10 Best Pedal Kayaks: Your Easy Buying Guide

best pedal kayak

Perception Kayaks

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.

What Are The Best Pedal Kayaks?

old town topwater pedal kayak
  • Fishing kayak with rod mounts and features specific for angling
  • Lots of deck space for easy standing
  • Easily outfitted with accessories
Price: $1,999.99 Shop now at Austin Canoe & Kayak Shop now Read our review
3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish 103 Pro Fish Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak
  • 10 foot long fishing kayak featuring a 397 pound weight capacity and a Trimaran Hull Design suitable for standing
  • Extensive storage and organization potential
  • Oversized Beaver Tail Rudder improves tracking and paddling efficiency
Price: $1,699.00 Shop now at Austin Canoe & Kayak Shop now Read our review
Riot Mako 10 Pedal Drive Kayak
  • Exceptionally portable pedal kayak option at 10.4 feet long, and just 51 pounds
  • Impressive 470-pound weight capacity considering its modest size and weight
  • Steering box can be placed on either side of the boat to suit your preference
Price: $1,200.00 Shop now at Austin Canoe & Kayak Shop now Read our review
hobie pedal kayak
  • 88 pound weight remains reasonable for transport
  • Well thought out, extensive storage features
  • Compatible with the Hobie sail kit
Price: $2,619.00 Shop now at Austin Canoe & Kayak Shop now Read our review
hobie pro angler kayak
  • 600 pound weight limit
  • Compatible with sail kit and motor mount
  • TONS of gear capacity
Price: $3,839.00 Shop now at Austin Canoe & Kayak Shop now Read our review
ocean kayak pedal kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Three cup holders
  • Space for a kid in the back jump seat
  • Two eight inch accessory tracks
Price: $1,899.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
brooklyn kayak company tandem pedal Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Works great as a tandem or single kayak
  • Excellent price point
  • Three built in fishing rod holders
Price: $2,397.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
brooklyn kayak company pedal kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very reasonable price and ships free
  • Just 60 pounds
  • Equipped with two fishing rod holders
Price: $1,537.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
wilderness systems pedal kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Air Pro MAX Seat is highly adjustable
  • 85 pounds and less than 12 feet
  • Flex Pod OS console system
Price: $1,349.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
perception kayak pescador Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great size/weight for easy transport
  • Zero propellor draft
  • Awesome price point
Price: $1,979.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Old Town Topwater PDL Angler Fishing Kayak

    Pros:
    • 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
    Cons:
    • 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 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 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 fishfinder installed on my boat and the wiring and installation was a piece of cake!

  2. 2. 3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish 103 Pro Fish Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

    Pros:
    • 10 foot long fishing kayak featuring a 397 pound weight capacity and a Trimaran Hull Design suitable for standing
    • Accessory-ready bow storage console and rear stern bungee system offer extensive storage potential
    • Equipped with Uni-Track accessory rails at the bow and stern for attaching electronics, and additional equipment
    • Includes two flush mounted rod holders with rod tip protectors integrated at the bow
    • Oversized Beaver Tail Rudder improves tracking and paddling efficiency
    • EZ Rider Multi-Position Comfort Seat offers multiple sitting and standing positions, and even operates as a lean bar
    • Integrated bow, stern and side carry handles.
    Cons:
    • 110 pound weight may be difficult to transport on your own
    • Not the most hydrodynamic kayak - if you want to really cover some water, go with a narrower, more streamlined boat
    • Only one color option

    The 3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish 103 Pro Fish Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak is a seriously equipped, feature-rich option that’s wonderfully suited for fishermen, as well as gear-intensive pleasure boaters.

    This 10-foot long fishing machine features a 397-pound weight capacity and a Trimaran Hull Design suitable for standing, so it’s a great choice for kayakers seeking a boat they can really load up with gear, and also stand in.

    Powered by the Pro Fish Pedal Drive system and equipped with the brand’s Oversized Beaver Tail Rudder for improved tracking and paddling efficiency, the Big Fish 103 handles like a dream despite its ultra-stable hull design. The brand’s 8 Ball Steering System implemented here is furthermore easy and intuitive to use, as well as highly ergonomic.

    Due to the stand-up style hull, covering lots of water will certainly be slower going compared to more streamlined pedal kayak options, but the Big Fish 103 nonetheless holds its own when it comes to speed. 

    An accessory-ready bow storage console and rear stern bungee system offer extensive storage potential, so if you’re the type of kayaker who’s often outfitted with an abundance of accessories, you’ll really appreciate the mindful schematic here. Uni-Track accessory rails at the bow and stern are also present for attaching electronics, and additional equipment. 

    Kayak fishermen will furthermore be delighted to discover the Big Fish 103 includes two flush mounted rod holders with rod tip protectors integrated at the bow. Say goodbye to paranoia when stashing your fishing poles – this system keeps your most precious toys safe and sound!

    Perhaps coolest of all, the EZ Rider Multi-Position Comfort Seat offers multiple sitting and standing positions, and even operates as a lean bar! It’s a highly innovative seating option that enables you to find the perfect positioning, no matter what you’re up to.

    Considering the integrated features, on the water capabilities, and inherent comfort level here, we find the price point of the Big Fish 103 to be more than reasonable. No doubt an excellent versatile option for virtually any style of kayaker!

  3. 3. Riot Mako 10 Pedal Drive Kayak

    Pros:
    • Exceptionally portable pedal kayak option at 10.4 feet long, and just 51 pounds
    • Impressive 470-pound weight capacity considering its modest size and weight
    • Front bow hatch and bungee sytem on the stern provide ample storage
    • Impulse propeller drive unit is minimalist in its design for easier maintenance
    • Integrated accessory tracks for securing additional gear and gadgets
    • Includes 4 flush mount rod holders
    • Steering box can be placed on either side of the boat to suit your preference
    • High comfort, adjustable mesh seat ensures ventilation while working hard
    • Front, rear, and side carry handles for easier transport
    • Reasonable price point
    Cons:
    • Limited storage for larger, more cumbersome gear due to the inherent size of this kayak
    • Not recommended for standing
    • Only one color option

    The Riot Mako 10 Pedal Drive Kayak is a brilliant solution for kayakers seeking a particularly portable and compact pedal-driven boat that’s easily stored and transported without feeling like a beast! Despite this vessel’s 10.4-foot length and modest 51-pound weight, it still offers a plethora of features, adequate storage capacity, and a wonderfully comfortable ride!

    Equipped with the brand’s impulse propeller drive unit and featuring a steering box that can be fitted to either side of the boat to suit your handling preference, navigating the Mako 10 is a breeze! This little guy can seriously move despite its compact size!

    A front bow hatch and bungee sytem on the stern provide ample storage, while Integrated accessory tracks for securing additional gear and gadgets are also present. The brand has even included four flush mount rod holders for safely and conveniently accommodating fishing poles. Featuring a 470-pound weight capacity, you won’t be able to max this kayak out with the storage space provided even if you tried!

    A high comfort, adjustable mesh seat ensures ventilation while working hard, and furthermore puts you nice and high on the water for a great view of your surroundings. The seating and general layout of this boat is as a result, excellent for hobbies such as angling or photography.

    With carry handles on the front, rear, and sides of the vessel, the Mako is very easily moved from your garage, to your car top or truck, to the water, without too much strain. 

    A pedal kayak that offers many of the industry-leading features in a compact, highly manageable, and affordable package, the Mako 10 is the perfect option for those who want to venture into the world of pedal kayaks without committing to an overly cumbersome vessel.


    VideoVideo related to riot mako 10 pedal drive kayak2021-04-23T11:44:25-04:00
  4. 4. Hobie Mirage Revolution 13 Pedal Kayak

    Pros:
    • 88 pound weight remains reasonable for transport
    • 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
    • Kick Up Fins on the Mirage Drive 180 enable you to safely slide over shallow water
    • Includes two fishing rod holders oriented for trolling and also capable of fitting other fishing gear or perhaps even an umbrella
    • Two-piece paddle and paddle mount included
    • Compatible with the Hobie sail kit
    Cons:
    • This is a sit down kayak not suitable for standing
    • Fairly expensive for its size
    • Only one color option

    If you’re in the market for a sleek, speedy, and low profile kayak option that offers some high organization potential, The Hobie Mirage Revolution 13 Pedal Kayak could very likely be the boat for you.

    The Revolution is 13 feet long and features a 350-pound weight capacity, wonderfully accommodating gear-heavy anglers and pleasure boaters. The Revolution 13 weighs in at 88 pounds, (without the pedal drive system) making it an easily transportable kayak considering its feature-rich design and generous size.

    At 13 feet, this boat is capable of handling some fairly choppy ocean conditions, so those seeking a personal vessel for inshore fishing applications will find a friend here.

    Equipped with Hobie’s Mirage Drive 180 and Kick Up Fins and the brand’s Twist & Stow rudder system, this vessel can easily slide into the shallows without worrying about your pedal system, and also moves in reverse quite well. A two-piece paddle with on-hull storage is also present.

    In regards to storage, two eight-inch twist and seal hatches are present in addition to a large covered bow hatch. A bungee-system goes on to cover the stern for loading up a cooler or other more cumbersome items. No matter what kind of kayaking accessories you enjoy bringing along, you should be covered.

    The brand has even included two rod holders that can accommodate nets, gaffs, or fishing poles. The rod holders could perhaps even fit an umbrella for those trying to beat the heat.

    The price tag is a bit high with the Revolution 13, but we find its efficient propulsion, storage capacity, and integrated features to be well worth the price point. 

  5. 5. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 Kayak

    Pros:
    • 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
    Cons:
    • 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.

  6. 6. Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Kayak

    Pros:
    • 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
    Cons:
    • 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.

  7. 7. Brooklyn Kayak Company Tandem Fishing Pedal Drive Kayak

    Pros:
    • 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
    Cons:
    • 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.

  8. 8. Brooklyn Kayak Company 11 Foot Pedal Drive Solo Rover

    Pros:
    • 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
    Cons:
    • 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. 9. Wilderness Systems Radar 115 Fishing Kayak

    Pros:
    • 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!
    Cons:
    • 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.

  10. 10. Perception Kayak Pescador Pilot

    Pros:
    • 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
    Cons:
    • 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!


    VideoVideo related to perception kayak pescador pilot2018-10-15T16:42:10-04:00

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.

See Also:

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