When you use a pedal drive kayak, you have the advantage of moving faster through the water. You can travel further, your hands are free for actively fishing while you move, and you get more power from the strength of your legs. The best pedal drive kayaks today offer maneuverability, stability, and accelerations responsiveness, as well as a platform for fishing and other benefits.
A pedal kayak is often more expensive than standard kayaks, so people want to compare the features and advantages to make sure that it is worthwhile to make the additional investment. While many pedal kayaks have a price point from $1500 to $2950, you can find good options for under $1000.
What to Look For Before Purchase
When you are considering a pedal drive kayak, there are certain features that you should understand. You need to know what you plan to do with it, as well as your budget. Take a look at some important factors to consider:
The foot pedal kayak comes in different sizes, so you should consider what you need. They can be 8’ or 9’ long, or they can be up to 14’ long. The smaller kayaks weigh in at around 25 pounds, while the longer ones can weigh more than 100 pounds. It is important to consider how you plan to haul and store it as well as the size you need.
Smaller kayaks are usually designed for one person, and there isn’t any room for an additional passenger. However, you can find larger kayaks that have room for a passenger, and tandem models allow two people to operate it at the same time.
Many people use their pedal drive kayak for fishing, and some are equipped with fishing accessories. You can find fishing rod holders, fish-finding devices, and tackle storage. If you plan to fish, you should look at options that include these accessories.
People who go on longer excursions will want storage space for dry clothing, food, water, and other times. You can find a range of options for a pedal drive kayak.
Another feature to consider is how comfortable the kayak is. Some models have padding, back support, and an ergonomic design. These models are more expensive, but they can make a difference when you are out on a longer excursion.
Stability is important because it lets you know what you can do on the foot pedal kayak. They should always be stable when you are sitting, but some have added stability for standing as long as you are in fairly calm water. Look at the primary stability, which is how much it moves back and forth, as well as the secondary stability, which is how easy it is to capsize the kayak.
Kayaks come in different colors and finishes, and you can choose one that you like.
There are two types of pedal drive kayaks. Push pedals have a pump that is operated with the feet. The other has rotational pedals, where the pedals move similar to a bicycle. The rotational pedals are better if you are out and intend to cover longer distances.
Eight Best Pedal Drive Kayaks Under $2000
1) Wilderness Systems Radar Kayak
This is a best-selling pedal drive kayak, and it comes with paddle and pedal capabilities. It is also compatible with the Helix MD Motor Drive and the Helix PD Pedal Drive. The Radar kayak has a flat platform for standing and the ability to move, and It has SMART Hull technology that brings together stability, maneuverability, acceleration, responsiveness, and tracking. It is very comfortable and has adjustable AirPro Max seats with three adjustable positions.
This pedal drive fishing kayak has a FlexPod OS that is fully removable for your fish finder, battery, cables, and transducer. It can also accommodate a pedal drive or a motor drive. The Wilderness Systems Radar kayak has angling features, including SlideTrax rails that hold accessories. It also has a front paddle park, multiple hatches, and a generous tankwell storage. You get padded footrests. The kayak is 11’8” and weighs 85 pounds.
- Both paddle and pedal capabilities
- Flat platform for standing and moving around
- Comfortable kayak with adjustable seats
- Side Trax rails to hold accessories
- Expensive but less than $1500
2) Perception Crank 10 Kayak
This foot pedal kayak has incredible pedal performance in a 10’ package, and it is made in the USA. It is perfect for lakes, ponds, and calm coastal waters. It has a pedal drive system that is efficient and easy to use. You can go forward and reverse without removing the drive from the boat. It has a captain’s chair that can fold, and it is adjustable and removable. You will have one-hand rudder control.
It has two molded Solo Mount recesses that take Perception Solo Mounts for staging accessories. It also has one-piece carry handles that are rigid on the front and the rear. This makes it easy to transport. The side carrying handles are molded, and there is a side paddle park with a groove and a small bungee strap. It is easy to secure your paddle while you are resting. The boat is 10’ long and 35” wide, and it weighs 87 pounds.
- Both pedal and paddle capabilities
- Captain’s chair that folds and is adjustable and removable
- Molded side carrying handles and rigid front and rear handles
- One-handed rudder control
- Short length
3) Pelican Fishing Sit-on-Top Kayak
You can use the power of your legs to travel further with this kayak. The Pelican has a HyDryve II pedal system that makes it easy to pedal in shallow water and around plants. It also has a rudder, and you can control it from the side of your seat. It has a tunnel hull that provides stability, so you will feel secure and steady. In short, it’s easy to get in and out of the kayak.
You also get a very comfortable, premium-quality Ergocast XP seating system. You can remove the seat and use it on the beach or the shore. It is equipped with two in-handle rigging tracks where you can install your accessories. The storage gives you enough room to bring all of your gear with you. You get a stern storage platform that has a bungee cord, two bottle holders, and accessory eyelets.
There is also additional flotation inside the hull, and you can drain any water with the scupper holes. This pedal drive fishing kayak is durable and made of high molecular density polyethylene. It is 10’6” long and weighs 65 pounds.
- Pedal system is easy to use
- Seat is removable to use on the shore
- There are two in-handle rigging tracks
- Rudder is easy to control from your seat
- Quite small
4) DIVTEK Water Bikes Kayak for Lake
This is a variation on the kayak. It is an inflatable kayak water bike. It is high performance, and you pedal it in the traditional bicycle position. The Divtek is lightweight, easy to use, maneuverable, and clean. You can use it in lakes, rivers, and the ocean, and it has an aluminum alloy from. The exterior is attractive, and the pedals and the saddle are reliable and high quality.
You can expect high performance with this foot pedal kayak. It has a directional control system that allows you to move without rowing. It is stable and easy to maintain. The transmission system is high strength, waterproof, and rustproof. The two floats are made with polyurethane tarpaulin, and the floor is equipped with light and safe scoring strips.
- Unique kayak with a bicycle pedal system
- Direction control system that is stable, reliable, and easy to maintain
- Waterproof and rustproof transmission
- Floats that are made with polyurethane tarpaulin
- No room for another passenger
5) Pelican Sport Pedal Boat
This is another variation on the pedal kayak, and the pedal boat Monaco allows you to relax and paddle around the lake. It has seats with adjustable backrests, drink holders, and a storage platform. The Pelican Sport can hold up to five people, and it is made with Ram-X impact resistant material. It is sturdy and built to last. It has plenty of room on the bow and the stern, and it has carrying handles to allow you to carry the boat to the water. You can store your gear on the platform.
You can use this pedal boat to relax around the lake, and you can also use it to fish. It is easy for up to three adults and two children, or you can do it with one of two people. It is easy to transport, and it provides fun for everyone at the lake.
- Relaxing, fun way to enjoy time on the water
- Ability to accommodate more than one person
- Platform for storage
- Can take turns pedaling
- Doesn’t seat five people comfortably
6) Old Town Sportsman Salty Pedal Fishing Kayak
This pedal drive fishing kayak is perfect for fishing and fun. You can take it out in lakes and along the coast. The Old Town has an easy to use forward and reverse pedal drive, and it allows you to enjoy your time relaxing or fishing with hands free navigation. It has a lot of convenient features, including customizable accessory tracks, cushioned floor pads, a custom tackle box, and rod holders. It is made ready for fishing, but you can use it for anything.
This pedal kayak has tank wells in the bow and stern that can hold your coolers, tackle crates, dry bags, or even your dog. The seat design is quality, and it offers great lumbar support. It is a mesh seat that keeps you cool and comfortable, and it can adjust to your leg length. It is a 12’ kayak with a 450-pound maximum capacity, and it weighs 85 pounds. The pedal console is removable and weighs 19 pounds.
- Removable pedal drive
- Plenty of storage for coolers and fishing gear
- Adjustable, premium-quality seat
- Customizable accessory racks
7) BKC PK13 Pedal Drive Kayak
This pedal kayak is great for all outdoor fun. It comes in red or blue, and it has bicycle style pedals that control a high efficiency propeller. You can store your paddle in the paddle keeper and operate it hands free. You can operate the rudder controls by hand, and they will allow you to keep moving forward, and you can turn and make sharp and quick turns.
It is fully loaded with accessories. It has an ergonomic aluminum frame seat, an adjustable aluminum paddle, two water-resistant hatches, three built-in rod holders, one paddle park, and one bungee tie down.
The pedal drive system allows you to move faster than you can in a paddle system. You can stop quickly and change direction. You can add a trolling motor as well. It is made with a single piece for stability, and it supports up to 550 pounds. It can handle choppy waters, currents, and still water. The BKC PK13 has excellent fishing features so you can keep multiple baited rods in the water at once. You can cover the front storage with a bungee tie, and it has a drain hole with a plug.
- High-efficiency propeller
- Ergonomic aluminum-frame seat
- Ability to support up to 550 pounds
- Ability to hold multiple baited rods in the water
- Pedal drive is stiff until its broken in
8) Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Kayak
The Perception Pescador Pilot 12 kayak gives you incredible pedal-driven performance at a great price. It is made in the USA, and it has a lawn-chair-style mesh seat with two-level seat adjustment and breathable mesh so that you are comfortable all day long. It has the pilot drive pedal system that can be fully recessed into the hull, and it has leakproof one-piece construction for added safety.
There are large front and rear storage spaces for coolers, tackle, and other gear, and it has fear tracks, fish finder consoles, and four rod holders for anglers. This pedal drive fishing kayak also has integrated accessory rails on each gunwale for fish finders, rod holders, and other accessories. You can use it on lakes and ponds, or in slow moving rivers, streams, and coastal waters. The length is 12’5” and it weighs in at 85 pounds.
- Pedal is fully recessible
- Lawn-chair-style mesh seat is adjustable
- There is plenty of storage for gear and coolers
- There are integrated accessory rails on each gunwale
Pedal Kayaks Vs. Paddle Kayaks
Many people are familiar with paddle kayaks, and you can use a paddle with any pedal kayak listed above. People often question whether it is worth it to buy a pedal kayak and what the benefits are.
Some people kayak for sport, and they enjoy gliding across the water. It is a peaceful and relaxing experience. Others like the exercise. Today, you can choose how you want to kayak because there are great options for paddling and for pedaling.
When you paddle your kayak, you have a close feel to the water. It is an upper body workout, and you can maneuver easily in shallow waters and when there is heavy vegetation. They are often less expensive as well. However, it can take its toll on your neck and shoulders, as you don’t get a break. It is also difficult to fish because you need your hands.
Pedal kayaks have pedals that allow you to move quickly and smoothly through the water. You can move forwards and backwards, and you never need to use your hands. You can also cover larger distances because you have more power from your leg strength.
Anglers often prefer the pedal option because they come with places for fishing gear, and it is easier to get to the fishing spots. They can fish while they are moving, and they often have platforms where they can stand. You will find places to store rods, tackle, and more.
Most pedal kayaks come with rudder systems, so you have better control over your kayak. You can keep your hand on the rudder when you encounter currents. You can still bring a paddle along in case you end up in shallow waters.
The main reason why people get pedal kayaks is for the power and the maneuverability.
When you are looking for a pedal drive kayak, there are different factors that you need to consider. Kayaks come in different sizes, and you can choose one that is small and compact or large and holds more than one person. If you want to try a different variation, you can try a pedal boat that holds more people and equipment.
Many of the people who use pedal kayaks are anglers, and these kayaks often come with room for all of your fishing gear. There are spots for coolers, tackle boxes, fishing rods, and more. If you want to go fishing, choose one that accommodates all of your equipment.
The price is worthy of consideration, and they can be very expensive. We reviewed the best options under $2000. The more expensive models come with more options, but the more affordable models will do the job well.