Pedal Boats vs. Kayaks (Which Is The Best Option For You?)

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Pedal boats or kayaks? That’s one question we often hear people ask when they want to spend some time in the water. While both are designed for recreational purposes and fun time in the water, their features and functionality still differ in several ways. So, which is better for you? 

Pedal boats are better for moments when you’d want to spend time fishing in small lakes and ponds while enjoying the beautiful scenery of your favorite location. Kayaks are better for exploring nature and enjoying the beauty of the outdoors in flowing water.

TypeProsConsBest For
Pedal boatSimple
Less stress
Family hangouts
Leisurely exercise
KayakEasy to maintain
Not noisy
Physically demanding
Limited storage space
Not comfortable
Adrenaline junkies

While pedal boats and kayaks are designed for water, both have their pros and cons that stand them out for different uses. We’ll be discussing the features, pros, and cons of both so that you can make an informed decision based on the type of experience you want.

Pedal Boats (Overview)

Pedal boats are human-powered watercraft designed to carry one, two, or more people. These boats typically have paddlewheels mounted under them to propel them through the water. 

As the name signifies, pedal boats require pedaling to work, much like a bicycle. It’s a fun craft for small and large families and can be used on calm waterways like lakes, rivers, and ponds. 


Let’s review some of the pros of pedal boats. 

  • Simplicity: the most important benefit of pedal boats is the ease of control they offer. They can be propelled by turning the pedals, just like you would do on a bicycle. While pedaling, you’ll occasionally twist a rubber control to maintain a steady direction. 
  • Hands-free: unlike kayaks, pedal boats are operated with legs. This operation model leaves your hands free to do other things or handle other tasks.
  • Stable: pedal boats are wider and heavier than most types of kayaks. Their size and weight give them some level of safety and stability on still waters.
  • Less stressful: riders have very little work to do apart from pedaling because they are designed to move on still water. And since the legs are naturally stronger than the arm, they’ll be able to withstand the little stress that comes with pedaling.
  • Exercise: Pedal boats are a great option for lower body exercise that is easy on your arms and back.


  • Heavy: pedal boats are usually heavier and, as such, hard to carry from the water after a long day of adventure.

When Should You Use a Pedal Boat?

You should use a pedal boat if your activities on the water require your hands to be free while you’re boating. Fishers will significantly gain from pedal boating because it allows them to maneuver their boats through the water while using their hands to fish.

Pedal boats are also great for family hangouts. If you and your family want to enjoy the beautiful scenery of still waters while fishing, a pedal boat is the best option for you.

Kayaks (Overview)

A kayak is a small and slim watercraft propelled by a double-bladed paddle. Kayaks are typically used by a limited number of people (often one person) at a time. Kayaks come in different styles, and some of them are called canoes in some parts of the world. 

A kayak falls underwater sports equipment, as it is mostly used in sports and aquatic races. Notwithstanding, it can also be used for fishing, although it doesn’t offer the level of convenience that pedal boats offer to fishers.


Here are some important pros of a kayak:

  • Easy to maintain: kayaks are generally easy to maintain because of the low level of technicality featured. You’ll just need to store them in a cool, dry place. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the propelling paddle are also recommended.
  • Less noisy than pedal boats: Again, the low-level technicality of kayaks means that they’ll make less noise during operation. This is an advantage for anglers who want to stay conspicuous to fish during their fishing adventure. Silent operation also means less disturbance to other water tourists. 
  • Speed: one of the most significant benefits of kayaks over pedal boats is the sleep they offer. Kayaks are built to be propelled by water waves, and since you’ll be riding them in moving water, you can expect more speed without less effort. You only need to know how to control movements, and you’re good to go.
  • Lightweight: kayaks are generally lightweight. There are many advantages to this, but the most significant is the ease of carrying them to water. You want to carry your watercraft with less stress after a long day of adventure.


There are a few kayak cons worth considering:

  • Kayaks are more physically demanding: moving a kayak requires a lot of energy. You’ll need to use your entire body to paddle your kayak. This makes it more difficult for people that want to use their hands for other activities. Anglers will need to use their core to stabilize the craft before casting their fishing line.
  • Limited space: kayaks are significantly smaller than pedal boats, which means less space to store things. You’d have to sacrifice less important gear and equipment for important ones since there’s not enough space for everything. 
  • Less comfortable: there’s usually not enough room to move around in a kayak. Kayaks are built to be sleek and mobile, which means sacrificing space. 

Apart from the shortage of legroom, kayaks also leave you exposed to water splashes. This can be uncomfortable for you if you do not fancy staying wet for the entire duration of your trip.

When Should You Use a Kayak?

You should use a kayak when you want to experience the adrenaline rush of riding in moving water.

It’s also great for kayaking sports and water racing. Adventurists and sportspeople will gain from kayaks because they offer speed and more water closeness.

However, it’s not a great fishing craft because it doesn’t leave your hands free to handle fishing equipment.

Wrapping Up: Kayaks vs. Pedal Boats

That sums it up – the right watercraft for you depends on what you want to achieve. Pedal boats are the right option if you simply want to fish with your family in still water. However, kayaks may offer you more if you want the adrenaline rush that comes with riding quickly in moving water.

In conclusion, both boats can be used for recreational purposes. But there are some key differences that you should note before picking one that’ll be great for you.