Home > Kayak Theory > Guide To Buying Used Kayaks

Guide To Buying Used Kayaks

Mark Armstrong
Updated on:
- If you buy via a link on this page, we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you. Learn more
- Read our review guidelines

Whether you’re brand new to kayaking or a seasoned pro at the sport, buying a kayak can often mean doing a bit of research.

However, with a used kayak there are additional factors to keep in mind.

So what do you need to know before you make a purchase? What are the pitfalls?

We will help guide you through the process of buying a used kayak and let you know what you need to look out for before you seal the deal.

Guide To Buying Used Kayaks - PinterestPin

Main Types Of Kayaks

Fishing Kayaks

Fishing kayaks unsurprisingly have a lot more storage room than most other kayaks, to allow for all your fishing gear to stowed. They come in both Sit-On-Top and Sit-Inside designs, so it’s down to personal preference which is better.

Fishing kayaks will usually be capable of having trolling engines or other accessories, like GPS or fish finders, mounted to them. They will also be designed with maneuverability in mind, so they tend to be shorter and more stable.

Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are ideal if you have limited space and are looking for a casual use kayak. They can be easily inflated, usually with a foot pump, and they are not as flimsy as they might sound. Most of them are very durable and some of them even have tough puncture resistant fabric.

Sit-On-Top Kayaks

Sit-On-Top kayaks are great for starting out. They are easy to get in and out of and, as the name would suggest, you’re not enclosed within the kayak. They are ideal for all abilities and make good kayaks for warm climates, since you tend to get wet.

The main feature with these kayaks is that they are self-draining. You can also easily jump out for a swim or make as many stops as you like along your journey without any hassle.

Tandem Kayaks

2 people on tandem kayakPin

Tandem kayaks are a great idea if you’re planning on heading out on the water with a partner. This way, you can both share the paddling and enjoy the same the journey.

Having two seats doesn’t always mean a larger kayak but it will mean you need to be in sync with your partner in order to paddle efficiently and get where to where you’re going. It’s also sometimes possible to fit a third person in with you for a family adventure, especially if they’re small or a child.

Recreational Kayaks

Recreational kayaks are designed for what their name suggests, and they are often a little wider to make them more stable but that also means they won’t travel quite as fast on the water. They also tend to be shorter.

These types of kayaks can be a good choice for different uses, as they are quite versatile and just as suited to fishing as they are to casual paddling on the lake.

I’m Buying A Used Kayak – What Do I Look Out For?


As well as choosing the type of kayak that will be suited to your needs, you need to consider the different factors that can affect the quality of the kayak. Wear and tear is one of the most common factors that can affect the quality of a used kayak.

Particularly with hard shell yaks, you should be looking for signs on the hull of wear and tear. When buying a used kayak online, don’t be afraid to ask for photos of specific parts of the yak and keep in mind you’ll need to look for signs of repairs.

Look for signs of damage on the stern of the kayak, which can be caused from being dragged along the ground. Cracks can also appear on the hull due to people sitting in the kayak while it’s on the ground.

Another factor that can affect the quality and durability of a kayak is sun damage. If a kayak is faded, it could be a sign that the sun has weakened the plastic, therefore affecting its strength and ability to remain watertight.

With inflatable kayaks you should look out for any part of it that may have been patched up or torn in the past. However, it should be ok if it’s been professionally repaired. You should also pay particular attention to the seams of the kayak to make sure there is no sign of wear and tear or tape lifting.

> Gorilla vs Duct tape: Which is better underwater?


Used kayaks can offer different accessories than new ones. Some used kayaks may come with a whole range of accessories and extras that you may or may not want or need, while others may not even offer a seat.

A lot of kayaks have the ability to change seats and this can be something that the seller may want to keep for themselves, so it’s better to double check what exactly is offered with the kayak before you agree to purchase.

It’s a good idea to see the items that are accompanying the used kayak, or if you’re buying online, make sure you see photos of the various accessories that are offered.

Video: Tips On Buying Used Kayaks


When buying a used kayak, checking out the seller is an important step. Make sure you communicate with them to find out more about the kayak. Sellers who are experienced in kayaking will be able to offer you more advice on the kayak they’re selling and may be more likely to answer technical questions.

It’s also a good idea to find out from the seller how old the kayak is that they’re selling. Find out how frequently it’s been used and for what purposes. You don’t want to buy a kayak that’s been roughly handled or has been used in extreme conditions where it might have suffered damage that can’t yet be seen.

If it’s possible to visit the seller to view the kayak, that can also be a good idea. You can then ask if you’re able to take it out on the water to test it and see if it’s a good fit for you. If the seller is already located near the water this will obviously be more convenient and they may be more likely to agree.

Best Places To Buy Used Kayaks


There are many different places online where you can buy a used kayak. By shopping online you have access to more sellers, which means there are more used kayaks available.

Add to cart sign on keyboardPin

Online marketplaces are a good place to begin your search. However, you need to factor in the cost of shipping the kayak to your home. Some sellers on online marketplaces may be in your area and will allow you to collect the kayak from them.

Online stores or manufacturers may also offer used kayaks for sale. Larger online retailers may also offer a choice of delivery options and if you’re lucky, a warranty or guarantee.

Sports Shops

Some sports shops and watersports centers may sell used kayaks. This will often mean there will be someone on hand to help you, who can offer you their expert advice if you have any questions. You’ll also get to physically inspect the kayak before you buy it.

Flea Markets

If you’re planning on buying a used kayak, you will want to explore all your options and sometimes you can get a good deal in a flea market.

It’s not as common to see kayaks in flea markets, due to the obvious transportation issues but, if you live in a watersports neighborhood, it’s not unusual to see kayaks and watercraft for sale.


After reading our guide, you will hopefully be better prepared to purchase a used kayak. You know the potential pitfalls to avoid and you know the types of questions to ask the seller before you buy from them.

Don’t just go out and buy the first kayak you see. Make sure you have researched the model that’s being sold and that it’s the type of kayak that will fit your needs best. For example, there’s no point buying a fully kitted-out fishing kayak if you’re just wanting to paddle in the lake.

If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to comment below.

2 thoughts on “Guide To Buying Used Kayaks”

  1. I never knew that fishing kayak has more storage room compared to other types of kayaks and can have a fish finder mounted to it. A close friend of mine said that he’s interested in buying a new kayak that will help him to enjoy the adventures of fishing. He has a lot of things when he’s fishing, so I will make sure to share your blog with him.

  2. How does the fish finders or other electronics work out if you fall over in the water?
    Q#2, I noticed a plug on either end of a fishing Kayak. Do you pur water inside for ballast, resulting in more stability?


Leave a Comment