Best Sit On Top Kayak Reviews & Brands For Cheap In 2018

There are many kayak options for fishing, recreational use, and novice kayakers, that come in a Sit-On-Top style. So selecting the best sit on top kayak (SOT) can be a challenging decision.

Unlike the conventional sit-in models, sit-ons feature a unique design that allows you sit on a molded-in depression on the deck, making it easier to get in and out of the kayak, especially when capsized.

My personal preference has always been the Sea Eagle 370. It’s the best recreational sit on top kayak. Its lightweight, highly rated, and under $300.

What’s more, Sea Eagle keeps making it stronger and better with every new model and I never heard a complaint about them from anyone I recommended these too. They are easy to carry, essay to paddle, and easy on the budget.

The SE 370 Pro Kayak

But just because that’s my favorite doesn’t mean it would be yours too.  I have learned that everyone is different and has different outdoor water sports interests, and there is a sit on top for different purposes that goes with it. Which is why we examined every single Sea Eagle kayak we reviewed here. 

What to look for in Sit-On-Top Kayak Reviews

There are many features to look for when selecting a perfect SOT kayak. However, the most important one is whether you will be using it for fishing. That alone will change the the selection criteria completely. Which is why I created a separate and very detailed best sit on top fishing kayak review page for anglers, as different types of fishery will require different types of kayaks. Otherwise the options are pretty straight forward.

Sit on top Kayaks in West Kirby Marine Lake

  1. You need to consider the material used in constructing them as some are made from fiberglass or tough, inexpensive, molded plastic.
  2. You also need to look at its degree of handling as well as the overall speed. This is determined by various parameters, which include the overall length as well as the width of the deck.
  3. The ease of portage and transport should also be taken into great consideration. This is generally determined by the overall weight of the kayak.
  4. The degree of safety is yet another factor to look for. Safety should be your number one concern if you have children that will be kayaking with.
  5. You need to consider the stability of the kayak, which is greatly influenced by the overall weight and length you choose. There are accessories you can furnish the boat with that will add additional stability.
  6. You need to take into account the degree of comfort you seek while kayaking, which is determined by features such as the back band and the bulkhead.

Its a daunting list for sure but nevertheless, to make it a bit easier for you, below I have a list of the best brands on sit on top kayaks in the market today regardless of your skill level.

Top Sit On Top Kayak Brands

There are various sit-on-top kayak brands on the market, which will help you maximize your enjoyment and fun out on the water. The following is a curated list of the top brands and their top two best kayaks that will help you make an informed choice.


motion spitfire 8 kayak

Emotion Spitfire 8 in Lime Green

The Emotion brand of kayaks are designed to offer you with fun and enjoyment, especially in still waters and light surf.

>> Click here for more Stealth customer opinions

They feature high maneuverability, thanks to their short lengths and slight rocker. The stable hull is a great addition that inspires confidence in any paddler. Made from polythene, they boast of high resistance especially to UV light and abrasion. The defined keel incorporated in these kayaks aid in effective tracking. The foldable back band aims at enhancing your overall comfort by reducing back pains. The bulkheads are perfectly molded to suit kayakers with various heights. They features scupper holes, which prevent swamp on the cockpit. The paddle ledges provides a secure storage place for the paddle. They also come with toggled carry handles as well as 2 side handles for easy portage to the water. Of all the sit on top kayak reviews the emotion line is definitely one the better brands out there.


pelican apex 100 kayak red and yellow

Pelican Apex 100 in Faded Red/Orange

These sit-on kayaks are specifically designed to suit all types of kayakers. The Pelican sit on tops are intended for use especially on calm rivers and lakes.

>> Click here for more Apex owner reviews

They incorporate an adjustable padded back band with a seat cushion for enhanced comfort. The perfectly molded bulkheads provides a comfortable placement for the foot, which proves suitable for kayakers with varying heights. The dry bag is an essential feature that serves to keep your belongings dry. These kayaks allow for fishing, thanks to the incorporated vertical rod holders. The elastic bungee incorporated in the stern is ideal especially for storing your personal flotation device (PFD). For easy portage, they feature a stern and bow carrying handles. Furthermore, they come with a paddle as well as a car top carrier.


perception sport pescador 10 kayak

Perception Sport Pescador 10 in Blue/Gray camouflage.

The Perception sit on top fishing kayak product line are a perfect choice for both professional as well as beginner kayakers.

>> Click here to read current Rambler owner opinions

They are packed with excellent features as well as ultimate performance compared to most sit on kayaks. They are designed to suit a variety of hobbies ranging from fishing, recreational paddling, surfing, scuba diving and even sunning. They are suitable especially for larger individuals or those with a desire for easy in-and-out experience as a result of muscle or joint pains. They incorporate a back band as well as a bulkhead for enhanced comfort during paddling. The hull is specifically designed to offer effective tracking on lakes as well as provide easy maneuverability on rivers. They incorporate an extra-large cockpit opening that serves to offer enough room especially during entry and wet exit.


coleman quikpak k3 sit on top kayak

Coleman QuikPak K3 in Gray & Blue

These kayaks feature a deck length that is sufficient enough to allow for easy maneuvering.

>> Click here to read current K3 customer reviews

Most of them like the QuikPak K3 feature an inflatable design with a seating for a single person. Coleman sit on top boats offer you with a back band to minimize on the occasional back pains. The inner hull, which is fabricated from heavy duty and cold resistant PVC adds on the durability of the kayak. The double lock as well as mini double lock valves are a great addition in preventing entry of water, thereby keeping you dry. They have great weight carrying capacity with some such as the QuikPak K3 being able to accommodate weights of up to 250 pounds capacity.


Jackson Kayak Cruise 12 Kayak

Jackson Cruise 12 in Highlight Green Camouflage.

  • Jackson Kayak Cruise 12
  • Jackson Kayak Cruise 10

These are general-purpose kayaks, which are ideal for both beginner and professional recreational kayakers.

>> Click here to similar kayaks to Jackson

They are suited for a wide range of recreational kayaking activities ranging from angling to sea & touring paddling. However they are known as one of the best sit on top fishing kayaks. They feature enhanced speed as well as stability in the water. Their durable hull is ideal for starters. The adjustable padded seat serves to suit kayakers with different heights. The adjustable bulkhead locks into position for enhanced comfort. They come with a sealing hatch to keep everything dry. The bow and stern carry handles allow for easy loading and unloading. A bungee cord retention system helps to keep everything intact. Furthermore, Jackson sit on tops feature a small storage hatch located at the cockpit with a locking hatch cover that serve to prevent swamp.

Choosing Cheap in 2018: Best Sit On Top Kayak for the Money

Here is a short video on most important Sit on Top features to look out for in 2018.

There is a wide range of designs that one can select from regardless of how curated of a sit on top kayak review list you read. For one we haven’t listed not one tandem sit on top kayak (we have a separate page for tandems and two person ‘yaks). However, what may be ideal for one person may not necessarily be okay for another. So you will need to put into consideration your height, weight and type of kayaking that you plan to do.

Although testing the SOT proves to be an excellent idea in making the right choice, not all individuals are in a position to attend the try a sit-on-top test days. The following is a comprehensive list of features to consider when choosing a cheap sit on top kayak.

Deck size: The size of the boat matters a lot. It is a key feature that will greatly determine the ease of handling as well as the overall speed of the kayak. Generally, ones with shorter decks are much slower but more maneuverable. This makes them an ideal choice for short distance exploration. For distant explorations, you will need to settle for a longer deck SOT yak as it features higher speeds.

Weight: You need to select one that features enhanced portage. This allows for easy lifting and shifting. So you need to opt for one that is lighter, which makes it easier to maneuver.

Cockpit height: The seating position does matter a lot. In case you are a short kayakers, then the one with a low cockpit will be the most ideal for you. A low seating position also results in a high center of gravity. This proves valuable as it enhances stability so as to reduce the risk of falling in.

If you just started, getting the best sit on top kayak for beginners is not going to happen overnight.

The perfect boat comes with plenty of trial and error of different kayaks. As you get better and more experienced in what is perfect for you, your choices will change dramatically.

Just remember that they are specifically designed to suit various recreational activities such as touring, fishing, and scuba diving among others.

But, hopefully after reading the above sit on top kayak reviews, and having a better knowledge of what to look for, it will not only allow you to enjoy buying your yak with more confidence but as you paddle along you will always have it in your mind that you made a wise decision.

group of kayakers paddling up el chorro creek in morro bay

Kayaking up El Chorro creek in Morro Bay, CA.