you would want to bring. Long trips are worth it this one as it can thrust waters with ease, and you can paddle smoothly. 

A highly recommended kayak for getting out on the water while the sun shines! This kayak is also a beginner level friendly. Another incentive of this kayak is that it is designed to answer the needs of most anglers.

Good for fishingFor specific bodies of water
ComfortableLacks speed
Long trips

#4. Driftsun Rover 120/220 Kayak

Driftsun Rover 120/220

Check Price on Amazon



  • Length: 8.5 ft.
  • Material: Reinforced Layered PVC
  • Type: Inflatable sit-on-top
  • Weight: 22 lbs.
  • Person capacity: 1

The kayak will take you less than 5 minutes to be fully inflated to its size, plus a manageable weight of 22 lbs. only. It will be a smooth ride for you because of the 1000D Reinforced Layered PVC side tubes and heavy-duty PVC Tarpaulin in the bottom, which protects from punctures. If you are ready for something adventurous, this is the kayak that will suit that need. It performs well in both rough bodies of waters and open-flat waters.

You can even stand on the bottom because of its solid material. It is also easy for you to get in and get out. Seats are also adjustable so you can put them in any place you want to. Your kayak will be unscathed as it can also navigate on rocky bottoms and raging rapids. Its price justifies its quality.

Easy to carryNot for higher waves
Floor is firmWind sensitive

#5. Lifetime Lotus Kayak 

Lifetime Lotus

Check Price on Amazon



  • Length: 8 ft.
  • Material: Polyethylene Plastic
  • Type: Sit-on-Top
  • Weight: 38 lbs.
  • Person capacity: 1

If you prefer a sit-on-top style, this kayak from Lifetime is a good deal in the market for their functionality and family-friendly design. The product has an adjustable quick-release seat back for your comfort, a tank for storing items, has multiple footrest positions for different size paddlers, and can transport to the waterfront easily.

No need to use a cushion for this one because the backrest is adjustable and comfortable. You can carry this easily with one arm. It is also stable in waters. This kayak is made for leisure paddling on calm waters and kids who want to try simple kayaking. You will be satisfied with how easily it handles you can get on and off.

Just in case you find yourself wanting to swim near shores, this product provides a stable platform for you to return to when you want to explore more.

Easy to transportSeat straps slides
Very stableA bit slow

#6. Sun Dolphin Aruba Kayak 

Sun Dolphin Aruba

Check Price on Amazon



  • Length: 10 ft.
  • Material: Polyethylene Plastic
  • Type: Solid Sit-Inside
  • Weight: 40 lbs.
  • Person capacity: 1

Are you a water enthusiast? Sun Dolphin Aruba kayak will surely suit you. This unit is crafted of a rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene hull. It has a deluxe adjustable seat with high back support and foot braces that can be adjusted. A storage hatch is also present for carrying your goods, and a water bottle holder.

If you are tired of renting a kayak, buying this product will not be a letdown. The cockpit is wide, so entering and exiting is a breeze to do. You will have decent control because the footpegs and thigh pads are great. You can fit into it even if you are tall. This inexpensive one is good for casual kayaking in the lakes.

Easy to handleNo seat cushions

#7. Emotion Spitfire Kayak 

Emotion Spitfire

Check Price on Amazon



  • Length: 5 ft.
  • Material: Polyethylene Plastic
  • Type: Sit-On-Top
  • Weight: 45 lbs.
  • Person capacity: 1

Kayaking for day floats will feel better with this nice boat from eMotion. The seats are ultralight and padded, a storage with cargo net lacing, with molded-in freedom footwells for comfort and secure foot bracing. You do not have to worry about draining water because it has self-bailing scupper holes from the cockpit and tank well.

It handles choppy waters well, and track. If you prefer a short trip in the waves, this will be comfortable for your needs for it has various footrest positions that can help you when you want to shift your posture. There is also a clip for you to leash your paddles and bungees on the side handholds. No need to worry about your stuff because it has a storage compartment with a watertight seal in the hull.

Its short length makes it easy to maneuver compared to a long kayak.

Easy to get in and outNot easy to carry
Very stableToo little

Top Pick – Best Kayaks Under 500

Intex Challenger K1

In terms of quality and value for money, this Challenger K1 kayak from Intex is a great deal. It is the best one because this product is excellent for freewheeling anytime and anywhere you want. It has the best feature you would look for with a 500 budget. It is comfortable, readily adjustable, and easy to bring because of its ultralight weight. Its price is also reasonable for it brings out the quality and performance you would expect from having a good kayaking experience. It is something that will bring you closer to the outdoors because of its flexibility. You will not have issues if you want to bring many things with you to your trip as this comes with a large storage compartment to fit important, personal things, even extra ones you might want to bring with you. 

If you are also a thrill seeker on a tight budget, then this will meet your expectations. It is super stable even in strong waters, plus leaks will rarely occur because of its durability. It also pumps up quickly if you want to save time. This kayak is also easy to set and beginner-friendly.

Best Kayaks Under 500 Top-brands


Intex is centered around providing products that have good quality, reasonable value, and promotes family time. Their goods are built to last long because they believe that memories are remembered when people use what they offer. Among the many things it distributes in many parts of the world, kayak boats have become one of its recognizable featured items. A lot of customers have given positive feedback to it. 

You will be impressed at how easy it is to set up their kayaks and their transportation efficiency. It comes with many accessories which will loosen up your worries about spending too much. If you are a beginner-level also, their kayaks are good for just starting to explore the rapids. Consider this brand when you want a top-of-the-line product when you have a fixed price to spend.


Find the right kayak for at Pelican stores. This company is considered one of the world leaders in the design and manufacture of kayaks. You will not be able to question its absolute reputation when it comes to quality and durability. Pelican has delivered over 50 years of great products at affordable prices. It has a strong commitment to innovating and investing in developing its goods with the use of technology. 

The company even promotes safe boating, which is why you can be assured that its kayak boats are strong enough to withstand the test of time and calm on-water activities. Their kayaks are even lightweight, stable, and easy to set up. It also includes good storage for safekeeping your stuff, adjustable backrests, and paddle holders. If you seek a specific item with unique features, Pelican is known for its various design of different kayaks, so you will have a chance to find what you look for.


Another brand to look out for when it comes to kayak is Lifetime. They have already established an excellent reputation for being around for so long. This company started as an idea in a garage of a dedicated father. Known also for being high-quality plastic products. From the name itself, you already have an impression of what it can bring to the table that quality is not just their tagline but a promise to its customers to deliver products beyond their standard expectations.

It has also acquired other companies that produce kayaks to have many other choices available to you. Its sit-on-top kayaks are the most stable in the market. Since its material is built from high-density polyethylene plastic, it makes the kayak durable and lightweight. Cup holders, paddler cradles, ample storage are just some of the built-in features.


This family-owned business began in 1982 but did not invest yet in making kayaking boats; instead, the focus was on building pedal boats, which eventually branched out. Now they make good quality kayaks for their customers and have become a leading manufacturer of kayaks. When you visit their site, it will welcome you with different types of boats. They boast one of the best customer services because they want you to be part of the family when you buy one of their products. 

Sundolphin knows the best features for when it comes to its kayaks, being in the boating industry for a long time now. It mainly focuses on producing recreational and fishing kayaks, so it is good to think about getting this brand if you want one of those types given. The kayaks are built with sports in mind.

Guide in Selecting the Best Kayak Under 500

Sit-in or Sit-on-Top

Both are good for recreational kayaking but choose which one will suit your needs and determine the level you want to begin with. Ask yourself if you want a sit-in or sit-on-top type because there is a significant difference between them. Sit-on-top kayaks are good for lakes and rivers that flow easily, while sit-in is mostly used for touring.


If you are on a budget, consider some important things that will be included in your kayak choice. Check if it has paddlers, straps, cushions, bungee, etc. that will make you get the value of your money.


It depends on where you would want to use the boat. You would want a kayak that is good for rough surfaces and can thread rapid waters. Some kayaks are made for specific water bodies, while others are built for taking bumpy on-water explorations.


Your option can be heavy or light. Both being heavy or light has its advantages and disadvantages, so choose wisely. Think about how and where you are bringing your kayak. Look at how many people it can carry also, and how much weight it can hold. The weight can affect your maneuverability and speed.


The hull is the key to the primary stability of a kayak. It means that once you get into your boat, it should not flip over. A kayak should be very stable so that you do not roll over, which is secondary stability. Find a strong kayak boat that can handle rocky bottoms, even high-motion activities. Different types of hull offer different stability.

Extra features

Look for bonuses and unique features when buying on a specific budget.


Know which type of kayak you should use for in lakes, rivers, or rough rapids before buying because there are many types of kayak boats made for various ways. Find out where you are paddling for some kayaks that have one type of paddling. Then choose the style that works for you, which can be recreational or race. If you decide to take on longer trips, get a kayak boat with a large compartment that you can easily get in-and-out. A lighter one is good for short trips as it is fast and easily transportable. You can still have the best kayaks with accessories and good features if you look at the right brands or deals to get yourself one.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Is speed an important factor?

It is up to you to decide if you want a fast kayak. If you seek on-water adventures, then speed could be important for your navigation. However, speed is not necessary for people that want to admire nature and explore it. It could be different for those who are fishing. Most kayaks are being used for touring, which are likely to be just recreational ones. Leisure paddling has become a popular activity. Those who race and want to get to their destination quickly will consider speed.  

How important is weight?

Heavy kayaks will tend to be slower, while the light one could be faster. It is another factor to weigh if you look at the areas where you will be kayaking. If you like to move around fast, then a lightweight kayak would be beneficial to you. Determining weight capacity includes two things: first is the paddler’s body weight, and the second is gears or personal items you will bring with you. If you are looking for a two-person kayak, then definitely look at those that can carry both.   

What should I look for in terms of comfortability?

Check the cockpit, seat, the overall size of the kayak boat. You should be able to fit in a comfortable position. Otherwise, it will hinder you from maneuvering properly. Seats should be comfortable to assist you better when it comes to paddling. Space should be big enough for you to shift body positions. Is the size of the boat suited for your height and weight? Can your hips fit with this width size? Being comfortable is a sense of security so make sure you know what is best for you.

Related Resources:

Leave a Comment