Whether you’re a beginner at kayaking or you consider kayak to be rather the way of life than just a sports discipline or a hobby, then you must know how important it is to find a Kayak brand that you will meet all your expectation. If you’ve already bought a kayak before and been disappointed or you’re looking for your first kayak to buy but you’re restricted on budget, you came to the right place.
Of course, when buying your first kayak you are facing a lot of difficulties and don’t know which way to go. Ideally, you’re looking for something cheap yet effective in meeting all your requirements. The good news is that cheap kayak brands planted their models all over the internet. The bad news is that not all of them are reliable and safe for beginners.
Making a compromise between a price and quality is a tough task and it takes a knowledgeable individual to be able to make that compromise. In this article, we’ll inform you about all the properties of good Kayak brands to choose from and inform you about some kayak brands to avoid, as well as what properties to avoid.
You’ll also be able to take a look at the buying guide and have a better understanding of different features that are considered when shopping for a Kayak brand. Make sure to read through all the content to make a better choice when buying your very own kayak.
Features To Avoid When Looking For Kayaks
Before we head onto the good things to focus on, let’s narrow the list down. Here, we’re going to talk about all the features you need to focus on when shopping for a kayak and what all bad brands have in common.
There are dozens of different types of kayaks. They are available in different sizes and shapes and are often over-advertised to be suitable for all types of water, all body types, and all types of terrains. That’s not always true, which is why we prepared a list of features that you want to avoid.
They’re Too Cheap
As we mentioned before, it’s okay if someone is looking for a Kayak brand that won’t sell overly expensive kayaks for beginners. However, being affordable is not always a choice you can make if you want to buy a good-quality kayak. When they’re cheaper, but advertised to be suitable for both fresh lakes and white waters, it’s likely not the case.
Blindly following cheap kayak brands can easily get you injured if you’re inexperienced and are looking for something that won’t break the bank but is equipped with all the features that you may need.
They’re Usually Imported
It’s no secret that various cheap products are imported from countries where cheap labor is flourishing and materials are easy to obtain and process. Such companies acquire various cheap material kayaks and other products that they label as branded and professional, copying serious and notable brands in the process.
The good news is that these are easy to spot, and on the label, there’s usually the country of origin where it came from, or it only gets imported. Don’t be fooled, however, sometimes it’ll say that the product was manufactured in the USA, but also say that the materials are imported, which is a bad practice.
In Most Cases They Are Inflatable
Inflatable kayaks are growing in popularity and many people are starting to adapt to them, while various manufacturers adopted the design. However, it’s still unexplored enough and leaks and breakage are possible. If you want something that will last, but also something that will keep you safe and sound, you should look for a stabler construction for a kayak.
Warranty Is Short Or Doesn’t Exist
Like we mentioned earlier when we were discussing the price, cheaper kayaks should be avoided even if you’re a beginner and don’t want to use them too much. However, the price also determines how durable is the kayak and how long it should last. Its longevity is measured by the warranty the manufacturer issues.
For inflatable and low-quality kayaks the warranty is up to a year, while some manufacturers don’t even leave the warranty. Such kayaks should be avoided because if you pay expensively, the manufacturer should justify it with durability and a long lifespan.
Some manufacturers advertise their kayaks as impossible to penetrate. On the first look, you may think they’re made out of the lightest, yet most durable material, when they’re just made of polyester just like most of the other kayaks. Customers are encouraged to use it for fishing in the fresh waters, fast waters, saltwater, and everywhere, but don’t note that using it on rougher terrains leads to tears.
If your not too expensive kayak option is advertised to do the impossible, it’s likely not as professional as one would think.
The Weight Limit Is Lower
When it comes to weight limits, it’s very important feature to look at. Pretty much, kayaks are lightweight but they should be able to carry the person. That being said, kayaks can’t have some abnormal weight limit unless there are more people aboard.
With most high-end brands and models, the general rule of the thumb is that the actual weight limit of the kayak is 30 to 50 pounds higher than the weight limit put in the label.
With imported, bad brands, that’s not the case. Even worse, usually the weight and height limit is lower than what was actually written on the label, so some users may feel disappointed to discover that their new kayak doesn’t suit them after receiving it, preparing it, and wanting to try it out.
The Safety Standards
Kayaks and Canoes are usually approved by the safety regulators in the USA and EU. One of such regulations falls under the ABYC Standards such as H-29, which is a safety standard for making sure that kayaks can stay afloat, that they are made with safe materials and that they are durable enough for everyone.
5 Worst Kayak Brands to Avoid
The above mentioned features are something that all cheap kayaks have in common. Now, let’s take a look at the brands you should avoid and why is that.
Disclaimer: This article is purely informational and doesn’t aim to discriminate or defame any brand or manufacturer. It is based on our comparison of the best and worst Kayak brands and models. Our readers are still encouraged to buy from these brands but encouraged to remain cautious due to some features that are not one shoe that does it all.
- Why avoid it: Balancing problems and lower weight limit than other Kayak brands.
- Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
- Customer service: Could be better
Pelican is one of the most reputable brands when it comes to different adventure and survival equipment. However, its Kayaks don’t always live up to the expectations offered by the company. There are many different models, and while those pricier models easily meet the user requirements, others have various problems with their equipment.
One of the most notable things that this company offers is the great limited lifetime warranty, which means that you can always get a replacement of parts for your product or repair. However, the claiming process is pretty difficult and time-consuming as you have to register on a form and have your local vendor contact the company for repair.
However, many consumers complained that the floating-point is too narrow, creating an angle that makes balancing and stability hard to achieve. Many users had to sit still in order to keep the kayak balanced at all times.
The weight limit is a bit lower than it’d be with some more premium models and brands. A person weighing a little more than 200lbs can’t hope to use the kayak with the same stability and reliability someone that weighs 170 lbs can.
The customer service also didn’t satisfy us. They don’t respond to emails promptly. You may have a bit more luck with social media, but for minor issues.
- Why avoid it: It requires time to set up, foldable kayaks aren’t generally that reliable on the market.
- Warranty: 3-year warranty and 90 days trial period.
- Customer service: Could be better
Tucktec kayak series bring cutting-edge technology to allow you to use a foldable kayak and get to travel everywhere you want, while also offering a retro and vintage look of how kayaks used to look before. Many people are fans of these kayaks because they can travel easier and disassemble them in a minute.
However, even though the company promises it can be assembled just as fast, it takes some time to assemble if you’re inexperienced and if you want to make sure that it’s stable and safe to use by everyone.
Several reports came saying that the weight limit is lower than the prescribed 300lbs. Let’s be honest, 300lbs sounds like a perfect weight limit for anyone enthusiastic about the outdoors, unless it’s significantly lower than that.
People weighing 230-280 tried using the kayak but ended up sinking. The latches also fall off easily, which causes the water to enter the kayak. That being said, this option may be safe for children or teens, in calm and relatively shallow water. If you’re aiming for the rougher and faster rivers, this option won’t work for you.
Something we liked is 90 days to try out the product and see if it’s good, but the warranty of three years was a deal-breaker for us.
Lastly, the customer service is most helpful to users regarding choosing the right kayak and ordering. However, when it comes to filing complaints and appeals regarding the kayaks, they’re quite hard to reach and slow at replying to emails and messages.
- Why avoid it: Our main complaint is regarding the low weight limit, short warranty and not as durable materials.
- Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
- Customer service: Decent
AQUAGLIDE kayaks are exactly the kind of kayaks you want to use recreationally and have some fun. If you’re serious about using them on whitewater and some rougher waters, as well as fast waters, not all models are the right choice. That’s mostly because its signature budget model Noyo is inflatable and probably won’t withstand the stronger tides.
It comes with a quick-release fin, a drain plug for releasing water, and dry compartments for storage where you can place your phone and other accessories that you don’t want to get wet. However, our main complaint is about the fact that the weight capacity of 250lbs may not be enough for a person who’s exercising regularly and has a larger muscle mass.
For smaller people and children, this is an ideal kayak, but for taller and heavier adventurers they may feel like it’s too tight and hard to navigate through. There’ve been complaints of people weighing between 150 and 180 pounds being unable to fit in.
Another complaint we have is that the warranty lasts only one year, which is not a good deal for a kayak that costs so much. The customer service is responsive and helpful, but if your concerns are tied to the weight limit and stability, there’s not much that they can do to help you.
We must admit that their double kayaks are better because they have a more reasonable weight limit, but they’re still a tight fit for taller and heavier people.
Field & Stream
- Why avoid it: They’re pricy and have poor customer service. Sometimes, the screws may loosen and fall apart, in addition to brittle plastic parts.
- Warranty: Depends on the product
- Customer service: Bad
There are a lot of things we could say about Field & Stream kayaks. They manufacture and sell various products from the adventure and survival niche, but the kayaks just don’t live up to their reputation, unless they’re from other brands.
Most of their signature products, such as Elite kayaks don’t come with visible warranty information. Instead, the customers have to fill up the form or exhaust themselves trying to contact customer service either through email or chat to get the most basic information.
If you’ve gone on a trip outside the USA, chances are that you won’t even be able to access the website, as it’s programmed so to only be available to USA-based customers. When it comes to stability, they can be pretty stable and reliable for recreational and adventurous purposes.
However, the screws can sometimes get loose pretty fast and break after only a couple of uses, according to different reports. There have also been reports about plastic stern handles breaking after only two uses, which can be disappointing for people who set away a lot of money to get the kayaks.
Our final complaint is that most of the entry-level models have quite low weight limits, so they’re more suitable for children and women for maximal stability.
Sevylor Fiji 2-Person Kayak
- Why avoid it: While it’s advertised as a two-person kayak, it can only be used by one person or two children.
- Warranty: 90 days
- Customer service: Bad
This PVC-built Kayak with a modern valve and inflation system is more than attractive for single kayakers while being advertised to be carried out for two people. However, the 400 lbs weight limit is far from appropriate for two people who want to use it.
According to many reports, it’s easy to sink with two adults, even if the weight limit is much higher than two kayakers weighing in together. It’s, however, suitable for two children, kayaking and paddling in the calm lakes or even saltwater if the waves are not too strong.
The air chambers are built in a way that if one punctures, the other one will be available to replace the one that punctured.
Additionally, there’s a 90-day warranty, which is extremely low for a kayak costing so much. For a longer warranty, you have to pay extra, but in case of puncture or malfunction, the customer service is quite difficult to reach.
Things to Look For In Reputable Kayak Brands
After reviewing the 5 worst Kayak brands that we could research and check, here are the features and benefits to focus on.
- It’s a reputable brand with positive customer history – If you’ve heard about this brand in a positive light, see the recommendation all over the internet forums, customer reviews, and social media groups, it’s a reputable brand worth shopping for.
- It has decent warranty deals – Claiming warranty is easy and the warranty lasts long enough to justify the high price of the kayak.
- Customer service helps – The customer service agents and staff, in general, are educated and know how to assist you with your problem.
- Durable materials – The kayaks are made of durable materials and not out of cheap PVC alternatives and brittle plastic parts.
- The weight limit is calculated – Whether the weight limit is lower or higher than expected, you get what they advertised. A 300lbs limit kayak won’t sink if a 230lbs person gets in it.
- The stability – When you enter a durable kayak you’ll feel stability and not a need to sit stuck in one position in fear of sinking or flipping over.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kayak Brands – FAQ
Still need help deciding for the best kayak for yourself and your dear ones? Read this FAQ for the final judgment.
Which Kayak Has The Worst Customer Service?
One common rule of thumb is that if you’re buying a kayak all companies will have perfect customer service and provide impeccable service to you. However, if things get bad and your kayak doesn’t live up to the price you paid for, they all suddenly become unavailable.
Some of those brands include Pelican and Field & Stream. They’re hardly available, and pretty much unreachable through any written customer service forms.
Are There Kayak Brands I Should Focus On?
You’d be surprised to know how many reliable Kayak brands there are. We’re here to name a few:
- Oru Kayaks (Best foldable Kayak)
- Perception Kayaks
- Delta Kayaks
- Vibe Kayaks
- Wilderness Systems
They have great customer service and guide users through the website in choosing the best kayak for their needs. Each kayak is categorized into types so you can find exactly everything that you need for your family and yourself. Finally, they all offer a decent warranty, with easy registration and no hassle.
What Kayak Brand Is The Most Reliable?
For us, that’s the Perception Kayak. Their website is made flawlessly and it’s easy to navigate through even for most layman customers. With great user experience, users can easily navigate to their local vendor, with a kayak suitable for almost any terrain and water speed.
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