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Having the ability to stand and fish from a kayak is an advantage many anglers seek. Not only do you get to stretch your legs, but you also can see fish that others can’t from a seated position.
However, some kayaks are not stable enough to stand and fish. It can be downright dangerous if you try.
Enter the best kayak outriggers.
Kayak stabilizers transform your kayak into a floating dock. You’ll never again have to worry about flipping your kayak once they’re installed.
Today we will explore why the YakGear Kayak and Canoe Outriggers are the best on the market and why the others struggle to match up based on the stability they provide, how easy the installation was, and the quality of materials used to make it versus the price.
Top 3 Best Kayak Stabilizers
If you’re in a hurry and want the best three stabilizers without much explanation, here they are:
Table of Contents
I’ve been in a lot of unstable kayaks and canoes, and it’s not fun. This is why I decided to test some of the kayak outriggers in this article. You’ll find the ranking factors I used during my tests below.
- Stability: This is a pretty obvious one; if the stabilizers don’t increase the stability of your kayak, then there’s no point in having them!
I don’t how many times I’ve needed to stand in my kayak to retrieve a lure, stretch my legs, or get a better vantage point, so I think kayak outriggers should at least allow you to stand up in any kayak.
- Installation Process: Don’t tell my wife, but I consider myself fairly handy with power tools and DIY projects.
However, I’m a firm believer in keeping the installation process simple, so if I struggled or felt there were unnecessary steps to installing the outriggers, that’s a strike against them.
- Price: I got into kayak fishing because I thought it would be cheaper than getting a boat, and it is, but you can still spend a lot of money on kayak fishing, and the stabilizers are no different.
Price was definitely something I considered, but most kayak outriggers were about the same price.
- Materials: I’ve learned my lesson about buying cheap products. I’ll have to buy another one because it will break due to low-quality materials. So I kept in mind the quality of materials versus the cost of the kayak stabilizers.
Are you getting what you pay for or more than what you pay for?
BEST KAYAK OUTRIGGERS OVERALL
YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers (Gen 2)
- Two outrigger floats
- Outrigger arms are 30 inches long
- Aluminum and plastic construction
- Stainless-steel hardware
Why We Chose It
The YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers (Gen 2) are the best kayak stabilizers available because they are easy to remove, made from quality materials, and fit many kayaks.
YakGear is a well-trusted brand within the kayaking industry. They’re known for manufacturing good quality affordable kayak accessories.
Kayakers of all skill levels who want adjustability from their outriggers will love these YakGear Kayak stabilizers.
They provide enough stability for kids and adults with less-than-perfect balance to comfortably enjoy paddling without the worry of tipping.
I like that they will allow you to stand up and fish in just about any kayak if you’re comfortable with that sort of thing.
The YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers Generation 2 are pretty easy to install; I had them installed in about 30 minutes, so you shouldn’t have to take your kayak to a specialist to have them mounted.
I don’t like drilling holes in my kayak, but it’s a necessary evil to get more stability.
Once installed, I love that the YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers are easy to remove, which makes transporting your kayak much more manageable.
You can take the arm and float completely off your kayak, so you don’t have any crazy arms sticking in weird directions.
The arms are also adjustable, so you can raise and lower them as needed. This means you don’t have to deal with the drag while paddling if you don’t need the extra stability at that time.
Even though these are the best kayak stabilizers, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. There were a couple of things I’m not too fond of regarding the YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers.
The first is the price.
Kayak stabilizers are expensive in general, and these are by no means the most expensive, but some low-end kayaks cost as much as these stabilizers, and the low-end kayaks are the ones most likely to need them.
So you might be paying as much for stabilization as you did for your kayak.
The price is slightly justified by the quality of materials used by YakGear. The arms are aluminum, and the solid outriggers are built to withstand a little abuse, unlike inflatable floats.
The second con I briefly touched on above, I hate drilling holes in my kayak; it’s just another opportunity to get water inside the hull.
However, this product was well designed as the nuts and screws used create a water-tight seal, so water shouldn’t leak inside the hull due to these holes.
Despite the drawbacks, I recommend the YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers Gen 2 to anyone who needs to stabilize their kayak and can afford to spend a decent amount of money on high-quality products.
MOST HEAVY-DUTY STABILIZERS PONTOONS FOR CANOES
Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer Float Package
- 30”, 36”, 40”, and 45” arms
- Floats are 37″ long
- 16.5 lbs
- Floats are lightweight Polyethylene plastic
- Universal Receiver Crossbar is aluminum
Why We Chose It
The Spring Creek Manufacturing Canoe Stabilizer is the most heavy-duty canoe outrigger to top the list. Best of all, it’s easy to install and uninstall for transport.
It will likely work in some sit-in kayaks, but it’s primarily designed for canoes.
If you’re willing to spend a little extra on stabilizers that will give you and your grandkids many wonderful canoeing memories, these are the ones you want.
They’re made from aluminum and polyethylene, so you know they’re tough.
I love many things about these canoe stabilizers; the first is their adjustability.
You can tweak nearly every aspect of these outriggers, the width, distance from the boat, and height from the water, so your canoe becomes stable enough to stand in, no matter which canoe you own.
The Spring Creek Manufacturing Canoe Pontoons were expertly designed, so you don’t need any tools to lock them in place on your canoe.
This is awesome!
So if it happens to come loose while you’re floating, you don’t have to carry your tool bag with you.
The last positive I’ll touch on is often overlooked, and it’s the fact that it doesn’t interfere with paddling.
Unlike the METER STAR Kayak Floats that I kept hitting while testing in a 10ft kayak because there was no great way to mount them without them getting in the way.
You’ll barely notice the Spring Creek Pontoons while you’re paddling, which is how it should be.
As great as the Spring Creek Manufacturing Canoe Pontoons are, they still have a couple of flaws.
The first glaring flaw is how expensive they are, but that’s to be expected with the obvious quality and design of this product. Still, you might find it weird to spend just as much on the stabilizers as you did on the canoe.
The second downside is for kayak owners, this probably isn’t for you unless you own a sit-in kayak, and even then, I think it would just get in the way of paddling.
So you’re better off getting the YakGear Kayak Outriggers. These stabilizers were designed for canoes, not kayaks.
However, if you’re a canoe owner who wants to triple their canoe’s stability, the Spring Creek Manufacturing Canoe Pontoons are the best canoe outrigger stabilizer you’ll find, so go ahead and order them today.
BEST KAYAK PONTOONS FOR SALTWATER
Brocraft Kayak Outrigger System
- 32″ outrigger arms
- Aluminum and molded PVC construction
- Stainless steel mounting hardware
- Brocraft Two years limited warranty
Why We Chose It
The Brocraft Kayak Outrigger System is the best for saltwater because of its rust-resistant materials, adjustability, and it mounts on any kayak. I didn’t choose it because of the cool company name, Brocraft, yah dude!
I like that they offer a two-year warranty but, more importantly, two ways to mount the outriggers to your kayak, depending on which kit you buy.
The first mounting system requires you to drill holes, which I don’t particularly appreciate, but the outriggers are still removable, and it’s still an easy installation.
The second way of mounting utilizes the mounting tracks commonly found on most fishing kayaks.
Using the second system makes installing and removing the outriggers quick and easy, which is perfect for transporting your kayak, no matter which kayak you’re floating in.
You also have some options for adjusting the floats, but there were several complaints about how they are adjusted because they move in too large of increments, so it’s difficult to fine-tune them.
This is why the YakGear Kayak Outriggers Gen 2 are the best overall.
Brocraft did it right for saltwater kayakers regarding the materials they use for this product.
Stainless steel hardware, aluminum arms, and molded PVC floats ensure you can focus on enjoying a day of kayaking and not worrying about your gear standing up to the abuses of saltwater.
However, I see some room for improvement in a couple of areas. The first I’ve already touched on, I’d like to see the ability to make finer adjustments, so you can make them perfectly fit your kayak.
The second is the lack of variety of colors. Bright yellow is great so people can see you, but what about some other colors for paddlers who would like to try and match it with the color of their plastic boat? Just a thought!
The Pactrade Marine Boat Kayak Canoe PVC Outrigger Arms Stabilizer System is basically the same stabilizers just in a different color and slightly lower price.
But I think the Brocraft kayak outriggers are of a better quality so it’s worth the few extra dollars, unless you just hate yellow.
In spite of the slight downsides, the Brocraft Kayak Outrigger System is an excellent option for saltwater kayak anglers that don’t like to drill holes in their kayak and need stabilizers that will withstand the harsh conditions they face.
BEST INFLATABLE KAYAK STABILIZER SYSTEM
Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System
- 30 lbs of extra buoyancy
- Anodized aluminum arms
- Rugged PVC inflatable stabilizers
Why We Chose It
The Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System is the best inflatable kayak stabilizer because it makes transporting easy, adds 30 lbs of buoyancy, and is made from quality materials.
The Scotty brand makes all kinds of kayaking accessories and mounts, so it’s no surprise to see they make a kayak stabilizer system.
This system is well thought out, as are their other products, making it great for kayakers of all stages.
I like the inflatable PVC pontoons because they drastically reduce how much space you need to store and transport them. Being inflatable also cuts down on the weight while adding buoyancy, so paddling is easier.
Since this outrigger kit is made from durable PVC and anodized aluminum, you know they’ll hold up for many kayaking trips.
However, there are also a lot of plastic pieces, and if I know anything about the sun and plastic, they don’t mix for very long.
Another reason I wasn’t as impressed with this product as the others is that you still have to drill holes in your kayak to secure it.
As with most other kayak stabilizers, you must drill holes into your kayak to mount it securely.
It’s one of the most expensive kayak outriggers on this list, and they’re still using plastic parts that are likely to break and require us to drill holes in our precious kayak.
Now I know I’m being a bit dramatic because part of the expense comes from the additional fishing rod holders you get.
With the downsides, the Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System is still ideal for kayakers who don’t have a lot of storage space in their garage because it makes transporting easy, is built from decent materials, and it’s adjustable to ensure you feel safe and secure on your kayak.
TOP BUDGET-FRIENDLY KAYAK STABILIZER
LYNICESHOP Inflatable PVC Kayak Outrigger
- PVC pontoon
- Aluminum alloy outrigger arm
- Inflatable pontoon
Why We Chose It
The LYNICESHOP Inflatable Kayak Outrigger is a great entry-level stabilizer to see if these products solve your kayak’s stability issues because you don’t have to spend a lot of money to test the stabilizer concept.
Even though it’s a budget-friendly option, you can still easily remove it for transport. I like that the pontoons are inflatable, making transportation and storage even more manageable.
Unlike the nearly $400 Spring Creek stabilizers that are solid pontoons so they’re more difficult to store and about 7 times the price. But the Spring Creek stabilizers are more adjustable and are ultra simple to mount.
The mounting process for the LYNICESHOP Inflatable Kayak Outriggers is straightforward and shouldn’t take 10-15 minutes to install.
These stabilizers should fit most kayaks. However, I’m not too fond of the lack of adjustability offered by these stabilizers.
Once you’ve drilled your holes, that’s where the stabilizers will set, and there is no depth adjustment, so they might sit too high or too deep in the water, still causing some problems.
As you know by now, I don’t like drilling holes in my kayaks, but it’s pretty much inevitable when mounting kayak outriggers, as is the case with the LYNICESHOP Inflatable PVC Kayak Outrigger.
However, even with the flaws, the LYNICESHOP Inflatable PVC Kayak Outrigger is the best budget-friendly option I could find after hours of research and testing because it’s easy to transport and much cheaper than many other options on the list.
Disclaimer: There are many of these cheap kayak outriggers that are the same product under a different name on Amazon. Such as the Meter Star and Lixida, so go with the cheaper option!
Buying Guide: Factors To Consider Before Purchasing Kayak Outriggers and Stabilizers
Deciding that you need stabilizers for your kayak can be pretty straightforward. Is it too unstable to use as you intend to use it?
Then chances are you could benefit from a kayak stabilizer system.
They are excellent editions for kids learning how to kayak, adding more stability to a fishing kayak so you can stand and fish, and for kayaks that are naturally unstable in rough water conditions.
Even the most experienced kayaker can use a little extra stability from time to time. But what exactly should you look for when purchasing kayak outriggers?
Thankfully, the answer is pretty simple:
- And, of course, How much stability it adds.
Let’s break these down a little further so you know exactly what I mean.
Kayaks are not easy to transport; they require a trailer, truck, or SUV to load them onto and transport them. So adding more weight and awkwardness is less than ideal.
That’s why I focused on kayak stabilizer systems that were easily removable, making transporting so much easier.
If you’re limited on space during transport, inflatable pontoons will help you maximize the little space you have available.
However, you will still need space for the outrigger arms, and with how long some of the arms are, that could be interesting!
Kayaks are already limited on weight, so adding unnecessary weight seems silly. What’s nice about stabilizers is that they will increase your total capacity much more than they weigh.
So if you add a kayak stabilizer system that weighs five to ten pounds, then you’ll add about 60 lbs of buoyancy.
You will still have to paddle the extra weight, so it will be more challenging to paddle even though you might have increased buoyancy. That’s where hydrodynamics comes into play.
Hydrodynamics is a fancy $10 word I learned in college that means, in this instance, how well the outriggers cut through the water.
I’ve seen homemade kayak stabilizers that cause a lot of drag which makes paddling even more difficult than it should be.
This is why it’s important to keep the shape of the pontoon in mind.
No, it doesn’t have to be fine-tuned like a Nascar racecar, but it shouldn’t create so much drag it causes you to struggle while paddling.
Hydrodynamics are similar to aerodynamics, so any pontoon that’s shaped similarly to your kayak will be much better than a pontoon that has a blunt nose.
Most kayak outriggers are constructed of similar materials, aluminum, PVC, stainless-steel hardware, and polyethylene/plastic.
The quality of these materials will vary from company to company; that’s why I recommend staying with well-known companies and always carrying repair patches when in use.
The sun is notorious for breaking down plastic and making it brittle, so never store your kayak and outriggers in direct sunlight.
How Much Stability It Adds
The reason you’re buying a kayak stabilizer kit is to add stability to your kayak. If it doesn’t do a good job of this, then you waste your money. I don’t want you to waste your money.
That’s why I deeply researched all of these kayak stabilizer systems and have even tested some of them on unstable kayaks.
I hand-picked these five because I believe they will add enough stability to your kayak to stand and fish or make it safe to paddle.
For the most stability, you need both pontoons to rest lightly on the surface of the water. If either is too high, you will still experience some wobble, especially in choppy waters.
You’ll Also Need
To complete your kayak angling experience, you will need a few other items.
Some of them you probably already have, while others you might not have thought were possible to add to a kayak. They are:
- Trolling motor
- Trolling motor battery
- Fish finder
- Kayak fishing PFD.
Some of these items are nice to have, while others are items you shouldn’t leave the shore without!
Even when I have one of my motors on my kayak, I always carry a paddle when kayak fishing. I never know when I might need it, and it has saved my butt on several occasions.
Choosing the correct paddle is the difference between struggling to paddle and comfortably paddling all day.
The length of your paddle depends on your height and the height and width of your kayak and will affect your paddle strokes.
Always carry a paddle with you, even if you have a motor or pedal kayak!
You should already have a kayak, but if you don’t, there are many fishing kayaks that you can stand up and fish from without using any of the types of kayak stabilizers found on Amazon.
The best kayak brands come at a premium price, but they are worth every penny if you fish a lot.
If you already have your kayak and it’s unstable, no worries; that’s why kayak outriggers were invented!
Kayak Trolling Motor
One Item that changed my fishing was the trolling motor. Not only can I get to my favorite fishing spots quicker, but I’m also not exhausted from paddling when I get there, so I can enjoy fishing even more!
The trolling motor also gives me more control while I’m fishing. Instead of struggling to paddle with one hand, I can turn the motor on, point it in the right direction, and go.
Having the best kayak trolling motor on your kayak is a game-changer.
If you add a trolling motor, lights, or fish finder to your kayak, you’re going to need a battery.
In my best kayak trolling motor battery review, I list several batteries that are ideal for running all of your kayaking electronics.
In my opinion, you can’t beat Lithium-Ion batteries. They are more expensive, but they are more powerful and efficient than Lead-Acid batteries.
Kayak Fish Finder
Adding a fish finder to your kayak is another game-changer. It doesn’t have to be a giant TV-sized fish finder, so here’s a list of some of the best kayak fish finders on the market.
This list will help you choose which one is best for your situation.
Instead of just guessing if the fish are there, you will now see that the fish are there.
Your PFD is something you should always wear while on the water. Accidents happen much quicker than you can put your life jacket on. If your life vest is uncomfortable, I suggest buying a kayak fishing PFD.
So often, we are by ourselves while fishing which makes it even more vital that we wear our personal flotation devices to stay as safe as possible.
Control the factors you can control, and always wear your life jacket.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are kayak outriggers worth it?
Yes, kayak outriggers are worth it if you own an unstable kayak. However, I would recommend buying a stable kayak instead of outriggers; at least, that’s what I’ve done.
Do outriggers slow down a kayak?
Yes, outriggers slow down a kayak. They create more drag; therefore, they will slow you down; however, it might not be as noticeable depending on which kayak outriggers you purchase.
How long should kayak outriggers be?
Kayak outriggers should be at least 28” long. However, long arms will give you a little more stability, but they make it less maneuverable and harder to use in tight waterways like creeks.
One More Cast
Adding outriggers to your kayak drastically increases the stability of your kayak, enough so that you will be able to stand and fish in your kayak.
The best kayak outriggers are the YakGear Generation 2 Kayak and Canoe Outriggers. They provide the stability you need at a reasonable price, and they’re not difficult to install.
If the price is too tough to swallow, you can always DIY kayak outriggers. This can be a fun project with your kids, and most kayakers I know enjoy tinkering in this way, myself included!
If you’ve created your own, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!