The Best Kayak Brands & Which Ones To Avoid

If you enjoy kayaking and are doing research on which ones to buy you have come to the right place. We have listed and explained the best kayak brands, and talked about which ones to avoid.

If you are going kayaking there are different kayaks to suit your kayaking trip so that should be taken into account. The SHORT Answer for the Best Kayak brands in no particular are:

  1. Old Town
  2. Vibe Kayak
  3. Intex
  4. Advance Elements
  5. Sun Dolphin
  6. Ocean Kayak

The kayak brands to AVOID are listed at the end. For all kayak lovers around the world, a kayak is a vital investment, and we know you want to consider all your individual needs to choose the best kayak for you!

With such a dense market researching your perfect kayak can be a  long and grinding task, So we’ve don’t it for you! The best kayak brands explained in detail are:

Best Kayak Brands

1. Old Town

Old Town is the world’s oldest and biggest manufacturer of canoes and kayaks. The company has spent over a century innovating and in turn refining its design.

All while staying true to their Northeast heritage and a long legacy of quality craftsmanship. All of their kayaks have a lifetime warranty on the hull.

A popular old town kayak is:

Old Town Heron 9XT

It is mainly made as an entry-level kayak to ease you into it without being too expensive. The Old Town Heron 9XT is Incredibly versatile, tracks well is very sturdy, and most importantly stable.

This boat bodes well in calm lakes, windy lakes, choppy oceans, rivers, small waterfalls, and more! being small it’s great for maneuverability if this is what you are looking for as your first kayak.

Old Town Kayak Heron 9Xt
It has adjustable foot supports that are amazing and increase stability for more intense paddles.

The cockpit is another plus point about this kayak, it is big enough for a person regardless of size to exit and enter with easier, which is vital for beginners as you need to get the hang of it first.

The cockpit rim is made so you can use a spray skirt if you’d rather stay dry, or if you are going to use this in colder weather where keeping warm is important.

2.Vibe Kayak

This is one of my favorite brands established in 2013 a fresh and cool kayak run by down-to-earth people. They have exceptional quality kayaks at affordable prices (their motto) and some of the coolest-looking designs for a kayak.

A Popular Vibe Kayak is:

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost Angler

The Vibe Hero seats are very comfortable better than some of the much more expensive kayaks, you can sit in this for long periods of time without having any back pains.

The kayak Includes 2 flush-mount rod holders and 4 integrated gear tracks for customized rigging. If you are looking for affordable fishing kayaks we have a post HERE


3. Intex

Intex Recreation Corp. is a company based in the USA that was established over forty years ago.

Intex’s primary focus is to provide and deliver products of the highest quality. They also aim at making the products affordable, comfortable, fun, and most importantly safe.

They aim to make their brand grow to be recognized and trusted in the industry.  And basically, their products speak for themselves as they undergo routine tests to meet set standards.

The company also is continuously working to cut its carbon footprint by working with suppliers to minimize the number of fossil fuels they use. which is something that we personally like.

They have multiple positive customer feedback and if you are looking for a cheap good quality inflatable kayak this brand is the one.

An amazing kayak by Intex is the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is a very popular product in the kayak community.

It is a product ideal for fishing in mild rivers and lakes.

It’s among the kayaks in the Sport series from Intex Corp.

The K2 is a two-person sit-in kayak allowing the user to enjoy the kayaking experience with a partner.

The kayak is simple to paddle since it is streamlined and compact thus great maneuverability.

The construction of the Explorer K2 is a heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl with an I-beam floor that is inflatable. For further reading on inflatable kayaks, we have listed the FLAWS to look out for click HERE

4. Advanced elements

No list is of the best kayak brands is not right without including advanced elements. They began over a decade ago with the introduction of the world’s first Hybrid inflatable kayak the “Advanced Frame” they developed and pattered multiple designs that have paved the way for a lot of inflatable kayaks.

A popular kayak from advanced elements is:

Advanced Elements Advanced Inflatable kayak

Another great inflatable kayak for the ocean is the Advanced Elements Advanced Frame is the one. The fifteen-foot kayak can be paddled solo or tandem and features an open deck design.

The kayak contains a cleverly designed internal folding aluminum frame that gives it the shape needed to slice through the water with incredible tracking and speed. The robust water-resistant outer fabric adds to the all-around durability and performance of the kayak.

It feels almost as fast on the water as a hardshell kayak! and is quite comfortable with its 2 adjustable padded back supports so no back pain on long journeys.

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With this kayak, you need not fear punctures as it is made of strong materials and 3 reinforced layers to ensure no punctures.

Setting the kayak up is very straightforward. It takes about 10 minutes to fully set up, since the kayak comes PreAssembled at the factory you Simply need to unfold, inflate and attach the seats.  we have an individual full in-depth review of this just click HERE

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5. Sun dolphin

The Sun Dolphin brand started out as a family-owned business in the year 1982. The company is located in Muskegon town, Michigan.

Their first-ever kayak was a two-person pedal boat. Over the years, they have grown at a very large pace to become a leading manufacturer of recreational products and kayaks in North America.

The Sun Dolphin Company aims to offer affordable and innovative products to give its customers quality service. In addition, they have a dedicated team that offers support to customers when needed.

The range of products offered includes recreational and fishing kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, dinghies, fishing, and pedal boats.

An amazing fishing kayak from Sun Dolphin is;

 Sun Dolphin Excursion

The dolphin is an ideal beginner kayak for those who particularly want to use it to fish, which makes this the best beginner fishing kayak. 

It comes with two road holders, a swivel rod holder, carry handles, shock cord deck, top quality thigh pads, and adjustable foot braces, and a waterproof accessory carrier that can be used as extra cargo space.

As it’s a fishing kayak it’s very stable and perfectly suited for calm waters. The dolphin excursion can withstand heavy usage with little or no maintenance to worry about. The tracking is very good and goes wherever you point it.

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The only small drawback is with it being a sit-in kayak it prevents some movement which can prevent you from fishing standing up, but that’s only if you wanted to.

In summary, this is fitted perfectly for anyone who is new to fishing and wants to take a boat to do so.

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6. Ocean KAYAK

Ocean kayak is an authority in sit- on top kayaks and are one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of sit-on-top kayaks. Their operation is located in Old Town, Maine, however, they distribute kayaks all over the world.

A good kayak by Ocean Kayak is:

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Review

This Kayak is a sit-on-top kayak which means more stability, which I regard as quite essential for beginners. If you are asking yourself which kayak has padded seats which give cushioning support and prevent you from a sore back after kayaking.

Both the front and back storage areas of the kayak have bungee cords. That’s a vital feature if you want

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 to do other activities such as fishing, scuba diving, or anything else that would need you to carry and access some gear.

Weighing just 44 pounds it won’t be a burden if you have a lot of things to pack in your SUV for your trip. Overall it is the most stable kayak for beginners making it our editor’s choice kayak!

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It should be noted that there are multiple different kinds of kayak brands and they are not all suited to the same water/environment conditions, and they come in different shapes and sizes.

You want to make sure that you have a good understanding of the different kayak designs, what they are best suited for, and your needs.

You will also want to make sure that the kayak is suited to your body type and will actually be comfortable for you to be in. Keep in mind the following points before selecting a kayak:

  • The terrain you’ll use the kayak in – calm or rough waters
  • Type of activity for example fishing or rough waters adventure
  • Your body type – height, size, weight. Deep hull kayaks are for taller and heavier paddlers.
  • Transportation e.g. inflatable kayak is easily movable in the trunk of the car
  • Find a wide kayak if you are looking for stability in water
  • Shorter length kayaks are easier to navigate, and long kayaks are better with speed

So you have to make sure you buy the kayak for the correct use if you want to go fishing get a fishing kayak, not an ocean kayak.

Thus they are the are brands to avoid like if you want a hard shell kayak to avoid the Intex brand because they specialize in inflatable kayaks.