Best Intex Kayaks For 2023

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

Intex knows inflatables. The company produces many different types of air-filled products: pools, pool toys, mattresses, and a wide assortment of other inflatable equipment to enjoy and stow away. Intex inflatable kayaks fit nicely into this theme; they get you out on the water at a low price, and are portable and packable when not in use.

Intex kayaks are affordable inflatable kayaks for the casual paddler. These low-cost kayak packages come with nearly everything needed to get on the water: pump, paddles and the boat itself. All you need is a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and the required safety gear, and you’re ready to go. They’re also widely available from big box department stores, outdoor stores or online.

Available as solo or tandem boats, Intex inflatables are best used as casual recreational kayaks. These are not heavy-duty, expedition-ready touring kayaks, but rather are best suited to an afternoon at the beach, cottage or campground, and short paddles on sheltered lakes, bays and slow-moving rivers.

Intex inflatable kayaks are stable, and with their open decks, are comfortable and easy to enter and exit—making them ideal for beginner paddlers. Intex kayaks’ inflatable design adds to the comfort of the kayak; it’s like sitting on an air mattress. They can also be quickly deflated to make storing and transporting easier.

Intex kayaks are ideal for paddlers or families who want a low-cost option to spend some time on the water. While they are not as durable as high-end inflatable kayaks, they still hold air for casual paddlers on a budget. For aspiring recreational kayak owners, Intex inflatables offer comparable price and performance to an entry-level rigid kayak, but with the added benefit of effortless storage and portability.

Overall, these kayaks are a great choice for occasional paddlers who are tight on space and want a kayak they can stuff in a closet or storage shed.

Top picks: Best Intex kayaks for 2023

The following Intex kayaks have received the highest star ratings by reviewers in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. See and review all Intex kayaks here.

Shop for Intex kayaks

Our Paddling Buyer’s Guide features every Intex kayak on the market. You can choose to filter Intex kayaks by type, number of paddlers or where to buy. Then, click on specific models to see specs, prices, reviews and links to buy the kayaks online. This information will help you compare between different Intex or inflatable kayak models. You won’t find a better kayak buyer’s guide on the web.



Shopping for a used Intex kayak?

If you’re buying a used Intex kayak, carefully weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks. Choosing to buy used can save you some money, but consider that since these budget-priced inflatable kayaks aren’t exactly known for durability, your purchase may not last as long as you’d hoped.

Cost savings are the main reason to buy used, or if you feel that you’re among the most casual of casual kayakers. Intex inflatables are perfect for a float around a calm lake, and if you only hope to take the boat out a few times a season, why not get the cheapest one you can?

All Intex kayaks are inflatable, so it is imperative that you ensure the kayak actually inflates and holds air before you purchase it. Start by examining the overall condition of the Intex kayak. Open up the package and inflate it. In the process, listen for air leaks in the valves and tubes and watch for any stains and mold, which may reveal the kayak was stored wet.

Is there any fading in the Intex kayak’s deck (top) or hull (bottom)? Fading reveals UV damage, which will compromise durability. Make sure there are no missing parts; check for seat(s) and seat back(s), deck rigging such as grab lines, skeg (a removable fin that slides into the hull) and pump.

If you discover the kayak has an air leak, it may not be a deal-breaker. If the leak is a simple pinhole, you can repair the hole using the patch kit provided, or any PVC patch kit. Leaks along the seams of the kayak or at the valves will be more difficult to resolve; pass on any leaking used kayak that you’re not confident about repairing.

For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used kayak, read our article How To Buy A Used Kayak.

Intex kayak buying advice

Intex kayaks are available across North America at box stores and online outlets. These inexpensive inflatable kayaks are a good choice if you’re low on storage space and looking for a casual kayak for recreational paddling on calm, sheltered water without breaking the bank. Intex kayaks are available for a range of needs, including recreational paddling and fishing, single and tandem, for paddlers of all sizes.

There are three main models of Intex kayaks, with two models available as a solo or tandem kayak. Each design is slightly different to match different activities. The Explorer and Challenger models are found within Intex’s budget-minded “Sport” series, while the higher-priced Excursion falls within the brand’s more feature-rich “Professional” series.

Here’s a rundown of all the models to help you identify the best match for your paddling style and ambitions.

Explorer

The Explorer K2 kayak is the least expensive two-person kayak from Intex. Available as a tandem model (that can also be paddled solo), the kayak kit comes with a pump and paddles, so in theory you can buy a personal flotation device (PFD) and safety kit (containing Coast Guard-approved equipment), walk out of the store and get on the water.

Still, it’s important to remember that Intex’s background is making pool toys and air mattresses. Their inflatable kayaks are built in the same vein, especially the cheaper Explorer. This kayak is perfect for an hour of gentle fun on a sheltered bay or lazy river, but it is not one you want to rely on in any sort of rough waters.

Paddle Sober And Smart
  • Never mix alcohol and paddling. Coast Guard and state BUI (boating under the influence) laws apply to all vessels. This includes canoes, kayaks, SUPs and rafts.

Challenger

The Challenger K1 and K2 kayaks are comparable in performance and price to the Explorer, with slightly more covered decks. The Challenger K1 is a single-person, lightweight inflatable kayak, while the main difference between the Challenger K2 and the Explorer K2 is that the Challenger features less rocker (or lift in the bow and stern) and is a foot longer, making it slightly quicker and roomier for two adult paddlers. The Challenger K2 can also be paddled solo by a larger paddler.

Excursion

Intex’s Excursion Pro K1 and K2 kayaks are the best built kayaks produced by the company. These single and tandem kayaks are made from better quality PVC materials than the Explorer or Challenger series kayaks. More robust materials allow for a higher air pressure, which keeps the kayak shape stiffer, increasing speed and performance.

With angler-specific features like rod holders and gear mounts, the Excursion Pros are also suited to casual kayak fishing. All this does add a bit of weight, but at 37 and 46 pounds for the K1 and K2, respectively, these kayaks are not ridiculous to carry either. Transporting the kayak is also easier with the included carry bag—something other Intex kayaks do not come with.

At double the price of the Explorer and Challenger series kayaks, the Excursion Pro kayaks offer an attractive middle ground in terms of performance, price and durability between those budget boats and higher-end inflatable kayaks made by Advanced Elements or Sea Eagle.

Use this as a start, and remember that online research will only get you so far. The best advice we can offer is to always test paddle before buying any boat. Of course, that’s a challenge at most of the big box and online outlets where Intex kayaks are sold. Try to borrow an Intex kayak from a friend for a test paddle in real-world conditions. The more time you can spend on the water in a similar style of kayak, the better the purchasing decision you will make.

Wear A Life Jacket
  • Everyone, even strong swimmers, needs to wear a life jacket at all times when on the water. It is extremely difficult to put a life jacket on once you fall into the water. Even a light wind can blow any paddlecraft away from you, faster than you can swim.
  • Buy (and wear) a comfortable Type 3 or S life jacket specifically designed for paddlesports.

Here are answers to some of the most common online questions about Intex kayaks.

  • Intex kayak warranty

    Intex kayaks come with a 90-day limited warranty. Submitting warranty claims requires Proof of Purchase (your receipt) and should be done through Intex, rather than the place you bought the kayak from.

  • Cheapest Intex kayak

    The cheapest Intex kayak is the Challenger K1 Kayak. This kayak retails for around $170 US. It’s a 9-foot solo inflatable, made with vinyl. The package includes aluminum paddle, pump and a removable skeg (fin that attaches to the hull) to assist with directional control.

  • Where to buy Intex kayak

    Intex kayaks are available in-store and online at many big-box retailers like Walmart, Cabela’s, Bass Pro and Canadian Tire, as well as from Amazon. The inexpensive Explorer kayaks are the most widely available, but many stores can also order in other Intex kayaks.

Intex comparison

  • Intex vs Sevylor inflatable kayak

    Both Intex and Sevylor produce similar discount-priced inflatable kayaks for casual paddlers. The two brands cater to similar demographics: namely, beginners looking for a cheap kayak that they can store in a closet and transport in their trunk, without the need of investing in a pricey roof rack.

    On the whole, Sevylor has a broader range of inflatable kayaks than Intex—especially if you’re looking for a unique two- or three-person kayak. However, Sevylor’s North American sales are limited—Amazon is your best bet, but be aware that online returns or support may be more difficult. If you want a greater selection of inflatable kayaks, you will benefit from Intex’s broader network of North American distributors.

    Both brands offer similar performance characteristics and both are meant for use in sheltered, calm water and on gentle rivers with class II whitewater or less.

  • Sea Eagle vs Intex kayak

    Sea Eagle produces some of the highest quality inflatable kayaks on the market. They utilize drop-stitching to keep the walls rigid, and use robust PVC to resist abrasion and impact. These upper-tier kayaks cost much more than Intex boats, but their lifetime is significantly longer.

    Intex’s “Pro” series Excursion models are comparable to Sea Eagle’s Sport Kayak series. The SE330 and SE370 are only slightly more expensive than Intex kayaks, but magnitudes better. If you feel like spending the extra hundred dollars, opt for a Sea Eagle and get a boat that will actually paddle like a kayak.

Carry A Whistle (And A Light For Night Use)
  • Every paddler should have a whistle attached to his/her life jacket.
  • Carry a light at night. Consider carrying a distress signal device.

Intex kayak reviews

Turn to our expert reviews of Intex’s line up of kayaks to help select the right model for you. We discuss design features, accessories, performance, comfort and more so you can get a sense of what to expect—even more important if you’ll be unable to paddle the boat before purchasing.

 

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