Pedal kayaks are great for kayak fishing and for folks recovering from or dealing with chronic upper-body injuries. They allow you to propel your kayak using your legs so that your shoulders do not have to deal with the constant rotation that comes with using the best kayak paddles.
The only issue with pedal kayaks is that they can be quite expensive, even if it is for good reason. The technology that allows kayaks to be pedal-driven can often drive their price tags astronomically higher.
Unless you have the budget to choose one of the most expensive kayaks out there, you will probably want to look into your options for cheap pedal kayaks. For our purposes today, we are going to focus on cheap pedal kayaks under $2,000.
These kayaks still offer the hands-free propulsion that you can enjoy with pricier models. You will just be able to save a little on upfront costs, which can be helpful if you are also investing in a new kayak PFD and other accessories for comfort and safety on the water.
In this guide, we will review 10 cheap pedal kayaks and we will help you narrow down your options so that you finish with 2-3 models that you want to explore further!
Photo by Nate Broomfield on Flickr
- Cheap Pedal Kayaks
- Pedal Kayaks Buying Guide
Cheap Pedal Kayak Reviews
- 1. Brooklyn Kayak Company PK11 Angler
- 2. Brooklyn Kayak Company PK13
- 3. Reel Yaks 110 Fishing Kayak
- 4. Brooklyn Kayak Company PK12
- 5. Pelican Catch 130 HYDRYVE II
- 6. Wilderness Systems Radar 135
- 7. Enjoy Kayaks Bay 12 Convertible
- 8. Riot Kayaks Mako 12
- 9. Hoodoo Sports Tempest 120P
- 10. Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5
- Our Pick – Brooklyn Kayak Company PK11 Angler
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- Brooklyn Kayak Company PK11 Angler
- Brooklyn Kayak Company PK13
- Reel Yaks 110 Fishing Kayak
- Brooklyn Kayak Company PK12
- Pelican Catch 130 HYDRYVE II
- Wilderness Systems Radar 135
- Enjoy Kayaks Bay 12 Convertible
- Riot Kayaks Mako 12
- Hoodoo Sports Tempest 120P
- Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5
Photo by Andrew Penney Photography on Flickr
Many of the factors you would consider when buying recreational kayaks will still come into play with pedal kayaks. So our pedal kayak buying guide will focus on additional factors that apply specifically to this type of kayak.
The most important factor in these kayaks is the design of their pedal-drive system. Depending on the manufacturer, the design will have various features that can make them easier or more difficult to use.
The first feature that you should look for is called instant reverse capability. This allows you to reverse the direction of your pedaling to move your kayak backward without having to flip a switch or make any changes to the configuration of the pedal-drive system.
Unfortunately, not all pedal kayaks offer instant reverse capability, but it is definitely a feature we would recommend looking for.
Secondly, some pedal-drive systems are built into removable consoles that set into the center of your kayak’s cockpit. This allows you to remove them if you want to use your kayak normally (with a paddle, for example).
It will also provide you with the flexibility to add a trolling motor to the center of your kayak down the line. So if you think you will consider upgrading to a trolling motor to get around in the future, you will want to choose a pedal kayak with a removable pedal-drive console or pod.
Pedal kayaks are among the heaviest kayaks out there. In large part, that is due to the added weight of the pedal-drive system and its related components.
For many of these kayaks, you will be able to find the weight of the kayak and the exact weight of the pedal-drive system separately. That will allow you to compare hull weights to pedal-drive weights when you are comparing models.
The advantage of this is that you will be able to understand how much weight you can save if your kayak has a removable pedal drive. It will also allow you to consider the process you will use to transport your kayak with your vehicle or kayak trailer.
For many of these kayaks, their heavier weights are going to require a kayak cart for easier transportation unless you have a launching location that allows you to back right down to the water’s edge every time you go out (or you store your kayak at a waterfront location).
At the end of the day, you might not find a lot of effective difference between the use and performance of a 90-pound kayak versus a 100-pound pedal kayak. You will, however, find quite the difference between the latter and an ultralight model that weighs under 60 pounds, for example.
Even some cheap pedal kayaks come with more accessories than you might expect. So when you are comparing models, be sure to check into what else comes with a kayak when you buy it.
The additional money you will need to spend on accessories could make a slightly more expensive pedal kayak worth it if it comes with a paddle, kayak seat, tackle boxes, and other assorted kayaking gear.
That being said, most folks searching for cheap pedal kayaks are just getting into the sport or switching over from a traditional kayak. If this is the case, it pays to keep things as basic as possible.
This will allow you to customize your kayak as you gain experience and you figure out exactly how you want your kayak set up. There are some fun kayak DIY projects you can do on these pedal kayaks, so if you are interested in that it behooves you to buy a more basic pedal kayak when you are just starting out.
Because one of the best reasons to get a cheap pedal kayak is to free your hands up for kayak fishing, these kayaks need to have plenty of space for all of your kayak fishing gear.
That means both sealed and open storage compartments as well as accessory tracks for attaching things like a GPS or fishfinder. Accessory tracks tend to come into play more frequently once you know exactly how you like to customize your setup.
Still, it makes sense to find a kayak that has at least two so that you can use them once you learn what you want down the line. Additionally, if you plan on only day trips, you should prioritize open storage areas over sealed hatches.
Sealed hatches are best for multi-day kayak adventures because they provide more dry storage. Their downside, however, is that you will have to pull your kayak up onto a beach in order to get out and retrieve gear out of a sealed storage hatch.
- Length: 10’6”
- Width: 34”
- Weight: 60 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 420 pounds
The pedal-drive system in this kayak is equipped with instant stop and instant reverse capability. It can also be completely removed if you want to add a trolling motor without having to go to great lengths to make sure your kayak stays afloat.
In front of the pedal-drive system, there is a large watertight hatch that provides dry storage space for items that you want to keep protected from splashing water. There is also a rear storage compartment with bungee rigging, so this kayak offers enough storage space for multi-day adventures.
In addition to the pedal-driven propeller on the bottom of the kayak, it is equipped with a hand-operated rudder at the stern. So you will truly be able to stash your old kayak in the paddle park for emergencies only.
Because it is also designed for fishing purposes, this kayak includes three fishing rod holders. It is also equipped with a raised, aluminum-framed mesh seat that provides an elevated vantage point and breathes well on hot days.
- Length: 13’
- Width: 33.25”
- Weight: 80 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 550 pounds
Brooklyn Kayak Company’s PK13 is equipped with the same pedal-drive system as the PK11 and also includes many of the same features. This kayak’s added length simply makes it a better choice for taller paddlers or ocean fishing.
It does have a larger watertight storage hatch at the bow and a larger rear storage compartment for a kayak tackle box or one of the best trolling motor batteries. Because, yes, the pedal drive can be removed and replaced with a trolling motor with relative ease.
As you can see, the PK13 is 20 pounds heavier than the PK11. So you will need to be comfortable moving that added weight around on land and it will also make this kayak slightly less maneuverable on the water.
- Length: 11’
- Width: 34”
- Weight: 62 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
This pedal kayak is made for professional anglers but it is available at a more reasonable price than most of the best ocean fishing kayaks. As you can see from the specs above, it is short enough to be maneuverable on smaller waterways and light enough to be transported more easily than the heavier fishing kayaks out there.
In terms of features, this kayak is loaded. It has a total of six fishing rod holders, four accessory tracks on the gunwales, an elevated stadium seat, a large sealed bow hatch that can be used for storage or as a livewell, and much more.
The pedal-drive flap system on this kayak is perfect for fishing shallower waters because it will naturally flip up if you run aground. This helps to prevent damage to the propellers and is a nice addition to the design of this kayak’s pedal drive.
The pedal drive also weighs a total of just 11 pounds and can be removed for easier transport. This kayak also comes with a hand-operated rudder and mounting points for a trolling motor already built into the gunwales at the sides of the rear storage area.
- Length: 12’
- Width: 32.75”
- Weight: 70 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 460 pounds
The last cheap pedal kayak from Brooklyn Kayak Company on our list is a ”˜tweener’. It offers many of the same features (and the same pedal-drive system) as the PK11 and PK13, but with different dimensions for the kayak itself.
So if 11’ is too short and 13’ is too long, this is your Goldilocks kayak. Plus, this kayak is equipped with an anchor trolley that makes it easier to set an anchor and maintain your position if you want to fish in a particular spot for a longer period.
It also features a larger secondary storage hatch behind the kayak seat and it boasts the same open, flat cockpit that allows for comfortable stand-up kayak fishing if you are paddling in calmer waters.
PC Pelican International
- Length: 12’6”
- Width: 34”
- Weight: 78 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 425 pounds
All of Pelican’s kayaks are known for their surprising ability to regain their shape if accidentally dented while kayaking or in transit. The Catch 130 is, of course, no exception.
Pelican’s HYDRYVE II pedal-drive system is mounted right in the center of the kayak’s open cockpit and operated in conjunction with a hand-controlled rudder to help you both steer and power your kayak while keeping one hand occupied with a fishing rod.
Two different sized accessory tracks (four-inch and eight-inch) allow you plenty of gear customization choices. Plus, four scupper plugs in the bottom make it easy to drain water out of the cockpit on rainy days.
The Catch 130 also includes a bunch of other fishing features such as four fishing rod holders, an accessory eyelet, anti-slip carpets for stand-up fishing, and bow and stern tankwells with bungee rigging.
PC Wilderness Systems
- Length: 13’6”
- Width: 34”
- Weight: 90 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 475 pounds
Technically, the Wilderness Systems Radar 135 comes with a removable center console as the standard setup. It is, however, compatible with either their Helix PDâ„¢ Pedal Drive or Helix MDâ„¢ Motor Drive.
The good news about that is that this kayak is initially set up for traditional kayak fishing with the option of upgrading to either a pedal-driven or motor-driven system down the line. That makes it an ideal choice if you are just flirting with your interest in kayak fishing.
This kayak is also built using Wilderness Systems’ S.M.A.R.T. approach. By incorporating elements for Stability, Maneuverability, Acceleration, Responsiveness, and Tracking into the hull, they created a kayak that can handle multiple different environments.
Plus, it is equipped with a built-in steering control system that functions seamlessly with the pedal drive system. The multiple scupper options on this kayak also allow you to install electronics for down-imaging or side-scanning to improve your fishing odds.
PC Enjoy Kayaks
- Length: 12’
- Width: 32”
- Weight: 67 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
The Bay Convertible 12 from Enjoy Kayaks is one of the few pedal kayaks under $1000 out there. Just keep in mind that the kayak’s price tag does not include the pedal drive (sold separately), but even with the price of the pedal drive this is still one of the cheapest pedal kayaks out there.
The ”˜convertible’ nature of this kayak means that it can be converted from a pedal-driven kayak to a motor-driven kayak. When it does have the pedal drive installed, you will be able to control your direction using the steering knob on the port side of the kayak.
Opposite that steering knob, you will find the paddle park for your kayak paddle. Just behind your kayak seat, there is a sealed storage hatch for gear, but it is the perfect place for your trolling motor battery if you do upgrade to a motor-driven system.
In addition, there is a large hatch at the bow for dry storage and an open tankwell at the stern for a kayak cooler bag or other gear. On the gunwales, you will also find an anchor trolley that makes it easier to set up in a single location for a few hours of concentrated fishing.
PC Riot Kayaks
- Length: 12’4”
- Width: 34”
- Weight: 69.2 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 470 pounds
The Impulse Pedal Drive system that comes standard in all of Riot’s Mako kayaks is the lightest on the market. It also features an incredibly simple design that makes it very easy for beginners to use.
This pedal kayak is also equipped with a stern rudder that can be adjusted with hand control from the cockpit. Speaking of the cockpit, the flat areas to the port and starboard of the pedals provide enough space for stand-up kayak fishing.
The Mako is best suited for day kayaking on calm lakes or slow-moving rivers because it doesn’t have a ton of enclosed storage space for longer trips. There are just the two smaller storage hatches and the additional open storage areas at the bow and stern.
This kayak is, however, equipped with an adjustable seat that allows it to accommodate a wider range of kayakers. You will be able to slide the seat forwards or backward depending on your leg length.
PC Hoodoo Sports
- Length: 12’
- Width: 33”
- Weight: 80 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 350 pounds
The pedal-drive system and hand-controlled rudder are standard features on the Tempest 120P. So you won’t have to worry about upgrading or purchasing an additional pedal-drive system to make this kayak go.
It is also designed for comfortable all-day fishing whether you like to fish from a seated or standing position. If you do want to make some quick progress through the water, however, you will be hard-pressed to find a more efficient cheap pedal kayak than this one.
That is because it is intentionally designed as a hybrid and it features elements of both angling and fast-tracking kayaks. Its streamlined, hydrodynamic hull allows you to scoot from fishing hole to fishing hole without wasting any time.
When you get there, you will be able to take advantage of anchor trolleys to set up for a while. Plus, the pedal drive is removable and there is a perfect storage space for a trolling motor battery if you decide to upgrade later on.
- Length: 10’6”
- Width: 34”
- Weight: 75 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 325 pounds
Hobie is arguably one of the most recognizable names in the pedal-driven kayak industry. As a result of their sterling reputation, however, not too many of their kayaks would fall into the ”˜cheap’ category.
If you do want a pedal kayak from one of the longest-standing kayak manufacturers out there, however, the Mirage Passport 10.5 is one of their cheaper models. It is powered by Hobie’s Mirage Drive system.
This system features Glide Technology and kick-up fins that help you avoid damage if you unexpectedly glide into really shallow waters. It also incorporates an easy-to-use steering system to make it highly maneuverable on smaller rivers and creeks.
With multiple fishing rod holders and accessory tracks, you can also do some serious angling with this kayak. Or, you can pick up a Hobie sail and enjoy some open water adventures!
If you are looking to add multiple cheap pedal kayaks to your family’s arsenal, this is also one of the most stackable kayaks out there. The rudders easily stow out of the way so that you can stack multiple Hobie kayaks together to save storage space at home.
Our Pick – Brooklyn Kayak Company PK11 Angler
It will perform well for fishing applications but it can also be useful for recreational pedal kayaking. Plus, it will save you a bunch of time that you would otherwise spend finding the rest of the items to complete your kayak accessories kit.
The pedal-drive system offers the instant reverse capability you should be looking for and you will retain the freedom to remove it to upgrade to a trolling motor if you choose to do so down the road.
For smaller paddlers, the PK11 is also one of the lightest cheap pedal kayaks on our list. That means you will not have to tire yourself out just getting your kayak down to the water before you can even start paddling…ahem, I mean pedaling!