Here we have our list of the best kayak paddles for the money in 2020. Now, we all know how important picking the correct kayak is, but picking the correct kayak paddle is also massively important.
If you want to enjoy your kayaking experience, then you should know that not all paddles are made to the same standard.
In fact, there are some brands you may want to avoid. As such, we have compiled this best kayak paddles buyer’s guide – designed to give you valuable advice on what to check when looking for the best-value kayak paddle on the market.
In a hurry? This is our winner!
Best Kayak Paddles – Comparison Table
Best Kayak Paddles – Reviews
Best Kayak Paddle – Buyers Guide
How to choose the best kayak paddle for you
Every kayaker has needs and these must be put into consideration when looking to buy the best marine kayak paddle. To help you arrive at that decision, here are the factors to consider before spending your money on a kayak paddle:
1. Kayak paddle construction material
- Plastic paddles:
They are more common due to their cheaper price and durability. They do not need much maintenance but weigh more than carbon and fiberglass paddles.
This type of kayak paddle usually has thick edges and flex resulting in a poor stroke. They are good for recreational paddling, as a spare if you lose a paddle.
In contrast with other kayak paddles, plastic paddles are not necessarily the most effective because they have a tendency to bend.
But the good thing about them is that they are user-friendly and will keep your hands warm when compared to aluminum paddles.
If you have a thing for rapid or river kayaking, then you can go for a plastic paddle as I consider it to be the most appropriate. It will hold up in situations where other types of paddles may fail.
- Aluminum paddles:
In terms of price and quality, they are at the lower end. They are preferable for beginners who need something to paddle and use for a few times.
They can be cold in chilly weather and heavy to paddle for long distances and cannot be as enjoyable as fiberglass or carbon paddles.
The problem with aluminum paddles is that they get cold and tend to be weightier, making them more of a challenge to paddle with.
If you are just starting, we wouldn’t recommend an aluminum paddle. (but that should be your choice). Buying paddle grips can help to deal with the cold.
- Carbon fiber paddles:
This is the highest quality and most expensive paddle for kayaking. Carbon fiber is very light, stiff and strong and is suitable for long-distance paddling. The shaft is warmer on a chilly day as compared to aluminum paddle.
- Wooden paddles:
They are flexible, aesthetic, and warm. However, they require a bit of maintenance like varnishing and sanding. They come in different weights and sizes and vary in price depending on the type of wood.
Wooden kayak paddles are best for classic kayakers. Although they tend to be not so lightweight, they put in a solid performance and are sturdy.
But keep in mind that you’ll have to sand them now and then to maintain their shape.
- Fiberglass paddles:
These types of paddles are stiff, light, and durable. They are the most preferred for touring and recreation. The blades have fiberglass and carbon shafts balancing the efficiency of price, balancing, and weight. Fibre glass makes the lightest kayak paddle.
Fiberglass and carbon paddles tend to be costlier than the other types but they are not as heavy. These paddles also retain their warmth when the weather gets cold and are pretty solid.
For someone who has a high level of experience at kayaking and is looking to put in a lot of time, consider going for these types of paddles.
2. Kayak Paddle Angle & Blade Shape
If you are just getting into the world of kayaking, this is arguably the easiest quality to pass over. That’s because many beginners think that this isn’t worth their attention. Remember that you will have to paddle to get your kayak moving and that’s why you want to find the right angle.
If you’re a racer, go for a product on which the paddle’s face has a dip. In other words, I’m recommending that you go for a paddle that has the shape of a wing.
That’s the best way to increase your chances of attaining high speeds. But if you’re someone who just wants to ride around slowly, I recommend considering something of a different shape, especially as a beginner.
Selecting the appropriate shape of the blade determines how your paddle interacts with water on each stroke:
- High angle paddle:
This is a paddle that needs to be held vertically when stroking forward. This implies that the stroke is more powerful held this way and will propel the kayak faster in the water. This paddle is better used for racing or paddling in rough white water. The blades on these types of paddles are broader and shorter for gaining control in challenging conditions.
- Low angle paddle:
This implies that the paddle is held horizontally and the hands are close together and at the same level through the stroke. This method of paddling is less tiresome and is preferred when paddling for longer distances.
The blades on these types of paddles are skinnier and longer as compared to high angle blades. These types of paddles are the best if you are going for a kayaking tour on flat water.
High-angle paddles help you to kayak effectively on high-speed water bodies. A paddle that has a low blade angle requires lesser energy but can still help you attain great speeds. If you want the best water flow, you can go for a dorsal or dihedral blade paddle.
3. Kayak paddle length & size
- The perfect size should also be considered depending on your need and comfort.
- An oversized paddle can hurt your wrists and shoulders.
- A good paddle will depend on the type of paddling a kayak is designed for.
- For a recreational kayak, it has been designed to be stable and is widely built.
- Touring kayaks are narrow and longer for more speed.
Do not make the mistake of overlooking this feature because the kayak paddle length is also very important. Keep in mind that this doesn’t have anything to do with how far you wish to travel or the level of speed you want to attain. It isn’t even about how long your kayak is.
Rather, it has more to do with you as the kayaker. Your height should determine what kind of paddle length to go with. The taller you are, the more you want to find a longer paddle.
Find a shorter paddle if your height is under 6 feet. But if your height is above 6 feet, go for a paddle measuring up to 260 cm. Consider how wide your kayak is and check to see if it is more than 25 inches. In that case, you will be better off with a paddle that measures more than 240 cm.
But kayaks that are not as wide can make do with shorter paddles.
You’ll also want to think about how your paddle holds up in the wind. You may not think that this is important but you don’t want to experience anything that limits your speed. Feathering is a situation where a paddle comes with one of its sides at a different angle from the other. This feature helps it to cut through the air with a higher level of efficiency.
This is a very beneficial feature but there is a setback. Feathered paddles require that you rotate them more often than not. Keep this in mind if you always experience stiff joints because handling a feathered paddle may prove difficult for you.
5. One-piece or two/multi piece paddle
Paddles with ferrules can be separated while those without remain in one piece. A multi-piece paddle can be broken down and keep in your kayak as a spare.
However, not every person prefers them since they can be heavy due to their structure unless they are properly designed and of very high quality. Ferrules can get stuck, wear down. Be stiff due to salty air.
Kayak Paddle FAQs
Who is a kayak paddle meant for?
If you are looking to embark on an adventure with a kayak, you definitely need a kayak paddle. These paddles are different from those of a canoe because they come with two blades located on the shaft ends. That way, you will experience increased fluidity when moving with your kayak.
Another advantage is that there is no need to swap sides while paddling as it helps you make gentle movements while your arms stay stable.
Since a lot of kayaks on the market are designed to accommodate one person, the kayak paddle’s construction makes more sense.
How does a kayak paddle work?
With the help of this instrument, your kayak can have some form of propulsion. All you have to do is maintain equidistance while holding the paddle with both hands.
You then have to glide your kayak paddle through the water, making front to back movements to make the kayak go forward.
You’ll find that a lot of modern paddles are delivered in two separate pieces so that you can store them with little hassle. It is even possible to adjust the blades or shafts in some of these paddles. It is your duty as the paddler to provide support to the paddle.
Do kayak paddles make a difference?
Your kayak paddle is one of the most important aspects that determine how well you will perform when you go out on the water. Think about the many strokes involved and you’ll realize the importance of a proper paddle.
What happens when you use too long of a paddle for kayaking?
You don’t want to use kayak paddles that are too long or too short. This is very demanding and will cause excessive exertion when looking to stay on track while building your speed.
That’s because using the wrong length may cause your hand to grind the shaft, ultimately resulting in blisters.
What should I look for when buying a kayak?
Two very important qualities when buying a kayak are its length and width. In general terms, the kayak tends to be straighter and faster when it is longer and narrower. If you want something that is easy to maneuver and more stable, go for a vessel that is shorter and wider. But don’t get your hopes up when it comes to speed.
Why does my kayak keep turning?
If you notice that your kayak keeps pulling to a particular side, you will need to review your paddling style. However, if you have no problems with how you paddle, other contributing factors could be responsible. But your paddling technique is usually the biggest culprit.
What is the best kayak paddle for Fishing?
Most kayakers do not consider the effects a paddle can have on fishing. They do not give it so much thought and this is a big mistake. Upon researching the best inflatable fishing kayak it is also important to research the best paddle as well. Paddles propel your watercraft and investing in a good quality paddle would make a lot of sense.
Finding a paddle that suits your needs can be a confusing thing to do. You might be trolling to a perfect fishing spot or paddling for leisure.
Perhaps, you need to clarify the reason why you need a fishing kayak paddle. You can easily get plastic or a cheap aluminum kayaking paddle but getting a specific one made for fishing purposes can be a bit challenging.
Most kayak paddles are made from materials like fiberglass and carbon fiber which are lightweight and perform excellently in water.
High-quality paddles come with adjustable ferrules for altering the length and blade angle allowing you to use in different watercraft efficiently. Some come with a ruler to measure your catch.
Kayak paddles for fishing come with a low or high angle design. Low angle blades are used for steady and slow strokes while trolling or paddling for a long time.
High angle blades are used for powerful and aggressive strokes for a fully loaded kayak or when in fast-moving waters.
One of the best decisions you can make when looking to go kayaking is to find one of the best kayak paddles. With the help of these paddles, you can easily glide alone in the water while keeping your pace as steady as possible.
A kayak paddle is important because it helps to propel your vessel without which you would cover very little distance. With the help of this buying guide, I’m sure you will find the best marine kayak paddle for your needs.
If you are new to this, don’t forget to read the guide carefully to find the right product.