Buying a Kayak Online: Is It Really The Best Deal
When it comes to buying a fishing kayak, you have several options. You can either purchase it from your local kayak shop, sporting goods store, or online retailer like Amazon or Austin Kayak. With that being said, you should consider the pros and cons to each before making your decision!
Why Buy a Kayak Online
In a perfect world, you could go to your local kayak shop (if you have one nearby), or local sporting good store and test drive one before you buy it. However, we don't live in a perfect world and for a lot of people, they don't have a kayak shop within several hundred miles. And even if you do, it may not have what you're looking for.
This is what makes buying online so attractive! It's not necessarily that you are going to get a better deal, but that you are going to get exactly what you want. You can find pretty much any size, shape, color or brand of kayak online. If you buy from your local kayak shop or local sporting goods store, you're going to be limited to what they sell.
That's because most kayak shops, including the big sporting good stores like Bass Pro Shop, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Academy sports have contracts that limit them to selling only certain brand(s). I found this out the hard way.
When I was looking to buy my first kayak, I called my local kayak shop and asked if they carried this particular kayak and they said no. I asked them if they could order it anyway and I would buy it directly from them. instead of the online store. They said that they couldn't because they were under contract to sell only Hobie Kayaks. Bummer!
You Can You Save Some Money
While you may not be able to save that much money buying your kayak online, you are more than likely not going to pay more than if you were to buy from a local store.
That's because the actual cost in buying local as compared to buying online isn't that much difference. Places like Amazon and Austin Kayak offer FREE Shipping for most residential deliveries.
Also, in some cases if the online retailer doesn't have a brick and mortar store in the state where you are buying from, you don't have to pay sales taxes. Now this can be a real plus as no sales tax can mean substantial savings. With all that being said, there are some mom and pop kayak shops that will give you a pretty good deal if you pay cash.
It's Can Be Much More Convenient
If you have a kayak shop or sporting goods store around the corner from your house and they sell the kayak that you are looking for, then my advice is to go ahead and buy it from them if the price is right.
However, as I said before, there are a lot of us who don't have a sporting goods store, much less a kayak shop within a couple hundred miles. This is where the convenience issue comes in to play!
If you were to buy online, your kayak will be delivered directly to your house. Having to drive several hundred miles just to pick up a fishing kayak can be a real pain, not to mention a little expensive.
Benefits of Buying Locally
Buying your kayak online can be a pleasant experience, but there are some real benefits to buying locally too!
- You can see the kayaks in person and in some cases test drive them on the water.
- Sometimes, you can get a discount, especially if you pay in cash.
- You can get advice and recommendations from an experienced kayaker.
- Sometimes they have slightly used floor models that they will sell at a discount
If you still can't make up your mind, here's what I would do:
First, check online and find a few kayaks that catch your eye. Note the prices, accessories included, shipping costs and taxes.
Next, go check out your local kayak shop and sporting goods stores to see if they carry that particular kayak or if they can order it. If they can't, see if they have something comparable in quality and price that you would be willing to settle for.
If they do, test it out and decide if it will work. If it does, great! If not, you may as well order online and get exactly what you're looking for.
There really isn't a right or wrong answer to whether or not you should be buying a kayak online or not. My advice is to do your research. If it makes sense both financially and convenience wise, then go for it!