Pedal kayaks are a remarkable innovation in small watercraft. You move faster through the water, are positioned more comfortably than most other kayaks and best of all get to keep your hands free! Incorporating a manual powered propulsion system into a kayak is genius for a lot of reasons!
A lot of the boats we chose to include here are designed for angling — that’s because the fishing-specific pedal kayaks are loaded with righteous features applicable for any style kayaker. They are also built to be inherently stable. Read on to discover the best pedal kayak for you.
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1. Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal KayakPros:
- Great size for a gear heavy solo kayaker or for family outings at 12 feet with a 450 pound weight limit
- Two eight inch accessory tracks make this pedal kayak highly customizable
- PDL Drive System is super responsive and pulls all the way out when moving over shallow water
- Space for a kid in the back jump seat and a dog on the bow!
- Three cup holders
- No built in fishing rod holders included
- If this kayak is going to go on your car top you will probably need the help of a friend (100 pounds)
- PDL drive has a nifty compartment, but there's no easy access center console
This is a 12 foot, 100 pound kayak with a focus on storage capacity so you can load up everything you need and more for a day on the water. Ocean Kayak has a built a killer pleasure boat with the Malibu Pedal Kayak.
There are storage wells on both the bow and stern with bungee tie downs for stashing all sorts of gear. You could load up a large cooler, beach chairs, and games and pedal out to your favorite secret beach or even bring along your canine companion for a cruise! The stern tank well also features a jump seat so you can bring along one of the kids! The Malibu has a 450-pound weight capacity so you shouldn’t have to leave anything behind.
There’s also some dry storage located beneath the seat as well as within the PDL Drive System and an additional gear pouch underneath the seat. This is a mindfully designed boat with storage space for all your equipment, big and small.
Customer reviews praise the Element Beach Seat for its comfortability — a trait that’s honestly pretty standard for pedal kayaks in general. It’s important to be properly oriented to the pedals and also have a nicely cushioned seat for long days on the water — Ocean Kayak has hit all the bases in terms of seating.
There’s three cup holders and also two eight-inch accessory tracks for attaching additional features like fishing rod holders or a GPS unit. The tracks make this boat truly customizable and give you the freedom to get creative with your set up. I’ve seen kayakers build mounts for umbrellas, action cameras and even lean bars for assistance standing up. The possibilities are endless with the accessory tracks and they ensure you never have to drill directly into your boat!
The PDL Drive System is truly impressive. I use the same exact pedal system with my Old Town Predator (see #2) and could practically use the thing for water-skiing it’s so speedy! The resistance is very minimal and both the acceleration and steering system are super responsive. Maybe the best feature of the PDL Drive is that it pulls all the way out of the water in seconds so you can sneak over the shallows.
12 feet is a great size for heavy loads and for larger sized kayakers, but it’s also not too large/heavy of a boat to effectively move around. You’ll probably want a kayak dolly if you’re moving this unit alone, but the Malibu will carry and tie down to a car top with ease if you have a buddy.
2. Old Town Predator PDL Pedal Fishing KayakPros:
- PDL drive is impressively powerful, comes on and off the boat with ease and can lift all the way out of the water when engaged
- Element seating system is very spacious and highly adjustable. This is a dam comfy kayak seat
- Great array of storage space and angling features including mounting plates for just about anything you can think of
- The size and hull design of the Predator make it suitable for pursuing big ocean faring fish farther from shore and also allow you to stand comfortably
- This is a heavy peddle kayak at 117 pounds and quite cumbersome at 13 feet, make sure you have a plan for transporting this big boy
- Fairly steep price tag yet still a great value boat considering the technology and features employed here
- Hatch to the compartment on the PDL drive is sometimes frustrating to use
Both anglers and pleasure boaters will love the Predator PDL Pedal Fishing Kayak. This is a fishing specialized unit that’s equally as awesome for those looking for a luxurious ride.
Old Town recently sent me out a Predator to sample and I’ve been quite impressed with how the boat performs. I’ve been out both fishing and just enjoying the day and the performance of the watercraft as well as it’s righteous features are a ton of fun to get behind the wheel of… I mean pedals.
The PDL drive used in this boat is the same propulsion system employed in the previous boat (the Malibu Pedal Kayak by Ocean Kayak). It’s both a forward and reverse drive that is super responsive and produces some breakneck speeds. The PDL drive really moves this boat despite it’s weight (117 pounds) and length (13 feet).
As with the Malibu, when you’re casting off or coming over some shallower depth the PDL drive lifts all the way out of the water. Furthermore, this boat paddles just fine when you have the pedal drive up — it’s a fairly hydrodynamic hull that responds well to both pedal and paddle powered propulsion.
The rudder can be dropped with a hand lever and steered with a separate hand control — all from the comfort of your seat. The boat doesn’t turn terribly well in reverse due to the rudder design, but maneuvers on a dime when moving forward.
The Element seating system is also equipped with this unit. It’s a ridiculously spacious and highly adjustable seat design that leaves me with a TON of room to shift around and lean back and furthermore is positioned nice and high above the water for enhanced visibility. The Element seat also slides backward and forwards super easily which allows you to maximize your deck space when fishing or relaxing and then adjust to the best position for pedaling the boat when it’s time to move.
This is without a doubt a comfortable boat for kayakers of all shapes and sizes.
If you are a fisherman looking for a Cadillac-kayak capable of some righteous angling expeditions, this could be it. The hull design is quite seaworthy and the pedal system does not require much effort to quickly move the boat. This is a pedal kayak you can go miles offshore with to pursue big fish if you’re feeling up for it.
Standing up and casting is also a breeze in this boat — it has great stability that won’t take your mind off the fishing when you’re focusing on your quarry. Fly fishermen beware however, the pedals do take some getting used to having in front of you and will no doubt tangle your fly line while casting until you get the hang of it.
An awesome array of storage, rod holders and mounting plates also allows you to really customize this boat. There’s even a hidden storage bag for placing a battery up underneath the bow hatch so you can equip the Predator with a GPS or fish finder. The possibilities are endless with a boat of this size and design.
Consider pairing this pedal kayak with a kayak carrier, it’s nearly impossible to lug around on your own.
3. Old Town Topwater PDL Angler Fishing KayakPros:
- Fishing kayak with rod mounts and features specific for angling
- Easily outfitted with accessories
- Element seating is great for all day comfort and elevates you nicely above the water
- Lots of deck space for easy standing
- PDL pedal drive is one of the best on the market and includes a 5 year warranty
- Fairly expensive
- Center console located in the pedal drive can be a bit tricky getting in and out of
- Positioning of the rear carry handle is a bit awkward
Old Town’s new Topwater Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak is a seriously awesome personal angling vessel that has remained lightweight and easy to transport.
I was sent a Topwater PDL to test in the field this past season, and I’ve been really impressed with the boat’s performance. I own several kayaks, but the Topwater is my go-to for most days on the water whether I’m fishing or not because of its easy grab and go portability and on the water features.
This kayak is outfitted with Old Town’s PDL drive, one of the best currently on the market. It’s easily removable, super efficient and even includes a 5-year warranty! There’s also a small, waterproof compartment located in the pedal drive for stashing your phone and other essentials you want to have directly on hand.
The Topwater is just under a 100 pounds (with the removable PDL drive included) and 10.5 feet long so it’s not a problem loading and unloading it on your own (depending on your vehicle of course). I’m able to haul it into the back of my Subaru Outback by my self, but I need a hand when lifting it up onto my roof racks. All things considered, it’s a very portable kayak for the amount of deck space and impressive storage capacity.
I really love both the above and below deck storage space with this kayak – it’s a great vessel for effectively bringing along and organizing all your gear. The weight capacity is furthermore 450 pounds making it a great option for kayakers of all sizes. The Element seating is nice and wide, elevating you nicely above the water for great visibility and also comfortable access to the pedals.
This is a great pedal kayak option if you want to really customize your boat – additional rod mounts, electronics and other accessories are easily incorporated into the Topwater by utilizing the provided rail system. I have a Garmin fish finder installed on my boat and the wiring and installation was a piece of cake!
4. Hobie Mirage Compass Pedal Kayak With Reverse Drive (2018)Pros:
- Great size and weight boat at 12 feet and 87 pounds (with drive included) for more manageable to-the-water transport
- Drive system is has a forward and reverse drive and folds almost flat to the boat for moving over shallow water
- Comes standard with through-hull holes to run cables for electronics and includes a track system for mounting additional accessories
- Above deck and dry storage included
- Drive system does not completely lift from the water unless you remove it. Be careful in the shallows with this one
- Expensive option
- Seating although comfortable is not as luxurious as some other options
The pedal kayaks built by Hobie are perhaps the most popular on the market, employing a different type of propulsion system from competitor models.
The Mirage Drive 180 is a radical pedal system that operates more like a pair of flapping fins rather than a propeller. The drive is easily switched from forward to reverse and is highly adjustable for people of all sizes.
This is an impressive innovation in pedal propulsion, the only downside being the fins will not come all the way out of the water unless you remove the entire drive. The Mirage Drive does fold upwards against the hull for traversing shallower water, but you’ll need to be really mindful of just how shallow you are – it still runs a few inches below the boat.
You push on these pedals like two bicycle pumps rather than rotate the drive like bicycle pedals. It works your largest muscle set and really allows you to crank out on the water. It’s a slightly different feel that’s really just a matter of preference.
Without the drive attached, this boat is just 68 pounds making it much more manageable than a lot of other pedal kayaks. With the drive attached, it’s only an additional 19 pounds, but there’s no need to attach it until your boat is wet.
The weight capacity is 400 pounds and the length is 12 feet so this is a slightly less seaworthy vessel than the Malibu and Predator previously listed. None the less, this boat can handle some chop just fine and retains a great compact size for more manageable transport.
Hobie has built this boat to be easily customized as well. There is a transducer mount and pre-installed through-hull cable plugs for easily equipping this boat with a GPS or fish finder and furthermore two track systems for adding additional accessories. There’s even some dry storage and two fishing rod holders included.
5. Perception Kayak Pescador PilotPros:
- Great size/weight boat for easy transport without sacrificing stand up stability and seaworthiness
- Tons of gear storage options for big and small items as well as pre set through-hull holes for easy mounting electronics
- Seat is highly adjustable and well reviewed for structural integrity and comfort
- Propeller tucks into the hull when not engaged so there’s zero draft added
- Awesome array of color options
- Highly affordable option
- There’s a lot of moving parts and hardware on this boat, it’s all designed to be of superior quality but more gadgets, gizmos and features means more potential for issues. Take good care of this one to avoid accessory malfunctions
- Deck shape is awkward without the prop installed
- Front storage is not dry
The Pescador Pilot by Perception is a seriously equipped boat that is one of the best value pedal vessels around for your dollar.
Weighing in at 85 pounds and 12 feet in length, this is a mid-size pedal kayak that’s both stable on the water and fairly easy to transport. You can stand up in this boat and strap it to most car tops making it a pretty righteous size if you ask me.
The propeller system pops in and out easily and also folds up into the hull when you need to cast off or paddle over shallow water. The prop when disengaged adds zero draft to the boat – crucial for navigating tidal flats or water bodies with lots of shallow structure and debris.
There are four mounted rod holders included, two gear wells on the deck and also some bungee storage on the bow and stern for bigger items like dry bags, coolers or beach gear. The pilot also comes with some through hull holes oriented beautifully for running wiring to your transducer or other electronics. Sidetracks add even more potential for adding accessories and really customizing this boat.
The seat is easily adjustable and quite spacious — whether you’re casting on fish or reading a book on the water you’ve got plenty of space to sprawl out. The stadium-style seating also puts you nice and high on the water for improved visibility.
All in all, this is a fully loaded boat that comes at almost half the cost of a lot of other comparable units. The size is ideal for all sorts of applications and the customization potential is staggering for whatever it is you do on the water. Definitely an awesome choice for Perception.
Check out the attached video below for a closer look at some of the Pilot’s coolest features!
6. Native Watercraft Slayer 10 Propel Pedal Fishing KayakPros:
- At just 10 feet and 62 pounds (without the pedal drive attached) this is an easily transportable boat compared to most pedal kayaks
- Super stable for its size — feel free to stand up and dance around in this one!
- Adjustable seat has some pockets for storing gear you might want on hand like sunscreen or binoculars
- Track system goes almost all the way around the boat for endless accessory mounting opportunites
- There’s no easily accessible dry storage from your seated position
- Some larger sized paddlers might want a longer boat
- Design of the pedal drive is a bit awkward towards the front of the boat
The Slayer 10 by Native Watercraft is perhaps the ultimate compact pedal kayak. If space and weight is a major factor for you, definitely check this boat out.
At just 10 feet and 62 pounds without the pedal drive attached this is a highly transportable boat. It’s barely any more cumbersome than a traditional kayak and is one of the only options on this list that can be transported solo. You’ll have no problem throwing this directly into a truck bed or on top of your roof racks.
There’s a lot of deck space in this boat despite its smaller size. Native Watercraft has built this boat to be clutter free so although it’s compact it still feels like a larger, spacious pedal kayak.
The pedal drive lifts all the way out of the water with the Slayer so you don’t have to worry about running your prop aground. It’s a quick and easy system that’s almost as simple as the PDL drive employed with the Malibu and Predator (boats one and two of this list) at a lower cost.
This boat is truly loaded with storage and accessory features. There’s a track system on the sides of the boat as well as on either side of the stern and up in front of the deck. That’s a TON of space to mount gear.
There’s, of course, rod holders built into the Slayer as well as some dry hull storage. Even the seat has some pockets for storing gear you might want on hand like sunscreen or binoculars.
All things considered, this is a super-inclusive pedal kayak that’s built small yet feels like a yacht all while retaining a reasonable price tag. Fishermen and pleasure boaters alike will love the potential with this one.
7. Wilderness Systems Radar 115 Fishing KayakPros:
- Air Pro MAX Seat is highly adjustable and nicely padded for all day comfort
- Extensive track system lines the sides and stern of the Radar 115 for easy mounting of accessories wherever you want
- Flex Pod OS console system at the front of the deck is specially designed to house a battery and mount a transducer/fish finder
- At 85 pounds and less than 12 feet this boat is reasonably transportable
- Can be equipped with a specially designed motor system!
- Gear ratio of the prop is 6:1 as opposed to some more efficient props like the PDL drive used by Old Town and Ocean Kayak that features a 10:1 ratio
- More expensive option
- Hatches on the dry storage can be frustrating to use
This is a spacious, stand up kayak that makes an effort to remain easily transportable. The Radar 115 has a 450-pound weight limit, so there’s plenty of room for you to bring along some heavier gear.
I’m a big fan of Wilderness Systems kayaks and love the design of this boat. At 11 feet 8 inches and 85 pounds this borders on being a larger boat yet doesn’t quite cross the threshold.
The Air Pro MAX Seat is very well reviewed for comfort and adjustability and gives you a great vantage above the water. I’ve even viewed some seat frames that enable you to stand up stable above the seat — pretty awesome!
The deck is fairly cluttered free yet there’s a rail system for mounting gear, a dry storage well flush with the deck for easy standing and a center console type attachment called the Flex Pod OS Console designed for easy mounting and wiring of a fish finder/GPS. Everything you’d expect and want out of an advanced angling kayak is here in a low profile, out of the way manner.
It’s even possible to attach a motor built by Wilderness Systems to this pedal kayak — although it’s ridiculously expensive.
The pedal prop is well reviewed for its performance and draws zero draft when in the locked position. There’s furthermore three different ‘phases’ to position it in to really fine tune how you’re riding.
Bungee storage on the stern as well as some under deck storage beneath the bow add up to quite a bit of unassuming gear capacity. This is an excellent boat for the gear intensive fisherman or pleasure boater.
You get what you pay for and more with this one, definitely a unique and high-performance option from Wilderness Systems.
8. Brooklyn Kayak Company 11 Foot Pedal Drive Solo RoverPros:
- Just 60 pounds making it both one of the most affordable and portable pedal kayaks available
- Includes two rod holders even though it’s not specially designed for angling!
- Comes at a very reasonable price and with free shipping
- Plates on either side of the deck for mounting accessories
- This kayak is not very hydrodynamic
- Rudder system is mounted into the hull so be carfeul transporting this boat and navigating shallow waters
- Hatches are cheaply made compared to higher end brands
Here’s a more bare-bones option of pedal kayak that comes at an affordable price. The 11-foot Pedal Drive Solo Rover from Brooklyn Kayak Company is perfect for those who want a simpler boat at a lower cost without sacrificing too many of the features you want in a pedal kayak.
This boat is 10 feet, 8 inches long and just 60 pounds making it the most portable boat included on this list. Brooklyn Kayak Company has built a standard size and weight kayak with a pedal drive system that hauls!
There might not be any rails/tracks included for easy mounting, but there are two plates at the front of the deck if you choose to mount any electronics. Dry storage behind the seat and a bungeed stern well also add up to some solid gear capacity. There’s some additional storage underneath the bow if you’re really loading up for a big day on the water.
The prop lifts out of the water, but the rudder system is installed underneath the hull. Be careful not to grind the stern on the ground when transporting this boat.
For those looking for an affordable introduction to the pedal kayak world or just want something simple and reliable, definitely check this unit out!
9. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 KayakPros:
- TONS of gear capacity including dry storage as well as six places to mount fishing poles
- Comfortable elevated seat that features lumbar support built into a boa system
- Larger boat with a larger weight capacity (600 pounds) capable of handling some rougher seas
- Compatible with Hobie’s sail kit and motor mount
- Quite a heavy pedal kayak at 120 pounds without the pedal drive attached
- Very expensive option that is overkill unless you have plans to take on big water with a ton of gear
- Not a great use of deck space for how large this boat is
The Pro Angler Mirage model is a great fishing vessel for the offshore or inshore angler. Alternatively, this kayak makes for a great pleasure boat although there are certainly cheaper comparable alternatives if you don’t plan on doing a lot of fishing.
This is essentially the same boat listed at #3 of this list but a bit more advanced and a lot more expensive. The price tag is steep, yes, but if you have the funds to spring for a Hobie Pro Angler you’ll be dam impressed.
The length of this kayak is 13 feet 8 inches and the weight is 120 pounds (without the pedal drive attached) – that’s a lot of boat. There’s a 600-pound weight capacity (the seat has a capacity for 350 pounds) so this is truly a boat for the big boys and gear-laden fishermen.
Moving this vessel around on dry land will no doubt be a challenge, but its stability and performance on the water make it worth the added back strain.
If you’re a serious fisherman then you’ll appreciate the storage space for four rods horizontally on deck as well two molded rod holders for vertical storage. A large rectangular hatch with pivoting tackle system, bow hatch and bungee tie downs all add up to some unbelievable gear capacity.
If you’re looking to chase open-ocean species with an arsenal of gear and accessories this is no doubt a boat you should be considering.
Plenty of deck space, a seaworthy hull, boa lumbar support built into the seat and pre-set through-hull holes for easy electronic wiring make this the ultimate fishing vessel.
For some assistance moving this monster Hobie even offers a sail kit that will readily attach to the included sail mount. There’s also a trolling motor mount compatible with this boat built by Hobie for really adding some steam to the already speedy pedal drive.
10. Brooklyn Kayak Company Tandem Fishing Pedal Drive KayakPros:
- Works great as a tandem and single kayak
- Three built in rod holders
- Mounting plates around the deck for installing a variety of accessories
- Stern and Bow storage as well as cup holders for both kayakers
- Very reasonably priced for the size and capabilities of this kayak — especially considering there’s two pedal drives included
- Several color options
- 660 pound weight limit
- Paddles not included
- Not a ton of storage capacity for two people!
- Not very hydrodynamic
Here’s a tandem pedal kayak from Brooklyn Kayak Company that is surprisingly affordable and lightweight considering its capabilities. There’s not one, but two pedal drives included here so the cost is more than fair.
The Tandem Fishing Pedal Drive Kayak is 14 feet long and 99 pounds. It’s quite light for its length and easily carried with a partner. The weight capacity is furthermore 660 pounds so there’s not much this boat can’t carry.
This is advertised as a fishing kayak, but the only angling specific features are the three included rod holders. If you’re using this boat alone from the rear seat then there’s a TON of deck space for gear transport and for standing. If you’re using this boat with a partner then you might find yourself a little short on storage space for all of your gear.
As with the other pedal kayak listed by Brooklyn Kayak Company here, the rudder is on the underside of the boat and not retractable — be careful in the shallows with this one.
11. 2018 Hobie Mirage Revolution 11 Pedal KayakPros:
- The Revolution 11 weighs just 64 pounds making it an easily transportable pedal kayak
- Some straight forward but well thought out storage features including mesh pockets on deck, below hull dry storage and recessed bungie storage on the stern
- Compatible with the Hobie sail kit
- Includes two fishing rod holders oriented for trolling and also capable of fitting other fishing gear or perhaps even an umbrella
- Weight capacity is just 275 pounds
- Fairly expensive for its size
- Only one color option
If you’re in the market for a sleek, speedy and low profile kayak that offers some high organization potential, this could definitely be the boat for you.
Here’s one more model boat by Hobie that’s highly comparable to the Compass also listed here. The Revolution is 11 feet as opposed to 12 and has a lower weight capacity of 275 pounds. The Revolution 11 also weighs four pounds lighter at just 64 pounds (without the pedal drive system) making it an easily transportable kayak.
The price tag is just a bit higher with the Revolution 11, but I find the bow storage and size dimensions to be superior. If you’re a gear intensive paddler or a heavier person, then the lower weight capacity of the Revolution might be an issue. Carefully consider who/what is going on board this pedal kayak.
There are two rod holders that can accommodate nets, gaffs or fishing poles as well as some mesh storage on deck. The rod holders could perhaps even fit an umbrella for those trying to beat the heat.
Pedal Vs Paddle Kayaks
As an expert kayaker but newcomer to the world of pedal kayaks, I've been nothing but impressed with how these boats perform.
I was apprehensive at first, but the speed coupled with the steering response of a well-designed pedal kayak is without a doubt unmatched by traditional kayaks. These bad boys really move and will change the way you think about what's possible during a day on the water!
Both pleasure boaters and fishermen alike will love what pedal kayaks have to offer. The hands-free advantage of using a leg-powered propulsion system is particularly awesome for casting a rod, reading a map or tossing back a beer on the move!
Pedal kayaks are also a great alternative for those boaters that have shoulder, back or arm issues that impair their paddling.
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