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7 Best Pedal Kayaks in 2020

Kayaking is a dynamic sport that is always subject to change. Trends such as kayak fishing or whitewater kayaking keep coming up. Manufacturers are therefore constantly bringing new models onto the market – such as fishing kayaks, which are optimally designed for fishing on the water with fishing rod holders.

Kayaks with pedal drive are another new invention. Several companies have already developed their own pedal kayaks, which can be driven with pedals (similar to a bicycle). On the one hand, the pedals can be used to include the leg muscles in the workout. On the other hand, this also makes freehand driving possible.

The number of available pedal kayaks is growing from year to year. Keeping the overview is not easy at all. Newcomers often find it particularly difficult. With our best list we want to give you an overview of this jungle of different pedal driven kayaks. Instead of struggling with dozens of different models, you can limit your choice to these boats.

The list is the result of extensive research, during which we read through various forum threads, customer reviews and product descriptions as well as watched various YouTube videos. Also pedal kayak tests and our own experience in driving pedal-powered kayaks have played a role.

The Best Kayaks with Pedal Drive

Perception Pescador Pilot 12 | Sit on Top Fishing Kayak with Pedal Drive | Adjustable Lawn Chair Seat and Tackle Storage Areas | 12' | Dapper Perception Pescador Pilot 12 | Sit
  • Pedal-driven performance at an unbelievable price - Made in USA
  • Lawn chair style mesh seat with 2-level seat adjustment and breathable mesh for ultimate all-day comfort and no pain
  • Pilot drive pedal system can be fully recessed into hull for zero draft
Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Recreational Kayak (Ahi, 12 Feet) Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal
  • The Malibu pedal recreational Kayak, with the advanced PDL drive system, offers a fresh new way to kayak-why Paddle when you can pedal? It offers S A fun and stable ride with turn-on-a-dime performance and two flush-mounted fishing rod holders.
  • Packed with features, the Malibu pedal includes a Click Seal hatch under the seat, A stern tank well jump Seat, three cup holders, two eight-inch accessory tracks, bow and stern carrying handles, and much more.
  • The Malibu element beach seat has a mesh storage pocket underneath for small items and keeps you comfortable For a full day on the water.
Perception Crank 10 | Sit on Top Pedal Kayak | Adjustable Lawn Chair Seat | 10' | Dapper Perception Crank 10 | Sit on Top
  • Incredible pedal performance in a punchy 10 ft. Package - Made in USA
  • Perfect for lakes, ponds and calm coastal waters
  • Efficient easy-to-use pedal drive system; ability to go forward and reverse without removing the drive from the boat
Used 2019 Hobie Revolution 13 Slate Blue Pedal Fishing Kayak Used 2019 Hobie Revolution 13 Slate
  • Molded Carrying Handles
  • Large Bow Hatch
  • Sail Mount
Wilderness Systems Helix PD Pedal Drive - Propulsion Device for Kayaks Wilderness Systems Helix PD Pedal
  • Pedal-drive add-on system for Wilderness Systems kayaks
  • Enables hands-free kayaking for fishing or Recreation
  • Compatible with radar 115 and radar 135 models
Classic Accessories Colorado Inflatable Fishing Pontoon Boat With Motor Mount Classic Accessories Colorado
  • Rod holder can be mounted in three different positions on each oar stand
  • Anchor System with fillable mesh bag; cleat and pulley controls can fit on right or left side of boat
  • Sturdy two position Motor mount for trolling
Lixada Kayak Boat Canoe Sun Shade Canopy for Single Person Lixada Kayak Boat Canoe Sun Shade
  • Specially designed for single person kayak.
  • Made of ripstop, water-resistant oxford cloth and shock-cord aluminum rod. No fear of the wind on the water any more.
  • Offers approx. 8 sq. ft. of coverage. Making you feel cool while fishing on the water.

Pedal kayaks are a new variation of classic kayaks. The kayaker steps on pedals mounted in the footwell. The force from the legs drives a small propeller, which is located at the bottom of the boat. The rotation of the propeller then pushes the kayak forward.

This allows for hands-free driving. Fishing kayaks therefore often have this alternative method of propulsion. Nature photographers and fitness fanatics, who also want to include the leg muscles in the training, also often use kayaks with pedal drive.

For whom are kayaks with pedal drive a good choice?

Pedal kayaks should be used by paddlers who want to have their arms free when kayaking. This can have very different reasons. With their hands free, nature photographers can focus on the perfect photo and kayak anglers no longer have to bring out the paddle for every little adjustment of the fishing spot.

An exciting field of application are also paddlers who have problems in their arms, shoulders or upper body. With the pedals part of the effort is transferred to the leg. In this way you can slowly get back into kayaking after an injury without immediately overloading your muscles.

Ambitious fitness athletes enjoy kayaks with pedals above all because the legs no longer lack movement. Instead of almost falling asleep, the leg muscles become really active in pedal kayaks. Depending on your mood, the leg and upper body muscles can be used to propel the kayak forward in the water.

types of pedal kayaks

Kayaks that have a pedal drive are divided into individual categories just like normal canoes. Essentially, a distinction is made between the two types push and rotational pedal kayaks. At first sight, both types of pedal kayak appear similar. In fact, the way the locomotion works is different for each type.


If you think of a kayak with pedal drive, you probably imagine such a model. The pedals on these kayaks resemble a bicycle. The pedals rotate in a circle and through this movement drive a propeller that makes the kayak move. Compared to the second type, pedals convert the power better. Kayaks with pedals are therefore faster in the water.

Most pedal kayaks use pedals for this reason. The simplicity of this system is another reason why this type of kayak is very popular. If you know how to ride a bicycle, you can also pedal such a kayak.

Push pedals

Push pedals do not involve pedalling like a bicycle, but rather two identical fins are moved back and forth in the water through a repetitive motion, which propels the kayak forward.

The achievable speeds are lower than with pedals. Using push pedals is more difficult than with the other type of construction, which is very close to cycling. Compared to pedals, push pedals decrease the speed more quickly after the pushing is stopped.

Advice: Choose a kayak with pedals

Kayak is not just kayak. This also applies to kayaks with a pedal drive.

If you want to buy a pedal kayak, you have to pay attention to a number of characteristics. Besides the question whether a kayak with pedals is a good choice for you, there are also different types of pedal kayaks. In the following, we will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each type of pedal kayak.

dimensions, weight and price

Large kayaks can carry a lot of load, but are not necessarily the best choice. After all, the weight has to be carried by pedalling. The goal is to find an appropriate balance between sufficient carrying capacity and a not too heavy total weight.

Typically pedal kayaks are between 3 and 4.5 meters long. The canoes usually weigh between 20 and 40 kilograms.

Pedal kayaks are aimed at advanced paddlers. Especially kayak anglers like to use these boats. The many moving parts require the use of high-quality materials and precise manufacturing processes. In addition, pedal kayaks are often equipped with a number of extras that make kayak tours more relaxed or in some way more efficient.

The price, typically in the range of 1000€ to 3000€, reflects the high demands on the special kayaks.


The wide construction gives the kayak additional stability and at the same time enlarges the deck. Some of the pedal kayaks lie so safely in the water that you can even walk back and forth on them.

storage space

The available storage space varies from model to model. The pedal mechanism does take up space, but usually they still offer more room for equipment, luggage and provisions than normal kayaks. On pedal kayaks you can easily carry camping equipment, several backpacks or dry bags.

fishing rod holders and more

More and more often you see fishing kayaks with pedal drive. The combination of pedals and use as a fishing kayak is a good choice. The boats move quietly forward in the water and do not drive away the fish.

Pedal kayaks specially designed for kayak anglers are equipped with fishing rod holders, additional storage hatches and paddle holders. A high sitting position is also important for kayak anglers. Some manufacturers are now even experimenting with rotating seats, so instead of changing the orientation of the kayak, you only have to turn your seat.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of kayaks with pedal drive?

Like the other kayak types, pedal drive has a number of advantages and disadvantages. To make it easier for you to choose a model, we have listed here what speaks for and against kayaks with pedals.


Riding the new type of kayak has a number of advantages. Whether the kayaks are something for you, is best tested in practice.

  • Silent: The pedals do not make a loud noise like paddles do. Quiet operation is ideal for kayak anglers who do not want to chase away the catch by the loud banging of the paddle. The low noise level also helps to switch off properly when paddling.
  • speed: We train the leg muscles every day. It’s no wonder that the thigh muscles are among the strongest in the body. If you can use the strength from the upper body and the legs, you will be much faster in the water.
  • Efficient: Classical kayaks, which are propelled purely by the force from the arms and upper body, have the big disadvantage that after some time at a certain speed, the muscles simply slacken. Pedal kayaks allow you to let your arms dangle for a short time to gain new strength.



Pedal kayaks also come with some disadvantages, which interested parties should be aware of before buying a pedal-powered kayak.

  • High costs: Pedal kayaks are new developments and have numerous features, most of which have to be installed by hand. The price of kayaks of this type is correspondingly high. If you are looking for a boat and plan to use it for a long time, a pedal kayak is a good choice. Beginners, who only want to get a taste of kayaking, fit better with the high price.
  • Weight: The pedals and the required mechanism significantly increase the weight of the kayaks, thus increasing the effort required to transport and store these kayaks. Although the boats are stable in the water, offer a lot of space for luggage and are extremely comfortable due to the pedal drive, the transport from the storage place to the water is really exhausting.
  • weight: The pedals and the required mechanism increase the weight of the kayaks significantly and thus increase the effort in transport and storage of these kayaks.
  • Maintenance: The many moving parts of the pedal kayaks increase the effort in maintenance.
  • speed: The big boats are steered with one rudder. A disadvantage of the oar is that it always causes a small loss of speed. The exact effect is controversial. However, it is estimated that a rudder costs 5 to 10% of the speed.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions about kayaks with pedals

How do you steer a pedal kayak?

You steer a pedal kayak differently than a classic kayak. Most kayaks with a pedal drive have a steering system that is controlled from a sitting position. Instead of paddling harder on one side, with a pedal kayak you just have to turn the oar and go forward a little bit until the boat turns.

How fast can a pedal kayak go?

The speed of a pedal kayak is similar to that of a normal kayak. However, if you paddle and pedal hard at the same time, you are much faster. However, kayaks with a push pedal are slower than the typical systems with a rotating propeller.

Can pedal kayaks go backwards?

Some pedal kayaks can be driven backwards. Others can’t. There is no general answer to this question.


Pedal-powered kayaks are a great choice for kayak anglers, people with upper body muscle injuries, amateur photographers and fitness enthusiasts who want to include legs in their workout.




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