Best Pedal Kayaks – Review 2021

Pedal kayaks are vessels that have been designed to be used with pedals instead of a paddle. So essentially, you’re using your feet and legs instead of your hands and arms. These kayaks either have fins or a propeller underneath the hull and foot pedals on the deck, so you can pedal along using your feet to power your movement across the water.

pedal kayak


Types of Pedal Kayaks

Just like regular kayaks, pedal-driven kayaks have many different variations. With that said, there are two main types of pedal drive kayaks: push and rotational. Even though they look quite similar, they use a different system that moves them.

Push Pedals

Push pedals are easy to use, the motion is simple, by just pushing the pedals in you get propulsion. As you push down with each foot, you’re powering the yak through the water but because each push of the foot makes you move, as soon as you stop pushing the pedals the yak will slow down very quickly. This type of pedal drive kayak is pleasant to use and gives you good exercise, but the boat stops moving immediately after you stop pressing. However, pushing pedals for a long time can result in adverse health effects on your back just like regular kayaks since you are not fully extending the legs. Some of the most common side effects of pushing forward pedals include leg and foot cramps, muscle injuries, back pain, and early fatigue especially in the joints of your legs and feet.

Rotational Pedals

This system is what you typically think of when picturing a pedal-powered kayak. Similar to bicycling, rotational pedals move one after the other causing the propellers to move you through the water. This requires much less effort and slows down much slower than the other propulsion system. If you’re just starting with pedal kayaks, this is perhaps a better fit. For the rotational pedals, the user is able to engage uninterrupted motion; meaning that the generated energy is not lost rather it is preserved. In rotational drive pedals, the pedals are an efficient means of the body transmitting power to the propeller with minimal energy loss. Because of the rotational design, you will also find that you are able to pedal for longer with these ones than with the push pedals. Rotational pedals will also allow for a bit of the momentum to be maintained, even when you’ve stopped pedaling; just like when you’re riding a bike.

Push Pedals vs Rotational Pedals

The difference between the two is certainly pronounced. A rotational pedal-driven kayak motion mechanism involves a rotational propeller that is continuous and thus wastes little body energy, while the push pedal kayak combines push pedals with two side moving flaps thus making it the least mechanically efficient. There are many experts that have argued that the push pedals system is as efficient as the rotational pedals however comparing the two mechanically, rotational pedal-driven kayaks are more efficient.

Top 10 Pedal Kayaks 2021

If you enjoy kayaking but the paddling is too much for you, then perhaps it is time to look into a kayak with foot pedals instead. By allowing you to use your feet, the best pedal kayak will give your arms a rest and keep them free for other things like taking photos or holding fishing rods.

Look no further, our reviews on pedal kayaks will help you decide one that is perfect for any water-based activity. Getting one of these will change the way you look at kayaking, making you fall in love with the water even more.

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 Kayak

Mirage Pro Angler 12

Check Hobie Mirage Pro on Amazon

Pros Cons
Pedal Ability and Stealth Pedaling difficult due to width
Gear easily accessible Heavy pedal
Mounting rails Expensive
Tracking skeg
Mounting rod holders

Offshore fishing is not an easy task as one has to be careful about encountering waves and bringing large fish back. For this reason, factors such as available storage, dimensions, and mounting areas are important, making this the best pedal kayak for offshore fishing. 

This kayak has MirageDrive 180 with Kick Back Turbo Fins which offer a push pedal system as opposed to rotational pedals offering much greater pedal power. It also has an Adjustable Vantage ST Seat that is slightly elevated making both pedaling and fishing comfortable. his can be a real benefit when it comes to visibility and could give you an edge over your fishing competition. It could also help to keep you drier than if the seat was positioned closer to the deck.

It also comes with carrying handles, that are padded to make them more comfortable as you move the kayak. The built-in Lowrance Transducer mount with cable plugs makes the installation of a fish finder very easy. This kayak is made out of rotomolded polyethylene offers protection to the kayak especially in case of rough waters. The Pro Angler 12 kayak has six horizontal rod holders that allow for horizontal storage which creates room for storing more rods.


  • Length: 12 foot
  • Width: 36 inches
  • Depth: 20 inches
  • Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Drive: Propel Drive
  • Rod Holders: 4
  • Best Use: Offshore Fishing


  • Pedal Ability and Stealth- this pedal kayak is fitted with the Hobie’s MirageDrive 180 that has Glide technology. Coupled up with the turbo fins, this pedal kayak is fast and requires less energy.
  • The stern hatches have been designed to allow you to access all your gear from your sitting position.
  • The kayak has the H-Rail mounting rails for the mounting of accessories and mounting rod holders. It also gives you space to keep your beverages.
  • Highly stable pedal kayak, allowing you to stand as you cast. The floor mats are also padded to make it easier for you to move around the deck without sliding.
  • Tracking skeg to allow you to control the kayak through rough waters. This skeg comes with primary and secondary steering handles, placed conveniently.
  • Ample space to store all the gear related to offshore fishing.


  • Sometimes pedaling the kayak can be a bit difficult because of how wide it is.
  • The pedal can also be heavy for those who are not accustomed to carrying heavyweight
  • It’s a bit pricier than other pedal kayak options.

Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Pedal Kayak

Perception Pescador 12

Check Pescador Pilot 12 on Amazon

Pros Cons
Lightweight Rod holders not stable
Remove and reinstall the pedal drive system easily Bungee cords loosen over time
360-degree turning radius Mounting tracks need enhancement
Comfortable seating
Built-in rod holders
Polyethene hull for sturdiness

Its high-performing Pilot Drive pedal system and the cozy Captain’s Chair seat makes it the best pedal kayak to take pretty much anywhere. It’s perfectly balanced between fishing and recreational use. It has a pilot drive pedal system that offers water control, and these the rotational pedals allow you to move the yak both forwards and backward, like cycling, which could make it easier for beginners, as you don’t need any special paddling skills. On top of this, it’s easy to maneuver too, using the one-handed rudder control that provides a full 360-degree turning radius.

Seating has been built with a wide hull, at 33.75 inches, for improved stability. This means you can potentially stand up while fishing, allowing you to cast further and more efficiently. The seat can also be pushed back to give you more legroom. The tank well and dry storage boxes give you lots of options for packing everything you need. There is even extra storage under the seat for tackle boxes. The kayak has gear tracks, rod and drink holders, and even mounting points for various equipment.


  • Length: 12 ft 5 inches
  • Width: 33.75 inches
  • Depth: 16 inches
  • Capacity: 476 pounds
  • Drive: Pilot Drive
  • Pedal system (removable)
  • Rod Holders: 4
  • Best Use: Fishing and Flatwater Kayaking


  • Lightweight and easy to transport, and it also allows you to remove and reinstall the pedal drive system easily. This lightweight also enables you to carry it around and transport it on top of your car.
  • 360-degree turning radius with hand-controlled rudder
  • Comfortable and adjustable captain’s chair that has a breathable mesh that allows airflow.
  • Four built-in rod holders to hold different rods for different types of fishing.
  • The polyethylene hull makes this kayak resilient and sturdy.
  • Lots of fishing kayak features – gear tracks, fishfinder consoles, rod holders


  • The rod holders aren’t stable, too, making it hard to pedal hands-free.
  • The bungee cords and the seat straps become loose with time, and you may have to replace them.
  • The mounting tracks also need to be enhanced; they do disengage sometimes.

Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 Kayak

Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10

Check Slayer Propel 10 on Amazon

Pros Cons
Easy maneuverability Hassle to set up a flat fishing platform
Lightweight Cannot be used in shallow rivers
Seat horizontally adjustable
 Velcro Strap Management
Significant weight capacity

The perfect fishing companion: lightweight, easy to pedal, and very responsive when steering and maneuvering. A high performance, multi-purpose kayak with excellent stability that comes in four beautiful designs: Blue lagoon, Copperhead, Hidden Oak, and Lizard Lick.

It has a proper pedal drive system, and these rotational pedals in the cockpit power the propeller under the hull, so just like riding a bike, you can pedal your way across the water without really needing to use your hands. The hull design maximizes stability in both calm and choppy situations.

It has a comfortable seat that can easily be adjusted both forwards and backward, so you can not only reach the pedals but also move it out of the way when you’re standing. There are gear tracks in front of the seat and behind, so there are plenty of options for attaching fish finders, GPS, GoPro, and whatever else you might need.


  • Length: 10 ft
  • Width: 34 inches
  • Depth: 13 inches
  • Capacity: 400 pounds
  • Drive: Propel Pedal
  • Best Use: Fishing


  • Very lightweight means that the kayak is easily maneuvered and very practical to carry and store
  • Comfortable to sit in and feels rock-solid stable. It’s designed both for small and tall people. The seat is horizontally adjustable in order to fit everybody
  • Lightest 10’ pedal fishing kayak in the market, weighing in at only 62 pounds
  • Significant weight capacity which means that accessories can easily be brought on board


  • The flat fishing platform can be a little bit of a hassle to set up and tear down especially if you are in a hurry to cast off in a new place.
  • It cannot be used for shallow rivers or streams as its propeller is underwater underneath the vessel so it could get snagged on something in shallow water.

Hobie Mirage Outback Pedal Kayak

Hobie Mirage Outback Pedal Kayak

Check Hobie Mirage Outback on Amazon

Pros Cons
Guardian Transducer Shield Pricey option
Versatile Paddle system does not allow reversing
Storage hatch
Maneuverability in shallow waters

Its high-quality accessories stand out making it both modern and well-made, probably among the best kayaks with pedals on the high end. While it’s expensive, there are plenty of arguments to show that it’s more than worth it.

It has kick-up fins and when these fins come across obstacles, they retract, allowing you to maneuver in shallow waters. The Mirage 180 Turbo drive gives it impressive speed on the water. At the same time, it’s very quiet when moving. The rudder system allows it to be steered with a hand-controlled rudder. Also, the special Kick Up rudder system lifts it on contact and prevents damage.

It comes with deluxe H-track mounts, Guardian transducer shield, rod holders, and compatible with Lowrance. Both open and dry storage has lots of space. The open deck allows you to fish while standing and the deck is also spacious enough to allow storage for your gear. The Vantage CT seat is an adjustable seat that is also highly praised for comfort and to prevent you from getting wet.


  • Length: 12 ft 9 inches
  • Width: 34 inches
  • Depth: 15 inches
  • Capacity: 425 pounds
  • Drive: Mirage Drive System
  • Rod Holders: 4
  • Best Use: Fishing Kayak


  • This kayak is stealthy, quiet, and highly versatile.
  • Guardian Transducer Shield gives a clear vision under the kayak
  • A great choice for almost any type of water from the freshwater, ocean, and inshore waters.
  • Storage hatch in the bow making the items stored easily accessible. There’s also wide storage in the rear to store your cargo.


  • The paddling system does not allow you to reverse the boat
  • A slightly pricier option than the rest

Wilderness Systems Radar Pedal Kayak

Wilderness Systems Radar Pedal Kayak amazon

Check Wilderness Systems Radar on Amazon

Pros Cons
Seat with adjustability in all directions Some features require additional purchase
Works with Helix Pad pedal drive
Radar allows perfect movement
Two dry hatches
Works great as a classic paddle kayak
SMART Hull technology plus the streamlined kayak

The Radar is a single person fishing yak that’s designed for versatility. You can use it as a standard paddle kayak, mount a pedal system, or even attach a motor to go out and about. While all of these are sold separately, the kayak is ready for anything you choose.

The Radar 135 uses the SMART hull technology that offers both great stability maneuverability, acceleration, responsiveness, and tracking. It has a Helix PD Pedal Drive System that can be easily installed and removed, giving you the option of using pedal or paddle power whenever you choose. The kayak is made with the recognizable Wilderness Systems comfort, the Air Pro Max chair offers you three locked positions and plenty of adjustability for all-day comfort.

It also comes with two removable pods, including a Flex Pod OS. This way, you can easily install a fish finder (with all the cables and the transducer) without drilling a single hole.


  • Length: 11 ft. 8 inches
  • Width: 34.5 inches
  • Capacity: 450 pounds
  • Drive: Helix MD Motor Drive (Sold Separately)
  • Rod Holders: 4
  • Best Use: Kayak Fishing


  • Works great with the Helix Pad pedal drive
  • Works great as a classic paddle kayak
  • Air Pro Max chair with adjustability in every direction
  • The Radar allows perfect movement and standing abilities with its expertly weighted hull and includes different rails to position your pedaling
  • Two dry hatches and a bungee-corded stern tank well
  • SMART Hull technology plus the streamlined kayak ensures that the kayak will go fast no matter which system you choose – standard paddles, Helix Pad pedal drive, or the Helix MD motor.


  • Some of the features have to be additionally purchased which may increase the overall cost 

BKC PK13 Fishing Pedal

Check BKC PK13 on Amazon

Pros Cons
 No paddles needed Inner hull difficult to access
Moving kayak is effortless
Rod holders
Plenty of storage options
Adjustable straps for feet
Level-controlled rudder

For those of you who pack loads of gear for every outing, BKC PK13 is probably the best kayak powered by pedals. It has a staggering 550 pounds of weight capacity, as well as two huge storage areas so you can organize everything. It’s suitable out at sea or on quiet lakes — the quiet operation and effortless pedaling make for a great long-distance fishing experience.

It utilizes a rotational pedal drive system that drives a propeller beneath the kayak. It has an Ergonomic seat which is lightweight, padded, and adjustable. This seat provides maximum comfort; perfect when out for long hours on the water. The tank well in the back fits any crate, while the extra-large hatch at the bow does a great job at protecting more sensitive items. It has rod holders made for hands-free fishing whilst paddling or trolling. The pedals come in handy for control too when holding your rods.


  • Length: 11 ft.
  • Width: 35 inches
  • Capacity: 550 pounds
  • Drive: BKC
  • Rod Holders: 3
  • Best Use: Fishing or Sea/Ocean Exploration


  • No paddles are needed. Also, the option of trolling motor for more fishing capabilities. The propulsion system can also be removed to allow for easier transport.
  • The pedal system makes moving the kayak effortless, quiet, and relaxing. It’s easy to pick up speed and maintain control without sacrificing too much energy.
  • With rod holders and plenty of cargo space for equipment and tools (or a cooler for beers), it’s the ideal kayak for many different types of fishing.
  • The pedals have adjustable straps for your feet and the chair is adjustable in position as well as padded, making it a very comfortable experience
  • Lever-controlled rudder makes navigation easy


  • The kayak doesn’t provide easy access to the inner hull making adding attachments a difficult process as drilling holes will be a hard task.

Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal

Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal

Check Malibu Pedal on Amazon

Pros Cons
Plenty of storage space Difficult to navigate through rough waters
Rear tank designed to carry a second passenger
Two 8-inch gear tracks
Agile for its size
Small turning radius
Seating space for your  dog at the bow

Considered the best pedal fishing kayak as it is the perfect mix of fun and reliability on the water. It’s lightweight and active but at the same time very tough and stable – excellent for any type of water activity. 

It has a pedal drive system that goes both forward and reverses and gives the kayak the effect of gliding over the water. The hull itself is made of polyethylene and rigged with a small propeller as well as a hand-controlled rudder. It has an Element Beach Seat that is padded, has a tilting backrest, and even comes with a pocket (Click Seal Hatch) under it for smaller items.


  • Length: 12 ft
  • Width: 34.5 inches
  • Capacity: 450 pounds
  • Drive: Malibu Pedal Drive
  • Rod Holders: 4
  • Best Use: Fishing (Recreational)


  • There is a lot of storage space-plenty of room for gear, with the spacious tank well at the stern it can be ideal for a crate or cooler. 
  • The rear tank has been designed to carry a second passenger and there’s room for your dog at the bow.
  • It comes with accessories such as two 8-inch gear tracks to let you mount rod holders, a camera, or other things.
  • Agile for its size with a very small turning radius


  • Difficult to navigate in rough waters for the kayak is primarily built for recreational use

 Old Town Topwater 106 PDL Angler

 Old Town Topwater 106 PDL Angler

Check 106 PDL Angler on Amazon


Pros Cons
Removable pedal drive The rudder must always be up while driving
Designed for professional fishing
Universal transducer mounting system
Knob-controlled rudder system

A well-rounded boat that can handle any type of fishing equally well. Easy to control and maneuver while being packed with an abundance of great features.

It has an Oldtown pedal drive that allows you to power the propeller under the hull and move both forwards and backward on the water. It has a double U hull shape that improves gliding and reduces noise- it makes the kayak incredibly stable whether you’re pedaling or standing up.

It has an Element Air Seat made with high-quality breathable mesh including padded foam and adjustable comfort to keep your back moving and avoid spinal injuries. The deck has EVA foam pads for comfortable standing when fishing.


  • Length: 10 ft 6 inches
  • Width: 36 inches
  • Capacity: 450 pounds
  • Drive: Removable Oldtown Pedal Drive
  • Rod Holders: 4+ 4ods with two-rod holders and horizontal rod storage
  • Best Use: 4


  • Removable pedal drive so it can be installed and good to go in seconds. It can also be easily taken apart for shallow-water docking.
  • Designed for the purpose of professional fishing but is still compact and lightweight
  • Universal transducer mounting system for fishfinder installation without needing to drill any holes
  • It also comes with a knob-controlled rudder system for added convenience and maneuverability.


  • The rudder must always be put up when driving otherwise water comes into the kayak

 Hobie Mirage Passport 12 Pedal Kayak

 Hobie Mirage Passport 12 Pedal Kayak

Check Passport 12 on Amazon

Pros Cons
The steering system is sensitive to your movement. Best in calm waters
Beginner-friendly Have to use the paddle to launch in shallow waters
Removable drive system
Comes with paddles

The best pedal drive kayak made for the beginner. It’s easy to use and also budget-friendly. It has Classic Mirage Drive ST System which is easy to use and doesn’t require much energy. You can adjust the arms of the pedal cranks to suit different sizes of people.

It has an aluminum, breathable seat with mesh back and bottoms made to keep you in the right position as you pedal. It is also adjustable to allow you to maintain the balance of the kayak in relation to your weight. The rudder and a steering rod are both close to your seat. The rudder is retractable, and you can deploy it manually. Open storage on the deck and bungee cords to hold these items in place. You can bring a cooler with you as you fish.


  • Length: 12 ft
  • Width: 34 inches
  • Capacity: 400 pounds
  • Drive: Classic Mirage ST
  • Rod Holders: 2
  • Best Use: Fishing and Flatwater Kayaking


  • The steering system is straightforward to use and sensitive to your movement.
  • It’s so beginner-friendly that you can even get one for your kids.
  • Kayak is light and resilient- the removable drive system and the seat allow you to transport it to the water body with no hassle.
  • Comes with paddles which allows you to switch from peddling to paddling until you get used to using the pedal system.


  • Will have to use the paddle at some point to launch the kayak into shallow water
  • Best for beginners and in calm waters

Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak 

Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak

Check Bonafide SS127 on Amazon

Pros Cons
Ultrahigh-backed seat 475 lbs capacity rating
Hybrid hull design Only one DryPod
Sliding under-seat drawer Narrow
Stable secure sit-on-top kayak
Can maneuver fast through choppy waters
Precisely turs and navigates

This is the best pedal fishing kayak as it maintains stability without compromising the ability to paddle or use the fishing gear. It lets you maneuver fast through choppy rough white water while still letting you fish. It’s feeling confident enough to move around or even stand up and fish. It’s having your gear out of the way but within reach. It’s the comfort and ergonomics that enable long days on the water. It’s every piece, every part, and every function being carefully designed for versatility with the kayak angler in mind.

The hull is made of Rotomolded Polyethylene, making it incredibly hard and light as a feather at the same time. It has a bonafide’s patented DryPod which has a small box that is secured onboard to hold your most important items. It has a HighRise Seat and the seat rack and foldable seat frame allow you to quickly and conveniently convert the HighRise seating system into a fully functioning kayak.

It has a BossStrap Rod Management System and multiple rods and paddle management points so you don’t get your rods tangled up.


  • Length: 12 ft 7 inches
  • Width: 33.3 inches
  • Capacity: 475 pounds
  • Rod Holders: Multiple
  • Best Use: Fishing


  • Ultrahigh-backed seat enables you to bend your legs and it really helps take the load off your lower back making it very comfortable
  • The SS127 has a hybrid hull design that enables the craft to seamlessly glide through the water and store all of your gear without the two compromising each other.
  • Sliding under-seat drawer where you can store your most used items in and easily reach them.
  • By far the most stable secure sit-on-top kayak that has ever been developed.
  • The SS127 is able to precisely turn and navigate anything that you throw at it.


  • Capacity is rated for 475 pounds so if you expect to haul the amount needed for an extended stay you will have to leave some things behind.
  • The width on the Kayak is 33.75 inches which some find to be just slightly too narrow.
  • The DryPod that comes with the SS127 is super useful, but there is only one.

Why You Should Buy a Pedal Kayak

man in pedal kayak


For some kayakers, pedal kayaks are a great option, but it depends on how they plan their kayaking trips and their personal preferences.

You Can Do Other Things

This way your hands are free to do other activities: photography, bird watching, or most commonly fishing. This can make your kayaking trips more enjoyable and less hassle-free.

Lower-Body Excercise

Pedaling is also very popular with individuals who enjoy lower body workouts. Since your legs are doing all the work, problems, or injuries with the upper body will no longer stand in the way of you enjoying the water in a kayak. These rigs only use your lower body and put zero strain on your arms, shoulders, or neck, so you can get on the water without aggravating an injury.

It is Convenient During Fishing

Pedal kayaks are the best for fishing since you will no longer have to worry about holding your paddle while you try to cast your line or, more importantly, reel in your catch. Thus, kayaks with pedals are mostly designed for fishing, so they have extra features that you might not find on a traditional yak. Some of them will have designated rod holders and plenty of space for everything you’ll need for a day on the water.

Stability and Maneuverability

Another benefit is the added stability because they are usually wider than regular kayaks. Some of these vessels are so stable that you can get up off your seat and move around on the deck. With pedal kayaks, maneuverability is on-point too. Most come with a built-in rudder system that allows you to steer easily by using a simple lever. This way, you can keep a straight line even in rougher waters. In fact, in some pedal kayaks, you can actually easily stand without tipping the vessel over making it perfect for fishing. You are guaranteed clearer visibility which means you can cast your line more effectively. 

Advantages of Using Pedal-Driven Kayaks


In most cases, you have a lot more natural strength in your lower body than you do in your upper body. As you push the pedals, this strength transfers into speed on the water. This is especially good for beginners who have trouble with long-distance paddling. Longer kayaks make it much easier to get from point a to point b because of their longer hulls, usually, a rule of thumb is the wider the hull of a kayak the slower the kayak will be. A lot of other factors can influence your kayak speed including the hulls materials, fiberglass, and kevlar and thermoformed plastic are better and make your kayak faster.

Stay Drier

Paddles often produce large splashes that not only get you wet but also create a fair amount of noise. With a kayak with foot pedals, this is avoided (the propeller work under the water with no sound). This is ideal for fishing because you won’t be scaring off your catch. It will also make your time on the water more peaceful and enjoyable. Sit-on-tops will usually mean you will get wet from paddling, as the motion of your paddle entering and exiting the water with each stroke will cause splashes to come aboard your yak. When you eliminate the paddle, the risk of getting wet also lessens, so you could potentially stay dry.

Less Energy

Using your feet and legs to power your kayak will be a lot less strenuous than paddling using your arms. This means you may be able to travel over longer distances and for a greater length of time than if you were just using a paddle. Standard kayaks use your arm strength to move the kayak. However, this requires a lot of energy and effort to perform. Leg muscles, for most people, are stronger and more developed than those of your upper body.

If you choose to switch from a traditional boat, you’ll find that a similar distance in your pedal-powered kayak will require much less energy than if you were to paddle the same route. Especially with the rotational pedals, you will be able to keep moving even once you’ve stopped pedaling, giving you the opportunity to give your legs and feet a rest for a minute.

Fewer Skills Needed

You won’t have to learn new skills and master paddling techniques like you would on a traditional kayak. Instead, using a pedal-powered kayak is easy and straightforward. It’s literally like pedaling a bike, a skill most people already have. With pedaling, on the other hand, you can take to the water almost without any technique. You simply employ your feet and legs in a motion like walking or riding a bike and you’re on your way swiftly across the water. This makes pedal kayaks the best for fishing because there is a significantly low chance of the vessel flipping over. 


By using foot pedals, you won’t need to worry about trying to paddle while you’re trying to catch fish. The foot pedals will allow you to stabilize your yak while you’re fishing, so you can use both hands to cast your line or unhook your fish. Pedaling also allows you to steer your kayak while being able to enjoy a drink or eat a snack as you glide atop the water’s surface. You can even take awesome photos with your waterproof camera.

Disadvantages of Using Pedal-Driven Kayaks

pedal kayak


Weight is another area where pedal drive kayaks often struggle. Since the pedal mechanism is an extra piece on the kayak, it adds a lot of extra weight. This can make it more difficult to lift onto your vehicle and transport to the beach You may also find that they have extra storage capacity, which may be heavier, as they are most frequently designed for fishing use.


Having a propeller or fins underneath your kayak can make it more difficult to maneuver. For one, you won’t be able to paddle in quite as shallow an area compared to if you were using a paddle, as you will need to consider the extra equipment under your hull. This could mean you are more likely to get caught in underwater grasses or seaweed. Another thing is that you may find you can’t turn or stop quite as quickly with pedals, compared to a paddle, which can also give you more control over the direction of your yak than a rudder. It is also more difficult to turn and stop in this type of kayak. Instead of using your paddle to stop your momentum, you will have to rely on the prop or blades to slow you down. However, some pedal-powered kayaks can raise the blades and also come with standard paddles to compensate for all this. However, with many pedal yaks, you will find there is a mechanism that will allow you to lift up the fins or propeller, raising them closer to the hull, to let you access more shallow areas.


Pedal-driven kayaks are a relatively new option and have complex features, so they cost more than a traditional rig. And, in the long run, they will also require more money to maintain and keep running at their best. This is because of the mechanical features which will require more maintenance, such as lubrication to keep the rudder and propellers in good working order, which could be an extra cost to consider.


As well as lubrication to ensure the mechanics of the drive system is kept working, you will also need to consider where you’re planning on using the yak. For example, your drive system will require extra maintenance if you’re kayaking in saltwater. You will need to ensure the mechanical parts are corrosion resistant or at least have a protective coating to prevent them from rusting. Rinsing the drive system in clean water is a good idea after each use in order to extend the life of the mechanisms.

Tracking and Turning

Most pedal kayaks are equipped with a hand-activated rudder system. While it’s convenient for turning, the radius is often much larger compared to classic models, so you won’t have good maneuverability in tight spaces. Also, many paddlers claim that tracking is not as good as when using paddles. In addition, a large rudder can reduce the speed of your vessel (some people say up to 10%), which can be frustrating if you’re on the water with paddlers. Lastly, a large rudder can cause problems in shallow water (it can get stuck).

Using a Pedal Kayak

Kayaks with pedals tend to be heavier than ones without, but not only that, because there are extra mechanisms, you can’t just load it off your car and into the water. The drive system usually needs to be installed once you get to the water, so that it’s not damaged during transportation.

Launch Point

Plan where you’ll launch your boat more carefully, as they are heavier and have propellers and rudders.


It takes a few extra steps because you’ll have to attach the propeller (or blades) and the seat once you get to the beach.

Seat Position

Finding the most comfortable position will save your body from incorrect posture as well as strain and possible injuries. If you’re comfortable, you’ll cover large distances more easily.


The motion of moving your feet will feel weird at first, but this unstable feeling will turn into more control over time. You’ll find that shifting your weight can actually make more power through your legs.

Rudder Control

This is another aspect you will have to become comfortable with. You won’t use paddles to steer, but rather use the lever next to your seat to turn the rudder.


Figuring out how to get your kayak in a straight line can be a little tricky, but with some trial and error you will get it down in no time. The handle will be everything you need to steer you in the right direction

Final Words

Pedal kayaks are definitely a great option for you if you want to do lower body exercise, or enjoy a hassle-free day of fishing. However it has certain disadvantages too regarding maneuverability. And the best part is that using a pedal kayak is not even that difficult. With our list of top 10 pedal kayaks, we hope you can pick the best one for you!

Michael Holding

Michael is an outdoor adventurer and a kayaking enthusiast who loves to share his experiences with others. He is the Chief Editor at XgearHub.

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