Is A 10 Foot Or 12-Foot Kayak Better?

If you are in the market for a new kayak, you may be thinking about what size is right for you. There are so many different kayaks on the market today that it can be hard to decide. The most common kayak sizes are 10-foot and 12-foot kayaks.

But what is the difference between the two, and which is better? Frankly, each kayak has a positive and negative side.

But more importantly, these pros and cons are determined by your needs. This article compares all the features and gives a verdict on which is better.

Ready for the verdict?

But before then, let’s look at the pros and cons of each and then look at the features.

The 10-Foot Kayak

The 10-Foot Kayak is made from high-quality materials built to last. The kayak can easily hold up to 2 adults, but it can also hold one person easily. This is the one if you want a lightweight kayak that you can take anywhere.

Its advantages include;

  • Lightweight

It is lightweight and is easily transported on your car’s top or back without having any problem.

  • Stable

This kayak is stable enough for both children and adults to enjoy. Many people have tested it, and they’ve all had nothing but good things to say about it.

  • Durable

The 10′ inflatable kayak has been designed using durable materials, which means it will last longer than most other brands on the market today.

  • Versatility

The biggest advantage of this type of kayak is that they are very versatile and can be used in many different ways. For example, they can be used for fishing, exploring beaches, and relaxing on a lake or river.

However, these kayaks have the following downsides;

  • Smaller Hull Size

The main disadvantage of the 10-foot kayak is its smaller hull size. This means they are not as stable as their larger counterparts, and it can be more challenging to paddle in rough water conditions.

The smaller surface area also makes it harder to carry large loads or multiple people on board.

  • Less Stability in Waves & Currents

Another disadvantage of the 10-foot kayak is its reduced stability in waves and currents. It does not handle these situations well because the smaller hull size does not provide enough buoyancy to keep the boat afloat when waves crash into it from behind or when your speed increases in current conditions.

The smaller size also makes it harder for paddlers to control their direction in these situations, leading to capsizing.

The 12 Foot Kayak

The 12-Foot Kayak is a good choice for kayaking enthusiasts. It has many advantages over smaller kayaks, including;

  • More Storage Capacity

The 12-Foot Kayak has an increased storage capacity over smaller kayaks. This means you can bring more supplies on your trip, which can be a lifesaver if you get stuck out on the water.

  • Stability

The wide beam makes it easy to paddle and maneuver at high speeds through water conditions and calm waters. It also makes it easy to stand up in the boat, allowing you to take pictures or get out of the water when fishing or exploring a beach.

Its cons include;

  • It has a relatively high price. Due to its extended length, It costs more
  • Not ideal for beginners. Their thin beams and tough balancing acts make them unfriendly to beginners.
  • It is heavy and bulky, meaning you will need at least two people to carry it from one place to another. It also means that if you want to store it indoors, you will need enough space.

And now to the features and ultimate verdict.


In a 10-foot kayak, you have more maneuverability in streams, ponds, and river sections. This means you can turn on a dime, make tight turns, and turn around in a small area to avoid obstacles.

When choosing between the two sizes, choosing the one that will give you more mobility when paddling through different water areas is crucial. Further, a smaller kayak is ideal if you are an amateur, as it will not be troublesome to paddle and turn.

On the other hand, an experienced kayaker will easily handle a bigger kayak with fewer challenges. But still, longer kayaks are perfect for oceans and other large water bodies


Another factor that separates these two is portability. 10-foot kayaks are much easier to transport and store than 12-foot ones. They can fit in smaller cars, and they’re lighter, making them easier to carry around when you’re not using them.

If you’re planning multi-day kayaking trips where you’ll be carrying your boat over long distances, this might matter less. But if you want a boat that’s easy enough for any mode of transportation, then the 10-footer might be a better choice.


Regarding speed and maneuverability, the 12-foot kayak has a clear advantage. This is because of the aerodynamics and the advantage of two people paddling.

While both boats can be fast and agile on open water, the bigger size allows for a lower center of gravity, giving you better balance and control as you paddle through choppy waters. If your primary goal is to get where you need to go as quickly as possible while still having fun along the way, then a 12-footer will serve you well.

However, consider using a 12-foot model if you plan to go deeper. But a smaller kayak will be the perfect choice if fishing in shallow ends. This is because the former are so wide and stable compared with their shorter counterparts, and there’s more room inside them, allowing for better balance when moving about.


Stability is one of the most important aspects of any kayaking, and it’s something that should be considered when deciding between 10-foot or 12-foot kayaks.

  • The heavier your kayak is, the more stable it will be on choppy waters or windy days. If you want to get serious about your paddling and plan on using your kayak for long distances, I’d recommend getting a longer and broader model than usual, as they tend to be less susceptible to tipping over or becoming unstable compared with shorter boats with less width. You might even consider purchasing a tandem if you want an extra safety layer.
  • A longer boat length gives you better leverage over waves and rough water conditions. However, this can also mean more weight for you to carry around. If it tips over unexpectedly, ensure that someone nearby has flotation gear handy just in case.


The capacity of a kayak is the maximum amount of weight it can hold. It is measured in pounds and based on the size of your kayak and its width and length. The larger a kayak’s capacity, the more weight it can hold.

If you’re planning to go out with friends or family members who weigh more than 60 pounds each or less than 60 lbs, then you should consider investing in something bigger, like one with an extra 20 feet so everyone can fit comfortably.

What is Our Verdict?

A 10-foot kayak is ideal for a small person who may not have the strength or ability to handle a longer, heavier kayak. They are also easier to paddle than their longer cousins. They are also ideal for a small person with less upper body strength and coordination. It’s easier to maneuver, transport and paddle in shallow ends and small water bodies. They’re also better for beginners because you don’t have as much weight at the end of your paddle or fishing rod as you would in a 12 ft model.

Similarly, the 12-foot kayak is the complete opposite. These are ideal for experienced individuals and cutting through oceans, seas and other big bodies. They also have more carrying capacity, although they pose a transportation challenge due to their thin and protruding edges. Nevertheless, they beat small kayaks in capacity.

Therefore, technically, none is superior t0 the other because each is suited for different purposes. Each will only be better than the other if it meets your needs.

Wrapping Up

We hope this article has helped you decide what size kayak is right for you. If you are new to kayaking and do not have any previous experience, it may be best to start with a smaller model such as a 10 ft kayak. This will make it much easier for you to get used to paddling before moving up in size or difficulty level later on down the road.

The best kayak, then, is the one that fits your needs and interests. If you’re looking for a great way to get out on the water, a 10-foot kayak will be perfect. You’ll have plenty of room to paddle around and see what’s in the water.

If you’re looking for something more stable with higher capacity, a 12-footer might be better suited to your needs. It’s also an excellent choice to go fishing or camping with your family as it will accommodate more people.