Best Kids Kayak

With the way things are going with gadgets and all the activity on social media, many parents try hard to get their kids outdoors.

To grab and hold a kids attention can be a struggle, but kayaking with kids can be one of the best ways to achieve this.

While you can take them in yours, it is better for them to hit the waters on their own, and this can be done in a junior kayak.

Best Kayak for Kids

But finding the best one can be hard, so here we have taken a look at the best, and you will see which delivers the best in features and means you can hit the water with your child safely.

What is a Kids Kayak?

You think that kids kayaks are toys for some splashing about on the water, but, this is far from reality as these are smaller versions of adult kayaks but designed for kids ages that are much younger.

While being smaller and specifically designed for kids in not just size but to function safer, these can be the best kayak for beginners as they are easier to control while not taking away any of the fun.

As well as making a kid feel like an adult once they hit the waters, these smaller kayaks are highly affordable.

There are some top kayak brands you can purchase, and some of these may be out of budget, but the ones here are designed to cater for a wide range of ages so kids can get plenty of value out of their new kayak.

Best Kayak for Kids Reviews

Lifetime Youth Wave1. Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak

On first appearances, this Lifetime Wave Kayak may not appear to include much, and when it comes to extra bells and whistles, it does lack compared to some. However, parents should not be swayed by what they are searching for.

A kayak is specifically designed for kids for teaching them and isn’t about going on an expedition where their kayak needs are full of gear.

These are a means to get them used to be on the water, and this is where this kayak comes into its own.
Although, it would have been nice to see a larger 8-foot kayak variation as a comparison.

In the cockpit, there are self-bailing scupper holes, so the cockpit doesn’t fill with water, there are molded footrests to meet different sizes and ages, and the paddle cradle is molded into the body.

It also comes with plenty of features to make it safe and secure for kids aged 5 and above.


  • Very light weight – easy to transport
  • Ergonomic cockpit to enhance balance and child’s motor skills
  • Very durable molded design
  • Rear swim up step up design to easily re-enter the kayak
  • Unique hull design to increase stability
  • Several footrest positions


  • Only rated to 130 lbs.
  • Slow tracking so needs plenty of paddling
  • No sealed storage compartments

Technical Specifications

  • Hull Material: Molded from high-density polyethylene
  • Length: 6ft.
  • Width: 24 in.
  • Height: 9 in.
  • Weight: 18 lb.
  • Warranty: 5-year warranty
  • UV protected

When you go through everything, you quickly come to realize how much of a bargain the $130 guide price really is. Compare this price to other models and even inflatable kayaks, and you can see the value.

With an included paddle, you see why all the Lifetime Kayak reviews rave about this model. It is the only one which makes it easy for kids to enter the kayak if they flip. The step allows the rider to climb back onboard without excess wobble.

Lifetime Wave Kayaks are one of the top names and with good reason. This is the best kayak for the money, is easy to use and durable. It can give children of all ages, lots of fun on the water.

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak2. SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak

The Sun Dolphin kayak sit on top model appears to offer lots of features for the money. However, this comes with a couple of caveats.

It is longer than some models so it won’t fit inside a vehicle, and it is heavy. Kids may struggle if they are in a position where there is no assistance.

When you look at this kayak, it appears to be a lot as there are straps and compartments and rod holders. It is in fact designed as a fishing kayak.

This may be suitable for teens who are into fishing, but for others, all these attachments may get in the way.


  • Easy to transport with retractable carrying handles
  • Ample seating area with adjustable foot braces
  • Protective thigh pads
  • Easy to paddle and track


  • Expensive
  • Some stability issues
  • Not really ideal for kids
  • On the heavy side

Technical Specifications

  • Hull Material: Molded from high-density polyethylene
  • Length: 10ft.
  • Width: 30 in.
  • Height: 11 in.
  • Weight: 44 lb.
  • Carrying capacity: 280 lbs.
  • UV protected

The sit on top Sun Dolphin kayak does deliver quite a bit for the money, but during testing, we found it on the large side for most children, and we were unsure of the stability.

With a guide price of around $320, this is quite a bit of money to find something that is cumbersome for children to use.

This being said, it is suitable for both lakes and rivers and can withstand a few knocks here and there.

You do get what you pay for, but in this case, you may find you are paying for something that is too much for your children. It is a little too large for many kids and too small for some adults.

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak3. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

This Ocean Kayak Malibu Two review looks at one of the more prominent names in the industry.

Although it is a highly capable kayak in its own right, it is more of a family kayak than a kayak for kids.

This is a tandem, so it can comfortably seats two adults with a child, but there is no way a child could use this on solo missions.

It was more than capable of handling ocean waves in testing and can deliver plenty of family fun. But, we found it lacking in storage compartments, and it comes across as purely a day kayak.


  • Lots of storage space
  • Large seating area – can seat two plus child
  • Durable and stable
  • Built-in foot position braces


  • Very Expensive
  • Not suitable for kids to use alone
  • On the heavy side

Technical Specifications

  • Hull Material: Single Layer Polyethylene
  • Length: 12ft.
  • Height: 20 in.
  • Width: 34 in.
  • Weight: 57 lb.
  • Carrying capacity: 425 lbs.

With a high guide price of almost $700, this doesn’t portray the best deals on kayaks when compared to others tested, and unless you are going to spend lots of time kayaking as a family, this may be an investment that can’t really be justified.

To bring it down to a kids size, it would have been nice to see something in the 8ft kayak range.

In use, it is stable and comfortable, but it is on the larger side. It can be paddled solo, but it is a hefty beast and can take some time to get up to speed. It is a case of a good kayak to use with kids rather than a good kayak for kids.

Ocean Kayak Banzai Kids Kayak4. Ocean Kayak Banzai Kids’ Kayak

The Banzai kayak can make any kid begin to feel like an adult. This is more of a scaled down version rather than a kayak that has been designed with kids in mind.

It is lightweight, and during testing, it was found to maneuver effortlessly. For safety, there is the built-in tow system, and the kayak seat sits really low to make it stable.

However, this causes a problem as there are no drain holes, and if your kid gets water in, they will very quickly become uncomfortable when sat in a puddle. This fact is made worse as there is no additional seat.

This is molded into the body of the kayak, for sit in kayaks, this water problem can really be a turn-off. It also means they may not be able to sit safely in the kayak.


  • Easy to transport with retractable carrying handles
  • Low seating position for stability
  • Molded-in cup holder
  • Tag along tow system
  • Comfortable seat
  • Lifetime warranty on hull


  • Expensive
  • No paddle included
  • More suited for older kids who have experience
  • No drain holes

Technical Specifications

  • Hull Material: Single Layer Polyethylene
  • Length: 9ft 6 in.
  • Height: 20 in.
  • Width: 28.5 in.
  • Weight: 36 lb.
  • Carrying capacity: 230 lbs.

While it has been designed to include comfort features and usability for children, it can be a shock to find it isn’t usable straight away.

A nice touch was the built-in cup holder. The design is highly durable, and it comes with a skid plate.

The lifetime hull warranty showing confidence in the product and allows a small rider to easily drag their kayak without worry.

In a cost, per value and performance calculation. We found this kayak on the expensive side at around $400.

This was highlighted as there is no included paddle. This kayak comes from one of the larger names, but it would be nice for them to give a little extra to make kayaking a little more accessible.

Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak5. Ocean Kayak Frenzy One-Person Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

The Ocean Kayak Frenzy review is the last on this short list, and it is nice to see Ocean Kayak finally delivering something more suited to children, albeit mid-sized to taller kids.

But, with this there is the issue of the guide price being around $500, and once again, no paddle.

With that aside, there are copious amounts of storage on this kid kayak, and behind the 4-way adjustable seat, there is even a molded-in storage well with securing bungee.


  • Easy to transport with retractable carrying handles
  • Tri-form hull for stability
  • Molded-in foot wells
  • Comfortable 4-way seat
  • Lifetime warranty on hull
  • Screw in drain plug
  • Storage well with bungee


  • Expensive
  • No paddle included
  • Leg area can be cramped for larger kids

Technical Specifications

  • Hull Material: Single Layer Polyethylene
  • Length: 9ft.
  • Height: 18 in.
  • Width: 31in.
  • Weight: 44 lb.
  • Carrying capacity: 325 lbs.

One of the most significant things we found with this during testing was the carrying capacity for such a small kayak.

It was quickly evident the tri-form hull had something to do with this. With plenty of features, this can be quite a capable kayak for kids, but like other top rated kayaks, this does come with that hefty price tag.

Things to consider before Buying a Child KayakWhat to Look For When Buying a Child Kayak

When looking to buy mini kayaks for kids, there are some things to consider. Here is a breakdown of what to look for.

Length: Kids kayaks are shorter, and generally, a small kayak will be used on slow rivers and lakes.

This makes a good 6 foot kayak the ideal size for young kids. Weight comes with length, and a light kayak can make it easy for kids to haul their kayak from the water.

Weight rating: Kids kayaks are rated by child weight. You need to check the ages the kayak is suitable for. If they are too large, then it won’t support them, and if they are small kids, then they won’t be able to maneuver the kayak.

Sit on vs. Sit in: A sit-in kayak can make it more difficult for a child to enter the kayak. This is highlighted if they are in the water and need to get back onto their kayak.
A sit on top kayak also often comes with drain holes so water can’t accumulate. They also make a stable paddling platform as kids don’t stretch with their paddles.

Tow ropes: this can be required for younger kids. It can make all the difference on a long trip when they are tired. The inclusion of this makes life more comfortable for everyone.

Width: The wide stance of good kayak brands determines the stability. Although they are less efficient, this efficiency isn’t the priority, to begin with. Stability and safety are more crucial. A double hull wide stance provides a stable platform for kids.

Paddle holders: Kids can easily drop their paddles, so a built-in paddle holder should be included in the best rated kayaks.

Value for money: There is no reason to spend a fortune on a kids kayak for two reasons. First, they grow quickly and may outgrow the kayak, second, they may not like the sport, and spending an excessive amount could turn out to be a waste.

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak as the Best Kayak for KidsFinal Verdict

After putting all of the above through their paces, it was clear there were to be only one of these best kayak brands which were suitable for kids.

Because of the kid-friendly features, we found the Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak to be the best option. It was very easy to transport, it was light enough for kids to manhandle on their own, and it was comfortable.

The Lifetime Youth Kayak did lack a lot of storage capacity and other small things, but these were merely overkilled and would never be used.

The best kayak brands don’t need to be all bells and whistles. Being more functional and safe are things to look for.

Out of all of the above, this kid’s kayak came with many more child-friendly features while being highly affordable.

Best Kids Kayak