Best Sit-on-Top Kayak Reviews 2019

By Michael Holding

Sit-on-top kayak differs from a traditional kayak mainly in terms of its design. Unlike the usual ‘cockpit’, in which the user is sort of cocooned with the kayak shell, the sit-on-top kayak features a completely open top. This open top design makes it much easier to enter/exit the kayak. It’s for people who will most likely have to be mobile on their kayaks, such as fishermen, surfers and divers.

As with other kayak variants, the sit-on-top kayak is available on the market in many shapes and sizes. They’re built with the same open top principle but with different approaches that ultimately define the kind of experience the customer gets. We tried to find the best sit-on-top kayak on the market and chose the models that stand out in terms of price, quality and versatility.

Best Sit-On-Top Kayak 2019

  • Pescador 12.0
  • Malibu X-Factor
  • Ocean Kayak Frenzy

Review : 4.8

Review : 4.8

Review : 4.8

Perception R15 Pescador 12.0 Kayak

Perception R15 Pescadors 120 Kayak
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Pros Cons
Safety & stability Seat lacks back support
Easy to get in and out of Tight for taller paddlers
Storage space

The Perception R15 Pescador 12.0 kayak is a high quality, well-made kayak that is sold at a bargain basement price. The main reason for this is that the Pescador 12.0 is merely a rebadged version of the more-expensive Wilderness Systems Tarpon kayak.

The Pescador 120 is highly recommended by critics and beginner kayakers alike. The affordable price of this kayak means that it can be bought by first-timers without much thought of losing money. However due to the high quality of the kayak, many of the buyers simply do not feel the need to upgrade to a more expensive model.

The Pescador also makes for a terrific fishing kayak. It is 12 feet long and 28 inches wide, with the hull shape designed for a mix of speed, tracking and most importantly, stability. It is rated as one of the best fishing kayak under 1000

The kayak is also quite accommodating, with two fishing rod holders and ample cargo space for storing all of your fishing gear in the bow hatch, stern and center day hatches. The perception kayak family has also some of the best kayaks for dogs because of space and stability.


The Pescador is highly praised for its versatility in water. Because of its dimensions, the kayak is fast and maneuverable. But it also stable enough for its users to enjoy angling in complete confidence. This means it is equally at home in tight rivers as well as calm and relaxing waters.

In fact, this kayak is regularly recommended as the best sit on top kayak money can buy at its suggested price. The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120, the kayak that underpins it, was considered to be one of the best kayaks available in its time. And now, thanks to some clever re-badging, it is available as the Pescador 120 at about half the price. This is essentially a much more expensive kayak with a cheap price tag because of the label it wears.

The Pescador is rated for 350 pounds of carrying capacity, so there’s plenty of room for cargo and fishing gear you take with you on your kayaking journey. This makes it an ideal kayak for fishermen and picnickers who’re looking to have a fun time in the water.

The Pescador, as its name implies, is designed with fishermen in mind. Its ample cargo space coupled with its stability in water make it an excellent fishing kayak. That’s not to say however that this is a one-trick pony. Thanks to the general performance of this kayak in water, any kayaker will reap the benefits of its versatility. Recreational kayakers can enjoy the cargo space of this kayak. What’s more, buyers who acquired this kayak simply as a cheap backup in case their main kayak failed, found the Pescador to be much superior in many cases.


The weight of this kayak cannot be ignored. At nearly 65 pounds, this isn’t exactly a huge block of lead but you will need another pair of hands to carry it around.


The Perception Pescador is very hard to pass up as an ideal recommendation to anyone looking for a sit-on-top kayak. Its mix of affordability and performance is very tempting and quite unmatched by competing models. If you want something reliable, cheap and with relatively good water manners, the Pescador is the way to go.

One thing to remember is that the Pescador should not be seen as just a fishing kayak. It is a great fit for just about anyone looking to buy a great sit-on-top kayak at a price that’s hard to beat.

Malibu Kayaks X-Factor Fish and Dive Package Kayak

Malibu Kayaks X-Factor Fish and Dive Package Kayak
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Pros Cons
Highly stable Heavy
Superb maneuverability
Good storage
Self-draining center hatch

The Malibu Kayak’s X- Factor is popular amongst seasoned paddlers who are into fishing. The kayak is full of features and has been built for stability. It is a fishing kayak so it has ample cargo space. The length of the kayak is 14 feet and 4 inches and the width is 32 inches with a depth of 12 inches.

The construction of the hull is done for stability and at the same time, the kayak has awesome tracking performance. The paddlers we spoke with shared that it tracks well. You can use this kayak in comfortable rivers, calm lakes and also in medium level rough waters.

The kayak has good space that enables the kayakers to store their fishing and camping gear safely. The front of the kayak features a gator hatch that provides dry and safe storage of items. The center hatch is equipped with self-draining trays that help in storing live bait.


The X Factor is a stable kayak. It is so stable that you can stand on the casting platform easily and you won’t disturb the balance of the kayak. This is impressive for the fishing enthusiasts as they need such kind of stability when fishing. Buyers shared that the kayak tracks well and has good speed. Considering both aforementioned factors, this a certainly a versatile option. The ability to stand on the kayak is commendable. The kayak also cuts through waters and the maneuverability is also impressive.

The extra cargo space has been applauded by the owners of this kayak. They praise the model because they can carry a good number of items, and different gear with them on the kayak expedition. They don’t have to think much on which gear to take with them. They just enjoy their fishing. The storage space in this kayak allows you to organize the storage of your gear.

The center hatch that is self-draining is a famous feature of this kayak in the fishing community. Paddlers share that they can keep their drinks cold.

The kayak has been highly-rated by veterans and beginners. The stability of the kayak helps the beginners to learn kayaking. The build quality is great which means that you can keep this kayak for a long period of time.


The kayak is a bit heavy and some paddlers complained that it is not easy to transport. That is the only main drawback of X- factor – though that ensures stability. If you can transport this kayak, you can let go the weight factor when making a decision.


Majority of the owners rate this kayak 5 stars or at least 4 stars. We also rate this kayak quite high because of the value proposition – performance, stability, and affordability.  Also if you are a beginner looking for a kayak, you can consider this model. For fishing pros, hands down this is an excellent choice.

Ocean Kayak Frenzy

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
Pros Cons
Easily moveable Lacks storage space
Good maneuverability Slow in calmer waters
Stable & rigid

The Frenzy is made by one of the oldest names in the kayak industry – Ocean Kayak. They’re famous for their durable and colorful kayaks that are very lightweight. The Frenzy is pitched as a beginner’s kayak by the company, but experienced kayakers say it’s a great fit for them as well.

The Frenzy has been designed for tracking, maneuverability and stability in mind. At 9 feet long and 31 inches wide, it is best suited for the unpredictable waters of the ocean. That said however, owners say that the Frenzy is quite an admirable performer in lakes and rivers as well.

The 43 pound heavy body of the Frenzy is made possible through the use of lightweight polyethylene material. Its lightness shouldn’t be equated to a lack of ruggedness however, as it is built to a very sturdy standard.

The Frenzy is basically a bare-bones kayaks built with performance and weight (or lack of it) in mind. There are no storage hatches or cubby holes to dry-store your gear. That makes it unsuitable for campers and anglers who might want to carry their gear in a secure and dry place.


One area where the Ocean Frenzy truly shines is affordability. This well-built kayak is priced much lower than competing models offering the same levels of quality and features.

Not only does its price make it a great choice for budding kayakers, but the shape of the kayak itself makes it a very easy kayak to learn on. It’s been designed for stability first, and beginners can take advantage of this and really learn. Its stable nature makes it highly forgiving, which is an essential trait to have in a kayak whose buyer majority will be first-timers. In fact owners say that tipping this kayak is a task in itself. However despite this stability, it is not a cumbersome kayak by any means.           It is much easier to maneuver than competing wide body ocean models.

The Frenzy has been designed for stability which is required in ocean waters. However that does not equate to poor handling in calmer waters. If you want to experiment in both oceans and lakes/rivers, the Frenzy offers a serious proposition with its versatile characteristics. Bear in mind though that if you’re buying a kayak for use in lakes and rivers only, it would be a good idea to invest in a kayak with a thinner hull shape. The Frenzy’s stability will simply be of no use in calm waters. It is a kayak for buyers who want to experiment with different types of water bodies.

The Amazon buyer reviews section also reveals that the Frenzy is constructed to a very high standard. Buyers noted that the Frenzy survived collisions that would otherwise damage a kayak irreparably. The Frenzy has been known to survive encounters with sharp rocks and gravel without any damage to its body.


We’ve previously stressed on how stable of a kayak the Frenzy is. So it’s unfortunate that that is also the reason for its biggest drawback – its speed in calmer water. Due to its wide dimensions it requires extra effort to paddle and is thus not suitable for drawn out sessions in water.

Despite the dimensions of the kayak, bigger individuals report that the Frenzy is definitely a snug fit.


The Frenzy is a safe investment as far as kayaks go. It isn’t particularly fast but that is exactly the reason why it is such a great beginner’s kayak. The economical price of this kayak only further broadens its appeal for first-timers. We can say that it is best sit-on-top kayak for beginners.

Why you should get a sit-on-top kayak

The best sit-on-top kayak keeps most of the benefits of the traditional kayak but comes at a much lower price due to its simpler construction and use of cheap but sturdy materials.

The sit-on-top kayak is also a great option for beginners. Because the kayaker’s legs are on the body rather than inside it, users do not have to learn any complicated and time consuming self-rescue techniques in case the kayak decides to tip into the water. If you know how to swim you’re good to go. The stable nature of these kayaks also suits beginners as they don’t usually have their paddling up to the mark. The sit-on-top is stable so any mistakes the beginner user might make are easily forgiven.

Some of the sit-on-top kayaks also offer a lot of cargo space, which makes them ideal for campers and fishermen. Plus, because these are very stable, fishermen love them because they can angle more confidently without having to worry about the kayak tipping over.

Which sit-on-top kayak is best for you?

There are a variety of sit-on-top kayaks available today and it depends on the user to choose which one is best. For ocean waters you want a kayak that has a wide hull and a small body. This helps in faster waters because kayak has a stable design. If you want to go for long kayaking sessions in relaxed waters, consider buying a thin and long sit-on-top kayak.


If you want to read more about other kayaks, click here

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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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