Best Kayaking Paddles: Reviews and Buying Guide

If you’re just getting started with kayaking, things can be a bit tricky. Picking the right gear will have a massive impact on how your upcoming journey will go. With the best kayaking paddles, you know that you’ll be safe while you’re enjoying your time to the maximum.

Going on a kayak is liberating, and the right paddle will make it possible. This is why we’ve studied several options, comparing some of the best products on the market with respect to their feel, balance, and performance to help you choose the right one. Keep on reading to pick yours.

Reviews of the Best Kayaking Paddles on the Market

Having a lot of options to choose from can be quite confusing, especially if you’re shopping for your first paddle. We tried several products on your behalf and will list their pros and cons to help you buy the right one for you. Check out our top picks.

BENDING BRANCHES Classic Angler Paddle – 2-Piece Snap-Button

Buying paddles from Bending Branches means that you’ll be buying high-quality and durability. This paddle offers the best balance between durability and flexibility thanks to the carbon fiber shaft and the nylon blades. Being reinforced with fiberglass means that the paddle will be resilient to withstand heavy-duty use.

Adjusting this paddle is straightforward, thanks to the 3-button snap ferrule. This gives you the opportunity to change the feathering angle from 0 to 60 degrees for maximum convenience and control.

Regardless of your skill level, the paddle allows you to pull through the water with a flutter-free stroke smoothly. When it’s not used, the paddle separates into two different pieces for convenient storage. It’s suitable for right and left-hand users and is available in three different lengths; 230, 240, and 250 cm.

The ovalized grip sits comfortably in your hand. This paddle minimizes fatigue and gives you more control with a retrieval hook-notch. This will help you rescue your line when you’re fishing. However, this paddle is more expensive than other products that offer the same performance.

What We Like

  • Carbon fiber shaft and nylon blades.
  • Available in three lengths.
  • Feathering angle can be easily adjusted from 0 to 60 degrees.
  • The paddle breaks into 2 pieces for easy storage.
  • Ovalized grips to minimize fatigue.

What We Don’t Like

  • More expensive than other options.
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Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Kayak Paddle

If you don’t mind spending the extra cash, you should take a look at this paddle from Werner Camano. It’s available in various bright colors and comes in different sizes that range from 220 to 260 cm, so it’s a suitable choice for all users. The bright colors are designed to suit every taste and will also keep you safe as they increase your visibility around powerboats.

The shaft is extremely durable, as it’s made of carbon blend that withstands harsh conditions and won’t get affected by exposure to the elements. At the same time, the carbon blend is lighter than other materials, giving your paddle more balance without straining your muscles.

Thanks to the asymmetric dihedral shape of the blades, you can use it for long distances without any strain. The blades minimize fatigue and give you more control regardless of your level of experience. They’re made of fiberglass that allows you to paddle smoothly in all conditions. The medium-sized blades are easy to control for the best kayaking experience.

This paddle is the perfect choice for touring and long distances because it won’t strain your arms. It excels, especially in low angle strokes, so you can use it in lakes and other slow-moving water bodies. The multi-feathering option allows you to adjust it for the best performance.

However, some amateurs and less frequent users might be put off by the high price tag of this model. When pulling light, this paddle might move up and down, but you won’t face this problem with hard pulling.

What We Like

  • Balanced paddle with durable construction.
  • Carbon blend shaft and asymmetrical fiberglass blades.
  • Available in multiple bright colors and lengths.
  • Reduces fatigue when kayaking for long distances.

What We Don’t Like

  • More expensive than other models.
  • Might move up and down with light pulling.
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Attwood Asymmetrical 2-Piece Heavy-Duty Kayak Paddle

Being on a tight budget won’t deprive you of buying a decent kayaking paddle. This one is quite affordable and combines the best performance with durability, so it’s excellent value for money.

The paddle features aluminum and ribbed plastic construction, so it feels lightweight. Yet, it’s sturdy enough to withstand the harsh conditions, so you can rest assured that it will last for long. When not used, the paddle breaks into 2 pieces, so you can transport it and store it conveniently.

Featuring drip rings, these will prevent the water from sliding onto your hand. As a result, you’ll feel more comfortable while you’re using this well-made paddle, so you can perform better. The comfort grips allow you to use the paddle for a long period as the comfort grip will minimize fatigue and discomfort.

With an asymmetrical design, this paddle will enhance your performance. The design of the spoon-blades will increase the efficiency of your strokes and will reduce flutter in the water.

For the price, you’ll be getting a comfortable and functional paddle that will last for long. However, there are a few improvements that can make this paddle better. For example, the length can’t be adjusted, and it lacks cushioning on the handle.

What We Like

  • Durable paddle with aluminum and plastic construction.
  • Affordable paddle.
  • Comfort grips with drip rings.
  • Asymmetrical design to enhance performance.
  • Breaks into 2 pieces for convenient storage.

What We Don’t Like

  • Length can’t be adjusted.
  • Needs some extra cushioning on the handle.
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Just because this is a budget-friendly paddle, you shouldn’t assume that it’s not good. It’s one of the most practical paddles to use and is an excellent choice for beginners and other kayakers who don’t want to spend a lot of cash.

The shaft is made of 2 pieces. The aluminum shaft is durable and can withstand all-day kayaking without breaking or bending. At the same time, aluminum is lightweight and won’t strain your muscles regardless of how long you choose to use his paddle.

It features lightweight plastic blades. They’re strong and molded to help you move smoothly in any water body. The paddle features grips that are made of foam to provide comfort. However, with the plastic blades you’ll need to put more effort, especially if you’re paddling for a long period.

With the rubber drip guards, you know that you can paddle smoothly and comfortably as the guards will keep your hands dry for more control. This paddle can be adjusted into three different positions, so it will fit your paddling style for maximum safety regardless of your skill level.

This paddle will float if you accidentally drop it into the water, so it’s a good entry-level paddle. It comes in a single length of 213 cm, which suits most users, but might be too short for taller people. It doesn’t suit a kayaker who likes to paddle for long distances as it’s heavier than other options.

What We Like

  • Budget-friendly paddle.
  • Floats if it accidentally drops.
  • Sturdy aluminum shaft and plastic blades.
  • Drip guards to keep your hands dry.
  • Can be adjusted into three different positions.

What We Don’t Like

  • Not suitable for paddling for long distances.
  • A bit heavier than other options, given its length.
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AQUA BOUND Manta Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle

Kayaking enthusiasts would probably look for an ultra-lightweight paddle like this one. The shaft is made of carbon fiber, so it’s incredibly sturdy, but it’s also lightweight, so it won’t strain your muscles or joints as you’re trying to push your way through the water. The shaft is ribbed, so it won’t feel slippery even when it’s wet.

Moreover, the blades are also made of Carbon abX resin, keeping the weight of the paddle to a minimum. The oval shaft is more comfortable to hold and gives you a better grip, so you can take this paddle for multi-day kayaking trips with no issues. The carbon blades are stronger than glass-reinforced blades.

The paddle is available in 5 different lengths; 210, 220, 230, 240, and 250 cm, so you’ll find the perfect paddle that suits your height regardless of how tall or short you are. The 2- piece construction makes it more portable and allows you to store it more conveniently. The paddle comes with drip rings to keep your hand dry and allow for a better grip.

It’s designed to help you go at faster speeds when you’re stroking at a high angle. The ferrule adjusts the feathering angle to suit your needs.

However, the texture of the shaft can cause blisters to some people. In some cases, the water can get trapped inside the paddle, and it’s not that easy to clean.

What We Like

  • Lightweight shaft with carbon fiber shaft and carbon resin blades.
  • 5 Different lengths are available.
  • Drip guards.
  • Suitable for high-speed lovers and multi-day trips.
  • Adjusting the feathering angle is easy.

What We Don’t Like

  • The ribbing can cause blisters.
  • Water might accumulate inside, and you’ll have to clean it.
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Leader Accessories Kayak Paddle

This paddle offers a variety of options as it comes in 7 cool colors and 5 different sizes; 84.7, 87, 89.7, 96 inches, in addition to an adjustable paddle that you can adjust from 84.6 to 88.6 inches. Moreover, you can choose between three different shaft materials; aluminum, fiberglass, and carbon. Having these options allows you to pick the most suitable option.

The aluminum and fiberglass shafts feature PP blades, while the carbon shaft features PC blades. The enforced push-button connections allow you to adjust the paddle into three positions. The locking mechanism gives you a seamless experience in all kayaking conditions.

Thanks to the design of the blades, you’ll face less resistance in the water, which allows you to go kayaking for long distances. The paddle features drip rings that keep your hands dry and prevent the water from getting into the kayak. The paddle will float if it accidentally falls into the water.

However, some users might feel that the blades are a little stiff. Depending on the material of the shaft, the paddle can be too heavy.

What We Like

  • Different colors and sizes are available.
  • Three different options for the shaft material.
  • Drip guards.
  • Adjustable feathering angle.

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be too heavy, depending on the material of the shaft.
  • Blades are too stiff.
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Pelican Kayak Paddle

This paddle features sturdy aluminum construction without increasing the weight of the shaft. The blade is made of fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene to help you move smoothly in different water bodies. The feathered design can customize the paddle to suit your needs.

Featuring adjustable drip rings, this paddle won’t get your hands wet and will keep the water out of your kayak. The push-button connection allows you to adjust the feathering angle from 0 to 65 for maximum convenience. The blades are suitable for low and high-angle strokes.

The paddle breaks into 2 pieces for storage and portability. It comes in a single length of 226 cm, which is a sweet spot for most users, so it will suit you regardless of how tall you are. There are three color options available.

If you’re a beginner, this paddle will help you as you learn how to kayak because the round shaft turns into an oval shape to show you where you should be placing your hand. The indexed shaft is more suitable for people with wrist problems.

Some people might feel that the paddle is too heavy. Nevertheless, it’s quite affordable, so it’s good value for money.

What We Like

  • Aluminum shaft with fiberglass reinforced polypropylene blades.
  • Affordable paddle.
  • Adjustable drip rings.
  • Push-button to adjust the feathering angle.
  • Suitable for beginners.

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavier than other paddles.
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Overmont Kayak Paddle

Those on a tight budget can still get a reliable paddle as this one features an aluminum shaft that won’t break. The blades are made of fiberglass and PP, so they will bend up to 90 degrees without breaking. The 2-piece construction allows you to store it conveniently.

Setting this paddle up is never a problem thanks to the straightforward 2-piece construction. The 2 pieces lock in place, and you can immediately start paddling, even if you’re a beginner. Moreover, you can adjust the angle in three different positions to suit your paddling style.

The arc is designed based on the duck’s web to increase the efficiency of your strokes. The feather-shaped blades and double-serrated teeth design will help you move smoothly through the water.

Thanks to the hollow aluminum shaft, this paddle will stay afloat if it accidentally falls into the water. Your paddle will come with a paddle leash that makes it suitable for fishing trips.

It comes in a single length of 87 inches, which is suitable for most users. However, if you’re a tall person, this paddle might be too short for you. It’s not designed for strong currents.

What We Like

  • Affordable paddle with a hollow aluminum shaft and fiberglass blades.
  • Adjustable angle in three positions.
  • Floats if it accidentally drops into the water.
  • Suitable for beginners.

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be too short for some users.
  • Not suitable for strong currents.
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ADVANCED ELEMENTS Compact Touring Paddle

If you’re looking for a compact and portable paddle, you should look no further. This paddle breaks down into 4 pieces for convenient storage and maximum portability. It’s an excellent choice for most people as it comes in a single length of 231 cm. This is an average length that would suit most users.

It’s a good choice for amateurs and beginners, featuring an aircraft-grade aluminum shaft. The aluminum improves the feel of the paddle, adding to its durability, so you can guarantee that it will last for long. However, it might be a bit heavy if you’re planning to take this paddle on multi-day trips where you’re likely to paddle for long distances.

The paddle features asymmetric blades. They’re made of glass-reinforced plastic, so they’re durable and functional. The blades work perfectly for low-angle paddling, so they will give you the power you need.

While it doesn’t have drip guards, it feels smooth and gives you enough torque in several conditions. It features a ferrule that allows for a 60-degree right or left-hand adjustment. It’s not as advanced as other options, but it won’t disappoint a beginner or an occasional kayaker.

What We Like

  • Compact paddle.
  • Breaks into 4 pieces for better storage.
  • Suitable for beginners.
  • Durable aluminum shaft.

What We Don’t Like

  • The paddle feels a bit heavy.
  • Lacks some options that can be found on more expensive models.
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Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

Kayaking for a long period can take its toll on your joints, but not with this paddle. The fiberglass shaft offers the perfect stiffness to give you control, and enough flex to reduce the stress on your joints for a comfortable yet fun experience.

In addition to the sturdy shaft, the blade is lightweight and durable as it is made of high-impact glass-filled polypropylene. The asymmetrical and slightly spooned blade shape minimizes resistance to enhance your strokes in the water and reduce fatigue. This paddle is available in 3 different lengths; 220, 230, and 240 cm, so it’s suitable for various users.

Tailoring the blades is easy as they can be feathered at 60 degrees. There’s a no-fail push button that allows you to customize the paddle for right and left-hand users. The ovalized shaft is more comfortable to hold in extreme conditions, so you can use the paddle for longer.

Amateurs and as well as professional users will love this paddle because it’s practical to use. It comes in 2 pieces so you can store it and transport it conveniently. However, this paddle isn’t an excellent choice for fishing because it doesn’t have a line-retrieval feature.

Paddling in whitewater might not be that easy with this paddle, as it’s more suitable for open water. A shorter paddle would be more practical to use in the strong currents. The design reduces the torque that increases the pain in your wrist. Moreover, the fiberglass is warm to touch in cool weather, and cold to touch in warm weather.

However, some people might find this a bit too heavy. Using it for long periods can be a bit exhausting.

What We Like

  • Fiberglass shaft with glass-filled polypropylene blades.
  • Asymmetrical blades to minimize resistance.
  • Available in different lengths.
  • Convenient storage.

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavier than other paddles.
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How to Choose the Best Kayaking Paddles

Choosing the best kayaking paddle can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re a beginner. There are plenty of options out there, and many of these kayak paddles can all seem the same if you’re not experienced and don’t know how to look for those subtle differences.

Here are a few factors to think about when picking between top rated kayak paddles.

Type of Paddle

Paddles come in different types to suit various types of paddling. Recreational paddles are designed for amateurs and beginners because they tend to be less expensive. However, they might be heavier and more difficult to control. Nevertheless, they represent a good choice for people who enjoy short kayaking trips.

Touring paddles are designed for long and multi-day trips. They’re ergonomic and lightweight, so they won’t strain your muscles or joints. They will be suitable for slow-moving water bodies.

Performance kayaking paddles are ultra-lightweight to enhance your performance. The blade shape will increase the efficiency of your strokes. They also come with more advanced options to suit more professional kayaking enthusiasts.

Whitewater kayaks are more durable as they’re designed to withstand underwater hazards like rocks. The shaft will be thick as the paddle is designed to be used in strong currents.

Paddle Length

To pick the right length for your paddle, you should think about your height, especially the length of your torso, and the length of the kayak. Some paddles have a measurement chart that you can use as a guide while picking the right length.

Since recreational kayaks are generally wider, you might want to stick to a longer paddle. If you have a sit-on-top kayak, you’ll need a longer paddle than one for a sit-in kayak.

If your height is below 5’5” and your kayak is less than 23 inches wide, you should go with the shortest length, which is 210 cm. If the width of the kayak is between 24 and 28 inches, you should pick a 220 cm paddle.

If the kayak is wider than 34 inches, you should stick to a longer length of 240 cm. People taller than 5’5’’, should increase the length by 10 cm.

Shaft Material

Choosing the shaft material depends on your skill level and budget. There are paddles that feature a wooden shaft. Although the wood will have a protective layer, these are less common because they’re heavyweight and more expensive.

Aluminum shafts are quite durable and are suitable for beginners. However, they will cause fatigue if you’re going on a multi-day trip. Nevertheless, most beginners would pick a paddle with an aluminum shaft because they tend to be more affordable.

Carbon fiber is also durable, but it’s extremely lightweight. Professional and more enthusiastic kayakers would pick these paddles because they allow you to paddle for long periods without fatigue. However, they tend to be more expensive.

Blade Material

The least expensive blades are made of plastic or nylon. However, you can also find aluminum blades that withstand stronger currents.

Fiberglass is quite common because it’s lightweight and durable. It’s suitable for both amateur and professional kayakers who like to go on multi-day trips. Carbon fiber is another lightweight option, but it’s more expensive. Most performance paddles feature carbon fiber blades.

Blade Design

Most blades are asymmetrical with a dihedral shape. The blade will be relatively narrow and will push easier through the water, minimizing the effort needed for each stroke. These narrow blades are perfect for multi-day trips because they reduce fatigue.

Wider blades allow you to paddle fast, so surfers prefer them because they don’t need to put in a lot of effort to paddle forward. Some blades will come with a J-shaped notch that allows for the fast retrieval of the fishing line, so they’re suitable for fishing.

Wrap Up

Whether you’re a beginner or a professional kayaker, picking the right kayaking paddle is not easy because there are lots of options on the market. We chose the BENDING BRANCHES Classic Angler Paddle – 2-Piece Snap-Button as our top choice because it features a carbon fiber shaft and nylon blades. The feathering angle can be adjusted to enhance your performance in all conditions.

Picking a nice paddle makes a big difference because it minimizes your effort and reduces the risk of injury. Regardless of the difference in your skill level and needs, you’ll find a suitable option by taking a good look at our list.

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