Best Kayaks Under $200

Published on

We all know, you’ve got that smug friend who has that nice kayak that keeps bugging you to go kayaking with them. It’s a great idea but A) You don’t have the space and B) you don’t want to spend $1000 on a kayak you may only use a few times. 

If this sounds like you, you’re in luck! We made a list of portable, storage friendly kayaks that fit the bill that also will last you for a little while. 

However, inflatable kayaks can be very expensive, and the cheaper ones aren’t always worth it. While there are plenty of cheap kayaks for sale under $200, not all of them are great. Here is our list of the best inflatable kayaks under $200: 

Don’t worry! We’ve done all the research for you, using our extensive kayaking and watersports experience to analyze the pros and cons of each inflatable kayak and give you the most accurate information. 

In this article we have put over 31 hours of research into analyzing what the top Under $200 Kayaks are. 

With this guide, you’ll be able to view all the relevant information about each of these kayaks and make an informed decision before you spend money. Whether you’re a beginning kayaker or a weathered veteran, one of these kayaks is sure to fit your needs. 

Best Kayaks Under $200 List

Of the best and least expensive inflatable kayaks, each of these has a set of strengths. Look through our in-depth analysis of each kayak and decide which one will be your adventure companion. We have single and tandem options if you are a social kayaker! 

Some of our inspiration for this article came from Youtuber J Baikoff who did a great little on water test to compare all the budget inflatable kayaks. You can see it below here.

1, Intex Excursion Pro – Best Overall 

The Intex Excursion Pro is at the top of our under $200 inflatable kayaks list, even though the kayak price is a little higher than $200. Unless it’s on sale, this kayak is a little over the desired price range. However, it is worth the extra money for the improved performance and stability! 

Overall, the Intex Excursion Pro is an amazing deal for a high-quality kayak. You won’t find a better option for versatility, on-water performance, and portability. Keep reading for our full and detailed review. 


  • Seating Capacity: One person
  • Length: 12’6” 
  • Width: 2’8”
  • Weight: 25 pounds
  • Weight limit: 400 pounds 
  • Materials: laminate PVC, polyester core, plastic
  • Where You Can Paddle: lakes, rivers, oceans, light rapids, deep or shallow water

On Water Performance

The Intex Excursion Pro is remarkably light and easy to handle on the water. The kayaker has good control over the kayak while on the water, whether it’s smooth or a bit choppy. It’s a very stable kayak and would be perfect for beginner kayakers who aren’t quite steady in the water yet. 

The lightness of this kayak, however, doesn’t reflect how durable it is. The Excursion Pro is the kind of kayak you can take into rockier or quicker rivers without worrying too much about punctures.Which makes it one of the most durable kayaks from the Intex brand. 

 While it was made to be a fishing kayak, this is a great option for casual or more extreme kayakers. 

Set Up Time 

Reviewers have said that the Excursion Pro is easy to inflate and deflate. It has a pressure gauge and a dual method valve. Because the Excursion comes with a pump, you’ll be able to prepare it for the water in under five minutes. Several users claimed to be out on the water less than fifteen minutes after unboxing the kayak! 

All you have to do to fully set up the kayak is to inflate it fully. It is easy to understand and use, which makes it perfect for beginners. Once you deflate the kayak, it weighs a little over 25 pounds and can be stored in the original box. 

Included Features

There are several extra features included with the Intex Excursion Pro. It comes with an entire fishing setup, including a bracket for radar equipment and two detachable rod holders. The kayak also comes with a removable footrest, a GoPro mount, and two separate skegs for varying water depths. 

The Intex Excursion Pro also includes inflatable seat boosters, which are helpful for shorter kayakers or those who find the regular seats uncomfortable. It also has an air pump, carrying bag, and two handles for ease of carrying. 

The boat comes with a paddle, but a veteran kayaker might want to consider purchasing a nicer one. It’s essential to have a solid paddle when kayaking, and customers’ reviews aren’t always very happy with the quality of this particular paddle

What Customers Think

For the most part, Excursion Pro owners are happy with their purchase. They love the ease of use, stability, and extreme lightweight durability of the kayak. Here’s an RV owner who bought the Excursion because he didn’t have the space for a regular kayak (he also has a great time-lapse of setting up the kayak). 

Users also praise the maneuverability and tracking of the kayak. The biggest complaint in most reviews is that the seat isn’t very comfortable, especially for long-term kayaking trips. However, the seats are easily removable and many customers have put in custom seats or custom flooring. 

For the most part, customers are happy with the Excursion Pro. There are a few negative reviews about faulty kayaks, but the excellent customer service and return policy on the kayaks themselves takes care of the outliers. 

Fishermen (and women),are especially, pleased with the performance of the Excursion Pro. The kayak’s radar and pole setup make it the perfect way to paddle to the middle of a lake or river and float all day. The Excursion Pro is a great choice for anglers who like to be on the water. 


  • Tracks smoothly in the water
  • Easy setup and takedown 
  • Excellent for fishing 
  • Compatible with many waterways
  • Very compact and lightweight


  • Uncomfortable seats 
  • Too short for a taller person 
  • Not durable enough for extensive rapids kayaking 
  • More expensive than $200 (unless it’s on sale)

2. Intex Challenger K1 – Best Budget Pick 

If the Intex Excursion Pro is the most durable single rider inflatable kayak in its price range, the Intex Challenger is its little brother. At about a third of the price, this kayak is lighter, smaller, and even more portable. Perhaps the best kayak under $200 and the only good cheap kayak under $100, the Challenger is an excellent choice for beginners 


  • Seating Capacity: one person
  • Length: 9’ 
  • Width: 2’ 6”
  • Weight: 25 pounds 
  • Weight Limit: 220 pounds 
  • Materials: PVC vinyl, aluminum, polyester, plastic
  • Where You Can Paddle: lakes, slow rivers, creeks, ponds

On Water Performance 

While this kayak wasn’t made for rapids or fast-moving rivers, it has a nice glide to it across the calmer waters of a small lake. While the on-water performance isn’t as strong as some of the other kayaks on this list, it is honestly remarkable for such a small and inexpensive kayak. 

The boat tracks well for its size and can get up to a somewhat adequate paddling speed. You can sail along with just a few strokes. Because the boat is so light, it is more maneuverable than other kayaks on this list (and is only marginally more prone to tipping over). 

Set Up Time 

Like many inflatable kayaks, the Intex Challenger K1 is easy to set up. Within fifteen minutes, you’ll be able to get on the water and paddle. The pump and cap that come with the kayak are small but remarkably efficient – in under two minutes, the entire kayak is inflated! A few more minutes of adjustments and prep, and you’re ready to get on the water.  

Takedown is a little more complicated – it’s much harder to get the air out of an inflatable than it is to pump it in. However, if you treat the kayak like an air mattress, you can deflate it relatively quickly as well. Simply roll the air out of the kayak after it’s dry, and it will become compact and ready to travel. 

Included Features 

The kayak includes all of the regular features – a carrying bag, removable skeg, pump and cord, paddle, and inflatable seat. You can inflate both the top and the back or just one, depending on how you like to sit. However, customers have said that the bottom of the seat makes it uncomfortably high. 

The kayak itself has a cargo net for carrying the essentials and a tow line on both ends. Other than that, the kayak has an incredibly simple design, with one spot to sit and paddle. The paddle itself isn’t the best, but it works in a pinch and is easily replaceable. 

What Customers Think 

This kayak is perfect for beginner kayakers or people on the move. It’s small and lightweight but works surprisingly well for its size. Most reviews are overwhelmingly positive for the Intex Challenger, given its extremely low price point

Users warn of the kayak’s tendency to lean to the right, but most suggest that a few minutes in the water will naturally adjust the rider’s body to this idiosyncrasy. The kayak has fairly decent tracking for such a small boat and can get up to a decent pace compared to others on the small lakes. These are both advantages of it being small and lightweight. 

The biggest negatives of the Intex Challenger also come with its size. It’s difficult for taller people to sit with comfort, and the inflatable seat makes it uncomfortably high (reviewers have suggested only inflating the back and leaving the bottom flat). 

This kayak is cheap and works well, but loses out when it comes to durability. Some customers have used the same kayaks for multiple years on rivers and lakes, while others have only used them for a few months before finding a tear. The patch kit that comes with the kayak is easy to use, but not very large. Replacement parts are easy to find though. 

However, the ease of use and quickness of inflation of this kayak garnered amazing reviews from users everywhere. It’s also one of the only cheap kayaks for sale under $100 on the market. Unless you’re planning on going through rapids or on larger bodies of water, you’ll appreciate the maneuverability and setup of this little inflatable boat.


  • The best budget kayak available! 
  • Great tracking and speed
  • Perfect for beginners 
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble 


  • Smaller than most inflatable kayaks 
  • Tears more easily than more sturdy kayaks 
  • Not good for rapids or extreme kayaking 
  • Leans to the right at times

3. Itiwit Tandem Kayak – Tandem Pick 

Finding kayaks for under 200 dollars is difficult if you’re looking for a tandem kayak. Because tandems use more material and are more difficult to make, they are naturally more expensive. However, the Itiwit Tandem Kayak is a lovely little double that pulls its weight in the water while remaining at a lower price. 


  • Seating Capacity: two people
  • Length: 11’ 
  • Width: 3’ 5”
  • Weight: 36 pounds
  • Weight Limit: 331 pounds
  • Materials: PVC, polyester, plastic
  • Where You Can Paddle: lakes, ocean, rivers, ponds

On Water Performance 

The Itiwit tandem works very well on the water, whether you have one or two people in it. With the tandem, a single kayaker would sit in the back. If two people are paddling, the heavier person would sit in the back. Either way, the tandem kayak does a great job of staying stable on the water. 

The tracking of the Itiwit isn’t quite as strong as either of the Intex kayaks we’ve reviewed thus far. While you can gain higher speeds (especially with two paddlers), it doesn’t flow quite as smoothly as some of the other less expensive kayaks. 

Set Up Time 

The setup time for the Itiwit Tandem Kayak is only a little longer than a smaller kayak would be. With a proper pump, you should be able to get it inflated and set on the water in under half an hour. This is partly because the kayak is so simple – there aren’t any complicated setup parts. 

Deflating the kayak is a little easier, even though it’s larger than the other kayaks. It doesn’t take as long because there are three valves. Once they’re open, it deflates rather quickly. The overall weight and portage of the kayak are also heavier, which is to be expected from a tandem! 

Included Features 

Part of the reason that this tandem kayak is so inexpensive is its lack of accessories and features. Unlike many of the other inexpensive kayaks for sale on this list, the Itiwit Tandem doesn’t have a pump or paddle to accompany it

However, customers aren’t generally upset by this – most people have a favorite set of paddles and already own a pump by the time they purchase a tandem. If you intend to purchase this kayak, know that you’ll have to buy most of the accessories (they are affordable and you might be better off with your own anyway). 

The kayak does include a tow line and mesh lining on either side for storage while kayaking. It also has two removable and adjustable seats. These are necessary add-ons, especially if you’re planning on fishing or taking lunch supplies out on the lake! 

What Customers Think 

While the Itiwit tandem isn’t great for people over 200 pounds (unless they are riding alone), it works well for a couple to get out on the water and paddle. The seats are completely adjustable, so a single kayaker can use them without having to sit in the back of the boat. 

Because of the three separate inflation valves, the kayak deflates rather quickly for an eleven-foot-long inflatable. Several customers have commented on this, as well as the overall ease of use. This sit-in kayak for sale under $200 is great for beginners and experienced riders. 

Probably the most popular feature of the Itiwit Tandem kayak is that it can be adjusted to one or two people. This is especially useful for kayakers who weigh a little more – the lower weight limit of the kayak could limit it otherwise. When used as a single rider kayak, it is large and very spacious. 


  • Great tandem kayak for the weight 
  • Easy deflation 
  • Great tracking on small waters and rivers
  • Adjustable seats for one or two people 


  • Lower weight capacity 
  • More difficult to inflate 
  • Harder to track on open waters 
  • Doesn’t come with paddles or a pump

4. Intex Explorer K2 – Cheap Tandem Pick 

Intex Explorer K2

If you’re looking for a tandem kayak under $150, come back to the Intex brand. The Intex Explorer offers the same benefits as the other two Intex we have reviewed so far. However, it’s compatible with two riders. For the Intex price and quality guarantee, the Explorer is a great option! 


  • Seating Capacity: two people 
  • Length: 10’ 3”
  • Width: 3’ 
  • Weight: 35 pounds
  • Weight Limit: 400 pounds 
  • Materials: Polypropene, PVC, Plastic 
  • Where You Can Paddle: small lakes, calm rivers, ponds

On Water Performance 

While it’s a little slower and doesn’t track as well as the smaller Intex boats, the Intex Explorer still tracks quite well for such an inexpensive kayak. With two people, you’ll be able to get up to some good speeds on the open water of a small lake. 

The directional stability of the Explorer is pretty good, however, and it isn’t prone to flipping. The removable skeg helps with this. However, the boat isn’t stable enough to work well on larger bodies of water or fast-moving rivers. This is especially true for beginner kayakers. 

Set Up Time 

The Intex Explorer has three valves, each leading to its air container. When all three of these are filled, the kayak is ready to go. While it takes a bit longer to fill these up (especially as some versions of the Explorer don’t include an air pump), it makes takedown remarkably easy. 

Overall, the setup of the kayak can take anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes. Once the kayak is inflated and the seats are put in, all you have to do is hop in and begin paddling! Like all inflatable kayaks, the Explorer is easy to take care of and store. 

Included Features 

The main features that set this kayak apart from the other Intex kayaks are its three separate air chambers and especially rigid floor. The inflatable “I-beams” will keep the kayak afloat and more rigid than many other kayaks of its size and length. The air chambers increase the ease of inflation and deflation, especially when paired with the Boston valve systems. 

This kayak also comes with a set of paddles and a high-output pump. It also features removable seats (so the kayak can be used by a single kayaker as well). The carry bag fits the kayak well, but only if it’s folded the same way as it was when in the box (which is ideal for the longevity of a kayak). 

What Customers Think 

While it’s not recommended for rivers or lakes with more chop, the Intex Explorer has a sturdier back end for solo riding in rivers. Customers say that the upturned “nose” of the boat is splash-resistant and keeps you drier when paddling

Experienced kayakers love the Explorer for short trips and as a backup to their hardshell kayaks. Beginner kayakers and anglers appreciate the simplicity of the kayak, its higher weight limit, and the ease of use and setup. 

For the price, the Intex Explorer is a great way to start exploring the world of kayaking (or the world of inflatable kayaking). The biggest complaint that customers have is the inefficiency of the patch kit that comes with the kayak. Most users have solved this by creating their patching device. 

However, the kayak is remarkably sturdy and shouldn’t need patching for a while. Especially if it’s well taken care of, an Intex Explorer can last up to a few years of kayaking without tearing. Some purchasers have even taken it in low-level white water rivers. 


  • Sturdy and durable 
  • Easy to inflate and deflate 
  • Adjustable to the single and double rider 
  • High weight limit 


  • The patch kit doesn’t work very well 
  • Slower and less trackable than other models 

5. Best Way HydroForce – Solo Choice

If you’re looking to save money and go on solo adventures on a kayak, the Best Way Hydroforce is a great option. It’s lightweight enough to work well on lakes and slow rivers and tracks remarkably well for such a small boat! 


  • Seating Capacity: One person 
  • Length: 9’
  • Width: 2’ 5”
  • Weight: 19 pounds 
  • Weight Limit: 220 pounds
  • Materials: PVC, polyester, plastic 
  • Where You Can Paddle: Rivers, lakes, the ocean

On Water Performance 

The Best Way Hydroforce is known for its stability – this is one inflatable kayak you wouldn’t need to be worried about on an open lake! It has great stability and tracks very well. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, this kayak is great for a solo trip. 

While the Best Way Hydroforce works well on many different waters, it’s best for smaller rivers and lakes. Because it’s so light, you can speed along at a great rate on calm waters. If you want to go in choppier waters, you just have to watch out for flipping! Or perhaps upgrade to a Sea Eagle kayak which are made for those types of conditions.

Set Up Time 

The included hand pump is great for both setup and takedown of the Hydroforce. It features Boston (two-way) valves for increased ease of deflation, and the pump works both ways as well. Overall, you can be up and on the lake in under fifteen minutes! Many Hydroforce owners streamline the process by partially filling the kayak before going to the water. 

Included Features 

The Best Way Hydroforce comes with the following items: 

  • A set of oars 
  • A two-way air pump 
  • Extra storage compartments 
  • An inflatable seat  

These features work very well, except for the paddles. Most customers reported purchasing their paddle to use with the Hydroforce. Unfortunately, this is a pretty common issue with standard paddles – sometimes, it’s best to buy your own

What Customers Think 

Individual kayakers love the Hydroforce for its maneuverability and ease of use. It is fast and easy to turn, even in choppier waters. While it’s ideal for beginner kayakers, many experts love the Hydroforce when they don’t have the space to bring a hardshell. 

The main complaint that most people have with this kayak is the material: the Hydroforce’s PVC is just not as strong or thick as the Intex brand uses. Some users report early tearing. While it’s good on choppy seas or rivers, it’s vital to watch for tears or rips before and after paddling. 

While the kayak is easy to fill up with air, the two compartments are split down the middle of the kayak. This can be inconvenient if one side has a leak or if the sides aren’t filled evenly as the balance of the kayak can be a little off. 


  • Excellent on open or choppy waters 
  • Great speeds
  • Can be used anywhere 
  • Incredibly lightweight and portable 


  • Very small – not for larger kayakers
  • Material not as thick or sturdy 
  • Rips more easily 
  • If inflated improperly, can throw off the balance

Inflatable Kayaks Beyond the $200 Range You May Want to Consider

If you are interested in an inflatable kayak, you might want to consider the next price range up. These kayaks have all of the features of the other boats on this list but are better performers in the water and for durability. Here are some kayak options slightly beyond the $200 range: 

Sea Eagle Kayaks

Factors To Help You Choose a Good $200 Kayak

Several factors go into choosing your kayak. While any of the kayaks on this list are excellent choices for under $200, what you end up purchasing depends on what you need the kayak for. Always research a specific brand and kayak before deciding to purchase – you want to get the most out of your kayaking experience! 

Durability of Your Kayak

Inflatable kayaks are, by nature, less durable than regular hardshell kayaks when it comes to price range. They are made to be lightweight and portable. However, this comes at the expense of their longevity and durability. While each of the kayaks on this list is durable for their price and size, they won’t last as long as regular higher priced kayaks on a whole

Of course, there are many things you can do to help your kayak last longer. Look at this article for a more in-depth list, but here are some of the basic things to do to keep your kayak in the best shape possible: 

  • Clean and dry your kayak thoroughly before storing it
  • Always follow the instruction manual, especially when it comes to storing and inflating your kayak 
  • Protect your kayak from the sun – this can be with a UV protection spray or by storing it inside 
  • Fold and store your kayak carefully when you’re finished using it

If you are looking for durability as the main feature of your inflatable kayak, make sure you read multiple customer reviews on the kayak you’re considering. While we’ve used our expertise and done a lot of research, there’s no harm in being extra thorough! 

When purchasing a kayak, always look at the warranty and return information. If you plan on taking your kayak onto rapids or rough waters, read reviews and instruction manuals thoroughly before purchasing – many inflatable kayaks aren’t recommended for heavier flows or rockier areas. 

For durability, the material that the kayak is made of is essential. Here are some of the most durable materials to look for in inflatable kayaks: 

  • PVC (or Polyvinyl Chloride), the most common inflatable kayak material 
  • Hypalon, a coated PVC, and the most durable material 
  • Nitrylon, a more natural rubber material (durable but heavier)

Any of these three materials will last longer than regular plastic and rubber. However, they each have a different set of specifications, so it’s important to research all aspects before buying a kayak. Of course, the best way to make your kayak last longer is to take good care of it during and after use. 

How Many Paddlers

In this price range, you’ll be able to get a higher-quality kayak if you are planning on kayaking solo. Tandem kayaks are larger and usually more expensive, so it’s easier to spend more money on a kayak for two. 

If you want to tandem kayak, however, both of the options on this list are viable. You must pay attention to maximum capacity, whether that’s for the number of people or general weight. The kayak’s stability and lift are dependent on how much weight it can hold – it is dangerous and highly inadvisable to overload a kayak. 

How Does the Kayak Perform on the Water? 

When you are looking to invest in an inflatable kayak, it’s vital to know how it performs when it’s actually in the water. Some of these have better tracking and maneuverability than others, but any kayak without some kind of tracking system won’t do well. Make sure that your kayak has a tracking system of some kind, or it won’t be easy to handle. 

inflatable kayak being paddled

A kayak’s stability is also important. However, if you’re looking for a very high quality of water performance, it might be better to move up into the next price range with the kayaks suggested above. It’s difficult to find professional-level tracking when you’re trying to save money on a kayak. 

Accessories that Come With it 

While each of these kayaks does come with the necessary components (such as paddles and air pumps), it’s usually better for the kayak owner to invest in a high-quality pump and paddle. Unless your kayak has a high-pressure air pump, like the Intex Excursion Pro, a regular pump will do better than the included accessory. 

Individual accessories, however, are often quite good. Any mounts or cup holders will work well for the specific kayak brand, so it’s best to keep the ones that come with them. Of course, it’s your kayak and you can customize it however you like! 


Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from beginner kayakers. Inflatable kayaks are a different breed and it’s okay to have questions! If your question isn’t on this list, be sure to check out this beginner’s guide to inflatable kayaks, with tips and in-depth reviews of these kayaks and more.  

Do Inflatable Kayaks Flip Easily? 

Inflatable kayaks seem like they might flip more easily than hard-shelled kayaks because they’re significantly lighter. However, inflatable kayaks are harder to flip! They are wider and have thick inflatable tubes, which makes them sturdier in the water. 

inflatable kayak flip
Photo from Sea Eagle Youtube

Are Cheap Inflatable Kayaks Any Good? 

Naturally, the more you pay for an inflatable kayak, the better it will be. However, many of the less expensive inflatable kayaks are perfectly good for beginners. An inflatable kayak can last you several years (and many kayak trips) if you take care of it and practice good water safety. 

Can I Paddle a $200 Kayak in the Ocean? 

Most $200 inflatable kayaks should be used with care near the ocean. If you are determined to to do this. Stick to calm bays and make sure that you check your tide tables before going out. The tide can easily carry you and your kayak in a direction you don’t want to be headed so keep that in mind.  

Where Can I Paddle a Cheap Inflatable Kayak? 

As long as you are careful and know water safety, you can paddle an inflatable kayak in calm bays, small lakes and slow moving rivers. You will have to be exceptionally careful around rapid rivers or larger bodies of water, especially if you have a cheaper kayak. Also, always follow the suggestions in the instruction manual! 

What We Have Learned 

If you are considering an inflatable kayak, we hope that one of the boats on this list caught your eye! We’ve discussed the pros and cons of five different budget kayaks, why inflatable kayaks work well, and how to take care of your kayak to make it last longer. 

While we usually recommend to go for a bit more of expensive inflatable kayak due to quality materials and on water performance. If we had to choose we would say that the best inflatable kayak under $200 is the Intex Excursion Pro. Now that you’re armed with the right information, get out there and start paddling! 

Photo of author
Hey, there! My name is Derek and I have been around kayaks and canoes all my life. The last 5 years I recently turned my attention to inflatable kayaks and my world has been a lot more portable since! When I'm not kayaking I like to watch motorsports, play hockey and work on this site!