Kayaking has become extremely popular among people who enjoy adventurous activities like white-water, fishing, racing, and even photography! However, kayaking may be slightly challenging for people who do not have strong arms and shoulders. In such cases, pedal kayaks can help you enjoy the sport to your heart’s content without being worried about not having enough practice.
Since these kayaks utilize foot-paddles instead of regular paddles, they are widely preferred by people looking for a refreshing leg workout session, or who need to take photos, enjoy a comfortable lunch with mesmerizing views, or go fishing.
With kayaks flooding the market recently, you may find it difficult to select the best pedal kayak that’s suitable for your needs. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here’s a helpful list of the top kayaks in the market along with their details that can help you make the right choice.
1. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 Pedal Kayak
It doesn’t get any better than the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 – this one’s simply the best pedal powered kayak available in the market today. It’s a 14-foot spacious platform that utilizes Hobie’s famed MirageDrive System for providing quiet and efficient propulsion, which makes it perfect for fishing. It has an extremely stable and non-skid deck as well, which can help you stand up with ease as you cast your line. It also has 6-rod holders and horizontal fishing rod storage, which will come in handy.
This pedal kayak provides ample storage space with hatches near the seat, mesh pockets and tackle boxes. These tackle boxes have a spacious and accessible storage area directly under them, which can be used for storing your fishing gear. It has an inbuilt transducer mount, which permits side-scanning, thus enabling optimal performance.
It also has a useful retractable shield, which can protect your transducer upon impact & retract away when needed. The combination of these features is what makes the Pro Angler 14 one of the best foot-paddle kayaks and the most perfect fishing pedal kayak on the market today!
- Retractable shield
- Inbuilt transducer mount
- Two Plano® tackle boxes (medium-sized)
- Hatches & mesh pockets
- Six-rod lockers
- Horizontal rod storage
- Enhanced Stability
- Mirage Drive with Glide Technology
- 14-foot spacious platform
Total kayak length: 13 feet 8 inches
Total weight: 120.5 pounds
Total kayak width: 38 inches
Weight capacity: 600 pounds
2. Perception Pescador Pilot 12
If you’re looking for a high-quality pedal kayak that works well for both advanced and amateur kayakers, check out the Perception Pescador pedal kayak. It has a Pilot Drive Pedal system that’s quite easy to utilize and that can be removed. It maintains your speed while kayaking and helps you achieve top speeds within a short period of time.
It’s also easy to maneuver, thanks to its 360-degree turning radius and a rudder control system that can be piloted with one hand. Fishing enthusiasts will find this kayak to be highly stable as well. You can stand up with ease and not be worried about falling down or your boat tipping over.
It also offers a number of features that enhance its comfort factor including a drink holder, which ensures your favorite beverages don’t spill all over the place, and an ergonomic captain’s chair as well. It also has ample storage that makes it ideal for fishing. The large rear and front open storage can be used for storing tackle, coolers, and other fishing gear.
You can also make use of the additional storage underneath the seat. The gear tracks can be used for holding additional accessories, which does away with the requirement to drill any holes. There are 4 rear horizontal molded-in rod holders for storing your rods as well.
- 4 rear horizontal molded-in rod holders
- Gear tracks
- Ample storage underneath the seat
- Spacious rear and front open storage
- Drink holders
- Removable and ergonomic captain’s chair
- Enhanced stability
- Removable Pilot Drive pedal system
Total kayak length: 12 feet 5 inches
Total weight: 85 pounds
Total kayak width: 33.75 inches
Weight capacity: 500 pounds
3. BKC PK11 10.6′ Single Propeller Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak
We’re in love with this gorgeous-looking pedal kayak. You won’t be able to stop yourself from having some fun once you lay your eyes on it. It has ample cargo space, which is usually limited in other kayaks. You can also store a ton of fishing gear, thus making your fishing experience far more convenient, especially if you’re planning to take a long trip.
The vessel has 3 flush-mounted fishing rod holders that are ideal for fishing enthusiasts. The ergonomic and adjustable seats come with padded backrest and a sturdy aluminum frame along with numerous control points that can help you find that sweet spot of comfort.
There’s no doubt that the Brooklyn Pedal Kayak has been made with speed in mind. Its pedal drive is incredibly easy to handle and can help you achieve top speeds in a jiffy. It also has a roto-molded single piece streamlined hull that makes handling the kayak a stable and easy affair. The hull is made of polyethylene that is resistant to UV radiation which enhances its durability significantly. Thus ensuring you can keep using it for years on end.
- Bright colors
- UV Protected
- Roto-molded single piece streamlined hull
- Padded backrest and a sturdy aluminum frame
- Adjustable and ergonomic seats
- Three-rod holders
- A watertight hatch
Total kayak length: 10 feet 6 inches
Total weight: 60 pounds
Total kayak width: 2.8 feet
Weight capacity: 420 pounds
4. Hobie Mirage Outback
Hobie scores yet another place on this list with its Mirage Outback kayak. Thanks to its Mirage Drive feature, you can start paddling with ease whereas its scupper holes enable you to release the water that has accumulated in your kayak’s hull.
It also provides spacious storage located at the kayak’s bow section and has a convenient bungee system located at the back. Don’t be worried about heading over to shallow waters since this kayak has a paddle system that allows you to make small and easy adjustments. If you’re into fishing, this kayak is perfect for your needs.
- Paddle System
- Bungee storage at the back
- Drain plugs
- Spacious hatches
Total kayak lenght: 12 feet 1 inch
Total weight: 99 pounds
Total kayak width: 33 inches
Weight capacity: 400 pounds
5. Hobie Mirage Oasis Tandem Kayak
The third Hobie kayak on this list, the Mirage Oasis is a tandem pedal kayak that is one of the highest-rated kayaks you can purchase today. Available in five colors in varying brightness, its dual steering system, performance-focused design, combined with the Dual Mirage Drive system make it a complete no-brainer choice if you are searching for an efficient tandem kayak that is also pedal powered.
It also has three twist & seal hatches along with ample storage space and molded-in fishing rod holders. It is designed to carry two people & has lots of space for all the gear. This kayak also has a highly comfortable seat. It has full padding and good adjustability, which can help you settle down in a comfortable sitting position.
Its pedal powered propulsion also helps you navigate the waters at high speeds without any hassles. It’s an awesome pedal kayak for fishing and can provide you with an unrivaled experience.
- Molded-in fishing rod holders
- Three twist & seal hatches
- Dual Steering system
- Performance-focused hull
- Dual Mirage Drive
- Five vibrant colors
Total kayak lenght: 14 feet 6 inches
Total kayak weight: 93 pounds
Total kayak width: 33 inches
Weight capacity: 550 pounds
6. Native Watercraft Slayer 10
This one’s a lightweight pedal powered kayak that has a smooth and breezy feel to it. Due to its low weight, you can load it on your car without much effort and swing from one lake to another without being bogged down. It’s great for fishing enthusiasts since it provides an unparalleled hands-free experience. All you need to do is place the rod in your kayak’s holder, pedal it if you want change position, and down a cool beverage.
You can move forward and backward with ease, thanks to its unique pedaling mechanism. It reaches a top speed of 3.5 mph, which is absolutely great for a kayak. It has a padded and comfortable armchair seat that is supportive and sturdy enough to ensure your joints and muscles don’t get strained, thus allowing you ample time to enjoy the waters.
- Low profile that yields top performance on windy days
- A 17 inch dry bow hatch cover
- integrated rail mount system for rod holders
- A comfortable and padded seat
- Reverse pedaling feature
- Low weight
Total kayak length: 10 feet
Total kayak weight: 62 pounds
Total kayak width: 34 inches
Weight capacity: 400 pounds
7. Hobie Mirage Sport
You simply cannot go wrong with the Hobie Mirage Sport. It comes fully equipped with the latest features and is available in 2 beautiful colors. A adjustable and comfortable seat will ensure you’ll find yourself in a comfortable and painless position even during long trips.
It also has an advanced pedaling mechanism with shoe loops that secure the feet properly as you navigate rough waters. Its design lets you get up & move with ease and is perfect for various activities like fishing. Underneath the seat, there’s a spacious storage area that can store all your necessary equipment for the trip whereas the front section has dry storage space for ensuring the water doesn’t affect your most prized possessions.
- Dry Storage
- Spacious bungee storage
- Sophisticated pedal powered propulsion, which includes shoe loops
- An adjustable and comfortable seat
- Two color options
- Compact design
Total kayak length: 9 feet 7 inches
Total kayak weight: 61 pounds
Total kayak width: 29 inches
Weight capacity: 225 pounds
8. Native Watercraft Ultimate FX Propel 13
This is an extremely lightweight 13 feet long boat that is both spacious and stable. It comes with a great open deck that allows you to load and unload easily. Have fun with your family or go on a solo fishing trip – this boat has you covered! The propel drive and rudder enable excellent tracking whereas an inbuilt mount for a transducer together with a generous bow & stern storage space ensure that you have a great time fishing.
- Bow & Stern Storage
- Inbuilt Transducer mount
- Rudder & propel drive
- Spacious open deck
- A stable design
Total kayak length: 13 feet 2 inches
Total kayak weight: 89 pounds
Total kayak width: 33 inches
Weight capacity: 500 pounds
9. Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal
Available in four charming designs, the Malibu Pedal is among the best pedal powered kayaks on the market as of now. It has a powerful PDL Drive propulsion, which gives you an easily maneuverable and stable ride, ensuring you’re never bored while on the waters.
The integrated seat ensures you’re comfortable throughout your adventure on the waters. A handy storage pocket under it keeps your prized possessions close as well. If you require additional space for cargo, you can use a hatch placed under your seat. The kayak has two 8” accessory tracks and 3 cup holders.
Integrated handles on the hull also make it much easier to transport, helping you focus on just having fun.
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Two 8-inch accessory tracks
- Three cup holders
- Stern tank well
- Click Seal Hatch
- Very comfortable Seat along with additional mesh storage
- New PDL Drive System
- Four different designs
Total kayak length: 12 feet
Total kayak width: 34.5 inches
Total kayak weight: 100 pounds
Weight capacity: 450 pounds
10. Old Town Predator PDL
While the Predator PDL from Old Town may come in at number 10, it is still an outstanding fishing kayak that doesn’t compromise in any area. It comes equipped with the maintenance-free award-winning PDL drive, which ensures perfect tracking and stability whereas features like slip-resistant Exo-Ridge and its highly adjustable Seat provide you with unparalleled comfort and luxury.
- Maintenance-free award-winning PDL drive system
- Five-year warranty
- Molded-in fishing rod holders
- Inbuilt Fishfinder transducer scupper
- Oversized tank well
- Exo-Ridge deck with slip-resistant properties
- Adjustable Element Seating System
Total kayak lenght: 13 feet 2 inches
Total kayak width: 36 inches
Total kayak weight: 117 pounds
Weight capacity: 500 pounds
If you’re someone who has upper body injuries or is looking for an enhanced workout session, look no further than pedal kayaks. By eliminating the need to constantly paddle, you’ll have more time for activities like snapping amazing pictures or fishing.
A Complete Overview of Pedal Kayaks
Although the pedals of kayaks are designed to perform the same functions, the mechanisms of operations are quite different. The two major types of pedals in kayaks are the push pedal and the rotational pedal.
What are Kayak Push Pedals?
Just as the name implies, push pedals are pushed with the feet to propel the kayak forward in the waters. The feet and the ankles exert the mechanical action on the push pedals to move the kayak on the water. Every time you make an alternate push on the pedals, the kayak pushes through the water and slows down when you stop pushing the pedals.
What are Rotational Pedals?
The rotational pedals are similar to the pedals of a bicycle, so the mechanical action from the entire legs are applied to push them. Consequently, kayaks with rotational pedals need a more spacious cockpit to make room for the legs cycling action.
Kayaks with rotational pedals are easier to move because the entire legs are used while operating the rotational pedals. These types of kayaks also move faster on the water than the push pedal models. The fact that the rotational pedals are easier to operate makes it easier for the user to pedal for a more extensive period. With the rotational pedal, the boat doesn’t stop immediately after you stop the pedal action. It still continues to move with a level of momentum, just like a bicycle.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Kayak Pedals
Below are the benefits and the drawbacks of pedal-powered kayaks. First, let’s consider the benefits.
More Speed: It is natural for humans to walk on their feet and their hands. Perhaps, this is the reason why using pedals moves the boat faster than rowing with paddles. So, a kayak that uses a pedal would reach its destination before the one that uses paddles.
Less Noise: While paddles make substantial noise while using it, the pedals work silently because the propeller inside the water operates silently. Since the pedal kayaks work silently, it’s easier for the boat to approach fishes, unlike a paddle that would scare fishes away with splashing sounds.
Hand-Free Operation: A kayak with pedals gives the user the freedom to perform other tasks with the hands. For instance, kayaks with foot pedals are excellent for fishing. You can freely cast your net into the water while pedaling. Although you still need to control the rudder with your hands, you have more freedom to perform other tasks such as taking photos, fishing, or enjoying some snacks.
Less Tasking: Since you will be using your feet and legs to drive the kayak, you would be exerting less energy compared to someone that uses paddles. In essence, you can cover a longer distance with a shorter time while using a pedal kayak. This is especially true when using a kayak with rotational pedals. You can relax your feet and legs while the kayak keeps moving, driven by the previous momentum. You can start pedaling after taking a break, thereby saving energy.
Remains Dry: The kayak that uses pedals remains dry compared to the ones that use paddles because of the pedals mechanisms that are under the water. So, there are no splashes that could make the cockpit wet. This is in contrast with sit-on-top kayaks that splashes water around with every stroke of the paddle. Without the paddles, the interior of the kayak and the occupant will likely remain dry for more extended periods.
Demands Less Skill: Although Kayaking is a relatively simple sport, you still need to learn the basic skill of balancing the using the paddles before getting on the water. However, the learning curve is shorter, with a pedal kayak. Simply get on the water and press the pedals in a walking motion, and you’ll see the boat moving as if you’re riding a bicycle. The kayaks that have pedals are more stable; they hardly flip over.
Lesser Control: The presence of fins or propeller underneath the kayak makes it more challenging to maneuver. These kayaks are not usable in shallow waters due to the mechanical devices underneath the hull. However, many boats have mechanisms that allow the user to raise the propeller closer to the hull to use the boat in shallow waters.
Yet, another issue to consider is the risk of getting the propeller entangled by grasses or seaweed underwater.
Moreover, turning the boat and bringing it to a halt is slower with pedals compared to paddles. Generally, kayaks with paddles are easier to maneuver than those that use pedals.
More Weight to Manage: Due to the extra mechanisms required, the kayaks with integrated pedals are usually heavier than the conventional ones. Also, they do have additional storage features that add to the size and weight. Such boats are often designed for fishing.
They are Costlier: The pedal kayaks are more expensive than the conventional ones. Perhaps, the presence of extra features on the boat is a factor that contributes to the higher cost of acquiring a pedal kayak.
Maintenance: Another factor to consider is that the pedal kayaks required more maintenance due to the presence of additional mechanical parts. For instance, mechanisms such as the rudder and propellers require additional maintenance to keep them in good working condition.
If you are kayaking on saltwater, you need to take extra care of the drive system to mitigate the risks of corrosion by the saline water. It would be advisable to ensure the mechanical parts are corrosion resistance and are also covered by antirust protective coatings.
It is recommended to rinse the drive system with clean water after use. This practice would preserve the lifespan of the kayak.
Guideline for Using a Kayak with Pedals
Someone who has been paddling a conventional kayak would find it a bit challenging to adapt to using a pedal kayak. Everything changes with a pedal kayak, including the procedure of moving it from your car to the water.
For one, the pedal kayaks are quite heavier than the traditional ones. Also, you need to install the drive system on the kayak before using the boat. So, you can’t just offload it and start using it right away. The other part that should be installed is the seat. Both the drive mechanism and the seat are quite heavy, it would be smart to install these parts on the water.
Installing the parts on the water allows you to confirm that the seats are in the appropriate positions and that the pedals are within a comfortable reach. For most kayaks, the seats are adjustable, allowing you to make quick adjustments to change positions while on the water.
For first-timers, it is normal to feel that the kayak is a bit off balance. Those who are already used to a conventional kayak would feel odd without a paddle in their hands. All you need to do is to start pedaling, and the kayak starts moving. Initially, you may feel your body weight tilting the kayak to the sides as you use the pedals. You’ll soon get used to this sway and realize it poses no risk as you continue to use the pedals.
One of the skills you would have to master with time is steering the rudder, you might find it challenging to travel is a perfectly straight direction initially. However, your dexterity with the rudder would improve with time. The rudder is an essential mechanism that helps you control the kayak since there is no paddle to provide additional support for navigating in a straight line.
The positions of the rudder in pedal kayaks differ from that of conventional ones. The rudder is located beside the seat and controlled with the hand. As such, it is easy for the user to sit comfortably and control the direction of the boat while pedaling.
In essence, the hands are not entirely idle while pedaling on a kayak. Your hands need to be on the rudder from time to time to control the direction of the kayak.