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Best Pedal Boats

Updated August 2022
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Best of the Best
Pelican Monaco Recreational Pedal Boat
Monaco Recreational Pedal Boat
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Luxury Ride
Bottom Line

A fun pedal boat for up to 5 people with comfy seats and easy-carry handles.


Weight capacity of 695 pounds. Can seat up to 5 individuals. High-impact-resistant material. Comfortable molded seats and adjustable backrests. Offers 4 drink holders and a storage platform for supplies or gear. Integrated bow and stern carry handles for transport to and from the water.


Back seats lack legroom for adults. No built-in cooler.

Best Bang for the Buck
Pelican Monaco DLX Angler
Monaco DLX Angler
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Large Capacity
Bottom Line

Equipped with a canopy and 5 available seats, this boat is one of the best on the market.


A 775-pound weight capacity at 7-feet, 6-inches long. Two rod holders are attached to the side for easy fishing. Comes with built-in coolers and drink holders for added convenience. Offers a convenient canopy.


Some users questioned that it can comfortably seat 5. Rare reports of damaged products delivered.

Reel Yaks 110 Kayak for Anglers
Reel Yaks
110 Kayak for Anglers
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Hands-free Kayaking
Bottom Line

This pedal-propelled kayak allows you to get close to good fishing spots quickly and quietly.


Single-seat kayak design with 500 pounds total load capacity. Flap pedal system provides impressive power without straining knees. Stable W-shaped hull allows both seated and standing use. Stadium-style cushioned chair with quick-drying fabric. Adjustable backrest and rails. Offers secure storage hatches.


Seats only 1 person. Plastic seat straps can break.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best pedal boats

The sight of a pedal boat can catapult you back in time … back to fond memories of leisurely summer days out on the lake. Perhaps you’re interested in buying a pedal boat for that very reason. Or perhaps you want to own your own pedal boat so you can create new cherished moments with family and friends.

How do you go about purchasing a pedal boat? There are some important elements to consider.

The following guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from how pedal boats work to why they differ in price. Additionally, you will learn about features you should expect your boat to have along with some other items that will enhance your boating experience.

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Piloting a pedal boat is like riding a bicycle, only better. You get the health benefits of a workout, but you also have the added bonus of sitting side by side so you can carry on a conversation.

How pedal boats work

Roughly 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci imagined a watercraft propelled by two large wheels of wooden blades, one on each side of the boat. When the pilot turned the metal levers, a series of wooden gears enabled the blades to rotate, allowing the boat to move forward on the water.

A pedal boat closely resembles this, but it moves the cranking to the feet, enabling the craft to operate much like a bicycle. Also, instead of two large paddle wheels, pedal boats usually have just one smaller wheel located underneath the hull, which keeps the pedalers and passengers from being splashed.

In order to make a turn, pedal boats use a rudder. The rudder is a flat piece of wood, metal, or plastic that is hinged vertically near the stern (back) of the pedal boat. The pilot controls the rudder with a steering device called a tiller – a long horizontal bar that moves the rudder from side to side.

Depending on the boat, one, two, or three people can pedal it, giving the boat forward (or reverse) motion while one person steers. A pedal boat is designed to operate on calm water such as that of a pond, small lake, or tranquil river that is deep enough so the rudder doesn't make contact with the bottom.

Pedal boat amenities

Here is a list of amenities that you should be able to find in a pedal boat. If it's important to you, make sure your model has it.

  • Seating: Most pedal boats offer seating from one to five, typically with up to three pedalers and two passengers. Notably, the combined weight of the passengers usually can not exceed much more than 500 pounds in lower-end models.

  • Adjustable seats: Most pedal boats feature movable seat backs to accommodate boaters of every size. In lower-end models, the seat backs are shared, which means the larger the rider in the front is, the smaller the rider in the back must be – or vice versa.

  • Cooler/storage area: You will usually find this amenity between the two rear-facing seats in the back of the boat. It is where you store your beverages and edibles. On a hot day, you need to stay hydrated, so having a designated space for your beverages is essential.

  • Cup holders: These tend to come in pairs for a total of two, four, or six. Does the model boat you are considering have enough for your needs?

  • Umbrella mount or canopy: If you enjoy (or need) your shade, make sure the pedal boat that you get either comes with a canopy or has a mount for an umbrella. The alternative is zero protection from the sun's harmful rays.

  • Rod holders: If you like to fish, a boat lacking rod holders is a deal breaker. Not all pedal boats are designed with the fisherman in mind, so make sure the model you are considering has all the features you desire.

  • Drain plug: On land, you remove this little stopper to drain water that has found its way into your boat. In water, if you do not have this plug in place, you'll sink. It's not something you want to misplace or forget. Having a spare could be a trip saver.

  • Seat cushions: For added comfort, some pedal boats have seat cushions that can be snapped in place to provide additional comfort.

  • Mooring cover: This is a water-resistant fabric that covers your boat to help protect it from weather and UV rays. In most cases, this item will likely need to be purchased separately.

Additional items you should be familiar with

Besides the above features, there are a number of ancillary terms and items you need to familiarize yourself with before embarking on your first outing.

  • Hand bilge pump: This handy tool is used to evacuate accumulated water in your pedal boat.

  • Anchor bag with buoy: Sometimes you just want to stay where you're at. This lightweight alternative to a metal anchor is perfect for your pedal boat needs. Just fill it with rocks or other heavy material and toss it over the side. An attached buoy makes it easy to see where your anchor bag is resting.

  • PFD: A PFD is a personal floatation device that will keep you above water in the event of a mishap. Every person on a pedal boat should be wearing a Coast Guard-approved PFD on every outing.

  • Whistle and/or air horn: The Coast Guard requires all boaters to have some way to notify other boats of their presence. A whistle or air horn will work just fine. If the whistle is attached to your PFD, that's even better.

  • Distress flag: A distress flag or any other kind of signaling device lets others know you are in trouble. Not only is it important to have one, but you need to learn to recognize distress signals so you can help other boaters in need.

Pedal boat prices

It can be a little confusing when you first try to figure out price points on pedal boats. Why do some models and brands cost significantly more when, at first glance, they do not seem to offer any more features? In all but a few cases, the secret to understanding pricing in the pedal boat world revolves around weight limits.

  • Under $600

Even if a pedal boat can fit five individuals, you need to carefully consider each passenger's weight, as the capacity for recreational boats in this price range tends to be somewhere between 500 and 550 pounds.

  • $700 to $1,200

In this middle range, most pedal boats can handle a weight of 700 to 800 pounds.

  • $1,200 and up

Once you hit this price point, most pedal boats can handle a load of 800 to 1,000 pounds.

  • A few words of caution

Although this breakdown is a good rule of thumb, don't just assume because you pay more that your boat can handle more. In some instances, the increased cost reflects the durability of the materials or the uniqueness of the design rather than a higher weight limit. Always check the capacity label to be certain your boat will meet your needs.

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Lighter is not always better when it comes to pedal boats. The less your pedal boat weighs, the easier it is for the boat to tip when you step into it.


Q. What do I do if water gets between the hull and the deck?

A. This is not uncommon. Rain, waves, and even condensation can cause water to accumulate inside your boat. To get rid of the water, remove the drain plug, which is usually located under the bow (front), and tip the boat forward to let the water run out.

Q. Can I use my pedal boat in saltwater?

A. Unless you have a pedal boat that is specifically designed for saltwater, use it only in freshwater. There are many components that would quickly rust if exposed to saltwater.

Q. What's the best way to store my pedal boat during the winter?

A. If you have a garage or boathouse, drain the water and store your craft inside. If it must be stored outside, make sure you have a properly fitting mooring cover to keep water and debris from accumulating in your boat.

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