Since there are many factors involved in choosing the right kayak before your purchase, I will address some of the more important ones.
First, decide where you will be paddling. A kayak that might be suitable for flat water such as rivers, creeks, and lakes, is not the best choice for paddling in the surf or in choppy waters.
Next, consider your paddling experience. Some kayaks are more stable than others. Simply put, the wider the boat, the harder it is to overturn. The longer the boat, the easier it is to track. Tracking is simply how your boat steers while you are paddling. Longer boats track better than shorter boats, since they require less correction effort in steering while paddling.
Then, do you prefer a “sit in” or a “sit on top” kayak? Do you need a long or short one? Will you be doing overnight trips, or just short day trips? As you can see, one has many options to consider.
An informed kayak shopper will not shop with the intention to buy the “cheapest boat you can find.” A “great deal” is not so great if you cannot enjoy what you have bought.
Since there is not one boat that fits every situation, some people solve this dilemma by actually owning two or more boats! This enables them to have more paddling options.
If it seems too good to be true, you must be kayaking!