Best Sit on Top Kayak Under $500 – Review and Complete Guide

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Whether you are an amateur or an expert, SOT is an excellent option. Here, we choose the 10-best sit-on-top kayaks under 500 dollars that are perfect for you.

Sit-on-top kayaks are a relatively recent addition to the kayaking family and have many benefits. This list focuses on finding the sweet spot between price and features. We are here to walk you through the key things you need to look out for in a sit-on-the-top kayak so that you are 100 per cent satisfied with your purchase.

So, without further ado, let us dive in.

Kayak in Budget

A Quick Comparison chart:-best sit on top fishing kayak under 500

KayakDimensions (L x W x D)Best ForWeightAction
1. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak151 x 37 x 18 inchesVersatility43.6 poundsCheck Price
2. Lifetime Tamarack Angler120 x 31 x 14 inchesFishing52 poundsCheck Price
3. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak108 x 36 x 20 inchesCalm Water24 poundsCheck Price
4. Lifetime Lotus Sit on Top Kayak96 x 30 x 10 inchesRivers38 poundsCheck Price
5. Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Sit-on Kayak120 x 36 x 19 inchesLarge Person60 poundsCheck Price
6. Ocean Kayak Venus 10118 x 28 inchesWomen’s27 poundsCheck Price
7. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak103 x 36 x 30 inchesCalm water18 poundsCheck Price
8. Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top108 x 31 x 18 inchesBeginners44 poundsCheck Price
9. Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak108 x 31 x 14 inchesFlatwater45 poundsCheck Price
10. Sun Dolphin Bali SS 12-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak144 x 29.6 x 14 inchesRecreational Activities48 poundsCheck Price

Quick Answer: 10 Best Sit-on-Top Kayaks Under $500

Best Sit on Top Kayaks for Fishing under $400

Best Sit on Top Kayak for Rivers

Sit on Top Kayak 400 Lbs Capacity

Sit on Top Kayak for Large Person

Lightest sit-on-top kayak

Best Sit-On-Top (SOT) Kayaks under $500

Are you on a tight budget? Look no further; we have compiled a review of the 10 best sit kayaks under 500 dollars for you to see below.

1. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, Professional Series Inflatable Fishing KayakBest on A Budget

Overall Dimensions:
  • Length: 12.5 Foot
  • Width: 37 inches
  • Depth: 18 inches
  • Weight: 43.6 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak-Best Sit on Top Kayak Under 500
Intex Excursion Pro

Stability: The high-pressure inflation system in this boat allows it to be very rigid and easy to control. To further enhance the balance of this unit, you get two skews for deep and shallow water. The skews are removable to allow you to choose between speed and agility.

Material Durability: This kayak uses super-tough laminated PVC with a polyester core. The material construction makes the product durable yet maintains its lightweight features. This unit is highly resistant to impact, abrasion, and sunlight.

Seating: This is a two-person boat that keeps your comfort in mind. It comes with two floor-mounted footrests and two adjustable seats that are cosy enough to support your day. This sit-on-top kayak has 400 pounds of weight capacity.

  • High durability
  • Spacious
  • Massive weight capacity
  • Very fast inflation and deflation
  • Does not come with an air pump

2. Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak, Olive, 12’’ – Best for fishing

Overall Dimensions:
  • Length: 10 Foot
  • Width: 31 inches
  • Depth: 14 inches
  • Weight: 52 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 275 pounds
Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak/Best Sit-On-Top (SOT) Kayaks under 500
Lifetime Tamarack Angler

Stability: This unit is designed to give you a stable paddling experience. This high stability comes from its flat bottom with deep tracking channels and chain rails.

Spacing: This is the dream kayak for any recreational or professional fisherman. You get all the space you need to carry fishing rods and supplies. It has two 6-inch storage compartments in the front and rear to hold all your equipment.

Additionally, it comes with three fishing rod holders and multiple footrests. Two holders are flush-mounted, and the other one is mounted on the top.

Portability: Though a bit heavy with a weight of 52 pounds, it is not that hard to lug around. It has T-handles in the front and rear sides to help you carry it to the water.

Seating: The cushioned seat in this kayak can accommodate one person with a maximum body weight of 250 pounds. The seatback is adjustable and padded for increased comfort.

  • Well balanced and spacious
  • Perfect for fishing
  • Flat bottom gives you high stability
  • A bit heavy compared to other units

3. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak

Overall Dimensions:
  • Length: 9 Foot
  • Width: 36 inches
  • Depth: 20 inches
  • Weight: 24 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak/Sit on Top Kayak 400 Lbs Capacity
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Stability: This inflatable sit-on-top kayak comes with a bottom fin that gives you increased control of your direction. On top of that, the propeller is removable if you prefer speed and fast manoeuvrability rather than balance. The unit performs well on lakes and mild rivers.

Material Durability: This boat material is made of high-density vinyl that is resistant to puncture. An inflatable I-beam floor allows this unit to be rigid and comfortable. These features will enable this unit to withstand a weight of 400 pounds while on water.

Inflation Time: One of the concerns regarding inflatable units is the time it takes for inflation. Due to the Boston valves and the included air pump in this unit, the process is easy and hassle-free.

Seating: This is a sit-on-top kayak for two persons. The inflated seats are comfortable and have plenty of room to move around. They also have an adjustable backrest, allowing you to paddle away for an extended period. These features make this unit one of the best sit-on-top kayaks for beginners.

  • Included air pump
  • Durable materials
  • Comfortable seat with backrest
  • Not suitable for rough waters

4. Lifetime Lotus: Perfect Sit on Top Kayak for Rivers

Overall Dimensions:
  • Length: 8 Foot
  • Width: 30 inches
  • Depth: 10 inches
  • Weight: 38 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
Sit on Top Kayak for Rivers/Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak/
Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak

Stability: This product does not leave a big footprint with its tiny length of only 8 feet. With longer kayaks, you get increased stability and reduced mobility. But this unit bridges the gap nicely by allowing you to manoeuvre tight spaces with a decent amount of balance.

Spacing: This kayak provides ample compartment space on the rear side to accommodate necessary supplies. Remember, though, that water splashing on the compartment is risky.

So, it might be wise not to keep sensitive materials on board. Additionally, you have bungee cord lacing to mount your additional items securely.

Portability: This unit is effortless to transport due to its light polyethene design. With a minuscule weight of 38 pounds, you can take it in and out of the water in a flash.

Seating: With space for one person, this product has multiple footrests to accommodate people of different heights. The backrest is adjustable to ensure comfort for long paddling sessions.

  • High durability
  • Spacious
  • Massive weight capacity
  • Very fast inflation and deflation
  • Does not come with an air pump

5. Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Sit-on Kayak with Padded Backrests

Sit on Top Kayak for Large Person/Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Sit-on Kayak
Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Sit-on Kayak
Overall Dimensions:
  • Length: 10 Foot
  • Width: 36 inches
  • Depth: 19 inches
  • Weight: 60 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds

Stability: The stability you get with this kayak is unparalleled. Due to the Tunnel Hull Design, you get an additional layer of control while tracking with this unit. If you are worried about your paddling technique, this is the kayak. No matter the water condition, this product is impossible to tip over.

Spacing: This is a pretty straightforward sit-on-top kayak. It does not contain any extra eye-candy features or over-the-top designs. It does not come with any additional storage compartments, but the interior is spacious enough to bring a few things like fishing rods.

Portability: With a weight of around 60 pounds, this is a pretty heavy unit. Although it can be managed alone, getting help while carrying it is better. It should not be a deal-breaker, as this unit is designed to carry two persons. But if you prefer to go on solo adventures, this might not be your most portable option.

Seating: This is where the unit shines. You have enough space to sit comfortably and multiple footrest positions to allow your legs some freedom. The product comes with two soft backrests to accommodate two persons. With a weight capacity of 500 pounds, this is a sit-on-top kayak for a large person.

  • Well balanced and spacious
  • Perfect for fishing
  • Flat bottom gives you high stability
  • A bit heavy compared to other units

6. Ocean Kayak Venus 10: Best Women’s Sit-On-Top Kayak

Overall Dimensions:
  • Length: 9.10 Foot
  • Width:  28 inches
  • Weight: 27 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 175 pounds
Best Women's Sit-On-Top Kayak- Ocean Kayak Venus 10
Ocean Kayak Venus 10

Stability: This 10-foot sit-on-top kayak has a hull design known for its stability and control. The exterior part of the hull protects it from both fresh and saltwater. The polyethene construction allows for better paddling and tracking ability. Great for calm lake kayaking, especially for a beginner.

Portability: You can carry this product quickly to the lake, Ponds, or flatwater without any help due to its weight of only 37 lbs. It’s specially designed for women so it’s super easy to carry and load. It is decorated with a car-topping handle System, making it easy to load on a vehicle. Also, there are moulded-in side carrying handles and bow-stern Toggle handles, which allow you to carry the boat with minimal strain to and from the water.

Seating: This is a single-person kayak that can support up to 175 pounds without running into any balancing issues. The seat with the unit is comfortable and designed to accommodate a woman’s centre of gravity. Additionally, the unique hybrid seat back provides continuous support for long-time paddling.

  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Comfortable seating positions.
  • Increased stability.
  • The skid plate helps to prevent scratches while dragging.
  • Improper storage space.

7. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak: Lightest Sit-On-Top Kayak

Overall Dimensions:
  • Length: 8.5 Foot
  • Width: 36 inches
  • Depth: 30 inches
  • Weight: 18 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
Lightest Sit-On-Top Kayak/Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

Overall Design: This is a beautifully designed sit-on-top kayak for under 200 dollars. At such a fantastic price, you get a product that is convenient to carry. The seat folds into a backpack you can take on land. You can bring the deflated kayak in the bag whenever you go paddling.

Material Durability: This kayak is suitable for use in a lake thanks to its 21-gauge PVC construction. It has a puncture-resistant Tarpaulin bottom that makes this product durable.

The system is guaranteed not to leak by the manufacturers. Even in the case of a damaged air chamber, you have a backup chamber to keep you inflated on the water.

Inflation Time: The included air pump makes inflation quick and easy with this product. It has double lock valves with two locking points to speed up the inflation or deflation process. Setting this product up takes only 5 minutes, so you can spend less time getting ready.

Seating: Designed for single-person use, this kayak has a weight capacity of 400 pounds. The seat is comfortable and cosy to accommodate long fishing sessions. It also comes with three footrest positions to allow persons of different heights to use it comfortably.

  • Very affordable price.
  • Included air pump.
  • Fast set up.
  • Stability needs improvements.

8. Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Recreational Kayak – Sit on top of the kayak for a large person.

Overall Dimensions:
  • Length: 9 Foot
  • Width: 31 inches
  • Depth: 18 inches
  • Weight: 44 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 325 pounds
Best Sit on Top Kayak Under 500/Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top.
Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person

Stability: The stability of the Frenzy is top-grade due to its superior hull design. The Tri-Form hull with a prominent centre keel keeps you pointing forward and gives you increased control. It is a fantastic sit-on-top kayak for beginners who have not perfected their paddling technique.

Spacing: This kayak has enough space to hold a scuba tank if you want to go diving or some kayak fishing supplies. Both storage spaces at the front and back contain bungee cords that come in handy when holding a paddle or taking a dive.

Portability: Due to its small stature and a reasonable weight of only 44 pounds, you can quickly move this kayak from your storage to the river. You do not have to worry about transportation. This boat comes with side handles that are moulded in and handles in the bow and stern.

Seating: This unit has a four-way adjustable seat for any body size. You can paddle all day without feeling the strain due to the Comfort Plus seat.

  • Very stable.
  • Easy to carry.
  • Truly Durable.
  • Slow speed.

You can also check this: best Kayaks for Big Guys

9. Emotion Spitfire: Best Sit-On-Top Kayak for Flatwater

Overall Dimensions:
  • Length: 9 Foot
  • Width: 31 inches
  • Depth: 14 inches
  • Weight: 45 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 350 pounds
Best Sit on Top Kayak Under 500/Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak
Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak

Stability: This boat provides excellent tracking and ultra-high stability while in motion. The tracking is easy, and the boat is balanced well. It performs well in calm waters and can survive to tip over even if it gets rough. On top of that, the small size makes it highly manoeuvrable.

Spacing: The additional space you get with this boat is surprising. Despite the size, you have enough storage space to carry around a few other gears.

The rear tank well features a cargo net lacing that provides more area to store your products. Adding moulded-in holders for paddles stops you from worrying about storing the paddles.

Portability: It is effortless to transport since it weighs only 45 pounds. But this is still one of the best sit-on-top kayaks with a 300 lbs capacity. Carrying capacity. It also comes with handles on the front and rear sides of the boat.

Seating: One of the main focuses of the manufacturers was comfortable seating for the paddler.

As such, you get an ultra-lite cushioned seat that keeps you cosy even in long paddling sessions. You also have moulded-in foot bracing inside the kayak to increase comfort.

  • Can navigate windy waters.
  • Comfortable seating arrangements.
  • High-density Polyethylene construction.
  • Drainage system needs improving.

10. Sun Dolphin Bali SS 12-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak

Overall Dimensions:
  • Length: 12 Foot
  • Width: 29.6 inches
  • Depth: 14 inches
  • Weight: 48 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 395 pounds
Sun Dolphin Bali SS 12-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak- Sit on top kayak in whitewater
Sun Dolphin Bali SS 12-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak

Stability: The superior control you get from this kayak is unparalleled. This stability is credited mainly to the greater length of the kayak. The longer nose keeps you from tilting left or right and helps you to maintain balance. This kayak tracks well and handles easily, making it suitable for beginners and veterans.

Spacing: Similar to the 10-foot model, this 12-foot kayak also comes with the Portable Accessory Carrier. The carrier is like a backpack that allows you to carry any supplies you need on or off the boat. Add two large storage spaces on the rear and the front; you can bring everything you need to the water.

Portability: Considering the size, it is still pretty lightweight. This 48-pound kayak is easy to handle and get to the water without extra help.

Seating: The seat in this unit is positioned a bit lower than you might expect. This feature adds to the stability and does not take anything away from comfort. It also comes with adjustable foot braces and thigh pads for an enjoyable kayaking experience.

  • Lightweight despite the size.
  • Good storage capacity.
  • Not very maneuverable.

Why Choose A Sit on Top Kayak?- A Definitive Buyers Guide.

Choose A Sit on Top Kayak

When you are getting into the sport of kayaking, everything will be new to you. The first thing you know is that there are two types of kayaks based on their design; Sit on top and Sit-in. These two kayaks differ drastically in their function and build configuration.

So, which one should you choose? Whether you go for sit on top; or the sit-in variants, you need to know what they do.

You cannot make an informed decision without doing sufficient research on both of them. Sit-in designs are the old-school classic kayak, while the sit-on-tops are the modern go-to kayak.

To help you understand which one you should get, this guide section will focus on the little things that give Sit-on-top kayaks a slight edge over the others.

Pros and Cons of Sit-on-Top Kayaks

A sit-on-top kayak comes with many advantages over a sit-inside design. But there are some potential disadvantages that you should know. This pros and cons list focuses on the positives and negatives of a sit-on-top kayak.


1. Open Cockpit Design

Due to the design of the cockpit, the paddler gets easy access to the kayak. Furthermore, the kayak will not confine you within it.

This design is far superior to a sit-in kayak because you get a spacious feeling and do not feel trapped.

Additionally, sit-on-top kayaks feature footrests that give you a good grip on the inner sides of the boat.

This feature, combined with the spacious deck, trumps the cluttered feeling people often get in a sit-in kayak. Getting inside the boat it is faster and easier than of a sit-in kayak

2. High Center of Gravity

Sit-on-top kayaks have a comprehensive design and a high centre of gravity. It directly adds to the stability that you get out of this variant. The kayak remains upright and balanced even on rough waters because of its high centre of gravity.

3. Drainage System

Sit-on-top kayaks come with pores to let water drain from the cockpit. The self-bailing scupper holes remove water automatically in the event of accidental capsizes.

They are the perfect choice if you are paddling in a surf zone. You do not need to carry a bilge pump since the water drains by itself.

4. Storage Space

The open design of the sit-on-top gives you plenty of additional space, which you do not get with the sit-in type. The ‘‘tank well” at the stern provides enough room to carry big items like a cooler or a bag.


1. Speed

Sit on top kayaks are generally far slower than a sit-inside type. Due to the bulky design of the boat and the wide beam, you also need to exert more force while paddling.

The narrow design of sit-inside kayaks helps to propel the boat with less effort than the wide design of the sit-on-top.

2. Longer Paddle Size

The paddle size you get for a sit-on-top kayak is bigger than that of a sit-inside one. With the longer paddle, you must apply more force to prop yourself forward.

3. Slight Water Accumulation

Because of the drainage holes in the bottom part, a small amount of water is always in a sit on top kayak.

Best tandem kayak under 500 for beginners

4. High Profile

A sit-on-top kayak is bigger and bulkier than a sit-inside one. That is why winds and other factors are more likely to give you a hard time on this type of kayak.

Sit on Top VS Sit in Kayak Stability

  • Which kayak is more stable, sit in or sit on?
  • Do I want a sit-in or sit-on kayak?

Stability is an important issue when you are getting a kayak. Without proper balance and control, you cannot enjoy yourself.

A sit on top kayak shines when it comes to stability. This not only makes it the perfect choice for beginners but also a formidable tool in the hands of an expert.

As mentioned, the sit on top kayaks come with a higher center of gravity that lets it balance easily on still water.

Due to the narrower design and low center of gravity, a sit-insider kayak is unstable. They tilt more quickly, and the likelihood of you tipping over is more on a sit-inside than a sit-on top.

However, mobility-wise, sit-inside kayaks seem to get a slight advantage. In a sit-inside kayak, your knee connects to the inner part of the boat, allowing you more control over tight turns.

If that is something that appeals to you over the balance of the boat, then sit on top kayaks may not be the best choice.

On the other hand, the wide beam design of the sit-on-top kayak helps you maintain a straight course. You do not need to worry about the boat tipping over and capsizing due to the relatively flatter bottom.

This type of kayak is practically unsinkable due to its wide beam and high center of gravity. And the wholly enclosed structure of the sit-on-top kayak further adds to its stability. So, It’s clear that sit on top is more stable than sit-in kayak.

How To Store A Sit-On Top Kayak?

The best method of storing a sit-on-top is to get a storage rack. If it’s not available, you can put it on the ground. If you are going to store it for a long time, you always need to cover it with a UV and water-resistant cover.

Sit inside vs. sit on top kayaks. Which is better?

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a fishing enthusiast or just looking to have a good time, kayaking is a beautiful way to pass a lazy afternoon. It also trains you with some crucial skills such as balance and control.

Some quality time with Mother Nature helps you develop a deeper understanding of the elements. Our extensive list of best sits-on-top fishing kayaks under 500 dollars should help you find the perfect kayak for yourself. If you ask me, I will go for the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, the ideal combination of affordability and functionality.

But you should get the one that appeals to you personally. We hope you have an excellent time out on the water with your new sit-on-top kayak.

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