Cheap Vs Expensive Kayaks? Why Saving Money Can Cost You More

Expensive kayaks are not necessarily better than cheap kayaks. They both offer different features. The most important thing to keep in mind when purchasing a kayak is that you will always get what you pay for in terms of quality and benefits.

What are the differences between cheap vs expensive kayaks? There are several differences between cheap and expensive kayaks such as the quality of the material used in manufacturing the kayak which affects its durability. Other differences are the size and design of the kayak which affect the kayak’s performance and comfort level.

Keep reading to learn more about why cheap kayaks could be a bad investment and what exactly makes kayaks so expensive. If you want to save money and still get a good kayak, check out these excellent fishing kayaks for less than $500 here.

Are cheap kayaks worth it?

cheap vs expensive kayaks

Cheap kayaks can be worth it for recreational purposes or for casual trips. However, buying a cheap kayak is definitely a bad investment if you consider kayaking a long-term hobby. That is because cheap kayaks can be limiting as you will not be able to use them for all environments and purposes. They also can cost more money and effort to maintain.

So, If you’re a beginner looking to learn kayaking, you should start with a reasonably priced sturdy kayak that you can use in many situations. This will allow you to quickly learn how to adapt to different waters and overall improve your experience.

Purchasing an expensive kayak is only worth it if you are an intermediate or experienced kayaker. Keep in mind that you need to understand what you are looking to get out of the kayak and have enough skill and experience to be able to handle these expensive kayak models.

Reasons Why Buying a Cheap Kayak Can Be a Bad Idea 

There are several reasons why buying a cheap kayak is not recommended. Let’s break down these reasons in more detail:

The low quality material will reduce their durability

Cheap kayaks will be made from cheaper plastic material and welded in an unstable manner. This will make it flimsy and more prone to damage such as scratches and tears.

This can be dangerous when using the kayak over time especially in rough waters, as the kayak could reach its limit and come apart at any moment. So, the materials used to construct a cheap kayak are certainly not reliable even if they look nice enough.

The poor design will affect their performance

Cheap kayaks are not built for long trips or rough waters. The way they’re designed can make them very frustrating to handle.

They’re usually smaller in length with a wider beam so they do not move fast or track well. You’re also more likely to face such as poor drainage

They will not provide the same level of comfort

Some cheap kayaks do not have comfortable or any seating at all, so you will definitely feel a lot of discomfort and your back will start to ache as you paddle for a long time. 

While with more expensive kayaks, you would have comfortable seats and could even purchase a backrest and foot pedals which will allow for more comfort on longer trips.

They also have a more limited storage space because of their small size, which means you will not be able to comfortably carry all the gear you might need.

They will cost more time and money to maintain and repair

When you’re buying a kayak you should always consider the buying cost as well as the maintenance fee. No matter how strong your kayak is, it will eventually need some repairs.

If you go for a cheaper kayak, you will potentially have to spend a lot more money to maintain it. That is because they are made of poor materials that lead to rapid deterioration.

A decent kayak can last years without any noticeable damage. However, a cheaper kayak will barely last for three months before you notice scratches on the hull or discolored patches on the paint. Getting the damage fixed will cost you a lot of time and money.

So, even if you get the benefit of saving you some money when you first buy the kayak, the maintenance cost will be a lot more in the long run.

I have tried lots (and by that, I really do mean lots) of kayaks over the years, and you can check out my guide to the best kayaks for under $1,000 over here. These are the kayaks that will give you just the absolute best value for your money.

Have Kayaks Become More Expensive?

There are two things that can drive up the price of kayaks which are competition and innovation. Kayak companies compete to create more innovative kayaks which lead to better material, improved efficiency, and generally more benefits. This will increase the cost of designing and manufacturing the kayak which will ultimately increase its price.

So, to make it simple, competition and innovation increase the company’s costs, and these costs will certainly be passed on to the consumers. In the end, with all the improvements in kayak design with research and development, we receive a far better product.

How Much Should You Expect to Spend On a Kayak?

Check the following table for the average price you should expect to pay for different types of kayaks.

Kayak Type Average Price
Recreational Kayak$400-$650
Inflatable Kayak$500-$800
Fishing Kayak$750-$1,100
Whitewater Kayak$850-$1300
Touring Kayak    $1,000-$1,350

It’s important to know which kayak type and design suits your needs as this will help you save a lot of time and a lot of money when purchasing a kayak.

Related Questions

How to Purchase a Good Kayak at an Affordable Price?

To purchase a good kayak at an affordable price you need to research different types of kayaks and wait for the best time to make your purchase. The best time to get a good deal on your new kayak would be during the off season or during holidays such as Christmas, Black Friday, and Memorial Day.

What Are the Different Kinds of Material Used in Manufacturing Kayaks?

The different kinds of material used to manufacture kayaks include Kevlar, carbon fiber, fiberglass, and hard plastic.  Hard plastic is durable, but heavier in weight.  While fiberglass is lighter in weight, but a lot more durable.  Carbon fiber and Kevlar can be even lighter in weight, but they are usually much more expensive.

How to Make Your Kayak Last Longer?

To make your kayak last longer, you need to make sure it’s stored properly away from heat and moisture because exposure to sunlight can cause the kayak to degrade faster over time. It’s also important to clean your kayak well to get rid of any dirt, salt, or sand on it.

Is It Better to Rent a Kayak Instead of Purchasing It?

Renting a kayak has several advantages such as the relatively cheaper price. You also will not have to worry about hassles like how to store and maintain the kayak. Renting can allow you to try different styles and brands without committing to just one which will help build your experience and improve your skills.

Helpful Resources 

Recreational Kayaking: The Ultimate Guide By Ken Whiting (you can also check the book on Amazon here)

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