Tandem pedal kayaks are increasing in popularity. Our buyer’s guide and selection of the best models will help you and your buddy to pick the right one.
Pedal kayaks are increasingly popular with anglers, giving you the flexibility to move between fishing spots without packing away your rods. You also have the freedom to move a little while you fish or actively hold your position without carrying an anchor.
But pedal kayaks are useful for more than just anglers though. They’re also popular with wildlife photographers who can use them to move around the water stealthily and keep their cameras handy. Importantly, too, pedal kayaks are excellent for kayakers who have limited mobility in their upper body, or an injury that makes paddling uncomfortable or difficult.
The technology used in making quality pedal kayaks does make them more expensive than your traditional kayak. But what are the most affordable pedal drive kayaks on the market? We’ve done the research for you and put together this comprehensive list of the best affordable pedal drive kayaks.
At a Glance: Best Pedal Drive Kayaks for the Money
- Pelican Getaway 110 HDII
- Perception Crank 10
- Pelican The Catch 110 HyDryve II
- Perception Pescador 12 Pilot
- Old Town Sportsman PDL 106
- Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5
- Perception Showdown 11.5
- BKC PK11 Angler
- Riot Mako 10
- Enjoy Kayaks Bay 10 Convertible
- Hoodoo Impulse 105
There are definite benefits to having a pedal-powered kayak. The ability to go hands-free and cruise around the water gives kayaking a whole new relaxing edge.
Pedal Kayak Buyer’s Guide
But no matter how budget-friendly you try to go with your pedal-powered kayak, you’re going to end up spending more money than you would on a similar paddle kayak.
If you do need, or want, a cheap pedal drive kayak, there are other questions to answer before you just head out and buy the first on our list.
Type of Pedal System
Pedal drive systems on kayaks are usually either a propellor or a set of fins. They connect to a set of bike-style pedals on the top deck of your kayak. Different styles will have different efficiencies and top speeds, although a lot of this is affected by the kayak itself rather than the drive system.
Important factors to consider with your pedal drive are steering, reverse drive, and whether the drive is removable.
Steering is usually controlled by a rear-mounted rudder with a seat-mounted control lever. These rudders are relatively universal, but the controls vary a little, as does the folding system to raise the rudder if necessary.
The ability to reverse your pedal-powered kayak can help to get you out of a tight spot or hold your position while you fish. Not every system has a reverse option, and those that do are often more expensive models.
Ability to Raise and Remove the Drive
Raising your pedal drive is important when you want to launch your kayak, land on the beach, or navigate your way through shallow areas. Some fin-drive kayaks will raise automatically if they come into contact with obstacles, but most drive systems rely on being manually raised.
Removing your drive can also give you a lightweight kayak to paddle when you don’t need the drive. Some models even give you the option to add a trolling motor in its place.
Even the most efficient pedal drive system is useless if you can’t reach it properly. Pedal-powered kayaks tend to come with adjustable seats that move forward or backward so you can set yourself in a comfortable position.
Over-reaching for the pedals in your kayak can strain your lower back and the joints of your legs. If you’re too cramped in your pedaling position, you won’t be able to propel your kayak efficiently and will have to stop for regular stretching breaks.
Make sure the seat is fully adjustable as well as comfortable enough to stay out in your kayak all day.
Pedal kayaks are heavy. The extra drive system and adjustable seating add weight on top of what are usually some of the largest hulls on the market.
Most pedal drives are removed for transport and you can carry them separately down to the beach, but remember that you still have to power your kayak through the water.
It can be worthwhile using a trolley to move your kayak from the car to the water and prevent back injuries. Equally, trailers for your kayak mean you don’t have to lift your kayak onto the roof, which is especially useful if you regularly paddle alone.
Style of Kayak
Do you want a wide and stable kayak that you can stand in while you cast? Or would you prefer a sleeker kayak designed to cover long distances and explore while you take photographs?
Different styles of kayaks perform differently on the water. Longer, narrower kayaks are faster over the water and can cover greater distances, but are generally less stable. Wider kayaks make for a stable platform, but cause greater drag through the water and can be tiring to pedal.
If you are planning to pedal against the wind, look for a kayak with a defined keel line. This will help your kayak track straighter and hold its position but can make it more difficult to turn in a tight spot.
If you are looking for a kayak for a specific task, do you need features to match? Fishing-specific kayaks are usually the most feature-laden and often come with rod holders, gear mounts, and storage for boxes and crates.
Whether you need any features, or just want to head out in a basic kayak, will depend on the style of kayaking you prefer. All of these features add weight and will usually add to the cost of your kayak too, so think about how much you need them when you’re eyeing up your perfect pedal kayak.
Pelican Getaway 110 HDII
Length: 10 ft. 5 in. (3.19 cm)
Width: 33 in. (84 cm)
Weight: 59 lbs. (27 kg)
Capacity: 300 lbs. (136 kg)
Drive System: HyDryve II
The open deck design of the Pelican Getaway 110 HDII gives you a clean-looking kayak that is easy to use. This low-profile deck means less storage hassle, but also makes it easier to climb onboard this kayak from a dock, the beach, or the water. This makes the Getaway 110 HDII a good choice for those with limited mobility.
It might be low profile, but that doesn’t limit the Pelican Getaway 110 HDII’s stability. The tunnel-style hull gives you a secure and stable ride, even in rougher conditions. The v-shaped bow does give the Getaway 110 HDII improved tracking, but with a low-profile nose, this kayak is better suited to calmer water.
The Ergocast XP seating gives you a good command of the water from a raised position and this seat can be removed and used on the beach, too. The HyDryve II system uses efficient fins to propel you through the water. These are better suited than propellors for shallow areas or around aquatic plants.
- Easy to get on and off
- Easy to store
- Gear tracks on the rails
- Limited secure storage
- Low profile means waves can crash over the kayak
- Low capacity
Perception Crank 10
Length: 10 ft. (304 cm)
Width: 35 in. (89 cm)
Weight: 87 lbs. (40 kg)
Capacity: 350 lbs. (159 kg)
Drive System: Perception Pedal Drive
The Perception Crank 10 uses the Perception Pedal Drive, an efficient system that utilizes a 6:1 gear ratio. This allows you to cruise all day without tiring yourself out. This system is also reversible at the flick of a switch, so you don’t have to turn the propellor around manually.
The short stature of the Crank 10 makes it easier to store and, once you remove the seat and pedal system, light enough to cartop solo. A defined keel line stops this shorter stature from reducing the top speed noticeably and you can still cover long distances in a day. The wide platform of the Crank 10 lets you launch and land securely and makes this a suitable beginner model too.
In order to find your optimal paddling position, the adjustable mesh-backed captain’s chair can be dropped into various slots. There are large storage areas at the bow and stern of the Crank 10 which are both secured with shock cord to keep your bags or crates safe. Side storage trays, scupper holes for transceivers, and mount recesses that are receptive to the Perception Solo Mount mean you can set this up for angling trips, too.
- All-around recreational kayak
- Wide and easy to paddle
- Supportive and breathable seat
- Shorter length limits top speed
- Limited angling features
Pelican The Catch 110 HyDryve II
Length: 10 ft. 6 in. (320 cm)
Width: 34 in. (86 cm)
Weight: 67 lbs. (30.4 kg) + 7.8 lbs. (3.5 kg) Pedal System + 4.9 lbs. (2.2 kg) Seat
Capacity: 350 lbs. (159 kg)
Drive System: Hydryve II Pedal System
The Pelican The Catch 110 HyDryve II is a speedy, efficient kayak that can take you from spot to spot with ease. Made from lightweight, highly durable RAM-X material, this thermoformed plastic gives the kayak a high level of rigidity and strength. With the additional UV resilience of thermoform plastic, your kayak will remain as-new for longer.
The HyDryve II pedal system is optimized for use with either shoes or barefoot, to ensure that you remain comfortable on the water. This fin-drive system is efficient and easy to lift and remove from the housing. You do have to spin the drive around on the water to reverse, but this is quick and easy even on the water.
The Pelican The Catch 110 Hydryve II is a sleek and stable platform with a defined keel line. This gives you reasonable tracking and speed while being stable enough to stand and cast. Onboard fishing features, such as gear tracks, flush-mounted rod holders, tackle box holders, and plenty of onboard storage give you plenty of options to personalize your ride.
- Lightweight and durable design
- Efficicent fin pedal system
- Plenty of fishing features
- Have to turn the whole pedal system around to reverse
- Limited capacity
Perception Pescador 12 Pilot
Length: 12 ft. 5 in. (3.8 m)
Width: 33.5 in. (85 cm)
Weight: 95 lbs. (43 kg)
Capacity: 475 lbs. (215 kg)
Drive System: Pilot Drive Propellor System
The Perception Pescador 12 Pilot is the pedal-powered version of one of the most popular fishing kayaks on the market. With its highly efficient and ultra-quiet pedal drive, you’ll cruise around the lake effortlessly, forwards and backward. The rudder control system makes turning in a tight spot easy and can help to keep you tracking straight.
Not that tracking is something the Pescador 12 Pilot struggles with. The defined keel line running from the bow to the stern improves the top speed and tracking that already comes from a 12 ft. 5 in. long kayak. Couple this with the 33.5-inch beam and you have a stable platform that you can haul in any catch, standing or sitting.
No fishing-specific kayak would be complete without some features. Gear tracks and a fish-finder console at the front let you accessorize your setup for maximum efficiency, while four flush-mounted rod holders let you go hands-free. There is a large storage well at the stern for coolers and crates, as well as a smaller well at the bow for bags. The Pescador 12 Pilot also has three internal hatches for dry storage.
- Long waterline gives a high top speed
- Reversible drive system
- One of the most expensive kayaks on this list
Old Town Sportsman PDL 106
Length: 10 ft. 6 in. (3.2 m)
Width: 36 in. (91.4 cm)
Weight: 107 lbs. (48.5 kg)
Capacity: 450 lbs. (204 kg)
Drive System: PDL Drive
Old Town Canoes make some of the highest quality fishing kayaks on the market, and the Sportsman PDL 106 is no exception. The easy-to-dock PDL system raises and lowers in an instant and can just as quickly flick between forward and reverse. This easy-to-use system uses a traditional pedal drive and propellor for efficient power.
The wide and stable double-U-shaped hull gives you a stable platform with enough open deck space to stand and fish with confidence. The non-slip EVA deck foam is added to make this even more secure. If you prefer to sit to fish, the adjustable seat system has integrated lumbar support for all-day casting.
The Sportsman PDL 106 is a fishing kayak at its core and has all the features you could need. Large storage areas at the bow and stern, as well as under-seat storage and tackle box pockets, let you manage your gear efficiently. Three flush-mounted rod holders and a horizontal rod holder give you quick and easy access to your rods, while universal gear rails let you accessorize your setup.
- Stable and designed for stand-up casting
- Easy to change between forward and reverse
- Loads of fishing features
- Five-year warranty on the PDL Drive
- One of the more expensive kayaks on the list
Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5
Length: 10ft. 6 in. (3.2 m)
Width: 34 in. (86 cm)
Weight: 75 lbs. (34 kg)
Capacity: 325 lbs. (147 kg)
Drive System: Hobie Mirage GT Drive
The combination of a low-profile hull and the Hobie Mirage GT Drive’s kick-up fins make the Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5 one of the best shallow-water pedal kayaks on the market. The kick-up fins raise automatically if they come into contact with rocks, kelp, or shallow water, and deploy again when you begin to pedal. These fins are highly efficient and have 20 years of Hobie technology behind them.
Whether you’re a recreational kayaker or a keen angler, the Mirage Passport 10.5 has got you covered. The vertical accessory mount at the bow of the kayak can be used to fit a sail, to cruise over the open water, or a bimini, to shelter you from the sun on hot days. There are two rear-mounted rod holders, as well as accessory mounting tracks and large storage wells to stow your gear.
The Passport 10.5 is designed with the user in mind. When the drive and seat are removed, the hull weighs just 65 lbs. (29 kg) and is easy to load up onto the roof of your car solo. These kayaks are designed to stack on one another, so you can buy a Passport 10.5 for everyone in the family and store them with ease.
- Lightweight and easy to paddle
- Efficient fin-drive
- Kick-up fins reduce damage
- Versatile design
- No reverse gear
- Low profile bow leaves you open to waves crashing over your kayak
Perception Showdown 11.5
Length: 11 ft. 6 in. (3.5 m)
Width: 36 in. (91 cm)
Weight: 85 lbs. (38 kg)
Capacity: 450 lbs. (204 kg)
Drive System: Propellor Drive
The Perception Showdown 11.5 is a serious fishing platform for anglers who want to take their kayaking to a new level. The efficient pedal drive system is designed with shallow water in mind and allows you to cruise almost effortlessly. The wide hull keeps you stable on the water without inhibiting top speed.
With a fully adjustable and raised seating position, you not only get all-day comfort, but a greater command of the water you are fishing too. If you prefer to stand to fish, Perception has fitted EVA foam pads in the Showdown 11.5 to improve your grip as you haul in your catch.
The Showdown 11.5 has two double-barrelled rod holders, as well as molded rod holders, so you can take your setup with you and trawl as you go. The large storage well at the rear and storage pod at the front provide loads of storage room, while a small hatch at the rear gives you dry storage. The side-handles double as accessory mount points for customization.
- High capacity
- Stable platform
- High fishing spec.
- No reverse drive
- Only really suited to anglers
BKC PK11 Angler
Length: 10 ft. 6 in. (3.2 m)
Width: 34 in. (86 cm)
Weight: 68 lbs. (31 kg)
Capacity: 420 lbs. (190 kg)
Drive System: Instant Reverse Pedal Drive
The Brooklyn Kayak Company PK11 Angler is designed with stability in mind. The catamaran-style hull features a sharp v-shaped bow to cut through waves and a keel line towards the rear to help with tracking. The two sides of the hull act like outriggers for one another, giving you a platform that you can stand in and paddle confidently through choppy conditions.
The Instant Reverse Pedal Drive features bicycle-style pedals with straps to keep your feet in place. If you need to stop in a hurry or want to reverse, pedal backward to reverse the drive. This system can be removed and replaced with a trolling motor.
The PK11 Angler features a fully adjustable, ergonomic seat that will keep you out on the water all day. There are three flush-mounted rod holders, as well as accessory mounting points towards the bow of the kayak. A large storage well at the rear and watertight storage hatches at the bow and stern give you space to stow your fishing equipment within easy reach.
- Stable hull design
- Instant reverse drive
- Inefficient tracking means constant rudder control
Riot Mako 10
Length: 10 ft. 4 in. (316 cm)
Width: 36 in. (90 cm)
Weight: 77.1 lbs. (35 kg)
Capacity: 469.5 lbs. (213 kg)
Drive System: Impulse Drive Propellor
The Riot Mako 10 is a lot of kayak fitted into a small and affordable package. A smaller statue makes storing and moving this kayak much more straightforward and also keeps the weight down to a reasonable 77.1 lbs. Once you remove the drive and the seat for transport, the Mako 10 is easy enough to load onto the roof of your car.
Despite the smaller stature, the Riot Mako 10 is highly stable and quick for its length. Launching and landing are easy from a beach or a dock and you can step into this kayak with confidence, even in choppier water. The extra width of this kayak will keep you stable when you’re hauling in your catch and you can stand to cast too.
The Impulse Drive uses a reversible propellor to drive you across the water and steering is controlled with a hand-operated rudder lever. The drive system is removable for landing or shallow water areas. The seat slides forward and backward on side rails that double as gear accessory tracks for mounting fish finders, rod holders, or anything else you need on the water.
- Small and stable stature
- Removable drive system
- Reverse option
- Defined keel line for better tracking
- Short and wide stature limits the top speed
Enjoy Kayaks Bay 10 Convertible
Length: 10 ft. 3 in. (3.12 m)
Width: 34 in. (86 cm)
Weight: 85 lbs. (38.5 kg)
Capacity: 400 lbs. (181 kg)
Drive System: Removable Pedal System (Sold Separately)
The Enjoy Kayaks Bay 10 Convertible is a catamaran-inspired kayak hull that can either be fitted with a pedal drive system or an electronic trolling motor. Each of these can be added to the package for an additional fee, or you can add both together for a combined cost.
With a defined keel line and rudder system, the Enjoy Kayaks Bay 10 Convertible is easy to paddle and maintain your course against the wind. The rudder is an extension of the keel and doesn’t drop as deep as other rudders. This means that it won’t have as much effect on your kayak’s tracking and may turn less effectively, but will also have reduced drag.
The Enjoy Kayaks Bag 10 Convertible has EVA deck foam for stand-up casting, as well as three flush-mounted rod holders, gear tracks, and gear mounting points. There is dry storage at the bow and a small internal storage hatch at the stern, as well as large storage wells at either end. The stability of the Bay 10 Convertible makes it an easy-to-use beginner’s kayak, or an angling platform for long days on the water.
- Stable for stand-up casting
- Also available with a trolling motor
- Stable and beginner-friendly
- Catamaran style hull will increase drag and reduce speed
- The low-profile rudder affects tracking and turning
Hoodoo Impulse 105
Length: 10 ft. 5 in. (3.17 m)
Width: 31.5 in. (80 cm)
Weight: 90 lbs. (40 kg) – Hull only
Capacity: 398 lbs. (180 kg)
Drive System: Impulse Drive
The Hoodoo Impulse 105 is a sleek and stable, feature-laden fishing kayak that comes with multiple drive options. You can purchase the Impulse 105 with either a single-direction fin drive or a bi-directional propellor drive system. Both of these systems are easy to fit and remove and give you an easy cruising speed.
Despite the narrow beam of the Hoodoo Impulse 105, this is a kayak that you can comfortably stand to cast in, even in choppy conditions. The adjustable seat can be moved backward while you fish, opening up the deck to give you room to move. When you need to pedal again, just click the seat back into place and head off to your next spot.
The Hoodoo Impulse 105 features two flush-mounted rod holders, as well as gear mounting points and accessory tracks. There is a large dry storage hatch at the bow, as well as two smaller hatches mounted into the deck itself and another at the stern. A large storage well at the rear of the kayak fits crates or coolers and these can be secured with a shock cord.
- Sleek and easy to paddle
- Stable for standing to cast
- Good level of features