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The calm of dawn on a crisp spring morning. The only gentle ripples on an otherwise glassy surface, those of your cast and hull. Mist rising. Bird song, the odd feeding splash, and the crank of your reel the only sounds upon a blanket of natural hush.

Or the rush of beating a kayak against a current upstream on a days—or even weeks—long adventure paddle. In the perfect peace of solitude or the comfort of a companion.

A Pedal Powered Kayak is a fantastic way to follow fish, adventure and fitness wherever our ever changing waterways might lead.

And there are countless on the market to choose from. But which one is right for you?

One fit for rookies, or a specialized model?

Solo or tandem?

Back your gear, we’re in the clear with all the best overall pedal drive kayaks.

Perception Pescador Pilot 12

IN A RUSH?

Perception Pescador Pilot 12

  • Designed with your all-day comfort in mind—the roomy seat is cushioned and to promote cool airflow
  • Versatile for different situations including ocean surfing
  • Lots of storage space and a drink holder

At the top of this list exists that sweet confluence of performance and value. The Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is a stable and modular powerhouse of a pedal boat, at an unsinkable market point. I’d dare say it’s the best pedal kayak under 2000 on the market today.

Best Pedal Drive Kayaks on the Market Today

The Top 5 Pedal Drive Kayaks

1. Perception Pescador Pilot 12 - Best Fishing Kayak with Pedal Drive

At the top of this list exists that sweet confluence of performance and value. The Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is a stable and modular powerhouse of a pedal boat, at an unsinkable market point. I’d dare say it’s the best pedal kayak under 2000 on the market today.

Adaptability is this awesome gunboat’s forte. With a capacity of 475 pounds, you can gear up for long hauls and bring back big catches.

All along this twelve and a half foot rotomolded hull are integrated accessory rails and four dedicated rod holders. Combined with large front and rear open stowage compartments, nearly any angler can organize this kayak to their specifications.

That is, to be easily accessible from the lawn chair style adjustable breathable mesh seat. And the longer you plan on staying out, the more that comfort becomes a priority.

The Pescador Pilot pedal drive system can be fully retracted into the hull, providing a nearly flush draft. Meaning you can beat this beauty upstream, and still slip into the shallows.

Single-handed rudder control in conjunction with forward and reverse pedal propulsion offers 360 degree zero-point turning capability; a must for shallow narrows.

All of this—combined with an industry smashing 5-year warranty—makes this beaut the best 12-foot pedal kayak your dollar can buy.

Pros

  • Designed with your all-day comfort in mind—the roomy seat (which is removable) is cushioned and lined with mesh to promote cool airflow
  • Best rated for lakes and ponds, rivers and streams, calm coastal waters, and open ocean, but it can even handle ocean surf
  • Lots of storage space and a drink holder
  • Leak-proof UV-resistant construction
  • Made in the good ol’ USA and available in several cool colors/designs (including sunset and camo!)

Cons

  • Some say it’s hard to steer in rough conditions
  • Not available in pink camo

2. BKC PK14 Tandem Pedal Drive Kayak - Best Tandem Pedal Drive Kayak

For those who prefer to share their solitude with a loved one—friend, partner, student, or offspring, if you let them join you fishing, they’re a loved one—the BKC PK14 14' Tandem Sit On Top Pedal Drive Kayak is a contender for the best pedal drive kayak for two.

BKC’s dual pedal drive system generates ample propulsion for this 14-foot marvel of nautical engineering. Simultaneously granting the PK14 excellent helm authority while allowing you to soar along the surface of the water.

One never needs to worry about painting themselves into a corner while chasing some panfish or another into the shallows with the PK14’s instant reverse system. Not the sort of thing one wants to be without in a kayak as long as a tandem.

Speaking of maneuverability, the rear seat features a hand-operated rudder control system that allows for precise, responsive turns without requiring the included paddle. Though both do make for even greater control if your tandem feels like lending a hand.

Just what you and your partner need to beat up a harsh current, or past the breakers.


And you’ll do as such comfortably in the adjustable aluminum in-line seats. Throw in an up to a 20 liter cooler on board, because with a 660 weight capacity, you and yours can easily take long hauls down stream.

Speaking of maneuverability, the rear seat features a hand-operated rudder control system that allows for precise, responsive turns without requiring the included paddle. Though both do make for even greater control if your tandem feels like lending a hand.

Just what you and your partner need to beat up a harsh current, or past the breakers.


And you’ll do as such comfortably in the adjustable aluminum in-line seats. Throw in an up to a 20 liter cooler on board, because with a 660 weight capacity, you and yours can easily take long hauls down stream.

Pros

  • Manufactured from rugged and relatively lightweight rotomolded polyethylene
  • Highly maneuverable
  • Roomy enough for tall folk

Cons

  • More Kayak, higher price tag, but very reasonably so

3. Native Watercraft Slayer 10 Propel Kayak - Best Freshwater Pedal Drive Kayak

Looking for the best pedal fishing kayak for every imaginable tight corner? The

Native Watercraft Slayer 10 Propel Kayak seems like it can go anywhere that’s even remotely damp.

Its wide beam and 10-foot length make it the perfect size for any reedy shallow freshwater. Its fast flat stable hull, large rudder, and Propel system, mean you can traverse any lake, river, stream, or coast to get there.

But don’t let me paint the Slayer 10 into a corner. Because one can’t. That Propel system works forward and in reverse, so no channel cat is safe, no matter the wallow they’ve backed themselves into.

That ability to pedal in reverse comes in awfully handy when engaged in a battle of attrition with a hard fighting Musky or the like. Even just by distributing the workload to more muscle groups.

Stable enough to stand and cast, maneuverable and adaptable enough for any kind of fishing. Stowage and accessory space to match.

Whether you are just out for a morning on still waters, or taking a week or two to run as far upstream and wild as your heart’s content, The Slayer 10 will feel purpose-built for your task.

That ability to pedal in reverse comes in awfully handy when engaged in a battle of attrition with a hard fighting Musky or the like. Even just by distributing the workload to more muscle groups.

Stable enough to stand and cast, maneuverable and adaptable enough for any kind of fishing. Stowage and accessory space to match.

Whether you are just out for a morning on still waters, or taking a week or two to run as far upstream and wild as your heart’s content, Native Watercraft The Slayer 10 will feel purpose-built for your task.

Pros

  • One of the lightest 10-foot pedal-drive kayaks on the market. At only 62 pounds and with padded carry handles, you can toss it in your truck bed or on top of your car
  • Room to stand up comfortably
  • Extra-large rudder makes for expert maneuverability
  • Adjustable seat can slide up to 11-inches without losing space behind for your tackle boxes (and has a cupholder)
  • Customizable - Plenty of room in the bow to store PFDs and other accessories. With a max cap of 500 pounds, you can really push limits.

Cons

  • Winds, currents, and heavy loads will all affect propel speed (no surprise there)

4. Wilderness Systems Radar 115 Kayak - Best Pedal Drive Kayak for Beginners

Open skies and big waters. If you’re angling for a mighty saltwater catch, your boats prerequisite capabilities are a bit more demanding.

You’ll never be left adrift with the Wilderness Systems Radar 115 Kayak. Designed with a bestselling tri-powered compatible hull, so you decide how you ride; by paddle, by pedal, or by an electric motor. Each additional piece is separate, but that works for anyone trying to build the best pedal drive fishing kayak possible from the waterline up.

The comfortably accessible Flex Pod OS is a fully removable pod for your fish finder, battery, cables, and transducer (or it can accommodate the pedal or motor drive), giving you the option to easily swap out kits, depending on your projected catch and conditions.

Purpose-built S. M. A. R. T. Hull technology combines stability, maneuverability, acceleration, and responsiveness in tracking with a flat platform for standing and casting.

That’s freedom of movement combined with state-of-the-art outfitting.

Not that you’ll want to get much out of the ultra-comfortable Phase 3 AirPro seating. With three adjustable positions, that can be ran the majority of this boats nearly 12-foot length, you can position yourself for optimum fish-murdering comfort.


Fast Fact: Wilderness makes and sells several quality accessories for your kayak. All available on Amazon. They recommend their carbon fiber paddle, a fisher PFD jacket, a storage crate, and most importantly—a cover to protect your precious kayak from the elements while you’re not using it.

Pros

  • Extremely stable. Can haul up to 450 pounds
  • Only weighs 85 pounds itself, easy to transport
  • Lots of space, both for storage and for standing
  • The fully adjustable seat boasts mesh fabric over honeycomb-vented foam padding for ultra comfort. Keeping your back supported without sacrificing airflow
  • Large, padded footrests are adjustable for kayakers of every size.

Cons

  • The front hatch is a little small, particularly for storing your rods

5. BKC PK13 13' Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak - Best Budget Pedal Drive Kayak

There is no denying that a pedal propelled kayak costs more than a standard sit-on-top kayak.

Really, when you look at what pedal power does for a sport fisher, it only makes sense, but that doesn’t render the tool inaccessible to all but the wealthy.

The BKC PK13 13' Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak  is the most pedal powered kayak one can get for the dollar.

But rest easy, just because its introductory price is well below much of the market—particularly for its size—that doesn’t mean you’ll get shortchanged in the utility department. Quite the opposite actually, as the BKC PK13 has a feature agonizingly absent on most models.

An ergonomic handle built in at the bowsprit. Incredibly handy for all sorts of reasons. From putting in and out of the water—obviously—but also for maneuvering through or over shallows.

Otherwise its ample stowage, modular mounting tracks, and flush-mounted rod-holders aplenty. Standard Kayak operating procedure even at the bottom dollar.

Pros

  • At an unbelievable 80 pounds, with a 7.5-pound removable drive, this is the lightest 13-foot pedal drive kayak I know of—making it easy breezy to transport and store. Great for all skill levels
  • The comfy seat has perforated foam, allowing any water on deck to flow through instead of becoming trapped
  • Front and rear deck hatches plus stern bungee storage
  • Huge weight limit

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a paddle
  • No cupholder

Explore American Waterways

Relying on muscle-groups evolved for consistent power generation, pedal kayaks really equate to more time spent on the water, with less restriction.

And isn’t more time on the water what it’s all about?

Perception Pescador Pilot 12

Perception Pescador Pilot 12

Be it the first boat of a newly minted and passionate paddler, or an old salt looking to take it a little further out or upstream, the Perception Pescador Pilot 12, or one of the other specialty pedal kayaks on this list will get you there and bring you back safe again. Often with dinner in tow.

All while doling out the low impact, low stress, maximum benefit exercise that otherwise can’t be found outside a recumbent bicycle.

With your own pedal-powered kayak you’ll improve your cardiovascular strength and performance, and spend more time doing what you love.

So now is the best time to get your Perception kayak, and elevate both your health and your satisfaction to a whole new level.