Best Kayak Paddle for a Great Kayaking Experience

  • How We Decided

    19 products considered

    • 500+ reviews analysed, 18 research hours spent, 20+ info. sources referred



If you are going to enjoy kayaking you need to make sure you have the best equipment. Choosing the best kayak paddle is just as important as choosing the best kayak.

If you end up with a kayak paddle that is uncomfortable to hold, is too long or too short, or is too heavy you are going to have a hard time out there kayaking.

The best kayak paddle is important because it will affect how well you can maneuver your kayak out on the water.

Comparison Table: Top kayak Paddles Today

Product Material Length (inch) Price

SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle

SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle

Best Overall

Fibreglass 84''& 96" Check Price

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle - Polypro Blades/Fiberglass Shaft

Runners Up

Fiberglass 86.6", 90,5" & 94.4" Check Price

Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Kayak Paddle

Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Kayak Paddle

Best Premium, 14 Colors

Fiberglass 86.6" & 90,5" Check Price

Carlisle Magic Mystic Poly Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Magic Mystic Poly Kayak Paddle - Polypro Blades/Aluminum Shaft

Fiberglass 86.6", 90,5" & 94.4" Check Price

Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle

Shoreline Marine 96-Inch Rounded Kayak Paddle

Plastic 96" Check Price

Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle - 2 Piece

Polypropylene 86.6", 90,5" & 94.4" Check Price

Kwik Tek Kayak Paddle

Kwik Tek Airhead 2-Section Performance Kayak Paddle - 7'

ABS Plastic 84" Check Price

Shoreline Marine X-II Kayak Paddle

Shoreline Marine X-II Kayak Paddle, 84-Inch, Orange

Aluminium 84" Check Price

AQUA BOUND Sting Ray Kayak Paddle

AQUA BOUND Sting Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle

Handmade

Carbon abX Resin 82.6", 86.6", 90,5" & 94.4", 98.4" Check Price

Cannon Paddles Escape E

Cannon Paddles Escape E Kayak Paddle with Black Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer Blades (2-Piece)

Fiberglass-Reinforced Black Nylon 86.6", 90,5" & 94.4" Check Price

How to Choose the Best Kayak Paddle

How to Choose the Best Kayak Paddle

The most important things to keep in mind while shopping for the best kayak paddle include your paddling style, your fitness level, the width of your kayak, the length of the paddles, blade materials, blade shape, and the paddle shaft.

There are several factors that you need to keep in mind when choosing the best kayak paddle. To ensure you choose the best kayak paddle for your kayaking needs we have detailed all of those factors below.

In addition to your regular paddle, you should also consider picking up a spare as you never know when your paddle will break or even float away.

Paddling Style

Your paddling style is going to vary based on the type of kayaking you are doing. Once you know the kind of kayaking you will be doing you can choose the best fit based on one of the two paddling styles.

Low-Angled Paddling

These paddles are the best choice for calm waters and for those who enjoy leisure kayaking. The low-angled paddles offer thin blades that are longer in length. The longer length allows for a more productive paddle with less fatigue on the longer distances.

High-Angled Paddling

These are ideal for those who like to go on adventures as they work great in unpredictable or rough waters. This paddle works best in quick flowing waters where you need to use moderate to strong force to move through the water.

This is also a popular choice among those who kayak for exercise.

Fitness Level

When choosing the best kayak paddle you need to think about your current fitness level. If you are more athletic you want a wider blade on a shorter paddle because of the extra power it gives you.

If you are on the heavier side you need a longer paddle with a wide blade as it will allow you to stroke slower but efficiently.

A smaller kayaker who isn’t worried about how fast they move through the water will need a small blade that doesn’t have a lot of surface area.

For more speed, the blade should have a larger surface area.

Kayak Width

Kayak styles include recreational, performance, touring, and white water. Each of these styles of kayaks come in different widths, but generally peaking kayaks are anywhere from 19 inches to 30 inches wide.

Recreational kayakers need to seriously consider the width of the kayak when selecting the paddle, while sea or touring kayakers need to consider fitness level and paddling style over kayak width.

The wider your kayak the longer your paddle needs to be. Measure your kayak width at its widest point before choosing a paddle.

Paddle Length

One thing to remember with paddle length is the taller you are the longer your paddle needs to be. Kayak paddle lengths range from 210 cm to 260 cm.

The length you want will depend on your paddling style, the width, and height of your kayak, and your actual height.

Blade Materials

When picking out a kayak paddle you need to consider the affordability, weight, and strength of the material being used to make the blades.

Here is a closer look at the different materials used for kayak blades.

Carbon Fiber

Blades made from this material are considered to be top of the line. These blades are built for power and are extremely lightweight. A carbon blade is the most expensive option, so it is might not be worth the investment.

Fiberglass

This blade is semi-lightweight and is also built for strength. One of the great things about fiberglass paddles is the colorful choices they offer and they are reasonably priced. Recreational kayakers and tourist rentals often use fiberglass paddles.

Nylon, Plastic, or Aluminum

These are the most inexpensive of the kayak paddles and they require very little upkeep. These paddles are heavier than other paddles, but they are strong and built to last.

Beginners and recreational kayakers often find these to be the best choice.

Blade Shape

In years past kayakers opted for symmetrical blades, but now kayakers prefer the asymmetrical dihedral design. This shape is preferred because you are using less energy than you were with the symmetrical blades.

This blade shape looks similar to a plane’s wing and allows the water to flow easily across both sides of the blade.

Paddle Shaft

In most cases when it comes to choosing the right shaft comes down to how it feels in your hands, many kayakers just go with whatever feels right to them.

Both types of shafts are equal to each other in quality, but preference comes down to the individual. A straight shaft offers more maneuvering flexibility in all kinds of kayaking situations.

Straight shafts are excellent choices for adventurous or experienced kayakers.

A bents haft helps relieve some of the pressure on a kayaker’s wrists making it an excellent choice for beginners or leisure kayakers.

Best 4 Piece Kayak Paddle

Best 4 Piece Kayak Paddle

The best 4-piece kayak paddle offers kayakers a paddle that comes apart in 4 different places. The compact ability of the paddle allows you to easily pack up and take the paddle with you.

Most kayak paddles are a single piece, but several come apart in two pieces. Both of these options are great if you only use your vehicle to transport your kayak and paddle.

Transporting your kayak paddle becomes a problem when you travel with it, such as hiking or even on an airplane.

The best 4 piece kayak paddle offers a compact design that you can take with you whenever and wherever you travel.
The best 4 piece kayak paddle is easy to pack up, but they can be rather difficult to find.

Finding a decent quality 4 piece kayak paddle is even harder, but they are out there.

If you are looking for a recreational 4 piece kayak paddle that is affordable and decent quality you should consider the Sea Eagle AB40 or AB30 4 Part Paddle, the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray 4-Piece Paddle, or the Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon Shaft 4-Piece Paddle.

Kayak Paddle Storage Box

Kayak Paddle Storage Box

The best way to store and transport your kayak paddles is with a kayak paddle storage box.

A kayak paddle storage box allows you to easily store and/or transport your single and two-piece kayak paddles.

The great thing about a kayak paddle storage box is you can simply buy one or you can make your own with items you pick up from your local hardware store.

The benefit to making your own kayak paddle storage box is you can fully customize it to your paddles, plus making your own is a little more affordable.

One easy way to make your own kayak paddle storage box is to large diameter PVC pipe. You can line the PVC pipe with some cushioning to help hold the paddles in place.

The PVC pipe can easily be mounted onto a kayak trailer.

Exterior grade plywood or something similar with some hinges and weather stripping can also be used to create a kayak paddle storage box that can be mounted onto a truck or trailer.

Sea Kayak Paddle

Sea Kayak Paddle

A sea kayak paddle is going to be shorter in length than other paddles, as sea kayaks are narrower than other types of kayaks.

If you are looking for a sea kayak paddle the first thing you need to know is that a sea kayak is built for speed. As the kayak is built for speed it offers a narrower design than other kayaks.

The width of the kayak ultimately plays a role in choosing the best sea kayak paddle. As a sea kayak is narrow you are going to want a shorter paddle rather than a longer paddle.

The shorter paddle works in the narrow sea kayak because you don’t have to reach as far to come into contact with the water. A good sea kayak paddle will measure 210 to 230 cm.

As far as the other features to look for in a sea kayak paddle most of it comes down to personal preference.

Even with the shorter paddle, you are going to need to determine your paddling style so you can decide between a high or low angle sea kayak paddle.

To determine where you fall you need to pay attention to your top hand while paddling.

Low angle paddlers keep their top hand about shoulder height, while high angle paddlers keep their top hand about eye level.

Adjustable Kayak Paddle

Adjustable Kayak Paddle

With an adjustable kayak paddle, kayakers can opt for an adjustable length paddle or a paddle with a ferrule adjustment.

Perhaps you have more than one kayaker in the family, but you only have one kayak. You could always buy two separate kayak paddles, but then you have to figure out a way to store both of them.

Rather than spending the money to purchase multiple kayak paddles, you can purchase an adjustable kayak paddle.

One of the great things about an adjustable kayak paddle is there are several different types with different kinds of adjustments.

One of the most popular adjustments in adjustable kayak paddles is the length. With an adjustable length kayak paddle, you can quickly adjust the paddle to the desired length even while out on the water.

If you are opting for an adjustable length kayak paddle look for one that features a locking system.

Another adjustment that some kayakers look for is a ferrule adjustment that allows you to adjust the feathering angle, again look for a locking system to keep the adjustment set in place.

260 or 190 Kayak Paddle

260 or 190 Kayak Paddle

When it comes to choosing a 260 or a 190 kayak paddle you need to take into consideration the length of your torso, your height, and the width of your kayak.

Whether you need a 260 or a 190 kayak paddle will depend on a variety of factors.

To determine the paddle length that will work best for you need to consider the length of your torso, your overall height, and most importantly the width of your kayak.

Recreational style kayaks are going to be wider than other styles of kayaks, so they will require a longer paddle despite your actual height.

Where you sit will also play a role in the length of your paddle, kayaks that you sit in won’t need as long of paddles as the kayaks you sit on top of.

240 paddles are an ideal choice for kayakers who are less than 5’5 inches tall using a kayak that is over 34 inches wide.

For a kayaker who is 6 foot tall using a kayak that is over 34 inches wide, they will want to opt for a 260 kayak paddle.

The biggest factor in deciding the kayak paddle length is torso length. A 190 kayak paddle is the perfect length for kayakers with a 26-inch torso.

The length of the paddle should increase by 10 centimeters for every 2-inch increase of the torso length.

All calculations aside the best way to test the length of the paddle is to test it out on the water beforehand, if at all possible.

Lightweight Kayak Paddle

Lightweight Kayak Paddle

A lightweight kayak paddle will help improve your performance on the water, but it also adds to the paddles price.
Your kayak paddle has the biggest impact on your overall performance on the water.

How long you spend on the water will determine how many strokes you are taking. It’s no secret that using the proper kayak paddle can make a huge difference.

A lightweight kayak paddle uses lightweight materials that will improve your overall performance on the water, but those same materials will also increase the price of the kayak paddle.

One of the greatest benefits to lightweight materials is they reduce arm fatigue, which is important because you always raise your blade higher than your shaft.

Fiberglass blades are more lightweight than plastic blades, but they do run the risk of chipping.

Even if the fiberglass blade does chip, chances are slim that it will crack all the way through whereas a plastic blade can snap in two as the plastic becomes fragile over time.

The most lightweight kayak paddles are made from carbon-fiber; they are also the most expensive.

The super lightweight blades are extremely stiff allowing for better energy transfer with each stroke.

Reviews of the Best Kayak Paddles

Kayak paddles come in a number of sizes, which depend on your kayak size and your own height, as well as materials, constructions, and designs.

It can also be a bit hard to sift through the many options you have to find one that is suited to you and which also has a history of user satisfaction.

To help you with the task of deciding on a paddle, this list groups together the 10 most popular and highly-rated kayak paddles available online.

They cover all price points, from the economically priced to the expensive, and possible usage locations so that you can choose from a diverse set of paddles.

SeaSense X-Treme 2 Kayak Paddle

SeaSense X-Treme II Kayak Paddle

The SeaSense X-Treme 2 is one of the most highly rated and popular paddles around. It is available in two sizes: 84 inches and 96 inches.

The shaft is lightweight and is made of aluminum while the blades are fiberglass filled with nylon. This light construction also lets it float in water, which is great in case it slips from your hand.

The blades themselves are feathered for less resistance and the paddle as a whole has an asymmetrical design. The blades have 3 different locking positions to adjust their angles.

The shaft is fitted with foam handles with an ergonomic design for a comfortable and non-slip grip.

A few other features are thrown in for added convenience such as the drip rings, which are also adjustable in case you have your own preference for using them.

There’s also a support ridge for more strength. To top all this off, it has a two-piece construction to make storage easy while transporting it.

PROS:

  • Ergonomic foam handles
  • Adjustable drip rings
  • Support ridge for strength
  • Floats in water

CONS:

  • Only 3 feathering positions

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminium Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Day Tripper Aluminum Kayak Paddle - 2 Piece

Carlisle is a very popular brand for kayak paddles, and this is just the first of 3 paddles by them on this list.

This paddle’s shaft is made of anodized aluminum, which is resistant to corrosion, and glass-enforced polypropylene blades. It also floats in water.

The shaft has an oval construction which is meant to make gripping more intuitive and comfortable. The blades have an asymmetrical construction for smoother and more efficient strokes.

They also have a pushbutton takedown that lets you change the angle up to 60 degrees. It also has an inline capability for both left-handed and right-handed use.

It comes in three different sizes: a 240cm (94.5 inches) version, a 230cm (90.5 inches) paddle, and one with a length of 220cm (86.6 inches).

They all come apart into two pieces to make them easier to transport.

PROS:

  • Comes in 3 sizes
  • Variable feathering angle up to 60°
  • Oval shaft for intuitive grip

CONS:

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle

Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle - Polypro Blades/Fiberglass Shaft

This is another paddle by Carlisle. While it is more expensive than the Day Tripper, it has superior construction materials.

The blades are made of fiberglass reinforced polypropylene and come in a number of bright colors which make this paddle stand out in terms of looks.

These blades are slightly curved and asymmetrical to cut through the water with ease. They are coupled with a fiberglass shaft which helps produce powerful strokes due to its lightweight.

The fiberglass has a comfort value to it: it is cool to the touch in hot weather and feels warm in cold weather.

The shaft has a bit of flexibility and gives to it. It thus gives the perfect compromise between the rigidity needed for strong strokes and the flexibility required to relieve stress from your joints.

The paddle breaks into two pieces for transport and the paddles can be feathered up to 60 degrees.

It is recommended for a 10 to 12-foot recreational kayak and comes in 3 sizes: 240cm (94.5 inches), 230cm (90.5 inches), and 220cm (86.6 inches).

PROS:

  • High-quality fiberglass construction
  • The shaft is flexible and strong
  • Variable feathering up to 60°
  • Available in 3 sizes

CONS:

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Kwik Tek Kayak Paddle

Kwik Tek Airhead 2-Section Performance Kayak Paddle - 7'

This paddle, manufactured by Airhead, is 7 feet (84 inches) long and breaks down into 2 different sections to make it easy to stow away.

The shaft itself is made of lightweight aluminum while the blades are made of ABS plastic. The shaft is fitted with grips to make for easy handling.

The grips are made of foam which also ensures that the paddle floats in water. The shaft also has adjustable drip rings.

The blades are large and have a curved design to give you more efficiency and ease while paddling.

They are also adjustable so that you can change the angle which lets the paddle accommodate both regular and offset paddling.

PROS:

  • Floats in water
  • Adjustable drip rings
  • Adjustable feathering angle
  • Very economically priced

CONS:

  • Isn’t made of high-quality materials

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Kayak Paddle

Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Kayak Paddle

The Werner Camano breaches the $200 mark, and the larger sizes nearly reach $300, which makes it one of the most expensive paddles on this list.

This price is not without good reason though.

It uses premier materials, including a carbon blend for the straight shaft that allows for easy hand movement and fiberglass blades for an optimized swing weight to reduce fatigue.

The shaft also has the optimal construction to give you a balance of flex, so that you don’t feel too much pressure, and strength for your swings.

The blades are mid-sized and are made according to Werner’s award-winning dihedral design which creates smooth and stable forward strokes.

The fiberglass comes in a large number of vibrant hues, giving your kayaking gear a nice pop of color.

The paddle also comes with adjustable ferrules to feather your paddles and Werner claims that they are the most simple and precise fitting ones on the market.

It comes in a 1-piece, 2-piece, and 4-piece make in case you want to a foldable paddle. Amazon retails the 220cm (86.6 inches) and 230cm (90.5 inches) varieties.

PROS:

  • Comes in 3 sizes
  • High-quality fiberglass
  • Carbon construction
  • Award-winning blade design

CONS:

  • Expensive

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Carlisle Magic Mystic Paddle

Carlisle Magic Mystic Poly Kayak Paddle - Polypro Blades/Aluminum Shaft

The final Carlisle paddle on this list is another popular, economically-priced choice. It is meant to be a good buy for introductory paddlers.

It consists of a shaft made for light aluminum and blades made of fiberglass reinforced propylene for a combination of power and efficiency.

The shaft is also anodized to make it resistant to corrosion. It is slightly bent in the areas where the hands normally rest.

This is done to minimize wrist flex during forward strokes and gives you a more comfortable experience.

It is available in three different paddle colors: Sunrise (an orange-yellow blend), Limon (lime green), and Cloud (light blue), although Amazon only retails the Sunrise and Cloud variants.

It is also available in three lengths: 220cm (86.6 inches), 230cm (90.5 inches), and 240cm (94.5 inches).

PROS:

  • Comes in 3 lengths
  • Bent shaft to reduce wrist flex
  • Good for introductory paddlers

CONS:

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Shoreline Marine X-2 Kayak Paddle

Shoreline Marine X-II Kayak Paddle, 84-Inch, Orange

This is a fairly popular kayak paddle, offering a stripped-down and basic design at low cost when compared to many other paddles.

Shoreline Marine does not provide much information on this but it does state that the shaft is made of corrosion-resistant iron for a lightweight feel that makes it suitable for beginners.

The shaft has handles for a high impact swing.

The paddle is 84 inches long and has a two-piece feather offset with a push-button to change the angle of your blades.

PROS:

  • Economically priced

CONS:

  • Not made of high-quality materials
  • Only has 3 lock positions for feathering
  • Very basic design

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Carbon Kayak Paddle

AQUA BOUND Sting Ray Carbon 2-Piece Kayak Paddle

This paddle by Aqua-Bound is, like the Werner Camano, one of the more expensive paddles on the market. It is handmade in Wisconsin and uses high-quality materials.

The shaft is all-carbon while the blades are medium-sized and are made of abX carbon reinforced nylon. This makes them stronger than glass reinforced blades.

These materials give the paddle an extremely low weight, making swings easier. The shaft itself is ovalized so that it provides a natural and comfortable grip.

The shaft comes with drift rings while the blades come with Aqua-Bound’s signature Posi-Lok ferrule system.

This consists of ferrules that click securely into place and provide you infinite feathering angles for the blades. The ferrules are corrosion resistant and the system features a dual-button release for convenience.

It also breaks down into 2 pieces, although a 4-piece version is available on Aqua-Bound’s website. Amazon currently only stocks the 250cm (98.4 inches) paddle.

However, Aqua-Bound’s website has paddles 210cm (82.7 inches), 220cm (86.6 inches), 230cm (90.5 inches), and 240cm (94.5 inches) in length. The paddle is recommended for flat water kayaking.

PROS:

  • 5 sizes
  • 4-piece version available
  • Ovalized shaft for comfortable grip
  • High-quality carbon shaft
  • Carbon-reinforced blades
  • Infinite feathering angles

CONS:

  • High price

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Shoreline Marine 96 Inch Rounded Kayak Paddle

Shoreline Marine 96-Inch Rounded Kayak Paddle

This is by far the most popular paddle available online, having over 950 customer reviews while still maintaining a decent rating.

Like the other Shoreline Marine paddle in this list, this one also features a light aluminum shaft. The shaft has drip-guards to prevent water from splashing onto you.

It also has foam grips for comfort.

The blades are rounded and contour-molded for more effective swings and let you swing the paddle through the water with ease.

The paddle comes with a 3-position system for the blades to change their angle to suit your swing type and comfort.

It is on the longer side, as far as kayak paddles go, at 96 inches but can be disassembled into 2 pieces to make it easier to carry around.

PROS:

  • Popular and highly rated
  • Praised for being value-for-money
  • Drip guards
  • Foam grips

CONS:

  • Only 3 Positions for feathering

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Cannon Paddles Escape E Kayak Paddle

Cannon Paddles Escape E Kayak Paddle with Black Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer Blades (2-Piece)

The final paddle on this list is the Escape E kayak paddle by Cannon Paddles. It is a good choice for people just beginning with paddling.

While it can be used for all sorts of kayaking, it is best suited to recreational purposes.

It is a 2-piece paddle that is made up for a heat-treated and anodized aluminum shaft that is resistant to corrosion and sports fiberglass-reinforced nylon blades.

The shaft is ovalized so that it has two convenient sections for hand grips.

The blades are lightweight and durable and the Escape series’s design makes them more stable.

They have a dihedral construction which makes them easy to pull through the water and propel you forward with less effort.

PROS:

  • Good entry-level Paddle
  • Ovalized shaft for Convenient Gripping

CONS:

  • It doesn’t come with Drip Rings

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Conclusion

This list features an extensive list of paddles, ranging from 40$ beginner paddles to handmade paddles that can go up to $300. They all have a number of unique features and designs and many are also meant to stand out for their looks.

This wide choice also comes backed by hundreds of user reviews and ratings so you know you can’t go wrong by selecting the best kayak paddle for yourself from this list.

Here is the list of best kayak paddles again for you. Check out the specs, reviews, prices and offers on Amazon –

Last update on 2019-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Our team consists of enthusiastic and passionate people from different fields and experience. Some are geeks and spend most of their time among gadgets while others love nature and are always on the move! We spend 10s of hours researching and writing on each topic. The articles are then quality checked by our editors. View our "About us" section for more details about process and team.

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