Best Kayaks Under $500: The Top Kayaks for Fishing, Exercise, and Exploring

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Kayaks are by far one of the best purchases you can make for the summer. You can get yourself a 1 to 3-person kayak with several options for an affordable price. I find kayaks to be much more practical than a boat or canoe, as they are so easy to pack up and take with you to the beach, lake, or on a road trip. 

If you enjoy fishing, there are many kayaks that come with extra storage space for your equipment. You can purchase a sit-on-top kayak or a sit-in depending on your preference. When it comes to storage, a sit-in kayak might be best, as it gives you the extra space for food, fishing gear, and other belongings. You can even store some small things inside where you’re sitting. 

In a previous article, we gave you our list of the best kayaks under $300. But for those with a slightly bigger budget, or who are looking for a more durable, higher-quality kayak, here are 5 excellent kayaks under $500. First, let’s compare two popular kayak types: sit-on and sit-in, the difference being rather obvious.

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Sit-On-Top vs. Sit-Inside Kayaks: Which Is Better?

Your choice to purchase a sit-in or sit-on top kayak will depend upon how you plan to use it. For example, if you’re planning on kayaking far from shore, a sit-on-top kayak is the safer choice. If you capsize, you won’t have to worry about the kayak filling with water and tipping or sinking, and your legs have more freedom, making it easier to get off of the kayak. The sit-on-top kayaks are much easier to get back onto than a sit-in kayak. 

If you’re just kayaking at the lake or beach, and you don’t go out too far, just wanting a simple kayak to enjoy, then a sit-in is a great choice! A sit-in kayak will also do a better job of keeping you dry while you paddle.

There are many different design features of kayaks. If you’re worried about safety or storage, you can get kayaks with more seat storage compartments, and some are designed with specific materials to prevent punctures, leaks, and better stability. 

If you enjoy using a kayak for fishing, a sit-on-top kayak is also better for that. It’s more convenient, typically more stable, and many of those kayaks allow you to stand easily, which makes fishing much better! It has a lot to do with preference, though; some people just prefer the sit-in kayak, being a bit more guarded from the water, and often can be more comfortable. 

Now, let’s get to our list!

Best Fishing Kayak Under $500

The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is our pick for the best fishing kayak under $500. This is a 2-person kayak and has some storage space in the front. Perfect for keeping fishing equipment. A kayak for fishing may seem too small, but with the extra seat, if you’re fishing alone, it can be used as extra storage space! You can keep different rods, kits, and more. 

This kayak comes with two paddles. It’s lightweight and resistant to any damage. You will have excellent stability with this kayak, which makes fishing even more accessible and more enjoyable. Two skegs are removable for both deep and shallow water if you’d like. There are two fishing rod holders, which is great to take up less space in the kayak. 

There are two adjustable bucket seats, GPS systems for comfort, fantastic for safety and practicality. This kayak features fishfinders, a carry bag, and a repair patch. Overall, this is an outstanding kayak with all the features you need. This could be your new favorite when fishing! 

Key Features 

  • Resistant to damage 
  • Great stability 
  • Removable skegs
  • Adjustable seats 
  • Fishfinders and GPS
  • Rod holders 
  • Storage space 
  • Weight is 400lbs
  • Plastic material 
  • Seating capacity is 2-person
  • Dimensions are 12’7″ X 3’1″ X 1’6″
  • Three air chambers 
  • Two fishing rod holders 

Most Stable Kayak Under $500

Next on our list is the Intex Excursion 1-person kayak. This kayak is designed a lot like the first one, only for one person. This is one of the best sit-in kayaks, leaving you plenty of legroom, and extra space by your feet, as well as behind the seat. My favorite thing about this kayak is an adjustable GoPro and phone mount. So you can record while out on the water! 

This kayak has a mounted footrest, fishing rod holders, and an adjustable mounting bracket for extra equipment/accessories. If you enjoy fishing alone, this is a perfect kayak for you. This is a practical, lightweight kayak, and it includes an air pump, a carry bag, a grab-handle on either end and an inflatable seat booster. 

So, if you loved the design and features of the first kayak we listed but only need a 1-person kayak or just want something more minimal in size, I highly recommend this one. You get all the features you want and need for a great price!

Key Features 

  • 1-person capacity 
  • Lightweight and stable 
  • Mounted footrest 
  • Fishing rod holders 
  • Adjustable mounting bracket
  • Storage space 
  • GoPro and phone mount 
  • Two grab-handles on both ends 
  • Dimensions are 304.8 x 91.44 x 45.72 cm
  • 15.44 kilograms 

Best Inflatable Kayak Under $500

Our top inflatable kayak is the CETOOM kayak. This is a 2-person kayak with aluminum oars and an air pump. I love kayaks with storage nets on the front, as it makes it much easier to store things while giving you the foot/legroom you need. This kayak comes with two paddles and two life jackets! 

With the CETOOM kayak, you get adjustable inflatable seats and backrests, and it’s designed to give you the most comfort and added space. The bright green color on this kayak is great for safety, being the most visible on the water even at night. So if you have kids out on the water kayaking, you can see them very easily. 

This kayak is also great for stability; even in strong winds, this kayak is fantastic with the removable skeg. This is the one for you for those of you looking for a 2-person inflatable kayak! 

Key Features 

  • 2-person kayak 
  • Aluminum oars and air pump 
  • Front storage net 
  • Foot and legroom 
  • Adjustable seats and backrests 
  • Comfortable 
  • Bright green color 
  • Good stability 
  • Size is 30 by 15 by 138 inches
  • Maximum 400lbs capacity 
  • Item weight is 17.7kg
  • Dimensions 60 x 42 x 33 cm

Best 3-Person Kayak 

Next, we have the Sevylor Big Basin kayak. This is a 3-person kayak, heavy-duty PVC, and is designed to be very durable and protected from possible punctures or leaks. There are multiple air chambers on this kayak, so another chamber would stay inflated if it were to puncture! 

Does anyone want to kayak with their family or friends this summer? This is the perfect one! A 3-person kayak is the best for a family or group of friends, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s also an excellent idea for your kids! If the adults have separate kayaks and want your kids to stay together, the 3-person is excellent. 

This kayak has adjustable seats, which is especially significant with extra people in. It’s durable and the perfect kayak for the lake, beach, or taking with you on a road trip! I highly recommend this one. 

Key Features 

  • 3-person limit
  • Heavy duty 
  • Durable and puncture protection 
  • Multiple air chambers 
  • Adjustable seats 
  • Dimensions are 45.72 x 25.4 x 60.96 cm
  • Weight is ‎20.09 Kilograms
  • Inflatable 
  • Item weight 15.8kg
  • Length is 147 inches 

Best Sit on Top Kayak Under $500

Last on our list today is the Sevylor K1 QuikPak Kayak. This is a sit-on kayak that includes a storage net on the front, one oar, an air pump, carry bag, and it’s a quick five-minute set-up! The tarpaulin bottom on this kayak prevents any punctures or leaks has multiple air chambers and comfortable backrests that allow you to lean back and have an enjoyable kayaking experience.

This kayak is easy to carry, and the footrests have multiple positions, allowing you to find the most comfortable one. There is a drink holder on this kayak, allowing you to bring drinks without spilling, and the bungee storage compartment is perfect for extra equipment! 

If you haven’t tried a sit-on-top kayak and are curious, this is a great one! This gives your legs more freedom, and if you were to tip the kayak, it’s a lot safer and easier to get off and out. I highly recommend it! 

Key Features 

  • Sit-on-top kayak 
  • 1-person limit 
  • Multiple air chambers 
  • Tarpaulin bottom
  • Flexible backrests for comfort 
  • Five-minute set-up
  • Drink holder 
  • Bungee storage compartment 
  • Easy to carry 
  • It comes with one oar and an air pump. 
  • 400lbs weight capacity 
  • Item weight is 8.16kg
  • Inflatable/foldable 
  • Length is 102.96 inches
  • Dimensions are ‎261.62 x 91.44 x 76.2 cm

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Final Thoughts on the Best Kayaks under $500

That concludes our list of the Best Kayaks Under $500! I hope you found this article helpful and learned something new about kayaking. Let us know your favorite type of kayak, sit-in, or sit-on-top? 

If you want to find a more affordable kayak or want to see some more, check our article on the best kayaks under $300! You can find so many high-quality kayaks for a range of different prices and unique features. It’s all about your budget, preference, and the activities you enjoy when out on the water. 

Lastly, if you’re wondering what to wear for kayaking, check out our list of kayaking outfit ideas. We’ve got you covered, from head to toe! Thanks for reading, please share this post with any kayak-loving friends and family!

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