Kayak Buying Guides

Lifetime vs Emotion Kayaks: Six High Quality Affordable Kayaks Reviewed

Written by Ryan Moore

Last Updated on

Lifetime makes a variety of every day cast plastic and polymer products. In fact, you might be surprise all the places a Lifetime product show up. Chairs, tables, and yes… even kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddle boards. While they’ve come a long way from

their humble beginnings in a Utah garage, Lifetime remains a quality maker of durable goods.

I’ve seen their boats on the rivers and lakes I travel for years and users stand by them. While they may not be making cutting edge race boats for extreme paddlers, they are making high quality recreational boats and SUPs. What can you expect from a Lifetime boat? Quality and price that are aligned to your needs.

Emotion Kayaks is another popular brand. Emotion makes high quality durable kayaks that don’t cost a fortune. I have used their kayaks especially for fishing.

Let me introduce you to a few of my favorite Lifetime and Emotion kayaks. These short review will give you an idea of what I particularly like about each model.

Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle Review

This kayak model from Lifetime is a sit on top style kayak. These are popular for many reasons but their self-bailing feature makes them an attractive recreational boat. If water gets in or the boat flips, just flip it over and the water drains on its own. No bailing needed.

Sit on top kayaks like the Lotus are easy to use, inexpensive, and nearly bomb proof. The Lotus features multiple foot pegs for users with any size or height. Because of the open cockpit design, it’s also easy for bigger paddlers or those who struggle to fit inside more traditional narrow cockpit kayaks.

I like the shock cord gear vestibule and the included drink carrier for those hot summer days of paddling with friends. While the seat lacks adjustability or much padding, it’s part of the sit on top kayak style. Simple, functional, and inexpensive these boats are easy to use and maintain.

Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak Review

Again, a sit on top kayak model this time for two to three people. With a weight capacity of 500 pounds I would recommend your third person be a small child or the family pet. Conveniently, however, they included molded plastic foot rests that are practically infinitely adjustable. With a separate foot rest every 3-4” you’ll be able to find the most comfortable spot for you.

I like the three molded fishing pole holders included on the boat. With a boat capacity for up to three people, however, this means just one rod per person. There is one drink holder per person but my suggestion is to keep the boat capacity limited at two. Things get hairy when you’ve got three people trying to cast sharp hooks in close proximity. Not to mention, tangled line is a nightmare!

Overall, I like the included paddles but you may want to upgrade them at some point. I do appreciate that they included a 6” dry well for waterproofing your gear.

Emotion 90259 Renegade XT Fishing Kayak Review

If you want a bit more peace and quiet – not to mention tons more room – in your fishing hobby then this is the boat for you. Weighing just under 50 pounds it’s very manageable for a single person. The sit on top design make it easy to carry extra gear and cast without obstruction from the boat.

I love the mesh net gear vestibule in the back. It’s large enough and versatile enough to hold just about any extra gear from rain jackets to tackle boxes. Top marks for including a dry well right between the paddlers legs. This is an easy to access and convenient location – a natural choice for the dry well.

There are two rod holders which should be enough for most solo fishing trips. Plus, I love the additional shock cord storage on the bow and the padded, adjustable seat. While it’s a short boat overall, the ST Performance Hull is designed to help improve tracking when paddling open water. In tight areas, it’s nimble enough to get anywhere.

Emotion Glide Sport Kayaks Review

This polyethylene molded sport boat by Emotion Kayaks is short, fast, and fun. It’s made for a recreational or sport user who may be paddling anything from flat water to mild whitewater. When you’re looking at a boat that’s sportier it’s important to understand that not all boats are made equally. Dedicated whitewater or creeking boats are really the boat of choice if you’re looking to paddle whitewater on a regular basis.

That said, the Glide Sport makes a good companion for those looking to paddle somewhere between extreme and mild. The foam padded lightly adjustable seat has enough going for it to make any user comfortable. Unlike the open cockpit design of the sit on top kayaks, this one has a narrower inset cockpit.

Adjustable foot rests make for a comfortable ride, so be sure to set them to your preference before paddling. You’ll be amazed how fast legs can get stir-crazy when you’re trapped in a small kayak cockpit for hours. Desk lashing on the bow and stern is minimal but adequate and supplemented by a paddle holder.

Lifetime Beacon Tandem Kayak Review

Another sit on top tandem kayak this time meant more for paddling than fishing. Unlike the Sport Fisher Tandem, the Beacon is made for traveling. While there’s not enough storage for long multi-day trips, it’s a great all-day paddler for two.

I like the placement of the 6” dry well which is just enough to make room for a cell phone or other important items. With a 5-year warranty and UV resistant polyethylene construction like all Lifetime boats, it’s a durable and long-lasting companion.

I like that they included paddle holders for each person as well as generous gear storage in the back and some deck lashing in the front. Each seat is equipped with three different position foot rests. There’s also an adjustable back rest on each person’s seat. I would have liked to see a bit more padding and adjustability on the seats but it’s nothing short of standard for most kayaks.

One unique feature is a skeg. This tracking fin near the rear of the boat helps the boat travel in a straight line. They also included a roller wheel for helping to drag the boat to and from the water.

Lifetime Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak with Paddle Review


Kids are hard on gear. I will tell you that first hand from running outdoor programs for youth over the last few years. When it comes to picking out gear for kids, simple is better. That’s why this Lifetime molded HDPE kayak makes a killer deal for children.

It’s practically bomb proof being made from a single piece of molded plastic. It comes with a single paddle and a simple carrying handle. It’s even light enough that kids should be able to carry it or at least learn to help out.

Under the boat the twin fin hull helps to aid in tracking and stabilization. With such a short boat and lightweight capacity (130 pounds) it would otherwise be hard to paddle straight. Including tracking fins molded into the hull helps alleviate this and makes it easier for kids to learn how to paddle a straight course.

I like that it’s available in 4 bright colors so kids can choose their favorite. It also makes it easy to sport them on the water. The included paddle should be plenty good enough to learn with!


About the author

Ryan Moore

I like to write about Kayaks.