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Best Sit On Top Kayaks

  • Kayak

Kayaking is an amazing sport that blends fitness with thrill and adventure while also offering a social time when paddling in convoy.

However, for people who are new to the world of kayaking, conventional sit-in kayaks often seem like a daunting prospect to sit in, let alone paddle.

Being confined inside when the inevitable happens and your kayak capsizes can be a scary proposition for seasoned kayakers, let alone first-timers. 

This is why sit-on-top kayaks are now the standard for entry-level kayaks. Through being unsinkable, sit-on-tops take the fear out of kayaking and allow people to enjoy their day on the water, the safe way. 

Not only do they offer a more stable, and user-friendly platform, but they are also super easy to maneuver.

It is this maneuverability, coupled with their lightweight and stability that make them so ideal for anglers, and recreational kayakers alike. 

By featuring a wide-sweeping range of the best sit-on-top kayaks found online, we've ensured every keen kayaker a comfortable, confident ride from here on out. 

OUR TOP PICK

Driftsun Teton 120 Hard Kayak - 2 Person Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak Package with 2 EVA Padded Seats, 2 Aluminum Paddles and Fishing Rod Holder Mounts (Green/Blue)

Driftsun’s Teton 120 is a premium sit-on-top kayak that comes with every bell and whistle you would expect from a kayak at this price point.

In terms of features, we’re talking four fishing rod holders, sealed dry storage, two cargo storage areas, and built-in cup holders to keep you hydrated when paddling. 

Every detail of the Teton 120 screams premium, like the two adjustable EVA padded seats that make hours of paddling a perceivable and comfortable thing. 

The two anodized aluminum performance paddles are built light which bodes well with the idea of spending the entire day on the water too.

The seat configuration is unique in that it has a built-in middle seat that can squeeze a third person (preferably a child), as well as suit solo adventures. 

Having a maximum capacity of 500lb is another indication of the superior construction of the Teton 120 which helps to set it apart and in front of the kayaking pack. 

Pros

  • Sealed Dry Storage - locks in valuables to keep them dry
  • Four Fishing Rod Holders - good for having multiple lines in at once
  • 500lb Maximum Capacity - ample weight for people and gear
  • Two EVA Padded Seats - super comfortable ride

Cons

  • Expensive

EDITORS CHOICE

Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Blue, 8'

The Lotus is a sleek sit-on-top kayak that comes pleasantly priced and made in the USA.

Simple yet effective, Lifetime has kept this one-person kayak’s deck clean and minimal so that you can focus on what matters - kayaking. 

Using durable high-density polyethylene material, Lifetime has put their money where their construction is by including a 5-year warranty on the Lotus.

Its weight stats are also quite remarkable for a kayak of this size, handling up to 250lb at capacity while weighing just 38lb in total. 

The rear of the Lotus has a deep tank well storage compartment with a heavy-duty cargo strap to secure your load.

Upfront, you’ve got four different footrest positions to make sure that every rider slips straight into the Lotus and finds their groove. 

Lifetime knows that, unfortunately, you can’t spend your entire life cruising and perusing your local waterways,

which is why they’ve made transporting the Lotus super easy with front, rear and center carry handles. 

Unsurprisingly, the hull of the Lotus is a thing of beauty with twin skegs and multi-chines offering stability and control in questionable waters.

This is a premium kayaker’s kayak that’s ready to be snapped up today, with zero chance of sinking tomorrow. 

Pros

  • Made In The USA - confidence in construction
  • 5-Year Warranty - manufactured to last
  • Weighs Only 38lb - lightweight design
  • High-Tech Hull Design - increases stability and control

Cons

  • Doesn’t have as many stock features as other kayaks

BEST VALUE

BKC UH-RA220 11.5 Foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak with Paddles and Upright Chair and Rudder System Included (Green Camo)

If you’re looking to take your angling to the next level, this premium kayak by the Brooklyn Kayak Company is your way forward.

While there are plenty of kayaks that get branded as “angler” kayaks these days, few have the fishing-specific features that this supreme kayak does. 

Having not one, not two, but three watertight storage compartments make this the ideal candidate to take upriver for an overnight fishing trip, fitting all your gear and whatever you catch along the way.

Whenever you’re actively fishing, you haven’t got time to worry about what your paddle is doing, which is why BKC has fixed a purpose-built paddle park to secure your paddle when not in use. 

The coolest feature of BKC’s angling kayak has got to be the standup stability guarantee, helping you to reel in the fish of the day without taking a trip overboard.

In case you’re one of the many anglers who need to bring their entire fishing kit along for a trip, there’s also plenty of cargo storage space in the rear of the kayak for this very reason. 

The kayak is equipped with two flush-mount rod holders and one adjustable rod holder, giving you the opportunity to cast multiple lines wherever you think the fish are biting.

All things considered, it’s pretty clear that this kayak has been designed with one thing in mind, and that’s fishing. 

Pros

  • Ample watertight storage - good for storing fish and gear
  • 6 fishing rod holders - allows you to have multiple lines on the go at the same time
  • Standup stability - gives you confidence when standing up to reel a fish in
  • Large rear cargo storage - good spot to store fishing gear

Cons

  • Specialized for fishing - not suited to casual kayaking

RUNNER UP

Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak Blue, 8'7' x 3'

When in the market for a budget sit-on-top kayak, you could do a lot worse than the Sevylor Quikpak.

This inflatable kayak is built for one person to kayak in style and takes just five minutes to inflate. 

That’s right, you read right, this compact kayak can be entirely inflated to have you on the water in five minutes flat.

Another cool feature of the Quikpak is its carry backpack that transforms into a cushy seat back when you’re inflated and ready to ride. 

The tarpaulin hull acts as another layer of defense between the durable PVC construction and whatever is trying to puncture it.

The multiple integrated air chambers will ensure that you make it back home in the unlikely event of a puncture (touch wood). 

Even if one chamber gets a puncture, there will be no need to go down with your inflatable ship as the rest of the chambers will keep you afloat and paddling.

Knowing a pump and paddle have been included in the one astonishing price helps the Sevylor Quikpak mix it with the best of the budget pack. 

Pros

  • 5-minute set-up time - gets you on the water quickly
  • Tarpaulin underside - minimizing punctures
  • Carry backpack turns into a seat - easy to carry, comfortable to paddle

Cons

  • Inflatable  - not as reliable as hardshell kayak

RUNNER UP

Pelican - Sentinel 100X Angler Fishing Kayak - Sit-on-Top Kayak - Lightweight one Person Kayak - 9.6 ft

This sleek one-person kayak has been purposefully built compact and lightweight to make transporting and storing stress-free and easy.

At just 9’6” in length, it is great at navigating down tight streams, allowing you to go places where larger kayaks dare not. 

However, it’s in the construction where the Sentinel truly shines.

Pelican’s patented RAM-X, triple-layer, high molecular polyethylene is the perfect marriage between durability and weight. 

And this patented material is what has helped to reduce the Sentinel’s overall weight down to a nice and considered 42lb.

If its compact stature had you questioning its weight bearing potential, then stop right there, because the Sentinel comes ready to handle 275lb and keep on cruising.

Another way that Pelican has managed to set itself apart is in the Sentinel’s warranty.

On both deck and hull, the Sentinel comes with a lifetime warranty. Which, when you consider its price, is a commendable level of dedication to construction. 

Foam blocks have also been purposefully built into the kayak between the deck and hull to create a rigid and stable ride.

This impressive recreational kayak, unsurprisingly, also comes with a cushioned seat to ensure paddling comfort on long kayaking days. 

This is a truly impressive kayak to suit dedicated kayakers who like the sit-on-top feeling of security, and doesn’t it just look so pretty in swirling blue?

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty on deck and hull - confidence in construction
  • Built-in foam blocks - makes the kayak more rigid and stable
  • Patented high-grade material - durable and built to last
  • Weighs just 42lb - easy to transport, store and paddle

Cons

  • Recreational design - not built for angling or the surf

RUNNER UP

perception Tribe 9.5 | Sit on Top Kayak for All-Around Fun | Large Rear Storage with Tie Downs | 9' 5'

Coming in four unique and inspiring colorways, the Tribe 9.5 may just be the answer to your colorful kayak prayers.

Not only do the swirling, rainbow-inspired designs help you to stand out from the standard kayaking crowd, but they also lend themselves to being easy to spot in an emergency.

This fun and funky kayak has also been made in the USA, which is always a commendable touch, isn’t it?

Both the front and rear tank well storage compartments come with bungee cord tie-downs.

This allows you to store ample gear for cheeky overnighters upriver whenever you very well please. 

The center console hatch has been positioned in an ultra-convenient spot right between your legs to make reaching for your phone when a photo opportunity presents itself a swift process. 

The design of the Tribe is commendable, to say the least, with molded knee and thigh rests to keep you relaxed, happy, and comfortable all day long.

The premium steel-framed seat will have you sitting pretty, while taking in the sights with zero chance of your backache. 

The Tribe 9.5 is Perception’s best-selling sit-on-top kayak - putting worth in usability and comfort, it’s easy to see why. 

Pros

  • Molded knee and thigh rest - great for long days on the water
  • Center storage hatch - perfect for storing valuables like keys and phone
  • Front and rear tank well storage - can comfortably store camping equipment

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a paddle - requires additional spending

RUNNER UP

BKC TK219 12.5-Foot Tandem 2 or 3 Person Sit On Top Fishing Kayak w/Upright Aluminum Frame Seats and Paddles (Blue Camo)

In a similar fashion to Perception’s previous offering, this tandem kayak by the Brooklyn Kayak Company is currently being offered in four unique colorways to give you a personalized paddling time. 

Fishing solo can be a tranquil and rewarding experience on a kayak, but there’s no denying that sharing the feeling of reeling in a big one with a friend makes it a memorable one.

This tandem kayak is designed to do just that, allowing you to share in the excitement that, if you’re lucky or skilled enough, fishing can bring. 

On the features front, you’re looking at six built-in rod holders, two ergonomic aluminum frame seats,

two paddle parks, and one bungee tie-down area. On top of that, you’ll also be gifted two aluminum paddles to get you paddling straight out of the box. 

Out of the previously mentioned six-rod holders, two of them are articulating which goes a long way in keeping you and your fishing buddy out of each other’s way.

Although the kayak only comes with two padded seats, there’s also a built-in third seat to invite a third person (preferably a child), to join in on the fishing fun.

With two watertight hatches on deck, you’ll have plenty of space to store your bait, tackle, gear, and, if you’re lucky enough, fish!

Pros

  • Two ergonomic aluminum seats - sturdy and comfortable
  • Two articulating rod holders - makes fishing easier with two people onboard
  • Two watertight hatches - good storage options for multiple items

Cons

  • Expensive

RUNNER UP

Perception Hi Five | Sit on Top Kids Kayak for Kids up to 120 Lbs. | Youth Kayak with Paddle | 6' 6' | Déjà vu

Just like the Tribe 9.5 is one of the best-selling sit-on-top kayaks for adults, Perception’s Hi-Five is the go-to kid’s kayak of the summer.

Choice in color is important for customers (none more so than kids), which means that color is also important for Perception,

and the Hi-five, subsequently, has three unique colorways to choose from. 

This hybrid kayak can be confidently paddled standing or sitting, allowing kids to have a whole bunch of fun, whichever they choose.

The Hi-Five benefits from a simple design that strips it right back, takes the seriousness out of kayaking, and lets the children play!

The Hi-Five has a maximum capacity of just 120lb, which clearly instructs that it is all about the kids.

The 2-piece paddle has been kitted out with smaller blades and a smaller handle diameter to help little ones confidently paddle, on their own accord, in their own time. 

Other kid-specific features include a swim-up back deck, a large front deck for standing, and a front mount to make tethering to, and towing from mom and dad’s kayak easy-peasy.

Treat the kids to their very own kayak this summer, and try to wipe the smiles off their faces, it won’t happen!

Pros

  • Three colorways to choose - great for getting kids excited
  • Small paddle - makes it easier for kids to use
  • Swim-up back deck - helps children to access kayak in water
  • Front mount tethering - good for hitching a ride with mom and dad

Cons

RUNNER UP

Kokanee Sit-On-Top Kayak, Lime, 10'6'

At 10’6” in length and weighing in at 76lb, this sit-on-top kayak by Kokanee is one of the big boys.

Its size coupled with the high-density polyethylene construction gives rise to an incredibly stable ride. 

The deck configuration has been designed to give two people plenty of legroom and space as they work together to discover and uncover newfound waterways.

The multitude of footrests is a clear indication that Kokanee wants to make your experience aboard their kayak a comfortable one. 

You’ll also find two adjustable seatbacks that have been included in the one-off price of this heavy-duty lime green workhorse of the waterways.

Kokanee knows that finding a committed buddy to hit the water with can sometimes be a hard task, which is why they’ve constructed a middle seat fixture to give solo kayakers the perfect spot to paddle from. 

Other notable features include a dedicated storage hatch, multiple paddle cradles, front and rear bungee storage areas, and a couple of drink bottle holders thrown in for good measure.

It may not come with a paddle or any other accessories for that matter (except the seats), but this is a very solid two-person kayak to give you plenty of memorable kayaking times.

Pros

  • Durable high-density construction - built to last
  • Multiple paddle cradles - helps you to sit back, relax and not worry about losing your paddle
  • Middle seat fixing - good for solo adventures

Cons

  • Paddle not included - you’ll need to spend more to kayak

RUNNER UP

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak (Paddle Included), Blue, 6'

In a similar fashion to the Hi-Five, this kayak’s mission is to get kids interested in kayaking.

Not that it should be too hard to get the kids excited by the prospect of adventure, but the Youth Wave from Lifetime makes your job just that little bit easier. 

The kayak is packing all the typical features of a well-made kayak for adults, it’s just been shrunk down a little is all.

Multiple footrest positions, a paddle cradle, twin-fin tracking on the hull, and self-bailing scupper holes can all be found on this youthful-looking kayak.

On top of these built-in features, Lifetime has also incorporated a swim-up back deck,

and molded finger handles that seek to make your child’s life easier when clambering aboard. With a total weight of just 18lb and a capacity of 130lb,

most children will find this kayak easy to paddle, and hopefully just as easy to drag on land. 

Recommended for kids aged five and up, this sky-blue kayak with a matching blue paddle,

is a fun and engaging gift idea for kids to pull them away from the screens, exercise outside, and enjoy nature.  

Pros

  • Weighs just 18 lb - easy for kids to maneuver
  • Twin-fin tracking - helps kids to steer efficiently
  • Swim-up back deck - makes climbing aboard easier
  • Built-in paddle cradle - ensures paddle won’t get lost

Cons

  • One colorway - kids love choosing their favorite color

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sit-on-top kayak?

As the name suggests, sit-on-top kayaks are designed in such a way that allows their occupants to sit above the water and paddle.

While traditional sit-in kayaks require occupants to sit in an enclosed space below deck, sit-on-tops are safer and easier to paddle, which makes them perfect for recreational kayaking. 

Are sit-on-top kayaks better for beginners?

Sit-on-top kayaks are considered better for beginners because they are easier to get on and off of.

Sit-on-top kayaks also have self-bailing scupper holes that allow water to transfer through and escape from the deck. This means, unlike sit-in kayaks, they will not sink when capsized.

What is the safest kayak color?

International orange has been found to be the safest color for kayaks because it offers the most amount of contrast in a variety of conditions and backdrops.

Other bright and fluorescent colors like yellow are also good as they offer a visible contrast that makes them easy to spot against natural backdrops. 

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a fun and forgiving kayak to use recreationally, a sit-on-top is the perfect kayak for you.

Not only are they easier to paddle and handle, but they’re also safer to use, which makes them perfect for kids and beginner kayakers too. 

Stability is paramount in the kayak-angling world, which is why sit-on-tops are preferred for premium angling kayaks because they offer a stable platform to fish from.

Wherever your priorities lie, and whichever kayak you choose, if it was from this list, you’ll be cruising the waterways in style, confidence, and hopefully grace!

Hi! My name is Adele Stevens, and I have a big passion for water sports. I love nothing more than traveling to my favorite kayaking spots on my days off and spending hours out on the water.

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