5 Best Pedal Kayaks of 2020
Pedal kayaks provide you with a unique boating experience because no paddling is required. Instead, these kayaks are fitted with a pedal drive system that is similar to that of a bicycle.
Steering these boats is also quite unique because you have to use the lever located at the seat's side to effectively and precisely control the rudder mechanism.
If you are fresh on the market for a pedal kayak, we have exactly what you need. We gathered some of the best pedal kayaks for the money and give you our impressions below.
Advantages of Using a Pedal Kayak
1. Recreational Fun: Possibly the biggest advantage of the pedal kayak is its fun factor. Few boats offer the recreational fun that the pedal kayak can provide. In addition, the pedal kayak can be used for solo riding or with another person.
Since the pedal kayak is so easy to use, you can spend most of your time admiring the view instead of fighting with your paddle on which direction to go.
2. Versatility: The pedal kayak can be used for a wide range of activities. Some people choose to use the pedal kayak for fishing. That's because the pedal kayak has a very smooth drive and propeller system that navigates the waters in a calm manner without driving away skittish fish.
Moreover, the stern, middle as well as the front of the pedal kayak normally have large and waterproof storage compartments for your various accessories.
3. No need for paddles: An obvious factor that is often not mentioned when talking about pedal kayaks. Unlike a traditional kayak, you do not need to use paddles to steer left or right. It is all done with the rudder control system that only requires your fingers to operate.
4. Ease of use: You do not need any experience to navigate the waters with a pedal kayak. It quickly becomes almost second nature because the pedal drive system is so easy and straightforward. Even a child can do it!
5. Comfort: Since you do not need a paddle when operating a pedal kayak, you can take your time and relax.
One of the best things associated with almost all pedal kayaks is that they have a comfortable and adjustable seat that provides you with maximum comfort in your water pedaling journey.
In addition, you will also find practical footrests at various positions inside the cockpit.
Such that you have a better and more comfortable sitting position, especially for those planning to use their pedal kayak for an extended period.
6. Safety: The pedal kayak has been engineered with safety in mind. A good pedal kayak is made in such a way that all parts of the kayak will remain afloat in the event of a boat rollover.
This includes the pedal drive system as well that is made from a durable and tough plastic material that floats on water rather than sinks.
5 Best Pedal Kayaks – Review
1. BKC PK14 (Best Overall)
2. Perception Kayak Pescador Pilot 12 (Pedal Kayak with a Large Storage Space)
3. BKC PK13 (Best Budget)
4. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 (Pedal Kayak with Kick-Up Fins)
5. Native Watercraft Manta Ray Propel Angler 12 (Best Lightweight)
1. BKC PK14
2. Perception Kayak Pescador Pilot 12
(Pedal Kayak with a Large Storage Space)
3. BKC PK13
4. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14
(Pedal Kayak with Kick-Up Fins)
5. Native Watercraft Manta Ray Propel Angler 12
(Best Lightweight Pedal Kayak)
1. BKC PK14 – Best Overall Pedal Kayak
- Weight: 99 lbs
- Capacity: 2
Brooklyn Kayak Company's PK14 is the best overall pedal kayak because it can accommodate up to 2 people and has a large weight capacity of 660 lbs. This means you can also carry lots of cargo inside.
With its 2 seats, you also get a dual pedal drive system that spins the propeller at a very fast speed for quick movement over water. Additionally, the 14-ft long boat has a narrow body and a grooved hull bottom, which will ensure you move at high speeds and is perfect for tracking.
Other features include a large rear storage compartment that can fit a 20-liter cooler, a waterproof compartment at the front, 3 flush-mount rod holders, 2 collapsible aluminum paddles and 4 carrying handles (2 side, 1 front and 1 rear).
However, the unit is quite costly to buy.
2. Perception Kayak Pescador Pilot 12 – Pedal Kayak with a Large Storage Space
- Weight: 85 lbs
- Capacity: 1
Perception Kayak's Pescador is characterized by a large storage space that consists of large front and rear open storage with bungee straps for holding a cooler, tackle and other gear.
You also get additional space under the seat plus a drink holder that conveniently holds your drink and prevents it from slipping.
Other than that, this unit is very durable because it is made using high-density polyethylene, which offers UV and impact resistance. Moreover, every part of the kayak is treated so that it can withstand salt water.
For those interested in taking this pedal kayak out for fishing, it has no less than 4-rod holders to accommodate your fishing rods. You also get an ergonomic breathable mesh seat that is adjustable and removable.
The only problem is that even with all those storage spaces, there is no waterproof hatch where you can keep your electronics and other sensitive cargo.
More Detailed: Perception Kayaks Pescador Pilot Review
3. BKC PK13 – Best Budget Pedal Kayak
- Weight: 81.5 lbs
- Capacity: 1
If you are on a tight budget, BKC's PK13 is an affordable pedal kayak to consider buying. Despite this, the product is using a high-quality and high-density polyethylene material that is impact-resistant.
The unit is also fitted with a very responsive rudder system, which is controlled by an equally easy to use and precise steering system that can required minimal effort.
You also get an ergonomic seat with a fully padded, supportive and adjustable backrest, bungee straps at the rear, a waterproof hatch at the front, flush-mount rod holders and 6 color options, which are blue, blue camo, camo, gray camo, red and yellow.
However, the boat's deck does not have an anti-slip surface for comfortable stand-up fishing.
4. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 – Pedal Kayak with Kick-Up Fins
- Weight: 144.5 lbs
- Capacity: 1
Instead of having a regular propeller, Hobie's Pro Angler 14 is fitted with kick-up fins, which can bend so as to provide propulsion through shallow water easily. Therefore, if you are worried about logs, rocks or kelp damaging your boat, get this one.
You also get a retractable transducer shield on the underside where you can mount your transducer for easy tracking of fish. A H-rail is also built-in for mounting fishing rods and other accessories conveniently.
Other features include front, center and rear hatches that offer waterproof storage spaces, cup holders, a comfortable adjustable seat with lumber support technology and a large carrying handle.
The only issue is that this boat is very heavy (144.5 lbs.) and therefore, carrying it out of the water can be very challenging.
5. Native Watercraft Manta Ray Propel Angler 12 – Best Lightweight Pedal Kayak
- Weight: 70 lbs
- Capacity: 1
If there is one aspect where this Native Watercraft pedal kayak is a sure winner is in weight. Indeed, this model weighs only 70 lbs., making it the lightest pedal kayak in this review.
At this weight, the boat can be easily carried on a kayak trailer or be lifted by one person onto a truck bed.
Other than that, the form factor of the Native Watercraft is streamlined for speed and maneuverability. It measures 144 inches in length, which makes tracking easy, but is also not too long to interfere with maneuvering capabilities.
More features include a 325-lb weight capacity, a smooth rotational pedal-drive system, a fully adjustable mesh seat, a storage compartment at the rear with bungee straps, a waterproof hatch at the front and carrying handles at the sides, front and rear for easy transportation.
However, the deck does not have an anti-slip surface for comfortable stand-up fishing.
How to Buy the Best Pedal Kayak
When purchasing a pedal kayak, there are a few important factors to consider. Those factors are important as the pedal kayak is an expensive navigation boat that can prove to be a costly mistake if you ever choose the wrong model for your need.
1. Types of Pedal Kayak
Push: The push type of pedal kayak uses only the motion of your feet to move the dual yaks located just under the drive system.
It moves similar in the way that the fins of a fish move so as to create a forward or backward motion depending on the way you pedal.
The push pedal drive system offers you with a lot of maneuverability and control especially during steering and complex maneuvers, and can be found in Hobie's Mirage Pro Angler 14.
Rotational: The rotational type is the most popular type of pedal kayak available on the market. It works very similarly to the way you pedal a bicycle.
One of the best things about this type of pedal kayak is its ease of use. Indeed, when it comes to recreation purposes, the rotational pedal kayak is the best type to choose because it is so easy and smooth.
However, it lacks the maneuverability and control of the push pedal kayak as it uses a propeller system rather than a pair of fins to move the kayak. This system is found in most of the units above.
2. Pedal Drive System
Regardless of the type of pedal kayak you go with, the pedal drive system is an important part of the equation. Basically, what you are looking for in the drive system is its efficiency and ease of use.
A good pedal kayak will come with a smooth and maintenance-free drive system. Moreover, in case your kayak rolls over and you lose the drive system, it should be made from materials that keep it afloat. This way, you can quickly and easily retrieve it.
In addition, it should be engineered to deliver maximum performance when necessary. Not all pedal drive system can keep up with heavy-duty usage and cheaper ones break easily.
You absolutely do not want this to happen as the drive system is one of the most expensive parts of the pedal kayak to replace.
Size is another important aspect to consider in the pedal kayak. Basically, the size of your pedal kayak should depend on your need and purpose.
For a solo experience, you should go for a compact unit like Native Watercraft's Manta Ray Propel Angler 12.
However, if you plan to use the pedal kayak with more than one person, consider a larger unit like BKC's PK14.
In addition to the size, the storage should also be considered. Most pedal kayaks such as Perception Kayak's Pescador Pilot 12 come with ample storage for your various accessories.
However, if you are planning to carry electronics that need to be kept in a waterproof compartment, check out BKC's PK13.
Needless to say, quality must also be considered. If you want a long-lasting and durable pedal kayak, check for a sturdy build, usually consisting of materials like polyethylene.
Polyethylene is a type of plastic that can withstand sunlight, shocks from impacts and will not corrode in both freshwater or saltwater. That said, you should check out Perception Kayak's Pescador Pilot 12, which is sturdily built.
The weight is an important consideration for those who are planning to carry their pedal kayak regularly. Even more so, the weight is especially important if you need to attach your pedal kayak to a pedal kayak trailer for transportation.
That said, Native Watercraft's Manta Ray Propel Angler 12 is the most lightweight boat in this review and is highly recommended.
The pedal kayak is not for everyone mostly due to its high price. However, the BKC PK13 is quite affordable and is worth checking out.
If you want the best of the best though, BKC's PK14 is the go-to option because it can carry up to two people, has a high weight capacity of 660 lbs. and contains other convenience features such as rod holders and large storage compartments.
If you like fishing though, we highly recommend Old Town's Predator PDL as the best pedal kayak due to its forward-facing rod holders and non-slip deck surface.
- Advantages of Using a Pedal Kayak
- 5 Best Pedal Kayaks – Review
- How to Buy the Best Pedal Kayak