If you are anything like me, you love to get away for the weekend. It can be fun to go to a cottage with friends, rent an RV, or go camping.

However, a trip like that feels incomplete if I cannot go out on the water. As a result, I always try to go somewhere that I can use a kayak. That being said, I needed to ask myself the question, how much is a kayak?

After all, if it is not affordable, I would need to rent one, and the logistics of that would be far more complicated to deal with.

What influences the prices of kayaks?

Photo by Omar Roque / Unsplash

Before we can answer the question of how much is a kayak, we need to look at what influences their prices. No two kayaks are the same because there are far more influencing factors for such as a simple boat.


Like with anything, certain brands come with a more expensive price tag. Big name brands will always come with a heftier price attached to them.

That being said, bigger brands do not always have kayaks that are significantly on par with lesser known brands. These smaller brands can often times have kayaks that are equal to or better than big brands in terms of overall quality.

As a result, it is usually a good idea to buy from smaller brands to get the best deal.


The material that the kayak is made with also is a big determining factor when it comes to its cost. The cheapest models are usually roto molded.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have composite kayaks.

Right in the middle you have thermoformed kayaks. There are also inflatable kayaks which are very portable, but they can break easily.

Material is not something you want to cut costs with. If you cut costs with material, you might find that you need to purchase a new kayak sooner rather than later.

As a result, it can be a good idea to purchase a composite kayak, or at the very least a thermoform kayak, rather than one that is roto molded.


Typically, if you prefer lightweight kayaks with a hard shell, you will need to pay extra for them. The most expensive kayaks on the market are lightweight carbon fiber and Kevlar kayaks.

Load capacity

Storage on a kayak is not something that will matter for a lot of people. As a result, you can save some money by purchasing a kayak that does not have extra storage space.

However, if you need to bring things with you on your kayak for whatever reason, you will need to pay extra for that feature.


Purchasing a kayak on its own is naturally less expensive than purchasing one with all the additional accessories. That being said, I think it can be worth it to shill out a little bit of extra money so that you have everything you need.

For example, you can purchase a fully rigged kayak with seats, paddles, rod holders, and gear tracks. You will then have everything you need, and you will not need to make extra purchases in the future.

It will be more expensive up front, but it will be cheaper than purchasing everything separately.

Steering system and propulsion method

The final two things that can be big factors in determining the price of a kayak are the steering system and propulsion method.

Having a steering method at all, outside of the paddles, will increase the price. Rudders and skegs are not included in standard kayaks, and as a result, they drive up the price.

As for propulsion, you do not need anything other than the paddles, but you can get a pedal drive system if you would like. However, you need to keep in mind that this will significantly increase the price.

How much is a kayak on average?

Kayak Gathering
Photo by Drew Dau / Unsplash

Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer for how much a kayak is on average. That being said, I broke down kayaks into a few major categories and gave a price range for each type below:

Recreational kayaks

Most of you should be looking to purchase recreational kayaks. They are the most basic and common options. However, that also means that they have the most room for customization, and as a result, it is the hardest type to nail down a price range.

You can get recreational kayaks of reasonable quality for around $300, but if you start adding on extra features they can get as expensive as $1000.

Fishing and whitewater kayaks

If you want to use a kayak for fishing, you should expect to spend somewhere from $500 to $750 on it. However, if you end up looking at high end options, you could spend upwards of $2000.

Whitewater kayaks are similar in price as they typically cost $700 to $850. These kayaks need to be more durable, and as a result, you need to pay extra for the materials. High end options can reach as high as $1400.

Inflatable kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are great for portability, and they are also the least expensive options. You can purchase inflatable kayaks for less than $100.

However, if you want the best options, you can spend close to $1000 on an inflatable kayak.

How much cheaper are used kayaks?

2 rows of kayaking standing on the beach
Photo by Xiaoyu Li / Unsplash

Some of you might see those prices and be appalled at how expensive they are. It is important that you keep in mind that you are making an investment. Yes, they are expensive, but a kayak should last for years.

Spending $1000 on something that could last you upwards of 10 years is not a bad investment at all. Still, it is understandable if you would prefer to find cheaper options. The best way to do that is to look at used kayaks.

Like used cars, used kayaks are cheaper than new ones. Prices can vary significantly, especially if you are buying from an individual rather than a store. However, you can typically expect a used kayak to go for 50 to 75% of the original price.

Final thoughts

When you go to purchase a kayak, you will have a lot on your mind. You need to think about all the factors I listed above, and you need to keep your budget in mind.

I recommend that you spend a little more on a higher end kayak. By doing so, you will get a kayak that is better in both the short term and the long term. It will last longer, and as a result, you might even save money by not needing to purchase a replacement kayak.

If you’re uncertain about which kayak to purchase, I’ve written a post on the 10 best and most lightweight kayaks. And if you’re bringing your kids, here are the 8 best kids kayaks.