Are Kayaks Worth the Money? (Renting vs Buying)

People have a hard time deciding whether purchasing a kayak is worth the money. However, it hugely depends on your situation whether buying a kayak will be worth it, or if renting would be a better choice. 

Kayaks are worth the money for people who want to kayak frequently. The cost of a kayak varies from $300 to thousands of dollars depending on the type, quality, size, and brand. Kayak rentals are generally between $40 and $80 for a single-use.

Further in this article, we will compare the costs of renting versus purchasing a kayak to help you decide whether you should buy one for yourself. Moreover, we will discuss some of the best kayak options available on the market if you choose to purchase one for yourself. 

Are Kayaks Worth the Money?

Should You Rent or Buy a Kayak (Determining Worth)

If you love paddling a kayak on a regular basis, having your own may be the most convenient decision for you. In contrast, if you are an occasional kayaker it may make more sense to rent a kayak from time to time rather than purchasing one yourself. 

Renting a kayak is more cost-effective if you only need one on occasion. If you rarely go kayaking, renting the kayak can save you a significant amount of money that you would otherwise spend on purchasing and maintaining the watercraft over time. 

Renting can cost you more over time if you plan to kayak regularly. For a bit of perspective, let’s say you pay $50 on every rental, and you rent a kayak ten times throughout the year. The total annual amount will be $500, in which case you would be well on your way to purchasing a very nice kayak. 

Moreover, lower-cost options are also available in the market, costing just a few hundred dollars if you enjoy heading out from time to time but aren’t that serious of a paddler. You don’t have to break the bank in order to get yourself a kayak for occasional use.

However, there are other factors to consider before making this decision. Once you purchase a kayak, you’ll need to store it in your home or apartment. Renting can eliminate this concern and added hassle of storage.

Should You Rent or Buy a Kayak (Determining Worth)

Pros and Cons of Buying a Kayak

Calculation of all upfront and future spending can help you make a rational decision on whether purchasing a kayak is worth it or not. Let’s look at the pros and cons of buying a kayak.


  • Freedom of choice when it comes to models and features. 
  • Increased cost-effectiveness every time you use your kayak. 
  • No time limits on using your kayak.  


  • When purchasing a kayak you must commit to one type of boat. 
  • Owning a kayak means you’ll need to transport it back and forth to the water.
  • You’ll need space to store your kayak when not in use.

Pros and Cons of Renting a Kayak

Using kayak rental services also has it pros and cons. Consider the following factors before making any decision on renting or buying a kayak. 


  • A plethora of choices without having to purchase all types of kayaks. 
  • No big upfront investment. 
  • No storage hassle. 
  • No worries about maintaining your kayak.  


  • Over time, renting a kayak costs more per outing than owing one. 
  • Time limits and extra charges in regards to returning the rented kayak on schedule. 
  • Renting can be time-consuming, especially if the rental place is busy.

Types of Kayaks To Consider Before Purchasing or Renting

You’ll want to be aware of various types of kayaks available before renting or purchasing your kayak.

are kayaks worth  it

There are three primary types of kayaking: 

With these styles of kayaking in mind, these are the types of kayaks to consider based on their design and utility: 

  • Sit-in kayaks: Sit-in kayaks are scooped out so that the paddler will be sitting down in the boat with the sides coming up on the left and right sides.
  • Sit-on-top kayaks: Sit-on-top kayaks are flat (more like a paddleboard), providing the freedom to change body postures when needed. These kayaks are ideal for tall people who want to change positions frequently. 
  • Touring kayaks: Touring kayaks are narrow, long, and stable, specially designed to travel long distances. Touring kayaks are best for long-distance, solo paddligng.
  • Fishing kayaks: Fishing kayaks have unique specifications for fishing and storing fish. They can accommodate all your gear and large catches. 
  • Tandem kayaks: Tandem kayaks have more than one seat that allows kayaking with others. These are best for those who love kayaking with partners. 
  • Inflatable kayaks: Inflatable kayaks can be flattened after use by letting the air out, making them storage-friendly. You can refill the air with a pump next time you wish to use the kayak. 

Factors To Consider While Selecting a Kayak

Before you rent or purchase a kayak, here are a few factors that you should take into account:

  • Personal kayaking objectives. Many different people choose to kayak for a multitude of reasons. While one person might kayak for a quiet relaxing outing in nature, another might choose to kayak down chaotic whitewater rapids, while others yet may want to paddle long distances in the ocean.
  • Style of kayaking. The type of kayaking you plan to do will affect which type of kayak is best for you. Before purchasing or renting a kayak, determine whether you will primarily participate in whitewater, bluewater, or flatwater kayaking. 
  • Personal comfort. Depending on your preferences, you may opt for a unique style of kayak. For example, if you are taller than average, you might find that you’re more comfortable in a sit-on-top kayak. Take these factors into consideration before buying or renting a kayak.
  • Cost. Price plays an important role in kayak selection, especially if you are considering purchasing a kayak for yourself. Don’t hesitate to shop around and consider all of the pricing options to find a kayak that fits your budget.

Are Kayaks Worth the Money – Conclusion 

Kayaking is an adventurous sports activity that combines well with leisure, fitness, fishing, water navigating, and river rafting activities. To determine whether purchasing a kayak is worth the money, you’ll need to consider your wants, needs, and desires.

Perhaps the best way to begin kayaking is to rent several different types and styles first so you’ll get a good idea of what type of kayaking you might regularly enjoy.

Moreover, renting is more feasible for those who rarely go kayaking and don’t want to deal with the maintenance and storage hassles.

If you find yourself wanting to kayak on a regular basis, then it’s time to buy. By that point, buying a kayak will definitely be worth the money.

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