5 Best Pedal Kayaks in 2020

  • By KayakPro
  • Last Update: June 3, 2020
  • Lawn chair style mesh seat
  • Leak-proof one-piece construction
  • Large front and rear open storage
premium pick
  • Two Mirage Drive 180s
  • Three enclosed stowage areas
  • Large on-deck cargo area
  • Ergonomic Seating
  • Distance Travel Kayak
  • 3 flush-mounted rod holders

Any fishing scenario that doesn’t necessarily need a large boat with an expensive insurance policy opens up a lot of possibilities to what can happen in the pedal kayak industry.

The best pedal kayaks will not only allow you to trawl a couple of lines while holding on at a constant position but you’ll also be able to easily maneuver tight spots without much fuss.

Unlike paddling kayaks, pedal drive kayaks don’t require another captain or pilot to spin the propeller while you trawl the line since you can do both activities all alone and at the same time.

Pedal Kayak Comparison Table

Pedal KayaksLengthWidthWeight Capacity (Pounds)Best UseVessel Capacity (Pounds)
Perception Kayak Pescador Pilot12’ 5”34”475Flatwater Kayaking/Fishing85
Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-PK1110’ 8”34”550Flatwater Kayaking/Fishing80
Native
Watercraft Slayer 10 Propel Pedal Fishing Kayak
10”34”500Fishing81
Hobie
Oasis
14’ 6”2’ 9”550Flatwater Kayaking/Fishing127
Riot Mako 12” ft. Sit on Top12’34’470Flatwater Kayaking/Fishing68
Hobie 2018 Mirage Sport Pedal Kayak9’34’225Flatwater Kayaking78

Original kayaks were made for fishing and traveling, but they’ve undergone through various evolution over time to become so sophisticated as we see the today.

That said, we’ve spent months researching the best pedal kayaks that are currently available in the market and compiled this educative guide, which we hope will help you make the best decision when buying a pedal kayak.

But before dropping your paddle and jumping into pedal drive kayaks, it’s important to familiarize yourself with pedal powered kayaks and what they actually entail. So without further ado, let’s get rolling.

Reviews of the Best Fishing Kayak with Pedals

1

Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Pedal Kayak

Features of the Perception Pescador Pilot 12
73 Reviews
Features of the Perception Pescador Pilot 12
  • Pedal-driven performance at an unbelievable price - Made in USA
  • Lawn chair style mesh seat with 2-level seat adjustment and breathable mesh for ultimate all-day comfort and no pain
  • Pilot drive pedal system can be fully recessed into hull for zero draft
  • Leak-proof one-piece construction with built-in buoyancy for added safety

Measuring 12 and feet long and 33 and inches wide and capable of hauling up to 475 pounds, it makes a lot of sense that this kayak is named after the word Pescador, which means fisherman in Spanish.

This is a rotational model that will enable you and your fishing gear to fit in comfortably and still make you feel like a king or a queen as it’s designed with features that will make you cruise all day long without straining or without much effort.

Features and Design: Here are some features that will lure you to the Perception Pescador Pilot:

Pilot Drive Motor

This is certainly the most important feature of the Perception Pescador Pilot. It’s this pedal drive motor that will enable you to not only cruise around effortlessly but also to cruise almost noiselessly. It’s seriously easy to operate.

All you have to do is fiddle a little with the chair placement and angle and pump your feet. In essence, this pilot drive motor should enable you to navigate the waters far more efficiently than with a paddle.

The best part of this feature is that it’s so quiet that fishes would want to make friends with it, let alone the fact that you’d be able to cruise around with sleeping babies without causing a stir. The drive can also easily pull up or drop down when transitioning from land, truck or storage.

Captain’s Chair

Fitting more aptly, it’s very adjustable, super comfy and is designed with a mesh that increases airflow when heat and humidity is on a high.

Transducer Scupper

It has a nice sonar technology that’s crucial if you want to hook yourself so that you don’t become a victim of varied fish swimming patterns.

Rudder System

As you become acquainted with this kayak, you’ll find a small lever on a pivot to your left. Despite powering this kayak with your legs, this small lever acts as a rudder system to help you control the the direction of the kayak. It may feel a little strange for someone who has never operated a pedal drive kayak before, but it shouldn’t be a problem for you after a few minutes.

Rod Holders

Located behind the seat, the four rod holders are angled so that they cross behind your back and are big enough to even hold a beer!

Gear Tracks

You’ll find two gear tracks each on you right and left. These tracks will serve you well whether you want to use them as cell phone holders, for holding your fresh bouquet of flowers, a GoPro or want to mount a tether.

Drawbacks: One aspect of the Perception Pescador Pilot that’s not widely advertised is that you’ll have to install the drive system by yourself, which leaves room for error. It’s therefore, important to follow the instructions on the manual and install the hardware appropriately and with adequate torque so as not to either damage the drive system or hinder performance.

Again, the rod holders don’t sit tightly within the kayak.

Verdict:  As we’ve mentioned before, the Perception Pescador Pilot stands out for its exceptional pedal drive and can easy go either go forward or backwards. This is a kayak that holds up well thanks to a plethora of amazing features. Its stability, efficiency and quietness are some of its most important strengths and you’ll not have a problem accommodating your small child or a slightly excited dog. You’ll however, need to get a cart wheel or the help of a pal in moving it in and out of the garage. You should also check the hardware before you head out and make sure that it’s tight and set right.
Pros
  • It’s very stable
  • Offers great maneuverability and easy movement
  • Spacious and has a ton of storage space
  • The captain’s chair is super comfortable
  • Extremely quiet
  • Offers great weight capacity and gear tracks
Cons
  • You’ll have to install the drive yourself
  • It’s not that wide
  • The rudder system is not very efficient

2

Hobie 2020 Mirage Oasis Tandem Kayak

Features of the Hobie Oasis
  • Includes 2 Vantage CT seats and paddles
  • Two Mirage Drive 180s + Kick Up Fins and dual steering controls
  • Three enclosed stowage areas
  • Large on-deck cargo area

The Hobie Oasis may be one of the pricier boats out there, but it’s uniquely designed for those looking to head out on the water with a companion.

Measuring 14ft 6ins long and 2ft 9ins wide and weigh about 127 pounds, this yak is designed with superior quality and top-level craftsmanship.

Features and Design: The makers of this kayak seem to be fashion conscious and that’s why it’s loaded with numerous features in addition to seven-color range.

Dual Steering Controls

You and your companion will be able to take turns at steering the yak without the inconvenience of having to change seats. This makes it much easier to move either forward or backwards. The dual push pedals efficiently power the two fins underneath the hull and will free up your hands for fishing.

Vantage CT Seats

This kayak is designed with your comfort in mind. Both seats are designed with recline mode and three adjustable height positions. They’re also thickly padded and have inflatable lumbar to not only offer support but to ensure that you’re completely comfortable.

Storage

You’ll never be concerned with the safety of any of your expensive gadgets and clothes as you can store them in the Yak’s waterproof storage compartment. This Kayak also has a storage capacity of up to 550 pounds, and so you don’t have to worry about the Oasis carry you, your companions, you fishing tackle and other equipment.

Removable Rudder

This is of great help should you find yourself in the middle of very strong currents. The removable rudder is designed with an easy-to-grip T-shaped handles to allow you to twist the rudder on and off with much ease.

Fishing Rod Holders

Positioned on both sides of the seats, these fishing rods can be easily accessed and help in the distribution of fishing lines without any fear of entanglement.

Cup Holders and Mesh Pockets

Attached to the seats, these are extras that will help you hold onto your beer while you’re busy finding fish to catch.

Drawbacks: Despite its high quality craftsmanship and superior features, its price is a setback that would block many would-be buyers. Its length and weight can be much of a problem when it comes to transportation while its drainage system is quite slow and frustrating.

Verdict:  If you and your companion want to combine your hobbies, say fishing and photography, the Hobie Oasis may be your obvious choice. It’s durable, stylish and made with outstanding quality and craftsmanship that will make your kayaking adventures so appealing, enjoyable and memorable. However, its price and transportation difficulty may be some setbacks that you’ll have to deal with.

Pros
  • Smooth, efficient and comfortable to use
  • The seats are designed to offer all day comfort
  • Stylish, strong and durable
  • Spacious and waterproof storage
  • Offers an easy-to-use removable rudder
Cons
  • The drainage is slow and frustrating
  • Quite expensive
  • Heavy and long, thus difficult to transport

3

BKC PK11 10.6' Single Propeller Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

Features of the BKC PK11 10.6' Single Propeller
15 Reviews
Features of the BKC PK11 10.6' Single Propeller
  • Brand: Brooklyn Kayak Company
  • Pedal Drive System: BKC PK11 kayak moving faster than ever with or without a paddle using the pedal-driven propeller system with instant reverse, or...
  • Ergonomic Seating: We want to be on the water as long as we can, so we designed it to be as comfortable as it could be. PK11 is matched perfectly with...
  • Distance Travel Kayak: From its generous cargo capacity to its versatile propulsion options, this vessel was made to move for miles and miles. The...

Weighing 80 pounds and measuring 10 feet and 8 inches long, and 34 inches wide, the BKC UH-PK11 is a great pedal powered kayak that provides just about everything you need to cruise the waters during your fishing or leisurely adventures. You’ll also need not break the bank as it comes at a reasonable price if you take into account the impressive features that are on offer.

Features and Design: You fall in love with the following features.

Pedal Drive System

The pedal-driven propeller system holds up well and will let you move the kayak faster than ever without having to worry about using the available paddle. This pedal drive system also gives this kayak a reverse capability that enables it to either move forward or backwards

Flat Hull Design and Weight

With a flat hull design, it’s pretty easy to see that this is one of this kayak’s most notable features. Such a flat hull, which is bow-molded and streamlined is essential in offering superior stability whether moving fast or slow in multiple water and weather conditions.

This stability makes the BKC UH-PK11 a great kayak option, especially for anglers who are not fixed on traveling long distances. Another important feature is the weight of this kayak. At 80 pounds, BKC UH-PK11 is more lightweight than similar models, which often weigh over 100 pounds.

This makes it easier to handle and move around as you won’t necessarily need a cart wheel or a group of friends to move in and out of the garage or on top of the car. It’s also crucial to note that its ample storage space that offers a capacity of up to 550 pounds makes it quite a good option if you’re planning to carry a packed lunch, overnight gear or if you have the day’s huge catch as your company.

Captain’s Chair

The BKC UH-PK11 is designed with an adjustable ergonomic and hand-sewn seat with a backrest and various adjustment point just to offer you utmost comfort and control. The seat is also designed with a sliding track so that it can comfortably slide from one end to the other without no much fuss.

Dual Power Rods

This kayak is also designed with dual power rods that are mounted just beside the seat and the split paddle that are fitted with anti-slip standing paddles just in case your legs need some rest are of impeccable quality.

This power rods also make the BKC UH-PK11 a perfect fishing kayak as they’ll help you keep you lines in the water hands-free or if you want to use the pedals to troll while using your hands to fish.

Drawbacks: The BKC UH-PK11 may bring along a lot of options, but it’s the drive system is a bit stiffer, particularly when compared with similar models. You’ll also need an anchor if you have to fish at a constant point, otherwise you’ll spend the entire day attempting to peddle just to stay in the same area and that can be tiring.

Verdict:  The BKC UH-PK11 is a truly great fishing kayak that will provide you with just about everything you need for an awesome fishing adventure. It’s also pretty hard to argue with its simplicity and reasonable price.

Pros
  • The seat is adjustable and very comfortable
  • It’s very stable thanks to its flat hull design
  • It’s quite affordable
  • It’s simple to use and move as it is lightweight
  • It offers a huge storage capacity
Cons
  • The pedal system is a little stiffer

4

Riot Mako 12 Sit-on-Top Kayak

Features of the Riot Mako 12'
7 Reviews
Features of the Riot Mako 12'
  • Sit on top mako kayak, Weight: 71. 2 lbs
  • 5 year hull integrity , 2 year Drive
  • Ergonomic front handle for easy transport
  • Superior ocean handling, made to go through surf

Kayaks get a new life when they move along the waters with a compass, and Silva 58 is just outstanding. Regular paddlers will just love installing it since it is small and compact and hardly adds weight to the boat.

What is also great about this compass is that it is waterproof and made of scratch-resistant glass, which means it has the ability to withstand adverse weather conditions. The mounting system is also quite secure and stays tight at one place even when the weather condition is unfavorable.

The Silva 58 kayak compass involves no hassles to install it. With the help of rubber straps along with clips, the attachment can be done quite swiftly and securely. In fact, this does not need any drilling on the deck and can be attached easily to the deck lines.

The compass, when installed on the deck, makes it easier to read from a distance. Believe it or not, this does not necessarily require you to leave your paddling seat.

Durable and robust, the Silva 58 kayak compass weighs just 115g. So, if you have plans to prepare for your new voyage along with your dog, go for it and make it worth enjoying.

Pros
  • Easier to read from a distance
  • Easier to install
  • Sturdy construction
Cons
  • The mounting system not so durable

5

Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5 - Pedal Fishing Kayak

Features of the Hobie Mirage Passport
9 Reviews
Features of the Hobie Mirage Passport
  • Mirage Drive Classic; a tribute to the original Hobie Mirage Drive. This is a non-GT drive with ST fins
  • Aluminum 2 Piece Paddle and Suspended Mesh Aluminum Frame Seat to keep you comfortable during long days on the water
  • Easy to use, retractable Steering System with stowable rudder
  • Two molded-in rod holders and two accessory mounting tracks for added customization

Weighing 78 pounds and 9 feet long, the Mirage Sport Pedal Kayak is lightweight, super compact and one of the most perfect little kayaks in the market.

Features and Design: The fact that it is small and light with a storage capacity of up to 225 pounds makes it the most suitable pedals kayak for petite paddlers.

Using the Mirage Drive technology, this is a well-designed drive system that has the ability to not only reverse. The availability of a Vantage chair that’s constructed with a durable mesh helps in keeping things breezy when the weather becomes hotter.

You can adjust it in various ways to augment your comfort and save you from injuring your lumbar region.

As one of the most technologically advanced kayaks, the Mirage Sport Pedal Kayak has a Lowrance-Ready transducer mount that becomes very efficient if you want a quick escape since it provides an extra gear.

Its two molded-in rear rod holders are great for holding your fishing rods in place. Lastly, its twist and stow rudder is significant in giving you an excellent directional control from the steering handle that works nicely and well once you familiarize yourself with it.

Drawback: This kayak may be small and compact but its size and capacity are limiting, especially if you’ve a luggage to carry along.

Verdict:  If you’re a kayaking fan with a big heart, the Mirage Sport Pedal Kayak might be of great help because it equally has a big heart and loves pleasure cruising. It’s one of those kayaks that will never disappoint you if you need a quick trip and up to speed. In short, everything about this kayak is perfect.

Pros
  • It offers excellent stability
  • Very comfortable
  • The rudder system and steering handle is easy to use
  • It’s lightweight and easy to transport
  • It’s fast and perfect for quick trips
Cons
  • Its size is limiting
  • The storage capacity is limited

Best Pedal Drive Kayak Brands

It’s advisable that you acquaint yourself with various brands that are available in the market before going for a pedal kayak. While there are many brands available in the market, these are some of the best brands to choose from.

Native Watercraft

A veteran in the kayaking industry, Native Watercraft is an American brand that manufactures some of the best kayaking products and accessories in the market. In terms of pedal powered kayaks, Native Watercraft is a top player and has been producing pedal drive kayaks for the last ten years.

Hobie

Based in Southern California, Hobie is an iconic brand that has been an industry leader for as long as we can remember. In fact, it was Hobie that first introduced a pedal-powered kayak in the market with its Mirage Drive technology way back in 1997.

Brooklyn Kayak Company (BKC)

This is a brand that continues to show its innovativeness by bringing into the market superb models at affordable prices. This is a great brand that’s set to stay in the kayaking game for a long time if continues to set trends as it does right now.

Perception

Perhaps one of the newest brands around, Perception is changing the kayaking game by offering some great models under a series known as the Perception Pilot Pescador.

Kayak Push Pedals vs. Rotational Pedals

When looking for a kayak, it’s important to keep in mind that there are two types of pedals: push pedals and rotational pedals. While they’re equally easy to use and require you to use your lower body, their differences only arise in terms of motions.

Push Pedals

Kayaks that are powered by push pedals will require you to push your feet forward on the pedals. The power that propels such types of kayaks comes from your feet and ankles and not your entire legs. The only issue with push pedals is that they lack momentum, and the vessel will come to an almost instant stop when you stop the push motion. Using push pedals would obviously require you to use a lot more force and power than when using rotational pedals.

Rotational Pedals

Almost akin to the bicycle-riding motion and unlike push pedals, rotational pedals call for the engagement of the entire legs. A kayak with rotational pedals often comes with a cockpit to afford you an extra space for your legs to move. Kayaks with rotational pedals are easier to move than those with push pedals since you use all your leg muscles to build momentum that would enable the kayak to still move even if you stop pedaling.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Pedal Kayak Vs. a Paddle Kayak

pedal kayak vs paddle kayak

Just like every other thing in life, a pedal kayak has various advantages and disadvantages, particularly when compared to paddle kayaks. In that regard, it’s important to be armed with the pros and cons of both pedal kayaks and paddle kayaks so that you can go for the one that suits you better.

Advantages of a Pedal Kayak
  • A pedal kayak is typically faster
  • Pedal kayaks come with additional and specific features such as storage compartments to augment your kayaking adventure
  • It’s easier to control and use a kayak with pedals
  • As a hands-free setup, they allow you to easily use your both hands to either cast or reel your catch
  • They can either move forward or backwards
  • Comes with increased maneuverability
  • They give your lower body a great workout
  • They’re less tiring
  • They tend to be quieter
  • You’ll stay drier with a pedal kayak
  • Less skills are needed to use a pedal kayak
Disadvantages of a Pedal Kayak
    • The propeller, which is underneath the hull can be easily damaged by seaweed, underwater grasses or other objects
    • It’s very expensive when compared to paddle kayaks
    • It’s a lot heavier
    • Maintenance costs are also high

Advantages of a Paddle Kayak
  • It’s much lighter and easier to get into the water
  • Less expensive
  • Less disruptive as it has no propellers
  • Cheaper to maintain
Disadvantages of a Paddle Kayak
    • Difficult to handle, especially in windy conditions and strong currents as you have to use both of your hands to paddle while at the same time handle your fishing gear
    • Less control
    • More tiring
BOTTOM LINE: Even though a pedal kayak and a paddle kayak are both great for your fishing and kayaking adventures, pedal kayaks are more efficient than paddle kayaks and should be top of your kayaking priority list.

How to Use a Pedal Kayak

If you’ve only ever used a paddle kayak or never used one before, using a pedal kayak can be a little tricky as you’ll have to get used to the extra mechanisms that are available in a pedal kayak.

To be very honest with you, getting a pedal kayak from your car or truck is not that easy since they tend to be very heavy. Your main worry should revolve around getting it into the water and successfully installing the drive system without damaging it.

This is advisable in the sense that the drive system can be damaged during transportation, and therefore should be installed at the water point. The captain’s seat should also be installed at the water point so as not to add weight during transportation.

After successful installing the drive system without damaging it, it’s important to ensure that the captain’s seat is correctly installed and positioned to enhance your comfort during your kayaking adventure. Once you’ve correctly installed the drive system and the seat, you should be ready to set off.

Balancing is an important component of using a pedal kayak. You should make sure that your body is balanced as you start pedaling. At the beginning, you might feel a little weird as your body will move from side to side when pedaling, but you’ll get used to it with time.

Most pedal kayaks have a rudder system. You should, therefore, learn to use the rudder system, even though it’s a little tricky to master. Its main function is to assist you travel in a straight and narrow path. The rudder system is mostly operated using a handle situated next to the captain’s seat. This is to ensure that you can easily reach it with your hands and steer the kayak in whatever direction you desire.

Who Should Buy a Pedal Kayak

A pedal kayak is essentially for anybody who loves going out in the water to enjoy various water activities such as fishing and kayaking. Pedal kayaks have become so popular with individuals who want to go out fishing. These vessels make fishing a lot easier and enjoyable since they’re designed with extra fishing features such as rod holders that allow you not to worry about having to hold the paddle while still trying to cast a fishing line or making a catch.

They can also be a great vessel if you generally love kayaking or love getting involved in other activities such as photography and bird watching while floating in the water. That’s not all; pedal kayaks can be great if you have injuries or problems on your upper body part since you can still get out there and enjoy some pedal kayaking activities without using your upper body part or strengths.

This is because you’ll basically require your legs to drive these kayaks. Last but not least, pedal kayaks will be a hit with you if you’re workout-conscious hipster because you can use pedal kayaks to get an impeccable lower body workout.

Conclusion

Now that you’re loaded with information in regards to what a pedal kayak is, its use, reliable brands and what to expect, you should be in a better position to know that you stand to benefit a lot more with a pedal kayak than a paddle kayak.

Again, pedal kayaks are available with either rotational pedals or push pedals. Rotational pedals are much better for long distance as they’re generally less strenuous. Another thing to look for when choosing the best pedal kayak for your needs is weight and how you’d transport it since they’re generally heavy.

Nonetheless, pedal kayaks are of great importance if you want to enjoy some quality water activities such as fishing and kayaking. This is a better point to start from, and we hope you enjoy your adventures!

Last update on 2020-06-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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