The Best Kayaks

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
WaveSport ReCon
85
Maneuverability 6
Speed 5
Durability 7
Weight 10
Wave punchability 8
Value 9

Uber-comfy and secure fit right out of the box

Continuous rocker hull shape for speed and boofing

Awesome safety features

Heavy for long portages and put-in/take-out hikes

A tad “corky” in big water

Outfitting makes you realize how long you’ve settled for less

MSRP
$1,149.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Dagger Jitsu
83
Maneuverability 8
Speed 4
Durability 7
Weight 8
Wave punchability 7
Value 9

Great handling (quick and responsive)

Fast edge to edge, and “poppy” for aerials

Incredible fit right out of the box

At 5’9”, a bit small for big water river running (unless you don’t mind getting worked occasionally)

Short stern can rear-ender the unwary

Pearls when paddling forward if seat not positioned correctly

MSRP
$1,099.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Hyside Stinger
83
Maneuverability 4
Speed 8
Durability 9
Weight 4
Wave punchability 8

Bombproof reinforced Hypalon construction

Great gear-tie-down options

Solid footpeg configuration and thigh straps

Heavy

Doesn’t exactly spin on a dime

MSRP
$1,695.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
AIRE Force 1
83
Maneuverability 6
Speed 7
Durability 8
Weight 5
Wave punchability 7

Great design

Combining nimbleness and water-worthiness

Abrasion-resistant PVC shell

Adjustable thwarts for outfitting

Quick sticker-patch repair

Sand can permeate zippers on air-bladder system

Perhaps a hair spendy

Tie-down loops sometimes hard to access

MSRP
$1,599.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
NRS Outlaw 1
82
Maneuverability 7
Speed 4
Durability 7
Weight 8
Wave punchability 6

Price

Easy to maneuver

Lightweight

PVC coating slides over rocks

Thigh straps should come standard

Small size can get knocked around in bigger water

MSRP
$645.00
BEST DEAL
Innova Swing II
79
Maneuverability 5
Speed 7
Durability 5
Weight 7
Wave punchability 5

Cool metal-arch-supported deck to keep you out of the elements

Streamlined hull for touring

Zippered deck for storage access

Rigging the arch support crossbars

Designed more for straight-line touring than whitewater

Keeping track of the snap-in fin

MSRP
$799.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Advanced Elements Attack
78
Maneuverability 8
Speed 5
Durability 3
Weight 7
Wave punchability 5

Price that gets you in the game easily

Mini-keels for tracking

Comfortable seat

Mesh-covered cargo area

Hard to access floor valve

Not the most durable of the lot

Smaller tubes

MSRP
$649.99
BEST DEAL
SOAR S10
77
Maneuverability 9
Speed 4
Durability 5
Weight 5
Wave punchability 4

Can spin with one stroke

Gear-hauling machine

High profile

Catches wind

Subpar thigh straps for hard whitewater

Width affects speed

MSRP
$1,646.00
BEST DEAL
N/A