Best Budget Sit On Top Kayaks in 2023 for Adventure Junkies

Sit on top kayaks are preferred by most outdoor adventurers as they are sturdy, stable, durable, have plenty of legroom, and are easier to get in and get out.

Choosing the best sit-on-top kayak for your needs is not an easy task. With so many wonderful alternatives, knowing what to look for while shopping is essential.

To help you to pick the best sit-on-top kayaks, we have carefully reviewed the best ones currently available in the market. We’ll cover the 5 best sit-on-top kayaks of 2023 in this article, along with all of its features, pros, cons, and also a comparison chart that will help you understand the differences.

Let’s dive right in.

Best Sit On Top Kayaks of 2023

1. Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak

Pelican Sit On Top Kayak

The pelican sentinel 100X kayak is one of the best sit-on-top kayaks under $500. It is one of the popular kayaks in the market because of its multifunctional hull and overall quality. It’s the best choice for those feeling claustrophobic in a cockpit. The RAM-X makes this kayak lightweight on both the deck and the hull. The available colors are exo neptune white in recreational style and fade black green/light khaki in angler/fishing style. Overall, this is one of the best sit-on top kayaks ready to support your day’s plans, whether you’re into recreational paddling, spending time in nature, or fishing.

Main Features

  • High-quality molecular density polyethylene, that is durable and long-lasting

  • Weighing 43lb, which makes this sit on top kayak easy to transport

  • Footrest and adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest with seat cushion

  • Adaptable dual arched multi-chine hull provides enough stability


  • Suitable for all weather conditions

  • Durable material

  • High resistance

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to carry


  • Limited space

  • Slow in the water

2. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Kayak

If you are looking for extra storage space for a sit-on-top kayak, the tarpon 120 is the one you should look for. This cheap sit-on-top kayak is designed for comfort while improving safety performance. There are two adjustable seats, two dry storage hatches in the cockpit, and two deck wells, as well as huge room to stretch your legs. It comes in 4 colors breeze blue, fossil tan, galaxy, and mango. Overall, it is one of the best sit-on-top kayaks available at a reasonable price

Main features

  • Adjustable phase 3 airpro seating system makes the seat stay cool for a long time

  • Valuable like wallets, mobile phones, sunscreens, etc can be safely stored in the DryTec case box

  • MagnaTec magnetic strap system for holding the water bottles

  • Lightweight and ergonomic 3D foam gives maximum comfort and airflow

  • High-density polyethylene hull provides more durability

  • Backrest can be adjusted according to heights


  • Lightweight

  • Adjustable backrest

  • Magnetic storage holder

  • Durable


  • Heavy

3. Pelican Sit on Top Kayak 100xp Angler

Pelican Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

One of the best sit-on-top kayaks on the list is the pelican 100xp angler kayak as it is specially made for anglers with advanced skills. Made of high-density polyethylene material that is durable, comfortable, and easy to transport. There is only one color option, olive camo. On the whole, It will give you a safe and stable kayaking experience.

Main features

  • Designed with a Multi-chine flat bottom hull provides lightweight, and excellent stability

  • Equipped with adjustable ERGOFIT seating system with padded backrest and seat cushion

  • Quick-lock hatch to place all your belongings safely


  • Easy to transport and adjust

  • Adjustable footrest

  • Bottle holder

  • Lightweight

  • Spacious


  • Heavy to carry

4. Perception Hi Life 11 Sit On Top Kayak

Perception Hi Life 11 Sit On Top Kayak

Perception Hi Life 11 is a great single sit-on-top kayak that is flat, sturdy, lightweight, and easy to carry. The low-profile rear swim deck with handles makes it easy to go back on board after swimming. It also has a drink holder to store your juice, cool drinks, and water bottle. This best sit-on-top kayak is available in colors such as dapper, deja vu, and funkadelic.

Main Features

  • Made of high-density polyethylene material that is durable and strong

  • Featured with supportive elevated seat and grippy deck cushion

  • Leak-proof and paddleboard optimized design

  • Equipped with a cool storage recess under the seat to store food and beverages

  • Comfortable handles will provide an easy maneuvering experience


  • Convenient drink holder

  • Stability

  • Good performance

  • Versatile

  • Cooler recess

  • Durability


  • Does swing easily

  • Hard to handle

5. Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak

Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit On Top Kayak

If you’re searching for a budget-friendly sit-on-top kayak, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler is a good option. It has room to accommodate a person of the height of 6’2 and a small kid along with all the storage units. Plus, it comes with an adjustable seat and multiple footrest options that accommodate paddlers of any size and length This best-budget kayak makes it easier for beginners and experts to explore their fishing adventures. There is only one available color, olive green.

Main features

  • 3-rod holders – 2 are integrated by mounted flat hull and another 1 is mounted on top placed in the paddler’s leg

  • 6 storage compartments in the center to store the belongings safely

  • Designed with high-density polyethylene to protect from UV rays and prevent fading due to sun damage

  • Offers bungees on the side for safe paddling


  • 3-rod holders

  • Adjustable padded seat back

  • Easy to transport

  • Durability


  • Slow on the water

  • Paddle is too short and very thin

Things To Be Considered Before Buying The Best Sit On Kayak

Here are the main factors you need to consider before you buy a sit-on kayak.

1. Length & Width

If you’ve decided to buy the best sit-on-top kayak, the essential part to consider is the length and width ratio. Kayaks come in a variety of lengths and widths, depending on their intended use. Sit-on-top kayaks are suitable for a wider range of users and body shapes. Shorter ones are slower to paddle but easier to navigate.

2. Seating

Comfort is very important as you will spend a long time sitting on your kayak. If you’re traveling with luggage, choose a seat with more foam padding. Don’t overlook the importance of a padded seat that can be adjusted. Some sit-on-top kayaks come with a removable seat, so you may choose to upgrade your seat depending on your comfort level, during fishing.

3. Gear storage

If you’re going on a fishing trip in your boat, you’ll need a good amount of storage space to keep all of your gear. In sit-on-top kayaks, there are open-top storage compartments to place all your accessories like mobile, keys, sunscreen, etc safely. You can choose a purpose-built dry hatch if you want to keep your gear dry and secure. Purpose-built is available only on higher-priced kayaks, so there’s a bit of a cost trade-off here.

4. Material

Select kayaks that use polyethylene or HDPE (High-density polyethylene) as it’s flexible, abrasion-resistant, and affordable. You can also choose the ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) material as it offers UV protection and more lightweight. The downside is, ABS is quite expensive.

5. Weight

The maximum weight capacity of a kayak is an important feature to consider so you don’t end up sinking. Make sure you buy a model with a weight capacity that can comfortably accommodate you and your equipment on the water. So always pick a kayak that has higher weight capacity. As a rule of thumb, the kayak must have a 20-40 pounds free capacity so you can have a smooth experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What size kayak should I buy?

Most leisure kayaks 10 feet or longer should allow you to easily get in and out of the kayak. If you decide to buy recreational kayaks they range in length between 8 to 13 feet.

2. What are the benefits of sit on top of a kayak?

Sit-on-top kayak will provide a great kayaking experience and is suitable for kayakers of all age. It is suitable for activities such as touring, fishing, fitness or if you’re just looking for some solitude. Plus, you can easy to climb back onto the kayak even if you fall off.

3. Why is a sit-on-top kayak a better option for more beginners?

Sit-on-top kayaks are slower than sit-in kayaks due to their higher center of mass and limited storage space. For beginners, this kayak is easy for navigation, balancing, and training.

4. What distinguishes kayaking from canoeing?

A canoe is a bit heavier and bigger also it is an open-top boat with a single-bladed paddle. Kayaks are smaller and sleeker, also it is a double-bladed paddle. It is ideal for river or lake tours.

5. When should I do when water enters through the hull?

Find the hull’s holes and cracks, as well as the gap between the hatch and the rim. If any holes or large gaps are discovered, fill them with foam. To keep the hull dry, replace the rubber on the rear drain plugs.

6. Do sit on top kayaks easily flip on water?

Absolutely not. A sit-on-top kayak design allows you to use your legs to help balance the boat by providing foot support on both sides. The foot support will help you in achieving a more comfortable position, increase stability, and decrease wobbling.


If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably made up your mind about which sit-on-top kayak is best for you. Fortunately, all of the best sit on top kayaks reviewed in this article are safe, stable, spacious, and comfortable. It all boils down to your preference. Hope this article about the best sit-on-top kayak will help you to make the right decision.

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