Top Rated Sit-On-Top Kayaks

In the world of kayaks, you will find two different kinds, kayaks that you sit inside of, and kayaks that you sit on top of.

Shopping For Sit-On-Top Kayaks

What Exactly is a Kayak for Sitting On Top?

Actually referred to as a “sit-on-top” kayak, these kayaks have very similar shaped hulls to sit-in kayaks, although unlike sit-in kayaks, instead of sitting inside the hull of the boat, you will be sitting on top of a molded seat on top of the kayak.

Sit-on-top kayaks are well known for being multi purpose boats, and can be taken out comfortably on most kinds of waters.

These kayaks tend to be more comfortable for kayakers that are larger or have longer legs, as they are not as confined as they would be inside of the hull of a sit-in kayak.

What is the Difference Between a Sit-On-Top Kayak and a Sit-In Kayak?

As the name suggests, a sit-in kayak is a kayak that has a hull that you actually get inside of and sit inside of, and a sit-on-top kayak (as mentioned above) is a kayak that you sit on top of.

Making a decision between a sit-in kayak and a sit-on-top kayak comes down to what suits your needs both comfort and storage wise, and something people new to kayaking might not know, the weather.

What Environments Best Suit a Sit-On-Top Kayak?

If you are living in an area where the climate is on the frostier side, especially with colder waters, you are not going to be looking at a sit-on-top kayak.

The reality of a sit-on-top kayak is that you are going to get wet. You are not covered by a spray sheet or by a hull, and so, a sit-on-top kayak is absolutely better suited to tropical climates, where getting drenched is not an unpleasant experience.

Sit-on-top kayaks also give you the unique opportunity to slip off of your kayak for a quick swim without much effort.

Is a Sit-On-Top Kayak Better than a Sit-In Kayak?

What makes them a great choice:

  • Sit-on-top kayaks tend to be on the more affordable side than sit-on kayaks
  • Sit-on-top kayaks will not flood. These kayaks are fitted with scupper holes, which are holes that automatically drain any water that might get into the boat. In comparison, sit-in kayaks tend to flood sometimes as they are not self bailing
  • Getting onto and off of a sit-on-top kayak is very easy, much easier than getting in and out of a sit-in kayak. This is a real pro if you are kayaking in tropical waters where you may want to swim while out on the water
  • Sit-on-top kayaks are much more comfortable for taller and or larger kayakers that feel cramped inside of a sit-in kayak
  • Sit-on-top kayaks are designed to have a wider hull, which lends itself to stability, perfect for fishing and being out on the open water
  • If you happen to capsize or roll over in the water, your sit-on-top kayak is very easy to flip back over into its upright position, and easier to climb back on top of, so the sit-on-top is very safe
  • When you are kayaking in a sit-on-top kayak, you will very easily be able to reach all of your gear
  • Due to the stability of these kayaks and the molded seat, you are easily able to stand up on these kayaks, perfect for those using the kayaks for fishing

Why they might not be the best choice:

  • You will get wet when you are out on the water on a sit-on-top kayak, so you have to put more effort into making a plan for your valuables that are not supposed to get wet
  • The seat on any sit-on-top kayak is mounted above the hull of the boat, and this means that it is quite bulky and will take up space when you are hauling and transporting a sit-on-top kayak on the roof of your car
  • The molded top of a sit-on-top kayak means that you will have very limited space for storing gear of any kind

Best Sit-On-Top Kayaks on the Market

Below we have compiled a short but thorough list of the most highly rated (and what we reckon to be the best) sit-on-top kayaks currently available for purchase. Wit each sit-on-top kayak, we have included a list of pros and cons, that will hopefully help you to find the sit-on-top kayak that best suits your kayaking interests and needs!

1. Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Kayak


The Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Kayak belongs to the brand of the best known sit-on-top kayaks.

What we like:

  • This price of this sit-on-top kayak is so reasonable that it is almost unbeatable!
  • The tracking, maneuverability and stability (due to how wide it is) of this sit-on-top kayak makes it absolutely perfect for a good time out on the ocean
  • This sit-on-top kayak is really difficult to flip, which is a great safety feature
  • This kayak is rather wide, but it turns incredibly well
  • This kayak comes with attached bungees for secure storage of your belongings or gears

What we didn’t like:

  • Because this sit-on-top kayak is on the smaller side, it is not very comfortable for kayakers that are on the taller side
    Paddling this kayak takes quite a bit of effort

2. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Sit-On-Top Kayak


Wilderness Systems 9750215054 Tarpon 120 Kayaks, Mango, 12'
  • The most popular tarpon because of its manageable size
  • Known for offering excellent glide, maneuverability and versatility for its trim size
  • Phase 3 AirPro seating system

Popular with avid fishermen and photographers, the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Sit-On-Top Kayak is a great boat for exploring smoother waters.

What we like:

  • This sit-on-top kayak is fitted with adjustable foot braces, meaning that you can adjust them to your height (great for taller kayakers) and lends itself to your comfort on those fun and long days on the water!
  • Despite being over 12 inches long, this sit-on-top kayak turns with great ease
  • The seats on this sit-on-top kayak are really very comfortable
  • This sit-on-top kayak has a really large amount of storage space

What we didn’t like:

  • While the adjustability of the foot braces make it more comfortable for taller kayakers, some have complained about the comfortability of the actual foot pockets

3. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL Sit-On-Top Kayak


Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak (Sunrise, 12-Feet)
  • Enjoy sun and surf with a friend or a furry companion with the kayak's three seating positions, which support solo, tandem, or tandem paddling With a child or pet.
  • A pair of comfort Plus seats provide four-way adjustability, Generating a custom fit and greater slip prevention over molded seats.
  • Patented overlapping foot wells allow centre-seated paddlers to settle in and brace their feet comfortably.

The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL Sit-On-Top Tandem Kayak is another popular offering from the Malibu company.

What we like:

  • There is enough space for two kayakers and a smaller child or a dog to fit comfortably in this tandem sit-on-top kayak
  • This tandem sit-on-top kayak comes with two very comfortable and adjustable back rests
  • Even though this sit-on-top kayak is technically a tandem kayak, one kayaker will be able to paddle it, so you can use it as a solo kayak
  • This sit-on-top tandem kayak is fitted with a skid plate and with overlapping foot wells
  • There are deck bungees attached to the bow and stern of this tandem sit-on-top kayak for gear storage
  • There are carrying handles mounted to the side of this tandem sit-on-top kayak that will make it easier for you and your buddy to transport this boat

What we didn’t like:

  • This tandem sit-on-top kayak is quite heavy, so if you are going to be kayaking by yourself, this may be a problem
    Mounting this tandem sit-on-top kayak onto the top of your car can be difficult

4. Old Town Predator Pedal Sit-On-Top Kayak


The Old Town Predator Pedal Sit-On-Top Kayak is a popular, 13 foot long fishing kayak.

What we like:

  • This sit-on-top kayak is fitted with a rudder and with a pedal drive, making this fishing sit-on-top kayak really good for steering and speed
  • The hull of this sit-on-top kayak was designed completely in conjunction with an incredibly lightweight PDL drive, which will give you exact boat control even in choppy and unpredictable waters
  • The hull of this sit-on-top kayak is specifically designed for speed and maneuverability, making it a favourite with those who like to fish

What we didn’t like:

  • Coming in at a weight of 117 pounds (or just under 54 kilograms), this sit-on-top kayak is really heavy, making it difficult to get in and out of the water by yourself
  • This sit-on-top kayak is rather expensive

5. Riot Escape 12 Sit-On-Top Kayak


Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Angler Sit-On-Top Flatwater Fishing Kayak (12-Feet)
  • Sit-on-top fishing kayak
  • Features five rod holders
  • Pilot rudder system

The Riot Escape 12 Sit-On-Top Kayak is an incredibly well performing solo, rigid kayak. This sit-on-top kayak is fitted with a pilot rudder system (made out of reinforced glass and plastic), which makes this kayak highly maneuverable.

What we like:

  • This sit-on-top kayak comes with an adjustable seat for extra comfort on long periods on the water
  • There is a great amount of storage space on this sit-on-top kayak
  • This sit-on-top kayak is impressively stable on choppy or rough waters
  • This sit-on-top kayak is fitted with multiple fishing rod holders, which are adjustable, at that!
  • This sit-on-top kayak has a high-support seating design, which includes adjustable straps

What we didn’t like:

  • The hatch on this sit-on-top kayak does not seal incredibly well
  • This sit-on-top kayak does not really track well

6. Advanced Elements Strait Edge 2 Inflatable Sit-On-Top Tandem Kayak


The Advanced Elements Strait Edge 2 Inflatable Sit-On-Top Tandem Kayak is the perfect sit-on-top kayak for tandem partners or a solo kayakers that enjoy more casual kayaking. This inflatable sit-on-top kayak is actually stable enough to be safe to use on level 3 whitewaters!

What we like:

  • This inflatable sit-on-top kayak takes only 15 minutes to inflate, and 10 minutes to deflate, which may seem time consuming, but when compared to the effort and time it take to load a kayak onto and off of a car, it is actually a breeze!
  • This inflatable sit-on-top kayak is fitted with thigh straps that help you to consistently sail straight
  • This inflatable sit-on-top kayak comes with a duffel bag that you can store the deflated kayak in when you are not using it
  • This inflatable sit-on-top kayak comes with a users manual, a repair kit in case of (unlikely) punctures, and with foldable and adjustable seats
  • There are rod holders attached to the side of this inflatable sit-on-kayak meaning this boat can be used for fishing
  • This inflatable sit-on-top kayak is incredibly durable! It is constructed of two layers of strong, heavy duty PVC tarpaulin, which is basically resistant to any punctures
  • This inflatable sit-on-top kayak is sold with a one year guarantee
  • The stability of this inflatable sit-on-top kayak is impressive

What we didn’t like:

  • It takes some time to learn how to comfortably and effectively steer this inflatable sit-on-top kayak
  • This inflatable sit-on-top kayak is actually quite slow when compared to other inflatable kayaks of the same length and weight

We hope this list enables you to find the perfect sit-on-top kayak for all of your fishing, adventure or just relaxing needs!