How to Choose the Best Kayak for Kids? (Buying Guide)

Choosing a kayak for kids is a bit different than choosing an adult kayak. Kids want more safety and stability. Additionally, kayak for kids must be easy to handle. 

In this article, we will walk you through an easy guide on how to choose the best kayak for your kid. 

But before you choose your kid’s kayak, you must know what the different kayak types are. It will help you decide which type will suit your kid the best. 

Types of Kayaks for Kids

There are two main types of kayaks based on their design: Sit-on-top and sit-inside. And there are two main types of kayaks based on their construction material: inflatable and hard shells. Let’s discuss the first category. 

Sit-on-top vs. Sit-inside Kayaks

Although these kayaks look the same, there are some significant differences between them. 

Just as the name indicates, in the sit-inside kayaks, you sit inside a cockpit. There is a cockpit rim around this area, and it prevents water from getting pooled. The footrests are also present inside this cockpit. 

On the other hand, on a sit-on-top kayak, you do not get a separate space on the deck to sit. The seat or backrest is present on the deck in this type of kayak. 

Inflatable vs. Hard Shell Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are made from PVC, which is a soft material. These types of kayaks have to be inflated and filled with air before use. It would be best to have an air pump with you wherever you go kayaking with an inflatable kayak. 

On the other hand, hard shell kayaks are made from plastic, wood, or other rigid material. These kayaks come in both designs, sit-on-top and sit-inside. 

How to Choose the Best Kayak for Kids?

Kayak for Kids

These are the main features you should take into account before buying a kayak for kids.


Sit-on-top, sit-inside, inflatable, or hard shells, all kayak types, have pros and cons. Before you buy a kayak for your kid, you must know which has the right features for them. These are the pros and cons of all these kayaks that will help you in the selection process. 

Sit-on-top Kayak


  • This type is easy to get on board.
  • Easy to handle. 
  • Self-bailing


  • You get wet because you are not inside a rim.

Sit-inside Kayak


  • It is an excellent kayak for colder weather as the cockpit keeps you warm. 
  • It also keeps you dry. 
  • More stable than sit-on-top kayaks.


  • Difficult to get inside and out. 

Inflatable Kayaks


  • Most comfortable
  • Durable
  • Easy to carry and lightweight
  • Inexpensive


  • Not so fast

Hard Shell Kayaks


  • Durable  
  • More control 
  • High speed
  • Great maneuverability and stability


  • Heavier
  • Expensive

Weight of The Kayak

A kayak for kids must be lightweight and portable. This way, your kid will be able to carry it towards the shore and into the water quickly. A higher kayak will not be difficult to carry but also difficult to steer. But, hardshell kayaks are more stable. 

So here comes the tricky part. Should you buy a heavier hardshell kayak or a lighter inflatable kayak for your kid? 

Here is the solution: if your kid is good at maintaining stability, you should buy an inflatable kayak. But if they have just started learning to kayak, you should buy a stable hardshell kayak. 

Weight Limit

Every kayak has a weight limit. It means it will not carry a person heavier than the mentioned weight and will probably sink. By keeping this factor in mind, you should buy a kayak that will hold your kid even after some years. 


The best kayak for kids is the one that is shorter than 10 feet. Shorter kayaks are easy to transport and easy to turn. These are also lightweight, so it is a win-win situation. 


If you are choosing a kayak for kids, you must buy one made from polyethylene. Polyethylene is a light material, and it is also resistant to scratches. So it is the best type for kids. 


A skeg is a shark’s fin-like structure attached to the bottom of the kayak. This skeg keeps the kayak going in the same direction even when strong winds are blowing. It is a great feature for kids in kayaks. You should make sure the kayak you are buying has a skeg on its hull. 

Flat Hull

Hull is the bottom part of the kayak. The falter the hull, the more stability it offers. So if you are buying a kayak for your kid, you should buy one with a flatter hull design. 


Is your kid determined to pursue kayaking in the future, or do you feel like it is just a one-time thing? 

If it’s the latter one, you should not buy an overpriced kayak. There are many inexpensive models available. These will serve an excellent purpose for limited-time trips. 

But if your kid will be kayaking for many years, you should invest in the purchase. In this case, you should buy a premium quality kayak for your kid.

Where Can I Buy the Best Kayak for Kids?

It is challenging to choose when there are hundreds of choices available. If you are still confused about the brand and model for your kid’s kayak, let us help you. We have listed and reviewed the 10 best kayaks for kids in this article. All of these kayaks are top-notch in their quality and are reasonably priced. So could you have a look at them? 

Final Thoughts

A kayak that is lightweight, stable, comfortable to sit, easy to handle, and easy to carry is indeed the one best for kids. So if your kid is a beginner in this fun sport, you should buy an inflatable sit-inside kayak. This type of kayak is easy to carry and easy to paddle. Also, your kid will be safe and stable inside the cockpit. In conclusion, an inflatable sit-inside kayak is a perfect kayak for kids