Who Makes the Best Kayaks? Top Brands and How to Choose Them

Last Updated on July 16, 2022 by Fabiola L.

For many people, kayaking is more than just a hobby, as there’s a lot of time and money invested in this. Because of the investment, it becomes crucial to know who makes the best kayaks and guides your purchase.

There is a wide range of kayaks and kayak brands that you can go for out there, and it might be challenging to choose the right brand. Let’s take a closer look at the best kayak brands.

Why You Need the Best Kayak Brand

There are a lot of benefits that come with buying from the best kayak brands. Although they might be more expensive than knock-offs, they offer durability and good value for your money. As a beginner in kayaking, it’s important to choose the right product for your adventure.

Reputable Brand

The first benefit of using the best kayak brand is their good reputation which they might have built over time. Going for leading kayak brands assures you of the high quality of your product, especially since many other customers have good things to say. Some new kayak brands are also reputable if their kayaks are of high quality.

Durability and Good Build Quality

Top kayak manufacturers don’t cut costs or skimp on resources when making their products so that you can expect high quality, durability, and good build quality. They also make their kayaks with high-quality materials, allowing long-lasting use.

Abide by Safety Regulations

The best kayak makers also abide by safety regulations, especially the international safety standards. This assures players of proper safety when they’re out on the water and are rugged against challenging conditions and longer adventures.

Warranty Coverage

Good kayak manufacturers come with good warranty coverage. This means that the company is confident about its value, and you’re protected whenever there is any damage to the kayak.

Top Kayak Brands

Here are the best kayak brands you can go for.

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Wilderness Systems

Wilderness Systems has been manufacturing kayaks since 1986, so you are assured of their long-lasting quality. The company started with a team of outdoor enthusiasts who designed these high-quality and innovative kayaks. They are stable, rugged, and lightweight, and the designs have even won several awards.

Wilderness Systems Sunshield – for Aspire, Pungo and Other Sit-Inside Kayaks

Who Makes the Best Kayaks? Top Brands and How to Choose Them

Intex Recreation Corp

If you’re looking for affordable inflatable kayaks, check out the products available at Intex Recreation Corp. The USA brand has been operating for over 50 years and has a wide range of budget inflatable kayaks. Furthermore, the company is focused on reducing its carbon footprint, giving you eco-friendly kayaks to explore the waters.


Lifetime is a pretty famous brand in kayaks, but it started with making basketball hoops, very surprisingly. The brand name is synonymous with entry-level sit-on-top and sit-inside kayaks, youth kayaks, and paddleboards. The company makes its durable kayaks with high-density, blow-molded polyethylene. They also make different accessories.

Old Town

While Old Town is widely known as the largest canoe maker in the US, they also make high-quality kayaks, qualifying it for our list of the best kayak brands. They make the best and fully equipped fishing, tandem, and pedal kayaks.

Perception Kayaks

Another reliable kayak manufacturer is Perception, making kayaks for over 40 years. The brand is widely trusted in the paddling community, and its products include recreational, budget fishing, tandem fishing, and touring kayaks.


Although Sevylor started strangely as a manufacturer of electrical accessories in 1948, the French company moved on to a PVC handling process which opened the door to making kayaks. This is one of the most reliable brands making inflatable kayaks and other recreational products. All their boats are also certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Ocean Kayak

Ocean Kayak is one of the biggest sit-on-top kayak manufacturers globally, primarily known for its recreational kayaks that offer more value for your money. The company also makes stand-up paddleboards, fishing boats, and water sports accessories worldwide.


The Hobie brand started from making surfboards, but years down the line, they diversified to boats and now make kayaks. They also make sailboats, fishing and recreational boats, SUPs, and other water vessels, plus a wide range of accessories.

Kayak Brands to Avoid

While there are different top kayak brands, some kayak brands to avoid if you want to enjoy high quality, these brands are usually the knock-offs of the best kayak manufacturers who make cheap and copy products.

If you’re working with a tight budget, you might be tempted to choose these kayak imports because they are usually very cheap. But, they will also offer poor quality and low durability, meaning you’ll have to buy another one any time soon.

So, before choosing any kayak brand, you should consider their website, online reviews, and the prices of their products. You don’t have to choose overly expensive ones, just those that offer good value for their money.

kayak brands to avoid

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Kayak

When selecting the kayak you want to use for your sport or hobby, you should consider the following factors.


The brand of the kayak, as explored above, is highly important. It’s essential to purchase from the kayak manufacturers we have recommended on our list.

Kayak Type

Different kayak types depend on the purpose, including fishing, recreational, touring, hunting, whitewater, and racing kayaks.

Paddling Location

It would be best to consider where you will be using the kayak, whether it’s the river, sea, lakes, or coastal waters, and choose the right kayak for that purpose.

Portability and Storage

The size and structure of the kayak are essential, all boiling down to whether it is hard-shell or inflatable. It would be best to consider transporting it to and from the water, carrying it, and the storage.

Sit-In vs. Sit-On-Top

It would help if you also considered whether you would choose a sit-on-top or sit-in kayak, which is dependent on what is more comfortable for you, the water environment, and paddling style.

Propulsion Method

There are three options in this case: paddling, motor drives, and pedal drive systems. Whichever you choose depends on convenience and the price tag.


Finally, you can choose either a single or tandem kayak, whether you plan to kayak by yourself or with others.

Final Verdict

Now that you know who makes the best kayaks, you can purchase from top brands. With these brands, you enjoy an extended warranty coverage, high quality, durability, and assured safety. As long as you have the right kayak, this water sport will always be fun and safe.

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