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Best Canoe for Beginners: Buyers Guide 2021

Best Canoe for Beginners: Buyers Guide 2021

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Learning how to canoe can be tricky, especially if you haven’t spent time out on the water before. While there are a lot of great canoes on the market, beginners need to make sure that they choose canoes that are suited to their skill level.

This will help to ensure not only that they have fun when out on the water but that they can easily handle their new canoe. Choosing the best canoe for beginners can be a little tricky but there are a few things to bear in mind when shopping that can make the task a lot easier.


One of the most important things for beginners to consider when they are shopping for a canoe is how wide the canoe is. This is not as important for more advanced canoers as they will be able to easily control a narrow or a wide canoe without worrying about it tipping over.

Beginners, however, will greatly benefit from a boat that is wider as it will be much more stable.

Wider boats aren’t generally as light as narrow boats are but they are much less likely to accidentally tip over in the water. For this reason, any beginner looking for a canoe will want to consider one that is wider than normal for the increased stability that it will provide.


The material also really matters when choosing a canoe as it will determine not only how strong the canoe is but also how much it weighs and costs. Canoes that are made from a lightweight material are easier to transport and control but tend to be much more expensive.

More durable materials will be heavier but may be a better option for beginners who won’t be portaging.

Fiberglass is lightweight and a great option for a canoe that is easy to lift and carry while aluminum is heavier but is a wonderful option for beginners on a budget. It’s also important for beginners to look for a canoe that can withstand accidentally running into rocks, downed trees, and other debris while they learn how to better control their canoes when on the water.


Beginners will also want to keep in mind how many seats they want to have in their canoes. True beginners may feel more comfortable with more than one seat in the canoe so that they can have company with them if something were to go wrong. Additional seats allow more people to ride safely in the canoe.

Some beginners, however, may want to learn how to paddle and control the canoe on their own so that they don’t feel as if they’re putting anyone else at risk if they are in the canoe with them. In this case, a solo canoe with only one seat may be a better option.


While the shape of a canoe isn’t a huge deal to beginners, the length will play a huge role in how easily the canoe can be maneuvered and how easily someone can learn to control it when on the water.

A canoe that is longer than average will quickly go in a straight line, making it a great option for open water. The problem with longer canoes is that they are very difficult to turn, which can be frustrating for beginners.

Shorter canoes are a good option for beginners who need a lot of help learning how to turn a canoe and maneuver it through tight locations in the water. They do have a downside, however, and this is that they tend to be slower and won’t glide as easily through the water.

Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Discovery 119 Solo Canoe

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Beginners who want to easily handle a canoe without worrying about whether or not the canoe will be too long or bulky will want to consider this option. It’s a much shorter option than others on the market but still manages to be very wide with a width of 39” at the 4” water line.

Because of the light design of this canoe, it’s great for portaging but the three-layer construction provides a durable, well-constructed hull that won’t easily crack or break. Thanks to the comfortable nylon web seat, solo canoers can get out on the water by themselves and enjoy a comfortable right all day long without worrying about cramping or becoming tired when paddling. This is one of the best canoe for beginners.


  • Can be used with a traditional canoe paddle as well as a double-bladed kayak paddle
  • Easily supports up to 500 pounds
  • Control and maneuver the canoe in tighter locations easily due to the shorter length of 11’9”
  • Provides plenty of room for additional gear


  • Easily scratches when used around a lot of brush or debris
  • Is easy to carry and control due to the light design but not ideal for rapids or fast-moving water
Click here to check the latest price of Old Town Canoes Discovery 119 on Amazon

Sea Eagle TC16 Inflatable Canoe

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New canoers who don’t have racks for their cars or a lot of storage space at their homes for a full-size canoe will appreciate how easily this canoe inflates and deflates. This makes getting out on the water quick and simple but also allows users to easily deflate their canoe when it’s time to transport or to store it.

The heavy-duty 1000 denier reinforced design of this canoe means that it is perfect for use on quiet lakes as well as on class IV rapids without any chance of the canoe being damaged.

The overlapping, reinforced seams prevent any water from entering the inside of the canoe and causing a leak. Additionally, the impressive stability of this canoe reduces the fear of tipping.


  • Comes with a pump, repair kit, instructions, and a travel bag for easy use and transport
  • Easily deflates and folds down small enough to fit in the trunk of a car
  • Is great for sitting down or standing up when in the water because of the incredibly stable design
  • Can easily hold up to 800 pounds with two or three canoers or 845 pounds with a canoer and gear


  • It is more expensive than other items on the list.
  • Some beginners may not want to have to try to blow up this inflatable option.
Click here to check the latest price of SE TC16 Canoe on Amazon

Sun Dolphin Scout SS Canoe

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This is a great canoe for beginners who want something that not only can operate as a canoe but can be used with a motor as well. The canoe steers incredibly easily, which is great news for beginners who are just figuring out how to handle themselves on the water. Additionally, the polyethylene hull makes the canoe incredibly responsive even though it is an impressive 14’ long.

Designed to be a basic option for any beginner who is just interested in getting out on the water, this canoe can easily seat up to three, which is great for canoeing, fishing, or attaching a motor to the back.


  • It is designed with improved stability and tracking to make it easy for beginners to control when on the water.
  • It features built-in rod holders, which is great for people who want to canoe to their favorite fishing spots.
  • The square stern allows the optional use of a motor.
  • The light design of the canoe makes it great for beginners to carry.


  • It doesn’t come with a lot of storage or a cooler.
  • The material can easily get scratched and cut when used on debris or in shallow water and on rocks.
Click here to check the latest price of Sun Dolphin Scout SS Canoe on Amazon

Old Town Next Canoe

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Beginners who have spent time in a kayak before and are looking to make the switch to a canoe will want to consider this as one of the best options on the market. It features both a lower profile and a pronounced tumblehome, making it much easier to paddle and steer.

Additionally, with a 29” width, this canoe is wide enough to provide a lot of stability and support to the user, helping to boost confidence of any beginner who is taking it out on the water. It can easily be controlled with either a kayak paddle or a standard canoe paddle, giving users a lot of freedom and control over their canoeing experience.


  • The included subtle rocker in the hull allows for smooth tracking.
  • The removable element seating system provides impressive comfort.
  • It is a great canoe with a few kayak elements.
  • The lower profile allows for easier paddling by a beginner.


  • The seat is not very comfortable and tends to fall out of the rails unless the strap underneath the seat is tightened correctly.
  • The higher weight makes it difficult for some beginners to easily control.
Click here to check the latest price of Old Town Next Canoe on Amazon

Final Conclusion

The Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Discovery 119 Solo Canoe is by far the best canoe for beginners on this list for any beginner who wants to get out in the water and is looking for the best canoe to use.

Not only is it very easy to control, which will give any beginner an instant boost of confidence, but the canoe looks great and is wide enough to allow for plenty of stability when out on the water.

Since it’s great for solo use or to use with other people, this canoe can be used not only by a beginner but also by the entire family when they are looking to spend time together on the water.